Chapter 18

"Like that is it?"

I looked down at the nearly empty pint of Rocky Road ice cream on the counter in front of me and shrugged. It pretty much said it all. Holly walked through the kitchen like she knew her way around and got herself a spoon from the drawer by the sink. I let her take tub of ice cream but I did look at it a little too longingly as she scraped the bottom of the tub.

"I didn't mean for it to happen," I blurted out. A shrewd smile spread slowly across her face as she leaned her hip against the counter.

"No one ever does," she replied with a smirk before seductively sliding the near liquid on the spoon between her lips and sucking it off slowly. "So how bad is it?" I sighed and dropped my head into my hands. I'd called her for help but I didn't know what to say. I'd been going over everything in my head, over and over, since I'd nearly caught my death walking around the city in the rain.

"Bad," I decided. Holly smirked and I was glad that she didn't just laugh at me. After coming to my mind shattering epiphany I felt like laughing at myself. "Everything was fine...," I began and then shook my head. "No, that's a lie. From the start he was like forbidden fruit because he wouldn't be with me and now...," I shrugged. I didn't want to put it into words and thankfully she didn't make me.

"And what about him? Does he have it as hard for you?" I moaned out loud.

"Yes..., no...oh fuck, I don't know." This was part of what I'd been struggling with. I felt like he loved me but if he loved me, if he really loved me, then why had he let me make such a fucking fool out of myself?

"So he's forbidden you from...carrying out your duties?" I lifted my head and stared at her.

"No! No, he's not like that. Actually...," visions of that night, with Kev and Chris, sprang to mind and I almost laughed. "No, he's actually been supportive. It's me. I just realized...oh fuck." It still burned, the idea that I was turning into her. She'd enjoyed rubbing it in, but in the end we'd come to a sort of truce. That didn't mean she wasn't going to enjoy lording it over me from now on but, in the end, I think she actually ended up feeling sorry for me and that wasn't helping my current state of mind. "You know about Andrea, right?" Holly nodded and then headed for the fridge.

"So you're worried that you're going to turn into a shrew?" she called over her shoulder before reappearing with a tub of yogurt. I watched her peel the lid off and dig into it with the spoon she'd just used for the ice cream. She made a face and then looked at the label again, shrugged and continued to eat.

"Something like that, yeah," I admitted, feeling a sudden weight lifted from my shoulders. It was good to admit it to someone other than the people directly involved. She gazed at me thoughtfully for a long moment and then waved the spoon in her hand in a dismissive way.

"We can make this easily all go away. The Hawks have put in a request for a relief Specialist. That Kaner kid gave the current one something vile and itchy that's going to take a while to treat so it would be just until the end of the season. Maybe a little space would help you clear your head. You know what they say, a change is as good as a rest." My mouth fell open in shock. I wanted to say no - scream no from the top f my lungs but a part of me, albeit a small part of me, wanted to grasp the life vest she was offering.

"But the guys...Juice and Eddie..." I couldn't imagine being away from them, trusting anyone else to look after them. I had a surge of the kind of protectiveness I imagined a mother bear felt for her cubs. "No, I couldn't. I'd feel like I was letting everyone down."

"Well, if you wanted to go further afield," she put the tub of yogurt down on the counter and slid her iPhone out from beneath her blouse, likely from her bra, and began scrolling through her contacts. "I could move a couple of girls around. Kate's been with the Rangers for three seasons, it's about time she had a change," she added thoughtfully.

God, it was a real possibility, me, not being here. Me not being with my guys. My guys. That's the way I thought of them now and I couldn't imagine not thinking of them that way. I couldn't imagine them not being mine.

"I dunno," I began but when Holly raised her eyebrow at me I heard that voice in the back of my head saying that I might need a break, that I might really need some space to clear my head.

"Well you're the one who called me saying it was an emergency and you're the one who said you were, and I'm quoting you here, in over your head," she reminded me in a tone that wasn't exactly sympathetic but wasn't judgemental either. For her this was business and I knew that she wanted the best for me as much as she wanted the best for the team.

"I guess I just need a little bit of time to think about it," I explained. She nodded and gave me a sympathetic if stiff hug.

"I won't let them fall into the wrong hands I promise." I may have smiled at her as she gave me that 'it will be fine, I promise' look but I didn't believe her. They were my boys and no one could take care of them like I could. "You do know what they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder," she offered, as if she could read my mind, and, I was guessing after all these years of doing this job she was probably an expert at reading body language and facial tics. "Y'know, I should have known this would happen," she added cupping my cheek affectionately. "He wanted to ask you out that night I recruited you. Maybe I should have just let him do that instead." For a moment I wanted to agree with her. That certainly would have made my life simpler. But then I shook my head.

"I really love my job," I told her honestly.

"Okay, well then let's try and make sure that you can keep feeling that way. Think about my offer, take two aspirin and call me in the morning."

I was trying to talk myself out of opening another tub of ice cream when there was a knock at the door. I wasn't sure how I felt about being with any of the guys right at that moment. Part of me knew I'd be glad of the distraction but on the other hand I already felt disloyal as fuck.

"Pen, babe, you in there?" My heart skipped a beat just the way it always did when he said my name but I didn't bounce to my feet and skip happily to the door. I was pretty sure the last person I wanted to see right now was on the other side of that door.

"Go away," I shouted as I tried to wiggle myself lower into the couch. Now I could definitely hear the tub Mrs. Field's Super Fudge Brownie ice cream calling my name.

"Sweetheart we can't leave it like this. C'mon babe, we need to talk." The fact that he was right didn't make me move any faster as I dragged my ass off of the couch and then dragged my feet along the floor until I got to the door where I took my time unlocking each safety measure as slowly as I could, putting off the inevitable moment when I'd have to open the door and he'd be standing there looking like as edible as a giant chocolate bar.

I meant to turn away as soon as I opened the door but as soon as I caught sight of the slightly torn white t-shirt through which I could see his tats and the equally well worn jeans that hugged his skater's thighs I couldn't take my eyes off of him. I just stood there, half leaning on the door and drank him in like he was oxygen and I was surfacing form somewhere deep down in the sea.

Tossing my pride aside, I threw my arms around his neck and just held on, breathing in his warm, ivory soap and musky male scent as I felt his massive arms wrap around me, lift me off the floor and walk me back into the living room.

Neither of us said anything for a while. We just sat there, me in his lap, his arms around me making me feel safe, making me feel wanted. It took a while but the thoughts finally crept into the nearly perfect silence; would he still want me like this, feel this way about me if I was working with another team.

"I've been offered the spot in Chi-town," I said quietly, mostly to his stubble covered cheek. I felt him tense, every muscle in his body becoming as still as a garden sculpture. I couldn't even feel his chest rising and falling against my side so I pulled back enough to look at him and his big blue eyes were wide.

"But...why?" he asked, sounding genuinely mystified as his gaze searched mine. It would have been kind of cute had we not had the heated verbal exchange earlier in the day.

"I think I need some space, y'know, to clear my head," I told him. I'd almost come to the conclusion, sitting there in the dark on my own, that leaving was the right decision. There was only this, not knowing if he would draw a line at sharing me with our Chelsea Dagger singing Windy City dog eating enemies.

"You can't go." He said it like it was a foregone conclusion, as if we'd already been through the pros and cons and come to a consensus. I raised my eyebrows at him and the corner of his full mouth turned up like he'd said something funny. "I know you want me to say shouldn't but baby, you can't go. I need you here."

I was already on the verge of turning into a blubbering mess but hearing those words and seeing the sincerity in his summer sky blue eyes tipped me over the edge. I buried my face in the soft warmth of his t-shirt and let go of all of the confusion and pent up emotions that I'd been holding in for the last twenty-four hours. I cried until I was barely able to catch my breath, until my nose was running and I knew I looked like a huge mess but he didn't look at me like that. He just smiled and wiped my tears away, kissed the tip of my nose and just kept looking at me like there was nothing else in the room and no one he'd rather be with.

"If I tell you something will you promise not to call me a pussy?" he whispered, his thumb gently brushing along my cheekbone. I leaned into his hand. I knew he was trying to make me smile and it worked, but then it always seemed to when those creases by his eyes deepened and I found myself envying his long, dark eyelashes. "You'd never have to worry about me if you were my girl and there was someone else in this place." I looked past him out at the rain beating against the window and imagined some other woman with her palms spread against the cool glass getting thoroughly fucked by Kess. The vision made me frown. "Well that wasn't the reaction I thought I'd get." I rubbed at my eyes and ran the declaration he'd just made through my head again, this time concentrating about on the part about him, about not having to worry about him. "Pen, sweetheart, in case you haven't noticed, I'm kind of an old fashioned guy, if I'm with you I'm not with anyone else."

It was like being given the best present on Christmas morning, the one you'd been hoping and praying for, the one your parents had intimated they couldn't afford and told you that you'd better write to Santa for. As good as it was, and it was very, very good, that didn't mean that I wasn't pissed at him for letting me worry and beat myself up.

"Why didn't you say something before?" I scrambled to sit up and ended up with my knees on either side of his thighs which was no mean feat in and of itself.

"I figured once you calmed down you'd figure that out on your own," he replied softly but I could tell he was trying his best not to laugh. I punched his shoulder. He didn't flinch, not even a little. He just grinned at me and slid his hands around until they were sliding up the small of my back. My anger melted as I felt his thumbs digging into my tense muscles. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the sensation of his skin against mine, the press of the outside of his thighs against my inner ones and his breath, warm on my throat.

"So I can stay?" I whispered, grinding against him as he slowly pushed my t-shirt up my back. I raised my arms over his head and took it the rest of the way off, tossing it across the room before opening my eyes and gazing down into his. At the best of times they were the colour of water off a white sandy beach in the middle of the day. Now they were a darker blue, like they sky at twilight when it can't decide if it's blue or black.

"Stay and fuck all of my teammates and then come home to me," he smiled but his grin faded until I could tell what he was thinking. I could feel it too, pressed up against my most sensitive parts.

"Yeah?" I lowered my mouth over his and kissed him slowly, winding my tongue around his and grinding against his erection until he groaned and then used his considerable leverage to turn the tables on me, tossing me down onto the couch and pressing me into it.

"As long as you let me watch once in a while," he added, biting my neck until I squealed.

"Kinky bastard," I giggled, wrapping my legs around him while I dug my fingers into his sandy blonde hair.

"Aren't you a lucky girl, having a boyfriend who actually wants you to fuck other guys," he whispered hoarsely, his body moving against mine like we weren't still in our clothes. All I could think about was the last time I'd seen him naked and how much I'd wanted him to fuck me.

"I'd feel even luckier," I whispered against his mouth, "if my boyfriend would take me to bed and make love to me." Chris bit down on my bottom lip and gently tugged it. I felt that pull right down to my clit and squirmed beneath him.

"Is that an" he asked as he released my lip and began to kiss his way down the line of my jaw and then down onto my neck. His hand slipped beneath the lace of my bra and my nipple actually ached as the palm of his hand slid over it. "Because I wasn't thinking about the bed...well, not quite yet anyway," he added looking up at me with a single raised eyebrow.

I didn't ask him what he was thinking, I couldn't, not after he slipped his hand beneath my breast and slid it out of the cup of my bra and then promptly fastened his lips around it. My blood turned to freshly popped champagne, fizzing through my veins. I mewed like a newborn kitten as his teeth gently tugged at the hard bud before his tongue swept, warm and wet, over it. I gasped as he repeated these motions, freeing my other breast and giving it the same attention until I was squirming beneath him.

"God you're so sensitive baby," he chuckled, placing a tender kiss on my sternum. I watched him slowly kiss and nibble his way down my torso, pausing to pay particular homage to my belly button, his tongue diving into the divot, his teeth tugging at the flesh until I whimpered. "If you make noises like that now...," he kissed a freckle just below my belly button and then drew himself up so that he could begin rolling my sweats down over my hips, "I can't wait to hear what kind of noises you're going to make for me now."

As he tossed my sweats aside his gaze held mine and the expression in those blue orbs was something akin to menacing but with a side of amusement that made me squirm and try to dig myself further back into the cushions of the couch. Not that I wanted to get away but my brain obviously thought otherwise.

The expression on Chris's face as he knelt on the floor between my knees slowly changed to reverential as he placed a soft kiss on the inside of my right knee before brushing his stubble covered cheek along the inside of my thigh. I closed my eyes. I knew I was already overwhelmed and he hadn't even come close to the goal yet.

My fingers dug into the cushions and I drew in a long, ragged breath as his warm breath blew over my oh-so-very sensitive skin and his hands slowly, so slowly, slid up my thighs. I could have passed out just from the sensation of his fingers peeling the lips of my pussy back but it was the first swipe of his tongue that sent the bottle rockets in my brain zinging, popping and sending sparks raining down like liquid stars.

He could have swiped his tongue from south to north or vice versa. He could have even pounced immediately on the pearl of female sensitivity or, as Kess was wont to do, shove his tongue as deeply as he could into my entrance. Instead his tongue circled my clit slowly, deliberately avoiding the target not just once but half a dozen times while I clenched my teeth, squeezed my eyes shut and made helpless nonsensical noises deep in my throat.

Happy in his work, he hummed and the vibration seemed to set off a tuning fork somewhere deep inside of my body that sent its vibrations out through my blood stream until I could feel them even in the tips of fingers and toes.

"Ohhhhhhhh godddddddd Chrisssssssssss." I felt more than heard him chuckle and the vibration of his laughter and that, along with the dexterous way he was lapping at the juices seeping from peach was almost too much. I grabbed a cushion and shoved a corner of it directly into my mouth, only partially muffling the scream that ripped itself from my throat.

"Relax baby, I haven't even begun," he promised. I whimpered. My legs were already quivering and I knew it would only take one, maybe two swipes of his tongue, at the most, against my clit and I would tumble happily over the edge.

I'd always known his fingers were thick, like the kind of sausages you paid extra for at a hot dog stand, but as he slid first one and then two into my honey hole I was reminded all over again but I didn't have time to contemplate that too long before just the point of his tongue began to gently stroke over my clit. I bit down hard on the corner of the pillow but it hardly stifled the ecstatic groan of sheer pleasure that rumbled up like a low slung Harley.

"Fuckinggoddamnholyshit," I gasped, tossing the cushion aside. Fuck the neighbours. They'd probably heard me scream a time or two. What was one, maybe two hundred more times?

"Mmmm baby you taste sweet," he sucked on my clit like it was a candy and my entire body twisted. I was so close.

"Ugh...pleeeeeeeze," I begged, my hands curling into fists at my sides.

"Please what Penny?" He looked up at me over the rise of my tummy and smiled the kind of devilish grin that made his blue eyes look as though they were lit with fire. He pursed his lips and blew and the warm breeze, moist breeze across my clit just pushed me closer to the edge. I'd almost forgotten about his fingers until just that moment when he curled them back towards him and found that spot that made my entire body arch up off of the couch like I'd suddenly been possessed or a thousand volts of electricity had just been passed through me and I screamed. I screamed and screamed and my body shuddered and maybe I heard him say my name, say comforting things while it felt like I was exploding from within but mostly all I heard was the varied and colourful curse words spilling out of my mouth while he used those fingers to fuck me, to stroke my g-spot while I came and came until I thought I was going to pass out.

Of course as promised he was far from done with me. By the time I could tell one sensation from another I could feel the point of his tongue making slow circles around my clit again, every third circle broken up by a quick flick of his tongue that made my hips jerk up off of the couch. I whimpered like a dog that had been kicked to the curb and was trying to drag itself off into the bushes. I couldn't decide if I wanted to beg him for more or beg him to stop but just as I reached to dig my fingernails into his scalp he ran the flat of his tongue up, over and around my clit and I cried out, my hands shoving his face harder into my crotch.

So, more it was.

I was utterly boneless by the time he next came up for air, twitching like a fish out of water, having lost the ability to form words let alone sentences as he got to his feet and began, leisurely, to pull his shirt up over his head, baring his chiseled torso by inches, knowing the effect his famously well defined six-pack had on me and every other woman in the city. He tossed his threadbare t-shirt at me and I made the appropriately silly girly fan noises until he opened the top button on his jeans.

I stared at the brass zipper and the goody trail just above it. I licked my lips and felt my pussy throb in anticipation. I should, by then, have been sated but I knew what just a tug of that zipper would nearly reveal and with every single solitary cell in my body I wanted it.

Chris took his time pushing his jeans down over his narrow hips. I watched his grey boxer briefs appear, the kind with the elastic waist band that had Joe Boxer smiley face repeated on it and even that made my mouth go dry.

As he stepped out of his jeans he held his hand out to me.

"Shall we take this party to the bedroom?" he asked sweetly, almost innocently and I had to remind myself that this was supposed to be different, that I shouldn't just yell 'fuck me' from the top of my lungs. So I kept my mouth shut and let him pull me to my feet and then I followed him, demurely and maybe still a little unsteadily, to the bedroom.

I didn't remember having a candle in the bedroom but I must have put it there at one point but I knew the match book next to it was from the Roxy when he picked them up, smiled and shook his head.

"Lappy," he smirked as he lit the candle. When he pursed his lips and blew out the match I bit down on my bottom lip. He was that fucking beautiful, especially as he turned and aimed that grin at me. "I love you Pen, you know that right?" His free hand reached for me and I leaned my cheek into his palm.

"I love you more," I told him, feeling sure that at least in that moment it was true. He shook his head but didn't argue as he leaned in to kiss me, his mouth moving softly over mine as his other hand circled around to the small of my back and pulled me, firmly, against his solid frame. I could not mistake the feel of him, long, thick and hard against my stomach. It was like a threat and a promise; like candy I wanted but couldn't have, or at least not quite yet.

Chris steered me to the bed and then turned, at the last minute, and pulled me down onto his lap so that my boobs were in his face and I had to grab his shoulders to stop myself from slipping off. I laughed but the sound that bubbled up from my throat was cut off as he caught one of my nipples between his teeth and tugged. I dug my nails into his shoulders.

"Jesusfuckingchrist," I gasped, the sensation of his long, hard cock pressed up against my most sensitive parts mingled with the sharp, almost painful feeling of his teeth digging into my flesh was almost enough to tip me over the edge. He looked up at me from between my tits and smiled that slow dead sexy smile that turned my insides into melted hot fudge sauce.

"Are you ready baby?" he said very seriously, his big hands full of my breasts, rolling my nipples between his fingers, twisting them, tugging them. I was never going to be ready for this but I slowly lowered my mouth over his and pressed him backwards onto the bed anyway. If my mind was going to be blown I couldn't think of a better way to go.

Besides, now I had the upper hand.

Chris was now pinned beneath me and I was determined to tease him and make him beg the way he'd done and I had no intention of rushing anything. Not with all that delicious man meat under my fingertips, mouth, lips and tongue. I started at his neck, where his stubble pricked my lips as I kissed my way down to his collarbone and gently kissed my way around a vivid purple bruise from when he'd thrown himself in front of a slap shot. He squirmed and I felt his fingers make a fist of themselves in my hair as I licked my way around the tiny pink bud of his nipple.

I heard him suck a sharp breath in through his teeth when I followed his goody trail down to the elastic of his boxer briefs, lifted it from his pale skin and peeked inside.

"Oh my, all that for l'il 'ol me?" I glanced up the sculpted plane of his body, expecting him to roll his eyes at me. Instead he stared at me with the kind of intensity I was used to from Kess, that I sometimes saw on Chris's face out on the ice but almost never when we were together. It sent a chill down my spine and right into my clit. I moaned.

"I'm all yours babe." He sat up, those amazing abs of his mesmerizing me so much that I didn't feel him reach for me until his hand was curled around the back of my neck. I let my gaze slowly make its way up his beautiful chest until I was staring at his mouth. I'd kissed that mouth probably a thousand times already but I couldn't imagine ever not wanting to.

His tongue was soft and warm as it snaked around mine but his lips were firm and unyielding as he cupped the back of my head, holding me immobile. He took back the upper hand and then used his advantage, his weight, his breadth to press me back onto the bed, under him. He only needed one arm to hold himself above me and the simmering intensity never left his eyes as I helped him push those boxer briefs down.

"I love you," I whispered, reaching up to cup his cheek. He lowered himself enough to kiss me and then he kissed the corner of my mouth and then under my chin, down my neck and then...oh god and then...

The feeling of him, of the head of his cock nudging at my entrance literally stole my breath but when I started to close my eyes he nipped at my bottom lip, hard enough to get my attention.

"Stay with me babe," he whispered as he screwed his way, slowly, inside until he had filled all of me and then he stayed there, balls deep and watched me. "Okay?" he asked, his gaze softening until he looked almost apprehensive.

"Fuck yeah," I grinned suddenly. A little part of me, a miniscule part of me way in the back of my brain must have still been worried that this wouldn't be different, that he wouldn't feel different but in that moment I knew. This was different. This was..., "it's perfect," I whispered.

It was like dawn breaking, the smile that broke across his face in that moment was like a summer sunrise. He grinned at me and I grinned back at him. I didn't ask if he'd been worried about the same thing. He had every right to. I just knew, in that moment, that everything was going to be all right between us.