Thursday, December 27, 2012


Warm enough?

Erin smiled at the text message.  She was bundled into Jordan’s sister’s room as if his mom thought her thin southern blood would freeze overnight.  Currently the temperature was two degrees Fahrenheit and the forecast called for a storm.  Outside the wind was already picking up.

Nice and cozy, she replied.

You sure?

It was kind of cute and romantic to be across the hall from Jordan, flirting with him the way she’d never really gotten to do.  Unless you counted asking for a guy’s number and kissing him on the first date flirting.

So warm that I’m only  wearing underwear, she said.

Across the hall, a phone fell to the floor.

Which underwear?

New silky ones with lace.  So tiny, not sure they’re technically underwear.  She smiled evilly, wondering why she’d never tried this trick when he was on the road, hundreds of miles away.  Probably because it was more torture to be so close.

Anything else? he asked.

Nothing but a smile.

In his room, Jordan stared at the phone.  He couldn’t look at pictures from junior or trophies from peewee when he was thinking grown-up thoughts about Erin.  It was her fault, of course, for being so damned sexy.  At least she’d never done this when he was on the road - Ryan would kill him for being up all night.

He typed, I’d like to make you smile.

A lot quieter than making me scream.

His heart thumped so loudly he was sure Erin could hear it.  Was she asking him to sneak in?  Would he do it?  He was a grown man.  Hell,  with the NHL contract he was due next season, he could buy this house twenty times over and his parents would have to be okay with whatever room he wanted to sleep in, occupied or not.

A photo caught his eye - high school graduation, one of the few in this little shrine that didn’t involve hockey.  He was still that kid to his mom.  She only worried so much about him finding a girlfriend because she didn’t want that kid to get ruined by the sports world.  So Jordan knew he wouldn’t sneak across the hall, to his girlfriend of just two months, and risk all that faith.  His mom would only stay mad at him for so long, but she might not be so forgiving to Erin.

I promise to make you scream when we get home.

Loud enough to wake Taylor? Erin asked.


Once for every night we’re here?

Twice for every night, he promised.

Mmmm.  I’ll fall asleep thinking about that.

The opening would not get any wider.  From sexy to sentimental in a heartbeat, that’s just how Jordan was.  He tapped the screen and replied: I fall asleep thinking about you every night.

He wasn’t afraid to tell her things like that - he was getting better at being honest about it, really.  Still her responses made him anxious to know he wasn’t alone on the out of control ride their relationship had become.

I wake up every morning hoping you’re still here.

An arrow through the heart.  It made you fall in love, then it left you there to die.

Jordan woke to a huge weight crashing onto his bed and a voice yelling, “Holy cow!”

Erin pushed him over, climbed through the covers and right into his nice warm spot.  She wore yoga pants, long sleeves and socks.  He briefly hoped those underwear she’d mentioned were underneath.  Burrowing close and throwing her arms around his chest, she squeezed him tight.

“You’ve been sleeping forever!  There are like ten feet of snow outside!”

Jordan pulled the covers up over their heads.  Snow could take off, he was right where he wanted to be.  In their little dark fort, he kissed Erin deeply, soaking in the shape of the body he’d longed for all night.  This bed was too small and too big at the same time.  Erin immediately went for the kill and pushed her hand over his lap.

“Uh uh,” she teased.  “No girls allowed in your room.”

“You’re already here,” he pointed out.

“Your mom sent me up to get you.  We already had coffee, we’ve been talking.”

He froze.  “Uh oh.”

Erin gave his stirring erection a promising squeeze, then bounced herself from the bed.  “Come on, I wanna play!”

Sure enough, the Canadian winter had let them get in and now looked to keep them forever.  It would be a long life of nights in separate beds if they could never leave this winter wonderland.  Erin’s ten feet of snow was really two feet, but beautiful nonetheless.  His mom handed him a cup of coffee as he strolled into the kitchen.  Judging by the open English muffins and the dirty plates, she and Erin had been awake for a while.

“Should I be worried?” he pointed to the finished breakfast.

His mom smiled innocently.  “Only if she puts your baby pictures on Facebook.”

Twenty minutes later he and Erin were bundled head-to-toe and setting out across the lawn in knee-deep powder.  She ran three steps, fell, then rolled the rest of the way to the plowed drive.  From there they walked neatly shoveled sidewalks to the nearby park.

“Who does all this?”  She marveled at the neat strips of pavement visible between short banks of snow.

“Canadians,” Jordan said.  Across the street, someone was snowblowing another block as they passed.  Erin held his hand with her borrowed mitten.  Every word was a puff of steam, like cartoon word balloons announcing the presence of her speech.

At the park, Erin made a beeline for the swingset.  She dumped tiny piles off two seats, then kicked her feet until she’d plowed herself a lane.  Soon they were swinging like kids in the crystal clear air.  Snow filled in their footprints. He led them through the wooden heights of the playground, across tiny bridges and tunnels to the slide.  Erin came down after and landed right next to him in the fluff.

“This is great,” she said, laying back and trying to catch flakes on her tongue.  They stuck to her eyelashes and brightly rosy cheeks.  With a hat pulled down over all that hair he was used to seeing,  Jordan studied just her face.  Her blue eyes were lighter than his, brighter for the way she was smiling that devastating smile.  The dimples had gotten him from day one.  Now he knew them so well, like their exact distance from either side of the mouth he’d kissed so many times.  Or was it so few?  It would never be enough.  He leaned in on impulse kissed it again.   Her familiar lips were soft, cold, steady.

“I love you,” he said right out loud.

God, he is beautiful.  It was the first coherent, non-snow thought Erin had all morning.  It popped into her head the moment before Jordan pulled the covers over their heads in bed.  In the morning light, watery from the weather, with his hair a mess and sleepiness in his eyes, Erin had briefly thought that Jordan was never more gorgeous than when only she got to be near him.  It was a stupid feeling to have the day she would see exactly how much of the world shared him.

Now this.

“I love you,” she said.  It was the first time she’d officially said it out loud, all three little words.  If not for the snow falling in complete silence, surely the sun would have broken out over head.  “Too,” she added.

Right in the snow, they went down kissing like it was a movie.  Not a hot and heavy love scene, but the sappy romantic moment when you know everything is going to work out perfectly.  It’s either the end, or it’s the first five minutes and you haven’t seen the story yet.  Erin pushed the thought from her mind and rubbed her nose against Jordan’s.

“I’ve never said that to anyone before,” she admitted.  Jordan’s eyes went wide, then crinkled at the corners into a smile.

“I’m glad it was me,” he said.  Erin kissed him again.

“Me too.”

“What, uh... what do you think of Canada?” Jordan asked with mock formality, waving a hand at the landscape like she could win it on a game show.  “I know you haven’t seen a moose yet, but it’s only been a day.”

Erin knocked his hand down with her mitten.  “You’re my moose, Jordan.  And Canada’s great too.”

They played in the snow for a while longer, then walked to a little deli that had been Jordan’s favorite when he was younger.  He hadn’t been back to town much over the summer, so it had been a year since he’d been in.  The first thing he noticed was a small Jordan Eberle poster over the register.  He would have backed out unnoticed if Erin hadn’t said, “Maybe you’ll eat for free!”

The counter girl knew him, and the deli guy, and the owner called up got from the back.  They took the poster down and he signed it.  Erin volunteered as photographer.  Five camera phones later, the owner refused to let them pay for their sandwiches and insisted on bringing lunch to their table himself.  As they sat down, Erin pulled off her borrowed parka and hat, revealing her sexy shape and sending waves of hair cascading down her back.  Jordan noticed the counter girl went from smiling to sulking.  He hoped Erin wouldn’t see, but she was too obvious.

“Yikes,” Erin whispered.  “Good thing she didn’t make my food!”

Jordan forced a small laugh and told himself to stop worrying.  If Erin could get over it, so could he.  If one girl in a store, or the restaurant last night, was going to upset him then he had no right to date anyone at all.  Otherwise there would always be the odd stare, the cold shoulder.  He couldn’t ask Erin to handle what he couldn’t handle himself.

She caught him thinking and made a face like she knew exactly what.  “I’d be jealous too, if I were her,” she said with a smile.

Jordan checked his purple tie in the mirror.  He could never get those damned windsor knots right - no wonder people thought Taylor was his boyfriend.  He was the go-to dress up guy.  This one looked alright, he supposed.  The rest of the suit was black with a checked purple shirt that Erin had approved in the packing process.  Now that he had it on, Jordan felt like a kid playing dress up.

“Wow,” she said from behind.  He spun around and she was leaning against the door frame.  The event wasn’t really dressy, as much as he’d have liked to see her in a dress.  Erin wore dark jeans, a purple sweater with three quarter sleeves that was flowy around the top and managed to perfectly fit at the hips, showing off her shape with just enough left to make his mouth dry.  Black boots, hoop earrings and her hair pulled up in front - the Pats might give her some special award for looking so good.

“Wow yourself.”  He ditched his reflection in favor of looking at her.  “They’re gonna say I got all NHL on them, landed a hot girlfriend, went big time.”

“Big time Oklahoma City,” she kissed him on the lips.  “Where we watch hockey on the internet.”

Whitney stuck her head around the door.  “Nice suit, J.  Very metro.  Taylor pick that out for you?”

“No,” he droned.  “Erin likes it.”

Erin shrugged.  “I’m American.  What do I know?”

They reached the bottom of the stairs just as the front door opened and his grandparents bustled in.  

“Hey guys!  I’m so glad you could come!”  Jordan found his momentum.  He hadn’t been sure they would attend, so he hadn’t mentioned them to Erin.  And he wasn’t sure how he’d handle it.  Immediately tears sprang to his eyes, hot and stinging.  He did his best to breathe them back in as he gave each one of them as big a hug as they could handle.

“Miss this, are you kidding?  Let me look at you,” his grandfather said, holding Jordan at arm’s length.  “You look good, kid.  Doing okay down there in Oklahoma?”

“Yeah, Granddad.  It’s good there, I like it.  I...,” Jordan saw that his grandmother had already noticed one of the people in the room was not a relative.  “I want you to meet Erin, my girlfriend.  Erin, this is my grandad, Al and my grandma, Lynn.”

“It’s nice to meet you,” Erin said, shaking his grandmother’s hand.  His grandfather pulled her right in for a hug - she squeaked in surprise and everyone laughed.

“Hey, I’m old.  I’m taking what I can get!” Al teased.  “You are pretty as a picture, young lady.  I see why Jordan is just fine playing down there in the States!”

“Don’t mind him,” Lynn said.  “Manners do not run in our family.”

They piled into cars, Jordan in the back of his parents SUV with Erin squeezed to his side.  He held her hand and tried not to think about the speech in his pocket that he hadn’t shown to anyone.  Talking in front of crowds was a necessary evil in his career, but this hometown group would be something else entirely.

At the rink, things were a blur.  They went thought the same entrance he’d used for four years with the Pats, down the same hallways.  One of the photos in the hallway was of him.  Erin pretended not to see it, but her smile gave it away.  People said hello to him left and right, shook his hand, wished him luck.  A few he remembered.  His old coach was there, which helped settle Jordan’s nerves.  It was tough to feel important in front of someone who used to yell at you to work harder.  Before he knew it, they were heading down the zamboni entrance.

At one side of the ice, a podium was set up along a runner of carpet.  Next to it stood an easel covered by a drape.  The sold out crowd had filled in early for the presentation.  Standing in a shadow just out of sight, Erin looked out at the packed arena.  Jordan watched her face for hints of what she really thought - was it scary, was it too much, or what it really no big deal?  He hoped for something in between.  She turned to him and whispered, “Stud.”

The lights went out and the audience screamed.  The first speaker was announced, who introduced the Pats ownership, who said some nice things about Jordan.  Everything got applause.  More people said more nice things.  Then Jordan’s name was being called.

“Luck!” His whole family yelled as he stepped into the spotlight.

Erin whistled and hollered like she did when Jordan scored for the Barons, only now seven thousand voices added to the roar.  It was deafening, topped by the sound of the goal horn blaring.  

Ten thousand, she thought.  That’s how many more people the arena in Edmonton could hold.

She didn’t need to see Jordan’s face to know his expression.  The aw-shucks smile they must issue to Canadians with their birth certificates would be gap-toothing it’s way into the hearts of everyone in the building.  Humble hometown hockey hero.

Jordan’s grandmother stepped in next to Erin, and linked her arm through Erin’s elbow.  They all stood at the glass and watched Jordan approach the podium.  He said hello, the place went nuts.  He laughed, cleared his throat, and started speaking.  It was a perfectly Jordan speech - mostly about other people, the many who had helped him get there.  

“He lived with us all four seasons he played here,” his grandmother whispered.  “It was so much fun.”

The first time Jordan mentioned his grandparents, he had to stop.  An ‘awwww’ went through the crowd as larger-than-life on the Jumbotron, everyone saw him try not to tear up in thanking them.  Lynn squeezed Erin’s arm, tears of her own welling up.

“His grandfather’s got lung cancer, did he tell you?” Lynn said with a sticky voice.

“No!  Gosh, I’m so sorry,” Erin momentarily forgot all about the spectacle in front of her.

“We’re hoping for the best,” she patted Erin’s arm.  “But we never would have missed this.”

Jordan had to stop two more times, until the rest of the crowd was on the verge of tears too, but he made it through the speech.  The drape was pulled to reveal a commemorative collection of photos along with his number 7, which would hang in the building.  The announcer invited his family out onto the ice.  Erin had not been expecting that.

“Come on, sweetheart,” Lynn said.

“I... I’ll stay here,” Erin stuttered.  It was too much - all these people had done something for Jordan here, they’d made him who he was in Regina.  Sacrifice and support.  She wasn’t part of that.  “You’ve all earned this.”

To her surprise, Lynn didn’t push.  Instead the older woman smiled very kindly.  “If they retire his jersey in Oklahoma City, you’ll be the only one out there with him.”

His family got a standing ovation.  Jordan did a little double-take when he counted one too few people.  Erin just waved from her spot at the entrance.  Then the cables were lowered from overhead and a crew carried out a rolled banner.  Once attached, it rose up to reveal a big picture of Jordan, circa 2010, smiling in a roster photo.  His number was at the top, his last name running down the side.  Jordan’s family stood next to him and seven thousand people cheered as they lifted his name into the rafters.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Happy holidays, everyone!!

(Two weeks later)

Erin put two big Wild Wings beers down on the table without being asked.  Taylor gave her a narrow stare.  “You giving us free stuff is how this all started, remember?”

“And to think, I didn’t even know who you were,” she leaned her elbows on the table and tilted her head in a flirty, 50’s drive-in waitress kind of way.  “Now all AHL Players of the Week get beers on the house.”

“What do AHL Players of the Month get?” Jordan asked sweetly.  He’d been awarded the honor that very day.

“To take the waitress home,” Erin gave his arm a squeeze.  She couldn’t advertise their relationship in the bar but anyone within twenty feet must have felt the connection between them.  “Especially now that the mustache is gone.”

Jordan blushed.  His stache had been ugly, but at least it had been unmistakable.  Ryan and Taylor could barely grown a combined peach fuzz.  Now that it was gone, he had to admit he was glad.  Ryan just rolled his eyes and sipped his ice tea.  

November had passed quickly. Thanksgiving had been anticlimactic and Erin worked the whole day’s worth of football games.  It helped that the Barons won five games in a row.  Jordan, Ryan and Schultz were on the cover of The Hockey News, an almost prophetic story that hit stands at the right moment.   Not any stands around OKC, though.  The feature had been done before Taylor was cleared to play and he was miffed to be left out.  But not as annoyed as when Jordan bested his Player of the Week award with the bigger Monthly title.  With a good stretch of games under their belts and even a few awards, Jordan had to admit that Oklahoma City was starting to feel like... well, not home.  But like playing in junior where you live away from home, like a college student.  A double life.  At  present, his other life was completely on hold.

The lockout dragged on.  Once or twice there was a real glimmer of hope - and fear.  Every round of optimism was followed by wailing disaster sirens.  Many of the players had gone to Europe, some were playing charity games and doing group workouts.  Every day OKC became less about clinging to Erin and more about stability. The assignment had sounded like a prison sentence two months earlier, but Jordan was absurdly grateful for Oklahoma City now.

He also had a question to ask.  When Erin came around again, he made Ryan and Taylor go to the bathroom.

“So...,” he felt stupidly nervous, “My old team back home, from when I was a kid, they want to retire my number.”

Erin raised her eyebrows is admiration.  “Wow!  That’s great, congratulations!  The pride of Saskatchewan,” she waved one hand, “wherever that is.”

“How would you like to find out?”

In his head, it sounded smoother.  Jordan had rehearsed a hundred ways to ask, and that was number one hundred a one: fresh out of the box, stumbling like a baby deer.  “I mean, would you come home with me?  For a couple days?  Next week?”  He cleared his throat, taking the question out of his voice.

“I’d like to bring you.”

If kissing your boyfriend in the dining room was frowned upon, Erin guessed that bursting into tears because he asked you on a trip was really big trouble.  Still her heart was crowing like a rooster inside her chest.  Jordan looked so excited, so gosh darn hopeful that she wanted to scream.  Instead she just pressed her lips together, to keep from kissing him or crying, and nodded.  

God I’m such a girl! she thought as her insides did the Pretty Pretty Princess dance.  She had the sense to know her reaction was childish, and the sass not to care.  Jordan had walked into her life and now he owned the place.  That he wanted to share his life in return... yup, the crying again.

“I really want to kiss you right now,” she whispered.

Jordan felt weak enough to slide right off his stool.  Erin may have been joking about Saskatchewan but it was really far from everywhere, especially here.  It meant a host of things - not the least of which was Erin finally getting a glimpse of a day in the life of Jordan Eberle.  The life that didn’t revolve around her.  He was terrified it would chase her away.  But one look at her face - proud of him, proud to be with him - said she didn’t scare so easily.

Erin headed back toward the kitchen in search of a moment to gather herself.  It was just a trip, just a few days.  Just Jordan’s hometown, his parents, one of his biggest accomplishments to date.  Of course he wanted her there.

Of course he does.

That was the Jordan that Erin knew.  The one she was afraid to believe was real, because it was too good to be true.  Whatever Erin would when she got to Canada, she told herself she could handle it.  He wasn’t Justin Bieber or something, with hordes of girls throwing themselves under a bus for him.  


No, she thought, if anyone’s that, it’s Taylor.

She turned the corner to and nearly crashed into Ryan and Taylor.  Since no one could see, Erin threw her arms around Ryan’s neck and hugged him tight.  

“What’s this for?” he asked, returning the embrace.

“You’ll be Player of the Month someday, Ry.”

“She said yes,” Jordan said as soon as his mom picked up the phone.

“You sound surprised.”

“No, no, I’m just...,” he started making an excuse, then gave up.  His mom always saw right through him anyway.  “I’m nervous.”

He could picture his mom, leaning against the kitchen counter.  There would be cookies somewhere, milk in the fridge, apples in a bowl near the breadbox.  It was the comfortable life that seemed to exist without trying and Jordan could never replicate it anywhere else.  Certainly not in OKC.  His kitchen now was home to a lonely avocado and some barbeque sauce.

Why couldn’t it be an event in Edmonton? he had wished when first considering whether or not to invite Erin.  Not that Edmonton was New York or Miami, but it was a city.  It had almost a million people.  Jordan lived in his own place - well, with Taylor - there were some nice restaurants, bars and clubs.  He felt like an adult there.  It was hard to feel that way when your mom still made you oatmeal for breakfast and insisted on folding your underwear after the wash.

Still, this was a good first step.  In some ways Jordan was more of a celebrity in Regina than Edmonton.  A hometown hero.  Lots of NHL players had come from Regina, but he was the biggest thing going at the moment.  Not that he was going anywhere - but he bet more people in Regina followed the Barons than people in Oklahoma City.  The Pats hockey stadium was less than half the size of Cox Convention Center and it would be packed to the rafters.

Canada, Jordan thought with a smile.  

“She’s probably nervous too,” his mom pointed out.

“Nah, she’s not the type to be....”

His mom interrupted.  “How long have you been dating?”

“Two months.”

“And you’re bringing her two thousand miles to another country to meet you parents and stay in their house?  To see you get a big award with thousands of people cheering for you?”

“Uhh,” Jordan had not thought of that.  He’d been busy thinking about how weird it was for him, and hoping to God that Erin didn’t bolt for the airport the minute she saw his name in lights.  “Crap.  Mom, you are not helping!”

She laughed.  “We won’t scare her away, hon, I promise.  I might even like her.  She’s certainly got you wrapped around her finger.”

Jordan gladly admitted that.  He knew his family would do their best to embarrass him and charm Erin.  They had even loved Julia at one time, and the day Jordan dumped her was the last day any of them had said her name out loud.  He loved them for that.  He hoped to never have to ask for such consideration again.

“Maybe she’ll like it here,” his mom said.

Erin looked out the window over Saskatchewan, but all she saw were the topside of clouds.  Jordan was asleep next to her with a baseball cap pulled low over his eyes.  It had been a few hours since they’d stopped over in Denver and he’d been out the whole time.  He was a good sleeper thanks to years of team travel.  Didn’t even wake up when the flight attendant came by again.  Erin asked for a soda and went back to staring at the clouds.

Two thousand miles at the two month mark.  Maybe it was too soon, but so was everything else about their relationship.  Still, her family was just a six hour drive away in Austin and she hadn’t taken him there.  Maybe she should have.  Maybe her parents would make a really big deal about her bringing home a guy - especially one as nice as Jordan - and overreact wildly.

Maybe Jordan’s family was doing the same thing.

She smiled at the idea.  It was hard to imagine Jordan coming from but normal.  He was so even-keeled and laid-back, and he didn’t get that from playing hockey.  

That was the only thing that really made her nervous.  Family she could handle.  Hockey... she didn’t know.  During college at Oklahoma State, the football players were revered like gods.  If they went to class it was only to pick up girls.  Many of them graduated to the NFL.  The culture was insane, and everyone bought into it because they all got something out of it.  The guys performed for the entertainment of others, and were rewarded for it.

Erin tried to picture that at the NFL level.  She knew the NHL wasn’t that popular in Oklahoma, or even most of America, but in Canada it might reach the stratospheric levels of football madness.  Was Jordan like Tom Brady?  Probably not.  She knew the Oilers were “rebuilding,” as everyone called it.  Was he more like Carolina’s Cam Newton, full of promise but stuck on a tough team?  Or was he more of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan - talented, solid, waiting for the chance to be considered elite?

Of course, he might not be a quarterback, she reminded herself.  But they were always the most famous.  Erin was preparing for it just in case.

Yet when they landed, there were no screaming fans.  The airport was slow and no one seemed to even recognize Jordan.  They passed through customs, exited the terminal to the sidewalk outside.  A silver SUV pulled to a stop two minutes later.

“Hey buddy,” a man hopped from the drivers’ side.  He had a high forehead, a lighter version of Jordan’s eyebrows and a big smile.  “And you must be Erin!”

“Hi, Mr. Eberle,” she said as he folded her right up in a hug.  

“Darren, please. Mr. Eberle was my father,” he laughed, holding out a white ski jacket.  “I thought you might need this, it’s Jordan’s sister’s, should fit you.  Gets cold up here!”  Jordan finished swinging their bags into the back and came around for a hug of his own.  “Welcome home, kid!”

Erin bundled into the coat and resumed her post of looking out the window as they drove across town.  Regina resembled a million small American cities.  Other than some store names she didn’t recognize and signs in kilometers, she could have been anywhere.  Darren chatted happily, but Erin sensed he was saving up questions until she got in front of the whole family.

The house was a two-story blue clapboard with white shutters and a front porch. The lawn would have been gorgeous in summer; now scraggly under a light dusting of snow.  Every light was blazing.

“I’ll get the bags!” Darren called, urging them inside.  He looked half afraid Erin would freeze to death before he got her through the door.  Jordan reached for her hand.

“Last chance to run away,” he said with a smile, but his blue eyes held a little hesitation.

She laced her fingers into his.  “No way!  I haven’t even seen a moose yet!”

At the front door, Jordan gave her hand a little squeeze.  Then he flung it open and shouted, “Mom, we’re home!”

She came around the corner before the words were out of his mouth.  About Erin’s height, with short dark hair and a big smile, Jordan’s mom hugged him so tightly that Erin heard his ribs creak.  Then she grabbed his cheeks and kissed each one.  

“Mom, this is Erin,” Jordan said he untangled himself.

“Come on in, honey.  It’s nice to meet you!” Lisa grabbed Erin and hugged her too.  “Does that jacket fit?  Jordan coulda sent us a picture of you or something, so I’d know.  Anyway,” she held Erin at arm’s length, examining her, “he said you were pretty.  Got that part right at least.  Now come in!”

Jordan just shook his head.  So much for hoping his family liked Erin.  She hadn’t said a word and he could already hear bells ringing in his mother’s head.  They followed into the kitchen where Lisa took the reins and introduced Erin to Jordan’s older sisters, Ashley and Whitney.  While they were saying hello, Lisa poured apple cider for everyone.  Jordan knew she couldn’t wait to start grilling Erin on everything about the rest of her life, which would obviously include Jordan, because Lisa had that look in her eye: the one she had all summer at those parties, trying to set him up on the sly with every girl in town.  If she had her way, hir mother would have them married by the end of the week.

For once I might be okay with that, he thought.

The front door opened again and footsteps stomped in their direction.  Erin did a double take as a younger version of Jordan walked into the room.  Same height, same bushy eyebrows, just on a smaller body. He was maybe three inches and twenty five pounds less, like a miniature Jordan.   

“Hey, Jordan,” the boy said.

“Dustin, good to see you!”  Jordan gave him a man-hug and swung him toward the table.  “This is Erin, my girlfriend.”

“Hi, Erin.  It’s nice to meet you,” Dustin offered his hand very politely, and smiled.  No gap between his teeth.  Still Erin was gaping a little.

“Hi, wow.  You’re so...,” she managed.

“I know,” Dustin rolled his eyes.  “We get that all the time.”

“I was going to say ‘so much cuter than your brother,’ and I bet you do get that a lot,” she finished.  Dustin blushed and everyone laughed.  Darren got himself an apple cider and suggested they move to the living room.

“Let Erin get comfortable before you interrogate her,” he joked.  

Jordan sat close to Erin, then moved even a little closer.  He put his arm around her shoulders casually, as if bringing a girl home to his family was something he did everyday.  They asked Erin about OKC and work and where she’d gone to school, what she liked to eat, had she ever seen snow, why had she never been to Canada.  Jordan had told his mom all this, and doubtless she’d told anyone who would listen, but Erin seemed relaxed talking to them.  She asked her own questions, digging her elbow into Jordan’s side when someone gave a revealing answer. Only that kept Jordan anchored to the conversation.  He was miles away, thinking about a million things.

“So, what’s hockey like in Oklahoma City?” his dad asked, pulling Jordan’s mind back.

“Oh, Jordan can tell you better.  They’re the only games I’ve ever been to.  I know they’re small - I mean, not a lot of people come.  And I feel bad, because these guys are really good.  They won, well, you know they won five games in a row this month.  But people there just aren’t about hockey.  Neither was I, till now.”

His mother was beaming so hard her smile could be seen from space.  The conversation continued - Erin and Whitney were the same age, all three girls had a lot in common.  Jordan kept watching and Lisa went right on grinning until it was time for dinner.

“We’re going out.  Didn’t want to be cooking when we could be getting to know Erin instead!” his mom announced.  “Ten minutes!”

Jordan led Erin to Whitney’s room.  It was a time capsule from a few years before when she’d last lived at home full-time, before college and moving out.  Now she shared an apartment with Ashley, closer to downtown, and worked at a bank.  Erin set her suitcase by the bed.  “Can I see your room?”

Jordan’s room was more of a trophy case; he just hadn’t won anything in the last few years to add to the collection.  Someday he hoped there would be a picture of his team, sweaty and teary-eyed, crowded around the Stanley Cup.

Not this year, he thought.

Erin reached behind him and shut the door.  Her arm came down around his neck, followed by the other, followed quickly by her mouth against his.  She parted her lips and slipped her tongue, melting into his chest.  He held her tight, marveling in the way she always fit perfectly into his arms.  Kissing her made Regina feel like Oklahoma City, or made Oklahoma City feel like home.  Maybe it was home.  Or maybe it was just Erin who belonged, and it didn’t matter where.  She rubbed against him and Jordan groaned softly.

“My mom is listening, I guarantee it.  She probably has this place wiretapped,” Jordan said quietly, more as an excuse to keep close.

“I think she likes me,” Erin whispered.

“She loves you.  I should’ve warned you, she’s crazy.  When you said you didn’t even like hockey before you met me....”

“She’s used to all the girls throwing themselves at her baby because he’s rich and famous,” Erin teased.  “I just did it ‘cause you’re hot.  I can’t believe I get brownie points for having the lowest standards.”  

Jordan held Erin’s hand in the living room, in the car, walking to the restaurant. It wasn’t until they reached the booth in the dining room that he remembered.  Everyone stopped before the table.  No one slid into the seat.  For an awkward moment, Erin just looked around.

“You want the inside, Jordan?” his dad asked, swinging his arm like an invitation.

Jordan blinked.  “Oh.  Oh yeah.”  Of course he did.  He always wanted - no, needed - the inside.  He piled in all the way to the wall.  Erin was next to him and Whitney on the end.  Everyone else sat across, and his dad got a chair at the head of the table.

Too bad it was still Regina.

“Huh... hi,” the waitress took one look down the table and stuttered.  She was about eighteen, with glasses and bangs.  Her eyes locked on Jordan and her pencil just hovered over the little green pad of paper.  She said nothing.

“I’ll have a Coke,” Dustin said, breaking the silence.

“Me too,” Ashley added.

“Coffee for me, dear,” Lisa said encouragingly.  “Maybe you should write this down.”

“Uh, uh huh.  Yeah.  Coffee.  Cokes.  Okay...,” she stared at the paper like it would tell her their order.  Darren asked for an ice tea, Whitney a water and Erin a Sprite.  

“Just a water,” Jordan finally said.  The girl snapped her pencil lead right off at the sound of his voice.  She muttered something, bobbed something like a half-curtsey, and practically ran from the table.

Erin could feel everyone except Jordan looking at her.  That poor girl probably had an Eberle poster over her bed and Oilers #14 shirts in home and away colors.  Maybe she even had tickets to the jersey ceremony.  Maybe he’s just famous, Erin told herself.  She didn’t own any Ben Affleck movies, but she’d probably choke if she ever saw him in Wild Wings.  

“So,” Erin said conversationally.  “That’s only going to get weirder, isn’t it?”

Whitney flipped open her menu.  “Just wait till you meet the screamers.”

Erin leaned against Jordan’s door frame.  She wore more pajamas than he’s ever seen on her - stretchy black pants and a t-shirt - but it didn’t matter.  He’d been under those clothes so many times he might as well have x-ray vision.  Sleeping across the hall for a few days would be torture, but at least she was here.

“You okay?” he asked.  She nodded and wandered in, examining the many photos and certificates, ribbons and trophies that decorated his childhood bedroom.  He gave his mom a hard time about turning it into a shrine, but he couldn’t be mad that she was so proud.  Now Erin was leaning close to pick him out of an old Pats’ team photo.

“You were so cute,” she said, touching the glass.  Then with a step back she looked around.  “All this hockey.  I knew you’d played forever but this is a whole life, babe.  And you’re only twenty two.”

“It just seems that way,” he tried to sound like he’d had a normal childhood.  “Just instead of three sports seasons, it was only one.”

“Plus summer,” she said.

Jordan knew his attempt was lame.  “Yeah.  Off-season stuff.”

Erin turned away from his wall of accomplishments and climbed up next to him on the bed.  He’d made sure to sit on top of the covers while she was in the room.  It wouldn’t be smart to try anything with his parents around, not when they already liked Erin so much.  There was only so much temptation he could resist.

If I can go this long without the NHL, I can go without Erin for a few days, he told himself.  More than once.  Now she was leaning against the pillow, facing him, and he was beginning to sweat.

“Do you love it?” she asked quietly.  

It was a loaded question.  Erin wanted to be sure that Jordan was happy.  It was silly to think he’d given his life to a game, but it was true.  Just as childish and capricious as that sounded, now the game had been taken away, at least to an extent.  This room represented a world of things Erin could not begin to fathom.  He’d always been chasing this.  She’d never worked so hard, or wanted anything so badly, in her entire life.  

Looking at Jordan, in a plain t-shirt with his Clark Kent hairline and his thick brows furrowed, she thought, rather crazily: Until now.

“I love it,” he said with complete conviction.  Jordan had never questioned his devotion to hockey.  He gave, he got and he enjoyed every moment.  For a guy that always fell in love too fast, hockey was one of the few constants that never let him down.  Even now, locked out and playing to mostly empty arenas, he still had the game.  He’d have it when he had nothing else.

Of course, now there was Erin.  So there was something else.

Friday, December 14, 2012


“She won’t come.”

“She will!” Erin protested.  Amanda shrugged and put an open bottle of wine on the coffee table, next to three glasses.  

“She’d better, or I’m calling Child Protective Services on her ass.”

Erin rolled her eyes.  “Ryan is only a year younger than Taylor!”

Amanda stopped, wine bottle hovering at an angle.  “Does Ryan act a year younger than Taylor?”

“No,” Erin admitted.

“Does he look a year younger than Taylor?”

“No,” she laughed.  

“I guarantee that Taylor has already had sex with more girls than Ryan will be with in his entire life.  Darcy is like the first footsteps on the moon.  Not a lot of people are gonna get there!  Eventually someone else will but for right now, she’s a legend.”

Erin’s laptop was plugged into the TV and the Barons gamecast was just starting.  They’d lost a shutout game the night before to San Antonio.  Now the team had a chance to redeem itself.   Internet couldn’t offer TV video quality, and paled in comparison to a live game, but at least they weren’t missing it entirely.  Amanda filled a glass for each of them with ruby-colored syrah, and lifted hers.

“To being in on a Saturday night, watching TV through a computer, like a couple of dorks.”

“Dorks with boyfriends,” Erin corrected.

“Eeeehhhh,” Amanda titled her head back and forth.  “You have a boyfriend.  Taylor and I are more like friends with benefits.  Darcy and Ryan are probably all benefits at this point.  I bet she’s working him harder than his real coach.”

“We’ll see if he can skate tonight.”

Five minutes later, the first period was underway when Darcy burst through the door.

“Don’t say a word,” she said before anyone else could say a word.  Erin and Amanda exchanged glances.  Darcy had her hands on her hips, like a disapproving teacher daring someone to step out of line.  Only the sound of the game continued while the three girls stared at each other.

Finally, Erin chirped.  “Ryan.”

They dissolved into giggles.  Darcy collapsed onto the couch, curling down to hug her knees.  Amanda pushed them over to make room for herself.  Laughter shook Darcy’s whole body.  “I can’t,” she wheezed.  “I can’t.”

Amanda emptied the bottle of wine into the third glass.  “Truth serum.  Drink it.”

Darcy’s face was beet red.  She was blushing Ryan-style even as she took a white trash-long slug of wine and rattled her glass back into the table.  Erin helped her out of her coat.  Amanda refilled Darcy’s glass from her own.  They both turned to her and waited.

Darcy opened her mouth to speak, then closed it.  And again.  She was gaping like a fish out of water, looking for the right first word to begin what she knew would be a long and very dirty description of everything that had happened in the last five days.  She would have extracted nothing less from Erin or Amanda if the situation were reversed - exactly the reason she hadn’t seen them in so long.

Well, not the only reason.

Another glug of wine.

“Eleven times,” she said.  “Eleven times in four nights, not including last night because he left in the morning.”

Amanda’s mouth fell right open.  Erin nearly dropped her wine.  A collective imaginary wallop hit them both right in the girlparts.

“Or I should say seven times in four nights, three times in the morning and once in the afternoon when I pretended to have a doctor’s appointment and went to his place instead.”

On TV, the crowd screamed.  It set the girls off laughing until tears were rolling down their cheeks.  Darcy shotgunned her wine and shifted uncomfortably.  Sitting was not that easy.

“My God,” Amanda said, wiping her eyes.  “You’ve created a monster.”

“He’s so... ugh,” Darcy groaned.  “He’s so grateful!  I feel like Dumbledore teaching Harry magic.”

“Well there is a wand,” Erin joked.

“And a lot of exploding,” Amanda added, wailing.  “Okay, okay.  What about the first time?  Did he like cry or anything?”

“NO!” Darcy slapped her arm.  “We, uh, we were sleeping and we got kind of twisted up so his hand was, um, well his hand was in my shorts.  Right on my ass.  I mean obviously it was going to happen anyway and I thought, you know... I was sick of waiting!  So I kissed him.  And we hooked up.  It’s cool, right?  I slept there like ten times, he never tried anything but I figured he that eventually we would...,” she stopped, laughing pathetically, “Only he didn’t know, I guess.  Or didn’t think.  Because I had to get up, get dressed and sneak into Schultz’s room to steal a condom.”

Erin was gasping for breath.  Amanda had her hand hands over her face, head down and shaking.

“Ryan did have some, in the bottom of his bag like a fucking lost sock.  We used them all too.”

“So it’s... he’s...,” Erin didn’t even know what she was asking.  She was proud of and surprised by Ryan, that was for sure.  

“He’s good!  I mean, surprisingly good,” Darcy said.  “And energetic.  Jesus Christ, are Taylor and Jordan like that?  Like all the time and he never gets tired?  He finishes and I’m like a fucking hole in the mattress and he wants to talk about his favorite movies and what he did at camp when he was twelve.  I swear to God he needs exactly a seventeen minutes intermission period.  Drink a Gatorade and he’s ready to go again.”

Amanda laughed; Taylor was out like shout the second they were done, then woke up horny an hour later.  Erin couldn’t help but smile.  Laying in bed with Jordan - before or after - was her favorite thing going.

Darcy leaned back.  “We need more wine.”

Amanda stood in the middle of her room, looking over her shoulder at her ass in the mirror and tugging her clingy dress down another inch.  She wore bright blue, strapless and tight.  After a few days of wondering what present to buy the NHL superstar in her life, she’d settled on this dress.  Taylor would appreciate it.  On her feet, she’d also gotten a pair of adorable vintage-style heels in white and blue with blue ribbon ties.  Taylor probably wouldn’t even notice those.

Erin had called in a favor at Wild Wings: one of the 21+ bars in town to agree to let Ryan in.  He was forbidden to drink, of course, but since this was Oklahoma City he would not be recognized for his famous face.  Most of the rest of the team was of age and they’d be there too.  There wasn’t much to be done about Taylor’s birthday falling mid-week, but the Barons would bring the party with them.  The bar had live music, cheap drinks and a bathroom with a door that locked.

“Wow,” Darcy said, flopping down on the bed.  “You look like a stripper trying to appear respectable for a court date.”

“And you?” Amanda shot back.  Darcy wore tight black pants, ankle boots with a spike heel and a purple tank top with studding.  “You look like a band keeps you in the back of their tour bus.”

“Hey, hey.”  Erin came in, texting.  She had on a mini skirt with gold and silver metallic sequins, a gauzy grey top and black stilettos with a strap around the ankle.  “She’s wearing pants to keep Ryan in check.  He can’t drink, so he’s gonna need something to do with his hands.”

“I can’t wait to see him with you,” Amanda said to Darcy.  “This is going to be priceless.”

“You look good, man,” Jordan said as he threw an arm around Ryan’s shoulders.  The kid had changed so many times that Schultz was calling him ‘The Devil Wears Prada.’  Eventually he’d gone with a dark grey v-neck t-shirt and dark jeans.  Nothing fancy, just blend.  Like an underage kid in a bar.  With a hot girlfriend.  HIs palms were sweating.

Jordan and Taylor picked Ryan and Schultz up in a cab.  They pulled up to the curb to find Erin, short-skirted and high-heeled, rubbing her arms against the chilly night and laughing with a bouncer.   The guy was the size of Shea Weber and gave Jordan a sarcastic once-over as he approached.   Jordan couldn’t blame him: she looked like a million bucks - way out of the league of any guy bar-hopping on a weeknight.  He pretended not to notice the bouncer’s sneer, but let his hand fall on Erin’s sequin-clad ass.  

“Mmm, hi,” Erin purred.  She’d had two shots already.  Not that it mattered once she saw Jordan.  The collar on his black wool pea coat was pulled high, dark color accentuating his messy hair and dramatic eyebrows.  Up close his eyes were as blue as ever, and that gap between his teeth still hit her like a bus.  She wrapped around him as suggestively as she dared.

“You look too good, I’m gonna have to fight off every guy in this bar.”

Erin smirked.  “Promise I’ll make it up to you later.”

Inside, the band was playing a  loud country song and a few people were already on the dance floor.  At the side of the bar, Darcy, Amanda and a few of their girlfriends were passing out beers to some of the Barons who had arrived early.  Mark Arcobello and Tanner House were browsing the merchandise.

“Happy birthday!” Amanda carefully worked her way between bodies to throw herself on Taylor.  He dipped her to the floor and kissed her to the whoops and hollers of their little crowd.  Erin was busy watching Ryan instead.  He was blushing.  She could hardly think of him any other way.  Spots of color like stop lights blazed high on his sharp cheeks and his hair fell forward as if he hoped to hide underneath it.  From the neck down though, no one would ever think of Ryan as a boy.  He wore a dark shirt and jeans like they were lucky to be along for the ride.

“Hey,” he said shyly.  It was the first time he and Darcy were together in public, and how public it was.  They should have done a dry run with just the six of them first.

Darcy leaned on the bar for support.  Ryan looked... there wasn’t a word.  The perfect mix of aw shucks and hell yes, all the reasons she had waited and all the reasons she had slept in his bed that whole time anyway, torturing herself with the sheer potential.  Now he was delivering nightly and it wasn’t easy to see anything else.

“Hi,” she said with a smile.  Ryan’s face lit up.  Darcy’s heart fell right through into her slutty boots.

“God, get a room!” Taylor hollered, having just set Amanda back on her feet.  He pushed Darcy toward Ryan, took her spot at the bar and ordered one of everything for everyone.  Except Ryan.

They drank and danced, one country or rock song after another, just like Jordan was used to in Edmonton.  In fact, aside from being recognized, this was a lot like being at home.  Erin and the girls were overdressed, but even in jeans they’d have had aces over any other woman in the place.  Every time he looked down a fresh, full glass of something had appeared in his hand.  Erin clinked hers to it, tipped her head and tossed it down her throat.  The arched back, the breasts rising beneath her shirt, the soft brush of her hair against his hand - Jordan nearly missed his mouth when he tried to drink.  Erin snickered and pressed against him.  Her lips found his ear.

“I am getting drunk tonight,” she said, punctuating the phrase with taps of her nails along his collar, “and then I’m going to let you wear this skirt as a headband.”  

He laughed and reached for two more shots lined up on the bar.  Erin licked her lips and drained it.  As the hot flash of alcohol hit Jordan’s tongue, she pressed her closed lips to his and he was forced to swallow, hard and all at once, while she kissed him.  She was fiery tonight.

“Better get Taylor really drunk,” she whispered.  “He thinks we were loud last time.”

Erin could not have said what came over her.  She could have described it as excitement and hormones mixed with happiness, shaken not stirred, with a nice cold piece of fear stabbed through with a little cocktail sword.  Everyone here would be gone someday.  All of these relationships, tossed around like shiny toys, would break when they hit the ground.  But for now, she felt invincible.  Real things were happening - things that would be remembered: Taylor’s birthday, Ryan’s first time.  Life was going on here and she was holding on.  Jordan was in her arms, happy friends surrounded her and somebody else was picking up the tab.  

They tumbled onto the dance floor as the first strains of “Sweet Home Alabama” started.  Every drunk person everywhere loves this song.  They nearly collided with Ryan and Darcy, who were still grinding to the last song that ended minutes ago.  The pants had definitely been a good idea - Ryan’s hands were crammed so far into the back pockets he might lose them for good.  On the other side of the dance floor, occupying one stool with two bodies, Schultz was making out with a red head from Amanda’s office.  Taylor was at the bar, one arm around Amanda and one hand around a beer.  Erin pasted herself to Jordan and just danced.

At some point, Schultz and the redhead disappeared to the bathroom.  Arcobello knocked, then pounded, then gave up and collected everyone to watch the door until it opened.  Justin stumbled out, shirt and belt half-open.  The girl’s hair was a mess, her lipstick gone.  A cheer went up so loud it drowned out the band.  Ryan Martindale and Tyler Pitlick both looked at Amanda’s short, blond neighbor standing between them like she might want to go next.  The girl cackled and called for another drink.

Jordan’s hand snaked around Erin’s waist, holding her so close she could tell what he wanted to talk about.  Or not talk at all.  It wasn’t late enough to leave, and she would never be drunk enough for that bathroom.  But she did shoot him a look as she shimmied her ass against his lap.  He breathed out hard.

“Careful, babe.”

“Or what?” she said, straightening one leg and swiveling with no mercy.

“Or I will throw you on this bar and later on, when we’re arrested, hope your hands fit through the bars of my jail cell,” he growled.  

She turned and kissed him all in one movement.  The velvety brush of his tongue spilled goosebumps right down her spine.  Everything was a little slurred, a little drowsy.  Erin closed her eyes and sank into the kiss.  Jordan pressed her to the nearest surface and did his best not to hump her leg.

He wanted more than to be with her like this.  He wanted all of this to be real, yet somehow superimposed on his regular life.  Put the NHL back into the mix, shake all the pieces around but none could fall out.  They would all land somewhere, still together.  His fingertips brushed the bare skin at the back of her thigh, suddenly smooth where the sequins ran out.  It made him shudder.  Erin wrapped her arms around his neck and they were fully making out in the middle of the bar.  It as a heady freedom that even being drunk couldn’t give Jordan at home.

A very familiar voice came over the microphone.

“Happy birthday to you....”

Amanda stood next to the lead singer, two hands gripping the microphone stand for stability.  In her little party dress and golden hair, she stopped every conversation in the bar.  With a convincingly sultry voice and little sway of her short skirt, she rasped out a Happy Birthday worth of Marilyn Monroe singing to the President.  The guys pushed Taylor toward the front until he was right in front of her.  More than one leering spectator looked very disappointed to find her singing to a guy who looked capable of kicking their asses.

“Happy 21st birthday!” she squeaked at the end.  The crowd burst into applause.  Taylor swung her around with a whoop and carried her back toward the bar.

Erin was smiling hugely.  She looked a little foggy from drinking, but so was Jordan as he admired her.  It only made her hair darker, her skin more porcelain.  The round curve of her bottom lip looked especially delicate, flushed as it was from kissing him so hard.  Charcoal eyeliner was smudged at the corner of one eye.  Everything about her promised that what he saw now was only the beginning of what she could give.  

In the warm, crowded bar  and from the bottom of his lost-count drink, Jordan put his lips to Erin’s ear and said, “Love you.”

“Oh my God, stop!  What if they....”

Erin spun her shirt over her head like a lasso and it hit Jordan in the face.  “You really want me to stop?”

“Taylor and Amanda are gonna walk in,” he glanced toward the door.  Erin was busy shimmying out of her skirt, tugging it right down over her thong.  It fell to the floor like a bunch of little sequin bells ringing.  Jordan’s protest died on his dry tongue.

It wasn’t every middle of the night that a hot girl in high heels and lingerie stood in his kitchen.  Well, it probably could have been if Jordan were that kind of guy.  Right now he was very, very glad that Erin felt like being that kind of girl.  She carefully freed her feet - drunk in stilettos turned life into an obstacle course.  She never thought about taking them off.  

They hadn’t made it to the bedroom yet.  In truth they’d barely made it through the front door.  After one more song making out in the bar, hands getting lower and the room getting fuzzy, Erin twisted her fingers into Jordan’s front pockets and suggested they leave.  He slid across the hood of a cab outside.  Erin sat there, cool as ice, and stroked the skin of her thigh where it disappeared beneath her skirt.  Jordan’s hands were fists trying not to rip it off her in the car.

Now she was taking care of her own clothes, right in the middle of his apartment.

Don’t stop, Jordan thought.  Never stop.  Erin performed a perfect little bend and snap, scantily-clad ass high in the air.  It was a pure stripper move right down to the way she flipped her hair.  If Taylor had walked in at that moment, he’d have stuffed a twenty into her panties.  Now Erin’s skirt hung from one hand and Jordan’s mouth hung wide open.

She giggled.  It may have taken a bottle of liquid courage, but Erin was finally in control of one damned thing in her life.  Make that two, if she counted Jordan.  She intended to make it last.  With her heels clicking across the kitchen tile, she stalked right up to fully dressed Jordan, put a hand on his chest, and guided him backward into the bedroom.  He was drunk too, a little squintier than usual, but his heart pounded beneath his shirt.  She made quick work of that.  Jordan reached for her, and got nothing but air.  Erin was already on her knees.

“Oh God,” he whispered.  She had him stripped and stiff and slipping past her lips in a blink.  Jordan wobbled on unsteady legs.  With a little push, Erin sat him on the edge of the bed.  She moved between his legs and went down on him again.  

Jordan moaned.  He was glad Taylor wasn’t here - though he would have understood that when a beautiful girl is sucking your dick there’s no being quiet.  Probably the neighbors wouldn’t get that but Jordan did not care.  He managed to lift his head, to see Erin’s usually smiling mouth doing another very happy thing.  She caught his gaze through thick lashes.  He saw a gleam there just before she pushed his tip into the back of her throat.

“OhGodfuuhhkkk.”  The room spun.  His blood was poison and it rushed south, abandoning his brain in a hurry to join the party.  Fingernails pricked the delicate skin of his sac, slipping into the seams.  He barely got a breath before she swallowed him again.  Forcing himself not to collapse, Jordan kept his eyes on the beautiful site below his waist.

I told her I love her.  And this is what I get.  Love in amazing.  I love love.  Drunken thoughts sloshed around in his mind, periodically wiped clean by the twist of her tongue along his shaft.

Erin loved this power.  It turned her on enough to forget how badly she wanted him, how hot she’d been all night for him to get her off.  Adding her hand to the tug of war, she flicked it along his length in time with the slick press of her lips.  He groaned, throbbing harder in her fist.  She giggled, deep in her throat, and let the vibration pass right to his body.

“Yesbabyyesss,” he said needlessly.  Erin required no encouragement.  Growling against the ache between her own legs, she moved harder and faster, drawing him out forcefully and gagging herself on the way back.  Jordan grabbed a firstful of her hair, as if the guide her up onto the bed.

“I’m gonna come,” he rasped.  Even drunk he was never rude.  If he came, she would come - it was just manners.  That and she was hot, nearly naked and polishing him like pro.  He only wanted to play fair.

Erin caught his balls with her nails, just a quick flash of almost-pain.  He flinched and let go of her hair.  She would not be told what to do, even if it was to get fucked in return.  Jordan was at her mercy and she would decide when to set him free.  Which was soon, it turned out.  Twisting her lips as Jordan bucked, Erin tasted the first salty drop of his desire.  She smiled with her mouth full.  One deep breath, one heavy thrust.  Jordan’s hips and thighs locked as he came, back arching off the bed, trying to shove himself down her throat.

Stars.  Instead of seeing Erin, Jordan saw stars.  It looked about the same.  He cried out like the orgasm had been ripped from him, and felt her softly swallowing load after load.  It wasn’t until he collapsed that he felt her tongue do one last pass.

He couldn’t move.  He was boneless, gravity a hundred times stronger, smeared across the bed.  Erin crawled up next to him and sprawled onto her back.  If he could have turned his head, she was quite a sight.  Instead they both closed their eyes and fell asleep.