40. who's sheila?

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After they left, Ryan flopped down next to me on the couch and said, "I think that went pretty well

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After they left, Ryan flopped down next to me on the couch and said, "I think that went pretty well. Don't you?"

I nodded, but wondered how much of my conversation with my father she had overheard. They were on the same page regarding my hockey career-- as in, they both thought it should be over.

Not wanting to veer into that territory right now, I just said, "As far as my father is concerned, it was a success. Nobody yelled and nobody stormed out."

She raised her eyebrows. "Low bar, but okay. Are we still good to go for Monday?"

"Yeah. I'll go wash the truck tomorrow and make sure the inside is clean."

"Okay, sounds like a plan," she said, throwing her legs across my lap and cuddling up against me in a cloud of perfume and delicious Ryan-scent. My body relaxed as she did, ever the source of comfort whenever I was tense. "I'm really looking forward to getting away, even if it's just back to my hometown."

I was looking forward to it, too. A chance to see where Ryan came from. Grew up. There was a whole side to her life that I had never seen. And as nervous as I was about it, I wanted to meet her mother, too.

"Me, too. You, me, and the road. Perfect."

The outcome the playoffs popped back into my mind, bringing the sense of sinking disappointment along with it. Knocked out for the year because of me. If I'd just seen the trip coming, or avoided his skate, everything would have been different. We could have won. Would have won.

Stop. I had to put it aside for now. No sense in dwelling on it when Ryan was right here and everything else was going well. But if I crossed paths with that guy again, I was going to...

My thoughts were interrupted as Ryan put her hand on my arm, studying me. "Are you sure you're okay to drive to the car wash?"

"I have to ease back in somehow, now that they've cleared me. It's only a couple of blocks away, anyway. We can alternate as needed while we're on the road, but you'll probably have to do most of the driving."

"Hold up," Ryan frowned, sitting upright and staring at me with wide eyes. "Let's rewind for a second here. I was distracted by the driving issue, but did you say truck? We can't take your truck on a road trip. I can't drive that beast," she said, shaking her head emphatically, a blur of shiny brown hair swinging along.

By the way she talked, you'd have thought it was a legitimate monster truck with three foot wheels, but it most assuredly was not. "It's just a regular mid-sized truck, Ry. Not like it has a lift kit on it or anything. And my legs are too long for your tiny car," I groaned.

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