Status: Hiatus--Last Update was 7.23.12 (Chapter Twenty-Two PREVIEW)

Love in Ice



Two police officers entered my apartment and identified me as the one screaming. The taller one asked, "Is this your apartment? There was a report of a robbery at this location."

I only had the strength to nod. "I'm Detective Stewarts, and this is Detective Juarez. She'll ask you a few questions while I look around." Watching as he scoured the apartment, the second detective radioed, "Suspect not in our custody. I repeat, suspect is not in custody."

His partner said, "Neighbors said that it was not an object that was stolen, but a pet." I confirmed it with another nod.

"Is there anyone that would want to hurt you? Any enemies?"

"No, not that I know of."

"Have you noticed anyone following you home? Neighbors that look suspicious?'

"I haven't seen anyone like that."

Detective Stewarts walked in once again, gesturing towards his partner. A curt nod answered him. "I'll be right back, Miss."

I watched as they walked into the kitchen, talking in low voices. I wondered for a moment what they were discussing. Minutes ticked away, and I thought about Riles. Questions that would normally enter a person's mind about a missing pet presented themselves to me.

Where is he now?

Is he okay?

The two officers returned after my mental tirade, and Detective Juarez asked, "Do you have someone to call so you can stay the night? Crime Scene needs to look through the apartment to see if they can find any clues that can lead us to a suspect."

I hesitated. Who could I call, especially when it was nearly ten at night? Sam was currently unavailable; she was either coming home from the game or already turned in for the night. Vance and I, though dating, were not completely comfortable with each other. Plus my calling him now, in my current situation, would negate the whole point of our meeting on Sunday.

There was the possibility of my other best friend. At first I rejected the idea, but then I let that slip away. Why not? It was worth a try.

I said, "Yeah, I'll try calling now." They walked out of my apartment, perhaps going to bring in the investigators. Taking out my phone, I dialed the number to Nemo's cell, fingers tingling as they left the keypad. After only two rings, I heard the deep voice murmur, "Hello?"

Traces of sleep lingered in that single word, and I immediately began apologizing. "Don't worry, I was nowhere near asleep," he answered, "Alex, what's wrong?"

I sniffled, momentarily aware of the tears trailing down my face. "I...Riles is gone, Antti." I paused when I heard a set of keys jingle and a coat rustling.

"I'm coming over there. Don't go anywhere, okay? I'll be there in fifteen, twenty minutes." Although he sounded reassuring, his voice wavered a bit. Riles was every bit important to him as he was to me.

I ended the call and followed his order, only moving over to the comfortable chair in the small living room. Curling in my legs underneath me, I leaned over to rest my head on the arm rest. My eyes slipped closed, and I succeeded, with much effort, in calming myself. Whatever noise surrounding me faded into background noise until it altogether fell into silence....


"...Alex, I'm here." A soft mutter roused me from my dozed off condition, but I hesitated to open my eyes. Heat ignited my cheek, which quickly spread to my forehead. No, it almost leaped from one to the other, and realizing this I slowly opened my eyes. Squatting in front of me was Nemo, who backed away a little. Instinctively I raised a hand but instead of feeling my cheek, it met Nemo's warm hand.

He rose to stand, and I sat up straighter in the chair. "How long have you been here?"

"Only a few minutes. What happened in here?"

"Riles was taken, and whoever took him looked through my apartment. They didn't take anything else, though."

He peered into my eyes with a sad expression, and he covered my hand with his other hand. Nemo moved his hand from my face but kept our hands together. It was very soothing to have him with me, especially after everything that had happened.

"You'll...need to...stay with someone tonight, right? You can...come with me, Alex."

"I was going to ask you about that, actually. You've beaten me to it. But really, thank you so much, Antti, for coming over here, for letting me stay with you the night--"

He leaned down until I could imagine his lips pressing lightly to my forehead, saying, "Of course. Anything for my best friend." For something spewed up from my still hazy--from the short nap--mind, it felt pretty realistic. After all, the skin prickled with heat, and tension was relieved a little.

Pulling away reluctantly from his grasp I ran to get strictly the necessities. I was not away from him for too long, and within minutes I returned to him with a bag with just a change of clothes for tomorrow. The officers walked in, heading in my direction.

"So I assume your boyfriend here will let you stay with him," Officer Stewarts said, my face burning from embarrassment. Out of the corner of my eye Nemo's face took on a tint of its own, and I added a bit of distance between us.

"Best friend," I corrected, "But yes, sir."

"That's good. Crime Scene should be done by tomorrow night, so you can come back then," Officer Juarez told me.

"Thank you both," I mused with a nod to them. Nemo pulled me alongside him, and we both walked out of the apartment to his truck. The white truck stood out against the night, and I stood for a few seconds just to look at it. Nemo unlocked his truck, opening the door for me and holding out a hand. Subconsciously my lips slipped upwards, and grabbing his hand, I sat in the passenger's side. It was hard to ignore, especially in my exasperated state, the passing warmth between our hands.

As Nemo started up his truck and warmed it up, I shoved my hands in my pockets. I wanted to keep my hand in his grasp. Doing so would ward off the worries I had, even for the tiniest second. Still, the times he had touched me made me a rather good kind of nervous, the kind where a sudden skip reached my heart and warmed my whole body. I leaned back, and I thought to myself, 'That had been a pretty strong impulse...but it's not enough to judge on when I'm this tired.'

Nemo sat up straighter in his seat, and we shortly began the journey to his home. I got myself comfortable, leaning my cheek against the headrest and facing the man that affected me in so many ways. 'Perhaps by the end of tonight I will have admitted many things to my subconscious,' I guessed to myself, letting out a sigh.

Things that would take my own fully awake self time to process and much, much longer to accept.

My eyelids slid half-closed, and I watched Nemo closely. I felt the car come to a stop, and I assumed we were at a red light. He turned his head to look at me, and I saw the dark gray hues peering at my unmoving form. I shut my eyes completely, and I started when his warm hand touched my cheek. Nemo's fingers barely grazed across it, and his sudden hesitation made me tense.

Was he going to do something, thinking I was asleep?

Nemo sighed almost dejectedly, and his fingers lifted and settled onto the steering wheel. I slightly opened my eyes, returning to my observations. His hands gripped the steering wheel tightly, and if he was not driving, I would have undoubtedly snaked my hands into his. Now I had to settle for sitting comfortably in his truck, without holding his hand.

I barely noticed how much time went by until I looked at the clock. It had only took about twenty-five minutes (due to some spontaneous traffic) to arrive at Nemo's apartment complex. Nemo turned off the engine, getting out and walking over to my side. He must have thought I was asleep because when he opened the door to see me awake and somewhat attentive, he started for a moment. Chuckling he assisted me out of his truck, and I steadied myself.

"I'll help you up to my apartment, Alex. You still look really tired." He met my eyes immediately, and I almost denied his offer. However, Nemo looked very insistent, and I silenced myself, only allowing the slightest yelp when he lifted me up by my thighs. I wrapped my legs around his waist, burying my face where his broad shoulder met the base of his neck so he would not see how crimson I turned.

With a shaky breath, I hooked my free arm around the other side of his neck; My other arm was under his arm, holding my bag. He walked inside the apartment complex, his hand leaving my thigh to presumably press a button to call an elevator. I attempted to talk normally to him, but my command came out as a wavering whisper, "Antti, put me down please. I think I can make it to your apartment."

I felt his muscles as he shook his head negatively, and I pleaded quietly, playfully nuzzling his neck, "Come on Nemo. Please?"

The doors opened, and he stepped inside, still carrying me. Pressing a button to the ninth floor, Nemo held me closer to him. I nearly placed my lips on his neck out of a drowsy boldness, but he carefully set me down next to him. He still did not completely release his hold on me, though, for he wrapped an arm around my shoulders.

With a quick hug, I told him, "Thanks."

He pulled me closer and mimicked the actions I imagined back at my own apartment: He placed a kiss on my forehead. This time he lingered longer, opting not to speak. My face surely singed bright red, but I still smiled brightly at this action. The elevator doors opened again, and Nemo pulled me along to his apartment. Quickly opening up his apartment, he led me inside a beautiful apartment.

I looked at the living room with awe. Its neutral, beige-colored walls went well with the furniture. With the lights off, the city's evening lights glittered wonderfully through the windows, providing the light. I turned over to Nemo, who had a sheepish grin on his face.

"I'll give you a quick tour and then give you some clothes to sleep in." Twining our fingers together, he showed me around his apartment. The first doorway we walked through led to the kitchen, which was very tidy. Walking back into the hallway, he pointed out the closet, the first door on my left. Following that was the bathroom on the right, and at the end of the hallway stood my best friend's bedroom. I stopped short just before he opened the door.

Nemo looked back at me and smiled calmly, squeezing my hand. "You don't have anything to worry about. Come on."

I stared into the now sky blue eyes, finding myself lost in wonder. His reassurance radiated in waves, and I nodded once, feeling confident enough to walk in with him. The white walls of the room were not as noticeable as the picture frames hanging on them, a very comforting touch.

Nemo walked over to his dresser, pulling out a white t-shirt and some red-and-black plaid lounge pants. He handed them over to me while getting his own pajamas, and I headed out to the bathroom. I changed quickly and brushed my teeth, drowsiness settling in easily. The clothes fit loosely on me, and I could faintly smell Nemo's cologne on his shirt. I opened the door and walked in the direction of the couch in the living room when arms slipped around my waist, pressing me against a warm, toned chest.

"Yes, Nemo?" I managed through a yawn.

"Where do you think you're going?" He playfully whispered, chin resting on my shoulder.

"I'm going to sleep on the couch."

"Oh no you don't. When I get back from brushing my teeth, I better not see you on that couch or else I'll put you in my bed myself," he teased, winking before disappearing in the bathroom. Heat sparked instantly across my face, and I had not doubt in my mind that my face was as red as before.

I sneakily made my way to the living room, sitting on the couch that was closest to the windows. I watched the city in its active state, even at this late at night, wondering where my puppy could have gone.

Stinging tears formed in my eyes, and before I could wipe them away, another hand did with the softest touch. I leaned into Nemo's hand, instantly feeling a little calmer. "I'm so worried about him, Nemo. I hope he's not hurt. It would just break my heart."

"I know how you feel. He's such a loveable dog, and I don't see why anyone would take him. We'll find Riles, I promise."

He spoke so passionately, making me look up at his sparkling eyes. I could not help giving him another hug, which he immediately returned. I relaxed in his grasp, and I remembered that tomorrow was an away game against the Red Wings.

"Oh Nemo, I'm so sorry. I'm keeping you awake, and you have to leave for tomorrow's game...You're playing tomorrow, aren't you?"

Nemo stared at me with a questioning expression on his face. "I know I have to leave for the game, and yes, I do start tomorrow. But you needed me...I didn't want to let you down, especially when you needed help. I'll be fine. We don't leave until early afternoon, anyway."

He continued, grabbing my hand and softly running his thumb across it, "When I come back--as soon as I come back--I'll help look for Riles. In fact, I can help you get started tomorrow morning. I can help you start making posters. If you're feeling up to working tomorrow, I'll drive you there. If not, then I'll get you back to your apartment."

My heart throbbed at his words, and I smiled through the remaining tears. "Okay, we can do that. Thank you so much, Antti. This means so much to me."

He whispered lowly, "Tietenkin, varsinkin kun tarkoita minulle hyvin paljon."**

I asked, mesmerized by the Finnish flowing off his tongue, "What does that mean? I didn't quite catch that."

"I'll tell you some other time. Now, let's get to bed." He lifted me once more, carrying me in his arms, to his room. Setting me down on the floor, he headed to his side of the bed while I walked in and sat on the right side of the bed. Nemo and I slid underneath the covers, and I watched intently as he rolled over to face me. I laid down on my side to see him, and my heart immediately sped up.

"How do you feel now," Nemo asked quietly, concern deeply rooted in his eyes.

"I'm okay now. Hey...Nemo?"

"Hmm?" His facial expression revealed a little curiosity, as if he wondered what I was going to ask.

"Umm...Can I...I...Well...This is harder to ask than I thought..." I trailed off, looking away from his eyes momentarily. I heard him chuckle, and I warily returned my gaze to him.

"I think I know what you're asking," he whispered, smiling brightly. He stretched out his arms and, wrapping them around my waist, pulled me until I was very close to his body. I realized he was shirtless, and my face flushed deeply. Taking a chance, I stared up at him, catching him watching my reactions. He turned very red, the color most noticeable on the bridge of his nose.

"Get to sleep, Antti. You'll need it."

I willed my eyes closed for yet another time, letting most of my cares run off for the night. They completely disappeared when his lips pressed to the top of my head. I could barely feel it, seeing how I was succumbing to sleep. Maybe it had not happened, but I had merely imagined it, just like earlier.

"Sleep tight, Alex."

After a few moments, Nemo quietly spoke what seemed to be the last part of his thoughts, throwing off my heartbeat slightly before I drifted off completely.

"...I promise..."
♠ ♠ ♠
**Tietenkin, varsinkin kun tarkoita minulle hyvin paljon.--->Of course, especially when you mean so much to me. (Very roughly; I had to use Google Translate)

Wow, chapter fifteen already. And I've gotten 31 subscribers along with 167 readers, even if some just read a few words and decided not to read more. The preview to this chapter had 19 views alone! It's amazing that I've gotten this far, and I could not have done it without my readers. You guys are the best!

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