Meadow567: Thanks so much for reviewing over the years! I've loved them all. And this chapter will hopefully give some closure :)
IheartObama: Thanks for the review :)
Vaughnloveralwaysandforev: Thanks for the review! And thanks so much for helping me with this story for all this time. Without your support and help this story probably would have never even been written. Thanks so much for everything!
AN: Readers, here it is, the final chapter. I am so sorry it took so long to get up. I had the busiest semester at college. College student readers know exactly what I'm talking about. It gets hectic but it's probably the best year of my life. Anyways, I'd like to thank everyone so much for reading this story. I especially want to thank Vaughnloveralwaysandforev, Iheartobama, meadow567, and everyone else who read my story along the way. I write for the readers. You have no idea how much you guys affected this story and what your awesome reviews meant to me. I appreciate your guys support and thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys believed in this story when I felt like at times I didn't even believe in it. I was supposed to finish this in October of '07 and now it is July of '09 and I'm finally finishing it. You followed this story for that long, you all deserve a medal lol. But enough with my blabbering, here it is, the final chapter. ENJOY!
"Jack, can you believe it's been five years since Lake Placid?"
"No, Rach. It feels like just yesterday."
Rachel took a deep breath and smiled at her husband. It was five years since either of them had been to Minnesota, well except for Jack when he played games against the North Stars, but nonetheless they couldn't believe they were back. A few months before a bunch of the guys on the team began calling everybody and planning a five year reunion. It was set for the middle of July because thats when all the hockey seasons were over for people who were still playing. And it was in Minnesota for the obvious reason that they lived there during exhibition season. Luckily most of the guys were able to make it, only a few of them couldn't go to due to previous commitments.
Jack and Rachel finally arrived at the restaurant they all agreed to meet at and Jack parked the rental car.
"Ready to go?" Jack nodded.
Rachel clutched onto her stomach and gave her husband a look.
"Rach?" he asked in a concerned tone.
The blonde took a deep breath and nodded, "Yeah. It was just Julia kicking."
"You mean Matthew?" he joked.
"Ha ha," she said sarcastically, "We'll wait and see in another five months."
"Well you look beautiful," Jack told his wife.
"Trying to suck up to the woman you knocked up?" Rachel joked, "Whatever, at least I'm not showing yet. And by the way, our convo back there...corniest things we've ever said."
Jack thought for a moment, "Wow...you're right."
"Yeah," she nodded sadly, "I'm a little embarrassed for us."
"Whatever," he rolled his eyes, "Let's go in and see everybody."
The O'Callahans got out of the car and walked into the restaurant. By the time they got their most of the guys and their girlfriends/wives were there too. There were so many people that they all had a private room in the back.
"Hey it's Jack and Rachel!" they heard one of the guys announce as they entered the private room.
They walked around the huge table and greeted their friends. Some of them Jack had seen or played against over the years but it was still great to see everyone all in one place. Once they finally sat down they started talking amongst the people around them.
"Did anyone bring the book of Brooksisms?" Buzz asked.
"Yeah,"Rizzo nodded and held it up, "Right here!"
The whole table laughed, clapped, and cheered. Rizzo opened up the book and read some of the passages. He and a few of the other guys made it during their down time in Lake Placid.
"Throw the puck back and weave, weave, weave. But don't just weave for the sake of weaving," he read aloud.
"I still don't know what the hell that means!" Verchota joked.
"Is everyone ready to order?" nobody seemed to notice the young waitress enter the room until she spoke up.
"Is everyone even here yet?" Mac looked around.
"Conway's on her way. She'll be here soon," OC told the guys, but he was looking at Mac.
Nobody would ever forget that big drama between Mac, Conway and OC, especially OC. It was the first time his best friend wasn't honest with him. But it was such a long time ago and OC didn't really care once he got used to the idea of Mac and Conway going out. By the time he got used to it they broke up anyways. It didn't really make sense to OC but he stood by his best friend as much as he could. She never talked about the relationship after Lake Placid though.
"Yeah," Rachel nodded, "She should be here any minute now. Annie won't care if we order without her."
The waitress started going around the table taking orders and was joined by another waiter shortly after for help. With such a large group ordering took almost ten minutes. When the waiters finally finished taking orders they exited the room but bumped into somebody in a hurry on the way out.
"Oh I'm so sorry!" the group looked up and saw a familiar red head stumble into the room.
The waiters just walked away and Annie just stood there laughing at herself. She looked exactly the same as the last time they saw her. Tall, red headed and a big smile. She was still in her work uniform which, believe it or not, was a flight attendant outfit. Funny how a girl who was petrified of heights is now a flight attendant.
"Hey guys," she giggled, "I just rushed here because I thought I was late and missed it all! Guess not!"
All the guys shouted "Hey"s, "Hey Conway"s and "What's up?"s to Annie. None of them had seen her since the day they left to meet President Carter and when she was planning on a backpacking trip through Europe. Annie followed Jack and Rachel's pattern and started walking around the table to individually talk to all the guys there. She started with the O'Callahans because they were closest to her.
"Hey, your godson is still sick," she told Jack.
"Kevin's still not feeling well? How are Katherine and Charlie handling it?" OC asked. Charlie, Annie's younger brother, and Katherine, OC's little sister, eventually did get married when they were in Harvard together. Sometimes when Annie thinks about it she still can't believe the night she caught them making out in her grandfather's old house.
"They're trying to be better godparents than you guys," Annie laughed, "But his fever is almost broken so he'll be ok."
"You sure?" Rachel asked.
"I'm one hundred fifty percent sure. If I wasn't I would've flown home to Boston instead of dead- heading it here from San Francisco," Annie assured her friend.
Annie continued all around the table and ended up at the other side where she sat between Rizzo and Silky.
"How the hell did you become a flight attendant?" Verchota joked to the whole table.
"Remember that time when we all flew to New York City and you flipped out on the flight?" Silky cracked up, "It was awesome!"
"It was my first time flying!" Annie laughed and defended herself, "And I think that I'm a really great flight attendant, thank you very much!"
"Sure," Bah said in a low sarcastic voice.
Some of the guys started laughing and Annie mimicked their low laughs which made everyone laugh even more.
The group talked for hours. They didn't even leave the restaurant until they were kicked out when it was closing. They were all going to a baseball game the next afternoon, in fact they had the whole weekend planned.
"Does anyone know where the Holiday Inn is?" Annie asked some of the guys she was talking to as she left the restaurant, "I'm rooming with another flight attendant there for the night. And then I have to wing it for the rest of the weekend."
"I can take you," Robbie offered. They hadn't talked just the two of them the whole night, only with the whole group or with just a couple of guys.
"Thanks Robbie," she smiled.
"No problem, it's on my way home anyways."
The guys looked at them suspiciously knowing their history but Annie shrugged them off with a joke, "Don't worry we aren't going to jump each other's bones once we get into the car. That's so five years ago!"
Annie took Robbie's arm and led him through the parking lot. Surprisingly enough Mac still had the same car he did five years ago.
"You're still driving this piece of shit?" Annie laughed.
"One word for ya: Gloria," Robbie retorted. Gloria was the pet name for Annie's car that she bought with money she earned at the bar when she was a bartender. The car was a piece of crap that broke down daily.
"Shut up!" she laughed.
They entered the car and sat in silence for a moment. They really didn't know what to say. They both tried to act as casual and nonchalant as they could. The last couple of weeks they had together were very bumpy and they hadn't even seen each other in five years. They have both definitely changed.
They both said it at the same time and then immediately fell silent again.
Annie giggled awkwardly, "It's not like we've never had a conversation before."
Robbie chuckled and nodded, "Yeah."
Robbie started up the car and they started talking again as soon as they got out of the parking lot.
"So how has life treated you over the past five years, Conway?" Mac made sure to say Conway and not Annie.
"It's been pretty good. I live in Boston right now and I've got a great job," the red head began.
"Yeah, jeez, a flight attendant. I remember trying to reassure you the night before your first flight that we weren't going to crash. You told me that you wanted to be a flight attendant when you were a kid," Robbie reminisced.
Annie laughed at that. She probably sounded so stupid, "Wow! Well at least my childhood dreams came true."
"Yeah," Robbie laughed with her, "So did I hear you say you have a kid now?"
"Kevin, yes," she grinned, "He's two. He's about to learn how to ice skate. I'm thinking this winter."
"Wow,"Robbie's eyes widened, "So you're married?"
Annie looked at his face. He looked a little disappointed. She shook her head, "No. His father left as soon as I found out. We weren't even that serious anyways."
"I'm sorry," he looked straight at the road. He was mad that the guy left her and her son, but kinda happy that she wasn't off the market either. Seeing her tonight brought back a lot of memories.
"So," Annie tried to lighten the mood, "Are you serious with anybody? I heard you retired. Are you here in Minnesota now?"
"Yeah I'm here now. I just missed home, ya know? And no I'm not seeing anybody right now," Robbie replied.
When he was in the NHL he had plenty of girlfriends, but none of them were very serious. The longest relationship he may have had was around six months. He didn't want anything too serious after Annie anyways. They went through a lot when they were both very young and he just wanted to have fun, which he had plenty of.
"How did you know I retired?" he asked curiously.
"I read it somewhere," she replied.
The two drove down some private roads, which Annie was very familiar with. She looked out the window for it, her grandfather's house. She hadn't even seen it since New Year's Eve 1979, the night OC found out about Annie and Robbie's relationship.
"Stop the car," Annie told Robbie when she spotted the old house.
Robbie parked the car in front of the house. He somewhat wished that he hadn't gone this way. He didn't even realize when he was driving. He didn't want to open up all these bad memories for Annie, but he was stunned by her looking at the house. She looked very calm.
"I had a lot of good memories in this house," she told him, "I'll admit some of them were bad too, but wow, some were really good, you know."
"I remember we had sex for the first time in this house," Robbie joked.
"Yeah, and I had my first pregnancy scare in this house too," she laughed about it now that she is actually a mom, but it scared the shit out of her back then.
"Oh man, that was probably the most nerve racking couple of days of my whole life. Promise to keep a secret?"
"I always do," she smiled at him.
"After you told me that you thought you were pregnant, I was driving back to my apartment and I had to pull over to throw up,"he told her.
"Don't even worry about that. I threw up like ten times that day. At first I thought was because I was pregnant but then it turns out it was because I was so nervous because I thought I was pregnant."
"That's a riddle wrapped in a conundrum."
"Yes it is," Annie agreed.
Annie moved from where she was leaning back against the car and started walking on the sidewalk next to the house. It was then that she noticed the "For Sale" sign on the front lawn.
"Wow, check that out," Annie pointed to the sign.
"Woah," he saw the sign.
"Guess this house was too much for them to handle," Annie joked.
"Wanna head out?"
"Yeah," Annie said. She gave the house one last look up and down and then got back into Mac's car.
The rest of the ride to the hotel was just talking about little things, like Annie's son Kevin and Mac's job, stuff like that. When they reached the hotel they sat in the car for a moment.
"Well thanks for the ride down memory lane," Annie chuckled.
"Same here. It's been nice talking to you. I didn't like completely forget about you, ya know," Robbie told her.
"Yeah," she nodded, "I followed you when you played hockey. I followed you in the newspaper and stuff. I never thought of you as like a mistake. I don't regret anything that happened between us."
"Me neither," he agreed.
Annie took a deep breath, "Well that was sufficiently awkward. Are you going to the game tomorrow?"
"Yeah," he nodded.
"Then I'll see you tomorrow."
"See you around, Conway," Mac uttered words that were too familiar to Annie.
She shuddered when she heard that. He said it when they broke up and a bunch of really tense times of their relationship. Maybe he forgot that. She hoped that he forgot that.
The following day everyone met up at the baseball park to watch a Minnesota Twins game. It was a game against the Yankees so it was everyone except for Rachel rooting for the Twins. Annie was getting her rental car and finding a hotel room for the next few days.
"I am de-ter-mined to catch a ball today," Rachel joked to Jimmy and Pav.
"De-ter-mined?" Jimmy laughed.
"You know it!" the blonde laughed
Annie finally joined the guys around the fourth inning. She was a little later than expected but she had a lot to do that morning.
Annie took a seat between Silky and OC. She looked a little tired and didn't look at any of the guys. She just focused on the game for the first few minutes. Finally, at the end of the inning, Annie leaned over to whisper something to OC.
"We need to talk...alone."
"Ok," OC said softly as he gave her a 'what did you do?' look.
The two of them left quickly and managed to not get many of the guys to notice the small little scene. They went to the food area to get some beer.
"Conway, what's up? What's up your ass?" OC asked his best friend.
"I bought a house!" she blurted out. She then covered her mouth with both hands as if she couldn't believe what she just said.
"What? How? When? Where in Boston is there a decent house on the market?" OC was stunned.
Annie lived in a cheap apartment in Dorchester, a part of Boston. She had talked of buying a house ever since Kevin was born but didn't have enough money to buy in a decent neighborhood.
"I didn't buy a house in Boston," Annie said slowly, "I bought one here...in Minnesota."
OC's jaw dropped. She was so homesick last time she was in Minnesota, what made her change. And this was so sudden. She was always a Boston girl at heart, he never thought she would want to leave.
"Why? Tell me everything," her best friend insisted.
"Well yesterday I was driving around with Robbie and..."
"You're back with that pansie again?!"
"No! Of course not! I'd never move for a guy. And you liked him by the end anyways. But no, we drove past the old house and it had a for sale sign. Then I stayed up like all night thinking about it and today I talked to the owners and their real estate agent and I bought the house," she explained.
"Why? What sparked this move?" OC asked.
Just then Rachel came up to the two friends.
"Hey guys, whats up?"
"Conway's moving to Minnesota," Jack explained to his wife.
"WHAT!?" Rachel was just as shocked as Jack, maybe even more, "Why!?"
"Ok, listen to me!" Annie shrugged, "I wanted to move to Minnesota so I can give Kevin the life I never had. I mean when I was a kid in Southie it was really a shitty neighborhood. And OC, Charlestown, come on, you practically got jumped just for stepping out of your house. And Dorchester isn't any better. So the way I see it is that St. Paul is a great and safe neighborhood, it has great schools, and I'm a flight attendant so I can easily move without a problem. Besides, think about it, you two are in Chicago. We'll be so much closer to you guys!"
OC and Rachel stood silent for a moment. She did have a point. OC especially agreed with the safety part. In a way, he was happy that he was going to raise his son or daughter out of Boston so they wouldn't have to go through the same shit he did when he grew up in Charlestown.
"Sorry, Annie," Rachel spoked first, "We're not mad. We're just shocked. This came out of nowhere. Where are you moving? You bought a house already?"
"Yeah," Annie nodded, "My grandfather's old house. Crazy right?"
"Wow! That's awesome, Annie," Rachel smiled. She knew how much Annie loved that house and how sad she was to let go of it half a decade ago.
Rachel hugged her friend, she did that a lot since she found out about her pregnancy and blamed her niceness on hormones. She never hugged that much before.
"I need to go to the bathroom now," Rachel smiled and walked away.
Annie looked a little dazed by the hug.
"Hormones," OC explained.
He then put his hand on her shoulder and led the two of them back to their seats. As the game progressed word slowly got out about Annie's move, and by the end of the game everyone knew about it.
"Congrats," Magic said.
"That's awesome, Conway," Buzzy agreed.
All the guy congratulated her on getting her first house. It was weird to believe that this was happening. They sure weren't kids anymore. Annie didn't want to wait to tell her son the news and called him from a pay phone in the park after the game and after many of the congratulations. He was only a toddler but he sounded excited. After the call she hung up and left the phone booth. Walking out to her car she saw Robbie leaving too. He just left the long line for the bathroom. Robbie spotted her leaving.
"Hey Conway, great game huh?"
"Yeah," Annie nodded, "Too bad the Yankees won though."
"I tried not to remember that," he joked.
Annie laughed with him. The two continued walking towards their respected vehicles.
"So congrats on the house. That's a big step. You ready for it?"
"Yeah," she said confidently, "I was so homesick the last time I was here because I wasn't really ready to go. I felt like I was forced to come here. But now, I feel like this is the place for me. I'm older now and I can handle not being in Boston anymore."
"Good for you," Robbie smiled. They never talked about it, but Robbie always thought that part of the reason she didn't go to Buffalo with him was because she was really homesick. She missed Boston an awful lot when she was in Minnesota.
"Yeah. I'm excited for the move and so is Kevin," Annie told him.
"That's awesome," Mac said, "Listen, Annie, after you move here and get settled in and stuff...if you ever wanted to get like a cup of coffee or a beer or something with a familiar face...you can call me up."
Mac called Conway Annie. He didn't really know what he meant by that, but it was great to say her name like that again.
"You know what, Robbie, I'd really like that," Annie smiled up at him.
Well that's the end of that. Again I am so so so so so sorry that you had to wait all this time for this final chapter. Anyone in college would know how busy everything gets. Anyways, thanks so much for anybody who read this story. I may or may not have a new story coming out. It depends how my schedule is. If I do have a new Miracle story coming out I already plan on calling it "Dream On". I hope you enjoyed this final chapter and thanks for reading all this time.