My Last Day Without You
13: The Viking's Lover
by Quinn D.K.
Warmth enveloped Ezra as he woke from the most comfortable sleep of his
life. He turned on the soft bed and found Henrik beside him, the morning sun
highlighting the sculpted planes of his sleeping face. The motion of their
bodies stirred Henrik and he wrapped an arm securely around Ezra's waist. Their
naked bodies touched, making Ezra's senses sing.
"Happy Valentine's Day." Henrik's voice escaped in a low, satisfied mumble.
Ezra blinked against sleep, against worry to take in the man's square jaw, soft
red lips and dark beard. He rested his face against the comfortable crook of
the man's neck. Henrik squeezed and squeezed him until they both laughed.
"Don't think I've heard you say a thing all damn night."
That made Ezra laugh again. Everything that happened after their reuniting kiss
in the street was a delicious, red hot rush. He remembered Henrik carrying him
back into the hotel like they were newlyweds, passed the bewildered faces of
the affluent clientele. He remembered the hurricane of hands on bodies as they
stumbled into the elevator - Seriously, what
is with the two of us and elevators? - and he remembered Henrik tripping
and falling once they reached the entrance of the bedroom. That was Ezra's
fault. His lips were the source of distraction, after all. Henrik had tried
getting on top of him but Ezra had other ideas - namely, pinning Henrik back to
the floor and riding him hard. There was no need for words, apologies or hushed
confessions. All Ezra needed was skin. And lips. And the aching, throbbing
hardness of Henrik inside him. God, Ezra missed him, his broad chest, sturdy
shoulders, those long, hairy legs... he appreciated every last inch of the man
and Henrik was quite appreciative in return. So they appreciated each other on
the floor, against the wall, on the kitchen bar, in the shower, and then on the
Henrik was certainly right about one thing - they didn't speak much last night.
"Please tell me this is real," Ezra whispered into his shoulder.
"Trust me, it's real."
"Don't know if I believe you."
Henrik bit the silken curve of Ezra's exposed neck. An electric shiver pulsed
through his body. "Believe me now?"
Ezra laughed once more, pleased with how effortless and genuine his joy felt.
Henrik rolled over and trapped him in a bear hug of blankets and chest hair. As
real and tactile as the embrace was, Ezra still couldn't shake the unreality of
the moment. Had he really just survived the most bizarre day of his life? In
the arms of a man who was once nothing more than a fantasy? Both of them had
taken so many chances the day before... could it all have actually paid off?
As if to answer his silent doubts, Henrik drew him in for a warm, wet kiss.
Ezra was too afraid to identify what he felt, but thought that maybe Henrik
could tell, that the entanglement of their bodies communicated what their
hearts felt without needing to say it. Drawing back from the kiss, Ezra
massaged a palm over the back of the man's neck. "I can't believe you did all
"You're gonna have to narrow 'that'
down for me," he replied with a wolf grin. "We had a pretty busy night."
"I mean when you talked to the press..." He was a little hesitant to bring it
up. For all the triumph of that moment, it was still difficult to separate it
from the hurt and confusion that came before. That would fade with time, but
right then it still held a fragile air.
Henrik eased himself against the king-sized headboard. The muscles of his
barrel chest tightened with effort. "I don't think anyone in that press room
was more shocked than I was."
"Why did you do it?"
"Because I didn't want to be told what to say anymore." He locked his fingers
in Ezra's. "Because I care about you."
"You could've lost everything. I mean, didn't you say that you were up for
suspension? That sponsors were going to-?"
Henrik calmly kissed Ezra's hand, a mellow smile on his face. The man who was
so wound up with anxiety and frustration in Violet's backyard... he was gone.
Forgotten like a bad dream. "Don't worry about that."
Ezra sat up, faintly remembering his nudity as the blanket slipped to his legs.
"I loved everything you said. But I never wanted you to think I was making you
choose me over your career."
He shook his head. "I never thought that. All I used to talk about in
interviews was how hockey is my entire life. I thought I didn't have room for
anything else. But that's not true anymore. Last night I told the world I don't
have to choose between you or the ice. It's not one or the other. I'm making
room for both." His thumb brushed the soft, youthful palm of Ezra's hand, "I
don't want to make playoffs this season without someone to celebrate with. Even
if that someone doesn't give a damn about hockey."
Ezra grinned. "I could learn to give
Henrik touched the back of the younger man's head, urging them closer. "You
stuck by me even when I wasn't making it easy. I don't want to waste this
second chance. I want to be yours."
Ezra's entire body blushed, from his toes all the way up to his reddened face.
He wrapped his arms around his great mountain of a man and held him so close
and tight that their bodies threatened to fuse together. "I want to be yours,"
Ezra whispered back.
Fucking hell. Just last morning neither of us
could even think about making the first move. The thought made Ezra sit
straight up. Last morning. "Hold on.
What time is it?"
"Why, got somewhere to be?"
Ezra found the bedside alarm clock. It was almost noon. "Shit! I thought your
flight was first thing in the morning? Come on, we have to get up!" He sprang
off the mattress and scrambled through the pile of discarded clothes on the
floor. It was a strange mishmash of him and Henrik - clothes that were too big
and too small all jumbled up together. He pulled on his briefs and a t-shirt.
When he turned around, he found Henrik's eyes roaming down his ass and legs.
"Henrik," his voice hardened, "Why aren't you freaking out right now?" The
hockey captain yawned and grabbed the landline. "Good," Ezra calmed, "Call the
airline and tell them you need a- a- I don't know, I'm not a traveler. I don't
know what people do when they miss flights. Can you get another ticket this
soon? Does management pay for that? Does the NHL? Xavier said you guys have a
game in Portland tonight, if you just tell the airline you were-"
"Hey, room service," Henrik said casually into the receiver. "Can I get your
organic egg white omelet breakfast? My guest here will have-" He cradled the
receiver against his neck. "You're a pancakes guy, right? Does that sound
good?" When Ezra nodded, still as confused as ever, Henrik returned to the
call. "Yeah, my guest will have your buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. Make
sure it's that real Canadian stuff, not the fake stuff we've got in the States.
Throw in a side of bacon and eggs with that. He'll be hungry, I've seen him
eat. Skillet home fries, too, and don't forget fruit salad. And a pot of
coffee, cream and sugar. Two cups. Alright? Aces, man. See you soon."
When he hung up, a puzzled Ezra took a seat back on the bed. One eyebrow rose
to his forehead. "I'm getting the sense that this flight isn't happening."
"But you have a game tonight in Portland."
Ezra's second eyebrow joined the first. "And you're not going to play?" Henrik
shook his head. "And you're okay with that?" A tidal wave of dark thoughts
crested Ezra's mind. If Henrik really had been suspended for the remainder of
the season - or even possibly fired - then it was all his fault.
"Here. Read this." Henrik grabbed his smartphone and brought up a text message
from Coach Taggert. The time stamp read 5:05 am.
'Ford. Mgmt & I talked. Up all night w/
them. Season suspension discussed. Me & NHL rep talked them down.
Suspension will be for next 3 games only - tonight, Wed, and Fri. Your agent
will fax official notice to hotel. U got lucky. No need to thank me, u big
Ezra sighed by the time he finished the text, whether from relief or joy, he
"I was lucky," Henrik said. "I'm not happy about missing one game, let alone
three, but I can live with it. Could've been a whole lot worse."
Ezra cradled the phone in his hand, reading and re-reading. "I can't believe
Taggert was actually fighting for you."
"He gave me a call after sending that. You were still asleep. Said his anger
was reactionary and unfair. He told management that punishing me to the extent
that they wanted to would be a detriment to the team, especially in the lead up
"Did he apologize?"
Henrik chuckled. "Not in Taggert's vocabulary. But he said he owed me a beer
when I got back to the city."
"Wow. He's actually cool with you missing the morning flight?"
"'Cool' might be stretching it. Let's
say, he's willing to look the other way."
Ezra scooted closer until he was on Henrik's lap. "When do you go back to
"Well." Henrik's hand caressed his lower back. "That's what I wanted to talk to
you about. The next game after my suspension is the following Saturday. Which
"...you've got an entire week to kill." Ezra watched Henrik's mouth elongate
into a grin. It took everything in his power not to nibble on that delicious
lower lip of his. "Am I right? A whole week?"
"A whole week," he confirmed.
The stress that had thundered down on them the entire time they were together
disappeared like a wisp of smoke. Ezra had been constantly, uncomfortably aware
of their 24 hour time limit, but now? It was a thing of the past, a bad joke he
no longer had to pretend was funny. The future stretched out before him and the
possibilities were limitless. And it felt pretty damn fantastic. "Fucking hell,
this is amazing! You have a week!"
"We have a week."
A knock on the door. Henrik got up and pulled on his boxers - slowly, ensuring
Ezra got an eyeful of his sculpted, beefy ass - and answered. A bellhop greeted
them with a breakfast cart and didn't seem all that startled to be greeted by a
man in his underwear. Henrik whispered something to him and the bellhop
whispered back a reply Ezra couldn't hear, but seemed like a confirmation of
something. After being slipped a generous tip, the bellhop left with a smile.
"Starving," Ezra joined him. He couldn't decide what looked more delicious: the
cart full of food or Henrik in his boxers. His eyes grazed a collection of
silver trays, each covered with a fancy stainless steel lid. He lifted one to
reveal a mammoth, loaded egg white omelet. Definitely an athlete's breakfast.
"Ah, that would be mine. Check this one." Henrik tapped the lid of a tray at
the farthest corner of the cart.
Ezra removed the lid expecting a stack of fluffy pancakes. What he found
instead was a plain envelope. His brow furrowed. "Is this the bill? I'd be
happy to pay for breakfast since you bought a Zamboni yesterday, but-"
Henrik laughed. "Just look inside."
Ezra spread the envelope open and picked out a ticket. A plane ticket. Henrik
wrapped his big hands around Ezra's waist. "Do you wanna come to Portland with
me this week?"
"Really? Fuck... wow."
"Not that I don't love Toronto but I think it'd be a good show of solidarity if
I was with the Knights this week. Even if I can't play I'd need to be at
practices and drills. You can come watch the games with me and meet all the
guys! I promise they're not all as bad as Xavier. And I really want to show you
my city. We can do it without the pressure or making any big decisions. Then
after the week is up we can keep going from there. I come to Toronto, you come
to Portland. A few days here, a few days there, whatever you want. As long as
it's you and me."
Every part of Ezra heated and fluttered. "I've never been to the west coast
Henrik touched their foreheads together. "All the chances we took yesterday
don't have to stop there."
"I don't want them to stop."
"I was really hoping you'd say that. So what do you think? You and me in
Portland? All week?"
Henrik never looked more handsome to him then in that moment. He had the kind
of face Ezra could study for hours, so open and mysterious all at once. His
hands twitched with the phantom desire to draw and sketch, to duplicate
Henrik's face in ink or charcoal or paint.
Ezra decided that once he had drawn Henrik's face it would become the first
page of the portfolio he would send off to a list of comic publishers. He had
made such a list before, which had been stuffed into a drawer roughly one year
ago. That was when he started his job at PopViral. Back then, he'd dismissed
his dreams of being an artist as silly - not something he'd ever have the
opportunity to pursue.
How delighted he was to be wrong.
"When's the flight?" Ezra finally said.
Henrik couldn't suppress his relieved laughter. He scooped Ezra into his arms -
a gesture that was quickly becoming a staple of their time spent together - and
knocked him back to the bed. Ezra fell, laughing the entire way, as his
outstretched arm accidentally swept back a window curtain. The skies broke open
and flooded the hotel room with all the sunlight in the world. Henrik pushed
Ezra's t-shirt up and let his beard wander down the smooth, toned trail of his
torso. He kissed and worshiped every inch of skin his lips found, savoring
Ezra's taste on his tongue.
When Henrik pulled away, Ezra held onto him with a strength that surprised both
men. "Don't leave," he whispered, eyes barely open and chest arching into his
"I'm here," Henrik said. "I'll always be here." He reached to the bedside table
and did something Ezra couldn't quite see. A moment later they returned to each
other with a deep, hot, ravaging kiss - the kind of kiss that could turn day
"You're beautiful," Henrik said. "I mean it."
His breath slowed at the word. Beautiful?
"No one's ever called me that before."
"I find that very hard to believe." Henrik's smile softened, his eyes
dream-like as he pressed a kiss of promise against Ezra's lips. "But it wont be
the last time I say it."
Ezra stroked his beard. "You know I still think you're a Greek god statue come
to life." Then he realized his mistake. "Sorry, Swedish god."
Henrik's voice murmured against his warm, sweet skin. "Only when I'm with you."
His mouth explored Ezra's sensitive neck and worked back down to his bare
chest. Moaning, Ezra fell back to the soft surrender of the blankets and threw
a glance at the bedside table. Henrik had turned the alarm clock to face the
wall. Was it still morning or had it become noon?
Ezra didn't care. He and his Viking had all the time in the world.
There's still an Epilogue
chapter coming! It's not quite over yet. :)
Send all your thoughts and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Website in progress: www.QuinnDK.com