Standing one hundred feet atop the Daugava river, the view from Lincoln Tate’s third-floor balcony was that of pure beauty, and it displayed the heart of Riga’s downtown core magnificently. Lincoln Tate had purchased this costly estate at the end of last season because he wanted to immerse himself in the city that had drafted him to really get to know the local culture. Riga, Latvia, was a city like most in that it was riddled with history, and some of that history had been masked in the architecture that surrounded Lincoln now. Watching the water flow below him was a soothing experience and it allowed Lincoln to clear his mind. He knew that he had to stay focused and not allow the ending of this past season to dissuade him but-
“Lincoln?” He heard the concern in her voice and knew instantly that she was standing in the doorway that led to their balcony, “Is everything all right?”
It was a simple question, but one that was covering several subjects. What one did she wish to know about first? Perhaps it was best to start with himself, “I’m fine,” he felt her edge closer, she was standing behind him now, “Everything is fine,” he said as he turned to face his newly wedded wife, Anna. She was strikingly beautiful in the morning light, and as the sun bounced off her long and wavy hair, he had to resist grabbing a hold of her and pulling her in. He didn’t want her to know he was struggling with the loss, he didn’t want her to see any weakness in him at all. Yes, of course they were in love and yes, he trusted her to stay with him no matter what the circumstances, but they were still getting to know one another- and he didn’t want her to see him as anything but strong, both physically and mentally.
She wrapped her arms around him and buried her head into his chest, “Is it the loss?” She was asking about Riga Reign, “Or something else?” She was asking about his family. Because in Lincoln’s case, it was one or the other.
“The loss,” Lincoln was being honest, he was having a hard time shaking it and he knew that if the two of them were going to be a partnership then he would have to confide in her. “We were close, so close Anna and now,” he paused, “It’s all changed. Kallis is gone, Palo and Elias are retired,” Lincoln turns slightly to look out on the horizon, his mind going over the finals bit by bit, searching for a way to pass blame. “There have been times in my life where I lost a game or a series and I could understand it,” his eyes fell back to hers, she was listening to him, “This one stings. I wish I could say that Seattle was the better team, but I can’t. We were the better team, and we were so close. I just don’t know what to expect next season, there’s a lot of what if’s right now and I hope I’m not one of them.”
“Lincoln,” her voice was reassuring, “No matter what happens you’ll have me,” she pulled him in close and kissed him.
“I’m happy here,” Lincoln told her, and he truly meant it, “This is home for me now.”
“Wherever we go, is home,” she smiled and gripped his hand tightly.
“I know that,” Lincoln said as he squeezed her hand back, mimicking her action. “I think what I mean to say is that I’m not done yet, not with the game and not with Riga. I haven’t heard anything but, in this business, you can never say never, and with all the changes that have happened so far it’s got me worried.”
“What worries you the most?”
Another question that was layered, was she really asking about his feelings toward the game and Riga Reign- or was she asking about them? Did their love depend on being in Riga? Did Lincoln believe it could last if he were traded to another team?
Lincoln thought out the question and settled on an answer he believed to be true, “Not having control.”
“What can you control?”
“What I do on the ice,” he knew where she was leading him, but more importantly, he knew that she was right.
“Focus on what you can control,” she told him the answer he knew all along, “but for today, focus on me.” She smiled devilishly, “Brunch?”
“I love you,” his words genuine.
“Ditto,” her word too.