Chris walked out of the lawyer's stuffy office into the sunshine, his late coach's voice still ringing in his head.

"It is my dearest wish and last request that my ashes be placed into a curling stone, and that stone be used to win The Golden Broom."

He stopped to light a cigarette and heard footsteps behind him. Lennox had been right on his heels, and he continued talking as though they hadn't been interrupted. "I mean, what the fuck was the old man thinking? Get the team back together? After ten years? And why Andy as coach, for fuck's sake?"

"Fucked if I know," said Andy.

Chris whirled around, almost falling. "Hey," he said, lamely. "I didn't mean, uh .... Sorry about your dad."

Andy nodded. "Yeah. Thanks for coming back. It would've meant a lot to him. He ... used to talk about you a lot."

"Oh. Even after ...?"

Andy's gaze narrowed. "After what, Cutter? After you ran off and left Julie? After you threw all the stones in the fucking lake? Or after you burned that rock and didn't call it?"

Chris winced. "He knew?"

Andy looked away. "I don't know if he did or not. He never said."

"Then how ...?"

"What are you, stupid? I was there, you moron. I saw you."



Chris grinned. "Explains why you're so pissed at me, then."

Andy snorted. "Not even close," he said. "Come on."

Andy started down the street and Chris followed instinctively. After ten minutes of silent walking he asked, "So are you going to do it?"

"What? Coach? Are you nuts?"

Chris shrugged. "Possibly."

"Listen, Chris, there are things I'm good at, but curling was never one of them. Dad would never accept that, but I'd think after having witnessed some of my more spectacular failures that you'd agree."

"Mmm," said Chris noncommitally.

"Wait a minute -- you're not actually thinking about -?"

"No. Of course not. Stupid idea. Forget about it."

Andy looked down pointedly at the 42-pound reminder Chris had been lugging for seven blocks now. "Right."

They walked on.

"Why are you pissed at me, then?" Chris asked as they passed yet another unfamiliar storefront.


"If it wasn't the burned rock, why are you pissed?"

"Who says I am?"

Chris didn't answer that. After a minute, Andy swore under his breath. "Fucker."

Chris grinned and waited.

Finally Andy stopped walking and just sat down on the curb. Chris sat beside him and put the coach's stone down, almost groaning with relief. He pulled out his cigarettes and lit another one. "Why?"

"You really want to know?"

Chris exhaled a long bitter breath. "Yeah."

"Ten years, Cutter. Ten fucking long years of listening to him go on and on about you. Because even after all the shit you pulled, you were the son he wanted. And I ... was the son he got. That's why."

"Bullshit. He never said that."

"Nobody has to say the water's wet, either, it just is. And if you're a Foley, you're a curler. That message always came through loud and clear."

"Fuck, Andy, I'm ... I'm sorry."

"Yeah." Andy looked at his watch. "Shit, I have to go pick up Brandon, Mum's got enough to worry about."

"Who's Brandon?"

"My son."

"You're married?"

"Not so much anymore since the divorce."


Andy's grin was not quite echoed in his eyes. "Stick around a while, Cutter, you'll see there's been a few more changes." He hopped to his feet and walked away, hands in his pockets.

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