Disclaimer: Oh yeah, BCH is so mine.
Summary: Ever see the HBO special, "If These Walls Could Talk"? The one I saw dealt with abortion. 3 diff women, 3 diff stories in 3 diff decades. Same here, only it's 3 diff stories in 3 diff decades all talking about the same thing: adultery.
AN: Hola. I'm a wanna be author. This is my note.
Rating: Uh..S..for slashy. And R for language.
Bobby gathered his pants and keys from the floor of the apartment. Pulling them on, he glanced in the mirror before making his exit. He ran a hand through his hair, smoothing it down. Noting a lipstick stain on the collar of his white shirt, he raised his hand to try to rub it out, but stopped before his fingers had a chance to reach it, smirking. It wasn’t as if he had anything to hide.
The grin, though, had its unintended effects. His head throbbed, the beginning of a malicious hangover. He stumbled down the stairs, rubbing his eyes against the sunrise, as he tried to remember whether or not he had practice. Turning the keys in his ignition, he smiled with the satisfaction of knowing he could go home, sleep off the worst of his hangover, then watch the game.
The sun, he noted, seemed to have it in for him—it’s glint hitting his eyes in just the spot where his visor couldn’t protect him, increasing the throbbing between his two eyes. He really shouldn’t have had that extra beer last night. Or the shot…
It wasn’t like the girl the night before was so ugly that he needed to get smashed. But he had anyway, and now he was paying the consequences.
He pulled into the driveway and entered his house through the kitchen. He didn’t bother trying to be quiet. It wasn’t as if he had done anything wrong. Plus, it was his house. He stopped, key in hole, and cocked his head to the side on that last thought. He puffed his chest out and nodded. Exactly, it was his house. He was Bobby Hull. He could do whatever he damn well pleased. He opened the door and shut it behind him.
And immediately the air was sucked out of the room.
Joanne sat at the kitchen table gripping onto a coffee mug as if her life depended on it. Her hair was pulled back in a taut ponytail, but a few frazzled flyaways still managed to escape. Bobby stared at her clothes, doing a double take. Sure enough, he was right. She was still wearing the clothes from the day before. She turned to him, and he almost took a step back, as her red-rimmed eyes threw him an accusing glare.
The fear passed, though, as soon as she opened her mouth.
“Where were you?” He could hear the emotions behind it. Her hurt, her exhaustion, the rawness of it all…and her anger. Which immediately ticked Bobby off. Where the hell did she get off being angry with him? He was the one who put bread on the table, kept a roof over their head. And why did he have to answer to her?
“None of your business.”
He forewent his initial plan and headed straight for the refrigerator, grabbing a beer and slamming the door shut. She looked on in disbelief and disgust as he uncapped it by hitting it on the kitchen counter, chipping the tiles. Which only furthered his agitation with her. Why couldn’t she just have been in bed? He didn’t need a babysitter.
“I think it’s my business. I am your wife,” she stated, stressing the last word.
“Yeah, meaning you’re supposed to love, honor, and obey me. So shut the fuck up.” He raised his eyebrows as if to challenge her, and then took a victory swig when she didn’t reply.
She closed her eyes. “I am so sick of this,” she finally spat out.
“Well, too god damn bad, Joanne. Make me some breakfast.” She shook her head. “I said—”
“Not until you tell me where you were last night!” she screamed.
He dragged a chair out, making as much noise as humanly possible as it scraped across the linoleum. He sat down, then kicked his feet up onto the table, and took another gulp. “I think you know.”
“I want to hear it out of your mouth!” she replied, shrilly. “I’m tired--” her voice broke. “I’m tired of always hearing it from someone else.”
“Too ‘effin bad.”
She nearly screamed, but bit it back and in frustration threw the mug across the room, where it shattered against the wall.
“Jesus H. Christ!” he yelled, standing up. “I paid for that!”
He raised his hand to shut her up when his son walked into the kitchen.
“Bobby, go upstairs. I’ll drive you to practice when your daddy and I are finished talking.”
“No, take him to practice now. Hockey is important.”
“I’m important. We’re important.”
He glared at her. “Bobby, get in the car. I’ll take you to practice since your mom is being a selfish bitch.”
Bobby, Jr. headed towards the door, but Joanne tugged on his duffel bag. “Go upstairs, sweetie.” She turned to her husband. “You’re drunk.”
“And you’re a bitch,” he seethed. “Bobby! Get in the car!” As he followed his son out the door, he turned back to Joanne. Maybe it was the light hitting her, maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the hangover, or maybe it was just his conscience, but he paused and stared at her. Tears were streaming down her face, red with frustration and anger, and for a moment his heart stopped; he held his breath, suddenly stricken with the thought that maybe he had gone too far this time. He had kept the other times quieter. The other times were on the road—meaningless fucks that he never saw again, weren’t in the same town to run into her. He had never flaunted it in her face like this before. The other times he could pass it off as loneliness on the road; this time he sought someone else out when he could have been home.
But then it passed, and he was breathing again. He dropped his half-guzzled beer to the floor, hearing it smash. “Clean this up before I get home.”
Brett Hull had always promised himself that he wouldn’t end up like his father. He may have been his father’s son when it came to hockey, but he swore that would be as far as it went. The fear in his mother and sister’s eyes…he promised that he would never inflict such pain. And yet…
And yet, here he was lying in bed, naked under the sheets listening to a man that was similarly naked, in the middle of the night.
It was his first road game. He had spent a better part of the season in the minor leagues because some big whig had a stick up his ass. Originally, he had been pretty upset over the entire situation. If they didn’t want to play him, why didn’t they trade him? And if they wanted him to score more goals, they should give him more ice time—not less and expect him to figure it out.
But then he had met Nick, and suddenly the NHL didn’t seem all that interesting. If the Flames wanted to keep him down in Moncton, fine with him. It left him more leisure time with Nick and as long as he kept scoring, he was relatively happy in the AHL.
He had met Nick, in all places, the grocery store. Nick, at the time, had no idea who he was. He had just thought Brett was a cute guy, befuddled as to where the chip section was. In a way, that made Brett all the more attracted to Nick. He hadn’t been trying to hit on Brett Hull (although, he doubted Nick would have tried had he known who he was) or Bobby Hull’s son.
They had exchanged phone numbers, but Brett didn’t think anything would come of it. After all, he was going to be called up to the NHL soon, and he wasn’t exactly looking for a long-term relationship.
But it had found him anyway.
And definitely not willingly. Brett knew a relationship could never last, and especially because of his situation and who he was, he had to keep things even more secretive. It would be detrimental to both his career and his family. Not that his immediate family would mind (well, his father might) terribly that he was gay, but the media would just eat it up and eventually make their lives hell. But Nick just had a way of getting underneath his skin. Pretty soon he couldn’t stop thinking about him; couldn’t help thinking about their date during the intermissions.
He found himself going out of his way—doing things he wouldn’t normally do to make him smile. Nick’s approval mattered all of a sudden. Making Nick happy was important because Nick was important to Brett. He wanted to score goals all the time so he could give the pucks to Nick. Not that Nick actually liked hockey, but he tolerated it because of Brett. That had always brought a grin to Brett’s face—imagining Nick’s apartment filled with pucks and Nick huddled around his t.v. trying to find a tennis game.
He still wasn’t quite sure what he felt for Nick, but he wasn’t ready to call it love. Love was for, well, he always correlated it with marriage and that certainly wasn’t going to happen. But he had to feel something for Nick and it had to be pretty strong if he was having this bad of a stomachache lying in his hotel room.
Brett stared up at the ceiling, wishing he wasn’t there. Absentmindedly, he clenched his fists over the sheets, bunching them and releasing them, nervously flexing his hands. Or maybe his feelings weren’t that strong if he was—
“Brett? Are you listening to me?”
“Sorry, Gary, I was just…um…thinking.”
“Oh, okay. Night, Brett.”
How did he get to this point? When did he become so much like his father? Not appreciating what he had…God, Nick was so great. He liked him so much; why was he so ready to jump in headfirst and screw it up?
He reached back and pulled the pillow over his head. Perhaps he could smother himself to death and put himself out of his misery.
“Brett, are you okay?”
He willed his tears to pass so he respond like a normal person. A moment later he was able too. “Yeah, I’m great.”
“You don’t sound—”
“Roberts, just leave it alone,” he snapped, hoping his voice wouldn’t betray him—that he sounded angry and not defeated. ‘Please, just leave it alone, Gary,’ he willed. He hoped the fact that he was two years older and had the Hull last name would be enough to convince him to let the topic rest. He moaned into his pillow, before throwing it back in disgust. He was so stupid.
Gary sighed and turned over to his side. Brett stared at his back, berating himself. He was such an idiot. Gary had asked him out to dinner and somehow he had misconstrued something and… He rubbed his face with his hand. He had kissed Gary, who had immediately pulled away. He wasn’t disgusted, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled to be kissed by Brett. They had both gotten into their respective beds and Gary had insisted on talking it over with him.
Which led Brett back to his present thinking. He was so stupid. Why had he done it? Sure, Gary was cute, but Nick… And what would have happened if Gary hadn’t pulled away? Would he have gone through with it? Was he more like his father than he thought? Why wasn’t he at that point, and would he ever get to the point, where he didn’t want to cheat on Nick? Was it about being content or was it just something he learned, perhaps genetic, from his father?
He sighed and pulled the pillow back over his head. He figured he could wallow in self-pity since he was too stupid to realize Gary wasn’t interested, let alone answer any of the questions brewing in his head.
The bed creaked and leaned to one side as he felt a body (presumably Gary unless some freak had walked in off the street) lie down next to him. He refused to move the pillow or take notice of Gary. Eventually Gary leaned in closer and removed the pillow. “Brett?” Brett snapped his eyes shut. Maybe he could trick Gary into leaving. “Brett?” Gary continued, softer. He wrapped his arms around Brett the best he could given their positions, pulling him into some sort of half-hug. “It’s okay,” he said soothingly.
Brett lost it, giving into his tears. Gary didn’t say anything more, just rubbed his arm every now and then. “Gary?”
Gary squeezed his forearm reassuringly.
“I don’t want to be like my dad.”
Cheryl McCarty knocked on Brett Hull’s door. Her stomach tightened as she heard the lock turn and she prayed she wouldn’t throw up. She bit her lip as Brett opened the door, the question of the year burning on her tongue.
“Can I talk to you? It’s,” she stumbled over the words. “It’s about Darren.”
Brett sighed, looking at her in disbelief, before trying to close the door.
Cheryl quickly shoved her hand and foot in the jamb of the frame. “Please!” She cringed mentally at the hysterical panic her voice exuded. She hadn’t wanted Brett to hear her desperation.
Brett’s eyes seemed to burn into hers, his anger evident. “No.” The simple word resonated through her head as she stepped back, defeated, and he slammed the door shut.
She walked back to her car, placing the key in the door before succumbing to her tears. They wracked her body as she slid down the side of the door, collapsing on the cold concrete of Brett’s driveway. Her life was on the verge of falling apart. Her marriage from the outside seemed so strong, yet she knew it wasn’t. She let her face, hot from her tears, lean against the smooth metal of the car. She tried to even out her breathing. After all, she shouldn’t be upset—this was her fault. All of it. She had known what she was getting into when she married a hockey player. She knew the road trips would be long and lonely. She knew it all, but she had married Darren anyway. She knew temptation might rear its ugly head one day on one of those road trips, but—
She began sobbing again, her body shaking against the metal frame.
But she had never thought she would be the one to cheat on Darren.
She loved Darren, still loved him, and the thought of adultery had never even flittered through her brain before. Sure, they had their fights, but they had always been Darren and Cheryl, Cheryl and Darren. He was one of her best friends; she could talk to him about anything. When she imagined her future, Darren was always in it. Yet, she had still cheated on him. And worse, she was pretty sure she was falling in love with someone else too.
The entire affair, falling in love, had never been planned. Just one too many lonely nights…a few drinks that had turned just a friendship into something more. Had she not been a little more than buzzed that night, she never would have had the gall to lean in for a kiss. And while that one kiss had begot the entire relationship, entire problem that would inevitably ruin her marriage (and her husband’s best friend’s marriage, too), she found herself wondering if she truly regretted it. She could possibly lose Darren, but she wasn’t sure whether the thought of losing Darren hurt more than the thought of losing her newfound love.
Her chest tightened and she struggled to breathe as she tried to calm herself down. She was quite certain she was making a spectacle of herself on Brett’s driveway.
Eventually, she was able to and she stretched her legs out, moving into a position where she was able to sit and lean her back against the car door. She stared at Brett’s impeccably manicured lawn, wondering how she had gotten to this point. Why was she so willing to let all those years of marriage go down the drain? When had she become so selfish that she was willing to forget about her children and her husband for a romp in the sack?
She sighed. Because another part of her brain kept telling her that it wasn’t. Kept telling her, kept pressing her that this was love, that it was so much greater than a romp in the sack, and that she’d be happier if she just divorced Darren.
She had somehow managed to keep things quiet, keep her secret in the dark, for the duration of the affair. For three months she had bitten her tongue, and become nervous and anxious whenever Darren was around, afraid she would slip up. She’d experienced the guilt in knowing she was hurting him, yet somehow managed to balance it out in her head. She was able to convince herself that it was okay because she was in love, or what he didn’t know couldn’t hurt him…or any number of excuses that helped her get through the night. She dreaded the nights they went over to the Drapers for dinner. Forced to stare across the table and look at what she couldn’t have. Forced to stare into Kris’ eyes and bite her lip so she wouldn’t spill the whole torrid affair. Forced to smile and pretend everything was okay.
They had ended it the night before. Brett had caught the two of them and she had drawn the short straw so she had to come over and try to explain things to Brett. Try to convince him not to tell.
And she had failed at that too. She looked through her purse for some tissues, feeling the tears build up behind her eyes again. She heard the crunch of gravel under foot and felt Brett sit down beside her before she even looked up. He sighed. “This is about the part where you plead with me not to tell your husband.” He paused. “And then I tell you that your secret is safe with me, and that you should be the one to tell him.”
She choked out a laugh that sounded more like a strangled sob. “I almost wish you had told him. Because I know how much this is going to kill him.”
She felt Brett bristle against her. His voice hardened, “Well, maybe you should have thought about that before.”
“I wasn’t thinking.”
“No kidding,” he snapped. “Of all the people in the world you had to sleep with. Of all the fucking people, Cheryl, you choose Julie! His best friend’s wife! Best friend.” He spat out the last two words.
Too exhausted to cry and knowing Brett was right, she nodded. “I know.” She allowed her head to fall into her hands. “I know,” she moaned.
“Why? Why did you do it? Why do we…” he trailed off, sounding more like a confused little boy than the angry accuser.
“I love her.” It was the first thing she had said all day with conviction.
“I love him, too.” With no more tears left, she sobbed, dry heaving. “Oh god, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.” She repeated the mantra over and over to herself as Brett rocked her back and forth. Later, she wouldn’t quite remember whether she had said any of it out loud or if it had all been in her head. And she wouldn’t remember if it had been her or Brett that had called her husband. She wouldn’t remember what she had been wearing or whether Brett’s encouraging words had come from experience or from a book.
But the image of her husband, in his jeans with the stain over the right knee and the hat from his game seven win over Colorado, as she told him the truth would be forever ingrained in her head.