French translations for all the chapters are at the bottom of the page. You can thank Mad4life!

"I didn't expect you to be home so soon." Hannah said through a mouthful of Phish food.

"Yeah, I ducked out early. Can't stand going to those things." I said, peeling my eyes away from the television screen to smile up at Hannah. "Besides David is playing really well tonight."

"Guess you guys are doing well then." Hannah invited herself onto the couch. I looked at her flannel pajama set adorned with parrots in rainbow colors. But then looked down at my own constricting outfit and longed for something warm and shapeless.

"Yeah, he really is the sweetest guy. Can't even tell he plays hockey."

"What does that mean?"

"Well, I've been to a charity ball or whatever and all the other guys seem…" I didn't finish my sentence and stared intently at the screen trying to make sense of what was happening.

Werner is down. It looks like going for that puck really got to him. Huh, Jim? Well, Todd, it might have been bound to happen. Let's look at the recap, shall we?

The recap was gruesome. Two huge men going down onto the ice, the other skaters trying to avoid them, blood everywhere and the rest of the team skating around, trying to figure out what had happened. The refs yelling at everyone to get out of their way. The clip was played again. And again.

"God that looked gross," Hannah said, waiting for the next replay.

I took my phone out but then had no idea what I was doing. What was the best way to deal with this? They were obviously going to take care of him, there are doctors on the wings all the time and he's fallen before. He actually falls a lot. It's bound to happen when you're skating that seriously.

"You think they're okay? That was so nasty." Hannah hadn't turned away from the television and was now completely engrossed in a car commercial.

"Should I call his assistant?" I asked Hannah, but it seemed like I was asking myself. The game came back and Todd and Jim were at it again.

So it seems David Werner was a little roughed up, but well, so was the other guy. Well, Jim, there's nothing left to do but keep playing the game without a captain. Coach has got to be feeling a little beat up himself. Well that's the way it goes, I guess. Let's get back to the game

My phone buzzed in my hand and I answered immediately. "Hello?" Shelly's voice came through on the other end. "Hi, Alexis? I don't want to scare you or anything, but David's going to the hospital. He's just had a little fall and –" "I just saw it happen. They're on their way to the hospital now?" "Yes. David already asked if you'd seen and if you would be at the hospital waiting." "Of course, yes. I'll be there. Thank you."

"Are you going?" Hannah asked, even as I stood and grabbed my purse.

"Yeah. Why?" I subconsciously scrunched my hair back into place and re-adjusted my heels.

"Just be careful. Want me to wait up?"

"No, I'll be fine. They might let him go home tonight. This is what girlfriends do, right?"

"Yeah, of course." Hannah took another bite of ice cream and leaned over to get the remote.

"Hi, my name is Alexis Martin. I came to see David Werner."

"Yeah, you and everyone else. You can just wait over there and I'm sure there will be a statement in a moment." The nurse had wild curly black hair and held her clipboard like it was a shield. The rush of reporters had obviously already made an appearance.

"I don't want a statement. I'm his girlfriend." I choked the word out for the second time tonight and the nurse obviously saw the hesitation.

"That is the fifth time I've heard that tonight. You think that just because you're a girl you can pull that? You have another thing coming. You can just wait out with the rest of them."

"Okay, but really. We've been going out for a little while now and…" I could feel myself sounding desperate. For a moment I actually considered waiting outside with everyone else.

"Alexis! There you are. David's been asking for you. I said I'd called you, but maybe you had decided not to come. I know it's a madhouse here. Thanks, Wanda, I'll take it from here." Shelly took me by the arm and steered me away from the waiting room and down a long white hygienic hallway. Shelly was a short woman and she had stuffed herself into a pink tweed jacket and pencil skirt. Her rings and bracelets were stacked and made her jingle when she walked. "You know, David really likes you. I'm sure you're aware, but just so you're hyper aware I thought I should tell you."

"Thanks, Shelly. I really like David too." I said, almost panting at the pace and wishing I could take off my heels.

"I hope that's true, because so many girls have hurt him, you know." Shelly looked up at me, but didn't slow down.

"I promise my motivations are completely honorable."

"Well, here we are. I'll try to scare some people out for you."

It had taken so long to get to the hospital I had even forgotten about the game, but it seemed most of the players had come straight from the game in their uniforms. Along with the players were the assistant coaches who didn't have to stick around for press talk and the team's doctors who were watching over David to make sure these doctors were doing their jobs. The tiny white room felt so claustraphobic, but Shelly steered me through the crowd.

"Ah, Alexis!" David boomed from the bed.

"Well, you look fine, David." I said sounding a little brighter than I had meant. There were a few bandages on his head and his arms were bruised, but other than that he looked the way he always did. A bear of a man with a huge smile and an accent that gave away just how Russian he was.

"What a cool greeting. But it's okay, I know you're shy. Everyone," David turned to the people around him, "you can all go home to your families, please. I know they're all missing you."

The mass of people grew a little quieter and then Shelly made his request clearer by shoo-ing everyone out of the room. "David, will you be making an appearance at practice tomorrow?"

"Oh, I don't know yet. We'll see how the doctors react and I'll tell you as soon as I know. Okay?" he beamed and then waited for her to shut the door before looking at me square on and smiling. "So, how are you, my dear?"

I shook my head and laughed as I pulled up a chair.

"Oh, no no," David waved his hand and patted the bed by his knees. "I want to… ah, see you better. While we talk."

I fought my baser instincts and sat down at David's knees, kicking off my heels onto the floor.

"See! Better. I've sat in those chairs before. They're no good."

I laughed again, but when I looked up at David his face had fallen into a more neutral expression. "I want to thank you for coming. I know you had other plans. Other places to be that did not include hospitals with people you do not know."

"It's fine. I was home. I saw it happen. I had to come. To see you. Mon petit ami."

David patted my knee and we were quiet for a moment.

"So, what did the doctors say?"

"Oh, usual things. They checked for a concussion and did some MRI scans and they put bandages everywhere. I think the other guy came out worse than me, though." David winked. "Now we are just waiting so that it looks like I was beat up worse than I really was. And so the doctors can have their moment, you know?"

I shook my head and took his hand in both of mine, spreading out his fingers and lacing our hands together. "Doesn't that bother you?"

"Not at all," David answered absentmindedly, he was surveying my actions closely, I could feel him watching me. "They did their job well, they deserve their moment and I let them have it because who knows when this will happen for them again. Maybe it will help their careers. Help their family. Everyone looks out for themselves. Am I wrong?"


"How was your party?"


"Well, you look beautiful. That is really what matters." David cupped my face in his hand for a moment but let it fall away before I could protest.

"When is the doctor supposed to come back? I could take you home, although I'm sure you have someone to do that already."

"I don't want you to feel obligated to take care of me. That's not why I asked for you to be here."

"I don't. I just thought it would be nice, but I know you're all famous and important," I cracked a smile and scrunched my nose at him, leaning forward.

David took his moment and closed the gap between us. I gasped a little but let him win. He had a little bit of scruff on his face and I put a hand around his neck, letting my fingers slide through his messy black hair. He didn't smell like himself, tainted by the hospital smells of cleanliness and old people… and maybe a hint of blood. I leaned away just a moment, gave him one last peck on the lips and smiled.

"So, who's taking you home?"

"First let's see if I'm even going home tonight."

About an hour later I was watching David sink into my passenger seat. He looked out of place in my beat up sedan, but he just looked at me and smiled. I patted his knee and he ran a hand over my hair. I turned on the ignition before I could wax about how cheesy we just looked. How couple-y we just appeared.

"This is where you live?" I looked up at the brick front townhouse he had just walked me to from the parking garage two blocks away. "You make millions of dollars and you live here?"

"It's a nice neighborhood. Lots of people know me, they respect my space and they treat me like a normal person. Don't be so quick to judge." He leaned down from his 6-foot perch to kiss me on the head and I gestured for him to lead the way.

For a long time I had been under the impression that all professional sports players are just overgrown kids who couldn't let go of their glory days. I still believe this to be true, but there was something about David's apartment. Something a little too grown-up. There were still the framed movie posters from his teenage years and the occasional dusty knickknack, but everything else was a little too clean for a bachelor. There must be a maid in this equation somewhere.

David dropped his bag at the door and gestured for my coat and scarf. "Don't worry, I won't just throw it on the ground. I know it is a nice coat."

"You think I'm a priss, don't you?"

"Well… yes, I do." David smiled and then helped me take off my coat and unwound the scarf from my neck.

"Well I'm not. Thank you very much."

"You have not proven that to me." David put a hand on my back and I slapped him teasingly across the chest. "Yet. I meant: You have not proven that to me yet."

"Right. Whatever. You need to put on some pajamas. No practice tomorrow."

"I know, it's just as well. You can sit, or you can look." He rubbed my back just a half second longer than was polite, but excused himself to change.

I decided to forgo the couch and walked leisurely around his kitchen looking at the perfectly white dishes all stacked in open cabinets. Probably an idea of an ex-girlfriend. My heels clicked slowly on the wood floor and echoed ever so slightly.

"Are you going to stand all night? That can't be comfortable. Not in those shoes." David was putting on a shirt and I got the briefest of looks at his perfectly toned chest. Athletes were the way to go if your main concern was a perfect body. The only problem is those rock hard abs were peppered with bruises.

"These shoes are for you, you know." I turned toward him and he sank into the couch, raising an eyebrow at my comment.

"You weren't even going to see me tonight."

"I mean, stilettos are for men. In general. They make our butts look cuter." I did a spin as I walked toward him. There's always a moment when I have no idea what I'm doing anymore. If I was an actor asking 'what's my motivation?' I would have no answer for myself. Do I want to sleep with this guy? Yes. But I also want a normal, uncomplicated relationship and even the dumb jock on the street could tell you sex ruins and complicates everything. The reason he could tell you that is because it happens to be a fact of life. "Same as bikinis and push-up bras" I pushed up at mine and David's eyebrows shot up. He thinks he's getting lucky tonight and I honestly don't know if he's right or not. "and thongs, of course" mine is getting more and more uncomfortable as the night goes on. The lace around the waistband has started to get uncomfortable and it really and truly does feel like there's dental floss up my butt. And they always look so nice in the store.

I plopped myself down next to David and he did what any normal guy would do. He pulled me toward him and kissed me hungrily. He still smelled like the hospital, but I don't mind as much now since we're sitting in his living room and not the hospital, teeming with doctors and nurses and jell-o.

"Babe?" I said, pulling away ever so slightly, "What do you say we get you washed up?" Did I just say 'babe'? Maybe some sleazier version of myself had taken over for the night. I should probably just go with it, right?

"I still smell like a hospital, don't I?"

"Sorry," I kissed him quickly but then pull him up off the couch.

His bedroom was also very clean. Almost like he hadn't been sleeping here. I have to get this maid's number. David brushes past me, swiping his hand across my back again, this time lower than before. I followed him into the bathroom and put the toilet seat down so I could sit while he washed his face. I also wanted to see if this neat freak quality extends all the way to the mildew in his shower. The mildew is non-existent. I guess I better clean my own bathroom when I get home. I wondered when that will be.

David washed his face with bar soap and I resisted the urge to tell him it will dry out his skin. He pulls a towel down from a shelf above my head and then turned his attention back to me. He leaned in very close to my face and paused for a moment before whispering in my ear "better?" I make a move to look at him and respond but he kisses my neck and I gasp. I could feel him smiling against my skin as he kissed me again, this time more adamant.

"You'll leave a mark. Like we're in high school all over again," I said as I ran a non-insistent hand down his arm and caught the hospital wristband still present. I stood and lead him into the kitchen by the hospital band. "Where are your kitchen scissors?"

"In the drawer by the sink," he said against my neck.

I open the drawer and cut off the band as he pulled the clip out of my hair and used his free hand to comb through the auburn mane he's just created. He pushed my hair to the side and kisses the nape of my neck, following me as I go to throw the wristband out. I turned around to look at him and he pinned me against his counter. I put my hands on his chest meaning to push him away but pause instead to look up at him. He had these clear blue eyes that are so delicate and wonderful. I hadn't told him this and would never tell him this in case he thought it was a feminine feature. Really, what's wrong with that? He looked down at me with his usual expression, but there's something else there tonight. Oh right, the possibility of sex.

He lifted me up onto his counter and I looked at him straight on. He looked even more handsome like this, stronger. I lift my hand to push my hair behind my ear and he stopped me, kissed my fingers and put my hand in his hair instead. He puts his hands on my waist as he kissed me again. And this time it's perfect. He smells wonderful again, his hair is caught up in my fingers and his tongue is down my throat. I reached my legs around his torso and hope to god my pencil skirt doesn't rip.

He moaned a little and moves his hands around my back. This time I'm the one who stopped him and moved his hand up my chest instead. He froze a little and I pulled back to look at him, but our noses still touch. "It's okay. It's not a set-up, I promise."

"Are you staying over tonight?" His lips graze mine as he speaks.

"I don't know." I say and I know it's a lame answer even as it comes out of my mouth. He knew something's not right and put his hands on my thighs as I let my legs fall from around his waist. "Sorry. That was lame."

"No, it's fine. I was not expecting anything." I look at him deciding if that was a lie. Probably not, I was the one who started this. He backed away from the counter and I slid back onto the floor, my heels making that loud hallow sound. I pulled my pencil skirt back down into place and look back up at him, ashamed of myself.

"I just don't want to rush into playing house with you. It's nice what we're doing, right?" I sounded like some emotionally damaged train-wreck from a Hollywood movie. I should have just given him a blowjob and called it a night. Is that what a normal girl would have done? A nice girl would have said good-bye at the door. Actually a nice girl would have let him go home with his driver. Guess the nice girl route has left the table.

"I don't want you to play house. I want you to be comfortable." He's so nice, looking down at me with those big blue eyes. I hope it's real.

"You know, it's just that you shouldn't sleep with make-up on and walking home in this outfit could raise some eyebrows and I have class tomorrow… afternoon. And you need to rest because you almost had a concussion and a broken ankle, leg, body tonight." Every word out of my mouth sounded worse and worse and the real problem is I do want to sleep with him. Every protesting word out of my mouth makes me want to sleep with him more and more. How do I fix this?

"If you don't want to stay you don't have to, but I will walk you back to your car. Let me find some shoes." He's pretty good at hiding disappointment, but there's a certain curve to his pants I'm sure I'm supposed to ignore at this moment.

"David," I said, catching his arm, "I'm sorry I'm such a nutcase."

"I understand," He said. He's really taking this very very well. Maybe that's why I want to sleep with him more. As a kind of reward?

"No, I was apologizing in advance. Would it be a problem if I stayed over tonight?" Well, now he's just going to kick me out. What on earth was I thinking? That just sealed my fate as the loony ex-girlfriend who couldn't decide if she was open for business or not. Because I know for sure that men don't like to be confused and I'm fairly certain I've just made David's head spin.

"Please don't stay if you don't want to. I was not trying to rush anything."

"Not at all. I do want to stay. Really." I tried to make it more convincing by walking – hopefully more of a saunter and less like a girl who's getting worse at walking in her heels – closer to his side and running my hand down his back, letting myself graze his butt ever so slightly.

David shook his head and then laughs. "You have got to be the weirdest girl I've met. Don't you ladies make plans about when to sleep over with someone before you walk into their house?"

"The normal ones do. But not this girl. Is the offer still good?" I pressed myself against his body.

"Yes, but you're going to have to change. Are you hungry?" He's brushed past me to a drawer next to the fridge.

"Um, I guess." Now I'm the one who's confused. Just a minute ago we were on the fast track to a pants off dance off and now we're ordering in? How is this not playing house?

"Good, is there anything you don't eat?"

"Uh, anything scary to say or look at." What would he order that he needs to know that kind of information?

"Hello, Mark?" David ran his hand through my hair again as he talks on the phone. This is better; maybe we just hit the reset button. "Can you get Jimmy to drop off a number 3 and a number 5 with a large cup of the curry soup? 20? That's fine, thank you." He hung up the phone and cupped my face in his hands as his gives me a quick kiss, "Let me see what I can find you." He lead me back into his bedroom and opened the bottom drawer to the dresser.

"Do you have a maid?" Dear god, why am I a complete spaz tonight? There's got to be something in the water. I sit down on his bed and hope he didn't hear.

He handed me a pair of pajama pants and a t-shirt. "She comes once every two weeks. Usually while I'm at practice. But I promise I'm not a slob." He smiled and turned to leave the room, but I stop him and stand.

"Can you get the zipper?" This is such a ploy and I hope he knows it. I feign ignorance on how these new fangled zipper things work. He unzipped my dress and I stepped out of it, trying to ignore how self-conscious I feel in this thong and hoping it's true that all men see is the thong and not anything else. His hand ran across my ribs, seeing my tattoo for the first time, and I stepped out of my shoes. As I bend over to pick up my dress on the floor my butt grazed his thigh. If only he was just a few inches shorter, that would have worked. I put on his t-shirt and leave the pants on the bed next to my dress. "Where do you want those?" I pointed to the clothes on the bed as I turned to look up at him, but his mouth covered mine before I could figure out where the neat freak wants my stuff.

He pushed his body against mine until we're laying on the bed and this time I'm sure I'm supposed to know about that lump in his pajamas. I could feel the muscles in his chest tighten as he kissed me and I couldn't help myself. I ran my hands up under his shirt and rolled my hips against his. He groaned on top of me and ran one of his hands down my side. Secretly I pray he runs his hand up my shirt. I silently egg him on. I couldn't say it out loud because I didn't want to seem easy and I've already got his hopes up once tonight.

I pushed his shirt up a little more because I'm greedy and wanted to see his before he got to see mine for real this time. He didn't seem to notice what I'm doing because he doesn't bother to stop kissing me long enough to let me get his shirt off. I turned my head a little and break the seal our lips made, but that just invited him to my neck. I shudder involuntarily, which made him suck harder. His hand was back on my waist and my back arched up into him. Again I'm silently willing him to touch me. To stop being so nice. His hand fists the shirt and my nails dug into his back just a little harder than I meant.

His breathing was getting heavy and I go back to trying to get his shirt off. This time he actually does stop me as he rolled off of me and kissed my cheek ever so sweetly. I have to admit I'm a little confused so I ran my hand down his chest and scoot closer to him, using my hand to prop my head up so I can look at him properly. He ran his hand down my arm and smiled up at me, innocent as ever.

"What was that?" I finally asked.

"I don't know what you're talking about." He said before getting out of bed to walk over to his bag by the front door and fish out his wallet. He counted out a few bills and then threw his wallet back into the bag. He put the money on the coffee table and I debate about whether or not I should put on pants. Maybe I'm the one who's not getting lucky tonight.

Mon petit ami – boyfriend