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Won't Give Up Easy



She didn’t know what to wear. For once in her life, she was total confused as to what she wanted to look like. Her relationship with Jon wasn't completely defined so it was confusing as to what today meant. Callie hoped he’d take up the friends offer before heading into anything.

Callie stood in front of her closet in a towel. She knew she was wearing jeans. It was too cold for shorts, skirts, or dresses. Callie gave up and opted for a red v-neck t-shirt, a white sweater, and her favorite pair of moccasins. At least she’d be comfortable.

In the process of applying makeup, her cell phone rang. After almost stabbing herself in the eye with a mascara wand, she ran to get it. “Hello.”

“Hey, it’s Patrick.” She smiled, she assumed Kennedy was with him right then.

“How did you get my number?” She was mildly curious. Jon never explained how he got it either.

“Please, everyone put it in their phones when Jeremy gave it to Jon on the plane to North Carolina.” Callie could mentally hear him rolling his eyes.

“That explains it.” Callie wasn’t upset, just mildly amused. She liked the guys, them having her number wasn’t a problem.

“Anyways, I was wondering if you could talk Kennedy into seeing me tonight. She hasn’t been answering my calls. I thought you could do it.” Despite Callie’s indifference to Kennedy, panic struck in her. Her roommate hadn’t been with Patrick and if she had been with a random, she’d have been back by now.

“I’ll have to call you back.” She said quickly and hung up. Callie dialed Kennedy’s number and waited. It was almost to voice mail when she picked up. “Kennedy, where are you?”

“I’m on the drive home, roomie. Well, I guess we’re not really roommates anymore. I’ve decided I’m done with the city. Going back to my roots, you know.”

Callie couldn’t believe her childhood friend. Hadn’t she said not to long ago she was going to keep Patrick in her life? What was wrong with her? “What about Patrick? When did you even leave?” She asked. Kennedy didn’t say anything for a while.

“I left yesterday. Tell him I’m sorry but I’m not coming back.” With that, the line disconnected. Callie knew nothing she said would bring her friend back and she would have to tell Patrick. She dialed his number and prayed it went to voicemail. It didn’t, he picked up.

“So, is it a go?” He asked, excited.

“I’m sorry Patrick, but she left, said she’d gone home. She told me to tell you she’s sorry.” The line was silent.

“Is she coming back?”

“No, I’m sorry, Pat.” Callie heard his sad sigh.

“It’s not your fault, Cal. I… I’ll talk to you later.” He hung up.

Callie spent the rest of her time getting ready in silence. No music playing like she usually had it. She felt bad for her friend, she felt bad because she brought this pain into his world. It was her fault. She had known Kennedy, if she hadn’t gone out that night. If she wasn’t in Chicago, maybe her friend would be alright.

There was a knock on the door. Callie sullenly opened it. Jon was smiling on the other side. When he saw her face, his smile vanished and he held her in his arms. “What’s wrong?” he whispered into her hair.

“Kennedy left and I had to tell Patrick.” Jon pulled back and looked at her face.

“He’ll be fine.” His assurance on helped a bit.

“It’s my fault. He wouldn’t be hurting now if I just didn’t go out that night, if I had just let her stay home and complain. He’d be fine.” Jon looked at her like she was crazy.

“Callie, it’s not your fault. You couldn’t control Kennedy’s actions. Please stop blaming yourself. Pat will be fine, just stop beating yourself up, he wouldn’t want that.” Jon kissed her softly. Callie could fall so easily in love with him but she couldn’t let herself. He would leave once he found out about it all.


He watched her as she looked out the window. In the daylight, she was stunning. She was always stunning but every time he looked at her, she took his breath away. Jon couldn’t help but think to how beautiful she had been earlier. Her eyes had been shiny, like she had been about to cry. She was beautiful even with sadness.

But Callie had to know that it wasn’t her fault, she couldn’t have done anything to buffer the situation. She was innocent and he had been right about Kennedy. He just wished that his friend wasn’t hurting and in turn hurting Callie. If he could get the phone number of that damned woman, he would leave her a very angry voicemail.

Jon laughed internally, because the city of Chicago would be so pleased if they found out and thought
he was harassing a woman. No, he didn’t need that. He needed Callie to smile like she had this morning. He had plans for her today.

In his backseat, he had a carryout box of warm fries and he was taking her to the beach for a little to talk. Just get to know each other better as she called it and then they would continue with their day.

When they got to the beach, not far from the Navy Pier, he grabbed her hand and led her to where they could watch the waves. He set a blanket down and sat with her.
After they sat, they just munched on fries. If she needed her silence for a bit, he’d give it to her.

“How do you know?” She asked quietly. He didn’t know what she meant and waited for her to elaborate. “How is it that you know what I need before I know it?” He raised a brow. “When you teased me during the interview, you held me after what happened at the bar, and now, you’re sitting here, waiting for me to talk when I know you want to. How do you know?” she asked.

“Friends just know.” The words felt wrong coming from his mouth but when he saw the look of relief flood her face, it was almost okay. Callie just needed time.

“Tell me about how you grew up.” She sat closer to him as the waves crashed and wind whipped around them. Jon casually laid back on his elbow. He thought about his home in Canada.

“I grew up in Winnipeg. My mom, my dad, and my brother, David. It was good. I had to leave early, I don’t get much chance to go back except a few weeks in the summer, when we can all be together.
My parents will come down once and a while, see me and see David play for our farm league. I miss my family a lot but I have hockey. I always had hockey and it’s because of them. I’ll spend the rest of my life making up for what my parents had to sacrifice for me.” He thought about all the things his parents had given up for him, he’d give up just about anything for them. “What’s your family like?”

Her smile faded a bit. “Lots of fighting, lots of drama. I left right after graduation. I haven’t been back in a long time, I haven’t talked to most of them since I left.” Jon wondered if her family even knew where she was and how she was doing. He couldn’t imagine what it was like to not be close to his family. “Tell me about your favorite memory.” She asked him quietly. Jon thought deep for a minute and came up with one.

“When I first came to Chicago, I was living with one of the families of a veteran player. I remember I was so pissed after practice, I had lost the shootout. My first one, I was so angry because I wanted to prove to the guys that I could compete at this level. I had just busted out of rink and just kind of ran. I just wanted to run and when I stopped, I was lost. Not too far from here,” he nodded towards the building down way from the beach. “I just wandered lost, until I came to the beach.” He smiled. “This little old lady, she stopped her walk on the beach and put her arm on my shoulder and sat with me a bit. She sat there the whole time and I didn’t even realize that I had been crying. I just remember thinking, I had to stop crying, that it was embarrassing, that I didn’t know the woman and I should be going home. But I didn’t, not for a while. I guess it was just too much for me. I was an eighteen year old kid from Canada and I was pushed into this massive city and I knew I had to play well, I knew I had a lot on the line and at that moment it just got to me.” Jon looked at her face and saw the emotion in her eyes. “But then, I stopped. The old lady, she just sat looking out into the lake and told me not to worry. That I would be fine and that no matter what happened to me, that she would always be there rooting for me, in whatever I did. Then she helped me up and hailed me a cab. It was a scene really, a tiny elderly woman helping up a huge kid.” He laughed at the though. “I left without even knowing her name but I don’t know. I guess I always think about that. About how I will always have one fan, no matter what I do.” She was beaming at him.

“You’ll always have a fan in me, Toews.” She laughed. “Thank you for telling me that.” He just nodded. Jon had never told anybody that. He never told the family he had been living with, not his teammates, or his family. It felt good to share his moment of weakness with Callie. She understood.

“Are you ready to go?” he asked. She nodded. Jon collected their things and they headed back to the car.

When they were settled and on the way to their next destination, Callie let her curiosity get the better of her. “Where are we going?” she asked.

“We are going skating.” Her eyes got wide and a little panicked.

“Jon, I can’t skate. I really can’t.”

“Oh, I know.” Her eyes flashed. “I heard Coach telling you that you could come on to the ice, that we had to have skates somewhere that fit you but you told him you were a disaster on the ice. So, today, I’m going to teach you to skate.” She smiled at her.

“It’s no use. I’m just going to fall on my ass.”

“No, you won’t because I promise to catch you and keep the laughing at minimum.” He winked at her and she only pouted.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m just going to bruise my ass so bad I won’t be able to sit for a week.” Jon smiled at her. She was so precious but he was ready to see her somewhere where she was out of her element, maybe he’d feel like he could actually obtain her for once.


Trying to skate was nearly impossible, the ice was too slippery and she didn’t have nearly enough grace to do it. Jon practically forced her into skates and out into the rink. She clung against the wall while he buzzed past her making laps. She envied his natural athletic talent. He really was amazing at what he did and there was no wonder why he wore the “C” on his chest.

“Come on, baby, leave the wall.” All of a sudden, he was behind her. The shock startled her enough to move but he was quick, grabbing her waist, keeping her steady. “I told you I wouldn’t let you fall.” He whispered into her ear. No, he hadn’t.

Jon maneuvered so that he stood in front of her. He still held her hips and in a soft voice he was instructing her on how to move her skates. It didn’t make sense, she didn’t understand and no matter how many times he let go and she tried, he would always end up catching her.

After about two hours, Callie finally thought she had it enough to skate a little. It was short lived. Her skate slipped and she bumped into Jon hard enough that they both fell onto the ice. His hard body cushioned the fall. Moving to lay on the ice next to him, she sighed.

“I’m never ever going to be able to skate.” Callie declared. Jon just smiled and looked at her. She felt his cold finger brush away a hair from her cheek.

“You never know but I think it’s best if we get you off the ice.” Before she could even gain the balance to get up, Jon had stood and swept her off the ice. “Fastest way, trust me.” He murmured. Callie did trust him. He made her a promise to never let her fall and he didn’t.


It had been two days since what Jon considered their first date. He smiled at the memory. She had been so klutzy and ungraceful on the ice. He didn’t mind, it meant that he got to hold her close to him the entire time. Callie had held onto his body so many times to keep from falling, it made him believe that she enjoyed it just as much.

That afternoon when he dropped her off, she refused to let him walk her to the door, claiming it wasn’t a date, which they were just were just two people hanging out. Jon was more convinced that she was telling herself rather than trying to tell him. She said it quietly, facing away from him, off in her own world.

Jon let it go and asked if she’s be alright in her apartment all alone. Callie told him she’d be fine, kissed him on the cheek, and left. Now, it was three days until the season opener and he had asked Pat to meet him for lunch after practice.

He was generally left alone in the little sports bar not too far from the practice arena. He liked it that way. While he appreciated the fans that supported him, it always felt a little off when one’s would come up to him star struck or teenage girls would sob in front of him. He had learned to take it in stride, make a joke of it, sign an autograph, and be on his way.

Jon was so entranced in his thoughts he hadn’t notice Patrick slip into the booth across him and order. When he realized his friend was there, he smiled. He had no clue how he would thank his teammate but he had to find a way. Right now, the poor guy looked tired and sad. It made him even more furious with Kennedy.

“What’s up, man?” Jon treaded carefully.

Patrick eyed him for a minute. “I’m doing okay. Excited for the season, you know? I’m ready to get started.” Jon understood the feeling. Although, he wondered where Callie would come in when road trips came into play, Jeremy always travelled with the team. Would she go too? He wasn’t exactly fond of the idea of her being literally all alone in the city. What happened in the bar replayed in his head and it made him shiver. “What’s wrong?” Patrick asked, noticing Jon’s slight movement.

“Nothing much, really, I’m just kind of worried about leaving Callie alone in the city. We’re going to be gone, Jeremy, half the staff, and she’s roommate-less.” With that, Patrick’s eyes darkened. Jon knew he slipped up and he was sorry.

“Yeah, I didn’t really think about that. Maybe you should convince her to stay at your place or something when we’re away. It’s closer to the rink and has a doorman.”

Jon shook his head. “She won’t agree to that, you know she won’t.”

“Probably not, I don’t know, maybe I’ll have lunch with her after the opener and try to convince her.” Patrick smiled at him and winked.

“I really do owe you, man. She would have never come around.”

“She would have come around, eventually. She just needed a small push in the right direction.”

“Yeah, Callie, she’s something else. Even now, when we know we both want to be together, she’s insisting on taking things slow, getting to be friends first.”

“Is that such a bad thing? That she wants to get to know you, so that when she’s ready for a relationship, you both know what you’re getting into. She wants you to keep a subjective view, man. She’s not the type of person to jump into things because she finds you hot.” Jon didn’t know when Patrick grew a vagina but he’s play along.

“I’m willing to jump into things. Why shouldn’t she?” Jon retorted. Patrick just rolled his eyes.

“Are you dumb or blind? She doesn’t think she’s good enough for you. Jesus. You are so dim.” Pat huffed and tilted his head back looking towards the ceiling. “She’s cares about you, man. She doesn’t want you to make a mistake. She thinks she is one.”

Jon didn’t know how to react. How could that be? If anything Jon didn’t deserve Callie, where did she get such a ridiculous idea and more importantly, how was he going to convince her that she had it all wrong?

He looked at Patrick. For the first time, he noticed his friend had large bags under his eyes and the lines in his face showed his unhappiness. “Come on, Pat. Tell me how you really are.”

After a period of silence, Patrick caved. “Did we really just turn into chicks?” They both laughed.

“You started it. But seriously, you’re not fine. Is it Kennedy?”

“Yes and no. I don’t know man. I mean, I had a great time with Kennedy and yeah, it blew when she just booked like that but I guess… I guess, I felt a little better when she had been around. I didn’t feel all alone and shit.” Jon gave him a look. “I mean, have you felt a little hollow? Just bored with your life, in general?”

“Are you talking about retiring? You’re bored of hockey? You ju-“Patrick cut him off.

“No, I’m not bored with hockey. That’s not it. I don’t know. I’m just… tired of being alone I guess.”
Patrick sighed. “Tell anyone and I’ll cut your balls off and put them in the next team meal.” Jon nodded. He understood where his friend was coming from. He was starting to feel the void, the emptiness before Callie showed up. Now, he couldn’t imagine what he would have done if she hadn’t showed up in his life. It was all the more reason to not ruin what they had.


emily roberts emily roberts