What? I'm only ... uh, five days early. ("Half-birthday" is what my students call it.) ; )
Anyway ... standard disclaimer applies. Not mine.
“Oh my God, Daddy! It’s him! It’s Guy Carbonneau!”
“Leave the man alone, honey. I’m sure he wants to eat in peace.”
Carbo half-turned, quickly spotting the father-daughter pair at the counter of the deli. The father was tall, several inches taller than Carbo was himself, with receding brown hair and eyes that screamed BLUE! even from across the room; the daughter looked to be in her late teens, brown-haired like her father, and she was rattling off stats without taking breath: “And in 1986, he won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens, and he’s won the Frank J. Selke trophy twice—that’s for top defensive lineman in the league—and this year, he was made Captain of the Canadiens, and….”
Turning back to his lunch, he made eye contact with Brian Skrudland, who simply looked amused.
Ben Stone was a master at studying people, able to do so without seeming to. He and his daughter took a table away from the dark-haired and -eyed hockey player, yet facing him; she was still chattering nonstop. He listened with the same bemused patience he’d employed since she first learned to talk and unobtrusively watched the subject of the monologue, trying to understand her fascination.
Maybe if I were female?
“Daddy, would you get his autograph for me?” she asked suddenly, and he brought his attention back to her.
“His autograph?” he repeated, and she nodded anxiously.
He sat back and set down his sandwich, regarding his daughter with a wearied resignation. “What do you want him to autograph? Your magazine?”
She touched the April 13th issue of The Hockey News that she’d happened to spot—and then begged shamelessly for. “Do you think he’d mind?”
Stone sighed. “I daresay he’s used to it by now.” He pulled the magazine towards him and stood, instinctively straightening his tie.
“Excuse me … Mr. Carbonneau?”
“Told you,” Skrudland muttered, and Carbo half-smiled. Tuning, he found himself facing the father he’d noticed earlier. He was holding a familiar issue of The Hockey News and looking apologetic.
“I’m sorry for interrupting you, but … would you sign this for my daughter?”
“Of course,” Carbo replied graciously, in his Quebec accent. “Do you have a pen?”
The father quickly located one in the inside pocket of his suit jacket and handed it over.
“And who should I make it to?”
“Lisa,” the father replied. Carbo nodded, still smiling, and bent over the magazine for a moment.
“Are you attending tonight’s game?” he asked, handing back the magazine.
“She is,” the father responded, a hint of discomfort in his tone. “I will if I can—if my job allows it.”
“What do you do?”
There was the barest of hesitations. “I’m a prosecutor.”
“Well, I hope you can make it.”
“Thank you, sir.” The father accepted the pen and the magazine and returned to his table, where his daughter eagerly took the magazine, looked at it, and excitedly hugged her father.
The father met Carbo’s eyes and smiled.
A/N: Okay, that was considerably harder to write than I was expecting--not the least because it took me a solid week to get to a writable concept. Plus, it feels weird to fanfic real people, be it your real-world obsession (Carbo) or mine (Sig Hansen).
Anyway, happy birthday, and enjoy!