Author's note: This piece is a hockey/romance novel. It's a piece that was inspired by real people and real life events.
Unfortunate EventsComing into the new season, Nolan knew that he was a free agent. His future up for grabs. He was hoping that Washington would sign him to another three-year contract, but things weren't working out that way. In some ways he was glad that he wasn't tied down to Washington anymore, but in others he longed to stay. The main reason being Liz.
He had met Liz while he was playing in the minors for the Portland PIrates. He remembered that day like it was yesterday. The team was on the road in Norfolk, Virgina. They had just beat the Admirals 4-2 and he and a few buddies had decided to go to a bar near the hotel.
They had sat down at a booth and had just ordered drinks when he saw her. Leaning towards teammate Stewart Malgunas, he said, "I'm going to marry that woman some day."
To which Stew had replied, "No you're not."
"What do you mean, no I'm not?"
"You're not going to marry anyone just sitting here," he said taking a swig of his draft beer.
"Go introduce yourself Baumer, I dare you."
"Alright, I will."
Nolan had always been the shy type, the last person to go up to a woman in a bar, much less one in another state, but on this particular night, he had a certain confidence about him. He walked over to where the blonde was sitting with a sense of poise that he had never conducted before. Taking a sip of his Miller Lite, he spoke.
"Hello, do you come here often?"
She had looked at him with gleaming eyes and a radiant smile. Reluctant at first to talk to him, but warming as the conversation lengthened. She had by far been the greatest thing to ever happen to him. He could only hope that she would remain with him if and when the time came for him to move.
That was why he needed to get to the bottom of what was happening. He needed to know if he was staying or going, enough of the what ifs. Walking into the arena, he made his way to the Coach's office to discuss his future.
"Hey Coach, can I talk to you?"
"Sure Nolan, what's on your mind?"
"Well, it's about my contract. I know that it's up this year, I was just wondering if there had been any talk as to where I am playing this year?"
"Well Nolan, to be honest with you, we've been talking to Vancouver. They are very impressed with your defensive skills and your shot from the blue line. There has been some talk of you going there, but nothing is set in stone as of late."
Vancouver? They wanted to send him to Vancouver? Sure he would be closer to his family in Calgary, but what about Liz? She was from the states, a southern Virginia girl. He couldn't ask her to leave her friends and family behind to come with him, that would be unfair. Yet on the other hand, he couldn't see himself without her.
"Aren't there any other offers closer Coach? I mean, I don't mind if I have to take a bit of a pay cut. I'm just not so sure that I want to move all the way across the country. I've kind of grown accustomed to the East Coast."
"Unfortunately at this point in time, no. I will keep you posted on what happens and you know that I keep your best interest in mind. You're a great defense-man and I want you to go far in this league."
"I know Coach."
"And I'll be completely honest with you, Vancouver is a great organization to play for. Much better than the one that we are involved in. I think you would enjoy playing for them and get a lot more benefits than you can get from our organization. In the long run, Vancouver would be better for your career."
"I know Coach, but sometimes it's not always about the game."
"Well, then I guess you have to sit down and ask yourself. Do you want to be all about the game? Or do you want to settle down and retire from it, become a business man? The choice is yours."
"I know Coach. Thanks."
"You're welcome. I'll keep you posted as to what is going on with Vancouver."
Walking out of his office he let out a sigh. The only thing left to do now was to talk to Liz and come to a decision. With a knot in his stomach he got in his Chevrolet Blazer and headed towards their apartment.
"Liz are you home?" he asked walking into the small one bedroom apartment.
"Yeah, I'm in the kitchen" she replied.
Walking into the next room he found her leaning against the counter. Her hair was up in a messy bun, she wore sweatpants and a loose t-shirt. She had on her glass and was reading a copy of the latest Cosmopolitan magazine while eating a piece of toast.
"What's up babe?" she asked putting the magazine down and giving him a kiss.
"I just talked with the coach."
"Is everything okay?"
"Yes and no. He told me that there has been talk of sending me to Vancouver."
"Oh," she said, a look of what seemed like disappointment coming over her face.
"I guess nothing is set in stone, but they are interested in me and are close to making an offer. Coach seems to think that it would be a good idea for me to take this opportunity."
"Vancouver is so far away."
"I know, and I asked him if there were any teams closer, but there aren't. They're a great organization."
"I think that you should go," she said forcing a smile.
"But what about us?" he asked.
"We have been together for almost two years now and I have dealt with your travelling thus far. I'm willing to make the commitment if you are."
With a smile spreading across his face he wrapped his arms around her and replied, "You are the greatest woman that anyone could ever ask for."