A/N: I wasn’t planning to write this extra, but sometimes it just happens while I write other parts of this story. (shrugs) This snippet takes place during chapter 29 of Along Came a Spider 2 while on their Canadian road trip. You probably saw this one coming. Or at least what isn’t said between these two. I wanted you to have this one before chapter 30 posts tomorrow.
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Looking up from my drink, I notice the haggard appearance of my teammate as he approaches me. A conversation between us is not only inevitable, but also long overdue.
“Hey, Cap.” Ben slides onto the stool next to mine at the hotel bar.
I can’t avoid him off the ice forever, especially now.
The bartender walks over, setting a cocktail napkin in front of him. “What can I get you?”
Ben jerks his chin toward my glass. “What are you drinking?”
“Even though I could use something stronger, ice water with lime.” I shrug. “It’s a weak attempt at making better choices since we have to play tomorrow night.”
He nods. “I’ll have the same.”
Blowing out a steady breath, I whisper, “How are you doing?”
Ben glances around at the empty seats in the bar with only a few stragglers and closing time looming, but I have enough cash in my pocket that we’ll be able to stay here for as long as we want or need.
“It’s been a long fucking night. You?”
“I feel as if someone punched me in the gut,” I share candidly, then start with the conversation I’ve been avoiding for the past weeks. “If it matters, I’m sorry. I’m an idiot. I fucked up. And I should have come clean with what happened sooner. That’s all on me.”
“It matters. You aren’t alone in this, but thanks for owning your part. I don’t need any details. I know it wasn’t all your fault. Your apology is enough. We’re good.” His water arrives, and after a sip, he sighs. “What now?”
Shaking my head, I can barely get my thoughts straight. “I don’t know—call my lawyer, I guess.”
“You think she’s telling the truth?”
Ben asks the question I’ve been asking myself for the past few hours while rooted to this spot.
“I sure as hell hope not.” I drain the last of what’s in my glass.
“Same.” He’s quiet for a moment. “You tell anyone?”
“No, but I doubt that will stop her. So, brace yourself. It will be bumpy for a while,” I admit.
“And I was hoping for a clean break.”
The bartender approaches and asks, “Another?”
“Yeah, but we also need two shot glasses and the Gran Patrón Platinum.” I point to the bottle on the shelf behind him. “Just leave it.”
“You got it.” He smiles, then offers, “Want anything from the kitchen?”
As I fill the glasses, Ben rubs his forehead, eyeing me carefully. “What about playing tomorrow night?”
“I think fixing our relationship is more important than that. Don’t you? Tequila got me in this mess, tequila will get me out of it. Ever played with a hangover?”
My eyes flash to his in disbelief. “Ben.”
“Okay, yes. It was tough. Cap, this isn’t a good idea,” he warns half-heartedly.
“Trust me, if we can beat the Canadiens with one, then we can do anything without one. That Cup will be ours. First shot—together.” I nudge the glass toward him, lift mine, and wait.
“First?” Ben shakes his head, reaches for the glass, and chuckles nervously. “We’re fucked.”
“Welcome to my world.” I grin. “As you know, it’s not my first time in the penalty box.”