the fifth in the "One Life, One Love" series
|It was about three months later that Izzy sat down at the locker next to Nicky’s, watching the boys suit up for practice. She was actually amazed that she was showing this early in the pregnancy, but that just made her smile because she knew that her little girl was going to be big.
“Izzy? When is the baby due again,” Gustav Nyquist, a second year forward, asked, looking up from tying his skates.
Izzy frowned, getting lost in thought. She had been raped in October, so her due date would be sometime in July.
“Sometime in July, Goosie. I’ll be happy if it is July fourth,” she teased, causing Goose to laugh at her.
“A fourth of July baby for a Swedish girl? That doesn’t sound right,” he teased back.
Izzy blushed and rolled her eyes.
“Goosie! Will you quit,” she complained, crossing her arms and sending him a playful glare.
Goose stuck his tongue out at her and turned back to his skates.
“Only if you want me to quit,” he replied, smirking.
Izzy threw her water bottle at him, trying so hard to bite back the laughter that was rising in her throat.
“You shut it, Gustav Nyquist, before I tell Hank on you,” she playfully threatened.
Goose pretended to look scared and shot a glance over at Hank, who was biting his lip to keep from laughing at Izzy’s antics.
“Leave her alone, Goosie. I think it would be fun to have a fourth of July baby,” he said thoughtfully.
Izzy giggled and placed a hand on her stomach, rubbing it as the baby started to kick again.
“Ohh, I think baby likes that, captain,” she told him with a grin.
Hank laughed and walked over to her, placing a gentle hand on her stomach. At the touch of his hand, the baby stopped kicking.
Izzy let out another giggle.
“Hank, I think baby knows not to mess with you. She knows her captain,” she teased, winking at him.
“Baby will get so used to loud noises by the time she’s born they won’t affect her anymore.”
Besides Izzy’s brothers and her sister figure, Katrina, no one had been more excited for the baby to be born than Hank was. He had met Izzy when she was only three years old and knew her better than anyone else.
When Izzy had asked him just two days ago to be her little girl’s godfather, he had been so shocked and happy that he cried. He didn’t cry very much, so everyone knew this was a special thing for him.
A loud laugh near his ear from Izzy pulled him out of his thoughts.
He glanced to his right and saw a dripping wet Goose standing by his locker, pouting.
“That was mean, Kronner. Why did you pour an entire bucket of water over my head,” he whined.
Niklas stifled a laugh.
“I thought it was funny, Goose. Besides, you were staring at my sister,” he replied, handing his young friend a towel.
Goose blushed and started to dry himself off.
“I wasn’t staring at her, Kronner. I was curious to see why her stomach was moving,” he answered, avoiding Izzy’s gaze.
The young girl laughed and hugged him.
“Oh, Goosie! The reason my stomach was moving is because the baby was kicking. My baby is a hard kicker, that’s why my stomach moved.”
Goose made a face.
“I hope she doesn’t become a fighter when she gets older because of her attitude,” he muttered.
Izzy burst out laughing.
“With the way her uncles and momma are, I highly doubt it.”
A few hours later, Izzy was lying on the couch feeling sick to her stomach. She knew it was morning sickness, but she still didn’t like it. She got morning sickness every other day and it never lasted long- only about four or five hours- but it still made her feel like crap.
“Izzy? Where are you….oh, you have morning sickness again,” Katrina asked, walking over to the couch and stroking the younger girl’s hair.
Izzy relaxed into her touch and lifted her blue eyes to look up at her.
“Yep, I have it again. I get it every other day,” she muttered.
Katrina laughed and reached out to pull the blanket farther over her stomach.
“I know how you feel, love. Do you want me to get you something,” she asked, rubbing her back.
Izzy closed her eyes and leaned back into the pillows, trying to get comfortable. She was realizing now how hard it was to get comfortable when the baby is in the womb.
“Yes, please Kattie. I want a cup of warm tea,” she answered as she pushed herself up into a sitting position, realizing that was the only way she was going to be able to get comfortable.
Katrina smiled and went off into the kitchen to make her tea.
Izzy sighed and started rubbing her stomach as the baby kicked again. She loved the feeling of her baby kicking at her because this was the life she was going to bring into the world. When she first got pregnant, she was terrified because the baby wasn’t going to have a father in her life. Now, she wasn’t so worried anymore because she had a great group of people around to help her and support her through everything.
“Izzy? Here’s your tea, dear,” Katrina said, dragging the little black stool over so she could set her cup down.
Izzy smiled up at her sister like friend and gently touched the hot tea cup, the smooth glass feeling good to her fingers.
“Thank you so much, Kattie. You don’t know how much I needed this,” she told her.
Katrina smiled and sat down next to her, rubbing her leg. The leg rubbing was something that was a soothing motion to both her and Izzy. They weren’t sure what make it so soothing, but that was all they knew.
For Izzy, the gentlest of touches could calm her down, especially with Nicky, as seeing he was her brother.
“I know how much you need it. Izzy, you know you can always talk to me, right,” she asked, smiling.
Izzy cautiously took a drink of her tea and quickly set it down, realizing it was still too hot. She looked up at Katrina and tilted her head.
“Of course I do, Kattie. When Nicky isn’t here I have for sure. You and Nicky are my rocks in the world of title waves,” she answered.
“We just want what’s best for you, love. I don’t think you need much training though because you already do what’s best for yourself. Nicky had taught you so well over the years, but I think you knew this well enough from the beginning. I think you knew right from wrong the minute you were born.”
Izzy burst out laughing, knowing what her friend had said was true. It seemed like she did know right from wrong since she was little, since even at the age of 3 when she did something wrong, she’d cry and beat herself up over it. Sighing, she picked up her tea again and took another cautious sip. It was still warm, of course, but it wasn’t going to burn her throat like it had not two minutes earlier.
“Kattie? Is it…..um….normal to be feeling depressed during the pregnancy,” she asked, blushing.
Katrina reached out to pull down Izzy’s sweatshirt sleeve and gave her a gentle smile.
“Your emotions are like a roller coaster, so yes, it is normal to feel depressed. Why, is there something that you’re feeling depressed about,” she asked, taking the cup from the younger girl as she realized her hands were shaking.
Izzy bit her lip hard, struggling not to cry.
“Sometimes I get depressed or scared about my little girl not having a dad in her life. The last thing I had dreamed of was my child growing up without a father, but now she is. And that hurts me,” she whispered, giving her eyes a hard wipe.
Katrina got up from her spot on the floor and sat next to her, pulling her into a tight hug as Izzy began to sob.
“Love, I know it’s hard. But you know she has lots of people who can be a father figure to her. It’s not like she’ll really be growing up without a daddy,” she said, rubbing Izzy’s back in a soothing manner.
Izzy whimpered and buried her face in Katrina’s lap, sobbing in earnest now.
“I’m s-s-scared t-t-that when she g-g-gets older, s-s-she’ll ask me w-w-why she doesn’t have a d-daddy and that I won’t know what to tell her,” she cried, shaking violently as memories of the rape came flooding back to her.
Katrina bit back her own tears and continued to rub her back. She knew how much this incident had changed Izzy’s life, but she had never realized it had made her depressed.
“Can I really blame her, though? Rape and pregnancy is not an easy thing to deal with,” she thought.
Taking a deep breath, she gently rolled Izzy onto her back and pulled her head into her lap, stroking her hair.
“You’ll be able to deal with that when the day comes, Izzy. You just have to find the right words and the right way to tell her.”
When Izzy arrived in the locker room two days later, she was quite surprised to see that the only person in the room with her was Goose. Walking up, she gently laid a hand on his shoulder.
“Goosie? Where are the other boys,” she asked, tilting her head.
Goose chuckled and looked up at her, smiling.
“It was optional practice today, so not everyone is here. Your brother and Hank are working out in the weight room. Last I saw, they were competing to see who could lift the most times in a row,” he answered.
Izzy snickered and rolled her eyes, unable to believe some of the things they did to each other. She noticed that Goose had sweat running down his cheeks, so he must’ve been working out as well.
“And what were you doing, Gussie? You’re sweatin’ too,” she pointed out, sitting at the locker next to his.
Goose blushed but kept her gaze.
“Well, I was skating a few laps just so that my legs wouldn’t miss a day. And then…..well……..” He couldn’t finish his sentence before blushing even redder and covering his face with his hands.
Izzy frowned and gently pulled his hands away, looking him in the eyes.
“Gussie, what’s wrong? You’ve always been able to hold my gaze before this. Did I do something to scare or embarrass you,” she asked, gently squeezing his hands as he tried to pull them away.
Goose shook his head.
“No, Izzy. You didn’t embarrass me at all. You didn’t scare me or do anything bad to me. It’s just, there’s something I have to tell you and I’m scared to do it,” he whispered.
The young girl tilted her head at him, her blue eyes full of curiosity and worry.
“Gussie, please tell me what’s wrong. You’re starting to really scare me,” she pleaded.
Goose stared down at the floor for a long minute before finally meeting her gaze.
“I love you, Izzy. Not as a brother, but as a friend…or something more than a friend. I want to help you through this more than I have been doing.”
Izzy’s jaw dropped in shock and her heart fluttered. Goose was in love with her? Could she really be dreaming?
“Oh, Goosie, you love me? Y-you actually w-w-want to be w-with me,” she stuttered, trying to hide her shaking hands.
Goose smiled and gently took her hand in his, rubbing it.
“Yes, I do. It’s real, Izzy. The feelings and love I have for you isn’t fake.”
Izzy’s eyes now became full of tears and she tried her best to hide them. Why, of all the girls he could have, why did he want her?
“I l-love you t-too, Gussie, but why me? Why do you want to be with someone who’s broken, who’s going to be a teenaged mother? Someone who has a hard time trusting people, someone who’s been raped? I’m not good enough for you, Goosie,” she sobbed out, pulling her hand from his.
Her hands were shaking so violently at this point she thought they were going to fall off. She knew that she wasn’t good enough for Goose, why couldn’t he? The hand on her arm made her shiver, but when she turned, she found herself looking straight into his big loving blue eyes.
“Izzy, you listen to me and you listen to me good. I love you. These aren’t just words I say just to say them, these are words that I mean and I will carry out. You wanted to know why I love you, didn’t you? You see someone who’s broken, I see someone who’s fighting to get better. You see someone who’s untrusting, I see someone who wants to be loved in the right way and will been fighting until she finds it. You see a person stuck in the past, I see a girl looking towards the future. No, I can’t change the fact that you were raped. I can’t change the fact that you’re pregnant. But what I can do is help you move forward. I may be young, but I can be a good dad. I can help with this baby. And, I promise with everything in me that you will not be hurt again. I love you, Izzy.”
It took a few minutes for the impact of those words to hit her, but when it did, she started to cry and buried her face in his chest, clinging to him.
“Oh, Gussie, I will be your girlfriend,” she cried.
Goose didn’t say a word; he simply smiled, pulled her into his lap, and rubbed her back in a calming manner.
Slowly, Izzy quieted her sobs and leaned her head against his chest. She felt so tired and worn out, but she was so happy. Happy that she could have someone- a boyfriend- in her life to help her just like her family did.
“What’s going on here,” a voice from the doorway demanded, causing Izzy to jump from Goose’s lap and go red in the face.
Niklas was standing in the doorway, his arms crossed and his eyes narrowed into silts.
"Taking advantage of my sister, are you Nyquist,” he spat out, stepping into the room.
Izzy’s jaw dropped and she bit her lip to hide the tears, unable to believe her brother could say something like that about his teammate.
Goose paled, but stood up, back straight, and looked up at him.
“I would never take advantage of your sister, Kronner. She already went through that once and I saw what happened, why would I cause her more pain that she’s already in,” he asked back, trying to keep the anger from his voice.
Izzy grabbed his arm scared and pulled on his sleeve.
“Gussie, be careful,” she pleaded.
He pulled her close to him and rubbed her stomach while the other arm went around her shoulders.
Niklas narrowed his eyes at him and snarled.
“Keep your hands off of her, Gustav! That’s my sister you’re holding,” he growled.
Goose set his jaw into a frown and looked up, meeting his eyes.
“What is wrong with you? Why do you think I would hurt her like that huh? I know what she’s going through and I’m not going to hurt her like that ever again. Why can’t you trust me? I lived with you for six damn months Kronner! You let me into your home, into your family, into your life and this is how you’re going to treat me? Are you serious?” Goose was fighting back tears at this point but he still kept his gaze. This was one of his idols, this was the person that had taken him in. Why was he doing this?
Niklas snorted and stepped closer to him, eye flashing.
“Have you ever had a sister that’s been raped? Have you had to hold her hand at night when she cries or rock her when she can’t sleep? Have you seen her scream and punch at the wall and say she’s not good enough for you? Have you seen that, huh?” Niklas wiped his eyes hard but the anger never left them.
Goose pulled Izzy behind him and squeezed her hands, letting her know everything was okay. If Niklas became violent, he wanted to be the one being hit, not her.
“I have a sister, dammit! No, I haven’t seen that with her but it see it with Izzy every day! I see what it does to her. Why the hell do you think I waited so long to tell her I loved her? Why do you think I waited so long to ask her to be my girlfriend? I didn’t want her hurt either, Niklas! I would do anything for her and if I could, I would go back in time and have me be the one that was raped! I would take that pain for her but I can’t. I have to help her get through this just as much as you do. So back off of me saying I would take advantage of her cause that’s not me,” he replied, tossing his head and meeting his flashing angry eyes.
Niklas took a step back and stared at his teammate for a long minute. He couldn’t believe this was the same Goose that he had taken in two years earlier. This Goose was strong and stood up for himself. His heart softened for a minute, but then it just as quickly hardened back up.
“I will kill you if you hurt her,” he finally growled, spitting in his face before he stormed out the door.
Izzy, already tired and worn out, became more so and broke down into hot, sad, angry tears. She couldn’t believe her brother would do this to her. They went through everything together and now he was turning his back on her? How could he do this to her?
Goose, seeing that she was already upset and tired, quickly picked her up in his arms and rocked her.
“Hush, baby. He’ll get over it, you know he will,” he whispered, kissing her forehead. Deep in his heart, however, he wasn’t sure if Niklas would ever get over it.
Two months later, Izzy and Niklas were standing face to face with each other, having an argument. It scared Izzy because this was the first time she had ever had an argument with her brother, but he was taking things way too far.
She threw the wooden spoon she was using to cook down on the counter and crossed her arms, narrowing her eyes at her brother.
“It’s been two freaking months, Niklas! Two months! If he wanted to hurt me, he would’ve done something by now. Get over your damn fear and accept the fact that he’s my boyfriend now. You’re taking this too far,” she snapped, clenching her fists to hide her shaking hands.
Niklas tapped his fingers on the table he was sitting at, a sure sign that he was annoyed. Frowning, he looked up at her, shaking his head.
“How can I get over my fear knowing that you got raped, Izzy? How can I get over my fear knowing that someone hurt my little sister,” he demanded.
Izzy picked up the spoon again and stirred the sauce she was making, checking the heat to make sure it wasn’t burning before she rolled her eyes and turned back to her brother.
“Nicky, I love you but you’re talking bullcrap. Goose is your damn teammate! He freaking lived with you for six months. SIX MONTHS, NIKLAS! Don’t you know what kind of person he is by now? He’d never hurt me. Why can’t you see that?”
Niklas scowled at the floor for a long minute, unable to answer her before he sighed and looked back up at her.
“You don’t know what it’s like when you leave or go somewhere by yourself and I keep thinking something bad is going to happen to you. You’ve never been in my shoes.”
Izzy’s jaw dropped as she turned around to stare at him.
“I don’t know what it’s like? I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE?!?! Nicky, I was the one that got raped! I was the one who was violated and hurt! I was the one who had to limp home and take a shower to wash off all the evidence. I was the one that had to live with this for all this time. So don’t you dare tell me I don’t know what it’s like. I know damn well what it’s like,” she shot back, biting back her angry tears. She was shaking so badly at this point, but she calmed herself down for the sake of her baby. The last thing she needed to do was to do something stupid that would harm her child. “Besides,” she continued, “the little idiot who hurt me was a stranger, not someone I knew. So you should have no reasons not to trust him.”
Niklas rolled his eyes and pushed himself out of the chair as Izzy turned off the stove.
“You’re being immature, Izzy. You know nothing about the world you live in other than what you’ve been told. You don’t know how cruel and evil it can be.”
At the point, Izzy lost it. She threw the spoon at her brother and shoved him back out of anger.
“Immature? IMMATURE!?!? You’re calling me that, are you stupid? I know so damn well about the world I live in. I got made fun of for being different, I got picked on. Have you forgotten the times I came running home to you crying because something stupid or hurtful or mean a kid said to me? The times I didn’t want to go to school because I was so afraid of being bullied? Do you not remember that or are you just being immature and blowing all that up in my face,” she demanded, eyes flashing and tears coming down her cheeks.
She could never hate her brother, but she hated the way he was acting at the moment. After everything they had been through, everything he helped her through, everything they did together and this was how he was treating her?
Finally, Niklas had enough. Fuming, all his emotions and tiredness running through him, he shoved her backwards and she fell, hitting the counter hard with her head.
Crying out in pain, she fell to her knees and held her head as the room began to spin. “Nicky…..Nicky……I…..” Izzy didn’t finish her sentence, because at the moment, she blacked out.
Goose was sitting up on his bed, listening to his music when he felt a tap on his shoulder. Frowning, he pulled out his headphones and looked up.
Hank was standing over him, tears in his eyes and his lips set in a thin line.
Goose shuddered at the look on his captain’s face.
“W-w-what happened, Z-zetta,” he asked, shaking.
Hank placed a hand on his shoulder and sighed.
“Izzy’s in the hospital,” he whispered.
Goose’s head instantly began to spin and he fell off the bed onto his knees. He felt sick, dizzy and helpless. Why was she in the hospital?
“Hopsital…….Izzy……why,” Goose asked, unable to get his words out properly.
“Izzy and Kronner had a fight, Goose. They were having an argument and Izzy lost it and shoved Nicky. Well, she said somethings and then well, Kronner shoved her and she fell, hitting her head on the counter. She started to say something but then she blacked out.”
A few minutes later, Goose came charging into the hospital and pinned Niklas to the wall crying.
“How could you do this to her? Why did you shove her? She’s pregnant, dammit Niklas! Why would you hurt her like this,” he demanded, tears running full on down his cheeks.
Niklas swallowed hard and gently shoved him away, grabbing his arms.
“Look, Goose, I’m sorry okay? I hate what I did, but at the time I wasn’t thinking. I made a mistake and she’s paying the price for it. I never meant to hurt her, you have to know that. I love her more than anything in the world and if I lose her, I will be lost. I am sorry for the hell I put you through the past two months. I was just worried about my sister. Can you ever forgive me for what I did,” he asked, tears running down his own cheeks.
Goose bit his lip, looking down for a long minute before finally looking back up.
“I can forgive you, Kronner. I might not forget, but I can move on from the past and forgive you,” he whispered, hugging him.
Niklas hugged him back and then pulled away, sitting down in one of the blue hard chairs they had in the lobby.
“I hope she’s okay,” he whispered.
Seven months later, Izzy was cursing under her breath in pain as she squeezed Goose’s hand. She was in labor with her daughter and had been at the hospital since about 3 that afternoon. It was six in the evening now.
“Ugh, I want this baby out! It hurts,” she growled, squirming on the bed.
Goose gave a little chuckle and kissed her cheek, rubbing her hand.
“You’re cute when you’re mad,” he teased her.
Izzy rolled her eyes at him and gave him a gentle smack on the ass.
“Don’t be smart, mister. You’re lucky you’re my boyfriend,” she teased back before she gasped and let out a loud scream of pain. “OW! OW! OW,” she sobbed, “I think the baby wants to come out.”
The doctor- Doctor Howard- hearing her screams, came running back to check on her.
“Yes, love, the baby is ready to come out. Squeeze your boyfriend’s hand and push,” she whispered.
Fifteen minutes later, Goose and Izzy were in the room alone, holding their little baby girl.
Izzy was sore and tired, but she was grinning in that proud new momma way.
“Oh, Gussie, she’s so little. And look at her hands,” she squealed. Goose laughed and kissed her cheek again.
“Baby, she’s adorable, just like you,” he whispered.
Izzy blushed and rolled her eyes.
“You know, flirting won’t get you anywhere,” she teased.
Goose snickered and then looked back down at the baby.
“What are we going to name her, love,” he asked, smiling at the baby grabbed his finger.
Izzy smiled and bit down on her lip, thinking for a long minute.
“Angel Gabriella, for she was the angel that came to save me.”