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The Power of Memories

Chapter 7 + 8 + 9

Together they unpacked the bags in Kara’s, now Abby’s kitchen. Abigail told him what to leave outside, what they would need for dinner, and what he could put away. Meanwhile she was already getting an ovenproof dish out of a cupboard and started cutting up the meat to make small pieces of it and fit them all in the dish. She put a bit of oil on them and herbs.
“You can cut up the vegetables if you want to”, she said to Gregory and handed him a cutting board and a knife. Before he started he rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt and washed his hands, as well as the vegetables.
Abigail started on the pastry with which she would cover the dish. It wasn’t a difficult recipe, but it was hard work to get it right. She rolled up her sleeves and started kneading the pastry with her bare hands. She could have used the machine, but she preferred doing this with her hands. When Gregory was finished, he put the vegetables in the dish and watched her.
“What?” Her head immediately snapped up and she looked at him. She wasn’t used to people watching her while she worked.
“Nothing”, that was his immediate response. The look on her face made him explain though. “It’s just unusual to see you like that.”
“You want that pastry in your face, mate?” She tried to keep a straight face, but couldn’t help cracking a smile when she heard his loud laugh that made his head tip a bit back. A warm feeling spread through her chest that startled her, but she shoved it back down. This was nothing. “Okay, you’re right. But that’s only because you haven’t seen me in years. I already started baking and cooking when I moved to Boston. It was soothing.”
His laughter stopped and he looked, or rather stared at her. “I’m sorry.”
“Can you grab two wine glasses out of the right cupboard, please?” If they were going to talk about Florida now, she needed some alcohol. “And wine is behind the door over there.” Gregory did as he was told, while Abigail finished with the pastry and put it over the dish. After putting it in the oven, she washed her hands and took a glass from Gregory. “Thank you. This will take about forty-five minutes. You wanna sit down on the couch?”
“Sounds good.” He followed her in the living room and settled down on the other end of the couch. Abigail pushed off her shoes and socks and pulled up her feet, tucking them beneath her body. She took a bigger gulp of her wine, before she looked at Gregory again. In wise preparation, he put the wineglass down after only taking a sip. Where to start this conversation?
“Okay, shoot”, Abigail said, but it came out more like whisper.
“I don’t know where to start.” If everything else fails you, be honest. Abigail had always appreciated his honesty, be it about feelings, her behavior or something as trivial as her earrings. “I loved you, Abs, with my body and souls, so I really can’t tell you why, but I freaked. Maybe you could call it cold feet or something similar. I wanted to marry you, show the whole world that you were mine and that no other man would ever get his hands on you again, but as much as I wanted that, a voice in my head piqued up and questioned everything.”
“So you decided to run away without saying a word and you went to your ex-girlfriend of all people?” There was only a hint of anger in her voice, but what threw him off was the disappointment showing in her eyes. With her small fingers, she held the wineglass tight to her body.
“I know that this wasn’t right. It was the worst thing I could have done, but at that point I needed to figure some things out.” He leaned over to her and looked in her eyes. “I should have told you, I know, but I had to talk to Tara. I wanted to know why our relationship had ended and she told me. She helped me realize that I was doing the right thing, the one thing I really wanted. She encouraged me to listen to my heart, as cheesy as it sounds, but it helped. It took me some time to figure this out and by the time I came back, you were gone.” He sighed and looked down for a moment, before he locked his gaze with hers again. “I wanted to talk to you, but your aunt said that you were heartbroken and gone and that you didn’t want to see me. She told me to stay the hell away from you.” He shook his head. “I should have gone after you and I should have talked to you before everything in the first place, but I thought that your aunt was right. It registered then how badly I’d handled things and I had no way of finding out where you’d gone. More than a year later I found out about it, but by then you had your own life and I thought why butt in your business and bring back those memories when you were obviously happy?”
“You talked to my aunt when you came back?” Surprise was showing in her face. While he had been talking she’d emptied half of her glass.
“I take it she never told you about this.” Abby shook her head and put down the glass. “It was probably better that way. What good would it have done? Nothing. It wouldn’t have changed the fact that I had run away without telling you about it, without talking to you. I am so sorry, Abs. I’ve regretted it every day. I don’t want this to stand between us, because we had a damn good friendship before. I don’t expect you to forgive me but it would be nice to know that you don’t hate my guts anymore and that we can get along.” He told himself that being friends with her would work out. Keeping his hands to himself was the number one rule if he wanted to maintain a friendship, because he knew that there was still chemistry, he’d felt it. Touching her made him remember all the times they’d been together. Even looking at her made him want her. But there was a difference between love and what he felt now. His body simply responded to hers.
“I don’t hate your guts.” Abigail sighed and pushed back her hair. “I was heartbroken, but I picked myself up off the floor and built up a life in a new city and then all over the world. I was crushed back then, but if we’d married, I would never have seen all the places I’ve been to and I would probably not open my own bakery now. So, in the end it played out really well to be honest.” She took another deep breath and gave him a smile, a sincere one. Hearing his explanation made her feel a lot better. If she’d stuck around a few days longer he could have explained himself to her and they would have gotten married, because, let’s face it, if he’d told her what had happened, she would have taken him back in a second. He was her life. Thinking about it now, really made her grateful that they hadn’t married and that she’d had the opportunity to visit so many places, travel around the world. It didn’t change the fact that she’d been devastated for a long time and that she hadn’t had a proper relationship since, but it made it more acceptable. “I might not be able to forgive you completely right now, but I want to build up a friendship with you, because, you’re right, we had a really great friendship. Give me some time and I might probably forgive you completely.” Kara would be happy to hear this, because that meant that she’d probably be able to talk Abby into going to hockey games with her.
“That certainly sounds like a good start.” His smile threw her off for a few seconds.
“Can I get a hug?” She asked all sweetly, even though she didn’t know why. Touching him probably wasn’t wise, but she wanted to feel him close to her.
“Of course. That’s what friends do after all.” He closed the distance on the couch between them and closed his arms around her, holding her close to his chest. The scent of her shampoo and perfume wafted up to his nose. She still used the same products she’d used all those years ago. It made him hold onto her and enjoy the sensation a little longer, but they were disturbed by the alarm in the kitchen. Abby’s body stiffened and she slowly pushed away from him, a smile on her lips.
“Dinner’s ready.”
They talked easily over the delicious meal. Abby told Gregory about the countries she’d visited and he talked about hockey, especially about the Stanley Cup Win one and a half years ago. She should have been there with him.
When they were finished, Abby brought Gregory to the door and thanked him for the evening, but she had to get up early to get work in her bakery started.
“Benny and I’ll be at training in the morning but if you need help, give me a call.”
“Thank you.” Abby smiled up at him before saying goodbye. She closed the door, then closed her eyes for a second. That had gone a whole lot better than she’d expected, but now she was ready for her bed. Maybe it was the wine, or the conversation with Gregory that had worn her out. Probably both.
She put the dishes in the dishwasher before she turned towards the bedroom to collapse on the bed.

Abby was wearing an old pair of jeans with holes in them and a white T-Shirt from the bar that belonged to Scott back in Sydney. The yellow and green logo was on the front, his face on the back. He’d gotten talked into getting some of these shirts, but only got ten before he changed his decision to just the logo on the front. All his staff worked in the shirts and he didn’t have to see his own face all the time. Abby had taken three of the shirts, because they were comfortable to sleep in or to use for work like now.
The shirt was already splattered with brown and green color, the same applied to her face and hair. Drops of the green paint were even in her hair, but at least the floor looked good. A few tables and chairs were shoved to the middle of the room, covered with plastic foil. She’d covered the built in counter as good as she could and everything else had been removed from the room.
She looked around and breathed a sigh of relief. The green and brown looked really good in here, because they weren’t too dark. The space looked friendly, even homely. Just what she’d wanted to accomplish with her choice. She didn’t want to make it all frilly and girly. That wasn’t her style, but these colors were perfect. One more wall and she would be finished with this. Then she could move on to the kitchen and start setting up all the machines. She would probably not get everything done today, but that was okay. The electrician would come the following day to take a look at everything again and help her arrange the rest.
Just when she was finished with the green top of the wall and removed the duct tape from the wall, she heard a knock on the door. Through the glass she could see Benoit and Gregory waving at her. She hadn’t called them, but they must have thought that there was something they could help her with. For her that meant that she’d be home sooner.
“Hey.” Abby smiled up at both of them and locked the door behind them again.
“We thought, we could help. What do you want us to do?” Benoit took off his coat und rubbed his palms together. His breath was still a bit foggy from the cold outside.
“If you want to, you can unpack the machines in the kitchen. I’m nearly finished in here for the day. Only the rest of this wall.” She showed them where to go and what to do before she returned to her painting work. She loved doing this. Especially when it looked this good in the end.
She kept on painting while listening to the conversation in the kitchen. Gregory and Benoit were talking about the game tomorrow against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Right now the Bruins were leading the division, but that could change really quickly. That was why they were even more determined to win tomorrow. They would fly out to New York the day after the game to play against the Rangers and then the Islanders, followed by a game against the Devils. They would be gone for nearly six days. Kara would travel with them to get some more material for her book, see the arenas and maybe even talk to some of the other players, should they be willing to cooperate.
When Abby was finished, the guys were still talking about the upcoming game, laughing about this and that. They made Abby smile. She hadn’t realized that she’d missed hockey and talk about hockey until now. It was soothing to hear them and put a smile on her face until she tried to rearrange the counter again. It was partly moveable but it was difficult to move it, because it was so heavy. Without thinking about it, she tried to pull it with all her strength and felt a sharp pain in her back. “Shit!” she exclaimed and put a hand to her back. She couldn’t move her left arm from the pain. Oh God, why did she always have to do everything herself? There were two men in the kitchen, who were able to move that thing with their pinky, but, no, she had to do it all by herself.
“What happened?” Benoit asked. Both men were standing in the door looking at her.
“I tried to move the counter”, Abby panted. “And then I felt a pain in my back. I can hardly move my left arm.”
“Okay, let me see.” Gregory carefully cradled her elbow and moved her arm, asking her a couple of questions. With a reassuring nod from Benoit he said: “You tore a muscle in your back. No more work for you. Benny, you can go home. I will take you home.”
She was too much in pain to protest, but she knew that they were right. At home she’d take a couple of pain meds and spend some time in the hot bathtub. Gregory gathered her belongings and took her to his car and locked the door. The ride wasn’t long so they were inside the flat in no time. While Abby got the pills and took two of them, Gregory went to the bathroom and filled the tub with steaming water.
“You’ll feel a lot better after the bath.” He looked at her. “But please leave the door unlocked, just in case.”
“You don’t have to stay”, she pressed out, still in pain. “It was nice enough of you to take me home.”
“Abby, I will stay here. It’s no big deal and what if you can’t get out of the tub again because of your back? Holler if you need anything, okay?”
“Okay, fine”, she sighed and walked past him, closing the door behind her. As he’d asked her, she left the door unlocked. He was right, but she’d never admit that to his face.
Abby settled down on the edge of the bathtub to relieve her back from pain at least a little bit. She tried to take off her shirt but couldn’t do it alone. Because of the pain she couldn’t use her arm properly and needed help. Damn, he’d been right.
It took him a couple of seconds until he popped his head inside the room. “What can I do for you?”
“Can you help me with the shirt? I can’t get it off by myself.” Admitting this was hard for her, but Gregory simply smiled at her and nodded. It wasn’t a smile to mock her, but a sincere one. She’d gone through various injuries with him before the engagement and had always helped him as well. There was no judgment, because everybody could get hurt. Carefully he lifted her arm and got it out of the sleeve of the shirt. He noticed that there was some guy’s face on the back of the shirt, whose name apparently was Scott. It was from a bar in Sydney, so probably Abby knew him. He wouldn’t ask about the guy. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know who it was.
He helped her out of the shirt without hurting her more and put the shirt aside. His gaze was fixed on the dark purple bra with the clasp in the front. He swallowed hard. Okay, offering his help was one thing, but standing here and seeing her in her underwear was something different. He didn’t think that far, when he’d said that he’d help her out of the shirt.
“Thank you. I think I’ll manage from here on.” With a smile she looked up at him.
“Okay. If there’s anything I can do, I’ll be in the living room.” He left her quickly again and settled down on the sofa, turning the TV on. There was some sport on for sure.
Abby stared after him and allowed herself to breathe again once the door was closed. She took off her bra and jeans along with her panties. With a bit of effort she slid down in the tub and closed her eyes. She felt her muscles relax. Whether it were the pills or the heat, she didn’t know, but it was probably both.

Soupy felt restless even though there was hockey on TV. All he could think about was Abigail in the bathroom. He needed something to do so he got up. The first thing he did was fix some sandwiches so that they had something to eat when Abigail got out of the bathroom. Then he saw that there were photo albums on top of the cupboard next to the door to the kitchen. Looking at them would at least give him something to do. He was sure that Abby wouldn’t mind.
With the albums in hand he sat down again. The first one showed photos of her time in Boston and California. Kara or Mika were in most of the photos with her. Man, he missed Mika sometimes, but he heard a lot about her. She was so full of life and always smiling, and Tuukka spoke a lot about her. They were seeing each other as often as possible, but didn’t really call it a relationship. They had to admit it someday, since Tuukka didn’t even want to see any other woman. In two weeks Mika would be there again. Tuukka had paid for her flight because he knew that she wouldn’t be able to afford it. They would have more than a week in Boston then.
The last photos showed Abby obviously drunk at her farewell-party before she started travelling. A big grin on her face, eyes huge and her hair rumpled. She looked like she was having a lot of fun. He put the album aside and took the other one. The word AUSTRALIA was in bold letters printed on the cover. His lips twitched up at sight of the first photo. It showed Abigail in a yellow bikini that stood in contrast to her tanned skin. Her blonde hair was hidden beneath a Plymouth Whalers cap, in her left hand was a baseball bat. She looked relaxed, happy.
Other pictures showed her at work, in the outback and with friends. There was one guy in a couple of pictures. He’d seen his face before, but he couldn’t remember where. Then it hit him. He was the guy whose face was on the back of Abby’s shirt. Curious to find out more about that guy he looked at the other photos more closely. Abby was usually close to him, in his arms. The way he looked at her told a whole story.
“Holy shit.” Gregory realized that he was probably looking at Abby’s ex-boyfriend. He was about Gregory’s height, brown hair and green eyes that were locked on Abby in most photos.
“What are you looking at?” Abby was in the door to the bathroom and looked at him. She was dressed in black sweat-pants and a wide green shirt. Her hair was still wet and curled at the ends. Slowly she walked towards him and settled next to him on the sofa. “Oh, my photos.”
“I got curious, sorry.”
“It’s okay. It’s not like there’s something nobody should see in them.” She smiled up at him, obviously less in pain than before the hot bath.
Curiosity took over and he pointed at the guy in the photos. “So, this guy, is he your Ex?”
“What? Scott?” She looked at him for a few seconds then shook her head. “No. No, we were never in that kind of relationship. We had fun together, lots of fun, but it wasn’t love.”
“Well, for him it was.” He’d never thought that she’d be the friends with benefits kind. She hadn’t been before, but, hell, people change and it wasn’t necessarily bad. He was the same, but now he somehow longed for a real relationship, a family. But only with the right person.
“Are you crazy? He would have told me.” She stared at the photo.
“Sorry to burst your bubble, but the way he looks at you definitely shows it.”
“It doesn’t matter one way or the other.” Abby sighed and leaned back. “He’s a good friend and he’s in Sydney. He’ll make someone really, really happy, but I won’t be that girl.” A satisfied smile spread on her lips, which made Gregory want to rip the photos apart. That guy was handsome, okay, but he had no right to touch Abigail.
Whoa where had that come from? Abigail wasn’t his. She could do whatever she wanted with whomever she wanted. It was none of his business.
“I made sandwiches. You should eat something.” He got up and put the photo albums back in their place.
“I’m starving!” She rolled her head to one side so that she could look at him. The pain meds were kicking in and she felt a little dizzy. Good dizzy. The pain in her back was no problem anymore, but the guy in her kitchen was. On the couch she’d wanted to snuggle up to him and bury her face in the crook of his neck. She wanted to feel his warmth. It would be safest to send him home, but she couldn’t do it.
He re-appeared with the sandwiches and sat down on the couch again. They ate in silence, watching the rest of the game together. The Rangers played the Flyers, an intense game, but Abby couldn’t concentrate. She was too consumed by looking at Gregory and studying his face, looking at all the changes in it while she was eating her sandwich. When she was finished, she etched closer to him. Her fingertips touched the faint scar in his eyebrow. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye and sat perfectly still.
“What happened there?” She traced her finger down the side of his face and stopped at the side of his neck.
“Got knocked out in one game.” He put down his plate and shifted so he could look at her. Her fingers were still glued to his neck. “Went into the boards and lost consciousness for a couple of seconds. Fractured my collarbone as well, but it’s all good now.”
Abby winced as he mentioned the collarbone. “That must have hurt like a bitch.”
“Nah, it was okay. I’ve had worse.” He pointed to his lips and teeth. “It felt worse to get my tooth knocked out.”
“Oh no!” Abby’s fingers travelled from his neck to his lips. She rose to her knees. Grabbing the sofa to keep from falling over, she leaned against him.
Soupy sighed and took her hand in his, taking the fingers away from his lips. “We should get you to bed.” Slowly he rose and helped her up. “You need a lot of rest to heal and hopefully your back will be okay again by tomorrow.” She pursed her lips but didn’t say a word. Rest. Sleep. That sounded like a good idea and as much as she wanted to hang onto his neck, press her body against his, she knew that being alone in her bed was the wisest decision. That way she wouldn’t do anything she could regret the next day


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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