Julia Higgins is a girl from New York, she's the youngest of five children and she's also Chris Higgins' baby sister. Back when Chris was still playing with the Montreal Canadiens during the 2007-2008 season, Julia got accepted to study at McGill University in Montreal. Graciously her older brother gave her a place to stay, but her being only 18, fresh out of high school and in her first year of university, she has more things on her mind, especially when she finds herself getting involved with one of her brother's teammates, Carey Price. After living with Carey for 2 of those 3 years that have now passed, her parents still don't approve of Carey, but now new emotions towards Carey arise and she feels the need of change in her life. The only option that she feels she's left with is being with the only person who stood by her side... her older brother Chris. Now that she has left Montreal and moved out West to Vancouver, where her brother now plays, she thinks that she's in for a new start while her brother believes history is starting to repeat itself.
*Well I've got to say that I'm not my proudest with this chapter and it was also originally supposed to posted awhile ago... But I guess it's better to have it posted now rather then never. Enjoy.*
As we wrap up our first road game of this playoff series, winning, giving us a 3 – 0 lead. And I gotta say that it does feel good to win against the Hawks in front of their fans in their home building even though at the moment we’re all being bombarded by the media for our views surrounding the controversy about the couple hits Raffi put on Seabrook.
After we all got cleaned up and spoke with the media about tonight’s game, we all eventually made our way out of the building to the bus to take us back to the hotel. As we make our walk out of the arena, I reach into my pocket for my cell to call Jules but see that she has already texted me a few times. When I finish reading through her texts, beginning to walking through the seats … I’m about to dial her number when my cell begins to ring and a familiar name pops up on the screen.
“Christopher Robert Higgins!”
Ugh… this can’t be good.
“Hi Mom, how ya doing?”
“No ‘How ya doing?’ me, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“What do you mean, Mom? I don’t what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t act like you don’t know Christopher! You know what I’m talking about!”
“Actually no I don’t know what you’re talking about, so tell me.” I say trying to keep my cool, since it is my mother who I’m talking with.
“Where’s your sister?! I’ve been calling her cell phone all day yesterday and today and she hasn’t been answering. But last night I tried to called her at home in Montreal but Carey answered.” She quickly pauses to catch her breath and then continued on her rant, “And supposedly she doesn’t live there anymore, so I’m guessing you know something about this.”
I’m paralyzed I can’t say a word realizing that Julia never told Mom about her and Carey, like she promised me she would before the playoffs started. As my mother continues on yelling into my ear, I’m still silent, while I slowly making my way down the aisle to my usual seat one row in front of Max, who by the way I see is talking on his cell phone to someone as well. With a big stupid smile spread across his face, knowing him he has a girl hanging on the line back in Vancouver. As I get closer I begin to remember that back in Montreal he had a thing for Julia.
Shit!It’s Julia on the other end of that line.
“Well… do you know anything of this or not!” my mother finishing off her rant.
“Mom, I’ll have to call you back when I get to the hotel, okay. Bye.” I quickly hang up my phone not answering her question nor listening to what else she has to say.
“Is that Julia you’re talking too?” I ask as I raise an eyebrow over at Lapi, as I standing in the aisle right beside him.
He nods no and immediately tries to wrap up his conversation.
“Baby, I’ll call you later.” He finishes and is about to hang up his blackberry when I reach over and grab it but the line goes dead before I have the chance to say anything.
“What the fuck’s up with you?” he yells to me taking a defence as he gets up from his seat, trying to snatch his phone away from me. I spin around to avoid his reach and make my way back up towards the front of the bus. Not knowing whether or not he’s was going to follow right behind me as I find another seat but then again, I could care less if he had the urge to punch me. If that’s what it takes to protect me little sister from getting her heart broken again, so be it.
Feeling an even stronger gut feeling that it was indeed Julia on the other end of the line, I look through his call history. My heart sinks a bit as I notice that her number is coming up numerous times, including the call that just occurred now. Without thinking about what I was doing, I highlighted her number and press send. As the phone begins to ring, I wonder if she’s even going to answer at all, but after a few rings I hear her come onto the line.
Still angry and upset about my little sister getting involved with another man who I see is no different from Carey; I just lose it as soon as she answers.
“Bonjour, that didn’t take you long...”
“Julia, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
“Chris!? … What the fuck are you doing with Max’s blackberry?”
“Never mind that; what the fuck are you doing with Max?”
“Jesus, Chris, why the hell do you care who I see? It’s none of your damn business!”
“You’re my little sister; you’re in my care now so I’d say it is my business. I should know these things!”
“My God, I am not five years-old anymore. I don’t need yours or anyone else’s protect-”
I try to cut her off but as she’s still continues to argue with me, I move onto the real reason why I’m calling her, “Why the hell didn’t you tell Mom about you and Carey?”
She fell silent for a second.
“Fuck.” I hear her sigh, “She just called you didn’t she?”
“Yeah… and she called up Carey. She still thought that you and Carey were together. He spilled the beans.”
“What did you tell her?”
“Nothing; I just told her I’d call her back.”
“I’m sorry Chris,” I hear her voice beginning to crack, “I just didn’t know how to tell her. You know that; you know I’m too scared to admit that they’re right and I’m wrong.”
“Julia, you’re right, I do know that and they’ll be blunt telling you that you’re wrong, but you know what…” I pause, “It’s not your hide they will want, its mine. I’m the one who said I’d look after you and I didn’t.”
“No, you’re not at fault, I pulled you into this, I made you prom-”
“No Julia…” I cut her off as I just come to that realization, “Back when you began dating Carey, I promised to keep you safe, but I let you get hurt. So I’m just as at fault too.”
As we fall silent for a second again, we are just pulling up to the lobby of the hotel when she breaks the silence.
“I’ll call her now. I can’t keep avoiding her. I’ll let you know how it goes.”
“Good luck, love ya little sis.”
“Thanks bro, love ya too, by the way congrats for tonight.
“Oh, and kick some Chicago butt for me.”
“Ha, will do.See you in a few days.”
“Yeah, good night Chris.”
“Good night Jules.”
We end our conversation and it seems as though everyone has exited off the bus, except for Lapi, who’s now able to snatch his phone out of my hand.
“So… I guess the cat’s out of the bag now huh?”
“Yeah, but I’m still not done with you yet.” I answer, getting up from my seat, “I’ll be watching you.”
“I won’t hurt her, if that’s what you’re worried about.” He defends himself as we exit the bus and walk into the lobby, “I’m not Carey. I wouldn’t make the same mistakes he did.”
“I’ll still be watching you, so you damn well better make good on your word.” I make my promise as I leave to the back of the lobby to the elevator to go crash and get ready for tomorrow.
Coming back to Montreal from Boston after playing good in games one and two, I feel like I could be the king of the world. Once I open the door to our apartment though, it’s like a tidal wave has hit me, her scent still lingers about the apartment. It may have been just over a month now since she has left, but this space still feels just as empty as it did when I came home that first time, finding her gone. So now that I'm left with no girl to come home to, to either celebrate the good road trips or help me get through the bad ones, her not being here anymore is only the reason I need to try and spend the least amount of time here as possible.
Despite having no partner in crime anymore as well, that didn’t stop me from going out almost every night. I went bar hopping from club to club until I found the right girl to leave with and head back to her place which helped me avoid the apartment at all costs.
Reluctantly tonight though I stay in, I hang up my keys on the key rack, throw my bags inside the door of the bedroom then walk to the kitchen to the fridge to grab myself a beer. As I make my way to the couch, I grab the remote from the top of the bookshelf and turn the TV to TSN to watch the highlights of the games this evening. The Rangers beat the Caps 3 -2, but they’re still behind the Caps who have a 2 – 1 series lead. The Canucks out-scored the Hawks 3 – 2, taking a 3 – 0 series lead. Then the Preds won over the Ducks 4 – 3, furthering their lead 2 – 1.
Sitting on the couch with a beer in hand, staring at the TV screen, I start to think about what Gio had told me a couple of weeks ago. I know now that deep down he was only concerned about me but back then I couldn’t be angrier when he brought up my ways of coping a couple of times within that last week of the regular season. The first time was the night after our last game against Buffalo then again after our last game against Washington, them both resulting in 2 – 0 losses at home. He also at that time commented on my current use of cologne, which had been a bit stronger, as well he commented on my clothing attire that had sometimes repeated itself into the following day.
He concluded that he could understand how I felt about losing a good friend and then a girlfriend so close together, but he suggested that I should try to cope with it in another way like trying to get in touch with Max again. I know I did a couple of times when he first got traded out to Anaheim, then the last time a couple of days after Julia left, but I never tried again. I felt an odd vibe after our conversation though.
A day or two after I talked with him, I heard that he was traded yet again, along with Julia’s brother Chris another former Hab who were both sent to the Vancouver Canucks but I really didn’t give it much thought, but before my thoughts went on any further, my land line phone begins to ring.
I throw back the last bit of beer that was left in the bottle, and I reach out for the phone to answer it as I get up and head to the kitchen to grab myself another beer.
“Hello?” I answer in more of a question, since I normally don’t have phone calls through my land line at this time of night.
“Hello?” the female voice answers just as confused.
“Who is this?”
“It’s Deborah, Julia’s mother.” She answers sternly, taking a defence.
“How come you’re calling here so late?” I demand.
“I am calling for my daughter. Although it is none of your business, but she hasn’t been answering her cell phone so I decided call her at home.”
“THIS isn’t her home anymore!” I yell into the receiver as I held it between my ear and should while I pop the cap off another beer.
“What?” she gasps as I take a swig of beer, barely even hearing her as I continue on with my rant.
“She left here a month ago! I don’t know where the hell she went and quite frankly I don’t fucking care!” I continue as I let out my anger and pain Julia has caused me out on her mother.
“What the do you mean she is gone?!” she snaps at me, “She is not gone, she said so...” then she suddenly cuts off and the goes dead.
"Bitch." I mutter as I hang up the phone, still angry I down the beer I just opened and I grab another from the fridge, open it and move myself back into the living room before I decide to down that one too and open another.
As I sit on my couch reflecting on the phone call that had just occurred, I remember that Deborah and Robert hated that I was seeing their youngest daughter and all of Julia’s siblings, except for Chris hated it too. Chris was the only one who tolerated her and me. That’s when this sudden epiphany, an almost instant realization.
I slam the bottle down onto the coffee table, reach into my pocket and pull out my cell phone, I scroll through my contacts and press talk when I find his number. It rings two times before it goes straight to voicemail.
You have reached the phone of Maxim Lapierre. You know wha…
Before I let the voicemail blurb finish, I hang up and throw the phone across the room.
“Damn it.” I mumble to myself as I hear the picture of her and me fall, hearing the glass shatter as it hits the floor. I grab my beer and take a mouthful before dropping my head into my hands.
I sit there for a few more minutes, piecing together it all, figuring out that after she left me, she found a place to stay with her brother in Vancouver. Then that rat bastard, Lapi got traded there too and saw it as his chance. I always knew that he had a soft spot for her and he’s finally has her for himself.
As I finish my beer I make my way to the broken picture that I didn’t want to wake up to anymore. When I reach the spot where most of the shattered pieces laid, I notice that the glass had made a scratch through Julia’s face. I may still be mad at her but as I’m throwing the broken pieces of glass in the trash, seeing that I ruined my last piece of her I had left, I couldn’t hate myself more for losing the woman who changed my life.