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The Power of Memories

Chapter 4 + 5 + 6

“Oh fuck”, Gregory muttered under his breath as he rode the elevator down to his car with Benoit by his side.
“Okay, what now?” Benoit crossed his arms over his chest and looked at his friend. Something hadn’t been right the whole evening long. In front of their guest, Kara’s friend, he hadn’t been able to ask him, but now he could. “What is going on with you?”
“Abby is my ex-fiancée.” Both men stepped of the elevator. “I proposed, I freaked out and left her without a word.” One sideways glance at Benoit was enough to make him groan again. “I know. I was a total jerk and I’ve regretted it ever since, but when I came back, she was gone and her aunt didn’t tell me where she went.”
“Which was probably for the better.” Benoit shook his head while he got the car keys out of his pocket.
“That’s not helping.”
“But it’s true.” He sighed and looked at his slightly distraught friend. “You were a total dick. And you definitely owe her an apology and explanation.”
“What do you think I will do?” As if he hadn’t thought about this himself. “I will, but therefore she has to be willing to listen.”
“I’m sure she will listen. And now go and get some rest. It’s an important game tomorrow.”
Yeah, Greg knew that, but he doubted that he’d get a lot of sleep that night.

Abby spent the following evening alone in Kara’s apartment. After watching the Bruins game, Kara went with Benoit and Abby didn’t have a problem with that at all. Earlier she’d heard the story of their relationship. Kara had told her what she’d gone through and where they were headed now. Abby couldn’t be happier for her friend. If someone deserved to be happy, it was Kara. The one who’d been disappointed so many times but still believed in true love and wanted Abby to believe herself. Abby wasn’t so sure whether Kara’s stories would help her, but she was willing to give it a try.
The other promise she’d made, had been to eat properly. She’d already eaten half a pizza and was now sitting in front of her laptop with a bowl of ice-cream. Okay, so it was no healthy food, but after all the event the last few days, she more than deserved that ice-cream. Looking at herself in the mirror made her realize that she really had to gain weight.
Pushing her blond hair behind her ears once again she looked at the photos of the place. It had the perfect location, the kitchen already had everything she needed, and it was affordable. Before she could think about it again, she’d sent an e-mail. Probably she should be looking for an apartment before she looked for a place to open her bakery in.
So far she hadn’t talked to Kara about it. Of course Kara knew about the bakery, but Abby hadn’t come round too asking her about investing. She’d do that when she had a proper plan, a place to rent and had cooked a couple of things for Kara. She could start right now with Puddingbrezeln. They looked like pretzels, but they were soft and sweet and in the holes was vanilla pudding. She’d fallen in love with them in Germany.
She had everything in the kitchen and it didn’t take her long to make them. She only had to wait for the pudding to cool down in the pretzels and she could try one of them, leave the rest for Kara and whoever wanted them. When she returned to the living room, she picked up her notepad and wrote a couple of things down. Things she would need for an apartment or the bakery. Most importantly, she needed a name and she had no clue where to start. Did she want her name on there or go with something completely different?
The knock on the apartment door startled her for a moment. Shhe stayed silent and listened, but there it was again. Slowly she got up and looked down her body. She was dressed in sweatpants, a white shirt with the word AUSSIE in bold, black letters printed on it, and a grey cardigan that was too big for her, because it had belonged to Scott. He’d given it to her the night before she’d left for America, because she’d worn it more often than him.
A look through the peephole made her take a step back. Why was Gregory in front of the door? What did he want here? He must have seen Kara at the game or at least known that she’d been there.
“Open up, Abs.” He knocked again. “Kara sent me over to give you something.”
“Fine”, she said a little more defensively than necessary. She opened the door and looked up at him. “What is it?”
“Can I come in?” He hadn’t expected her to be all warm and friendly with him, but he hadn’t expected her to be this cold either. For a moment she hesitated, but then she stepped aside to let him enter the apartment. His hair was still a little damp from the shower he’d taken after the game. Stubble covered his cheeks and chin and the little smile playing on his lips made her remember some of the days they’d shared. Days when he’d joined her in the shower after a long day at the newspaper. His arms wrapped around her body. STOP IT! Abby took a deep breath before she followed him to the living room where he took off his coat.
“Okay, what did Abby want you to give me?” She had to get him out of the apartment before more unwelcome memories came back to remind her of what they’d shared and that none of her relationships had ever lived up to what they’d had together.
Gregory grabbed a box of pizza out of the bag he’d brought with him. “Pizza. She wants to make sure you won’t skip a meal.”
Abby groaned and ran a hand through her hair, making several strands fall in fornt of her right eye. “I am an adult. I know how and when to eat.”
“Apparently you don’t.” He took a step closer and put the pizza aside.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” A frown appeared on her forehead and she squinted her eyes at him. He didn’t know how to answer this, so he decided to be honest with her.
“Look. I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but you are too thin, Abby, and you need to eat, gain some weight.”
“I know. What do you think I’m trying to do?” He’d been prepared for everything except for this. Being insulted, taking hits, whatever, but not that she’d agree with him. “I’ve already eaten half a pizza and I made Puddingbrezeln.”
“What?” That word even sounded ridiculous. Was it something to eat or to wear? He wasn’t sure.
“Come on.” She motioned for him to follow her to the kitchen and he did.
“These are Puddingbrezeln. Found them in Germany.” Carefully she touched one of them and smiled to herself. “You want to try one?”
What was there to lose? She hadn’t expected him to be there and she took one herself, so there would hardly be any poison in them. He took one and took his first bite. “They are delicious!” He looked at her and forgot to swallow. Her eyes were closed, she smiled and her tongue came out to catch one crumb that had stuck to her upper lip. Images of them together on the ice, all alone in the arena flashed before his eyes, where he’d taught her to skate and kissed her every other minute, because he hadn’t been able to keep his hands off her.
“I know! I fell in love with them as soon as I’d tried them out.” She grinned to herself and put the rest of her pretzel-thing down.
“I never knew you were this good at baking.”
“Well, I never really tried, did I?” She grabbed a plate from the cupboard and put their pretzels on it. “But I figured out that I really enjoy it. And the men loved it when I baked something for them. Especially something from a far-away country. Most of the guys liked the German stuff.”
Men? What men? He had no right to ask her, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t interested and before he knew it, he’d asked her about the men in her life, feeling stupid and regretting it for a moment before he heard her answer.
One side of her mouth curled up. “You didn’t think I haven’t been with other men since moving away from Fort Lauderdale, did you?” Staring into his eyes she crossed her arms, trying to look more confident than she felt. “Only because you left me, didn’t mean I wouldn’t get with other men. Quite the opposite to be honest.”
So, she’d been with other men, big deal. He’d been with other women as well, but what was he supposed to do? She was gone, he couldn’t find her, and he needed to forget about her. It was his fault that she was gone, he had known that.
“Fair enough.” He pressed out and stepped closer until only a few inches separated them. “But were any of them able to push your buttons the way I did?” Her breath hitched, making him smile. “Remember the night in Los Angeles when we were on vacation and didn’t leave the hotelroom for a whole day? Remember how often and loud I made you scream?” He leaned into her, whispering in her ear at the end. The memory was too vivid in his head.
“Oh God”, she half mumbled, half moaned and closed her eyes again. He felt her shiver through his whole body even though the hardly touched, but that had to change.
He leaned against her, grabbed her by the waist und pulled her close. His lips came down on hers, hard, but softened when she wrapped her hand around his neck and opened her lips for him. She tasted so sweet, sweeter than he’d remembered. But his body hadn’t forgotten about her and responded immediately. He went from semi to stiff in a matter of seconds and held onto her for dear life. His big hands slowly roamed over her back until they found their way to her bottom.
He pressed his pelvis against her stomach, making her aware of his erection. A soft moan escaped her lips as she pulled free of him. Her breathing was ragged when she opened her eyes to look at him. He’d seen that look in her eyes countless times, that look of arousal, need, but never has she told him to get out when she’d looked like that.
“You have to go.” She shoved on his shoulders and stepped away from him. “Now.”
“Don’t!” She took a deep breath and turned to face him again. “Please, Gregory, go home now. I can’t do this right now.” She pushed her hair back and pulled the cardigan tight around her body. “There are a million things that I have to do now and in the next weeks and you’re not one of them. Especially not after everything that has happened.”
“You’re right.” His head cleared and he rubbed his chin. “I’m sorry. This shouldn’t have happened.”
For a moment he hesitated, but then he turned to walk out the door and leave her alone. Did God hate her or why had he just let that happen? Her heart was still bruised from what had happened with that man and here she was letting him get this close. Not that she hadn’t enjoyed that, because she had, but she didn’t want things like these to happen with Gregory Campbell.

Shit. Shit shit shit. Shitfuckhell.
Why had he even thought that was a good idea? That had been the problem. He hadn’t thought at all. He’d acted on instinct. All those memories running through his head had made him think of how perfect they’d been together.

He fell in love with her the minute he saw her back in Plymouth. He was out running on his first day off after he’d moved to Plymouth. There was enough stuff to do around his apartment, but needed to clear his head. At training the day before a lot had gone wrong, he’d fallen multiple times. Nobody on the team had blamed him or made fun of him. They had all been aware of his problems and that he’d been new to the team.
That was his reason to be out running. The training was on his mind all the time, so he got distracted, which led to Abigail running against him. He turned to see her flat on her back, long blond hair fanned around her face, her eyes closed.
“Are you okay?” Immediately he crouched down and pushed the hair back from her face. Her eyes fluttered open and she looked at him with confusion. “Thank God. I’m so sorry.” He took her hand and helped her up, so that they could sit down on the nearby bench. “Are you feeling dizzy?”
“I’m okay.” Her voice was soft when she spoke, just like her skin. “No need to worry. I should have kept my eyes on the way.”
“And I shouldn’t have let myself get distracted.” He smiled at her. “Let me buy you a coffee, okay?”
“Coffee sounds like a good idea.” Slowly they got up again. “I’m Abby by the way.”
“I’m Greg.”

He’d wanted to ask her out on a proper date but he’d had so much to do before he could have done that. When he’d finally worked up the courage to ask her out, she’d told him that she’d move to Fort Lauderdale. When he finally came to Florida to play for the Panthers, it had been the first thing he’d done, take her out to dinner and finally get that kiss he’d lusted after for years. They’d gone from friends, best friends, to lovers.
He got out of his car and rode up to his apartment. There had never been a real end to their relationship and he knew that it was his fault. She was still in his thoughts and his system. She had been for years and he could make it stop now. They only had to talk about this. Probably in a few days, though, because after this evening, Abby would not let him get near her for some time. He’d seen it in her eyes that she didn’t trust herself anymore. He shouldn’t feel happy or proud about this, but he did.
With a smile that he couldn’t explain himself he stepped inside his apartment. Another shower would be good before he headed to bed.

Two weeks had passed since the kiss and Abby hadn’t told Kara. She hadn’t told anybody and neither had Gregory. Avoiding each other had worked so far. Abby had gotten the place she’d wanted for her bakery and Kara had agreed to be an investor. She’d been thrilled and would try to help Abigail wherever she could. Now she only needed an apartment, but that would change now.
“Benny asked me to move in with him.” Kara stated and looked at her friend, still a bit baffled, but excitement was bubbling under the surface.
“What?” Eyes wide with shock Abby stared at her friend.
“I know. It’s crazy.” She got up from the sofa again, pacing through the living room.
“Well, what did you say?”
“I said yes.” Still walking around the room, Kara looked at her. “Which is even more crazy, but there was no thinking involved.”
“I think it’s the best decision you’ve ever made.” That got Kara’s attention. “You decided with your heart. You’re already more in love with any of the guys you’ve been with longer.” Abigail smiled up at her friend. “It’s the first time that you let your heart decide instead of thinking it over first.”
“It’s good news for you as well.” Kara was finally calm enough again to settle down next to Abby again. “You can live here and pay me a bit of rent.”
“Are you serious?”
“Are you taking the offer?”
“Do I look like an idiot to you?” Abby laughed out loud. It bubbled up from her chest and felt so good, that she nearly cried. The last days had been really stressful and full of thinking about Gregory. She hadn’t wanted to think about him, the kiss, but she couldn’t help it. “It’s a deal.”
“Wonderful. I should start packing right now. You can have all the furniture, I’ll just need to clear out my wardrobe.”
“And your office.” Abby reminded her, making her groan in agony. “Tell you what: You’ll take care of your office and I’ll do the bedroom, okay?”
“You’re an angel.”
It took them three hours to put everything in boxes and haul them into Kara’s car. There was still some stuff left in her office and around the rest of the apartment, but she could get that later. Abby drove with her to Benoit’s house to help her take the boxes out of the car again. She would take the bus back to Kara’s, her apartment later. On her way she could drop by the supermarket to grab a couple of things so that she could cook herself a proper meal and make Kara proud of her.
Benny’s house looked amazing. Even in the winter his front yard looked good and inside it was even more impressive. The huge living room held a massive TV, a pool table in one corner and a dining area. It was very tasteful. Abby hadn’t expected this since she knew Gregory’s taste and that of various other hockey players. This here looked more like a home to her.
She followed Kara upstairs to the bedroom where they put most of the boxes. They went downstairs again to get the rest of the boxes and put them in a spare room.
“He removed his stuff from this room to make it my office.” Kara’s thin voice sounded in Abby’s ear. When she turned to look at her friend, she saw tears in her eyes.
“He’s a keeper.” Closing the distance between them Abby hugged her close. Having a room for her writing was so important for Kara and Benoit knew that. He’d happily cleared the room and shown it to her before he’d asked her to move in.
When they heard movement from downstairs, Kara brushed away the tears and they moved down the stairs. Benoit and Gregory were in the living room. They’d just returned from training and looked fresh and happy.
“Oh no, why are you crying?” Benoit’s face fell when he saw her.
“Maybe because she’s moving in with you.” Gregory mused before his gaze landed on long blond hair, full, red lips and dark eyes. She looked surprised to see him there. After all they hadn’t seen each other in two weeks now. They hadn’t talked about the past or the kiss.
“Haha, very funny, Soupy.” Kara walked towards him and gave his shoulder a little shove. He didn’t budge, but she felt better afterwards.
“Soupy?” A look of puzzlement and bemusement passed her face. Damn, he’d forgotten that she didn’t know about this nickname.
“Yeah. They started me calling that because of Campbell’s soup.” He scratched the back of his head. Maybe she wouldn’t call him that. There was still hope.
“That’s quite clever actually.” She grinned at him, making him feel a tug at a place deep inside his body, but her grin faded, when she looked at Kara and Benoit. “I should get going again.”
“Are you sure that you don’t want me to drive you home?” Kara asked.
“No, it’s okay. Really.”
“I can take you home.” Gregory looked at her. It would give him a chance to talk to her.
“You don’t have to. I still have to go food shopping and you probably have a lot to do.”
“Actually, food shopping sounds like a good plan. I still need some stuff myself.” Not really, but Abby would never know. He’d just buy some apples.
Abigail hesitated but in the end she agreed. Driving all the way instead of hopping on and off a bus with bags full of food was a lot better. They said goodbye to Benoit and Kara before they went to Greg’s car. It was so huge that Abigail nearly vanished in the passenger seat. The car had to be big for him so he could sit comfortably inside. His bags and hockey sticks had to fit in the trunk.
“Where do you want to go?” His words made Abby aware that she wasn’t alone.
“Wherever you take me. I’m not picky.” At least not now. She still had to find her way around the supermarkets et cetera in the area. They drove in silence and got out together, taking a carriage inside with them.
“What do you need?” Gregory looked down at her. Her shiny, blonde hair curled at the ends and half of it was stuck beneath her coat. February was just around the corner which meant that it would be her birthday soon. He’d never forgotten that.
“Meat, a couple of vegetables, flour sugar. That’s about it. I have everything else I’ll need for dinner at Kara’s apartment.” She looked at the assortment of flours and chose one that would work best for the bread dough she wanted to make.
“I’d like to help you with dinner.” That was a good joke. They both knew that he didn’t cook. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m a good cook. I’ve learned a lot throughout the years. Eating out or ordering food gets boring, so I started cooking meals when I had the time.”
“Stop making fun of me, mate!” Abby turned around to look in his eyes, but what she saw there wasn’t what she’d expected. Sincerity. He was telling her the truth. “Oh God. I have to see that for myself.”
“Good. Then we can finally have that talk over dinner.” Expecting her to deny him that opportunity now, he held his breath. Right now he didn’t even know what to tell her. He’d had years to come up with the perfect speech, but never really figured out how to say it without sounding like the coward he was. He wanted her to understand and now he wasn’t so sure whether she would or not.
“Okay.” Abby nodded and took a deep breath. She didn’t particularly like spending time alone with Gregory, but then again, they’d always been good at this and had a lot of fun. Maybe it would be fun again and, whether she admitted it or not, she was desperate to hear what he had to say about his behavior years ago in Florida.


I enjoyed this also,
Tento2 Tento2
This story was so good! I really enjoyed reading it.
Fairart Fairart
your writing is terrific! so engaging please post more :)
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