Disclaimer: I do not own the Mighty Ducks or anything affiliated with them. This work is an original plot based off the characters created by disney and is not for personal profit. I own the plot and any original characters created. Enjoy;)
His blue eyes glanced up at the flight times for the hundredth time that night. The florescent numbers shining back at him with a mocking steadiness. They seemed not to be moving at all and the reason was more than clear. The large glass window he was standing at painted a picture of the world outside and it was covered with a blanket of puffy white snow. Adam Banks never came back to Minnesota and now he was sure why, because you can never get out, he had joked to himself when he entered the airport 5 hours earlier. His eyes silently grazed the runway in front of him. He was just annoyed with the whole situation, taking a deep sighing breath in before leaning against the glass to flip open his phone. For the first time in 6 years Adam had decided to return to Minnesota and this was what he got. A massive snow storm covering most of the northern part of the US. The radar on his phone only confirmed the futility of him waiting at the airport. It didn't look like he was getting out of here tonight.
It had been late October before Adam had finally called to inform his parents he would indeed be joining them for their Thanksgiving celebration this year. His former girlfriend, April, had called him a few choice names before she walked out on him the week before. The event had made his mind up that he'd rather go home than be alone in his drafty New York apartment for the holiday. The only people that ever called him anymore was his agent and his Mother which was pretty pathetic for a man that was bringing home a few thousand a week in promotions and personal appearances, not to mention his hefty salary playing for the New Jersey Devils. He sighed again, glancing through his call log. Having your phone number unlisted didn't help his cause either, he thought bitterly. Psychos still found a way to call him and the people he did want to find him couldn't do so. He was any girls dream, a no strings attached millionaire, but they all ended up leaving him after a short time together. It was always the same excuse,
"You're not in love with me..." He mimicked, thinking back to the last one to say that to him. April had casually dropped the sentence on his answering machine the night she left. They were right but that wasn't his fault, it was hers. God, he needed to forget about her, he thought closing his phone and leaning his head back against the cold glass. She was going to be the death of him, keeping him up at night. He'd wake up alone and in a cold sweat over her. It was mostly her eyes he dreamed of. Her beautiful, flawless blue eyes that haunted his dreams and occupied his wandering mind during the day. The way they sparkled when she laughed or darkened when she cried. Why couldn't he just forget her? It went as far as he once called one of his girlfriends her name when they were getting hot and heavy in an expensive hotel room in Paris. He never heard from her again, needless to say. He heard she ran off with a French model. Wasn't that always the story, Adam Banks, left on his own. He sighed again, sitting his bag in the chair next to him. He was too tightly wound to sit still right now. He had passed Eden Hall on his way out of town that night and the memories had came flooding back to him. Not that they weren't there before, but seeing where they took place made it all the more real. Now he wouldn't be able to be with anyone for at least a few weeks before he could get her out of his system again. She was like a drug, he had to have her but it was impossible now. It had been for a long time. If only he'd never heard the name Julie Gaffney, his life would be so much simpler.
She stood looking up at the arrive times and sighed, pacing in front of the gate where his plane was suppose to arrive at any minute. It had been nearly an hour since she arrived there, knowing full well that all flights were delayed but if she wasn't there he'd be mad. Somehow he'd find a way to be mad and it wasn't nice to make Greg mad. Julie Williams was a shell of the woman she use to be. Her Husband had done that to her but deep down she liked to think it was her fault. Some as of karma for her bad choices in life. Her fault that she let the only man she'd ever really loved walk out on her without a protest, without so much as a word to stop his retreating form. Yeah, this was all her fault. She sat down on one of the hard plastic chairs and looked at the ring shining from her left hand. She felt tears forming behind her eyes but she didn't cry, Julie Gaffney cried, she didn't, she couldn't or she's be crying forever at the way her life had turned out. Who would have thought Julie "the cat" Gaffney would turn into a battered woman? Certainly not Julie herself.
Greg Williams was an all-state quarterback in high school and loved to party. That's how she'd met him. looking back now, she knew she should have seen the signs. Julie had met him in her junior year at the University of Minnesota and they'd fallen in love so quick it felt like it was meant to be. Like a fairy tale, as some would say, he had swept her off her feet. Greg had been at a late night party that was the first she'd attended all year and they had instantly connected. They had talked politics and debated for hours over which candidate should win the coming election before laughing at how much they had in common. He was the best boyfriend any girl could dream of in those first few months. He took her out to dinners and brought her expensive gifts even though she told him he didn't have to. He had said she was worth it and she'd believed him. She should have seen it starting from the beginning, the way he held her too close around her friends, the look he got when she didn't want to do something he did but she was too in love to hear Connie's pleas to look at it from an outside point of view. Greg had even managed to talk her into quitting the hockey team so they'd have more time together, since it really wasn't going anywhere anyway, that was his excuse. Girls don't play hockey in the NHL was all he ever said about the matter after, so why waste time that could be spent on him with a sport that would never accept her the way she wanted.
They graduated together the following year and got engaged over that first summer out of school. He was always in a hurry to get things done, so their wedding was later that year. He was just starting his company, he had told her he was a sports agent and would be traveling often so they needed to get the whole wedding business out of the way. The wedding had been the last time Julie saw Connie or any of the Ducks. Of course he wasn't there anyway, it had been easier that way, she'd have no regrets or have to look into his eyes as she married another man. But she did end up with regrets, regrets that day ever happened or the days that followed. Greg changed that night, Julie could remember it perfectly, all the glitz and glamour that covered his prefect exterior slipped away with the sun and his true colors shown through. That was the first night she learned not to disobey him. He was a monster, in sheep's clothing. The following months had progressively gotten worse. It started out as small things, the way she cleaned the house, the way she made the bed, the way she cooked his dinner, small things that turned into big fights between them and always left her bruised. Every guy that looked her direction was automatically something she invited and wanted, his jealously would go into overdrive at the slightest glance. She couldn't hold a job for very long because he'd either find an excuse for her to quit or someone would start to get suspicious of her bruises and she'd leave before they asked too many questions. Her life was a living nightmare she could not escape but it was her fault after all.
It seemed almost that the smaller the issue the bigger a deal Greg made it out to be. That's why she had to be here on time today. He would know, somehow he would know, even if he couldn't see she was there on time, he would know and she would pay if he found out she disobeyed him by not listening to the time his flight was landing. The guidelines were simple and she tried followed them to the best of her ability, but sometimes that wasn't enough for him. Lately it hadn't been. The bruise forming on her upper right arm proved that she forgot to mop the hall floor last week, Greg liked his house clean. The bruise in the form of a hand print signified where he had pushed her to the floor to see how dirty it really was. Julie silently rubbed at it before forgetting about the incident, She couldn't dwell on it and she always forgave him in the end, so there was nothing else to do but forget about it until it was gone. He'd promised to always find her if she left and he held true to his word when she tried to leave just 6 months into their marriage. The night she came back, he made sure that was a lesson she learned.
The cold air from the airport doors opening and closing just a few feet away brought Julie back from her nightmares and she glanced up at the flight schedule once again, sighing heavily. Her eyes wondered from the board to the other people waiting for their loved ones to come home from the holiday or waiting themselves to get on a flight to somewhere else. She loved to people watch, it was the one thing she could do without fear of pain to follow. She thought about what their lives must be like. The old lady sitting a few chairs away from her knitting a small cap. probably for a grandchild. The young woman, holding the bag over her should tightly against her and looking at the flight board. The fluorescent lights shining off her face to illuminate her blue eyes. Julie used to have eyes like that before Greg beat them out of her. now they were just a dull lifeless puddle of blue. She had nothing and no one for them to shine for anymore. Not even her family had talked to her in months. She was lucky when they called that Greg even allowed her to speak with them. She supposed it was to keep up appearances that they were the happy couple he made them out to be when they went out in public. Which was becoming rarer as well. She grabbed at her arm again as it throbbed under her palm and thought of the ice pack she'd need when she got home.
A man standing near the large window at the end of the terminal caught her eye and her heart skipped a beat at the familiar look of him. Could it really be him? Was she just wishing it was him? She thought, trying to remember his features and how they all fell together to make up Adam Banks. He turned to face her and his crystal blue eyes met hers for only a moment but that was all it took. Her breath hitched, her eyes darting to the floor quickly and she wondered if he would even recognize her, she'd changed so much over the past couple of years she doubted if her Mother would even recognize her anymore.
It was her, she had changed her hair, it was shorter and darker but it was her, he thought, the air stuck in his throat. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't move as the very girl he was just daydreaming about sat a few feet away from him. She looked tired, he noted first, more than anything else she looked to be exhausted and Adam suddenly found himself thinking of things he hadn't thought of in years. The way her eyes sparkled when she smiled at him, the way her bare skin felt against his rough hockey worn hands, and the taste of her lips against his so many years ago. Did she even remember him? He wondered. She must, no one forgets their first love, he sure hadn't in the years since they'd been apart.
The distance across the terminal wasn't that far but it seemed like a great distance to him as he took the first step towards his past. Her face distorted, she almost looked like she was in pain as he began to move towards her. Her eyes avoided his direction, she seemed to be purposely ignoring the fact that he was walking towards her.
Please, don't let him be coming over here, she silently pleaded for someone to hear her. If Greg showed up; she'd be in big trouble. She didn't need this kind of trouble right now, she just wanted to collect her husband from the airport and return to her simple life out in the country where no one knew her except Greg's friends. God, how she had longed for this moment for years, for Adam to just know she needed him and show up to save her from Greg but now she was too scared to take the chance of him being hurt. What if Greg did something to Adam? She wouldn't be the cause for something happening to him. No, she wouldn't put him at risk like that. She would simply pretend she didn't recognize him or that she was someone else and go about her day. The moment he spoke, his voice that familiar baritone, all her thoughts went out the window.
"Julie?" He asked as she turned to face him at the calling of her name. It really was her, there was no doubt about it, he thought looking her over. He wanted to take her into his arms and crush her into a hug but something in her eyes stopped him from doing so. The light that he use to live off of, the light that told him everything would be alright in the end because they were together was gone from her eyes. Something had happened to her, something she didn't want to share but her eyes told him everything he needed to know. Julie had been hurt.
"How are you?" He asked as gently as he could. She tried to smile, doing a poor job of faking her pleasure to see him. She was strong even now, no one could take her will away from her but she was tired of fighting. Tired of pretending she was okay. Adam brought out her vulnerable side and she knew if she let it out once she'd confess everything to him.
"I'm fine, Adam. What are you doing here?" She asked, nervously looking back at the nearest gate, as if worried someone would see them. Adam glanced in that direction also out of habit before turning back to her with a smile.
"I'm waiting to head back to New York.. What are you doing here?" He asked, sitting down next to her and bringing his bag to his lap. She immediately tensed and moved farther down the row of seats to the one next to the one she had been occupying. A stray piece of amber hair fell into her eye and she reached up to remove it, showing Adam the 5k diamond that illuminated her left hand. The sparkle caught his eyes immediately and he instinctively reached out for her hand.
"Jules, when did you get married?" He asked, taking her hand in his to inspect the piece of jewelry closer. She hadn't seen him reaching or she would have pulled away too quickly for him to grab her. His hand was rough but his touch felt incredible, like a forbidden fire to a cold lonely soul that had been wandering for years. She wanted to scream out for him to get her out of here, to just take off with her and never look back. That they could still have everything they dreamed of all those late nights they'd spent together planning their future. The momentary happiness she felt ended as she pulled her hand back from his grasp and clutched it with her other hand to get the feelings off.
"Um...just about 3 years ago. Our anniversary was in October." She smiled graciously, still clutching her hand in the other, almost hoping to hold unto whatever she felt when their hands had met. This wasn't his fight, this wasn't even his problem, it wasn't fair to bring him into it, she thought silently, hiding her internal monolog behind a brief smile.
Something wasn't right with her. He knew it the moment he had sat down. She wouldn't look him in the eyes the way she used to and she kept glancing back at the gate behind him. Maybe she was still angry with him but the Julie he knew had a hard time hiding her feelings. She would have sneered at him and told him what a jerk he was, not sat here like a wounded puppy, looking for forgiveness.
"Are you waiting for him now?" He asked, trying to figure out what he walked in on. She nodded, slightly, looking over his shoulder at the gate once more, her eyes filled with dread and worry.
"Julie, I haven't seen you in years...I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you missed him coming off the plane. Let's go get some coffee or something." He asked. She wasn't listening, too intent on staring at the closed gate door. He sighed,
"Julie, no one is coming in tonight!" He snapped, wondering why she was so intent on being here for a vacant gate. She tensed at his voice. He almost felt bad because of the expression on her face, it was like kicking someone when they were already down. She was already freaked out and he goes and yells at her. Good going Banks, you're trying to help her not scare her into never seeing you again, he thought trying to calm his racing mind. Her eyes bore into him with a fright he'd never seen before. Julie was never frightened, not even for a second of any day had she even pretended to be scared of something.
"I'm sorry.. Look.." He said reaching out to her again but she wouldn't let him take her hand, she backed away, pulling her arms against her chest in a protective fashion. "Can we just go somewhere and talk? There's no flights coming in tonight. Wherever your Husband is, he's stuck there for at least a little while longer." Adam reassured her with a nod. She didn't look up at him, too afraid he already knew something wasn't right. He stood and extended his hand to her to help her stand.
She wanted to take his hand, to just have five more minutes with him and pretend everything was okay again. She had longed to see him again for years and he was right Greg wouldn't be coming in tonight but she still needed to be here in case something changed. Her slowly raised her head and looked at the man standing next to her.
"Let's just go to the coffee shop here?" She suggested, reaching for her purse on the chair next to her. He nodded to her idea.
"Fine, I just want to talk to you..." He reassured her as she finally took his outstretched hand to help herself up. The contact felt natural and she slowly laced her fingers with his, taking comfort in the small moment they shared before dropping her hand from his and leading the way to the coffee shop.