A Very Merry Hockey Holiday

Page 5


“Our ornament,” she whispered as he handed her Emery’s.
“Yup, it’s my favorite,” he whispered back, kissing her ear. “Or maybe the things we did are.”
She sucked in a deep breath as she nodded slowly. “Yes, I think I have to agree with you on that.”
He shot her a wink before kissing her again. “Maybe once we get these monsters to bed, we can reenact that night.”
She scoffed. “Sorry, buddy, you have a month before you get inside me.”
“What are y’all talking about?” Aiden asked.
“It’s weird; they are gross,” Asher decided.
“I want to hang my ornament!” Stella yelled out, causing Fallon to grin.
Not moving, Lucas whispered, “As soon as I can, I’m going to make you come.”
Her stomach clenched as she kissed his jaw. “Well, Lord knows, I won’t stop you.”
“I figured,” he chuckled, kissing her again before they both looked back at their family. He had a huge grin on his face, and Fallon’s heart thudded in her chest as she took in the beauty of him. He was like the finest wine and got better with age. He was gorgeous and all hers, but her favorite thing in the world was watching him watch his family. He was happy, and it was good to know it was because of her and the kids.
“Okay, guys, let’s finish the tree,” Lucas commanded, and with her new daughter in her arms, Fallon reached out, hanging Emery’s star on one of the branches while everyone did the same. As they all stepped back, Lucas’s fingers threaded with hers as Aiden leaned against her arm, Stella on his hip. Asher wrapped his arms around Fallon’s butt and laid his head on her stomach as she let out a contented sigh.
Christmas was a time for giving, but what else could she ever get?
She had everything.
And then some.
Watching the puck with intensity, Tate Odder was in set position as the Assassins’ defense fought off the Bruins’ offense. When Brooks took the puck up the ice, Tate stood up, shaking his limbs as he continued to watch. At any moment, the Bruins could get the puck back, but they wouldn’t get it past. Not on his watch. When a Bruins player stole the puck and sailed past the defense and up ice on a breakaway, Tate grinned.
Here we go.
He deked left, but Tate knew he would and went right along with him, blocking the puck. To his surprise though, the little shit got the puck back and tried to go top shelf. The crowd roared, thinking their team was going to take the lead, but in a picture-worthy way, Tate caught it in his glove, bringing it in close to his chest, and the crowd wasn’t happy. Tate was though, along with his teammates.
“Way to go, Odder,” his captain, Shea, said as he tapped Tate’s pad. “Great save.”
“Thanks, Cap.”
Handing the puck off to the ref, Tate got back in position and thought about winning.
And not about how miserable his wife was at home.
Surprisingly enough, Tate wasn’t scored on even though he couldn’t push away the thoughts of his wife. Audrey did well hiding her feelings, but he knew how much she was hurting and it was killing him. Any time he tried to talk about the issue, she didn’t want to discuss it because it hurt even more. He knew she felt like she’d failed him, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. He didn’t know what else to do, but one thing was for sure—he didn’t want her to know that he too was miserable.
It was Christmastime, and ordinarily, that was a joyful time of the year. Usually Audrey’s favorite. She made sure to make a big deal about buying presents and decorating. She baked her ass off and made a huge show of some damn elf that sat on a shelf for their daughter, Penelope. Tate didn’t see the point in the stupid elf, but Audrey and Penelope loved her. Because of that, he went along with the games the elf played.
Honestly though, his heart didn’t stand a chance when he looked into his baby girl’s crystal blue eyes or even her momma’s caramel eyes. They were his world and they were enough. He had told Audrey this many times, but she couldn’t accept it. She wanted to give him more children, but unfortunately, they hadn’t been lucky with the whole conceiving thing after they lost the last baby she was pregnant with. He still could hear her cries and it truly killed him. Since then, he hadn’t been able to get her pregnant. She blamed herself, but sometimes, he felt as if it was his fault. He should be able to get a woman pregnant, and he had, twice, but they only had one blessing to show for it. Again, that was enough. He just wished Audrey would realize that.
Leaning back in his locker, he let out a long breath before running his fingers through his too long blond hair. He needed a haircut, but he wasn’t worried about it. On top of worrying about the mental state of his beautiful wife, the holidays were always hard on him. Christmas had always been his family’s favorite time of the year, and knowing they weren’t here to watch Penelope grow almost brought tears to his eyes.
He wished he could shake off all the bad thoughts; he shouldn’t be thinking them, not with Christmas so close, but he couldn’t help it. He missed his family and he wanted his wife to be happy. He just wished it would all go away. He didn’t want to be depressed on Christmas, not with how much it meant to Penelope.
“You’re quiet. You okay?” Lucas, his best friend and his wife’s brother-in-law, asked.
He nodded. “Just thinking. Holidays are hard.”
Lucas moved a towel through his hair before looking over at him. “Yeah,” he said with a nod. “How’s Audrey holding up? Fallon thinks she is lying out her ass half the damn time.”