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

Love in Ice



Nothing beats watching a hockey game in the comfort of your own apartment. The freedom of shouting select words comes in handy. Especially when you speak a language your neighbors cannot understand. Different story right there.


Sam and I had jumped up from the sofa in her apartment, howling in disapproval. Russell of the Columbus Blue Jackets rocketed the puck past Huey. The score now stood with a single-goal advantage for the visitors. Barely a minute passed in the third, and yet a goal left us trailing by one. It was frustrating enough that Nemo sat on the bench, but the goaltender currently cursing himself in the net added a bit more anxiety.

Sam muttered under her breath, "I swear, if they don't do anything in the next few minutes...." Instead of letting the sentence hang, she continued it in another language, using an array of curses.

"We can still win this, Sammy. Don't worry."

"Says the Finnish backup goaltender's fan," she pressed with a grin, noticing my shifty movements.

"That may be so, but the score isn't horrible. We'll win it, just you wait." Being optimistic was not something Sam mastered, even when it came down to her favorite hockey team. We both sat down and continued watching the game.

Captain Serious tied the game minutes later at three goals per team, and our cheering could not be matched. "YEAH, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, TAZER!"

"Still believe we can't win?" Silence followed the question, Sam's face scarlet. She threw one of the couch's pillows at me, receiving a sarcastic, "I'll have a bruise by tomorrow."

In the blink of an eye, third period passed along with overtime. Now Sam and I had to endure a shootout. I grabbed the closest pillow and hugged it tightly. If it were alive, I would have squished the life out of it.

Sam tightened the grip she had on a blanket she had next to her. First to shoot from the Blue Jackets was Huselius. As soon as the whistle sounded, he sped off and shot quickly, but Huey caught the puck without a hassle, tossing it aside.

Tazer took his shot, but Mason prevented the shot from going past him. Nash, Tazer's Blue Jacket counterpart, skated towards Huey, shooting at almost the last second. The French goaltender veered his shot away when he fell forward, inadvertently tripping Nash.

Hossa's shot flew past Mason, a hollow ding in my ears as the puck hit the post. "YOU SHOOT THAT PUCK, HOSSA," Sam and I shouted, pumping our fists in the air. Of course, our celebrations did not last very long.

Round three of the shootout began with Voracek aiming at the area above our crouching goalie. His wrist shot produced another tie, making me hit myself in the head with the pillow. Mason slapped Kaner's shot with his trapper, Sam groaning in impatience. Replays aired before the fourth round, so my best friend and I headed to her kitchen to grab some snacks.

Before the game, we decided to make various desserts to occupy the otherwise vacated time. I grabbed a few chocolate chip cookies, Sam grabbing a brownie and power-walked back to the couch. The game returned for its fourth round, which was far from its last round.

I felt for Laddy when the puck slid across the ice faster than he did, knowing he had no clear shot to end the shootout. Mason poke-checked the puck, steering it away before Laddy could reach it.

In the eighth round, Torres' shot bounced off Huey and over the net. Huey visibly grinned, making the two of us laugh. The puck Kopy shot missed the net, but he himself made it past Mason. Sam said, Kopy stumbling out of the net, "You know what's really irritating? They show a replay of what just happened, as if we didn't see it the first time."

I laughed at her observation and complete sarcasm. Two other rounds passed, four shots blocked from both nets. "GOD, WHEN IS IT GOING TO END," Sam shouted, frustration completely driving her. Anxious, I kept my eyes on the screen, watching as the next Blue Jackets player prepared to shoot.

"Oh man, oh man, oh man," Sam muttered under her breath, silenced by a "Shut the hell up, Sam." Chimera skated quickly, Huey moving to one side of the net. I bit my lip, seeing Chimera aim towards the other side. By falling, Huey pushed the puck away, allowing us to survive for another shot.

Seabs skated back towards Huey before picking up speed to get the puck. He aimed for Mason's backhand, shooting hard. The puck flew past Mason, hitting the post like Hossa's goal had. Sam and I jumped up, hugging each other and singing along to the Chelsea Dagger. The Blackhawks climbed off the bench, celebrating Seab's winning goal.

Mason angrily hit his goalie stick against the boards, not successful at breaking it. Giving up, he swung one leg to get to the other bench, walking with his team to the visitors' locker room. All of the Blackhawks lifted their sticks in the air, once again thanking their fans for support. I smiled, seeing Nemo on the ice, congratulating Huey for the win.

"What are you smiling at, Alex?" Sam looked back and forth between my gaze and the game, only getting a glimpse of the player that graced the screen before the cameras switched.

"So, Nemo's fan is feeling a little more than 'just friends', are we?"

I had difficulty keeping a stoic expression, turning towards Sam. My face heated, leaving me struggling to keep control of the shades it turned. My best friend gasped and asked, "Are you really?!"

I countered, "W-What makes you say that?" Shit. I stammered.

"Your face is completely red! You just stumbled on your own words! Someone's got a crush on Nemo," she listed, sing-song voice near the end. Mentally commanding my face to cool off, I shook my head.

"He's just a friend, Sammy. One of my best friends."

"Sure, sure. That's what you say now. We'll see soon enough!"

Rolling my eyes, I denied the fact that anything like that would happen between him and I. A nagging at my heart revealed the rejection it posed at my denial, startling me. I repeated in my head, Nemo is my best friend. Nothing more.

No matter how many times I seared the thought on my brain, the heartbeat managed to fight off the hot-headed stubbornness I held.


I watched another practice, this time at Johnny's Ice Rink. The players already made their way to shower and change, leaving Sam and I to wait. Tomorrow held their game against the Predators where only two days before their shootout win against the Blue Jackets occurred. After tomorrow's game, Nemo would play in Pittsburgh.

I started when my phone alerted me of a new text, most likely from Sam. She headed out to a nearby Starbucks. I read the short text asking for what I wanted. Settling on a hot chocolate, I sent the request to her. I closed my eyes for a moment, leaning against the wall to my right.

The calm lull of the vacant rink eased the brain that worked overtime. Even breaths released from my lungs inherited the lax nature around the rink. Focus solely on the steady breathing, footsteps, if any, blocked from my mind. Warm hands met the skin of my forehead, and I opened my eyes to the dark shield.

"Who is this," I wondered out loud. I nearly jerked out of their hold when the person whispered, "How could you not know your best friend?"

I spun around to see Nemo's tall form, a fake pout on his face. My heart still skipped, though his hands no longer touched any of my skin. I asked, an apologetic tone to my voice, "Aww, what can I do to make it up to you, Nemo?"

His expression turned thoughtful, before a smile brightened his features. "I think a hug will be enough," Nemo said, adding a playful wink. A simple wink that left me frantically searching for even just a single breath of air. He held out his arms, and once oxygen returned to my lungs, I nearly gave him a tackle-hug.

Easily wrapping his arms around my smaller frame, Nemo held me secure against his body. I neglected the shiver that crept its way up my spine and focused on the warmth his friendly gesture transferred. I pressed my cheek to his chest, the highest I could reach with my height. His chin met the top of my head, and my heart scrambled to match the irregular rhythm I could hear Nemo's heart playing.

It seemed strange: his heartbeat was fast-paced like mine. Why would it be like this? Sure, he just had practice, but wouldn't his heart have returned to normal?

We pulled away, and right away I noticed how Nemo's face gained a distant quality to it, as if he were thinking about something. I prodded, "What's the matter, Nemo? You look a bit occupied." The eye contact between us broke with a few blinks from the Finn, who said, "I was wondering if you would like to come with us to Pittsburgh."

I stared back at him incredulously. Go to Pittsburgh with the team? Before I could reply, he continued, "It would be great to have you come! You'd have a lot of fun, I promise. I even asked Coach, and he said it's fine. Unless you have no one to watch Riles, and you need to stay with him, I understand."

I kept my gaze steady with his, watching as his eyes sparkled with excitement. Nemo clearly wanted me to tag along, and since I lost all my arguments in the bright blue eyes, I only found reasons to agree to go. Riles could easily stay with one of my friends at the animal shelter I worked, but I hadn't expected him to mention Riles.

"Okay, I'll come, if you really want me to go. I can have one of my coworkers at the shelter watch him," I mused, jumping when I became engulfed in another hug. Nemo squeezed me a little tighter before letting go, running a hand through my hair. I shouted with a mock angry voice, "Hey! Come on, Nemo!"

Nemo only laughed, repeating his actions. After doing so, he pulled me close to him with an arm around my shoulders. To say my heart ran a marathon would be a complete understatement. He unknowingly made it worse when he whispered, lips near my ear, "I can't wait."

I managed a hushed, "Me neither." Every time he touched me, my face set itself on fire. His breath tickled, but I still stood in place. Nemo remained close to me for a few moments longer, moments that were just moments and nothing longer. I found myself get slightly colder from the lack of warmth from Nemo's body.

I must have looked as puzzled as I felt. Nemo laughed, amused by my face. "You're cute when you're confused, Alex," he commented with a crooked smile, face flushed lightly. I thought my heart could not go any faster than it did anymore than it had before.

I was unmistakeably wrong. Now its unresting beat pounded in my ears, and breathing became a task. A new energy rushed through me when I quietly muttered, running a hand through his hair like he had with mine, "You're too sweet, Antti."

He moved next to me to the point where our sides met against each other, this time wrapping his arm around my waist. If someone touched my face at the moment, they would yank their hand back at how much my face burned. He leaned over and placed his chin on my head once again, and I instinctively took in his scent.

I teased, trying to relieve the tense awkward feeling, "Someone's tired." Nemo remained silent, shifting his head so his cheek could rest on my head. While I appeared to breathe steadily, in reality I nearly choked from the lack of air.

Squeaky footsteps filled the silence, and my first hasty reaction caused me to panic. Nemo groaned some Finnish under his breath before slinking completely away from me. His blue eyes reflected an apology, and I smiled, silently telling him not to worry.

We both looked up and saw Sam heading our way, grinning from ear to ear. Nemo said, slipping on the coat that sat on his equipment bag the whole time, "I'll talk to you later, Alley Cat." Another smile he sent before leaving, nodding to Sam as he passed her.

"Hey Lexa! I can't wait to tell you what Ben just texted me!"

I stole the second cup of hot chocolate from her, taking a sip of it. She continued, "I'm going to Pittsburgh with them! Sure, I'd have to rearrange my work schedule, but it should work out fine!"

"That's awesome, Sammy! Guess we'll be seeing each other more often, huh?"

"You're coming too?! You actually said yes?! I can't believe it!"

I rolled my eyes at her sarcasm. "Yeah, I'm coming too. I need to keep an eye on you and Benny."

"Please, we're still just friends. The only people that need watching over is you and Nemo! Lexa, are you sure that you two aren't deeply in love with each other?"

"I'm sure. Besides, we just became best friends. I think I speak for both of us when I say we don't feel any extreme feelings like that."

I sounded confident, but I drowned in the uncertainty of the previous statement. It was the truth, wasn't it?
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I'm so sorry for the long wait, readers! I've been super busy with school recently, and I haven't been able to actually sit down and write my story....

I'll try my best to update. Thank you to my 36 readers and 6 subscribers who endured the lengthy wait for an update! Amazing, you really are! :)