Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chapter Eleven: The Ultimate Prize

This was it. The game they'd all been waiting for. It was game six of the Stanley Cup finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Carolina Hurricanes. As the Pens got read in the locker room, it was abuzz with sounds of the players, coaches and staff. Everyone was anxious to end it. If they Penguins won this game, they had the cup. Sid sat on the bench putting his gear on. His mind was racing with all the thoughts of what was happening. If things worked out the way he hoped, he'd be winning so much more then the cup.

He looked up as Dan came and sat down beside him. "Sid, I know that you have more riding on this win then the rest of us. I also know how badly you want this to work out for you. Let me give you a piece of advice, regardless of what happens today, I still believe you need to ask her tonight. It's been long enough and the time is right. Either way, I know she'll say yes. So let me also be the first to congratulate you."

Sidney smiled at his coach. "Thanks Danno. That means a lot to me. I'm really nervous about asking Diana to be my wife, but I think it'll all work out. Right now though I need to get my head cleared and in the game. I need to win this one for her."

After patting him on the back, Dan got up to address the team.

"Alright guys, this is what we've been working hard all season for. Get to our game and keep the pressure on. We can do this! I want you play your hardest out there, but also have some fun alright? Sid, you Duper and Kuny are starting, you guys ready?"

Sid, Pascal and Chris all nodded, smiling at their coach.

"Alright, let's go get them!"

They headed out of the locker room and down the run to the ice. As they stepped out, the crowd rose to their feet, cheering and screaming for their Pens. Sid shook his head slightly and stretched a bit. He was ready. After the Anthems were sung, his eyes wandered up to the VIP once again, searching for his girl. He found her right where he knew she'd be, as always watching him. He gave a little wave and got in position for the puck drop. This was it, time to play. His mind on the rewards awaiting him.

By the end of the second period, it was tied 3-3. In the locker room, the boys were restless. The Hurricanes had been fierce, desperately trying to force the series to game seven. Sid sat there talking to Duper, Geno and  Tanger about their strategies for the third period. He'd envisioned different scenarios in his mind, and relayed them too his team mates. They nodded as they listened, then gave their own opinions and input. It seemed they were all on the same page.

"We have to drive it to the net. No matter what, we need to stay focused, get open, get to the net and create chances. We have to make this one count. This is it guys. No sitting back on our heels. They're going to come out vicious and hungry. We can't allow them to get chances in our end. Tanger, I want you to be extra hungry out there in the third. Let's do this guys!"

All three nodded, Tanger giving Sid a slap on the shoulder. "Got it Sid, we got this!"

The third period was rough. Both teams desperate to win. The Hurricanes fighting to force game seven, the Penguins to end it and win the cup. It was a fight for their lives so to speak. But for Sid it was so much more. Winning the cup was his engagement gift to Diana. He need to win it, his heart depended on it. Nothing else would be good enough, it was the cup or nothing.

Diana stood in the VIP watching her boys fight to win the game. Her heart pounded in her chest, and at times it felt like it would jump right out. She wanted them to win the cup so badly it hurt. Nothing else mattered but to watch the love of her life hoist it over his head in person. It meant everything to her, to have a chance to share that moment with him. She worried that something was bothering him. He hadn't been himself the last two days. Trying to shake it off, she cheered for her man and her team.

To the frustration of both teams, the game went into overtime. Diana sat down and drank a glass of water. She was tired and her body ached with the pains of pregnancy. Her breasts were sore and her nipples stung as her shirt brushed against them. Leaning back she closed her eyes and sighed. Only 8 months to go. It seemed like an eternity to her at that moment. Her thoughts fell on Sid, everything he must be feeling at that moment. All the anxiety, frustration and hope he was holding inside. They HAD to win this.

Her eyes snapped open when she felt a hand settle gently on her shoulder. Looking up, her eyes met the kindness of Mario's. Smiling she sat up and turned toward him as he stepped around to the front of her chair. "Hi Mario, how are you?"

"I'm well, and yourself?" Mario smiled softly as he sat down next to her.

"A little tired and sore, but otherwise I'm alright. It's quite the game."

"Yes it is. It should be an interesting overtime period."

Diana nodded in agreement, then stood up once again to watch the puck drop. As the clock wound down, it seemed like hours had passed. She leaned against the wall, her energy seeming to drain out of her. Just then Neal passed the puck to Sid, and he took off toward the Hurricanes end. she stood straight up and leaned on the barrier. "GO SID GO GO!!!!" She shouted as loudly as she could...her heart slammed inside her chest as he spun away from a hit and weaved his way through the Hurricanes players.

Turning to his backhand as he approached the net, he shot the puck. Diana clutched her throat as the puck sailed past the goaltender and into the net. She screamed and Jumped into the air. Turning, she threw herself at Mario, her arms wrapping around his neck as he hugged her back. Tears of joy streamed down her face as they hugged. On the ice below Sid was drowned in his teammates. Gloves, sticks and helmets were flying everywhere as the crowd stood on their feet and cheered. They'd done it. The Penguins had won their fourth Stanley Cup!

Diana ran out of the VIP and headed out toward the run leading to the ice. She stopped at the end, and waiting watching as they brought out the cup. She grinned as she watched the festivities. Her heart was bursting with pride for her team, and especially for Sidney. She crossed her arms as she watched Sid skate up  to accept the cup. She noticed he had tucked something into his pants as he skated away from the bench. 'I wonder what that is." She thought to herself as she listened to the commissioner give his little speech.

Sidney smiled at the commissioner and nodded as he took the mic. Diana cocked her head to the side wondering what he was doing. He should have been taking the cup right then. Her eyebrow went up as he lifted the mic and spoke.

"Now I know this is a little different right now. And I'm sure you're all wondering what I'm doing. Why the hell isn't he taking the cup, you're asking yourselves. But the thing is there is something I have to do first. Diana were are you? Can you come out here please?"

Diana didn't move, shocked at what he was doing. But then she started to walk toward the ice, Geno met her at the ice and helped her step onto it. Guiding her toward Sid so she wouldn't slip. When she stopped next to Sid he looked at her, his eyes shining and a big smile on his face. She looked at him questioningly.

"Baby Girl, when we first met I knew that I had to get to know you. I didn't realize yet that you would bring me so much love and happiness. Every moment we've shared together has meant more to me then anything. A million Championship rings couldn't compare to the passion and love I have for you. You are my world,  my everything. Winning this championship was more for you then myself. I did it for you, for us and for our child you are carrying. Before I hoist this cup, there's something I need to ask you."

Sid got down on one knee and pulled a little black case from his pants. Diana's hands went to her mouth as tears welled up in her eyes. Looking down at him, she began to cry. He opened the box revealing the most beautiful ring she'd ever seen. Holding it up with one hand he brought the mic to his mouth once more.

"Diana Ebony Ciccione, will you make me the happiest man on earth and the luckiest man in the universe by becoming my wife?"  He looked up at her, his eyes filled with love and hope.

Taking the mic, Diana struggled to compose herself. Tears poured down her cheeks and spilled onto the ice as she took his hand and gently tugged at it, getting him to stand up. She looked up at him and gulped back the sobs that were threatening to come up from her throat.

"Sidney, you know that I love you more then anything else. Everything you are, is everything I need and want for the rest of forever. I couldn't imagine a life without you. So to answer your question, yes. Yes, Sidney Patrick Crosby I will be your wife."

Geno snagged the mic from her hand as Sid slid the ring on her left hand ring finger. The building erupted with applause as they threw their arms around each other in a passionate embrace. A couple whistles were heard from the crowd as Sid bent his head down to kiss her. Then he stepped back and turned to the commissioner.  After the picture was snapped, Sid hesitated the cup resting in his hands. Diana looked at him like 'well, aren't you going to lift it up?'

He smiled and beckoned her over to him. As she stood by his side, he said "I want you to lift it with me. This is as much yours as it is mine."

Diana stared at him in shock. Geno suddenly skated over and picked her up around the waist. He held onto her as she took one end of the cup, looking at Sid holding the other end. He nodded and together they hoisted the cup above their heads as the crowd cheered and screamed their names. Tears streamed down her face once again, as She looked around her. Finally she let go of the cup, so Sid could skate around with it. Geno set her back down, and she turned to hug him. Softly she whispered "Thank you Geno."

He nodded, then skated toward Sid, who handed him the cup. After Geno took off with it, Sid skated over to Diana and slipped his arms around her waist. Kissing her nose, he lifted her up on his hips as she wrapped her legs around him. Smiling he kissed her again. They just stood there for what seemed like hours. The team started to head back to the locker room to open the champagne and celebrate.

Sid Skated off the ice, Diana still wrapped around his waist. He put her down and they headed to the locker room. They were greeted with a huge spray of champagne as they came through the door. Diana began laughing as the boys all gave her hugs. Everyone was laughing and having a great time. After Sid drank from the cup he turned to Diana. "You're turn baby girl." He said grinning at her. She smiled and put her hands on either side of the cup. As Sid helped hold the cup she sipped the champagne. Sid grabbed her and kissed her passionately as the media snapped pictures.

Sid took her hand and pulled her away from everyone, so they could be alone for a minute. Putting his arms around her, he kissed her nose and said "I love you Diana. I will love you forever, I promise you that."

Diana smiled, nipping playfully at his bottom lip. "I love you too Sidney. But wouldn't you rather be over there celebrating some more with your reward?"

Sid grinned at her, pulling her tighter against him. Kissing her, he laughed and whispered against her lips, "Baby, you're all the reward I need."

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