“Stop checking your phone! She ain’t going to call you because she’s probably conked out in bed from you wearing her out!” Downie complained as I attempted to discreetly slide my phone back into the pocket of my khaki shorts while we stood out on the golf course.
I sighed, pulled the brim of my baseball hat down over my eyes to shade them from the sun and walked over to the tee. “It was a perfect night,” I mumbled.
“I’m sure it was,” Steve said with a surprisingly sincere tone. “You two are perfect for each other.”
“I guess you are just dying to say, ‘I told you so!’ Aren’t you?” I chuckled as I swung my club and watched as my ball went bouncing up onto the green. I grinned when Downie groaned at my awesome shot.
“Yeah, I was just going to save that line for your wedding day when I give a speech or something,” he said walking back over to the golf cart. We usually did a lot of walking when we were out on a beautiful day like this, but with his high ankle sprain, we really didn’t have much of choice but to drive.
“Whoa, don’t rush things there,” I said as I dropped my club into the bag. “I’m only 20.”
“We’ve only been together for basically 2 weeks, its bad enough I told her I loved her last night.” I flew forward and almost went out over the front of the golf cart as Steve slammed on the brakes. “What the…?!”
“You told her you love her?!” Downie exclaimed loudly as he turned towards me.
“Uh, ja.” I said, a little miffed by his contorted, confused face. “Did I do something wrong?”
He sat there looking at me for another minute before a big, cheeky smile broke out across his face. “Nothing is wrong with that. That’s fucking awesome!” Before I knew it he had me in a head lock rubbing his fist over the top of my head, growling, “My little Stammer has grown up!”
I ripped myself out of the precarious position and pushed him away from me. “Seriously, dude?! Good lord,” I complained as I put my hat back on my head and straightened up my shirt, looking around to make sure no one was near us.
“Haha! Never mind, I’m so saying ‘I told you soooooo!’ now because that just goes to show how smooth I really am!” he laughed, obviously pleased with his match making skills. “This calls for a celebration!”
I sighed before asking, “And what kind of celebration do you have in mind?” I could only imagine when it came to Downie’s silly ideas.
“Well, I think we need to get that Christmas tree we had talked about for the future Mrs. Stamkos and decorate it tonight since she has no decorations going on in the apartment. It’s an easy excuse to spend time with her even though Andy-ass is there.”
I looked over at him a little amazed about his novel idea and said, “Glad I keep you around, Downie. You always come up with the best ideas to cause trouble.”
He just grinned and posed in a strange pose a model would probably stand in and chirped, “Just call me Mr. Clark Griswold, because we are gonna make sure this Christmas tree is so bright you are going to need sunglasses to sit in Olivia’s living room.”
A few hours later with a couple hundred dollars spent on the essential Christmas decorations and food for dinner, we were on the elevator heading up to Olivia’s floor with Heather, Marty and the kids in tow. We figured by bringing along the
family, it would help make things a little less awkward with Andreas in the apartment. Besides, the little Lucas St. Louis had taken to Olivia in such a way that I was afraid I might have competition in a few years. St. Louis
“Do you think Olivia will let me stay over at her house on Christmas Eve?” Lucas asked as he sniffed at the large, twined wrapped Christmas tree he had helped picked out.
“Why do you want to stay over at her house for Christmas Eve? Santa will be delivering your presents to your house,” Downie asked the child.
“Well, I figured Olivia might need help to put out the cookies and milk for Santa. Plus, I have some extra Reindeer mix to put out if she would want to use it; especially since it is her first year over here in the
I wouldn’t want Santa getting lost finding her new home.” he said sincerely, making it extra hard not to laugh at the kid. U.S.
“I’m sure Stammer can help her with all that,” Marty piped up as he ruffled his small son’s hair.
“You let me know if you need help,” Lucas said as he shot me a look that I could have sworn was a death threat.
“No problem, buddy,” I laughed as the elevator doors opened to Olivia’s floor. We walked down the hall and Downie obnoxiously knocked on her door. There was no answer, but once all the excited “Sssh’s” faded and Downie knocked again we heard Andreas cursing loudly in German. A voice inside me called out saying something wasn’t right. We were all looking at each other when the door cracked open, the chain lock still on.
“What do you want?” Andreas growled.
“We’re hear to visit with you and Olivia,” Marty spoke up, taking a step in front of the children, obviously feeling the same way I did about the situation.
“We don’t want visitors,” Andreas said rudely and attempted to close the door. His attempt was thwarted by Downie’s hard walking cast that was placed between the door jam. “We’d at least like to talk to Olivia then,” Steve said in an even, yet on-edge tone.
“She’s not here.”
“That’s funny, because her car is outside,” Downie shot back automatically. “Look buddy, we bought a bunch of Christmas decorations for Olivia, so just let us in so we can at least put them in the living room instead of leaving us out here in the hall.”
“Fuck you,” Andreas growled, attempting to close the door again, but this time Downie pushed against the door and busted the chain lock, effectively toppling Andreas onto the floor.
Heather gasped when she saw how the apartment was totally trashed. “I’m calling 911,” she said, quickly ushering the kids down the hall. Marty, Downie and I pushed our way into the apartment.
“Olivia?!” I yelled out, quickly noting the dents in some of the drywall, with blood marking some spots. When she didn’t answer, I turned back around to find Andreas attempting to get up as he cursed in German and English. I helped him up by roughly grabbing his collar and putting his ugly face within inches of mine when I hissed, “Where the fuck is she?”
“None of your god-damn business, jock. She’s not your problem. She’s mine and if you knew what was best for you, you’d stay away. I have connections,” the troll threatened. Before thinking twice I felt my fist connect to the asshole’s nose, dropping him back down onto the floor. I was about ready to punch again when I heard Downie yell out from the bedroom down the hall.
Marty stepped in between me and Andreas, mumbling something about taking care of the piece of trash and coaxing me to go back to Downie who sounded like he had just seen hell. When I got back to the bedroom I heard him basically sobbing. When I entered the room, I instantly realized he had seen hell.
“Oh my God!” I choked out as I pushed him away from Liv who was lying on her bed, naked, bloodied and virtually unconscious. “Liv! Liv! Are you awake?!” I cried. “Downie, make sure Heather calls for an ambulance,” I turned to my friend who was still standing there with a horrified stare.
“I’m going to kill him,” Downie breathed out as he turned and raced down the hallway.
“Shit, shit, oh my God, Olivia, please wake up, open your eyes. I’m here now, you are safe, shit, shit,” I repeated over and over again as I cradled her in my arms. She was breathing and moaning, but she seemed to be unable to open her eyes and it was obvious they were swelling shut. Her face was completely battered with cuts and bruising. Her beautiful ivory skin was marked with new bruises and it looked like her arm was broken. I left her side for only a moment to grab a blanket out of the closet to cover her with. I vaguely heard Marty when he came back to the room to tell me that the ambulance was on its way because my heart was pounding so loudly. I was fairly sure I could hear Downie punching the crap out of Andreas and the only thing I could think about was how I hoped he left him alive enough so that I could kill the son-of-a-bitch myself when Liv was taken care of.
It seemed to take forever for the ambulance to arrive, but when they did everything moved in fast-forward. They took her out of my arms and began caring for her.
“So how did Andreas get the bruises on his face and possible broken nose?” the police officer asked Marty, Downie and I after the ambulance had taken Olivia. Andreas was being questioned by another officer as he sat in the bathroom, attempting to stop the bleeding from his nose.
“He seemed to have a terrible balance problem, Marty said sincerely. “When we pushed the door open, after seeing how the place was trashed, he just fell onto the floor onto his face, Officer.”
The officer stopped writing on his little note-pad, looked up at the 3 of us and just raised an eyebrow with a subtle smirk and nodded before going back to writing on the pad. After all of our statements were taken and we watched them put Andy-ass in the back of the cop-car with handcuffs; I rushed to the ER to find out how Liv was doing.
I remember blacking out the first time from his blow to my head. I pictured myself being thrown into the wall as he punched me some more and ripped at my clothing. Terrible nightmares clouded my mind while he raped me on my bed, while slipping in and out of consciousness. His threats of making me go back to
rang through my ears and his other hateful words echoed in my head. It had suddenly become quiet and the next voice I heard was one of an angel. Steven had rescued me, I was sure, but I couldn’t open my eyes and the pain would not let me tell him “thank you.” Germany
The next memory I made was of bright lights and a lot of people yelling at each other and poking and prodding me. Now I’m lying on what feels like pillows with warm blankets covering me. The smell however is just wrong yet the sounds of machines and bells are familiar to me. I startled when I felt a hand squeeze mine.
“Liv?” An even more familiar voice asks worriedly. “Liv, are you awake?” he whispers anxiously.
I slowly test my eyes but find that I can barely open them. They only open far enough to make the world look shaded and disproportioned. But it must have been far enough to show that I was responding to his voice.
“Oh, thank God, Liv, I’m here for you.”
“Sssteeeeven,” I attempted to whisper. My throat felt like sandpaper and my lips were dried and stuck together.
“Sssh, don’t talk, I’m right here with you, I’m just glad that you are waking up.”
“Aaanndddreeeaasssss,” I whispered.
“He’s rotting in a jail cell at the moment,” I heard Downie grumble from another part of my hospital room.
I just nodded and closed my eyes again as I pushed the pain medication button and willed it to take me off to sleep again.
I’m not sure when I woke up again, but it was dark in my room except for the illumination of the TV. This time I was able to open my eyes a little farther, causing an ice pack to fall to the side of my face.
“Hey,” Steven murmured as his large hand caressed my face. “I put that ice pack over your eyes, hoping to take down some of the swelling.”
I just smiled softly as I stared into his restless blue eyes. “I need something to drink.”
He abruptly stood up and grabbed a Styrofoam cup from the table next to him. “Here, have some water.”
I took a few small sips of the cold water, feeling it flow throw my body. “Danke,” I whispered as he set the cup back onto the table.
“I love you,” Steven blurted out as he leaned over top of my face and kissed my forehead. “I’m so sorry,” he sobbed.
I immediately squeezed his hand and willed him to stop. “Nein,” I said in a warning tone to get him to stop right away. “I will be fine.”
“He raped you, he bruised your beautiful face and body, he broke your arm,” Steven said with a tortured gaze. “He almost killed you,” he choked as tears ran down his sweet, young face.
“Sssh,” was all I could say as I reached up with my good arm and held his hand to my cheek, running my thumb back and forth over his warm skin. He cried for a few more moments, but stopped when Downie came back into the room.
“Oh, you are awake!” Steve exclaimed as he walked over to the other side of my bed. “How are you feeling?” he asked with concern.
“I feel like I was run over by a bus,” I said with a small smile.
“You look like me after a bad fight on the ice,” he joked, earning a growl from Steven.
“I probably still look better than you,” I chirped back, hoping Steven would get the drift that I was not going to be depressed about the situation.
Both boys laughed as Steve informed me that I was 100% right.
The doctor came in later on in the night to inform me of all my injuries and the plan of care. Their main worry was my concussion and my bruised kidneys. As long as everything kept progressing the way it was, I would be released to home tomorrow already but on strict bed rest and no work for at least a week or two. I wasn’t too keen on the work part because I knew Eric would be bummed, but I figured that once I felt up to it, I’d be able to start my duties as his hospice nurse without much issue. When the doctor left, Steve and Steven were back by my bedside going on about the future plans.
“So we talked and since Downie isn’t on the ice right now, we figured you could stay with him for the week,” Steven rambled. “That way you have someone to be with you. Heather said she would also come over and help with things if you needed them…”
I put my hand up to make him stop having diarrhea of the mouth. “I do have an apartment.”
“Um, a trashed one,” Downie spoke up. “You don’t have a choice on this one, Liv.”
I sighed, “Why?”
“Because for one they are not sure how long they can keep Andy-ass in jail since it seems he’s loaded and has some pull with the German government. The German embassy is involved and it already is a big mess,” Steve said in a sincere voice.
“Well I knew that was going to happen. Our families are aristocrats...I’m sure my VISA will be getting revoked at any point…”
“Not so, because we have the U.S. Embassy working on getting you citizenship,” Steven piped up.
“What?!” I asked a little loudly, causing me to grab at my head.
“Ssh, don’t get worked up,” he cooed. “The front office has been helping me with options on helping you stay here.”
I took a deep breath and blew it out, “Steven, why would you do something like that?” I asked evenly, trying not to be upset.
“Because I was afraid something like this would happen,” he mumbled, not being able to look me straight in the eyes.
My heart broke, realizing how much worry and stress I had been causing him and we had only known each other for such a short time. “So, what have they come up with?” I asked slowly, not sure if I wanted to hear their plan.
“There is a fast-track citizenship program that would take about 6 months for you to complete; it’s for skilled workers like you.” He paused for a moment and I could tell that he had something else on his mind as he looked over at Downie and then back at me. “Or, you could become a Canadian citizen,” he said slowly.
I’m sure the look on my face was a puzzled one because Downie just snickered quietly.
“Why would I want to do that?” I asked, feeling like I had totally missed something.
He sucked in some air and blew it out slowly. “Well I do want to spend the rest of my life with you…” he began.
“Uh, stop,” I hissed. “Nein. Das medications might be clouding up my kompf right now, but my brain does still work. I love you und I want to be with you, but we are not rushing into anything like that 2 and a half weeks into our relationship, Steven Stamkos. Marriage ist not an option right now.”
“But it would be the easiest way…” he began.
“I love you.”
“And I love you, but not right now, Steven,” I pleaded.
“Told you,” Downie mumbled.
“SHUT UP,” Steven and I both yipped at the same time, causing Downie to shrink his way out of my room; something he probably should have done a while ago.
“I will go through and get my U.S. Citizenship and if we get married, then I have dual citizenship allowing me to still work here in the States,” I said evenly. “Thank you for the offer, Steven,” I said as I took his hand and kissed it. “I will say yes when the time ist right. Now, however ist not the right time,” I said as he sadly nodded his head yet seemingly relieved that I had refused him. I knew it was not the right time for us to be making hasty decisions. We deserved the time to be a couple because frankly I didn’t want to miss this part of our relationship for the world.