tagRomanceThe Ice-Breaker Ch. 03

The Ice-Breaker Ch. 03

byMugsyB©

Kaitlyn skimmed a hand over the steaming bath water before relaxing her head against the edge, expelling a deep sigh. It had been an amazing, mind-blowing three days since she'd last worked. All spent with Alex, mostly in his bed. They hadn't been together the entire time; even now he was at a midday practice at the Saddledome, which was why she was indulging in her second middle-of-the-day-bath in seven days.

Has it only been that long? she wondered, her eyes sliding shut. Her time with Alex felt surreal, like a dream. She hadn't even spoken to or seen Joel in four days, not since they'd had dinner with Julia.

A smile touched her lips and she opened her eyes. Joel must think she'd died or something. They typically talked every other day, mainly because she went to his lounge after work. Since she hadn't been working, or even home at night, she'd been neglecting Joel something awful. A groan slipped out of her mouth as she thought about the multitude of messages she would have on her cell and home phones. She'd been ignoring her cell phone altogether, keeping it turned off the entire time she'd been with Alex.

With a sigh, she got out of the tub and wrapped a towel around herself. A glance at the clock told her Alex would be back within the hour and she wanted to be dressed before he came home. If she wasn't, she'd never get out of his house.

Not that that's a bad thing, she thought and a shiver chased up her spine at the memories.

Shaking the thoughts from her head, she got dressed and walked downstairs. She had gone home the day after their first night together, wanting fresh clothes and some other necessities. After that, Alex hadn't let her leave. He'd all but held her captive; willing captive though she was.

Kaitlyn started to hum as she let her mind wander. She made herself a cup of tea and sat on one of his couches in the living room, making herself comfortable. Glad that she'd brought herself a book, she cracked the cover and began to read.

Ah, this is much better than navigating that stupid game, she thought, another smile touching her lips. The video game was only fun when Alex was there to 'help' her. Shaking her head, she re-read the first line on the page and continued reading from there. It didn't take long before she realized she'd read the same page twice. Sighing, she closed the book and held her steaming mug of tea with both hands. Her gaze wandered over the big front window and the quiet street beyond.

It should feel strange to be in his house alone, she thought. It didn't, for whatever reason. Every morning, Alex had left her there for a few hours while he went to practice. Then he'd come home, they'd talked and laughed and made love for hours afterward. A blush crossed Kaitlyn's cheeks at the memories. She hadn't been so turned on by a man in years. It was wonderfully refreshing and more than a little unnerving.

The more her mind wandered, the more she wondered what it would be like when they both went back to work. Alex would be back to traveling every few days, sometimes for a week at a time or more, and she'd be back to a full week at the book store. Granted, with her extra employees, she wouldn't be putting in anymore sixty hour weeks, but it would still be different for them.

Can this work outside this house? she wondered, chewing on her bottom lip. They hadn't even ventured out together since that day at the mall, except to go to the grocery store as she'd threatened. Are we even dating? Or is this the start of a friendship with benefits?

No, she shook her head firmly and sipped her tea. We're more than friends.

They talked about everything under the sun and were comfortable being silent together. In the mornings before he'd gone to practice, they'd shared breakfast and he'd read the newspaper while she did the crossword, all without any awkwardness or need to fill the silence with small talk.

Kaitlyn groaned and covered her eyes with one hand. She had no idea what to think about what was happening between her and Alex. She wondered if they should maybe have a talk before either of them went back to work.

Oh, that's a great idea, Kait, she thought as she rolled her eyes. Scare him off with 'the talk' before you've even known each other two weeks.

Still, however awkward it might be, she knew they needed to figure it out. For some reason, it didn't scare her as badly as she thought it would. Maybe in the back of her mind, she already knew they'd figure it out.

Or she just hoped badly enough that they would.

***

"Perdy, dude, what happened to your back?"

Alex turned and looked over at his teammate, Eric, gaping at the back of his shoulders. Grimacing, Alex faced forward again, reaching for his towel to mop the water dripping from his wet hair. They'd all finished practice a short while ago and a few guys were still in the locker room, changing after their showers. Alex knew, without looking, exactly what Eric was referring to. Some small part of him had hoped his scratch marks from Kaitlyn would have healed by now but another part of him, the very male, Y-chromosome infused part of him, was glad for the marks.

"Oh shit," Brian spoke up, peering around Eric to check out Alex's back. Then his face split into a grin and he barked out a laugh. "How much time have you been spending with your lady, Perdy?"

Alex grinned and rubbed his hair dry, not caring if it looked haphazard when he set the towel down again. "Not nearly enough time," he answered.

"That's from your woman?" Eric asked incredulously. "It looks like you wrestled with a cat."

Alex's smile turned sly and he winked at Eric. "That's one way of putting it."

Eric met his eyes and howled with laughter. Brian laughed along with him, both of them drawing the attention of the other guys in the room. A few guys looked over and whistled at Alex's scratched back.

"She's an animal!" someone called.

Alex just shook his head. Kaitlyn wasn't an animal. She was a warm, sensual and passionate lover, who just happened to scratch his back terribly when she came. The memory brought a secret smile to his lips that had the guys teasing him relentlessly for the next several minutes.

"Does she purr like a cat too?" Eric asked with a smirk.

Alex scoffed. She purred, growled and screamed like a woman, because she was a woman.

"Is this why you haven't come out with us this week?" Brian asked. They'd all been going for lunch or evening drinks since the start of the Olympics. They'd been watching the events at the bars and restaurants, spending downtime together and cheering on their respective countries at the games. Alex had declined every time, much more eager to get home to the beautiful woman he knew he had waiting for him.

"Yup," he said to Brian. "And I don't feel bad about it, at all."

Brian snorted. "I wouldn't either."

Alex raised an eyebrow at him and smirked. "Aren't you married?"

"Am I? I just thought that was my housekeeper at home."

Alex laughed and Eric shook his head at Brian's words. "Brave man, talking like that without your wife around to hear it."

Brian shrugged, looking utterly unrepentant. They all knew he was devoted to his wife, he just had a wicked side they all knew too well.

"Just don't let your lady injure you," Eric said, eyeing the red stripes on Alex's shoulder and lower back. "Maybe get her to put some disinfectant on you."

"Yeah, Coach'd have your ass if you got sick when we head back to our regular schedule," Brian added with a laugh.

Alex nodded and pulled a shirt over his head. He wasn't worried about getting sick. If anything, his time with Kaitlyn was energizing. Coach and the other players had commented on it in the past several days. His work on the ice was improving with each practice and his speed and accuracy had improved by leaps and bounds. The real concern would be if he could keep it up while away from her when he left the city for away games.

It wasn't the first time the thought had crossed his mind. This time with Kaitlyn was great, but not exactly how an average relationship would progress. At least, he didn't think it was. Him being off in the middle of February was definitely a one time deal, and he knew Kaitlyn well enough by now to know that this holiday of hers was rare. Once the week was over, and the NHL got back into the swing of things, they'd be lucky to see each other every three days.

He wasn't afraid that they'd lose touch. They'd bonded in the past few days and he wasn't just thinking of their physical compatibility; it did bring a smile to his lips every time he pictured her face, flushed with passion and her eyes hazy with lust. He talked to her more than he'd ever talked to any of his friends. They talked about everything; family, work, stories of their youth, what they wanted to do with their lives.

Time wasn't a factor when he thought of Kaitlyn. He shouldn't feel so attached to her after such a short time. He should be nervous about her spending time alone in his house but he didn't. He trusted her and couldn't wait to get back to her every day. Maybe their time together this past week was unusual and maybe they'd never have a chance like this again. Either way, he felt lucky that they'd been able to do it and maybe, just maybe, it would be enough of a foundation to make it last.

With that thought rolling over and over in his mind, he finished getting dressed and hurried from the Saddledome.

***

Kaitlyn jumped when the front door opened and Alex walked in. She turned her head from her mindless stare at the dark fireplace and smiled when she saw him enter. "Hey," she greeted him, shifting and setting her half-empty mug down on the table.

"Hello, gorgeous," he replied as he hung up his coat and kicked his boots off.

As always, his deep voice greeting her made her insides warm. He hurried towards her, dropping onto the couch and hauling her into his lap. She sighed and went willingly, melting against his broad chest when he bent his head to kiss her. The brush of his lips was soft and swift against hers, then he moved on to kiss the fading mark he'd left on her neck. She shivered as he kissed her, his warm tongue sliding over the sensitive spot before he drew back.

"Hi," he murmured, close to her lips.

Grinning, Kaitlyn looped her arms around his shoulders and pulled herself closer. His hands grasped her waist and helped, until they were pressed together from hip to chest.

"I was just about to leave," she said, stifling a laugh at his immediate pout.

"Good thing I took the shortcut home then," he replied, running his fingers through her hair. "Can't have you escaping."

Kaitlyn laughed out loud and shook her head. Alex smiled and brushed her hair over her shoulders, leaning forward to kiss her again. Kaitlyn let him, enjoying the way he lazily explored the inside of her mouth. When he released her, she sat back with a sigh.

"That's not fair," she mumbled.

He chuckled deeply and she shivered when the sound vibrated through her body. "I think it's too fair." He cupped her cheek in his hand and smiled. "You were going to leave?"

She giggled and turned her head to kiss his palm. "Not forever, Alex. I should get home and check my messages, water my plants, do some laundry..." she trailed off when she saw his pout reappear. "Don't give me that look," she scolded in a light-hearted tone and nipped the end of one of his fingers. "It's not like I'm going to another city."

"I don't want you to go," he said, his voice devoid of his usual playful tone.

Kaitlyn's heart melted a little bit more when she took in his expression. He did look forlorn at the idea of her going home, even for an afternoon.

"Why don't you come over to my place tonight?" she suggested. "I'll make dinner and you can even rent some gory, war-torn movie for us to watch."

He brightened a little at her words and she had to laugh. He'd been right days ago when he explained how men and women differ in their attempts to woo each other. Alex liked his beer, his manly movies and he definitely liked his woman naked.

Kaitlyn shuddered as the thought crossed her mind. She leaned against him again, purposefully bringing her breasts flush against his hard chest.

"What are you doing?" he asked, his voice dropping an octave.

"Alex," she murmured, tilting her head and nibbling at the strong line of his jaw. "Can I ask you something and will you promise not to make fun of me for being a girl?"

His answering chuckle made her bite back a moan. His hands slid up and down her back, making her tingle and she sighed a little bit when his hands found the bare flesh exposed at the bottom of her shirt. "I like the fact that you're a girl, gorgeous," he told her. "And if you keep this up, I'll promise you anything."

Kaitlyn smiled, fully aware of her substantial power over him. It was a heady feeling that she wasn't sure she'd ever get used to. She pulled her mind back to the question she had. "Am I your woman?" she asked, feeling her face warm at the words.

Alex's hands stilled on her back and she stopped kissing him, but she didn't sit up. Then Alex continued to stroke her, his palm warm on the bare skin beneath her shirt. "Do you want to be?" he asked.

"What an infuriating answer," she laughed and rested her head on his shoulder. She looked up as he turned his face down to her. "I wouldn't have asked if I didn't."

"Then I guess that's that," he replied with a grin. He touched her cheek, easing his fingertips over her features and across her lips. "You're my woman."

She smiled, inordinately pleased by his simple words. Lifting herself up, she planted a sloppy kiss on his cheek, making him laugh. Then she pushed herself off of him, standing beside the couch.

"What the hell?" he asked, looking confused as she walked away. "You ask me that and you're still going to leave?"

She laughed and nodded. He grumbled as he rose to his feet and followed her to the entryway. He watched as she pulled her coat and shoes on, a scowl on his handsome face and his big arms crossed over his chest. With a smirk, Kaitlyn stood on her toes to kiss him good-bye.

She should have known Alex wouldn't let her go without a struggle.

Before she knew it was happening, he crushed her in his arms. He pushed her back several steps until she felt the wall press against her shoulders. His mouth came down on hers, hard, and he ruthlessly shoved his tongue between her lips. She moaned into his mouth and jerked against him when his hands pushed beneath her jacket. As he stroked hot hands over her skin, she trembled, barely keeping up with his wicked tongue.

All too soon, he released her, parting their lips and taking a full step away from her in one move. She stared up at him, dazed by the kiss and by the dark look in his eyes.

"You sure you still want to go?" he asked.

Kaitlyn blinked and came back to herself. She fixed Alex with a weak glare and pushed his hands from her waist. "Jerk," she hissed but then reached up to kiss him to take the sting out of her word. "I'll see you tonight. Six o'clock sharp." With that, she opened the front door and walked out.

***

As she'd suspected, there were about a dozen messages on each of her phones when she checked them. One or two from Julia, wanting to know how her date with Alex had gone; the rest from Joel, demanding to know where the hell she was. Kaitlyn was clearing the messages on her cell phone when her home phone rang. Jumping, she glared at the caller ID and rolled her eyes when she saw Joel's familiar number.

"House of love, Aphrodite speaking," she said in a falsetto voice.

"Oh, so you are alive," Joel grumbled, not responding to her joke at all. "I was just wondering if I should call the police and tell them my cousin has been kidnapped by a Calgary Flame."

"Hmm... well, is it still considered kidnapping if she goes willingly?" Kaitlyn replied, closing her cell phone and tossing it on the couch beside her.

"No. I guess that's just abandonment."

"Abandonment?" Kaitlyn repeated with a laugh. "When did you get so dramatic?"

"Around the time my best friend dropped off the face of the earth."

"I didn't fall off the planet," Kaitlyn retorted, unable to keep from smiling. "I was just-"

"In a black hole? Also known as Alex's house?"

"Sure. Let's go with that."

"Kait! I can't believe you just disappeared for four days. I was starting to get worried."

Kaitlyn rolled her eyes and tucked her feet up under her body. "There was no need to worry, Joel. I'm an adult, for crying out loud. You're the one who told me to take a vacation."

"Not from me!"

"Oh, stop being such a needy friend."

"I'm family, Kait."

"You're also my best friend and I didn't think I'd need to remind you of that."

A pause. "So you've been with Alex this whole time?"

"Yes."

Another pause, then Joel huffed out an annoyed sound. "You still could have called."

Kaitlyn couldn't help but laugh at Joel's wounded tone. "For heaven's sake, Joel. What can I do to make it up to you?"

"A chocolate cake smothered in cream cheese icing?"

Wrinkling her nose, Kaitlyn knew she'd never hear the end of it if she didn't. She rarely had time to bake, even though it was one of her favorite hobbies. Joel's favorite was her scratch chocolate cake and homemade icing. It was easy enough to do, so she agreed and Joel announced that he was coming over today.

"Why?" she asked.

"Because I want to hear all about it, Kait. You're not going to get rid of me so you might as well just make enough dinner for me and Julia and accept it."

"You and Julia?" Kaitlyn repeated. "Dinner? I have plans tonight already."

"\Alex won't mind if we're there too, will he?" Joel correctly guessed her 'plans,' making Kaitlyn frown.

She didn't think Alex would mind, and knew enough of her cousin's stubborn streak to know he was serious. Exhaling in annoyance, Kaitlyn agreed.

"I'm at home now, just cleaning and doing laundry so you can come over whenever," she told him.

"Cool. I'll pick up Julia around three and then we'll be over."

"OK. See you then."

They ended the call and Kaitlyn glared at her phone. With a sigh, she tossed it on the couch beside her, getting up to see to her chores. She started with laundry and while that was going, she cleaned the kitchen and bathroom. Lastly, she showered and changed, and then got to work on the cake.

As promised, Joel and Julia showed up shortly after three and the three of them sat around her living room with drinks as Kaitlyn confessed about her time with Alex.

"I'm not going to tell you everything," she warned, unable to hide the blush that stained her cheeks.

Julia giggled at her expression and Joel rolled his eyes before making a gagging motion with his finger.

"We don't want all the gory details," Joel assured her. "I just can't believe you took time off work. You never take my suggestions."

Kaitlyn shrugged. "You were right. I was ready for a vacation and it was just good timing for Alex."

"You didn't just take a holiday because you knew you could see Alex every day, did you?" Julia asked, leaning forward.

"Of course not," Kaitlyn replied. "It was just a perk!"

They all laughed at her repetition of Joel's words from their dinner together.

"You've been with him this whole time?" Julia asked.

"Mostly," Kaitlyn answered. "We went for dinner on Monday, then I helped him shop for some artwork for his house on Tuesday, and I ended up spending Tuesday night at his place." She blushed, memories of their first time swamping her mind.

"Would you have spent the night if you'd been working?" Joel asked.

"No," Kaitlyn said. Then she shrugged as she amended her answer, "maybe. He's very convincing." This she said with a secretive smile that had Joel gagging again and Julia laughing.

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