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

Love in Ice



Not a sound but the scratching of a pencil on paper flowed through the air in the living room. I sat on the couch, thoughtfully planning out my assignment from one of my classes. Scanning the notes I had taken, I figured they were sufficient for the amount of time I just spent on them. I walked to my room to put the books away when I heard my cell phone ringing.

I located my phone after a few moments of frantically searching my room. I hurriedly put down the books on my bed to answer the phone on my nightstand, without checking who called.


"Hey Alex," Nemo's deep voice greeted through the phone.

"Nemo! Oh, hi! What's up?" Even though I had talked to Nemo on the phone many times before, I still struggled to form longer sentences to say. He had that effect on me.

"I just wanted to know if you wanted to hang out."

My heart picked up speed, and I replied, hoping my words were not stutters, "Yeah, sure. When do you--"

Ringing interrupted my thought. It took a second to recognize that my land line phone was the source of the noise, and I leaned over to reach the phone. It was a call from the Anti-Cruelty Society, according to the cordless phone. "Oh hold on Nemo, I've got a call on my other phone. I'll call you back, okay?"

Nemo quickly complied, and I answered, "Hello?"

After a few minutes of talking with the woman on the phone, I dialed in Nemo's number on my cell. "Hello again. Is everything okay over there?"

"Yeah, the Anti-Cruelty Society just called me. I can bring Riles home!"

"Mind if I come with you?"

"Of course not. I'd love for you to come with me!"

I heard rustling from his end of the phone, and I smiled. "Okay, I'll be over there soon."

"Can't wait." He chuckled before hanging up, and I went into my room. I got dressed into a casual shirt with jeans before slipping on my boots. I applied a light layer of makeup in front of the mirror in my room, having a need to appear presentable for my friend. Looking at the time, I pulled on my coat and headed back into the living room.

I walked out of my apartment and almost literally ran into Nemo. He caught me in his arms and said, wrapping me into a hug at the opportunity, "Whoa, Alex. You're excited, huh?"

He ran a hand through my hair once before placing his lips to my hair. My face burned, and I felt my heart race a little. I finally pulled away, stealing a gaze into his eyes. They were a happy shade of blue-gray, gleaming in spite of the little light hitting them.

I sneaked my hand into his, locking up my apartment. He squeezed my hand and said, leading us to his truck, "I'm going to drive you so you can hold Riles. He'll probably be more comfortable with you, and I think it'll be better for him to get used to you again."

My lips twitched upwards when he said that, and I could not keep the smile off my face. Nemo was so considerate and caring, it was adorable. I sighed to myself contently, and I watched the building pass by outside the window.

When the two of us arrived, Nemo was quick to grab my hand and walk together with me. Although we had done this numerous times when no one else was around, we only showed our closeness in public once.

At the airport.

Where he had almost kissed me...

The quickly spreading heat lit my face like a lamp, both bright and warm. We walked inside the Anti-Cruelty Society and waited until we were helped. A woman said, "You must be Riles' owners."

"Actually, I'm just his owner."

"So your boyfriend isn't his owner as well?"

I held back a blush and replied, feeling my hand get warmer in Nemo's grasp, "No, my friend isn't."

"Oh, sorry for jumping to conclusions. Seeing you two holding hands, I was ready to assume that you guys were together." She laughed nervously and continued, "I'm Sally. I'll be right back with him."

She turned to the guy to her right and asked, "Mike, could you have her sign the paper?" He nodded and took out a sheet of paper and a pen. I read it over, signing where it was marked, and handed it back to him.

In almost no time at all, the woman came over to us, holding Riles. The little terrier looked so much better; His tail wagged out of thrill, and his eyes held that typical mischievous look as he squirmed in her arms.

"Here, I'll take him," I told Sally, reaching out for him and feeling the great difference in my hand after I let go of Nemo's hand. She handed Riles over gratefully, and I looked him over even more. He appeared to be in great health, perfectly fed and hydrated.

"Thank you so much," I told them, petting my dog. He jubilantly licked my hand and face, and I knew he was just as excited to see me.

Nemo slid his left arm around me, pulling me into his side. Blushing, I kept a firm grip on the jumpy dog in my arms. We walked out of the shelter together, heading back to his truck. He placed his hand on my back, helping me as I got inside. I continued blushing, trying to hide my face. Nemo went to his side, and soon enough we were heading over to my place.

It took about fifteen minutes to get there, and I smiled as I said to the dog who rose to a sitting position in my lap, "Look Riles. You're home again." He barked in response, and I petted him again. All three of us climbed out of Nemo's truck, and I sighed happily. I opened the apartment complex, leading the way to my apartment. Once I opened the door, Riles was quick to jump out of my arms. He proceeded to run around the place, and Nemo laughed along with me.

"I forgot he could get so excited like that," he pointed out with a grin. I nodded, feeling my heart leap again. It had been a while since I had seen the little dog so hyper.

"Sit with me," I said to Nemo, sitting down and patting the spot on the couch next to me. With a light smile, he took a seat next to me. I leaned into him, grabbing his hand. Nemo's eyes met mine, and I found myself gazing into the beautiful hues for a little while. Then I noticed how odd it was that Riles became quiet.

Nemo's fingers touched my wrist, and his gaze trailed down to it, pulling back my sleeve. His lips tugged upwards, noticing the silver bracelet wrapped around my wrist. Ever since I received the bracelets, I switched off wearing them. Riles continued to be silent while Nemo said, pulling up my wrist to his lips and pressing them to my skin, "You've got one of the bracelets on."

My face burned red as I took in the feeling of his lips. They were soft against the skin of my wrist, and I wondered for a fleeting second how they would feel on my own...

Soon enough I heard Riles' light pawsteps rush towards us, nails scratching the floor. I watched as the bundle of russet fur bound over to the man on my right, seeing how he stopped short. He sniffed Nemo, and out of recognition, leaped into the Finn's lap. Nemo laughed as Riles attacked his face with licks. It was a bit shocking to see Riles react to him in the same way he did to me. I thought he would have been a little bit more hesitant. Still, I was happy he acted the opposite. Judging by the look on Nemo's face as he petted Riles, he felt the same way.

I continued watching them interact thoughtfully. When Riles finally settled down in Nemo's lap, I realized something I was not about to admit out loud to Nemo until I knew I gained enough courage. In front of me were two beings that meant the world to me...

But one of them I could only hope that I would one day mean the same to him.


Weeks flew by with my classes and the boys' games. One day after one of Nemo's practices, I noticed that he looked a bit uncomfortable. I had asked him if anything was wrong, but all he said was that his throat was feeling sore. When I posed the thought that he might be getting sick, Nemo respectfully dismissed the idea but promised me he would call me if he felt worse.

It was not until the next day that he called me. "Nemo, you alright?"

He coughed and hoarsely replied, "Not really."

"I'm coming over there."

"But I don't--" he was interrupted with a cough before continuing, "--want you to get sick."

"Don't worry about me getting sick, Nemo. And you probably only had enough energy to call Coach Quenneville and to call me. Am I right?"

He remained silent on the other side of the line with the exception of a loud sneeze. I repeated firmly, "I'm coming over there. See you soon."

I hung up the phone and went around my apartment, finding things I would need to help him get better. Pulling out the extra orange juice in the fridge, I placed it next to the medicine and cough drops on the counter. I also took out a package of chicken noodle soup, completing my mental list. Just after finishing, I got dressed into warm clothes, slipping on the silver bracelet I had taken off before showering.

Striding over to Riles, I ran a hand through his fur as softly as I could to prevent him from waking up from his nap. Then I took the bag full of the necessities and my purse, closing the apartment behind me as I went to my car.

Thankfully traffic decided to cooperate with me, and it helped how I lived not too far from Nemo's apartment. With a careful but brisk pace, I went to the front of the apartment complex with the bag. Someone let me inside, and I smiled in thanks. It did not take much time for me to ride the elevator to the ninth floor, where Nemo's apartment was.

I jogged quietly to his apartment, knocking on his door. On the other side, I heard coughing and a raspy, "Coming" and a bit of grunting. I waited patiently until the door opened, revealing Nemo completely covered in a blanket. His face was tinted with redness, and his hair was disheveled. "Hey stranger," he joked before turning away with a sneeze.

"Sorry for making you get up," I apologized, stepping into his apartment.

"It's fine. I'm not...that bad."

I stared at him incredulously, interjecting, "You look and sound sick, Antti! If you ask me, I don't think that's doing too well. And don't worry about giving it to me--I just want to see you feel better." He looked back at me with furrowed brows, and for a few long moments we stubbornly kept our gazes locked. I finally commented without thinking, "You're lucky you're so cute. And my best friend."

His cheeks and his ears were now a rosy color, eyebrows arched. I realized what I said right away. "I-I-I mean...because otherwise, I'd...Oh, nevermind."

My own face burned with embarrassment, but Nemo chuckled, redness remaining on his cheeks. Heat continued to build in my face, and I muttered, heading for the kitchen after kicking my snowy boots off, "I'll be right back. You just lie down and get as comfortable as you can."

I set the bag down on the counter, and I removed my outerwear. Stuffing my hat, gloves, and scarf in my sleeve, I unpacked all the things I brought for helping Nemo get better. As I kept quiet, the couch's creaking from the living room resounded through his apartment. I began making the soup I brought and poured a cup of orange juice.

When I returned to the living room, Nemo was lying face-down on the couch with the covers above his head. His breathing was not even, so he was still awake. I touched his shoulder, and he turned over to me, arms out from under the blanket. I said to him, "I've got a cup of orange juice for you, and I've just started the soup. Do you want your juice now?"

Nemo's gray eyes were hazy, that glazed-over look that showed how sick he was. When I thought he was going to reply, his arms sluggishly wrapped around my waist and pulled me down. He kept me at a bit of a distance, but still had me sitting on his lap. I failed to keep in an involuntary squeak, and I blushed immediately, feeling his hold on me get more snug. I turned my head to face him, and Nemo sent me a soft smile. My heartbeat filled my ears, and the heat in my face remained.

"You're so warm to me right now," Nemo murmured, pushing my hair onto my shoulder. His cheek pressed into my upper back, and I refused the instinct to squirm. His hands, resting on my arms, were colder than normal. I tried as hard as I could to keep my heart calm because Nemo probably would have been able to hear it. We stayed like this for a few minutes more, him moving his face slowly against my shirt to, what I assumed, generate some heat.

I remembered that I had a few things for him in the kitchen. With reluctance Nemo let go of me, slinking back under the covers. I told him, just lightly brushing his cheek with my hand, "I'll be back, silly. Do you want your juice?" He nodded, and I went back into the kitchen. I checked on the water and poured in the soup, water now boiling. After taking care of the soup, I brought Nemo the cup of juice I served him. He took it gratefully, taking sips before downing half of it.

I met his eyes, slightly hazy but with a regained brightness. Our gazes stayed together, and I implored, "What?"

"I'm already starting to feel better...My headache is...going away," he replied, the crooked smile of his appearing. Flushing, I watched as he patted his lap again, wordlessly asking for me to sit with him. I told him as I sat, "I hope you know that I'll have to get up soon."

"Yeah, but that's not now..." He moved his head so he did not cough on me. "...So I'll keep you here. I like Plus,'re keeping me warm." With the way that he kept smiling at me, I was for sure going to give off a lot of heat. Nemo tugged me into him so my back was against his chest, touching his lips lightly to my hair. I comfortably leaned into him, face scarlet. "Thank you for...coming over and...taking care of me..." He trailed off, and I carefully turned to look at him.

"Even though you didn't want me to get sick," I playfully jabbed, smirking.

"Yes, that's still true."

"Antti, you won't get me sick. Promise." I searched his eyes, which held a little bit of doubt. He finally nodded, accepting my promise.

"Okay, I'm trusting you."

"Good. And you look like something else is bothering you. What's up?"

He kept to himself, and I coaxed, "Go on, Nemo."

"Tell me 'I told you so'."

"...Wait, what?"

"You were right...about me getting sick. You should be...rubbing it in my face."

I gazed at him, seeing how his eyes displayed his guilt. Taking a breath, I leaned towards him, resting my lips on his forehead. My hand stayed on the nape of his neck, and I really felt my burning face as I pressed another kiss to his abnormally hot skin. When I backed away, I looked at his stunned expression on his cute face. "I don't think that's nearly fair to you. What I will tell you though is to get better soon."

I grinned, moving so that I sat with my legs hanging off the couch, diagonally positioned in my friend's lap. I was able to stand up, and even with a little more resistance from Nemo, he let me go get the soup.

An hour later, he had finished the soup and the orange juice I gave him. Nemo also convinced me to lie down with him again. When he pulled me down, I sat across his lap in the same way I did before. Wrapping an arm around his midsection, I leaned against his shoulder. His dark blond strands intrigued me, and I ran my free hand through them. Nemo closed his eyes, taking calm and slow breaths. His expression was relaxed, and I continued playing with his hair.

"Try getting some rest, Antti," I whispered, observing how his eyelids drooped half-closed until I stopped talking. The gray orbs scanned my face, and he pleaded, "Stay here...with me? At least until I fall asleep. Please?"

I nodded, knowing I could not turn him down after seeing the gray hues and the pouting lower lip. Scooting in closer, I tried to soothingly run my hand through his hair. One of Nemo's hands slowly rubbed along my other arm, and ignoring the goosebumps appearing on it, I felt myself getting sleepy. I picked up my gaze to meet the eyes of my best friend, and I noticed the same eased expression I saw weeks ago. That genuine, full smile that made me think twice about what I was to him...His eyes reflecting the emotion that triggered that smile...

Soon enough I fell asleep to the caress-like touches of Nemo, and I could have sworn he was talking to me in Finnish...

When I woke up, I noticed how I was lying on my back on something very soft. I groggily rolled onto my stomach to see Nemo, sleeping comfortably with an arm around my waist. Keeping the rest of my body still, I lifted my hand up to his forehead. His fever had gone down, and the redness in his face disappeared. I reached up and touched the fluffy tendrils on his head, being careful not to wake him.

Nemo slept on, and I silently giggled, lying back down on him. He stirred, and I stopped moving, carefully watching him.

"You know I'm awake, right Alex?" Nemo's deep voice startled me, and I looked back at him. He was staring down at me, a small smirk on his face. His eyes shone a little brighter than earlier, and I smiled, certainly with a blush tinting my cheeks.

" felt me...move around..."

He nodded, teasing, "And you playing with my hair."

My skin burned even more, and I buried my head in his chest, which rose and fell as he laughed. He placed his lips to my hair, and my face flushed, thankfully hidden from him.

"I really do feel better already. I'm not so cold anymore, and I have a little bit more energy," he pointed out, hugging me closer to him.

"That's good. Hey, I thought you said you're not cold anymore."

"...I'm not. I'm just...not letting you go."

Emphasizing his previous statement, he wrapped his arms around me, making sure I would not leave. Just as a test, I struggled against his hold, and he held me tighter. 'He really wanted me to stay with him', I realized with a fluttering feeling in my stomach. I delicately touched his cheek with the back of my hand, determining he really had broken the fever while he slept. My hand fell to his shoulder, and I rested my head on his chest, just over his beating heart.

The TV was on, and I watched the program, trying to figure out why it looked so familiar. "Hey Antti, what are you watching?"

"Pawn Stars. It's one of my favorite shows."

"Oh, I've seen a little of this show before. I love it."

We both laughed, and he gave my hair another kiss. Blushing, I laid down on my side, feeling Nemo's hands rest on my waist.

I let out a happy sigh, hoping I would not lose anything that I had with him. On Christmas Day, I had realized that I actually had liked Nemo for a while; I was just deep in denial. When I was reunited with Riles, I especially became aware of the fact that Nemo and our friendship...really were everything to me. Now that I recognized those feelings, I was afraid he would not feel the same way.

Whether or not those feelings ran deeper, I had to find that out for myself.

For now, I snuggled into him, smiling when one of his hands softly rubbed my lower back. The way his lips remained in that crooked smile warmed my heart, and I just barely pressed a kiss on his covered chest, feeling the little tingling sensations on my lips and fingers.

There was a chance that I felt more than just friendship with Nemo.

A really big chance.

My heart fluttered at what I mentally admitted to myself, and a chill traveled along my spine. The kind of chill that left my skin tingly and my body warm. I glanced up at the Finn, meeting his eyes and smiling automatically. A thought crossed my mind, and my heart raced after I realized how true it actually was.

I wanted to be with him.

I wanted
♠ ♠ ♠
Hello readers! I thought I would post the next chapter today since it was the start of the weekend!

Of course, there's another journal entry along with this update, so it's there if you want to take a look at it. As usual, comments are very much appreciated! Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I hope you enjoyed this update! :)