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

Love in Ice



I absentmindedly pulled at a few strands of my hair. My mind had been completely preoccupied with a single image for just under an hour. Nothing, not even the wary gaze of my best friend sitting in the driver's seat, blocked it out of my head.

Light blue eyes, a weakness of mine since I could remember, seemingly having a firm sense of control over my thoughts. I pondered over the fact for sixty minutes. Every time I tried to explain my odd behavior, I rammed head-first into the sturdy wall of confusion.

I shook my head--the third time this night--to eliminate the intrusion. I could tell from the hesitant look on Sam's face that she wanted to prick some fun at my intense thinking, but she thought better of it. Much to my relief.

Though it would be nice to have something else to keep my mind busy.

In the lingering silence, I was easily pulled back into my previous state, thinking about what happened after I agreed to go to the party.

A nonstop chatter filled the locker room as Burish began scribbling on a piece of paper. After he was done, he handed it to Sam and said, "Here's where the party will be. We'll see you two in an hour at my place."

Versteeg winked at me and joked, "Don't go and miss your own party."

Turning to Sam, he added, "If she tries to run away, don't be afraid to tie her up and knock her out, all right?

"Not such a good idea, Versteeg. We'll be hopelessly lost if she even attempts at finding her way to Burish's without my help." Chuckles came from a few guys while I got an elbow to the arm. Way to take a joke, Sam.

My eyes trailed back to the pair of eyes that watched me from my left. I felt a connection when I locked eyes with him, and my heart seemed to race just looking at the endless sea that was his eyes.

What was going on here?

I tore my gaze away and looked around me, the other players already in their own conversations, buzzing away about the game they just won and the party that was to take place in an hour.

No one else noticed the exchange between the two of us.

"You okay, Lexa," asked Sam, sending a concerned look my way. "You look a little nervous for someone who's going to a party."

"I'm fine. Just worrying about getting to Burish's place in the next twenty minutes."

"Hey, I'm not that bad at finding my way!"

"Sure, sure, whatever helps you sleep at night, Sammy." I laughed out loud noticing her pouting face.

After a long while of driving, getting lost because of Sam's initial insistence on letting her find her way, we arrived at Burish's place. Sam and I walked up the stairs to his apartment. I knocked on the door, and almost immediately, it opened to a smiling Burish.

"Now we can get this party started," he shouted happily, successfully grabbing the attention of the people in the apartment. He turned to someone behind him and added, "Looks like we don't need to start your search party." Walking out from behind Burish was Seabrook, who sported a grin.

"I'll give you two a tour of this apartment and let you meet everyone. Make sure you don't get lost," he chuckled as our coats were taken by Burish. Most of the team was sitting in the living room, dressed causally, but still looking good.

"So our guests have arrived," Hjalmarsson observed, smiling sweetly.

"As you all know, the two ladies standing next to me are Samantha Rosley and the birthday girl herself, Alexandra Lainasen. On behalf of the team, we would all like to say that we are all honored to be in your aging, but still beautiful presence," Seabrook mused in a semi-serious tone. Chuckles answered him, along with what I could manage as a shoulder bump, seeing as he had a good five inches on my height.

One by one, Sam and I were introduced to the players sitting there. We got along well with them, to our delight. Then we finally made it over to the backup goaltender, who was talking with Hjalmarsson, Hossa, and Kopecky.

Seabrook nodded to each player as he formally introduced us, "Over here we have Mr. Niklas Hjalmarsson--or the Hammer as we call him--Senor Marian Hossa to his right, Monsieur Tomas Kopecky, and our backup goaltender who really pulled through for us today, Antti 'Nemo' Niemi."

I smiled and shook hands with the first three, noticing the quick glance Sam gave me out of the corner of my eye. I stood in front of the Finnish goaltender and reached out to shake his hand. What I did not expect was how we both froze when our eyes met, palms clasped together. Despite our sudden lack of movement, my hand burned with a strangely welcoming warmth.

My brown eyes shared a gaze with his bright eyes, the warmth from my hand finding its way to my face in a millisecond. I pulled away a bit, nodding my head in acknowledgment, him reflecting my motions. We both had just managed, in our moment of slight awkwardness, to avoid any sort of embarrassment with our longer than need be introduction.

Well, at least I think he did.

My face took the role of a radiator, burning a bright red as I shifted my gaze to the other five people around me. Until now, I completely ignored the fact that four of his teammates and my best friend acted as an audience. I quickly analyzed their expressions; only one noticed the tense touch we shared, and an all-knowing smirk was painted on her face.


I stole a quick look at Niemi, the lighting in the room accenting the tint of red to his face. I addressed all of them after clearing my throat of any nervousness, "Nice to meet you guys."

Before any of the guys around me could say anything, someone shouted, "Time for the cake!" Sopel, walking in through the doorway with Fraser, held a box in his hands. A hand tugged at mine, and I found myself being pulled to the group by Huet. Sam and the five guys followed us, cheers filling the apartment.

"Oh wow, you guys weren't kidding about the whole celebrating idea," I mused, looking at the cake that was being placed on the table, a candle in the center.

"It's a happy day for all of us, and your birthday just makes it all the more special," Kane said, shooting a smile my way.

"Aww," a group chorused and Sam added, "Kaner's gone sentimental." A laugh escaped everyone's lips except for the mentioned ("Shut up" was muttered from his, instead), and after a moment, the singing started.

Off key it may have been, but I had yet to hear anything else that would nearly bring me to tears. I met the guys just hours before, but the feeling in the song was the equivalent of me knowing them for the same amount of time I knew Sam. As I blew the candle out, I made my wish, knowing without a doubt it would come true.

Every single person in front of me would be the closest friends I ever had.

Claps and cheers bounced off the walls in Burish's apartment. I started cutting the cake and five minutes later, the presence of thirty-three people eating cake filled any available seat in the living room.

"Happy Birthday Alex," cheered Sam, thirty-one other voices joining her. I grinned and said, "Thanks, you guys!" A flash of red, curly hair appeared in front of me, and I felt something cool meet my cheek. Campbell had placed a finger of frosting on my face, and seconds later I was bombarded with other frosting-filled fingers.

I laughed with everyone else at the childish tradition. This, without a doubt, was my best birthday ever. I went to see my favorite hockey team play with my best friend, watched an amazing comeback, met all of the players, and became friends with them. I could already tell that the years to come would be great. Even if I had to decode that warm feeling that overcame me when I met Niemi's eyes.

That, I could tell even at that point in time, would be an adventure all in itself.
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Terve to all my readers! I decided to get an update in for you guys and also because of how special today is!

Happy Birthday Antti Niemi and Michael Jackson! :D

(Yes, I still acknowledge his birthday.)

Hope you guys enjoy my rather quickly made update! Kiitos to my twenty-two readers and four subscribers!

Once again, I'm not exactly sure how soon I'll be able to update....I can tell already that junior year's going to be busy....