Sunday, November 13, 2011


“No one can know,” I reminded Eric.  The wheels in his head were turning.

“I can be subtle when I want to,” he replied.  I was doubtful but in no place to argue. 
He went personally to the front office to sweet talk one of the ticket managers into putting Tori right behind the bench.  Normally with her internship she would be in the Canes suite with staff.  Tonight Eric thought there should be some surprises.  He left one way and returned with an envelope, then went the other way toward the equipment room.  He came back with a bag under one arm and left the locker room again.  

“What are you doing?” I asked.  And was ignored.

Two hours before game time, I was getting dressed and eating a Powerbar when he finally started talking to me again.  “Text her and say you had a great time last night.”

I started typing.  Eric had the right idea - I wanted to look out from the ice and see her smiling back at me, at our secret.  I wanted her to see me out there like a star, even though I knew Tori didn’t care if I was famous or not.  Mostly I just wanted to be cool.  

“Won’t that sound too... dorky?”

He sat down heavily.  “Did you have a good time?”

“Uh, yes.  Obviously.”

“Then do it.  Skins, girls want to be wanted.  Even if they say they don’t want you, you have to want them.  Trust me.”

I did trust him.  Eric and his brothers knew more about girls than they did about hockey.  He stood over me, both of us staring at the phone, until she replied a minute later.

Tori: Me too.  Good luck tonight!

“Nice work, kid.  Tell her you left a gift at will call.”

Tori: You don’t have to do that! I’m sure I’ll love it.

“What are you guys doing after?” he asked.  I punched in three letters before realizing it was a question for me.   I didn’t want to say out loud that we had plans to spend the night together, but I took too long thinking up a lie.

“Right,” Eric said, raising his eyebrows.  Then he dissolved into laughter.  “Again?!  You don’t mess around, do ya Skins?  Say you can’t wait to get her naked again.”

“What?! I can’t!”

“Hahahahaha.  Noob.  Think of something sexy, flirt with her a little.  Get her thinking about tonight.”

Eric was right - eventually I’d have to think this stuff up on my own.  To my surprise I knew exactly what to say.  I blushed while I was typing.

Me: Working on my homework.

Tori: Grading on curve. Every point you score = you choose something.  Every PIM = my choice.  Deal?

I groaned out loud.  Her words skidded across my body the way her hands had: new and strong and everywhere.  My heart rate spiked.  I was gonna have to find someplace to ditch this equipment for a few minutes or I’d never make it through the game.  Eric grabbed the phone and burst out laughing so hard he had to lean against the wall.  Then he quickly typed something before I could stop him. 

He handed the phone back.  “You’re welcome.”

I looked at the message.  Me: You make being bad sound so good.

“Just a moment.”  The will call attendant pointed toward the door at the end of the row of windows.  A moment later she opened it - a ticket envelope in one hand and a white shopping bag in the other.  “Enjoy the game.”

Shana snatched the bag away and dug in, coming up with a tangle of bright red jersey.  She shook them loose: a regulation-looking #53 and an identical #12.

“Oh, both our boyfriends left us sweaters!”  She pulled the Staal jersey over her Canes shirt, stuck her face in the neck and took a deep breath.  “Do you think he sweated in this?”

“It’s washed.”  I smiled at the sight of Jeff’s name and number.  I’d be one of a million people wearing his number tonight - more than half of them girls - but really I was the only one.  If his intention was to make me feel special, it working.  Maybe too well.

I probably shouldn’t have teased him about points vs. penalty minutes, but I needed to keep the mood light and this little game of ours going.  If being fun meant being sexy too... well, it wasn’t my fault that everything in the world turned him on.  But as I climbed into the Skinner jersey, one he’d no doubt worn in a game, I felt a little tingle myself.

“… at some point, Eric Staal sweated in the jersey I am wearing?” Shana was still asking, hugging herself tightly.  “I could definitely get pregnant from this.”  Then she opened the ticket envelope and screamed.  

Already the front rows were packed with fans waiting for the pre-game skate; it took five minutes to weave in and around, step over and duck under fans until we reached the Canes bench right behind the glass.  Was I paranoid or did everyone seem to watch us get closer and closer?  There were definitely a lot of girls and a share of dirty looks.

“They’re wondering who you slept with to get these seats,” Shana whispered.  “Should we tell them?”

I slapped the back of her head.  She didn’t even bother to duck.

“You’re right, wait till he’s staring at you from center ice.”

Every second off the clock added to my nerves, which manifested as bubbles in my bloodstream fizzing about like a shaken soda can.  Sitting still was tough; Shana finally put her leg over mine to stop me tapping my feet.  The horn sounded and I jumped so hard she nearly fell out of her chair.  The crowd went crazy as the Canes took the ice to warm-up.  Jerseys whipped by until I finally spotted a 53 cutting across the hash marks.

“Eeeeep!” Shana said, grabbing onto my arm.  For all her humor she was as excited as I.

The players formed lines for their first passing drill, like always.  I had seen the pre-game skate at least twenty-five times, but never this spot.  And never watching just one person.  Jeff joined the back of the center lines, spun in a little circle, then stopped and looked right at me.

BAM: smile, dimples.

Oh God.

Shana could have punched me in the stomach and it would have been gentler.  Jeff looked away quickly, not wanting to attract attention.  I dug my fingers into Shana’s thigh so hard she yelped.

“Jesus, Tori!” she whispered sharply.  “Save the claws for your boyfriend’s back.”  

A hot blush rose in my face – exactly what happened to Jeff.  Spending so much time together was turning me into him.  Now I grinned stupidly and got all red whenever someone cute looked my way.  

“Right,” Shana cut into my reverie, “you don’t like him at all.”

I have never concentrated so hard during a pre-game skate.  It took all my willpower to keep my eyes off Tori in the front row – thank God I wanted to impress her and that required watching the puck.  The drills were basic, but they were fast and we had some fun.  Eric slapped me with his stick as he stopped beside me.

“She’s looking at you,” he said.  Eric had his helmet off, looking all almost-ginger and sculpted, smiling like he meant it for every woman in the place.  The guy couldn’t help it.  I wanted the ice to melt so I could drown myself. 

“I know.”

“Looks good in your sweater, too.”

“Uh huh.”

He thumped my shoulder.  “Just pick the right time.”

“What?”  I had no idea what he meant.  Was that something about girls?  But he was gone.

I felt Tori’s eyes on the back of my neck, watching me skate and shoot.  A few times I looked over, and some of those she wasn’t even watching me.  Just her proximity made me feel electric.  On the way off the ice, I risked it and gave her a big smile.  Could be to anyone, right?  Then she smiled back and I nearly toe-picked onto my face.

Luckily for me, we were on fire from the opening face-off.  Three goals in the first period and I had one of the assists.  The crowd was a sea of red jumping up and down – Tori right along with them.  I shamelessly looked right at her on my way back to the bench so she’d know I was thinking it.

One thing I get to choose.

Her perfect smirk said she was looking forward to it.

We continued to dominate but the goal-scoring slowed.  I had eight shots – that’s how hard I was trying – and nothing would drop.  We got one and gave one up in the second.  The third had no scoring until halfway through, when LaRose banged one into the net.  We were leading 5-1.  Eric leaned over down the bench.

“Skins!  Now’s the time.”

“Time for what?”  I said, but we were jumping over on a line change.  I couldn’t get near him because a quick whistle called him into the face-off circle.  I snuck a glance at Tori, wondering what it was time for, but it was too distracting.  I kept remembering how she’d looked this morning, waking up in my arms, making breakfast in her underwear.  At the end of the shift, I nearly took a too-many-men penalty when I was slow stepping onto the bench.

For every penalty I get, she gets to choose.

“Oh my God!” I said to no one. 

On my next shift I lined up next to a defenseman, waited until the puck dropped, then pulled his feet out from under him with my stick.  The whistle blew: Skinner, two minutes for tripping.  It was the only time I’d ever seen Eric smiling as the penalty box door opened.

“Finally!” he shouted.

From across the ice, I could see Tori smiling.

“Hey,” I answered the phone.  Shana had gone home and I was pacing my apartment like a cage waiting for Jeff to call.

The game was exhilarating, the added dimension of being so close to the players made me fiercely protective of them.  I had watched a ton of games but this made me feel what they felt.  It was intense.  Add that to thoughts of Jeff’s strong hands on me and I almost needed to be tied to the seat.  By the time it was over, my nerves were shot.

And here was Jeff, finally finished his game day duties and hopefully ready to take care of mine.  I’d been waiting for him to say he was headed home so I could drive over and meet him.

“Let me in.”


I wasn’t supposed to be this wound up.  Chalk it up to the game, I told myself.  The last two nights had been great, but this was something else.  This was Jeff taking the bait, or was it the wheel, and showing up at my door for class.  I hit the buzzer and a minute later I opened the door.

He was turning the corner in his suit – charcoal gray, light blue shirt, dark blue tie.  His hair was damp, almost curling.  I swear he’d had another growth spurt since the final whistle.  I dragged him across the threshold, right into me.  The door swung shut as we hit the wall already groping each other.  Jeff’s tongue slipped right into my mouth, his hands under my ass just enough so he could slide us together like a lock and key.  I held on to the bulk of his shoulders and encouraged him to flatten me.

“For someone…,” I said, tugging the knot out of his tie, “who doesn’t know...,” I kissed him again, “what they’re doing, you are…” I pushed my hands right down over his backside and dropped another inch into his lap, “really fucking sexy.”

He laughed, mouth busy with the tender flesh between my neck and shoulder.  The motion of it rocked both our bodies and made me whimper.  “Do you have a roommate?” he asked.


“Good.”  He yanked my t-shirt off in one strong motion.  Then Jeff popped the button on my jeans, pushed them and my panties down halfway off my hips before letting his hands drop inside to cup my bare ass.  Another inch and he’d have known how wet I already was for him.  “Because I believe you owe me something.”

Anything.  Anything!

“Already decided?” I managed to say instead.

Jeff looked right at me.  Being forceful was taking a lot out of him, it was uncomfortable.  But a spark in his dark eyes said it made him feel manly to be in charge.  And it was definitely working for me.

“I want to see you.”

He hauled me toward the couch, shedding his coat into a heap on the floor.  Jeff drew me in close and touched my face.  I thought he would explain more, or ask again.  Instead he put my hands on his shirt so I could continue undressing him while he helped himself to my mostly naked body.  He was quickly stripped to the waist, and I didn’t stop till he was in his shorts.  My jeans joined the pile.

Jeff dropped back onto the couch and guided me into his lap, stradding him.  It was surprisingly comfortable and I was definitely still in charge from up here.  Taking my breasts in his palms, Jeff lifted and ran his mouth over the soft skin.  I moved my hips slightly, feeling his hard-on fit against me through our underwear; he exhaled deeply as I stroked myself along his length.  He opened my bra to twist his tongue around my nipples in turn.  Then his hands went under my ass again, one continuing right between my legs.  I sobbed out a breath as he pulled a fingertip along my slit.  Jeff’s heartbeat was already quick.  I could have easily gotten him off like this and he knew it.

“I want you so much,” he said.  There wasn’t much shyness left in his voice.  I climbed free and bent over dramatically to search his pants for a condom.  Then I let him watch me slowly strip off my panties, his mouth falling slightly open.  His shorts were quickly lost.

“Let me.”  I took him in my hand and his eyes closed when my fingers wrapped around.  My body was humming – I couldn’t wait.  Not Jeff couldn’t wait. 

I can’t wait.

I unrolled the thin barrier, enjoying every inch of him in my palm before I swung myself back into position.  Jeff didn’t hesitate – he pulled my mouth down for a kiss and pressed me onto his tip in the same movement.  It was pleasure and pain, from empty to full, and the overwhelming desire for release.  One of us moaned.

I was like a drop of water in full form, hanging by almost nothing, existing only to fall.  The feeling of Jeff pushing inside of me, the heat of his body and the strength of his hands, the way his kiss was still so hopeful even now made my breath cautch.  I knew, as his fingers dented my hips to steady the first stroke, that I would come for him this time.

“Jeff,” I said without even meaning to speak.  He tilted his hips, lifting me effortlessly; I gave in and let him hold me up.  His eyes were closed, he bit his lip and rolled again.  For the first minute we were nothing more than moving and breathing together.

Then his mouth was on mine.  I kissed him hard, twisting my hips the same way, trying to control the adrenaline coursing through my system and stave off an orgasm that felt like it was coming on the express train.  But Jeff’s hands were too strong and I had no choice – I went where he put me, again and again and again until I was sobbing out a tiny breath with every deep stroke.

“Ohgodrightthere,” I panted.  He listened too well, dark eyes strained with the effort of holding himself together until I came apart.  Everything in me screamed to let go. 


Jeff’s hands went right up my back, closed over my shoulders and pulled me down while he drove upward, quickly and hard, into the exact spot I named.  My hands clutched at his arms as the ground dropped away.

I came so fast it knocked the breath out of my lungs.  All at once, like the finale of a fireworks show, the entire place went up in a bang.  My back arched.  I said his name, a single clear note, before the pieces of me feel slowly back toward Earth, fizzling out on the way down. 

Jeff groaned and pressed his forehead to my chest.  I felt him jerk twice, three times, draining himself inside me.  I’d barely had a chance to think about him – only his second time and I was already being selfish.  Or maybe just unprepared for such a volatile reaction.  I caught his lips in a kiss so we could share the last of the sensation.

Finally we were very still, chests heaving and skin sticky with sweat.  He’d been in my house less than fifteen minutes.  Jeff pulled me down onto my back and fitted along side me.  I held him around the shoulders and we kissed for a long, lazy minute.  When I opened my eyes, he was smiling with those dimples again.

I giggled.  My brain was mush.

“That,” he fought so hard to keep a straight face, “was awesome.”

I tried too, and failed.  My laughter set him off and we lay there, tangled and messy, cracking up.  It was the second time in as many nights together that we had ended up laughing.  Maybe it was nerves.

Or maybe that was the benefits, I thought as my body still trembled from what he’d done, and this is the friends.


  1. umm amazing! love it :)) cant wait for more! ps-i looove eric in this story too :)

  2. Last night I'm watching the Canes vs. the Pens, and I had an odd reaction. I love the Pens. I live and die with the Pens. And as the final whistle blows, I find myself not terribly upset that the Pens came so close to winning (coming from 0-3 down to tie it in the third) and then losing in the last few minutes. Why such calm when there would normally be swearing? Well, the Canes needed a win, Jeff Skinner is really adorable, and Eric Staal scored the winning goal. This line of thinking did not exist before this story. I blame you for this. -Ally

  3. I completely agree with Ally. You always have a way of converting me. You're a wonderful writer. I wonder what Tori would pick for his penalty minutes!

  4. That was hot. I think I'll go read it again.