The Best Job Ever.
The way I would describe the Strip District in Pittsburgh would be like a boardwalk at the beach... only with wayyy more culture and a city feel.
We parked in a parking lot and started our journey down the streets.
"You know, I've been to Pittsburgh plenty of times but, Bee, you've never brought us here." Brooke said walking up to Brandon and me.
"I know. But, you guys have never been here for an entire week!" He said.
"True." She laughed.
"We should ride the Duquesne Incline today, too!" I suggested.
"Ooo, they would like that." Brandon said.
"What?" His mom asked.
"You'll see." He told her grinning.
"Let's start walking; there's so much to see." He said.
We started our journey through the strip district.
It was a cold day, so Brandon didn’t have to try that hard to disguise himself. He had on jeans, tennis shoes, a heavy black coat, a black scarf and a black beanie with sunglasses.
Brent was dressed pretty much the same.
So, our main attention grabbers were well covered.
We walked through the streets that were littered with shops and vendors.
We stopped at a fish market that was inside a larger building. When you walk in the smell of seafood overwhelms you. There are fish laying on ice, fish frozen in little see through freezers, live fish, fish everywhere!
Brandon, Brent, and Connie went to look at something to come back for dinner while Brooke, Merrick, and I went to look at the live fish and lobsters.
"How awful is it to have your claws rubber banded together and then stuck in a tank to be gawked at?" I said walking up to a tank full of lobsters.
"I'm not sure...I don’t really have claws..." Merrick said touching his thumbs to his other four fingers.
Brooke and I laughed at him.
"It really is awful though." Brooke said standing next to me to get a better look at the lobsters.
"You two need to go join a save the lobsters group or something." Merrick chuckled.
"My high school history teacher is one of those! No lie!" I laughed.
"Wowww." Merrick said shaking his head.
"I know, right?!" I laughed.
We continued to walk around the store and look at the fish until they decided on what they wanted to get for dinner.
They walked over to us and we were on to the next shop.
"What are we having for dinner?" I asked looping my arm through Brandon's once we were back outside.
"I honestly don’t know." He laughed. "I just said sure, and swiped my card."
I laughed, leaning my head against his arm as we walked on.
We walked through little craft places, a place that has spices used for cooking, and of course a sports gear place.
We walked into one that had only Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates stuff.
"Ha! Look at this, a Penguins thermometer!" I laughed pointing out something to Brandon.
Penguins decorations were really the only thing in his house seeing that he only lives there for the season, so I was surprised to see something that I had never seen before.
"I feel like I've seen one of those before..." he said picking it up and looking at it.
"Can I help- wait a minute...are you Brandon Sutter?" A guy said walking up to us.
He had a Pens jersey on with a nametag that said ‘Derek’, so I'm going to assume he works
"Yeah, I am." Brandon chuckled.
"No way! Dude, I'm sportin' you right now!" The guy said turning around.
"Would you sign it for me?" He asked.
"Sure, give me a sharpie, and I'll sign it for ya." He said.
The guy turned and went to go get a sharpie.
"Shoulda expected that walking into a Pittsburgh sports store." Brandon chuckled.
"True. I'll be over here." I said walking over to a rack of t-shirts.
"Hi honey." Connie said walking over to me.
"Hi Connie." I smiled. “Are you having fun today?”
“Oh my goodness, yes! I’m just glad we get to spend an entire week here with you guys. I never get to see my baby anymore, especially during hockey season.” She answered.
“Oh, I’m sure.” I said.
"And when are we going to meet your lovely family members?" She asked looking at the shirts.
"Well, the boys have a light day tomorrow, just looking at some more tape and a light workout after. So, maybe we can meet them somewhere." I said.
"That would be lovely maybe we could go ice skating somewhere. I haven’t been ice-skating in such a long time." She said.
"That would be fabulous. My younger brother's girlfriend is dyeing to meet Brooke; I was telling her about you guys visiting." I said.
"We would love to meet her too!" She laughed.
"Who do you wanna meet?" Brandon asked walking up behind me and putting a hand on my waist.
"Vanessa." I answered.
"Oh, Brooke would love her." Brandon laughed.
"I know. You're mom wants to meet my family, so we were thinking tomorrow night, maybe we can go ice skating around that big Christmas tree downtown; do you know where I’m talking about?" I asked.
"Yeah! That's fine with me. Tomorrow's a light day anyways." He said.
"I'll call everyone later. I'm pretty sure there are no big commitments for my parents, and Van and Sean are already up here, so I know they should be alright." I said.
"Ohh! I'm so excited." Connie said.
"Well, are you ready?" Brandon asked.
"I just wanna get this shirt." I said, heading to the check out.
"Here, I'll get it." He said following me.
"No, you don’t have to, Brandon." I said stopping.
"Yes, please let me." He said trying to take it from me.
"No." I said stubbornly.
"You're my girlfriend. I'm supposed to buy you stuff." He said.
"Fine." I sighed in defeat giving him the shirt.
We picked up the fish they had ordered for dinner and head for the Incline.
When we got there and they saw what it was, Connie and Brooke were ecstatic.
"I've heard about this, but never knew what it was called." Brooke said when we were in line waiting for the car to come back down.
"I've only been on it once, but I loved it." I said.
"I've never been on it, but Nealer's told me about the nice view of the city it gives." Brandon said.
"Oh, it's a fantastic view." I smiled.
The six of us got on the car with about five other people. The walls of the car were lined with benches, but only Connie and Brent sat in them.
Once the little car pulled out of the station, I kneeled on the bench and looked out the big window that was on the back of the car. Brooke sat down in the corner and started snapping pictures on her phone.
I felt Brandon push himself between my legs and stand behind me. He reached his arms around me and steadied himself by holding onto the little window sill. He rested his chin on my shoulder.
"This is beautiful." He said.
"Mhmm." I answered.
He kissed my cheek, the scruff of his unshaven face tickling me.
"You need to shave this sooo bad." I laughed, grabbing his face with one hand.
"I know." He said rubbing his cheeks when I let go.
"I just got the cutest picture of you guys!" Brooke said scooting over towards us.
She held out her phone to show us. She got a picture of me grabbing his face and us both laughing. It was indeed a very cute picture.
"Awe! Send that to me." I said.
"Oh, I definitely will." She said.
We made it up to the top and got out.
There was a little museum thing as soon as you got out of the car and then you could go out to take pictures.
We walked through the little museum before going out.
I was looking at an old picture when Brent walked up next to me.
“Anna.” He said.
“Brent.” I said.
He looked down at me and didn’t even crack a smile.
And then he walked away.
I looked after him as he walked away.
Did I do something…?
“Don’t worry about him.” Merrick said walking up on my left.
“Did I do something?” I asked.
“I think he’s more worried about Brandon’s career than anything. It’s nothing personal. He’s
just done so much to make sure Brandon made it to the NHL, he doesn’t want a girl to mess it up.” He said.
“That’s fair. I understand…but he could definitely be a lot nicer.” I laughed.
“Oh, totally. I agree. He’s been like this with every girl, but he’ll come around.” He said patting
“Merr! Anna! Come on, we’re going outside!” Brooke called after us.
We walked outside and met everyone.
It was a cold day, but it was still beautiful day, with the sun out and only a few clouds in the sky.
We all walked over to a high wall that you could look over and see a highway far below. If you looked straight out, you could see the city perfectly.
“Wow…” Brooke said next to me.
“I know.” I smiled.
We stayed out in the cold for probably a good half of an hour talking, enjoying the view and,
of course, taking pictures.
I posted a picture of all six of us with the view of the city behind us on Instagram and somehow the Penguins account got a hold of it and reposted it. I later got a text message from Andy asking if I cared PR stole my picture. I thought it was funny.
After that, we headed home and Connie made dinner while Merrick, Brooke, Brandon and I played video games and Brent watched, laughing at us.
Dinner was delicious and pasted with stories of our childhoods.
We helped Connie clean up, and by that time it was almost time for bed.
Brooke and Merrick stayed up late watching NHL highlight reruns, while Connie, Brent, Brandon and I headed to bed.
I decided I should call my family to see if they were up for a last minute family gathering.
"Alright, Jeddie. I guess I'll see you guys tomorrow. Goodnight." I said hanging up the phone.
I had already talked to my mom and Sean.
I was in bed with Brandon; he had his head resting on my stomach while he traced circles on my skin under the shirt of his that I was wearing.
"So, who is definitely coming and who is not?" Brandon asked.
"My dad has some kind of gathering for work that he can’t miss, and Liz is going out with her friends. I guess they leave their children at home with their fathers once a week and go out together, I don’t really know." I said.
"But Harper's going to be there?" Brandon asked.
"Yes." I smiled, sticking my hand in his hair to play with it.
"Everyone else will be there. My mom said that her and my dad were thinking about getting tickets and coming to see us at the game on Friday. I'm thinking they'll definitely do it now, so my dad can meet your family." I said.
"Tell them that I'll just get them tickets with my family, and they can sit together at the game. Because, don't forget, on Friday, we leave directly after the game to fly to New Jersey." He said.
"That would be nice." I smiled.
He sat up and rolled onto his back with his head propped up against the headboard.
"Come here." He said pulling me onto his lap so that I was straddling him.
He put on hand on my bare thigh, as I was only wearing one of his shirts, and the other behind his head.
"So, do you like them?" He asked.
"Your family?" I asked.
"Yes." I smiled.
"Do you think they like me?" I asked.
"I feel like your dad doesn’t like me." I said, before he could answer.
"He'll come around. He's one that doesn’t really like to show feelings..." he said.
"Ohh...and I already know Brooke and Merr like me. I really enjoyed spending the day with them." I smiled.
"I could tell. You were all smiles all day." He laughed.
“I know. I just worry about your dad… what if he makes everyone else not like me?” I asked
worrying too much.
"They love you. My mom got up early and made me breakfast, and while we were eating together I swear all we talked about is you. She told me she was so happy that I found such a lovely girl to take care of me while I'm here. And that you are wayyy better than any of my past girlfriends." He chuckled.
“Oh, that reminds me! Paul was said something earlier that I wanted to ask you about.” I said.
“What?” He asked.
“He said something about a Giselle?” I said.
“Oh.” He said looking away from me.
“What is it?” I asked.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to…” I cut him off, making him look at me.
“No, I’ll tell you. She was my high school sweetheart. She was with me through all of my hockey stuff, through the draft, and even followed me to Carolina. And then on the day that they told me I was going to Pittsburgh, she told me she had been cheating on me for almost a year. So, needless to say, when I came to Pittsburgh, not only was a bummed because I had to start all over, but because I had my heart ripped out.” He told me.
“Oh my god Brandon.” I said covering my mouth.
“And, you know, looking back at things after we broke up, I realized that she wasn’t even that great of a girlfriend. She never really liked my parents; the only one she really liked was Brooke. And that’s just because no one doesn’t not like Brooke.” He chuckled. “But, it’s over now.”
“But, the guys know what I went through when I came here. They were always trying to hook me up with girls when we would go out after wins and stuff. Like the night we met you, they were trying so hard to get me to say something to you when you were actually at our table. But, I was too scared. Hell, I hadn’t asked a girl out since high school! And Beau kept flirting with you, it really pissed me off.” He told me.
“But, Nealer told me he was going to leave you a note with your tip, so I balled up and left you my number.” He said.
“And now look at us.” I smiled.
“And now I’m madly in love with an amazing girl.” He said taking my hand to his lips.
“At first, when Paul brought it up, I was really worried that this girl was still around…” I said.
“Nooo. As far as I know, she broke up with the guy she cheated on me with, and moved back to Red Deer.” He said.
“Good.” I smiled.
He laughed at me.
“Did you know the guy?” I asked.
“Yupp.” He said.
“Who was it?” I asked.
“He worked with her. She invited him and his girlfriend out with us a couple times, and we
actually got really close.” He said.
“No! So he had a girlfriend too?!” I said.
“Yupp. And you wanna know the best part?” He laughed.
“What?” I asked smiling.
“His girlfriend texted me a few days later and wanted to know if we could hook up.” He laughed.
“NO!” I laughed.
I bent down and muffled my laughter into his stomach. He pressed his head up against mine as he laughed with me.
We were just starting to calm our laughter, when there was a knock at the door.
"Hey, Bran, we're goi- Awe shit, dude I'm so sorry." Merrick said as he walked into the door covering his face and running out.
"Merr! Come back, we're just talking!" Brandon laughed.
Merrick shyly stuck his head back in the door before walking back in.
"Sorry, I just saw your position and assumed...you know." He laughed.
"It's okay." I laughed.
"Well, we're going to bed. Thanks for today day little bro, it was fun." He smiled and waved before walking back out.
"Goodnight!" We both called after him.
"What do you wanna talk about now?" Brandon asked.
"I know something we can do instead; something more fun." I said, biting my lip and leaning in to kiss him.
"I think I’ll like this better, anyways." He laughed flipping us, so that he was now
on top of me.
I liked my idea better, too...
I'm sitting here watching the Kings v. Rangers game, and figured I would post this to not freak out during the intermission...
I hope you enjoyed reading!
And thank you for reading!
You guys are awesome!
GO KINGS GO!