Lucie, Serge and I were in the stands laughing just about random things, enjoying our time together. Lucie was in the middle of an embarrassing childhood story of Max's when we saw him race down the ice. The player behind him stuck out his stick, hooking it around Max's foot and yanked on it, resulting in Max falling face first on to the ice. I watched in horror as he went head first straight in to the boards to the side of the net. The player who took Max down took the puck and started skating the other way, but my eyes were glued on Max. "Get up Max. Get up Max. GET UP MAX!!" I jumped up in my seat and my eyes never left Max's motionless body. Lucie grabbed on to my hand and squeezed. Why wasn't he moving? "MAX GET UP!!" I screamed once more in the nearly silent arena. Tears formed in my eyes and I wiped them away quickly, I needed clear vision of Max. I needed him to get up. I watched the athletic trainer run to his side, with the help of Sidney. My heart was racing and my vision was tunneled to Max lying face down on the ice. The trainer knelt down next to Max and moments later I watched Max's legs start to move. He tried to get up but eventually fell back down. I bent over, grabbed my purse and bolted up the stairs making my way toward the locker room, Lucie and Serge close behind. My ankle was throbbing and I had to hop a few times on my good foot to keep pushing myself towards the locker room. I threw the door open and looked around the empty locker room, where could he be? I started opening doors until I finally saw him sitting on a table leaning against the wall behind him. "Hey, I'm okay, it's just a concussion," he stated wrapping me up in his arms. He was fine, he was going to be okay. He lifted me up in his arms and set me down on his lap, I cried into his shoulder. For what felt like hours, I thought I had lost him. I thought I had lost the best thing that has ever happened to me. I could hear Max and his mom talking but I wasn't registering any of their conversation. I felt Max's hands on my shoulders as he pushed me away and looked into my eyes. "I'm okay, I'm right here." He wiped away the last few tears on my cheeks and smiled. "I've never been that scared before in my life. You went down, and didn't come up. It felt like forever before you moved. I'm sorry I'm crying, I was just so scared." He leaned forward and kissed me, and that kiss guaranteed me that he was okay. He was alive and well and that he wasn't going anywhere.
We said goodbye to Max's parents and walked hand in hand out to the parking lot. "Will you drive?" he asked handing me his keys. I took them in my hand and tried to hide the fear building up in my eyes. I nodded my head and climbed in to the drivers seat. Sure I have my license, but I'm pretty sure I have only driven three or four times in seven years, on country roads, with no one within twenty miles. I took a deep breath before starting the car. My knuckles were turning white from my death grip on the steering wheel. Max already had a concussion, we didn't need to add to it from a car accident. I managed to safely make it to Max's apartment and we headed upstairs. "This was the best birthday ever," he said as I closed the front door behind him. I looked at him with an odd expression on my face. If I hit my head like that, it would ruin my day. "I woke up to you, and now I get to fall asleep with you, that's all I wanted for my birthday. The concussion I could have done without, but it'll be okay." He smiled and then slowly his eyelids were dropping and he began stumbling on his feet. "Max?" He went to grab on to the couch but missed and fell to the ground. "MAX!" I fell to my knees next to him and rolled him on to his back. "Max?!" I felt the tears falling from my eyes. This wasn't good. This wasn't good! "Max baby, wake up!" I shoved my hand in to his front pocket and pulled out his cell phone, quickly scrolling through his contacts. I couldn't help but notice a lot of female names, but this wasn't the time to really think about that. I landed on 'Flower' and quickly hit send. "Shouldn't you be sleeping?" He answered after a few rings. "Marc, it's Lil, Max just passed out, I don't know what to do. Do I call 911?" "Oh crap, stay there, I'll call Doc, don't move. I'll be right there." The line went dead and I set the phone down next to me as I sat down next to Max, holding his hand in mine. "Max baby, come on Max. Come on Max." I felt his hand squeeze mine and then slowly his eyes blinked open. "I'm sorry," he mumbled while trying to sit up but I pushed him back down. Too scared that any movement could some how harm him. "Why are you sorry, you have nothing to be sorry for." "I'm sure you never saw yourself taking care of an old beat up hockey player." I rolled my eyes while shaking my head. "No I never did see myself doing this, but now that I am, I don't want to be anywhere else." I smiled down at him when I heard a loud pounding on the door. "Don't move," I instructed Max as I jumped up and opened the door to find a panting Marc. "Doc is on his way, what happened?" We both stood over Max looking down at him and he started laughing. "Gese guys, I'm right here, stop looking at me like I'm dead. I got dizzy and passed out, that's it."
Another five minutes passed by when there was another knock on the door. I stayed on the ground with Max's head now in my lap as Marc opened the door and the team doctor walked in. "Hey doc," Max mumbled pinching his eyes shut, an obvious sign that his head was probably pounding. "Max, why didn't you go to the hospital after the game?" "No one told me to." The doctor sighed with frustration and knelt down next to Max pulling out a flash light. He did a few tests, checking Max's strength, reflexes and balance. He asked him a few simple questions such as what day it was, which Max happily answered, "my birthday". The doctor put his flash light back in his bag and looked at Max with certain concern washed over his face. "You need a CT scan, I just want to make sure there's no bruising. Does your neck hurt?" The doctor placed his hands over Max's ears and rolled his head around. "No, my neck doesn't hurt but my headache gets worse," Max answered and the doctor nodded his head. "Okay well get some good sleep tonight, try and stay off of your feet and I will call you in the morning with an appointment for the CT scan." I walked the doctor to the front door and thanked him for coming. When I turned back around I saw Max and Marc sitting on the couch with blank expressions on their faces. I sat down on the other side of Max, and he fell in to my lap. "Sorry, I didn't mean to pass out on you like that." I ran my hand through his hair and smiled. "Just warn me next time, if you can." Marc laughed and then got up from the couch. "Well I'm going to head out, make sure you take care of my friend." "Thank you Marc," I smiled and watched as he turned around and left the apartment.
I couldn't sleep at all. I stayed on my side with my eyes focused on Max. Occasionally I would place my hand under his nose just to make sure he was still breathing. I was overreacting, but it was still very scary for me. "I'll be fine, get some sleep," Max mumbled as he wrapped his arm around me and pulled me in tight to him. I felt him kiss the top of my head and I quickly fell asleep. After what felt like five minutes of sleeping, I woke up to see the sun peeking through the blinds. "Good morning love," Max mumbled placing another kiss on the top of my head. "Hey, how are you feeling?" He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me in to him. "Other than the pounding headache, I feel wonderful. How are you?" I kissed him softly on his lips, that was the best answer I could come up with, I didn't want him to know I was worrying so bad about him. I didn't want him to know I just wanted to place my hands on his head and make his headache go away. I didn't want him hurting anymore. I pulled away when I heard his phone ringing. He only continued to kiss me on my neck. "Max, you need to answer that, it's probably about your CT scan." He groaned in to my neck before rolling over and picking up his phone.
"Hey mom, dad," I greeted my parents as they walked in to the apartment. I tried to hold back my laughter as Lillianah made a mad dash in to the bedroom to pull on some sweatpants. "How are you feeling?" My mom asked as we walked in to the kitchen for some coffee. "Still have a bad headache, but I'm heading in for a CT scan in about a hour. Cream?" "CT scan, I thought they said you wouldn't need one. And yes for the cream." I took a deep breath, I knew how dramatic my mom could be, it wasn't that big of a deal, it was just a normal side effect of concussions. "I passed out when we got home last night, Lil called Marc, Marc called Doc, Doc's making me get a CT scan." "YOU PASSED OUT?!" Yup, there it was. I flinched at how high pitched her voice was, and how with each word my temples would thump. I felt a hand run through my hair and begin to massage at the top of my neck, the movement of her fingers were actually relieving some of the pain. "It's a common side effect right after suffering a concussion. The doctor just wants him to get a CT scan to make sure there's no bruising. Max will be back to the smart ass he once was in no time," Lillianah explained to my mom as she continued to massage my skull. "Thank you baby," I mumbled as my eyes flickered shut. I felt her hands rest on my shoulders and she prompted me to sit down at the kitchen table. There she worked her hands over my head, rubbing out all the spots that were throbbing. I could hear her talking with my parents, but I wasn't registering anything being said. Her hands slid down to my cheeks and she whispered in my ear, "feeling better?" "Much, where did you learn that from?" "My mom use to do that for me when I got my migraines."
I hated the fact that Lillianah had to work that night, and I'm sure she hated that fact to. I knew I was going to be out of the lineup for a minimum of a week, but the way I was feeling, I can't see myself lacing up for at least two. It was going to be a waiting game, but that only meant I could spend all that time with her. It was a win/lose situation. I loved being with her, but I loved being on the ice as well. "You look exhausted, you can go home and take a nap," I said to her as we sat in the waiting room of the hospital. "If it's okay with you, I'd like to stay with you, CT scans don't take long, I can take a nap when we get back." I smiled at her and nodded my head. "Maxime?" I popped my head up and looked at the nurse calling my name. Immediately everyone else in the waiting room popped their heads up too. I was hoping to keep some privacy, hiding under my hat, but honestly how many people in the city of Pittsburgh are named Maxime? I gave Lillianah a quick kiss and followed the nurse down a hall and then into a large room with a CT machine. I laid down in the bed and it began to slide back until my whole head was encircled in a gigantic metal doughnut. It always amazed me how a machine can look through skin and bones and you don't feel a thing. "Okay Maxime, you need to stay completely still," I was instructed through an intercom. I heard the machine click and then the metal piece directly above my eyes began to rotate. The moment I closed my eyes to relax, the machine stopped and the table I was lying on slid out. "Alright, we're all done." When the table stopped moving, I hopped off and was told to wait in the waiting room. I headed back the way I came and all eyes were on me. I slithered my way in to the seat next to Lillianah and pulled my cap down as far as it would go. We waited what felt like hours before my name was called again and I dragged Lillianah with me into the examination room. I kicked my legs back and forth sitting on the table as Lillianah massaged her ankle. "Does your ankle hurt?" "A little bit, I kind of sprinted down to the locker room last night, it was probably a bad idea." I noticed she wasn't wearing her brace and I was about to say something when the doctor came in. "Well, there is some minor bruising of the brain, nothing alarming though. You just need to take it easy for a week or two. You'll be reevaluated after seven days, but until then you are not allowed to lace up." My head hung, seven full days without skating?
"Are you sure you're going to be okay? I could call in to work?" As much as I wanted to say, 'yes, stay with me', I knew she needed to go to work. "You've already missed a lot of work thanks to me, go. I will be fine, my parents are coming over soon with food." A smile crept on to her face and she bent over and kissed me before disappearing into the bedroom to get dressed. She emerged ten minutes later with no jacket on and my mouth dropped. "That's not fair," I pouted as my eyes ran up and down her body, only covered by strategically placed fabric. "What's not fair?" She asked with a smirk. "You, prancing out here looking like that, only to leave." "I know, I'm sorry. Well I better get going, I love you." She once again bent over after pulling on her pea coat and placed a lingering kiss on my lips. "Love you too, have a good night." I watched as she walked out the apartment and I threw my head back on the couch, she drove me absolutely insane. If my head wasn't pounding so hard I'd go to the club just to watch her.
After watching two episodes of NCIS, there was a knock on my door. "It's open," I shouted and watched over my shoulder as my parents walked through the door with the wonderful smell of Chinese food. "Oh man, I'm going to get fat," I muttered as I got up and followed the food in to the kitchen. "What did the doctor say?" my dad asked as I pulled the food out of the bag. "My brain is bruised, but nothing alarming as he put it. I have to be reevaluated in seven days. Until then, I can't do jack squat." My mom gave me a sympathetic look, but I'm happy she kept her mouth shut, I wasn't in the mood to talk about it anymore. We ate in the living room chatting about everything but hockey, which I was happy about. My parents left around 11, and I focused my attention back on the television where the NCIS marathon was still in full swing. I heard my phone alert me of a text message and I pulled my phone out of my pocket to see it was from Tanger. What the hell does he want? I didn't know Lillianah liked tequila so much. Why the fuck would he send me that? Does that mean he's at the club? Watching her? I know she keeps a bottle with her, she'd be smarter than to leave with him right? A million thoughts were running through my mind and with each one my head would pound harder. I couldn't take it anymore, just the thought that he was watching her made me furious. I had to go. I stood up from the couch but instantly became dizzy and fell back down. I tried once more, which resulted in me throwing up on the hard wood floors. I was in no state to be leaving the apartment. I flipped my phone back open. If you lay a finger on her, I will fuck you up Tanger.