Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Hope everyone stayed safe in the storm!

In the quiet darkness of Erin’s bedroom, Jordan forgot to be nervous.  He forgot hockey and the lockout and his birth date and anything beyond the feel of her body.  They rolled across the mattress until he was on top, and Jordan forgot to hesitate.

“Mmmmm,” he whispered against the delicate skin of her neck, where he’d bitten down as he ground his lap into hers.  Soft skin was everywhere.  He pushed again and Erin wrapped her legs around his waist.  His stick shift slipped right into gear and nearly destroyed the two pieces of underwear between them.  They both reached down simultaneously, tugging and pushing.

Focus, Jordan told himself as he won the race, slipping her panties underneath her ass and peeling them down first.  He got an inch between them and watched as he stripped off her last scrap of clothing.  She was perfect, of course, and the site of her bared completely doubled his desire.

Erin knew Jordan wasn’t a virgin.  But he looked at her like she was made of goals and assists; like she was a trophy.  It wasn’t fair when he was the one they should be admiring.  His eyelashes fluttered as she pressed her hand to the obvious shape straining his boxer briefs.  She stroked his length, feeling him stiffen in her hand as he took deep, even breaths.  With a flick of her wrist, she was under his shorts.

“God,” he said so quietly she almost missed it.  Smooth and hard and hot against her palm, Erin thought the same thing herself.  She worked his waistband down, sliding one hand needlessly over his bare ass to make sure she got every last inch.  When his shorts were stretched between his thighs, she used her feet to push them away.

“Good thing I didn’t plan on waiting,” she said with a smirk.  “Never would have made it this far.”

Jordan let her guide his cock to the spot and gritted his teeth against the first brush of his raging skin against hers.  Completely lost in her touch, his inner monologue spoke right out loud.

“Fuck the lockout.”

Everything happened at once.  Jordan pushed, Erin gasped; he moaned, she twisted handfuls of bed sheet as he slowly drove between her legs.  She said something colorful, his laugh turned into a groan.  When he was in all the way, Jordan wasted no time hitching Erin’s legs around his waist again and going for another inch.  He got it, with a sexy little cry from her lips.  She hooked her ankles together and Jordan stroked.  It was like going over Niagra Falls in a barrel – lots of slow lead up and suddenly they were plummeting and spinning at terminal velocity.

“Jordan,” she said so breathily he almost came.

He’d forgotten how good it felt – that first time, that loss of control.  It had to be with someone special.  Random girls weren’t his style; they didn’t provide the same rush of having won something coveted.  Any idiot could take a penalty, not everyone could score goals.  He worked another slow pull and push, locking his mouth to hers to keep from saying crazy things.

Erin kissed him back fiercely.  His fingers dented her flesh, tilting her hips.  Her head fell back, breaking from his lips, but she couldn’t make a sound.  Jordan pressed down, curling his back and pushing harder through his thick legs.  Erin thought she might snap in half, her back arched and Jordan ramping up the pace.  He wouldn’t make it long – he was too sweet to go for hours.  He wanted her as badly as she wanted to be had.  Making a figure eight with her hips, Erin twisted his shaft as it plunged in and out of her core.

“Ohfuck,” he gasped.  Erin kept moving.  The pull was almost as good as the push, catching all the nerve endings on their flip sides and making them sing.  There was no time for any racy tricks or changing positions.  It would be all they could do to hold on for another moment of their first time.

Jordan was dizzy.  Blood and testosterone and brain power had rushed south, leaving him blinking away stars as Erin’s face swam before his eyes.  Feeling had taken over everything in his body.  Her strong thighs squeezed at his waist, her tight ass was in his hands.  She kept doing that swiveling thing.

“You’re gonna make me come,” he panted.

Erin was right at the cusp.  For lack of coherent thought, her brain just read raw data.  “God you feel so fucking good.”

“Erin,” he whispered, his own body still trying to cram itself inside her on every thrust.

Her body was humming so loud she couldn’t hear herself speak.  “Kiss me.”

Jordan did as he was told and crushed his mouth to hers.  At the force and insistence, the pleasure and the pain of it, Erin slipped right off the edge.  Her body clenched, then just as quickly it fell apart.  Waves of sensation shuddered through, her back arched so hard it lifted their hips clear off the bed.

It was like being wrung out to dry.  Grab, twist, release.  Jordan’s body snapped with tension then broke all over.  He cried out in near-pain as he came; hot, hard bursts, holding her up into his lap like he was afraid of putting her through the mattress.

His own voice sounded miles away, the cry unintelligible anyway.  Drained like a bank account, his body still tried to pay.  The last two pulses were dry heaves – Jordan had nothing left to give.

When Jordan came to, he was still slumped over Erin’s prone body.  Her fingers twisted lazily in the hair at the back of his neck.  Judging by the rise and fall of their breathing, he’d only been out a minute.  “You made me faint,” he said.  Lifting his head, he saw that dazzling, dimpled smile.

“I hoped you weren’t the kind of guy to fall asleep right after.”

“That wasn’t sleep.  I think I died.”

“How’s the afterlife?”

He planted a kiss on her collarbone.  “Southern.”

Jordan rolled off and pulled Erin close to face him.  A few brown strands were stuck to her forehead and it was twenty degrees warmer in the room.  All he could do was kiss her and close his eyes.

This is different, he knew.  She was just a girl.  He was just a guy.  They were together and no one could find them or need them until they said so.  It was how normal people lived, he was sure of it.  Everywhere he put his hands was a new treasure.

They fell silent for a while, knowing the other wasn’t sleeping but each lost in separate thought.  Erin wondered if she’d changed things, though she had chosen wisely.  Sex with Jordan had been more than just physically satisfying.  It had been a tiny little storm, a force of nature.  And fun.  Erin felt like she’d gone running into a downpour for the wild energy as much as the water.

Jordan thought about nothing.  In truth, he’d forgotten about the game he’d just played.  That never happened at home.  Plus, he had broken if not a rule, then at least a guideline.  For what it was worth, Jordan hoped he’d get to do it again.

“You lied to me last night,” Erin finally said.

“I didn’t.”

“You said no sex on game nights.”

The laughter was weak, but it was the best they could do.  “If I suck tomorrow, everyone will know to blame you,” he pointed out.

“I’ll just tell them you already scored.”

Jordan half-woke to a face full of soft brown hair and his hand resting flat across a bare stomach.  He immediately tried to slip back into whatever dream seemed so real.   Only the scent of shampoo and the heat of soft skin brought him around - unless he was dreaming in 4D, there was more to be awake for today.

Erin lay on her side, Jordan cuddled against her back.  He’d tilted his face down into her hair to shy away from the weak light filling the room.  Staying close, he turned just his neck to have a look around.  It had been dark the night before, and he’d been less interested in what was on her walls than what was under her pants.

Her room was painted light blue.  Over his head was an old-fashioned iron rail headboard painted yellow, with two framed black and white photos framed hanging above.  She had a white desk pushed against one wall, topped by a hutch-style bookshelf that took up another four feet.  The shelves were filled with paperbacks and trinkets, the kind of stuff girls always collected.  On top of her dresser, a jewelry box spilled over into a low tray filled with bottles of lotion and perfume.  Next to the bed, a nightstand held a lamp with a yellow shade, a phone charger, iPod dock and and old fashioned silver alarm clock.  They were snuggled together underneath a dark blue duvet cover.  He couldn’t make out the photos on her shelves, but wondered if any of them were old boyfriends.  Maybe those could be replaced.

The clock said it was almost ten in the morning.  Jordan didn’t have a morning skate because the game was at five.  He could conceivably lay in bed with Erin for another few hours and just consider his pre-game nap accomplished.  Or just lay there and marvel.

He didn’t have anywhere to be, anything to do.  No one cared where he was - except hopefully Erin when she woke up.  Jordan got to sleep in some days but there was always life going on - a charity event, a photo shoot, travel.  Some days he would just see a movie or wash his car or grocery shop.  Even then, someone always recognized him.  Jordan was happy to meet any hockey fan but sometimes he just wanted a break.

Smiling to himself, Jordan wrapped tighter around Erin and went back to sleep.

"You’re still here.”

Erin’s voice was the kind of sleepy and quiet that made Jordan’s heart race.  He rarely got to experience something so intimate.  It used to be his favorite thing, laying in bed and talking to Julia.  He pushed the thought away - it was not fair to let her in here.

“I told you I would be,” he said as she rolled to face him.  Her hair was mussed and just a hint of leftover makeup was smeared at the corners of her eyes.  Jordan traced the spot lightly with his thumb.   “I’d much rather wake up to you than Ryan.”

“Aw,” she made a face.  “He’s so cute though!  Like a little fox face.”

“Oh don’t start, he’s already getting cocky ‘cause Darcy flirts with him!  He’ll turn into Taylor in a minute.”

Laughing and chatting in low voices, laying tangled together in a little cocoon of warmth, Jordan knew he’d made the right choice in spending the night with Erin.  He really wanted to make the right choice again immediately.  Erin saw the gleam in his eye and shook her head.

“I need my energy to cheer you on,” she said.  “And after, I might invite you over again.”

There it was - she was happy too.  No second guesses.  If Jordan could do anything about it, Erin would never regret being with him.  “Come with me, before the game.  Come see the locker room and stuff.  I can get you a jersey, if you want.”

Erin let her lips fall softly against his.  “Oh, I want it.”

Jordan sat on the counter, peeling an orange while Erin made omelets for breakfast.  In his expensive dress shirt and suit pants from the night before, he looked like a businessman ready to make a slightly-rumpled deal.  The momentary awkwardness they’d experienced after coming in last night was gone for good - he was telling a funny story about Taylor and carefully piling chunks of orange peel on a paper towel.  Erin slid the food onto two plates and added toast.

“Thanks,” he said, taking the plate without getting down.  “Come here.”  Erin stepped between his knees and Jordan gave her a long, lingering kiss.  

“On second thought, I have plenty of energy,” she reversed her decision from earlier.  “Stay right there.”  She made as if the climb up beside him on the counter, and Jordan gulped.  No way he’d turn that down.  The surprise on his face and the awe-filled look that she might actually do it made her giggle.  Instead she grabbed the plates and turned toward the table.

Jordan growled.  “Tease!”

He hadn’t brought a girl with him to the rink since Julia.  Jordan hated how she kept creeping in around the edges of his thoughts.  Of course, it had been a really big deal when she came to her first game as a kind of date, then when he made it official by introducing her to his teammates and coaches.  At the time, Jordan had felt like a grown man.  Now, pulling into the sectioned-off player parking at Cox Convention Center, he wasn’t sure how to feel.  It was still hockey, he was still a professional athlete.  It was just a smaller scale.  Erin had probably been in this building more times that he had.  She gave him a smile and swung out of the car like it was something she did every day.

But when she waited for him at the door and slipped her hand into the crook of his arm, Erin said, “This is exciting!”

Jordan blushed, and not because he was wearing last night’s clothes.

Erin turned her face away so Jordan wouldn’t see her smile.  It wasn’t the ‘thanks for last night’ smile she’d worn all morning, though that one was still around.  It was a proud smile that said they were on the same page, and moving forward, and now they were walking the back hallways of the arena.  As much as Erin had come to know Jordan, she had no illusions that in a faraway city, a place like this was his life.  She would never make it to there, but it hadn’t stopped either of them from getting her here.

Inside the workings of the convention center looked as Erin would have guessed - institutional, functional, cluttered.  A Barons logo was painted on the dented locker room door.  Jordan motioned for her to stay outside and a minute later he was back.

“They’re all dressed,” he said, holding the door open.

“And none of us in yesterday’s suit,” said Justin Schultz with a big grin.  Erin had met him in the lounge the night before, and there was no question Jordan hadn’t been home since then.  Everyone in the room had some kind of smirk on his face - Jordan Eberle getting some from the local talent.  She rolled her eyes.

“Too bad you don’t have a game tomorrow,” Erin said cheerfully.  “You might have seen it again.”

Jordan introduced anyone she had missed after the first game and gave her a quick tour of the facility.  As they came back from the equipment room, Ryan was walking in.

“He... hey.  Hey guys,” he stuttered, Adam’s apple bobbing.  Those perfect, pointed eyebrows were halfway up his forehead like he’d been caught doing something wrong.  Jordan and Erin looked at each other and burst out laughing.

“Oh God,” Erin wheezed, collapsing against Jordan.  “You’re... stop.  Oh my God.”

Jordan could not get a word out.  Ryan fidgeted, tugging at his tie as everyone stared at the three of them making a scene.  Finally Ryan cracked a smile, ducked his head to hide it and fled.  Jordan tugged Erin’s arm and they flew after him.  The lounge door down the hall was just slamming.

“What happened?” Jordan demanded, throwing it open.  Erin bounced off the wall, then him, turning wide eyes on Ryan.

“Nothing!” he cried, looking even younger than his nineteen years.  “Nothing happened.”

Jordan scratched at a spot on his neck, then glanced at Erin.  “You tell him.”

“No,” she said, “you tell him.”

“Did you do that to me?” Jordan asked.

“No!  Didn’t you even look in the....,” she protested as they momentarily forgot Ryan was standing there, shifting his weight nervously.

“WHAT?!” Ryan finally shouted.

Erin walked right up to him.  Ryan held perfectly, suspiciously still.  When she was almost pressed to his chest, way too close for anything but kissing, she looked up into his narrowed eyes.  Her chin was even with his shoulder.  The same height, in fact, as Darcy.  Erin lifted one arm like she was going to hug him; Ryan flinched.  Instead her thumb touched lightly to a spot at the side of his neck, perfectly even with her lips.

“You have a hickey,” she said.

Ryan yelped, clapped a hand to his neck, and nearly knocked Erin over as he ran from the room.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Jordan was equal parts everything - tired, confused, turned on, happy.  It was impossible not to be happy, sitting so close to Erin where no one was watching or cared if they took all night.  His tired parts wanted to curl up with her - the same as his turned on parts, they only disagreed about how much energy he could muster.  The confused part didn't know which impulse to hear over all the others shouting.

"Hey," she said.  Jordan focused. "Lost you there for a second."

"Sorry," he mumbled and turned more to face her.  Since when did he tune out a beautiful girl, cozied up at a private dinner?  Since when did that kind of thing ever happen to him at all?  Her sweater was clingy in all the right places and close as they were, he could smell the warm, enticing scent of her skin.

Exhausted or not, Jordan's imagination was awake.

"Sorry," he repeated. "What did you say?"

"I said, there were a few girls in Eberle jerseys at the game.  I felt kinda special, knowing you."  Erin gave him a big grin, willing him to cheer up.  If he was this distracted after every loss she was in for a lot of bad dates.

But Jordan's mind was back at the table.  "They were okay.  You're much prettier."

"You didn't even see me!"

"I did." Jordan took a sip of his water.  "You and Darcy by the glass, watching us and talking.  Ryan was a little disappointed there was no sign."

Erin laughed.  "Well we didn't see them leave, so Lord knows what they're up to now.  In your room."

Jordan rolled his eyes.  He knew he couldn't bring Erin to the hotel, but he could always have gone home alone if tonight came to that.  Or not.  If Ryan had a chance with a girl he already knew... well, he was a kid.  He'd go where he could.  And he couldn't get sexiled to Hall's room either, not with Amanda around.  "Maybe they went to her house."

"Roommate," Erin shrugged.  "Same as you."

"You know who doesn't have a roommate?" Jordan asked.  The curious part of him was itching.  It had been a long day since Erin was teasing him over breakfast but every word was stamped into his memory.

"Taylor," she said.

"You," Jordan corrected.  

Erin pretended to just remember.  "I guess I don't.  Big empty apartment all to myself, just sittin' there empty waiting on someone to...."

Jordan kissed her.  It was too easy to stop the flirting with the next best thing - a kiss.  Erin smiled against his lips, her small victory in reigning him back from distraction.  She tasted like the tomato sauce on her pasta.

Curiosity partially satisfied, Jordan steered the conversation to a new, less pulse-racing topic so he could concentrate.  But even the non-suggestive discussion - about hockey, school, music - still involved Erin's mouth and hair and dimples.  Jordan focused on her voice to keep from getting lost in the way her lips moved.  It made him think about how they felt to kiss, the things they'd promised earlier and where they could go on his body, and soon his heartbeat was accelerating again.

"Jordan," Erin said again. "That's twice now."

"Sorry!" Jordan's cheeks went red, his risque train of thought leaving tracks across his face.  "I.... sorry."

"You what?" Erin prompted.

"Nothing, sorry." He shook his head.

"Hmm," she purred.  "If you blush like that over nothing, imagine if you knew what I was thinking."

His eyes went wide.  If she guessed what he'd been imagining... he gulped.  She raised one eyebrow as if daring him to tell the truth.  He couldn't stutter out a word.

"My God," she collapsed into giggles.  "You’re making me feel like a creep!"

"What are you thinking?" he managed to gurgle out.

Erin put her napkin across her empty plate. "I think we should go."

That reigned in Jordan's scattered mind.  They were going somewhere.  By process of elimination: Erin's apartment.  That was all the info Jordan could handle - whatever happened next would have to wait till the first part of this mission was accomplished.  He signaled the waitress and practically tossed a credit card at her, then left a tip big enough to make Erin sigh.

"A cute guys who tips well, the man of my dreams."

On the drive to her apartment, Erin sang along to the radio and looked out the window, much the way she had that first night when she took Jordan to the old drive in.  What had she been thinking, letting a strange guy drive her off into the boonies?  But he seemed harmless then, a handsome diversion with a great smile.  Those innocent blue eyes had sealed the deal.

Now, less than two weeks later, they were driving to her house.  Alone together.  And the way she'd been talking, she had some promises to deliver on.

It's okay, she told herself.  Darcy's words rang in her head - she'd feel like shit when Jordan left, regardless of what passed between them.  It was already enough to hurt.  

Any cut bleeds, Erin knew.  Might as well be deep.

In truth, she had resigned herself to someday regretting this.  Not what she'd done, but that it was all she got to do.

Jordan parked and they walked toward Erin’s door, like going to her place after a date was something they did all the time.  He still wore his expensive suit, tie loose at his throat.  In the door and up the stairs and there they were.  She put her purse on the table.  He stuffed his hands into his pockets.  They stared at each other for a long, awkward moment, each thinking they were about to do something the other might not really want. The up and down energy of the night, the cheering and worrying, had settled uncomfortably in Erin’s stomach.  Jordan chewed his bottom lip.

“Wine?” she asked.

“Yeah, great.”

It gave her something to do with her hands at least.  Five minutes ago she’d been touching him easily.  Now there seemed to be a force field  between them.   She propped the bottle on her thigh and wished he weren’t watching so closely as she twisted the screw and worked the cork free.

Jordan went for wine glasses in attempt to look anywhere else.  They felt absurdly delicate in his clumsy hands, so he placed them carefully, one by one, onto the counter.  Erin’s perfume was making his head spin.  She was right there.  All he had to do was reach out and brush the hair from her shoulder, put his lips to her neck.  He knew she loved that.  It would put this train on the right track and probably cost those wine glasses their lives.  A valiant death.

But he didn’t.  So she poured two quarter-glasses full and turned.  “Let’s sit.”

In the living room, they settled onto the couch.  Their legs touched.  Each took a long sip of wine, like they were judging a contest.  But they couldn’t hold it forever.  Erin felt the heat from Jordan’s body through his clothes like a drug.  His weight tipped her against him as the cushion sank beneath them.   It wasn’t like her to be shy, not after she’d already made up her mind.  And advertised it.

Just when she was about to ask why things were suddenly so tense, Jordan yawned.  Big time.

Well he must be exhausted and maybe tonight’s not…, she was thinking as his arm came down around her shoulders.

It took a second.  Then she burst out laughing.  “Oh my God, did you really just do that?!”

Jordan was leaning back, wine in the other hand and a huge smile on his face.  “Yeah.  It was getting pretty weird there for a minute.”

“Definitely.”  She was still cracking up.  He looked so satisfied with his swag.  “Wow.  Did you practice that move on some girls in high school?”

Jordan shrugged, the picture of innocence.  “Just practicing to meet you someday.”

All Erin could do was shake her head.  The awkwardness between them evaporated, leaving only the same sexual tension they’d been tossing back and forth all day.  Jordan had been the one to do it.

He must really want this, she thought.  Thank God.

Jordan leaned forward to set his glass down, and turned toward her.  Erin‘s mouth moved, lips slightly parted, as if expecting a kiss.  He was about to say they didn’t have to do anything tonight, but the words dissolved on his tongue.

Erin kissed him back hungrily.  Her hands raked into his hair, her back arched to push her breasts against his chest.  Whatever part of him thought it could stop was drowned when Erin pulled him down on top.  If she wanted it, Jordan wasn’t about to say no.  He wrapped an arm under her thighs and lifted until she was in line with the couch.  Then he poured himself the rest of the way over her body.  She parted her knees and his thigh pushed between, right down till it could go no more.  They both made a muffled sound on contact.  Then Erin rolled her hips, grinding once against him.  Jordan groaned and squeezed the handful of her breast.

Her fingers slipped under his coat, working it back off his shoulders.  Jordan lifted slightly to shake his arms free, the sight of her smiling up sent an ache of desire spearing into his lap.  Erin hooked two fingers behind the carefully knotted tie and pulled slowly, provocatively, back and forth a little at a time until the tie came open in her hand.  Next, the buttons.

It wasn’t easy for her to go one at a time when she wanted to rip the shirt in half.  But if it cost as much as the suit… well, the coat was tossed semi-straight onto the nearby chair.  It would survive.  She got four buttons open, stopping over the widest part of Jordan’s chest.  He was flexing and she didn’t even  make fun of him because it felt so good.  Between that and the way he was kneeling up against her crotch, she was only torturing herself.  Finally she reached his navel and untucked the shirt at his waist.

He peeled it off, shamelessly watching her eyes linger on his body.  He wasn’t a big guy.  He wasn’t small either.  Jordan thought of himself as almost painfully average everywhere but on the ice.  Erin had seen that – not in top form, but at least it was a game.  Still she seemed more impressed with him here, in private.  That was a very new experience.  Jordan grabbed the hem of his white undershirt with both hands and did his best Baywatch pulling it off over his head.

Erin exhaled, like the sight of him made her weak.  Which it did.  Jordan dropped into a push up and stopped just shy of her body.   If anyone here was getting faint, it should be him.  Their lips touched first, then tongues, then he settled himself to one side and pushed his palm over her breast.  Her fingers dug into the muscles of his back as if she couldn’t pull him close enough.  Jordan thanked hockey for all those hours of upper body work.  They made out on the couch like teenagers for ages, pressing together until they were breathless.  It took Jordan so long to work up the nerve to go under her shirt that Erin giggled when he finally touched her skin.  She forgot that she’d told him her secret.  Jordan squeezed the narrowest part of her side and she jumped.

“Agh!  Stop!”

Pinned and helpless, she only got squeezed again.  “You really are ticklish!” he said.

“Jordan!” she yelled.  “I will kill you!”

But he was there, that place he’d thought about so many times: making Erin laugh and struggle, her skin soft against his workman’s hands.  He couldn’t stop.  Erin thrashed toward the outside of the couch, whipped herself from underneath Jordan and fell right to the floor, gasping.  He reached for her again.  She jumped up and whipped her sweater off over her head, long hair flying.  Jordan fell still like he’d been shot.

“That’ll make you pay attention,” she smiled down.  Then she climbed on top of Jordan the way he’d done to her: knee between his knees, thigh up high and tight between legs.  Those gorgeous blue eyes struggled to take it all in.  He closed them when she kissed him, and his hands knew right where to go.  His fingers gently stroked the skin along the cups of her bra.  That tickled too.

Erin knew she would have to lead if she wanted to take this farther.  Jordan, for as deeply as he was kissing her, seemed content to be topless in the living room.  Not that she objected to his strong hands and kisses all night.  Maybe that was enough.  She wasn’t easy, as girls went.  Darcy’s words from before sounded different in her head now that Jordan was in her arms.  Erin really liked him, and judging by the way he hadn’t even gone for the clasp on her bra, he really liked her too.  Respected her.  They could wait.  It’s not like he was….

Oh wait.  He could leave at any moment.

Erin levered herself up and reached back. The straps of her bra dropped down her shoulders.  Jordan’s wide-eyed stare made her giggle as she held the bra to her chest with both hands, then one hand, before she let it fall away.  When the straps were around her wrists, Erin dropped her bra right on Jordan’s face.

He reached for her waist, pulling her higher against his body.  Her thigh drove against his crotch but his groan was muffled by a mouthful of her breast.  Pushing her soft mounds together, he buried his face in them.  One nipple after the other grew taut beneath his tongue, straining for him the way his body wanted her.  Erin sighed in pleasure and Jordan thought Oklahoma wasn’t the only place he’d like to visit south of the border.

Erin was aware that posed over him with her ass in the air and arms extended, back arched dramatically, she looked like a porn star.  If porn stars kept their jeans on.  Below her, she was sure Jordan looked even better on his back.  He caught her nipple between his teeth and tugged, hard enough to make her gasp.  As a reflex, she twisted her hip and ground against his lap.

“Ohgod,” he said into the curve of her breast.

Wow, Erin thought at the same time.  Their angle had been enough to tease, but that twist proved that Jordan’s body was almost ready for the main event.  Maybe she wouldn’t have to do all the work after all.  Erin rolled her hips again, working herself against his growing erection.

“Erin,” he groaned.  “Fuck.”

She chuckled, a purring sound deep in her throat.  Jordan wondered if prey animals heard that from a lioness right before she pounced.  Erin simply tipped her head down, hair falling into his face.  Jordan knew the next words out of her mouth would take them to bed, and once there he would be powerless to resist.  There was no fooling around without going all the way tonight – Jordan felt drunk and stupid and absolutely on fire.  It was all or nothing.  So he caught her cheeks in his hands and spoke before she could.

“We don’t have to.  If you want to wait.”

Please please please don’t want to wait, his brain whispered.

Erin’s heart stopped, paused for a long moment, then clunked to life again.  A piece or two dropped out, hard and sharp, stabbing into scars left by guys who hadn’t been so careful.  But not Jordan.  Good thing Erin didn’t plan on stopping.

“Wait for what?” she asked quietly.  “You to leave?”

“No, no,” Jordan touched her soft, curvy lip with his thumb.  “But don’t rush for that either.  Don’t be different.  Be who you would if I were never leaving.”

Erin smiled sadly.  This kid had a heart of gold, but couldn’t tell her he was scared too.  “You’re not going to leave in the middle of the night, are you?”

If only she knew Jordan might never actually be able to leave this behind.  He might drag the weight of it around long after it was gone, missing her the way he’d missed Julia.  Only worse, because Erin wouldn’t even get the chance to hurt him.  Jordan looked at up her, hovering in the half-light, and knew he’d see that vision when he lay alone in bed for a long time to come.

“No,” he said.  “I’ll be here.”

She brushed his strong jaw with the back of her fingers.  “Then it’s the first night I’m not scared to wake up and find you gone.”

As soon as they were kissing, they were struggling to their feet.  Their hands never left each other.  The confines of the couch had been wonderfully tight, but now as Jordan tumbled onto the mattress he relaxed for the first time all night.  He’d offered - even asked - to wait.  Erin didn’t want to.

Thank God.

She didn’t follow him.  Instead she stopped at the edge of the bed and slowly undressed: button fly, growling zipper, hands slipping under denim and the long, revealing way down.  He should have helped but he couldn’t move.

“You look at me like you’ve never seen a girl before,” Erin laughed, wondering how she could feel shy even as she stripped.

“There are no girls like you.” Jordan opened his own jeans, lifted his ass and wiggled them down.  Erin’s display was much more interesting.  He just wanted to be naked.  She stepped free of her pants, then grabbed his cuffs and pulled from the ankles.  Two minutes after he suggested they stop, Erin stood at the foot of the bed holding his pants in one hand.

She licked her lips.  Jordan blushed, turning his head without taking his eyes off her nearly naked body.  Her waist was slender, with lines etched along the sides of her abs as if to mark the ticklish spots.  Perfect breasts, straight posture.  The flat run of her stomach disappeared into black lacy panties that made his mouth dry as they stretched over the space between her legs.

Erin considered the sight before her: a hundred and eighty-five pounds of holy fucking hot.  If you never saw Jordan smile or looked in his eyes, you might think he’d be full of himself.  He certainly earned it.  From his toes to his chin, Jordan was efficient, gorgeous muscle – not a model, but the kind of strong that knew how to use it.  He was built like a car: meant to be driven.  And maybe a little cocky, as he bent his arms up under his head for a full bicep display.

“I guarantee I can look at you for a lot longer that you can look at me,” he said, one eyebrow raised.

Erin turned like three-quarters like a model, showing him her backside in profile.  “I already watched you play.  That’s two and a half hours…,” she hooked one thumb into the side of her panties and lowered it slightly, “…of sweating…,” the other side now, “… and flexing…,” both sides, another inch to reveal the top of her ass, “… and wondering what you look like under all that gear.”

She halted, black lace taut over the perfect span of her backside.  Out of sight, Jordan’s hands were fists.  He willed himself to stay calm, but he was already sporting wood and by the time she came around he’d lose his shit on contact.  It was enough that he’d laid back like a romance novel cover – Jordan couldn’t actually hold out.  Not between  the way she was looking at him and his promise to be here when the sun came up.

He cleared his throat.  “So, now what do you think?”

Erin gave in.  She moved on all fours until she was over top of Jordan, meeting his eyes.  She meant it about all of him – every inch – but mostly she meant it about the parts of him that no one could see.

“I think those girls screaming your name at the rink don’t know the half of it.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Jordan straightened his tie in the hotel room mirror.  Suits were required for game days, same as always.  Probably not a two thousand dollar Armani suit, though.  “You’re ready early,” Taylor said, coming into the room with a shopping bag.  He handed Jordan a green Gatorade.  “Nice suit.”

Jordan groaned in frustration and undid the tie, then started again.  “I know.  I feel like an asshole, but it’s all I have.”

“Eh.  Don’t worry about that.  Worry about scoring a few goals so Erin thinks you’re a stud.”

Jordan faltered on his re-tie.  He was nervous to play in front of Erin.  He was nervous about a new crowd, about the way people had been talking about him and Ryan like there were so exciting.  Jordan wanted to be exciting - otherwise he’d be disappointing.  He didn’t want to disappoint.

“Dude, take it easy.”  Taylor pulled one end of Jordan’s tie, unraveling the half-knot.  He looped it around his own neck, made a perfect windsor, then pulled the whole thing of.  When Jordan reached for it, Taylor yanked it away.  “What is up with you?  You’re played bigger games.”

Jordan rolled his eyes.  He always told Taylor everything, even if he lived to regret it.  Even if he already knew what his best friend would say.  “I think Erin wants to... she wants to.  Like now.”

Taylor’s grin faded.  Jordan made a disgusted noise; he wasn’t in the mood for a lecture.  Instead, he jumped to his own defense.  “What?  You wanted me to do it on the first date and now you think I shouldn’t do it at all?”  Rare was the moment when Taylor Hall didn’t know what to say.  It scared Jordan a little - but what didn’t these days?  He sat on the edge of the bed.  “I like her.  It’s too late for me to do anything about that.”

“I know.”  Taylor could be soft-spoken and understanding when he needed to be.  “I think you should.  We could be here awhile, and you’d never last that long anyway.”  He smiled.  “I just know how you get, man.  All sappy and awkward and you can’t tie your tie.”  Taylor held out his hand.

Jordan dropped the loop over his head and fixed the tie perfectly into place.  “Too late for that too.”

He willed Taylor not to mention Julia.  It was the only weapon in Hall’s arsenal that could really undermine Jordan’s confidence.  He didn’t use it often and he never used it without reason.  Taylor would be sitting with the girls at the game and if he thought a word of warning might do Erin good...

“Don’t say anything tonight, please,” Jordan said.  

“I won’t.”  Taylor promised, then he shrugged.  “Wouldn’t stop her anyway.  For some incomprehensible reason she seems to like you too.”  He paused.  “At least till she sees that suit.”

“So this is what a hockey game looks like.”  Darcy rocked on her heels, taking in the Cox Convention Center.  She’d been there before - so had Erin and Amanda - but for concerts, never sports.  

“Yup,” Taylor said, looking out from under the brim of his baseball cap.  He wore a sweatshirt and jeans, as if in disguise.  Erin got the distinct impression that a few fans recognized him anyway, but no one had yet approached.  It probably didn’t encourage them by holding Amanda’s hand. They were in the last row of the lower section, backs to the wall.  “Big crowd tonight, more than twice what they usually draw.  They’re hoping for  twelve thousand.”

“That’s only, what? Five thousand less than your place in Edmonton?” Erin asked.  “Does it feel the same?”

Taylor didn’t even have to look around. “No,” he said, “but this is a lot better than we expected.”  He elbowed Erin in the side, pointing discreetly down and to the left.  Two high school girls in ponytails were wearing Oilers jerseys, one with Eberle on the back and the other Nugent-Hopkins.  Erin smiled as a reflex but it quickly faltered.  She didn’t know that Eberle; her Jordan seemed like someone else entirely.  And when he was back to that, he’d be back to Edmonton.

“Think of how many allowances that girl saved to get Ryan’s name on her jersey,” Darcy said sarcastically.  “He could at least make out with her, since he owes her like ninety bucks.”

The arena filled in around them.  Taylor sat down, as if his size would give him away, but encouraged the girls to move down by the glass to watch the pre-game skate.  Amanda stayed with him as Erin and Darcy found an empty space along the boards.

“I feel like I’m in another country, you know?  I don’t speak the language, don’t really know what’s going on,” Darcy whispered.

Erin agreed, and the feeling was increasing.  People here were really excited.  She had barely known the Barons existed, didn’t think she knew anyone who had been to a game.  Yet every inch of glass was taken, several bodies deep.  The air hummed with anticipation.  

“How much of this is for Ryan and Jordan?” she wondered.

“And what have you gotten yourself into?” Darcy asked back.

Suddenly everyone was cheering.  Darcy squeezed Erin’s hand as players in white jerseys filed onto the ice and started whipping around the perimeter.  It took two circuits before she saw Jordan, and Ryan right behind him.  They stopped at the far side of the rink and people started pounding in the glass.  A few signs had popped up: Lockout = Lucky for Us and Welcome Ebs & RNH!  Darcy craned her neck around to see more.

“No one asking Ryan to marry them,” she observed.  “Or for sex.  I’m still original.”

“Dear God,” Erin pretended to facepalm herself, but really she was checking if her cheeks were hot to the touch.  They were.  She was definitely blushing  - and expected it.  She’d all but made a sex date with Jordan earlier, and the hours were quickly ticking away.  Now he was right there, doing something deft and dextrous with the same hands that had been on her skin.  Luckily no one was looking at her.  The players approached the goalie in threes on a passing drill.  Jordan and Ryan were in the second trio.  Ryan flicked the puck easily into the net; the crowd whooped and hollered.

“God this is weird,” Darcy said quietly.  Erin nodded.  Jordan seemed very focused, even when he spoke to another guy or leaned casually on his stick.  He never looked around even though he knew she was there.  Maybe it would be too distracting.  And if he looked at her now the way he’d looked at her over breakfast, Erin knew a piece of glass wouldn’t even slow her down.

Right in front of them, one of the players dropped to the ice and started stretching his groin.  Another guy lined up in dolphin pose doing what looked an awful lot like humping the ice.  

“I love hockey,” Darcy announced.

“See her?” Ryan asked, looking down at his skates.

“Yup,” Jordan’s eyes were straight ahead on the goal.  “Lot of people.”

“Twelve thousand sold, I heard.  Record crowd.”  Ryan scanned the arena, intentionally above where the girls were standing.  “No pressure, right?”

Jordan had played some huge games.  His first in the NHL game came to mind.  Also his first with Taylor and their first with Ryan - both number one overall draft picks.  He’d played in front of Julia and a few other girls he made a big deal about.  He’d scored huge goals in World Juniors, played against Crosby, against Toews and Kane and the Sedins.  But this was the weirdest game of his life.

He glanced at Erin, just for a second.

I can do this.

Jordan was thrilled to be playing.  He’d rather play in America than Europe, and playing alongside Ryan was almost impossible good luck.  Knowing Taylor would join them was beyond that.  He still had his game and he still had his linemates, despite the strangest of circumstances.  Maybe he could forget the anger and frustration of the lockout - he’d been doing pretty well at forgetting over the last ten days.  Fear was still there, tucked like a blanket around a million things he couldn’t control.  Jordan knew he was young enough to lose a year, if that’s what it came to.  And a year spent playing real games with his best friends was hardly lost.  He snuck another glance at Erin.

Not lost at all.

Once he focused, Jordan felt better.  Back in the locker room, Ryan didn’t say anything at all.  Another game to play, that’s all it was.  Another chance to win.

Taylor reached over and poked Erin in the shoulder.  She stuck her tongue out without turning her head.  No way she was missing a moment of this.  The second period had just started and she was getting the hang of this game.  Taylor was between her and Amanda, quietly explaining the reason for every whistle.  Sometimes, Erin guessed before he could tell them.

The other team scored.  Erin gasped - it was just a few minutes into the second period but she felt like she’d been waiting forever to see it happen.  It was so quick she almost missed it.

“Shit,” she said.  Taylor laughed.

Jordan was good.  Ryan was also good.  Now that she had players to compare them too, even Erin could tell they were extremely talented.  When Jordan dropped the puck past someone and picked it up on the other side, racing in for a shot at the goalie’s glove, Erin grabbed Taylor’s arm and held her breath.  But it was another Baron who scored on the power play to even the game.

Erin jumped to her feet, Darcy crashing into her in a rush to do the same thing.  The buzzer sounded and the music blared on, everyone celebrating.  Taylor even stopped hugging Amanda long enough to crush Darcy and Erin into a joint embrace.

“Who scored that?” Darcy asked, her face mashed to Erin’s shoulder beneath Taylor’s huge arms.

“No idea. I haven’t looked at anyone but Jordan and Ryan all night,” Erin admitted.  It didn’t matter who scored, as long as someone did.  Unless it was someone she knew.

It turned out she wouldn’t see that tonight.  The Barons kept shooting, including Ryan and Jordan, but nothing would drop.  Taylor gave Erin the arm of his coat to twist, saving his own from being shredded.  Darcy murdered a popcorn box.  Sixteen minutes into the last period, Lake Erie scored again.  Despite being on their feet shouting for the last few minutes, the Barons could not get another goal.  When the final buzzer sounded, Erin leaned back in her seat.  Over the last twenty minutes of play, her urge to tackle and strip Jordan on sight had swindled into an aching desire just to hug him really hard.

“Can’t win every game,” Taylor said.  “Sucks though, all these people for a loss.  Would’ve been nice to hook them early.”

“They’ll be back, won’t they?  It’s just one game,” Darcy insisted.  “I’ll definitely be back.”

From his other side, Amanda’s voice rang out.  “Somebody warn Ryan.”

Jordan did not have a moment between the ice and the media.  There was nowhere to go.  He wasn’t even out of his shorts before they were allowed into the locker room.  This would be the most press they’d see all year, until playoffs came around.  He put on his face.

Twenty minutes later, they were done.  It was nothing like home - fewer people, new faces, some probably pulled off major sports and attending their first Barons game.  He’d been honest - he wanted to win in front of his new home crowd - and optimistic about tomorrow’s game against the same team.  They didn’t get to play back-to-backs often in the NHL and he’d love another chance to beat these guys.  His game had been strong, though a few goals would certainly have been nice.  When the reporters cleared out, Jordan shucked out of his gear and hurried toward the shower.  If anyone thought he was in a hurry to leave, they were wrong.

He was in a hurry to be alone.

Losing sucked.  Losing in front of a record crowd when he was supposed to be a big deal sucked even more.  He’d lost Erin’s first-ever hockey game too.  Not that she’d care - Jordan knew she’d have a smile for him anyway.  She couldn’t possibly understand.

Jordan hadn’t been disappointing.  Instead, he was a little disappointed.

The game had felt different and he struggled for a word to define the difference between this hockey and what he was used to.  The best he could do was: small.  It felt small.  The arena was smaller, the fans were fewer.  He knew some were die hard hockey followers but most were not.  Winning them over would be the kind of hard work he’d never faced before.  It wasn’t reality for him - it was Phoenix.  Or Columbus.  It was an uphill climb and Jordan felt responsible for getting the Barons up, if not to the top.  If he was here long enough to help at all.

They hadn’t even won the game.  Just another reminder how far away Edmonton was.

He allowed himself a few minutes of soap and shampoo pity party.  People were waiting for him, as always.  Only this time they weren’t seasoned hockey family and they would not forgive him moping over a game that hadn’t even been bad.  Jordan toweled off and got dressed.  The guys would know, that would be enough.  They’d be counting on him to be cool.  And if Erin had been truthful in her teasing, she might still be expecting a lot more.

He got his tie right on the first try.

The arena didn’t really have a lounge for friends and family, just a green room used for some of the larger productions that came through town.  Taylor was instantly descended on by the families of his future teammates - he was a celebrity here.  Amanda shot a look at Darcy and Erin as Taylor pulled her along by the hand.  They were swallowed up by the waiting parents and girlfriends.

“Think they come to every game?” Erin asked, taking a cookie off a bakery tray.

“Maybe they just came to meet the guys.  Must be cool for them, getting to play with guys from the pros,” Darcy said.  “Did you get the feeling, a little bit, like Ryan and Jordan were at the zoo?  Everyone here to see the exotic animals?”

Erin nodded - it was exactly how she’d felt.  “Then you watch the pandas for a while and nothing exciting happens, so you go for snacks.”

“Weird,” Darcy said for the tenth time that night.

Players started to arrive.  They were mostly in their early twenties, looking scrubbed in their suits.  Moms and dads and sisters quickly claimed each guy, though they never moved far from where Taylor was.  He greeted each of the players like he’d known them for a while.  Their parents smiled to see their sons friendly with someone like Taylor Hall.

“He’s good,” Amanda said, having slipped free to grab a bottle of water.  “He barely knows these guys yet.  Made me quiz him on their names before.”

“Before what?  Before taking his pants off?  Before untying you from the bedpost?” Erin asked pointedly.  It was their first moment alone with Amanda since discovering she hadn’t been home last night.

Amanda tossed her dark blond hair back.  “Nonsense.  I couldn’t have texted Darcy if I were tied up.”

They dissolved into giggles.  No one paid them any attention except Taylor, who was soundly ignored.  He hoped they were saying good things about him but the amount of laughter worried him.

“Later, later later later!” Amanda shushed them.  “I promise.  Besides, from what I hear, you might have some stories of your own after tonight, young lady.”  She and Darcy gave Erin their death stares.

“I... I don’t know!  Will he want to you, after losing?  I mean, I know it’s not the NHL but he might....”

The door swung open just in time for Erin to stop talking.  Otherwise the family of every Barons player would have heard her say “...not want to have sex with me” a second before Jordan walked into the room.  As it was, every eye was on him.  His eyes were on Erin.

“Hey,” was all he said.  

Erin’s knees got weak.  What a stupid reaction to someone saying hello, she thought, even as she shifted her weight to keep from falling.  Jordan’s brow was slightly creased, exaggerating the perfection of his eyebrows.  A slight frown covered his gap teeth, and those blue eyes were a little sad.  The rest of him was fucking perfect.

“Wow,” Erin managed.  He had walked out of a magazine and into the Cox Convention Center.  The dark gray suit had subtle pinstripes over a white shirt and jewel blue tie the same color as his eyes.  Some tailor had cut that those pants until they were the luckiest piece of fabric in the world.  She suddenly felt small in her skinny jeans with gray boots, white sweater and everyone in the room watching.

Erin couldn't kiss Jordan at work.  It was bad for business.  He was thinking about it too as he reached around the back of her neck and pulled her against his lips.

Zing!  Right in the ladybusiness.

"Nice game," she said, laughing nervously as they parted.  

"Sorry we lost."

Erin waved it away, aware that everyone was watching them.  "I had fun."

Ryan came in and as one the whole room turned to look at him.  By process of elimination, some came back to Darcy in expectation of another little show.  Ryan just raked a hand through his straight hair and smiled. "Hey everybody," he said, trying to be cool.

People started approaching, being friendly.  Ryan took in stride, being charmingly adorable when some mother producer a younger sister and whatever player she belonged to cried, "Mom!" They laughed.  Five minutes later it happened again.  Jordan kept Erin's hand in his left, shaking hello with his right.  He introduced Erin as just "this is Erin" to everyone.  She smiled and nodded like the First Lady on Inauguration Day.  Somewhere in the middle, he whispered, "Dinner after this?"

Sometimes Erin could not hold her tongue.  Like around talented, famous boys with dorky smiles and fancy suits who still had sad looks on their faces.  "Breakfast after that?" she countered.

The crowd started to break up as tired players reminded them of the early game the next day.  Still a few lingered, getting a few extra minutes with the new star players.

Finally they reached the exit in a small group.  Amanda grabbed Ryan's collar to keep him from being carried off by an eager matchmaking parent.

Erin's hand was tucked firmly between Jordan's arm and his body.  He had that fresh from the shower boy smell and she leaned in close.  Between teasing him so openly that morning and wanting to comfort him over the game, desire was knocking around her stomach like a tetherball.  He called good bye to the last of the families and turned toward Erin.


They left their friends standing in the parking lot, staring after the tail lights of Jordan’s car.

Erin took them to the first place that popped into her mind that she knew would be open on a Monday.  It was a cozy little Italian place, not fancy, but when the waitress showed them to a both toward the back, it didn't matter.  Jordan went to slide into the other side of the booth.

"Ahem," she cleared her throat.  He stopped, confused.  She patted the bench next to her.  "Haven't you been on a date before?" she joked.

Jordan blushed.  "Not that many." He slid over, then farther, until he had her up against the inside wall.  Erin felt the flex of his bicep and thigh as he held her there easily.  He finally gave her the smile that had faltered in the post-game lounge.  "I might forget to eat over here."

She meant to give him a quick little kiss.  It stuck like a magnet.  Then her hand found itself working up up that strong leg in the smooth fabric and Jordan grabbed a hold of her wrist.

He looked like he wanted to say something.  Maybe she's embarrassed him with her PDA.  She couldn't help it if she was a little turned on by watching him sweat for two hours.  Now his strong grip was around her wrist like he could do make her do whatever he wanted.  But the happy face she had gotten used to was still shaded with hesitation.

“You okay?” she asked.

He let go of her arm but stayed close.  The way he dropped his chin made her heart dip too.  Erin’s impulse to hug came roaring back.

Not tonight, she thought, not like this.

“Imagine if you had a really bad day at work,” Jordan finally said.  “Like you were working hard but the kitchen was taking forever and food was coming out wrong and cold and you couldn’t do anything about it.”

She nodded, following.

“That’s how losing feels.”

Her fingers twisted into his, under the table, their menus ignored.  If he needed to say this then she’d sit there all night and listen.  Erin didn’t know Jordan that well - but then, she didn’t know hockey.  According to the internet, the Oilers lost pretty often.  Maybe this was Jordan and she didn’t really know him either.

After a moment, he shook his head.  “Sorry.  It’s just one game.  I’m just being a brat.”

“What does winning feel like?” she asked.

Those blue eyes met hers and held for a moment, as if he needed to be looking at her to think of the answer. “That night when you asked for my number.  Winning feels like that.”

Erin made a scandalized face, even though she could feel herself blushing.  “I merely suggested that you give me something other than money.  I don’t believe I actually asked for your number.”

Jordan gave her a cocky grin.  “Oh you did.”

“Well I didn’t call you.”

“Yes,” he nodded, “you did.”

“Taylor made me!”

Jordan shrugged.  “You used your phone and your fingers.  That’s you calling me.”

“Hmmm,” she narrowed her eyes.  “Maybe I should have played hard to get.”

With that boyish face and his innocent expression, Jordan looked right at her and said, “It took you three days.  Where I come from, that is hard to get.”

Yes, I am taking FOREVER to get to the good part! This chapter was getting really long, so consider it a midweek bonus. I'll make you blush soon, promise. -Juliet