Saturday, May 28, 2011


Here's the song for the end of last chapter/beginning of this one in the club: Robyn - Indestructible.

Maybe it was meant to be a brief kiss, like an introduction.  A prologue to the next chapter.  Ten guys were lined up against the wall, waiting for Nicky to join them.  People were climbing out of the way while other people climbed in for a closer look.  The VIP area had shrunk by half and filled in twice.

Maybe it wasn’t meant as a kiss, but reassurance that they were both going in the same direction. That despite awkward beginnings and mutual shyness, each of them was correct in thinking the other was wondering if they were thinking the same thing.

Maybe it didn’t mean anything because it wasn’t planned.  It just was what it was – inevitable, irresistible, incendiary.

Nicky was moving more quickly than he realized.  Instead of gently pressing his lips to Devin’s, he stormed into her with the intention of kissing her.  Now.  His arm around her waist and hand at the back of her neck were all that kept them both from tumbling to the floor.

Reacting faster than a 50-goal scorer, Devin curled her fingers into the open collar of his shirt and held him in tight.

Herre fan!,
he though.  Holy shit.

It was like licking a light socket.  Devin kissed him back so quickly he felt electrified, parting his lips as she did and still moving forward with the momentum of coming toward her.  His stomach flipped madly and he was glad to have something to hold on to.

It could only last a few seconds.  Something that strong had to be eased into, like lowering yourself slowly into a roiling hot tub.  It took your breath away immediately but if you took your time, the intensity became comfortable.

They barely separated: gasping, lips inches apart.  Still clutching each other at a frantic angle.  It took Devin an extra second to slowly open her eyes.

Nicky was frozen.  Where he’d been so sure a moment ago, now fear flooded over those hot coals.  He could have been wrong.  He could have moved too quickly, read the signs wrong, assumed something she never meant.  That kiss could have been a reflex – what else would you do when someone twice your size grabbed you with no warning and threw himself on you?  She could no more fight him off if he’d been trying to kidnap her.

Then she smiled.  It came all at once, to her lips and her eyes, the megawatt grin that Nicky knew he’d fallen in love with the moment he first saw her photo.  He felt it too, slightly manic laughter when he finally exhaled.  Nicky pressed his forehead to hers and they giggled.

“Woooooooooooooot!” came a shout from behind them.  Nicky turned his head, Devin looked around his shoulders.  Mike and John were clapping like two monkeys who’d just discovered bananas.


“Go,” Devin whispered.

She didn’t want him to.  She didn’t want him to let go for fear she’d never get him back, not like that – unrehearsed, uninhibited.  They’d been walking on egg shells only to find themselves suddenly rolling on sheets.

Well maybe not sheets
, Devin reigned herself in.  But it was hard not to think about that as 210 pounds of muscle poured over her.  Nicky grinned back.  She pushed him and he half-jogged toward his teammates, head slightly down.  No such luck - Mike and John slapped him on the back as if he’d finally scored that elusive goal.

While the guys were photographed, Devin resisted the urge to pirouette.  Instead she shifted her weight like a nervous teenager waiting for her prom date to arrive.  Five minutes seemed to take an hour, only to have Mike hang himself around Nicky’s neck just to torture him.  They were one frat party away from giving each other noogies.

Finally he got free.  The sight of him walking toward her turned the floor beneath Devin’s feet to quicksand.  It was still very warm, very crowded and she was drunk on a combination of sipping and kissing.  Nicky pushed a big handful of hair from his face and didn’t stop until their shirts were touching.  He seemed to consider for a moment whether or not to throw her over his shoulder, but settled for one hand.

“Want to…?” he asked.  Devin was already nodding.

They made it through the crowd hand-in-hand and kept going when they hit the sidewalk.  Devin didn’t feel the chill in the spring air.  The neighborhood was crowded on a Saturday night and the sight of Nicky charging through turned a few heads.  She followed along, not caring where they went.

Nicky steered them into a greasy spoon diner.  Only a few tables were occupied as the clientele was still busy drinking nearby.  They nodded at the waitress behind the counter and went as far back as they could.  Devin slid in on one side of a booth, facing away from the restaurant, and Nicky moved in next to her.  He put his arm around her shoulders and carefully settled his injured hand along the top of the booth.

“That was…,” she started.  But he was already kissing her again.

With one side pressed to the back of the seat, Devin turned as best she could to face him.  A piece of blond hair fell forward as he leaned over her.

“Ahem,” the waitress cleared her throat.  If she had a dollar for every tipsy couple who made out in the diner she wouldn’t need to waitress anymore.

Devin wiped one finger along her bottom lip.  “Can I have a Coke?”
“Ice tea.  Do you have apple pie?” Nicky asked.  The waitress scribbled it down and headed off.

“With ice cream please!” Devin lifted herself to call over his shoulder then settled back even closer to his body.  His chest was so wide he couldn’t turn sideways in the booth and his thighs so solid he hardly needed the seat to sit on.  She fought the urge to climb into his lap.

“I never eat ice cream,” he said.

Devin couldn’t help it.  Something had gotten into him and she didn’t want to lose it.  “I bet you never email girls you don’t know either.”

He blushed.  It absolutely wrecked her.  

“I think you are funny writing to Mike that you throw your phone.  And I see your picture, you look nice,” he paused, stumbling over the words.  “I mean you look like nice person.  And you look nice…”  Nicky ducked his head, embarrassed.  “My English is bad.”

“No.  You’re doing fine.”

When he looked up, those blue eyes were full of hope.  “What I try to say is you are very beautiful, Devin.”

She couldn’t sigh and kiss him at the same time.  He seemed grateful to have something to do with his mouth besides stutter.


Nicky’s frustration faded at the taste of her.   If he couldn’t say the right thing, at least he could make sure she got the message another way.  But the kisses were starting to drive him crazy.  He ached to kiss her for real, just the two of them somewhere with no florescent overhead lighting or the smell of onion rings in the air.  His good hand was in her hair again and his self-control slipping.

This is not me
.  He was surprised at himself, maybe even impressed that he’d kissed her.  Certainly he was grateful for whatever had come over him.  But it was already ebbing, even in the intense desire he felt for Devin.  He just wasn’t the make out in public type no matter how badly he wanted to make out with her.  Still he couldn’t bring himself to break away from her lips.

Finally, it was who Devin stopped.  She leaned back slightly, holding a handful of his shirt.  Ten more seconds and she’d have him down on the table, forget the hundreds of people passing by and the diner beginning to fill in around them.  He might be seventy pounds heavier but she doubted he could stop her.

The waitress arrived with their drinks and a single plate of pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Nicky gave her the first bite, which she used to offer him a spoonful of ice cream.  He took it with a smile.

“Yes, apple!” Mike suddenly plopped into the booth across from them.  Somehow he already had his own spoon.  Mel was right behind, her hand in Brooks’ back pocket, and Carlson had his face pressed to the dessert case inside the front door.

“There you guys are!” Mel said.

Nicky snatched the plate away from Mike and pushed in to make room for John.  Mel got wedged between Brooks and Mike and did not look upset about it.  
“Making out in a diner?  I feel like I’m in Grease,” Mike said.

Nicky blushed because that’s what he always did, even though he had no idea what Mike was talking about.  Devin, however, choked on her Coke.

“Stranded at the drive in, Mike?” Devin asked.  

He shrugged, mouthful of pie.  “I’ve got Carly.”

The rookie defensemen followed a waitress carrying a whole tray of desserts.  She unloaded two kinds of pie, a slice of cake and a brownie then just held the can of whipped cream out.  John took it with a smile and said, “Can I see  a menu?”


Devin barely tasted the dessert.  She was too busy laughing at the guys trading jabs and too busy feeling the heat from Nicky’s body creep up her leg.  They were squashed into the booth with John on the far end, and Nicky’s arm stayed around her shoulders.  That last drink had fully reached her bloodstream and she had a pretty good buzz going.  Either that or it was the width of Nicky’s thigh pressed against hers under the table.

She knew it was out of character for him to kiss her like he’d done.  Especially a first kiss, and in public.  Thank God, she thought.  It might have taken him ages to work up to it the old-fashioned way.  

Drunk in a bar, as God intended
, she told herself.  But when the liquid courage wore off and the atmosphere was less intense, how would Nicky react?  Surely a first kiss was like a gateway drug, and Devin planned to become fully addicted.  

The arrival of their friends had been perfectly timed.  It was just about to get awkward - that damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead moment when all decisions, good or bad, go right out the window.  You become someone you’re not and do things you don’t like all to the soundtrack of that little devil in your head.

No, Devin knew Nicky was uncomfortable that way.  She just hoped that didn’t mean they’d be uncomfortable when they were alone again.  Because Carlson had eaten half a dinner and the entire dessert case and Mike was nodding off.  Mel and Brooks looked like they’d probably have to find a motel halfway home.
“We should go,” she said softly.  In Nicky’s baby blue eyes she thought she saw relief.

Outside, Brooks and Mel all but ran for their car with the slightest goodbye.  John rolled his eyes at Mike.  “You again?” and he headed toward Mike’s truck.

“Behave yourself, kids,” Mike smirked.  Nicky led Devin toward his car, keeping one hand on the small of her back.

Contact is good
, Devin thought.  But it was more than that – his hand burned through her shirt, prickling her skin.  A panicky feeling rose in her chest and her throat began to constrict.  She took a deep breath to ward off a mini panic attack.  They were almost to the car and she was suddenly terrified of doing the wrong thing.  She had taken the metro to the game, so he was either driving to her house or his house.  On the first date.  Would he want to come in?  Mel and Brooks were obviously out.  They had no trouble communicating expectations about the next step in their relationship.  But what about us?

Devin really liked him.  It felt miles ahead of where they should be.  The entire day - the game, the win, dinner, dancing - had conspired to overwhelm her.  She couldn’t help but be impressed by his friends, his job; Nicky was already a part of something she loved.  But more than that, it was him.  He was exactly the adorable, awkward, charming and simple person she’d expected.  And since he’d kissed her, she thought it might be more than she could handle.

“Are you okay?” he asked, starting the engine.  She had gone quiet without realizing it.

“Yeah,” she tried to sound confident.  Nicky watched her for a moment, his thin lips pressing more firmly together.  Then he reached forward and shut off the car.

Devin sighed quietly.  Nicky turned toward her and put the side of his head back against the seat.  Then he pulled one hand from her lap and held it in both of his.

“What do you want to do?” he asked.

She shook her head.

“I can take you home.”

Devin just watched his face, which was impassive as he looked down at their hands.

“But I don’t want to go away from you,” he said.

All at once she was drunk again.  It rushed to her head, forcing her eyes to close and her heart to pound.  Instinctively she tightened her grip on him.  Her shoulders rounded forward as her stomach dropped hard, like she’d gone over the edge of something.

“Stay with me tonight.”  She had no idea what it meant as she said it.  But Nicky nodded, so maybe he would know when they got there.


Nicky had little experience with this phenomenon.  It was rarely a good idea to go home with someone on the first date - someone you wanted to see again, and away from the bedroom.  It was not the way things were done in Sweden, where people acted properly and with respect.  But there was no way he was leaving Devin’s side, not after he’d come so far, unless she wanted him to.  The look that had come over her face as they neared the car matched what Nicky felt inside: terror.

She’ll think I’m a cold fish
, he worried.  That I could kiss her like that and pull away, that I could leave behind the taste of her lips simply because someone might see us... well, it sounds stupid even to me.

But he couldn’t shake the discomfort of displaying their affection in public before it was defined in private, and he definitely had no idea what it meant.  She’ll think I’m embarrassed to be seen with her, he feared.  Luckily Mike and the guys had turned up and allowed him to feel like he was showing her off again.

Please come with me
, he’d prayed as Devin sat silently beside him in the car.  Then her offer was just as good.

Nicky was not a sex on the first date type of guy, not when he liked someone.  It was a matter of respect and responsibility, especially with the crazy shit he’d seen since coming into the League.  You just didn’t treat someone you cared about that way.  Devin deserved his attention, not the pro athlete reputation of getting what they wanted, when they wanted it.  Now he was caught wanting everything all at once.

The car ride was quiet except for her giving directions.  When they rolled to a stop in front of a brownstone row house, he was relieved to see it looked like two bedrooms.  And her roommate was definitely occupied.  No one else to run into tonight.

Devin let him into a split level townhouse.  It was narrow, the way old houses in DC are, and definitely occupied by girls.  The overstuffed couch had multiple throw blankets, the bookshelves were crammed with as many knick-knacks and photo frames as movies or CDs.  It smelled like flowers or candles, he thought.  It was definitely someone’s home.

She showed him to the couch and went into the kitchen.  He sat stiffly, feeling very much the child he was when he had his actual first date back home.


No big deal, Nicklas Backstrom’s on my couch
, Devin told herself as she poured two glasses of water from a Brita pitcher.  Then she held each to the light to be sure they were clean.  She could see him looking around the room from his seat, his back straight and hands on his knees.  Very formal.  That nervous boy was back.

With a deep breath, she put a smile on her face and picked up both glasses.  Come on, Nicky.

“Nice house,” he said.  “How long you have lived here?”
“Three years, Mel and I.  We have collected so much junk!”  She moved a coffee table book of travel photographs and set down the glasses.  “Before this our college apartment in New York was tiny and filled to the ceiling.  We promised it wouldn’t happen again, but obviously it has.”

“I like it.  My house, there are not so many things.  Everything here I have to buy, or sometimes get a few things on the road.  For visit, my parents always bring things from Sweden, but usually they are for cooking.”  He grimaced.  “I don’t use them so much.”

Devin took a seat next to him.  He leaned back, glass in hand, and relaxed a touch.  It would be all night if she started far away and had to work closer, so she just settled against his side.  That same arm with injured hand went around her shoulder and let her inside.



Not enough , Nicky thought.  She’d gone out with him, so she obviously liked him.  She’d brought him home, so she obviously trusted him.  And now she was curling into his side like a kitten – she obviously wanted to be close to him.

I want all those things too
.  So he used his good hand to reach over her knees and lift her legs across his lap.  She twisted in place with a squeak of surprise.

“Okay?” he asked.  She smiled and reclined against the arm of the couch.  Nicky kept one hand around her knee, resting gently on the back of her thigh.

Devin talked.  She told him about school and work, what she liked in DC.  She asked questions, and then more questions based on his answers.  Nicky was surprised to find himself telling her all kinds of things - funny stories, embarrassing moments, even mentioning a girl he dated last season.  It was easy to talk to her.  And it didn’t hurt that her long legs were stretched across him, her soft hair twisted between the good fingers of his injured hand.  Every time her smile flashed, Nicky’s stomach squeezed inside his ribcage.

He followed her lips as she spoke, wondering if he’d forgotten exactly how soft they were.  The tip of her tongue peeked out and he nearly groaned with the desire to taste her again.  The build-up was killing him but he wanted her to break first.  He needed permission to be in her house, in her arms and to kiss her again, since he hadn’t gotten it before.


Devin wasn’t listening to herself.  Instead she was thinking shit, we’re back to the part where he’s never going to kiss me.  

Nicky was leaning slightly over her, closer than he’d been ten minutes ago but still far enough for a nun to approve.  His hair slipped out from behind his ears.  It really was blond, Devin thought was she studied him, and his fair skin was not exactly flawless.  His front teeth were turned a little crooked and his nose had been broken at least once.  Those little imperfections added up to make one perfect face, one she’d seen a million times but never really looked at until today.  

He laughed.  Apparently she’d said something funny.  Either that or she’d been speaking gibberish, because that’s all her brain could produce right now.  If he didn’t kiss her soon she’d be impersonating the Swedish chef.  

Probably offensive , she thought.

His fingers stroked her hair - at least the unbroken ones.  The gentle touch made her sleepy as did the heat between their bodies.  It was a lot of touching for two people not actually touching each other.  It was a placeholder and it was, frankly, driving her crazy.

He tilted over a little more, telling a story of his own. She hoped it wasn’t important because she wasn’t listening.  The second button on his shirt had come half-open and she watched it, willed it to slip free of his shirt.  Devin tried to move it with her mind.

If it opens, it’ll be a sign.  Then I’m going to lick that patch of skin, along with the rest of him.


What am I talking about?
Nicky had to stop and wonder.  Devin had clearly gotten bored and was examining the seam work on his shirt.  It was possible he’d stopped speaking English some time ago, around the moment when she bit the plump center of her bottom lip, leaving the indentation of her prefect teeth.  The slight dent had not yet righted itself.  He wanted to know if it made her lips feel different to kiss.  His own mouth was still moving and he heard his voice.

“Kyss mig,” he said.


Nicky flinched.  He’d said that out loud.  And in Swedish.  Lord knows what he’d been talking about, but Devin had apparently been listening.

“Uh, sorry.  Swedish,” he stammered.

“What does it mean?”

“Nothing,” he shook his head.

A different smile came to her face.  It started at one corner of her mouth and slowly curled up until a dimple showed in her cheek.  Her eyes narrowed.  “It must mean something.”

He was blushing hotly.  “It’s nothing.  I just make mistake.”

“It sounded like English.”

“No, definitely Swedish.”  Definitely, definitely.

“Does it mean the same thing it sounds like in English?” she asked.

Nicky thought of the words, then thought of the words in English, then compared them. It was a bit of a process - her American accent would say the words differently, so it might sound more like the English...

And then she kissed him.  Devin propped her elbow back on the armrest, pushed up and pulled Nicky’s mouth down to hers.  He blacked out for a second on contact.  His hand tightened around her thigh as he curled down toward her.  For the first time, Devin parted her lips and Nicky slipped his tongue inside.  She purred at the velvety addition to their kiss.  His head spun with the taste and feel or her, and with relief.

Seconds later, she broke the kiss without taking her face away.  “Was my Swedish translation right?”

Nicky smiled and repeated it: “Kyss mig.”  Kiss me.


  1. SO. GOOD. I'm all speechless and the only thing I can think is "AWWWW" and "They are so perfect!"

  2. P.S. Can Carlson get a girlfriend soon? Someone needs to stop him from eating like that before he gets fat haha

  3. I really love this story. The two of them are just perfect together. As usual, another great chapter! Can't wait to read more.

  4. Love it! The night turned out great! I love the swedish that you put in.. It's great and it makes it more "realistic" when reading it. Loved that Kiss me and Kysser mig seem so similar that Devin easily translated it. Great update!