Kings and Queens


“I figured you’d be more annoyed that I said we’d do this without telling you,” Bridgette looked at me.

“Ha, you said you were doing this, I’m just stirring the dip,” I turned and put it on the table.

“Yeah,” she rolled her eyes, “I guess I should have thought this through a little more.

I nodded, “How did this happen?”

“He said something about going to dinner and this is what popped into my head.”

“This was not what he meant Bridge,” I gave her a look.

“I figured maybe this was a good way for you to see them again, you got along with all the guys and their girls, right?”

Leave it to her to say something like that even if it was a cop out. There was no way she had thought of that when she agreed to this, her idea was just to get out of spending time alone with Mike and obviously I was dragged into this.

“Dustin might be here,” she told me as she popped a carrot into her mouth.

“I can give him his jacket back then.”

“Oh, so you like Jeff then?” she smiled.

“How did you get I like Jeff from that?” I laughed and threw a grape at her.

“So you do like Dustin,” she threw it back at me, “You avoid the guy all together when you like him.”

I sighed as the doorbell rang and she hopped up to answer it, “Hey Mike, Jeff,” she greeted the two, “Come on in.”

Mike was the first to walk into the kitchen, “Hey Lang.”

I had to stifle a laugh because he did not look thrilled, “Richards.”

“I see she told you how she shot me down,” he set his case of beer in the fridge.

I nodded and let out a laugh, “Sorry. It’s just funny,” I was trying hard not to laugh at his expense.

“Laugh it up,” he started laughing too.

“I see you two are all buddy buddy,” Jeff walked over to me with that damn smile of his, “How are you?” he whispered as he hugged me.

“Fine,” I told him.

He pulled back and gave me a look, “I’m staying with Mike if you want to talk.”


The doorbell rang again and Bridgette let in Drew Doughty, Jarett Stoll, and a couple other guys. I tilted my head to look and see who all had arrived with them, “He’s on his way,” Mike walked past me and nudged my arm.

“Who?” I asked.

“Penner,” he winked at me and tossed a bottle of beer my way, “He asked if you were okay during practice today. I told him you looked like you were holding up,” Mike walked closer to me, “You are okay, right?”

“I’m fine.”

“We going to start grilling?” Jarett looked at Mike.

“Sure are,” Mike and the rest of the boys walked out to the deck.

Bridgette smiled at me, “Dustin’s getting out of his car, I’ll let you answer the door.”

She walked right out to the deck just when the doorbell rang again. I realized I was adjusting my top as I walked to the door to answer it, “Hey,” I smiled.

Dustin looked down at me, “Hey Langley.”

He had a case of beer in one hand and a bouquet of flowers in the other. “I was always taught to bring something when you’re invited to someone’s house.”

Oh good Lord that was adorable. His lips parted into a shy, borderline embarrassed, smile as he handed the roses, tulips, and lilies over to me, “You were raised right.”

His smile grew, “I’ll make sure to tell my mother you said that.”

I turned to walk into the kitchen and find a vase for the flowers, “Bridgette is going to love these.”

“They’re not exactly for her,” he said slowly.

“No, they’re meant as a thank you; a thank you for inviting me into your home for this lovely cookout that Bridgette threw together so quickly.”

“Well,” he took a bottle of beer from the case before placing it into the fridge with the three others, “Yes and no. They are kind of meant like that, but they’re also meant as an apology.”

I stared at him after dropping them into the vase of water, “An apology for what?”

“For not insisting on staying the other night, for basically dragging you out of Bass,” he chuckled, “I was so mad that I probably hurt your arm when I pulled you through the doors.”

“No,” I shook my head, “You didn’t hurt me.” Though I did have a nice bruise on my hip and back courtesy of Stalker Shane.

“I shouldn’t have let you stay here alone,” he looked at his feet, “I should have stayed at least until your sister got back.”

“I was fine,” I told him, “Honestly, I didn’t even think of that.”

“Well, I should have at least walked you to the door.”

“Don’t worry about it Dustin, I was perfectly fine.”

He shifted his weight from one foot to another, “You’re okay?”


“I won’t ask again, I don’t want to think about it myself, so I’m sure you don’t either.”

Why didn’t he want to think about it? He had been the one to come whisk me away and save me; he should be trotting around here on a white horse because he saved the damsel in distress.

“Lang?” Jeff yelled, “Are you going to keep Penner hostage or let him join the party?” he came into the kitchen.

“I was thinking about keeping him hostage,” I winked at Dustin.

“Well, now you have two hostages,” Jeff leaned against the wall, “We’ll have to call a negotiator and figure out your demands.”

“I demand a pony.”

Both men laughed and I smiled as I turned to grab a couple plates, “And you two to help carry this stuff outside.”

“You drive a hard bargain little girl,” Jeff winked at me as I walked past him.

“Well, there you three are,” Bridgette yelled as we walked outside, “Thought I was going to have to send a search party.”

I rolled my eyes at her as we set the plates on the table. I found an empty chair and started to walk to it to sit, but Jeff got to it first. He saw me and smiled as he patted the arm of it. I had a feeling I was either going to love this man or end up in a women’s prison for manslaughter. He was a charmer and I could tell he usually got what he wanted with just a flash of his perfect teeth. Looks wise, he was the exact guy I went for; blond hair, blue eyes, tall, athletic, essentially, he was every woman’s dream man. His personality was fun, a bit annoying and overwhelming, but I felt like deep down he meant well.

Against my better judgment I walked over and planted myself on the arm of the chair, “What’s up Carter?”

“I was wondering the same about you,” he turned his head to me, “You doing okay?”

I rolled my eyes and sighed as he chuckled, “I’ll only ask once, I just want to make sure you’re doing okay; that was a bad situation and…”

“I’m fine, thank you for your concern.”

“Hey,” he put his arm around my waist, hitting my bruise perfectly, “If you need me, anytime, I’m staying with Richie right now and we’ll be here or you can come over if you need to.”

I smiled, “Thanks, maybe you are nicer than I thought.”

“I am,” he nodded, “Feel free to come over on those rainy nights too and cuddle, I’m good at that.”

I shoved his shoulder, “I’ll think about it next time I get the flu.”

He laughed, “So, what happened after you and Dustin left? He didn’t have much to say besides you were quiet and got clingy.”

“Clingy?” I dropped my jaw, “I was not…”

He shook his head as he let out a hearty laugh, “He said that you basically just sat on the other side of the cab looking like you needed a hug,” Jeff’s laughter died down, “Said he felt bad.”

I rolled my eyes, “You’re a dick. Why did he feel bad?”

“Because he was too big of a chicken shit to give you that hug,” his hand brushed my arm, “He felt bad that he just let you walk into your place after you thanked him and gave him that kiss on the cheek.”

I stared at the blond giant, “He did not.”

“Did too,” Jeff smirked at me.

“Lang!” Bridgette yelled.

I got up and away from Jeff as quickly as I could. Thankfully, my sister needed help inside, so I was able to hide my red cheeks from the over grown children in our backyard; however, I was not able to hide them from her…again.

“Now Jeff’s got your panties in a twist? Girl, make up that mind of yours,” she teased me.

“No he doesn’t!” I defended myself, “It’s not Jeff.”

She turned to walk back outside with a few things in her hands, “Hey Dustin,” she smiled, “Could you grab a couple things and bring them outside?”

“Mother fucker,” I cursed under my breath. Dustin was showing up every single time I got flustered and about 99.9% of those times were due to him without him even knowing.

“Sure,” he answered.

I turned around and gave him a smile, “Putting you to work.”

“I don’t mind,” he moved to pick up a few things, “I wanted to ask you something anyway.”

“What’s that?”

He set everything back on the counter now, looking down at it and fidgeting with a spoon, “I know I’m a mess and all and we’ve kind of been forced to hang out,” he dropped the spoon from his hand and looked right at me, “We get back Monday, if you’re not busy or anything…would you want to get dinner Monday night?”

This time he was going to see the blush on my cheeks, which made me blush even harder. I sucked in a breath and let it out, “You don’t seem like a mess today.”

He moved his jaw from side to side before muttering, “Shut down.”

I looked at the plates in my hands before setting htem on the counter, “I guess blessing you with my presence for dinner could be a thank you for saving me.”

“I don’t need a thank you,” his entire body puffed out and I couldn’t help but look at his muscles through his tight shirt.

I bit my lip, afraid my little joke had gone too far, “I have a meeting with my trainer on Monday night, but I can reschedule it. I don’t feel like working out anyway.”

He walked away, “Forget it.”

I stood in the kitchen and watched him walk away. I didn’t mean to upset him, I was going to say yes, but I thought htat he and I could joke a little. Obviously, I was wrong.

After I went back to the party I noticed that Dustin was talking with some of his teammates. I wanted to approach him, but now I felt like a complete asshole.

Another half hour or so passed before I gave up watching him and made my way into the condo. I went into the kitchen and opened fridge. I bent down to grab another beer when I felt a hand on my back, right against my bruise. I jumped, “Is that from that guy?” Dustin asked after I had straightened my stance.


“Turn around.”

He sounded rough and had growled out the request. Each word had a certain clip to the end of it that scared me, but I listened and turned around. I didn’t look at him, I just stared at my own feet until he put his finger under my chin and tilted it back, “Are there more?”


He nodded and dropped my chin. He ran his hand over his hair, messing up his short brown locks. He turned back to me with a worried look on his face, “I’m not a great guy, I’ve made plenty of mistakes and I’m sure you sense that from a mile away,” he put his hand over his mouth and dragged it down his chin, scratching the stubble, “Stalking someone and hurting them…how does anyone do that?”

“Because they’re crazy, I don’t know,” I shrugged.

He leaned against the counter, palms flat against the surface, head hanging down, “You don’t deserve that Langley. That was scary for me, I can’t even imagine how it was for you.”

I walked over ot him and wrapped my arms around one of his arms, “It was scary. I really thought it was going to end like a Law and Order SVU episode,” I paused when I heard him huff out a tiny laugh, “Then you showed up,” I put my head against his arm.
I felt him relax a little and then swore I felt his lips against the top of my head, “Monday night?”

“Pick me up at seven?”

he moved away from me and gave me a smirk, “I’ll be here.”
♠ ♠ ♠
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