Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eight: New Day (end)

Zoe woke to the sound of her phone ringing.  She looked around – it was ten o’clock.  Not an inhuman hour, so she reached for the coffee table across from the couch.

“Let us in,” Mike said.

“What?”  She was a little fuzzy from dreaming.

“It’s not nice to leave the movers standing in the hall.”  And he knocked on the door.

Zoe quick pulled a sweatshirt over her tank top and shorts combo – too short, definitely, but Mike was still knocking.  When she opened the door, his eyes went up and down her body once before he shook his head.

“No.  You can’t live with Nicky.”

“Too late, Greenie!” an accented voice came from somewhere outside.

Without knowing, Zoe wore the infamous red shorts.  They were still very short, Mike thought, and her legs were still long and shapely and… and her sweatshirt only reached her waist.  He wrapped his arms around her, trying to block her from anyone else’s view, and pushed her backwards down the hall till they were in the bathroom.

“Good mor…,” she almost said, but he was already kissing her.  Mike’s hand was flat on her bare thigh, moving down toward her knee because he really wanted to move it up toward her shorts.  Not caring if she’d brushed her teeth, Mike swirled his tongue right into her mouth for a real wake-up call.

“The morning I saw you,” he said, taking his lips to her throat, “you were wearing these shorts.”

“You mean the morning you watched me in my room like a peeping tom?”

He laughed against her skin.  “It’s your fault for wearing these.”

Zoe had her hands in his hair, keeping his face to her neck and rubbing her body against him.  This is the real way to wake up, she thought.  The way that sends you right back to bed.  “I have a green pair too.”
Mike groaned loudly and flattened her to the wall, just as someone banged on the door.

“Absolutely not,” Christine called.  “If anyone’s having sex in my bathroom, it’s me!”

“And me!” John Carlson’s voice was extra loud like he was convincing someone.

Instead of laughing, Mike and Zoe just looked at each other with their foreheads touching.  This was the farthest they’d ever gone, physically, with her leg hitched up and his hand on her thigh.  They’d said so much no that suddenly everything said yes.  Zoe got both feet on the floor and brushed his lips softy.

“Did you say something about moving?”

Mike and Nicky both had huge SUVs, and Brooks drove his Mercedes.  They piled in, Zoe and Christine now dressed, and headed for Zoe’s house.  She was reluctant to roll up on Jenna with half a hockey team in tow, but the desire to be out of there won.  But someone else had thought of that.

“I called Jenna,” Mike said.  Zoe had suspected he might have something to tell her, since everyone else had gone in another car.  “I told her I was sorry for being a dick and that we were coming over to move you out.  She said she would be gone when we got there.”

“Thank you,” Zoe sighed.  “What did she say?”

Mike smiled sadly.  “A few colorful things that were absolutely true.  Well, about me.  I don’t think they were true about you.”

Zoe had to admit that they probably were true.  She’d been no better to Jenna than Mike had been – worse even, because they were friends.  For as good as she had tried to be and as much as she’d fought herself along the way, Zoe had taken advantage of Jenna to get to Mike.  But looking at him in the driver’s seat, his chubby cheeks a little low and his pouty lips half-frowning, she knew it had been worth it.  All’s fair in love and war, right?  That didn’t make it feel good, but at least it was over.

“I did things wrong too, Mike.  But they weren’t mistakes.”

He turned toward her, the sunlight catching a two-day scruff and making him look rough-and-tumble.  “I should have come into your room that morning, helped you fold your laundry.”

“Those clothes would not have been clean for long.”  She wrapped her fingers into his.

As promised the place was empty.  Zoe silently thanked Jenna for giving her this as she dragged suitcases out.  Nicky and John popped trash bags open and started shoveling clothes inside.  Mike and Christine filled the suitcases with books and picture frames, packing just carefully enough to make it across town.  Shoes went in purses and bags, which went into more trash bags, which Brooks carried outside.  When the room was reasonably stripped and Zoe had collected her things from the rest of the house, all that was left was her bed, dresser and desk.

“Your room has furniture, but if you like to bring this stuff we can put other stuff in garage.”

There was no sentimental value in any of her Craigslist collection, so Zoe just shook her head.  “Leave it.  Make it easier to get another person in here quickly.”  Mike’s heart sang with relief - more than anything he wanted to be out of there as fast as possible.

The caravan pulled into Nicky’s house near Arlington half an hour later.  It was farther out than Zoe had ever lived in the DC-area, reminding her when they thought a cab wouldn’t bring them here on the night of Mike’s party.  Just a few days ago.  But she’d get a car or take the metro or something, it didn’t matter.

The house was nicer than Nicky had described.  It was larger than Mike’s condo – a real house, with two floors.  The small front yard was brown for the winter but the house was a welcoming gray, white and blue scheme.  A little foyer fed into a large dining room, a big red kitchen, a den and game room, plus three bedrooms and bathrooms upstairs.

“Is that a pool?!” Christine peeked through the dining room blinds.

Zoe had a bag in hand.  Nicky was passing through from the living room so she just reached out and grabbed him into a hug.  He giggled while she squeezed him as tightly as she could.  “Thank you,” she said quietly.  He kept his arm around her waist and steered her into the kitchen.

“You like it?”

It was gorgeous and brand-spanking-new.  She bet the appliances still had price tags.  Dark granite countertops matched a huge island set into the middle of the room, lined on one side with barstools.  It was clearly meant to be the central place of the house.

“Have you been starving to death living on your own?”

“No, but I eat out a lot.  In my condo it was okay, but now with a house… at home in Sweden, we always eat at home.  I miss it.”

Zoe squeezed him again.  “I’m going to be the best damned cook you’ve ever met.”

All her stuff was piled into her room at the far end of the top floor.  She simply shut the door on all the bags and ordered everyone out to lunch.  They walked a few blocks to the main street in Old Town.  Mike held her hand and pointed out all his favorite places.

“We’re leaving tomorrow for a road trip.”  I don’t want to leave you for anything.

“I know.  Six days,” she said.  Mike just leaned in and kissed the side of her head.

When they sat down to lunch, Zoe told the table, “Eat light.  Nicky and I are making everyone dinner tonight before the concert.”  Nicky’s blond head shot up, huge smile on his face.  Brooks had gotten them all tickets to a show but Zoe really wanted to get started on this, her new life of sorts, right away.  It was tonight or wait a week to see the guys again.

“Is this where I make a Swedish Chef joke?” Carlson asked.  Christine tried to stab him with her fork.

“Six-thirty,” Zoe laughed.  “iCarly, you come at eight to do dishes.”

Nicky and Mike trailed Zoe around the supermarket like they were waiting to be sent on an errand.  She stopped in front of the dairy case.  “How much do you guys eat?”

They looked at each other and shrugged.  Just as Zoe had thought.  Probably no such thing as too much food for a hockey player.

Zoe was not the greatest cook, but she had a few solid items in her arsenal.  And looking at Nicky, the way he scanned every single thing on every single shelf like he was translating into Swedish and trying to guess the equivalent, she promised herself she would learn until his house felt like home for everyone.

“We’re having lasagna,” she announced.  They piled the cart with ricotta and other cheeses, with ground beef and veggies.  In the past aisle Zoe did a little math and figured that between three of them they could make their own sauce in enough time.

“Are you two any good in the kitchen?”

Mike gave her a look like he was thinking more about the bedroom.  “I’ll do whatever you tell me to.”
Back in Nicky’s kitchen, Zoe set them up chopping vegetables and combining ingredients.  Nicky talked quietly to himself as he counted things out in Swedish.  Soon tomatoes were simmering on the stove and Zoe was showing Mike how to smash garlic.

“Cut it up until it’s not too small,” she gave the clove a few cuts, “then put the side over it and whack it.”  She brought the heel of her hand down hard against the flat of the blade.  Mike looked impressed.
“Obviously don’t cut yourself.”

He tried it once, too lightly for fear of the sharp edge.  Zoe readjusted his position and showed him again.  “Pretend it’s someone you hate,” she suggested.

Mike slammed his fist down hard, all but liquefying the garlic and Zoe at the same time.  Damn those arms, she made a mental note to put him in long sleeves before letting him to chores.  Or send Nicky out first.

He looked up for approval.  “Sorry Penguins.”

Nicky was thrilled with the amount of activity going on in his kitchen.  Every burner on the stove was going and it smelled fantastic.  Zoe had him grating cheese and pretended not to notice him tasting every other bite.  Across the counter, she was stirring the pot of sauce as it bubbled away.  A piece of hair was stuck to her forehead with the heat and tiny spots of sauce flecked her skin from when she’d leaned down to taste it.  Mike gently wiped one from her chin.

“Mmmm,” he murmured as he looked right at her and licked his finger.  She shuddered.

“Oh come on!” Nicky rolled his eyes.

They laughed and Mike took any excuse to wrap his arms around her middle and hold her in front of him, like nothing could get close to her unless he said so.  As he kissed her neck he told himself to make sure he possessed every cooking utensil in the world in case she ever wanted to spend this much time in his kitchen.

“Perfect,” Zoe said.  Nicky beamed.  She’d told them the trick of no-boil lasagna noodles and put them to work doling out layers of sauce, meat and cheese.  Nicky arranged the noodles carefully, edges perfectly overlapped and not a single corner broken.  Mike’s were a little more… rough.  Noodles were arranged like mosaic tiles, more than one broken and fitted back into its approximate place.  He elbowed Nicky.

“Stop showing off!”

Nicky protected his dish by turning his shoulder.  “Hey!  Forwards have better hands!  Everyone knows that.”

Mike covered the evidence with a round of cheese, disguising it.  “Defensemen have bigger dicks.”
At the sink, Zoe had to put a plate down to cover her face.  She expected Nicky to tell Mike to mind his manners or behave himself. Instead the Swede socked his friend in the shoulder.  “That is not true!”
Four pans of food went into the oven to bake and two trays of garlic bread sat waiting to be toasted.

 Zoe went to her new room, surveyed the stack of bags they’d dumped and pulled one from the middle of the pile.  Mike lingered in the doorway.

“I have to go home to change.”

Zoe had been thinking the same thing.  She wanted to go with him, she didn’t want to be away from him for a second.  They’d barely known each other two weeks and she knew the next six days would be rough without him.  All alone in this big, empty house….  Is it worse because we haven’t done anything, or will it be worse when we have?

She wanted to, no question.  And she didn’t plan to wait six days.  Mike was having the same thoughts as he came close to her and put his hands on her arms.

“Come with me then we’ll come back for dinner.”

She didn’t think about it, she just went.

Mike parked inside his garage.  As he unlocked the side door he wondered if he should give Zoe a set of keys.  It was barely fifteen minutes from Nicky’s house to his and no matter what he told his friend, he intended to take as much of Zoe’s time as possible.  Then he almost laughed.  It’s been like two weeks.

He steered her through the living room and right into the bedroom.  She took a seat on the edge of the mattress, leaned forward on one elbow and watched him sort through his closet.  He showed her a few shirts and she chose a dark gray t-shirt with some distressed detailing across the front.  Mike pulled a pair of dark jeans from the shelf, tossed them onto the bed next to her and started stripping.

Zoe screamed.  She rolled right over, pressing her stomach and face into the blanket, and squealed.

“What?  Is this inappropriate?” he asked as he put one knee between hers and lowered his mostly naked body onto her back.  She squealed again as he settled his weight against her.  Mike gently kissed her neck.

I’m dead.  And if this is what being dead is like, then I was very good girl while I was alive.

He was warm, solid and heavy – that bulky, masculine feeling of someone simply overpowering you.  She knew without looking that he wore boxer briefs and that if she looked, he wouldn’t be wearing them for long.

“Zoe,” he whispered.  Everything he’d seen in her, from the first time when she was folding laundry to the blush on her face when he made a joke about defensemen packing bigger sticks, said that she wanted him.  He knew it from her kiss, her touch, the way she’d felt bad about hurting Jenna but had done it anyway to be with him.  There was still a small part of Mike that couldn’t believe it.  Most girls wanted his money or his fame and they’d use sex to get it.  Zoe had done the exact opposite and now he was lying across her, in his underwear, hoping to be right that she at least wanted to be with him.

“Stop,” she laughed.

“Want me to get dressed?”

“No!” and she rolled onto her back, dumping him next to her.

Zoe tried to look at his face.  That sweet, heartbreaking face that she knew she’d do anything for.  But below it… oh for fuck’s sake she thought as she let her eyes travel south and take in the sight of him lying next to her in bed.  She traced a finger along the tattoo inside his bicep, right to where his hand rested near her forehead.  He watched her, unmoving.

“You’re so beautiful,” she said.  In her fantasies, both before and after meeting Mike, she really hadn’t don’t him justice.  He wasn’t perfect and in that he was perfect.

Mike pulled her in and kissed her.  His top leg looped over hers, trapping her close as his arms wound around her back.  She responded strongly, getting as close to him as possible.

This really isn’t happening, she thought.

This is what I’ve been chasing, he knew.

They could easily have stayed there all night, or gone for it quickly before heading out.  But despite the various states of undress, the heat of Mike’s skin and the curve of his bare shoulder, Zoe broke away.  Mike had been waiting for her to stop first.  For so much waiting, this should be done right.

“Will you stay here tonight?” he asked.

She stroked the waistband of his shorts, very careful not to look inside.  “I owe you breakfast.”

Nicky stood in the kitchen, looking over the waiting pans of food with a smile on his face.  Zoe bustled in like she owned the place, which she practically did inside of a day.  He knew he’d love living with someone - he was really far from home, after all.  His family visited as often as they could but the team was his daily family.  And now he’d have someone else.

“Thanks, Zoe.”

She handed him two pot holders.  “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

They carried everything out at the same time, knowing once it hit the table it wouldn’t last long.  Brooks poured everyone a glass of wine, Carlson stared at the lasagna like he’d never eaten before.  Christine took a bite of Mike’s garlic bread and put it right back on his plate while he watched Zoe.

Five minutes of complete silence were broken only by the ting of silverware and sighs of pleasure.  Zoe was amazed at the amount of food the guys had already put away - one who pan was scraped clean and a second was nearly empty.  She would have to recalculate her menus if she’d be feeding these wild animals all the time.

“Wwwiiwww wwooo mmmmmrrrr mmmeeee?” John said through a mouthful of food.  The blank stares made him chew quickly and swallow.

“Will you marry me?” he repeated clearly.

Zoe laughed.  “That was easy.  I’ll think about it.”

Mike put his fork down and turned melodramatically toward her.  “No, you won’t.”

“Shouldn’t have told me about defensemen,” she smirked.  Nicky choked on a bite of pasta.

When everyone was fat and happy, Brooks reminded them the night was not over.  He’d missed out on a Little Wayne concert a few weeks before, and wanted to make up for it with a Jimmy Eat World show tonight.  It had been no trouble getting a couple of extra tickets for the girls, and Ovi and Semin were meeting them at the club.  Zoe made John and Brooks load the dishwasher while she and Christine changed quickly.  After all, everything she owned was upstairs.

Nicky offered to take Christine and John, Mike would take Brooks because they lived only a block apart.  Brooks wiped the table down, tossed the towel into the sink and headed down the stairs.

“I thought you had the SUV?” he asked, leaning into the door of Mike’s black Maserati.  “Where’s Zoe?”

 She poked her head out between the seats - he hadn’t even thought this car had a back seats.  “Hi Brooks!” she yelled though she’d just seen him give seconds ago.  Something about being in the back seat of Mike’s car was... making her a little excited.

“Hi Zo!” Brooks shouted back.  If it was okay with her it was okay with him.

The VIP area was pretty full, but they got a round of drinks and settled into one side of the bar.  The opening act had been on for two songs.  Mike stood with an arm around Zoe’s waist and spoke right into her ear.

“Thanks for dinner.”

She kissed him through a smile.  It was only dinner!  For all their money, these guys just wanted someone to care enough to take care of them.  Zoe had been taking care of herself for so long she wondered if she’d even notice.  Except for how much they eat.

“I told you, just wait till breakfast.”

It was hard to drink on such full stomachs.  They headed out into the crowd while the stage crew turned the place over.  Zoe felt people looking at the guys - some glancing, some openly staring.  If she’d seen them in a club two weeks ago, she’d definitely have stared.  If not for Mike holding her tight to his chest, hands knitted together at her belly button, she’d probably be staring now.  Even Ovi must not be in the mood, she thought, seeing the huge Russian had one arm casually around Christine’s shoulders while she talked to Nicky on the other side.  Brooks was on Mike’s left, tapping one foot and peeling the label from his bottle.

“Hey,” Zoe said, “Thanks for inviting me.”

The forward smiled.  He really was absurdly good-looking and Zoe was glad to know he didn’t have to be everyone’s father.  At least not now.  Maybe he could have more fun tonight at a band he liked, not having to hold the lid on this pot.

The band came on, loud and rocking.  Zoe usually danced at shows but was more than content to bob along while staying wrapped in Mike’s arms.  His broad chest rose and fell against her back, his breath softly tickling her neck.  Every so often he punctuated it with a kiss.  When a slower, broody song came on, he pressed his nose to her cheek.

“I wish we could leave,” he said.  I wish I could stay here this week.

In the darkness, Zoe blushed.  She wanted to leave too.  She wanted to throw him on the floor and not stop till she saw what was under those shorts.  And part of her wanted to stay there all night, Mike holding her for all the world to see because there was nothing to hide.  She glanced around.

“Where’s Brooks?”

“He went to the bar.  Hasn’t come back.”

Zoe raised an eyebrow.  “I hope he met a girl.”

Mike bit her earlobe gently.  “Then I hope he’s thinking what I’m thinking.”

But Zoe was a fan of the band and something about prolonging their wait was delicious in its denial, so they waited.  Nicky did a little Swedish shoulder dance and half the girls in the place watched him more than the band.  Christine seemed happily tucked in against Ovi’s side - he wasn’t making a move, and maybe she was glad that no one else could.  Brooks eventually returned right before the end, his hair mussed and grinning.

“Uh, did you...,” Zoe started to ask.  Mike clapped a hand over her mouth and turned her away.

“If you say did he get some backstage, you’re going to get some backstage.  Is this show over yet or what?” But he was laughing.  And so was Brooks.

At the end of the show, they filed through the VIP exit where the valet had their cars waiting.  Twenty minutes later, Brooks was home and Zoe was sliding carefully from the back into the front of the Maserati.  Mike was ready and waiting, his hand moving right up her thigh before her butt was in the seat.  Then he peeled out of Brooks’ driveway.

I’m nervous, Zoe thought.

Please don’t let me fuck this up, Mike said to himself.

They came in from the garage, dropping keys and coats on the island in the kitchen.  Zoe was thinking about getting herself a glass of water, but it never happened.  Her bag had barely touched the counter when Mike was pushing her against it.  His hands on her hips were strong and firm, holding her right where he could kiss her best.  She opened her mouth beneath his and found something else to drink.
Not real, this is not real, Zoe reminded herself.

Mike wasn’t thinking anything clearly.

He broke away from the kiss, her hand already in his, and led her straight to the bedroom.  No pretense this time - Mike made short work of the slinky top she wore and filled his hands with the silken cups of her bra.  Zoe tugged up his shirt at the back, making him left his arms overhead so she could toss it away.  Then her mouth went right to the design inked along the crest of his collarbone.  Thick fingertips slipped inside her bra, her nipples instantly hard at the slightly rough surface of his skin.

She murmured appreciation as the curves and hollows of his muscled body passed beneath her palms.  No number of drinks could produce this tipsy feeling, the giddiness and nerves that accompanied the heft of his body against hers.  Those hands moved toward her waist and Zoe was already wishing her pants away.  Mike paused, a cautious look in his eyes.

“Are you sure?”

“I want you, and I want this,” she said.  “I’m sorry I made you doubt that.”

He picked her up and dumped them both backward onto the low platform bed.  Her thighs parted, allowing his to press against the cleft between her legs.  She returned the favor by rolling her hip against his crotch.  He groaned.

Quickly rolling to one side, Mike popped the button on Zoe’s jeans while she reached for his.  It was almost a race - not frantic, but not a second wasted as they pushed down denim and kicked off shoes getting to each other.  Finally Zoe lay sprawled out in nothing but black lace bikini bottoms.  Mike traced the patterned ridges with his wrist, feeling there was something he should say.

I’m crazy about you; too much.  I have been dreaming about this; too creepy.  I want you; too casual and crude.

“Thank you,” he finally decided.

Zoe grazed her fingertip along his hairline above one ear.  His earnest, almost sad face was such a contrast with the hunk of muscle radiating heat down her side.  Those dark brown eyes were very sure.

“Thanks for not letting me give up.”

He kissed her sweetly.  That didn’t last long before they were tangles together by tongue and body.  Mike slowly dragged a hand up her thigh.  The first friction of her panties made him groan and seconds later his hand was pressed against her slit.  Zoe gasped.  Mike paused, then began to move.
I’m going to lose my mind to this girl, he knew.

She was wet and more than ready.  This far along, Mike may as well have been playing a guitar string wound too tightly.  Her hands slipped inside his waist band and she rolled her fist into place along his shaft.

Holy shit, she thought.  It’s exactly what Mike was thinking.

After that there was no waiting.  It may have to wait a few days but they wouldn’t find all the time they wanted to explore each other.  The first time was about making it real, taking everything they’d been through and signing on the dotted line.  It didn’t take much for Mike to be on top of Zoe, the tip of his cock nudging itself inside her like iron to a magnet.

Taking every ounce of focus to get a moment’s respite, Mike looked straight into Zoe’s eyes.  He needed to confess before taking the newest, most perfect sin.  “I’m going to get this right.  Us,” he promised.

Halfway between a simmer and boil, Zoe’s body was ready to roll.  “I trust you, Mike.  Forget all that other stuff.”

Relief was obvious on his face.  “Well, not the red shorts.”

“No, not the shorts.”

He sank into her like quicksand.  Zoe’s breath hitched as Mike pressed slowly, taking his time and every breath of space inside her body.  Her long fingers dug into his lower back, urging him on even as she needed him to wait.  When he finally felt the soft round of her ass against his thighs, he realized he’d been holding his breath.  Zoe opened her eyes and kissed him.

Mike stared right back at her and began to move.  His vision swam a little, but never enough to make him forget how close he’d come to missing all this.

Zoe was melting like snow.  All the things she’d been so sure of, the rules and assumptions she’d held for so long were running down the same angle Mike was pushing up.  Her eyes drifted closed because it was the only way to keep everything she was feeling inside, where she could savor it.

No one’s perfect, she told herself.  But he’s pretty damned close.


Thank you all so much for reading this one!  My campaign for Mike Green World Domination continues.  It was hard for me not being able to update as often as I wanted, but real life gets  in the way.  I had a lot of fun with this and it might get a sequel someday.  At least a Nicky Backstrom story... I could write myself into such a crush on Greenie's sidekick.


  1. Wow! That was an amazing story! I loved it! I hope you start another story soon! Maybe a Brooks Laich story? :)

  2. Such a good story! I can't wait for your next one, by chance is there going to be another Crosby story soon?

  3. The "Sorry Penguins" line was CLASSIC! Also loved the dinner conversation and the tie in with your amazing Brooks one shot ;)

    I really love the realness of this story. Things didn't go perfectly from the way they met to the fight with Jenna and all of the bad feelings that came from that. Even with all of that, I think Zoe and Mike have a wonderful future ahead of them :)

    I'll be waiting patiently to see what great story you come up with next!

  4. Great story. Don't like that there are only eight chapters though. I think you should do an ovi story too,maybe with christine or something like that.

  5. I was never a really big Mike Green fan but after your stories and one shots i've grown very fond of him!
    Thank you for a great story & I can't wait for your next one!

  6. Awesome story as usual. I have missed your Mike tales.
    It would be interesting to see what you would do with a Nicky story. Can't wait til you start the next one.

  7. Brilliant story and faboo ending. The Penguins and defensemen joke made me laugh and love how you combined your one shot with this! :)

  8. Loved it!! Sad it is over because it was such a great story!!

  9. not going to lie you've converted me....only to a greener and brooks fan though. Sad this is over :/ but happy because it means you're going to be starting another new one soon.

    p.s. another staal brother fic would be greatly appreciated ;D

  10. a bäckis story=) there are so few of them!!

  11. Juliet...what's up next?! Can't wait! Any player you write about is good!