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You Started It


Fiona didn’t bother announcing her presence as she pushed the locker room door open. Telling them she was coming resulted in half of them taking off more clothes. Jon followed behind, daring someone to do something. A hail of greetings rang out around them.
“Moneypenny,” Brent said, approaching in head-to-toe spandex and grabbing Fiona as if to kiss her. She tried to kiss him back and got a pucker full of scruffy cheek. He laughed and dropped her onto the floor.
“Ugh, so romantic!” she cried, laying there for effect. A hand appeared to help her up.
“Hey,” Viktor pulled her to her feet. The dark blond flop of his hair dropped across his forehead, making her hand twitch to brush it back. Fiona reminded her face to smile.
Fucking hell, how can they all be so gorgeous?!
The shy smile and lantern jaw, added to the fact she had no idea what color his eyes were, made Fiona pull up short and stop six inches from the solid wall of his chest.
“Thanks,” she tried not to stutter.
“Sure,” he nodded heroically. Before the moment could develop, Viktor released her hand and turned back toward his locker. She watched the roll of his shoulders beneath his Under Armor.
“Come to see us off, eh?” Duncan bumped her side, making her stumble. “Captain’s gonna miss you.”
They both looked at Jon, who had his head down but a smile on his lips. Duncan knew the rules as well as anyone - Viktor could flirt all he wanted, they all did anyway. Jon resigned himself to being okay with that. But Fiona was his if she was anyone’s, and even if she wasn’t. The one day road trip to Columbus would give him time to figure out what he was going to do about it.
Fiona hung around a while, till the guys were ready for practice. She bid them good luck and held her hand out for Jon’s car keys. Instead of tossing them, he dangled them from a finger. She rolled her eyes as she approached.
“Luck,” she wished him, taking the keys.
Jon’s arm was already around her waist, his lips just below her ear. It looked lecherous and funny, like he was whispering something dirty and stealing a kiss. Instead he just said, “Miss you,” and set her free. ____
Two days later, Viktor was tapping his fingers on the bar. A few early lunchers were finishing plates, but the midweek day shift was pretty slow. They had won a solid game in Columbus and flown back right after, not arriving home until late. It was a rare off-day and most his teammates were probably sleeping in. Especially Jonathan. A minute later Fiona swung through the doors carrying a rack of clean glasses.
“Viktor,” she said, more than surprised.
“Hi Fiona.” A slight blush rose in his cheeks.
She squeezed her fingers hard against the biting edges of the dish rack before setting it down. “Hungry?”
“I’ll just have a burger. No fries.”
She smiled. “I’ll eat your fries.”
Viktor wore a dark blue military-style coat with a short standing collar, the white shirt beneath stretched healthily across his chest. A winter jacket would be hanging out of sight under the bar. His five o’clock shadow, perfectly pronounced at noon, and piercing light eyes were just gravy. They made small talk until his plate arrived, then Fiona snagged a french fry before putting it in front of him.
“How come you’re up so early on an off day?” she asked. Jon had not called, nor had she expected him too. Free days were like gold these guys.
“Had to drop off my suit at the cleaner for tonight.”
“Oh, what’s tonight? Big date?”
Viktor stopped with the burger halfway to his mouth. “Holiday party. Aren’t you coming?”
Fiona was unprepared to cover her reaction, then recovered and shook her head like it was meaningless. Except it wasn’t. “Uhh, no, I didn’t know about it.”
“It’s the team and front office, just staff. I’m... I’m sure Jon meant to tell you. Probably thinks he did.” Viktor laughed once, it sounded fake. His face was pale.
“Yeah, probably.” Fiona continued drying glasses.
Some of her dark hair had slipped its ponytail and hung free at her ear, obscuring his view of her face as she turned away. Viktor felt stupid for upsetting her, and assuming that Jon would obviously do the right thing. This holiday party was friends and family only - no fans, no press. They may have known each other only six months, but most of the team already thought of Fiona as both.
“Come with me.” The words were out before he realized what he was saying.
“Oh, you don’t have to....”
“I want to. And all the guys will want you there. Come with me.” She paused before protesting, cataloging a hundred ways in which it was a bad idea. But she never got to voice any.
“I have a clean suit,” Viktor tried with a smile.
Fuck Jon, Fiona thought. Fuck him for forgetting about me.
She felt most of the Blackhawks were her friends and family, especially so far from her real home. Things with Jon had been stranger than usual lately and she felt he was starting to take advantage of their bizarre setup. It only worked if it was working for both of them.
“Okay. I’d like that.”
When he finished eating, Fiona crumpled his check and thew it in the trash. He made a face at her.
“Pick you up at eight.” ___
Well, shit.
Fiona had one dress and one hour to get into it. She had hurried home from work and into the shower. As she did, she thought of the movie Jerry Maguire:
“Shave your legs, but don’t let it turn you into a whore.”
The dress was red, fitted almost too well. It was reasonably cut at the chest if a little too short in the hem. She’d bought it for a bachelorette party but it seemed the right color for the holiday season. After blowing her hair out straight, Fiona curled big sections into loose waves and let them fall down her back. A little smoky eye makeup and mascara, with glossy red lips were all the makeup she felt comfortable wearing. Stepping into her high red heels before the mirror, she took in the sight of her work; the results were a far cry from her casual everyday look.
Either a very good, or a very bad idea.
At eight on the dot, her phone rang. She checked the screen - it had been ringing a lot that day - saw what she was looking for and grabbed her clutch. Already in her winter white dressy coat, she didn’t answer Viktor’s call till she was at the elevator. If he got to her door she was afraid she might not make it out at all.
“Be right down.”
She looked both ways as the elevator opened in the lobby, like she was crossing the street: no Jon in sight. Just the doorman looking impressed and a black Mercedes sports car at the curb with a serious problem leaning against the side. Viktor wore a long black coat open over a dark suit, white shirt and red tie. Classic Hollywood glamour. Classic hot guy.
“Fucking fit,” she mumbled, pushing the door open.
“Hi,” he gave her the full wattage of that smile.
“You look great,” she admitted right off the bat. A bit like saying water was wet.
He appreciated the hair and makeup, the red heels making her shapely calves flex as she strutted toward him. Needless to say he couldn’t wait to see what was under her white coat. “Had to be worthy of my date.”
It was easy to be with Viktor when Fiona stopped worrying about Jon. They chatted on the short drive to a swanky waterfront hotel and took the elevator to the top floor restaurant. The building was round, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a stunning 360-degree view of downtown and the lake.
Like the view from Jon’s place. Fiona pushed the thought away.
She was acutely aware of Viktor’s eyes on her as she pulled the coat off. Passing it to the coat check, he tucked both claim tickets into his pocket. Then he touched her arm gently.
“You look beautiful,” he said rather quietly. Fiona squared her shoulders and accepted the compliment - you didn’t wear a great dress to go unnoticed. His hand was warm on her skin.
“Dressed to match you,” she said, tugging on his red tie. ____
Jon slugged a mouthful of scotch and waved for another. He’d have to stop shortly, appearances being what they were, even at a private event. But he was annoyed that all five of his calls to Fiona had gone unanswered. Now he had to navigate this party without his wing-woman to make small talk and charm everyone’s wives into loving him by association. Kane sidled up, also stag, and ordered the same. They were talking about a new video game when Patrick coughed on a mouthful of liquor.
“Shit,” he said.
Jon followed his eyes toward the entrance and immediately inhaled a mouthful of his own drink. He sputtered, eyes watering. When they cleared the vision was still there.
Fiona, all legs and sex hair, in a red dress like a perfectly wrapped gift. Her fair skin was the color of buttermilk in the dim lighting, the twinkling Christmas decorations catching every surface of her like a diamond.
And right next to her, close enough to touch: Stalberg in a four thousand dollar suit and a million dollar smile.
The urge to push off from the bar and get a running start toward tackling Viktor flared behind Jon’s eyes. He forced himself to hold the highball glass without breaking it, concentrating on how much pressure he was exerting. Just that morning he’d been telling himself it was fine if they flirted, he’d have to get over that. Now it was pouring down his back like a cold shower.
“Dude, easy,” Kaner said, his eyes wide. “You can’t....”
Jon tossed back the rest of his drink and set the glass carefully down. “Watch me.”
He curled his lips into a smile on approach. Fiona was distracted by Abby, hugging her pregnant friend and taking a kiss on the cheek from Patrick Sharp. Viktor spoke to them over her shoulder, like he was boxing out anyone who might approach his date from the side.
“Hey guys!” Jon tried to keep the edge out of his tone. Fiona’s dark green eyes were hard on his, though her voice was honey.
“Happy holidays, Captain.”
Well what the fuck am I supposed to do now? she thought. Even knowing Jon would be here, suited up and looking gorgeous, had not prepared her for locking eyes with her would-be date in a crowded room. Jon’s sharp pin-striped suit, white shirt and striped tie hung from his frame like an example of God creating man in his own image. The same could be said for Viktor, now next to her, greeting Jon while resting a hand possessively on the small of her back.
Fiona swallowed hard. She may have done the wrong thing, trying to feed animals at the zoo.
Jon’s gaze swung back to her. He had the singular ability to reduce her to nothing with a stare. Fiona had heard a lot of women say that about Jon; something in the way he looked at you made the ground turn to quicksand. He unleashed it now: desire spiked with anger. Fiona moved away from Viktor’s hand.
“Can I get you a drink?” Viktor asked. He was no stranger to Toews staring down an opponent and it felt about as intimidating as he’d expected.
“Sure, thanks. Red wine.” Fiona watched Stalberg’s back as he left her there alone.
Jon’s eyes never shifted. “I’ve been calling you all day.”
“Why?” She rocked on the balls of her feet, enjoying the extra height if she had to stand her ground.
“To invite you here.”
Fiona shrugged. “Too late.”
“You didn’t mention your date last night,” Jon lowered his voice to a hiss, “when we were naked together in my bathtub.”
His hand came to hold her arm, Fiona shook him off. “You didn’t mention the party.”
“I was going to ask you.”
A red flush was rising up his neck, marring the perfect complexion. A tiny furrow between his brows showed from years of being so serious. Jon was right up to Fiona, their chests almost touching.
“Should have done, Jon.” She dropped her eyes, considering for a moment if she’d gone far enough just by arriving. In for a penny, she thought. So she met those bottomless brown-eyes again and spoke quietly. “Don’t worry. I won’t call for your help in the morning.” ____
Jon stood alone on the small balcony. It was intended for smokers but the team didn’t have many, even among the staff. Wind whipped off the lake making it almost too cold to be outdoors. Jon didn’t even have his overcoat on. Lake Michagan seemed like an ocean but for the lack of waves - it stretched to the horizon and beyond, frigid and black.
Inside the party was warm, full of sparkling lights and laughter. Jon had done the tour of duty, Kaner had stuck close by. Neither reveled in their roles as the faces of the Blackhawks, but they were the ones that husbands and wives of the Hawks employees most wanted to meet.
At least I don’t have to explain that Fiona isn’t my girlfriend, he thought. Then he wondered if Viktor had been saying those words all night, brushing off the obvious compliment with one of his patented superhero smiles.
Jon was furious that he couldn’t be furious. He’d all but forgotten about the party - his brain was full of trying to win games. When it came to public relations he just went where he was pointed. Tonight he’d dropped the ball and it was his own fault. And of course Fiona was pissed - she must have felt so embarrassed that he hadn’t asked.
Stupid play, Jon berated himself. Eye on the puck, not the man.
Back inside, he did a casual lap of the restaurant. People had already begun leaving but most of the players and their dates were still around. No post-party activities tonight, as they had practice the next morning. No one wanted to look bad coming from an off day or they’d never get another.
“Hey.” Seabrook turned at the sound of Jon’s voice. They stood together near the dessert table, surveying the scene. Jon found Fiona immediately: across the room, sparkling under the lights of a nearby Christmas tree. Brent nodded in that direction.
“I take it you screwed the pooch on that.”
Jon shoved his hands in his pockets. “Yup.”
“And now Stalberg’s gonna screw your girlfriend.” Seabrook pronounced it like a done deal, a death sentence. For as angry as Jon had been about seeing them, it never really occurred to him that Fiona and Viktor would carry over to something beyond this party. At least not right away. He’d have a chance to redeem himself.
“He wouldn’t,” as if because Jon spoke the words they were true.
Brent slid his empty glass across the copper bar, signalling an end to his night. Without looking at his captain, Seabrook shrugged. “I would.” ____
Fiona was grateful for the interruption when Abby pulled her from conversation with two saleswomen from the front office. They were obviously enamoured with Viktor and trying delicately to pump Fiona for information. She’d had too much wine and was about to burst out laughing.
“Thank you,” she said, following the pregnant Sharp into the ladies room. “I swear they were going to ask me to videotape him sleeping.”
Her smile faded as she saw Abby’s more serious expression. They waited until an older woman had left the parlor part of the restroom.
“Have you talked to Jonathan?”
Fiona rolled her eyes. “No. He can meet and greet on his own tonight.”
“He’s been standing outside for ages.”
“I know. I saw him.”
Abby leaned against the low counter. “What is going on? Why are you here with Viktor?”
“Because he invited me! I didn’t know a thing about this party till lunch today. Viktor thought I was coming with Jon. I would have too except Jon never asked me. For all I knew he’d show up here with some slut on his arm, and call me in the morning to kick her out of his bed!” Fiona whispered the last words sharply, aware that her anger was getting a little loud. “It was pretty humiliating, Abby. Viktor looked like he wanted to die.”
Abby shook her head. “He’s such an asshole.”
“He didn’t do anything except...!”
“I meant Jonathan,” Abby stopped her.
Fiona huffed. “Well in that case, yes.”
A few younger women, people’s college-age daughters by the looks of them, came in as a group. They smiled shyly at Abby’s pregnant belly and then at Fiona, who might well be their idol for landing herself on Viktor’s arm.
They don’t know the half, she thought as she smiled back.
Abby admired her huge bump in the mirror, rubbing a hand protectively over it. She and Patrick were so in love it made Fiona swoon like a Disney Princess surrounded by woodland creatures. It would probably be the most beautiful baby in the history of the world.
“He’s crazy about you,” Abby said while Fiona was daydreaming about a castle and a prince.
“He just wants what he can’t have.”
“It’s odd, the two of you - it feeds his ego that you don’t fall at his feet. He needs something to strive for, it’s the way he’s wired.”
Fiona knew as much was true, and it handcuffed her. Anything she gave would eventually be giving him away. The shiny red apple looked delicious until it was nothing more than a core in the trash.
“That’s why he makes a good captain,” Fiona said, “and a shit boyfriend.” ____
Jon waited until Fiona had her coat on, then made sure to say goodbye at the same time as a lot of other people. He blended into the crowd, avoided them and took the next elevator. In the lobby, he stayed inside until the valet brought Stalberg’s car around. The sight of them standing close in the chill wind outside made Brent’s words ring in Jon’s ears.
He would. Of course he would. But they wouldn’t. Not really.
Jon drove so distractedly that he missed the turn for his block and had to circle around the front to reach the parking garage. As he drew up toward the main entrance, Viktor’s car was at the curb. ____
“I had a good time,” Viktor said. The valet had warmed up the car and it was toasty and cozy after a few minutes standing in the brisk wind. With a warm layer of wine in her blood, Fiona leaned back into the low leather seat.
“Me too. Thank you for inviting me.”
“I’m glad you didn’t already have a date.”
She let gravity work its magic on the words, drawing them down toward the ground and out from between her and Viktor. It had undoubtedly been a date. He was massively attractive and obviously into her. And they were both very much in serious trouble.
“Me too,” she confessed. Without telling him why, Fiona needed something to break. Something had to push this situation along or she’d be caught between taunting Jon and being dragged around all season. It wasn’t even Christmas and she was exhausted jumping over the land mines he kept laying down.
When they pulled up at her curb, Viktor said, “Wait.”
Such a gentleman, she smiled to herself. He opened the passenger door and helped her out. Seabrook had made the James Bond joke that morning when she answered Jonathan’s phone from bed. But it was now she felt most like a Bond girl - dressed to the nines, a gorgeous man driving a sleek car, and the idea they were doing something secret and dangerous.
Too bad she wasn’t really as sexy as all that.
“Viktor, I....”
He pressed her against the side of the car and kissed her. The heavy weight of his body, the warm scent of his skin and the soft, careful push of his mouth made Fiona weak. Alcohol swam in her bloodstream. Like a film reel slipping, it took a moment for her brain to catch up to the picture on the screen. After a sultry moment, his incredible lips pulled away.
“It doesn’t have to be him,” Viktor surprised her by looking right into her eyes and saying what she’d been avoiding admitting to herself. ____


Just found this,read it all at once and enjoyed it. Starting the sequel. Thanks.
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