Thursday, November 10, 2016

Roster Addition - Sneak Peek #2!

Less than a week to go until a new member of the Wildcats family arrives on November 16th! It's been so much fun going back to visit with some of the 'Cats. They're like family to me, each and every one of them. Today we get a peek into Veikko Aho's head as he works through one of the most life-altering days of his life. What's running through the mind of the Wildcats elite goalie? You'll get a tiny look today in this blog exclusive snippet!



 Veikko Aho, Wildcats star goalie, and his wife Liz are about to add a new player to their family roster. The open adoption of Maggie and Derrick’s granddaughter will help to heal the gaping hole infertility has left in the Aho’s life. Finally, that huge mansion on the Main Line will hear the sweet laughter of a child. 

But the birth that the Aho’s are so looking forward too seems to be stirring up some anxiety and unspoken fears for the grandparents. As the seemingly endless night of labor drags on, power struggles that threaten to break up a long-standing friendship rise to the surface. Can both families put aside their petty differences or will this precious new Wildcat tear them apart?


I ambled off to find a men's room. The halls were quiet. I found that comforting. After the past forty-some hours of upheaval, stress, drama, and much screaming, it was pleasant to have some quietude. My body was as depleted as my mind.

I stopped to look down on the parking lot when I came across a window. A fresh snow had fallen, not much, just a few inches. It gave the January day a new feel, the ground all fresh and white, covering the grit and blacktop under the fluff. I lingered there for some time, just viewing the world below, the people coming into and leaving the hospital, the cars pulling in and parking. I wondered about many things. Where my tie was, would Elizabeth need help with Marja when I was gone, should I worry over my mother-in-law with the baby? And what about that damned ferret? I personally wished we could find a new home for it now that Marja was here. I did not trust the sneaky little bastard. If he leaped into the crib and bit or scratched that child I — well, I did not think I would be too kind about it. But, Elizabeth loved the animal so.

I reached up to place my left arm on the window casing. My shirtsleeves rested right below my elbow. The edge of the sleeve was stained with something. I thought it might be birthing fluid from when I had held Marja after her birth. I studied my forearm, tipping my head left then right, as I imagined how my daughter's name would look tattooed on the inside of that left arm. I had never entertained getting ink work before, but I planned to do so now that we had our first child and her name was set. Her name was set, wasn't it? I blew out a long breath and pushed away from the window. I needed to freshen up, locate some coffee, and begin working mentally on the short press announcement that I would make in a few days. I padded along until I found a washroom. 

Once inside I used a urinal, flushed, and then washed my hands and face. As I dried my face with some coarse white paper towels, I began putting things together inside my mind. Words, what I wished to say to the media, that sort of thing. I was not a man who liked to be caught short or unprepared. Perhaps that was due to being a goalie since I was five. Such things - mental things like preparation and focus - had been drilled into me from a young age. Or, maybe it was just how Veikko Aho was wired. I always thought it was a combination of the two. I stood staring at myself in the mirror and worked on my speech. My eyes were dull. I yawned widely when I thought of my bed at home. I tried to help my hair with some warm water but it was a losing cause. Pity, because the way it was now laying did not help to cover my father's high forehead that now resided on my head. I silently cursed the Aho males and their need to lose hair before forty. Tired of seeing my flaws, and I did not need a mirror in a hospital bathroom for that, I exited the men's room and walked down to the end of the hall.

The walls were cheery in this wing. Lots of soft yellow and pale green greeted me as I walked up to stand beside Jane Bratkowski. We exchanged smiles then we both stared through the glass to look at the new little ones inside the nursery.

"Your daughter is beautiful," Jane said after several silent but pleasant moments passed.

 "Thank you," I replied as I stared at Marja sleeping in her warm, safe bassinet. There were ten other infants behind the glass. 

"I almost didn't come last night," Jane said. I threw her a fast sideways look. Her hair was vibrant red, curled tightly and trying to break free of the bonds that held it. I would not say that Jane was a beautiful woman, not in the classic sense. Her profile was a strong one, her chin always high, her eyes sharp as daggers, and her attitude one that I admired greatly. She would whip her team into shape or she would die trying. That was hockey love and dedication. 

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