Author's Note: So this is the last chapter. Sad face. But I really enjoyed working on this story and thanks for reading and reviewing it. I loved writing this story.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Chapter 4: Won't Let You Go
The drive had been long. Or maybe it had only seemed long because it was so dark, and the unfortunate consequence of barely speaking each other's languages, Julie and Gunnar couldn't really chatter. Olaf had come along for the ride and he and Gunnar spoke briefly in Icelandic, but Julie got the feeling it was about her, based on Gunnar's tone. Although their relationship had progressed well beyond the physical affair it had begun as, and Julie had arranged to stay in Iceland through the summer, there was still an expiration date and the added tension that Olaf's disapproval brought and Gunnar's current understanding of how deeply she had been hurt by Scooter. Now they were sitting in front of the house.
"Do you want to go inside?" He asked, rhetorically, but she nodded anyway. He got out and opened the door for her, another thing she had gotten used to. "You'll be wonderful." He kissed her.
"Gunnar!" A little girl with a long blonde ponytail came running out the door into the snow.
"Snaedis," He smiled taking her in his arms. Julie smiled. "Are you being good?"
"Very," She nodded. "Hello, Olaf." Olaf laughed genuinely as the little girl kissed him on the cheek and then blushed. Julie was surprised by the sound, it didn't have the edge of cruelty she was used to from his laughter. Also it was clear that little Snaedis had some kind of crush on him. "I've been practicing to say hello to Julie."
"So say hello then," Gunnar said. She nodded.
"Hello Julie," Snaedis said, her voice stilted and slow. Julie smiled. "I am so glad you came to visit us."
"I'm glad your brother invited me," Julie said slowly.
"Did you understand her?" Gunnar asked. Snaedis nodded excitedly. "Very good!"
"Boys, it's freezing out," A comforting call came from the door. "Bring her inside now."
"We're in trouble," Gunnar whispered in his little sister's ear and she giggled and ran inside. "Are you alright?" He turned to Julie. She nodded as they walked towards the house. He put his arm around her as she continued to shudder. "You are still not used to the cold?" He laughed.
"It's colder here," She said. "Are we much further north?"
"Not so much," Gunnar said, "But look you see those?" He pointed, "They translate to 'herring flash' I don't know what you call them." Julie started to giggle. "What have I said to amuse you now?"
"The Aurora Borealis," Julie said. "The Northern Lights." He nodded. "I can see them from home sometimes." She smiled.
"Gunnar," Another girl ran out, "You should come in now." He rolled his eyes at her. "Is this her?"
"Yes, Fridrika," He groaned, "This is Julie Gaffney."
"You're prettier than I remember," She said, wipping her long dark hair with her as she turned.
"And that is my other sister," Gunnar whispered and Julie laughed as they walked inside. "I apologize for her."
"I was fifteen once," Julie laughed, "I remember what it's like." He smiled and they walked inside.
During a large dinner, where Julie felt extremely welcome, despite the fact that everyone was chattering at each other in a mix of English and Icelandic, (Gunnar had been whispering translations in her ear.) she excused herself to use the bathroom. She stopped in the hallway seeing a picture of Gunnar and Olaf hanging up. They were standing in front of the gate at the Olympic village in LA, their arms around each other smiling.
"Much has changed since then," She jumped and turned seeing Gunnar's mother.
"Not everything," She shook her head. "He's very much the same. It's comforting."
"Mm," Mrs. Stahl nodded. "They were so excited to be in America, so proud to be playing for their country. But so young, I do not think they understood how very big and important what they were doing was. I imagine you were the same way."
"Very much," Julie nodded. "Looking back I'm even more proud." She nodded. "I wanted to ask you, or someone," She nodded again. "Olaf said that after the games Gunnar quit, that he lost time, a whole year, that can set a player back, I know that. I understand that Gunnar could be playing professionally at this point, and if that lost time…"
"And you blame yourself for this?" She laughed. Julie looked down sheepishly. "I hope you think better of him than that, to think that he would be such a poor sport." Julie smiled. "He did stop playing for a year, this is true, because of Stannson, he was far to hard on him, on all of the boys. Gunnar was unhappy playing for him and he only had a year left on his team level. It seemed a fair trade to him, to lose the time, but continue to love the game."
"That's good," Julie said.
Late that night Julie curled into Gunnar after they'd made love. As usual she felt incredibly warm as she cuddled with him. For his part, seeing Julie with his family and how comfortable she was had sparked a change in him. He had know for weeks now that he didn't want her to go. But now, not only did her not want her to leave, he wanted her to stay. He wanted her here, with him.
"Could you see yourself here?" He asked. She looked at him.
"I am here," She whispered and kissed him. He took her hands. "Gunnar," She laughed.
"I mean, could you see yourself staying," He said.
"I've already extended my stay," She said softly, trying to avoid what she knew he was asking. "I do have to go home eventually Gunnar. I have to finish school and graduate." He kissed her.
"I want you with me always Julie," He said, "I love you. I am beginning to think that I always will." She accepted the intensity of his kiss with a slight whimper. "I'm yours, entirely." She kissed him.
"I love you too," She said, "Of course I do," She said, brushing his hair off of his forehead. "When I came here, it was like my heart was frozen, and you melted it." He touched her face. "Is that corny?" She giggled self consciously.
"I do not understand," He shook his head. She sighed. "But you are beautiful." She laughed. "And mine." They kissed and he rolled her under him. "You're trembling," She nodded. "Are you cold?" She shook her head, "You are afraid."
"I'm terrified," She whispered.
"Of me?" He asked carefully.
"No," She said and kissed him. "Of losing you."
"You will not lose me," He said firmly. "I will not let you go."
So that's it, special thanks to Halofin for inspiring me! Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed though!