The Good Luck Charm Page 6

“Hey! I’m glad I got through! I wanted to firm up plans for dinner this week, if you’re still interested.”

I rub the back of my neck. “Yeah, about that … I took an impromptu road trip to Minnesota.”

“Minnesota? That’s a pretty long road trip. What’s all the way out there?”

“My family.” It says a lot that I’ve never even bothered to share those trivial details with Selene.

“Oh. Wow. How didn’t I know that? Are you there for a while?”

“At least a few days.” Maybe I should’ve put this conversation off until tonight. Or never.

“Right. Is everything okay?”

Awkwardness creeps in now, hers and mine.

Mine is the kind that results from deciding how much personal information I’m willing to share. “Not really. My dad’s in the hospital.”

“Oh God! I’m so sorry, Ethan. That’s terrible. What happened?”

“He had a stroke.”

“A stroke? Isn’t he too young for that?”

“He’s in his seventies, so … ”

“Oh, I didn’t realize. Is it serious? I mean, I guess a stroke is always serious.” She laughs nervously. “I’m so sorry. Will he be okay? Is there anything I can do?”

The last part seems to be reflexive—the help people offer when they run out of standard apologetic and sympathetic phrases. “That’s sweet of you, but we’re managing. It’s just about devising a treatment plan.”

“Okay. Well I’m glad he’s going to be okay.”

That’s not exactly what I said, but I don’t bother to correct her. “Yeah. Me, too.”

“So I guess it’s kind of up in the air as to when you’ll be back.”

“Yeah. I want to wait until he’s out of the hospital and settled first.”

“Of course. That makes sense. At least season training is still a ways off, right?”

She’s opened the door and I have no choice but to walk right through it. “I have something else I need to tell you.” My stomach knots. I hate this more than usual, maybe because of my recent interactions with DJ.

“It sounds like more bad news.” Another nervous laugh follows.

“I wanted to tell you this in person, but with my dad in the hospital and me here for a while … They’re going to announce it soon, and I don’t want you to hear it from anyone but me.”

“Announce what?”

“I’ve been traded.”

“Traded? You’ve only been with Chicago for a year, though.”

“My contract was up, so I’m going to a different team.”

“I didn’t realize that could happen so close to the beginning of a new season.” She sounds shocked and then a little uncertain when she says, “Uh, I guess congratulations? Is the trade a good thing?”

“It would’ve been nice to stay in Chicago, but Minnesota wanted me, so that’s where I go.” She doesn’t need to know about the pay cut, or that if I don’t pick up my game this year, my entire NHL career is probably over. Being traded three times in as many years is bad enough, but being sent to this team is pretty much the kiss of death.

“Minnesota? That’s where you are now.”

“It is.”

“Right.” After a brief pause she says, “So that means you’ll have to move there, doesn’t it?”

“It does.” God, this is awkward, but not particularly painful, which is a good thing. “I’m sorry I had to do this over the phone. I was going to tell you when I got back to Chicago to finalize some things, but now that I’m here for a while …”

“Yeah. No. Of course. I totally understand. These things happen, right?” After another beat of silence she asks, “Should I let you go?”

“Yeah. I have to run a few errands.” It sounds lame, even if it’s true.

“Of course, Ethan. I’m sorry about your dad. I guess we’ll talk? Maybe I’ll see you around?”

“Sure. Thanks, Selene.”

We say goodbye and I end the call. Tipping my chin up I stare at the sky. I don’t know if that qualifies as ending things or not. We don’t have personal effects at each other’s places—it never got that far, but I still feel like I left things up in the air.

In all fairness, after the way I broke it off with DJ, I promised myself I’d never be that kind of asshole again—the one who breaks up with a girl over a text message or a phone call.


I look up to see DJ standing a few feet away. Scrubs are shapeless and purely functional, but somehow she still manages to look beautiful in them. “Hey.”

“Everything all right?”

I don’t have a real answer for that, so I lift a shoulder and let it fall.

“I saw the test results,” she offers. “There’s a good chance he’s going to be okay.”

“But still a chance that he won’t be.”

“There’s always a chance of that, but Martin is stubborn and healthy. Those things both work in his favor.” She nods at my phone. “Have you talked to your brothers yet?”

“Dylan called this morning—he’s catching a flight as soon as he can—and Tyler’s doing the same. At least it’s not life-threatening anymore, but it’d be good to have the extra support for Mom.”

“And you.”

“All of us, I guess.” I give her a half smile. “Thanks for the apple pie this morning. It meant a lot to my mom and me.”

“Like I said, it was nothing. Gave me an excuse to eat pie for breakfast to make sure I didn’t ruin it.” She rolls her eyes at herself. “Anyway, are you here permanently now, or are you still between here and Chicago? I can always be available when Martin’s released if Tyler or Dylan can’t stay long.”

“You have your own life, D—Lilah. I don’t want to put this on you.”

“You’re not putting anything on me. I wouldn’t make the offer, otherwise. Just … if there’s anything I can do, I will.”

“I appreciate that, and I know my mom does, too.” I give her what I hope is a grateful smile. “I’m going to the house and then I’m stopping to pick up lunch.”

“Jeannie’s not coming with you?”

“She doesn’t want to leave Dad. I could grab something for you, too.”

“I brought a lunch. I’m good.” She turns to walk away.

“Not even a Cosmo Special? Extra pickles on the side? Coleslaw?” It was her favorite back when we were in high school.

She narrows her eyes. “I ate pie for breakfast. I should probably stick to salad for lunch.”

I give her a lingering once-over. The scrubs hide her curves, but she hasn’t changed that much since high school, at least not on the outside. “Why?”

“Can’t be ruining my girlish figure, especially now that I’m pretty much divorced.” She cringes at the bitter tint to her words. “Forget I said that. It makes me sound petty and vain.”

My brain gets stuck on one word in particular. “Divorced?”

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