My Last Day Without You
Chapter 3: Breaking the Ice
by Quinn D.K.
Ezra and Henrik had their choice of tables at Bricco. It was right after the
lunch rush and the romantic, dark bricked restaurant was otherwise empty. They
chose a semi-private booth that their waitress immediately rushed to with an
ice bucket of champagne.
"Oh, we haven't actually ordered anything yet," Ezra said as the waitress
poured two glasses for them.
She flitted her anxious eyes toward Henrik. "Our owner saw you guys coming in.
He's a huge Knights fan, so it's on the house. I'll be right back with your
Henrik watched her rush away, confusion knitting his brows together. "After
beating the Leafs last night, I thought I'd be public enemy number one." He
took off his suit jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves, revealing muscular,
hairy forearms. Ezra resisted the urge to run his hands along one of them.
"That's Toronto for you. We love our teams here, but we're kinda used to seeing
them lose," Ezra shrugged.
"And here I thought you didn't know much about sports."
"I know enough," Ezra shot back with
a grin. "I'm savvy."
Their waitress returned with their menus and disappeared again without saying a
word. She was probably nervous, if Ezra had to guess, and wanted to give them
their privacy. He wasn't about to complain.
Henrik watched her go. "Sorry about that. I haven't been on a date in a while,
sometimes I forget that people know who I am. Some are a little cooler under
pressure than others."
"Aha, this is a date!"
A bit of red appeared around Henrik's beard. "So you've discovered my evil
"I'm okay with this being a date, evil or not. It'll help me take my mind off
Henrik paused at this. "Yeah, about that. I just wanted to say how sorry I am.
About your job."
A flicker of anguish made Ezra's eyes drop to the table. "Yeah, well, I am too.
But we don't need to talk about that."
"Of course," Henrik said quickly. "We can talk about anything you like."
Ezra's lips curled into a delicate smile. "Then let's start with you."
After giving their orders to the waitress, Henrik ran through his abbreviated
personal history: he'd grown up in Helsingborg, Sweden, briefly served in the
Swedish Army, and at 20 he got his start playing for the NHL after being
scouted at a hockey tournament in Finland.
"Have you always wanted to play hockey professionally? Like, since you were a
kid?" Ezra sipped from his champagne flute, just enough to taste the tangy
bubbles. Being a notorious lightweight, he played it carefully - even one small
glass was enough to get him smashed.
"Yes, I think so." Henrik played with the napkin on his lap. Talking about
himself made him somewhat nervous. "Though my parents could tell you about that
whole summer I pretended to be Superman."
Ezra laughed as their waitress brought their food and once again vanished
without speaking. He could have sworn he saw a fluttery, I-can't-believe-I-get-to-see-this
expression on her face before she disappeared into the kitchen.
They toasted their champagne glasses and started on lunch.
"You're a big superhero fan, I take it?" Ezra cut into his steak.
"Oh, I was a mega fan," Henrik said
between bites of his lemon grilled chicken. "I had cousins in Philadelphia,
they sent these big boxes of comics every month. I couldn't get enough of them.
I actually convinced myself I had a kryptonite allergy."
The confession had a hushed, soothing effect on Henrik. Ezra warmed at the way
his hard features softened with nostalgia.
"It's not very cool or edgy to like Superman now," Henrik continued. "But I
really used to see a lot of myself in him."
"Used to?" Ezra paused mid-chew.
"I'm good at what I do and I enjoy it, but I'm not a hero. Not even close. When
you're a kid, it's easier to believe in something as pure as a man in a cape
doing good. Not so much anymore."
Ezra didn't quite know how to take Henrik's words. He liked that such a big
star athlete didn't have an inflated ego but surely he could give himself more
credit than that. Shrugging, Ezra decided to keep it light. "You know, if Clark
Kent ditched the glasses and stopped shaving, he'd pretty much be you."
Henrik considered this, pleased. "You think so?"
"Oh, definitely. And saving someone from a coffee shop line-cutter is
definitely something Superman would do if he had the day off."
Henrik looked at him the way a hungry man would have looked at either of their
lunches. His smoldering blue eyes begged Ezra to recall their encounter in the
elevator, when Ezra was caught between a wall and the hockey captain's barely
controlled desires. The fact that neither of them had mentioned the incident
since only highlighted how overwhelming it had been.
Something nudged against Ezra's shoe. Startled, he dropped his fork, only to
realize it was the touch of another foot. Henrik's.
"Everything okay?" Henrik asked, though from the low smirk on his scruffy face,
he clearly knew the answer. The smooth leather of his dress shoe brushed
against Ezra's blue Converse again, more purposefully this time.
Ezra nodded, eyes wide, heart pounding, wishing he'd worn something fancier.
Henrik took another bite of his chicken; he seemed content with letting their
little game remain unspoken. Ezra took his lead and continued with his steak,
if only to distract himself from his growing lust.
"How's the steak?"
"Great. Just... how I like it. Medium raw."
"You mean rare?"
Ezra watched Henrik take a drink of champagne and decided to raise the stakes.
He raised his right foot and caressed it along the impressive, muscular calf
hiding beneath one of Henrik's pant legs. The athlete paused in the middle of
his drink, like his brain had short-circuited and needed a second to calibrate.
"So." Henrik leaned his leg into Ezra's secret caress, inviting him to
continue. "We've spoken enough about me. Let's hear about you."
Ezra gently sucked in his lower lip as his foot continued to explore Henrik's
leg. "What would you like to know?"
"Did you... grow up in Toronto?" Henrik sat a little straighter as Ezra's shoe
reached his knee then gracefully dropped back to his ankle.
"Yeah, sort of. Spent most of my childhood in Scarborough, which is east of the
city..." Ezra drew his foot along Henrik's calf again, this time riding up the
man's pant leg and revealing a flash of skin. Ezra's own pants tightened at
this. Their game of footsy made him hard - achingly so.
"What do you like to do for fun?"
"I..." Ezra had to pause for air. "I like to draw. I've been trying to get
better at it. I bake, too... cookies, cakes... anything."
"Really?" Henrik liked the way Ezra's foot danced along his leg. "Shame I can't
try any of your desserts."
"Excuse me. I hate to interrupt..." Both Ezra and Henrik snapped toward a man
who approached them, a balding little fellow in his fifties. He appeared
totally unaware of what their table surface was hiding. "I'm the owner of
Bricco and I just wanted to say it's an honor that The Viking is dining here
today. I'm a huge fan."
"Oh, it's my pleasure," Henrik shook the owner's hand but pointedly did not
rise or break his shrouded contact with Ezra. "I'd be happy to sign something
for you after our meal."
"Funny you should offer!" The owner revealed a pile of Henrik's official NHL
head shots from behind his back. He placed the photos and a black sharpie
beside Henrik's plate. "If it's not too much trouble, sir."
"None at all. And please, call me Hank."
Henrik picked up the sharpie and Ezra began to withdraw his foot. He didn't
want to distract Henrik from a task that needed his focus. But the hockey
captain reached under the table, took Ezra's ankle, and set the younger man's
foot on his knee. Henrik's fingers slid under the material of Ezra's pants and
stroked the warm skin of his leg. Ezra arched his back but tried not to visibly
react to the man's sensuous touch.
The owner's eyes went from Henrik to Ezra, clearly sensing something, but
unable to articulate what. "Is this your... little brother, Hank?"
Henrik grinned without looking up. "My friend." He was signing through the
stack with one hand at an incredible pace - clearly a veteran of these
rapid-fire autograph sessions.
"Well, any friend of The Viking is a friend of mine," the owner beamed at
Ezra's cherry red face. "Your meal's on the house today, son."
"Th-thank you." Ezra's voice caught slightly as Henrik's big hand slid a little
further up his calf. Surrendering control to Henrik, however little an amount,
drove Ezra crazy with desire. Desire that he desperately needed to reign in,
unless he wanted to invite more unwanted attention. "Really, that's so nice of
Oblivious, the owner turned his attention back to the captain. "Hank, what do
you say to some tiramisu while you finish signing?"
"That's alright," Henrik said. His concentration on the photos didn't stop his
hand from moving an inch deeper into Ezra's pant leg. "I think I'll be having
"Oh, man. Look at your driver."
Ezra lightly tapped on the Cadillac window. Ned had reclined in the driver's
seat, the chauffeur's hat tipped over his sleeping face. His mouth was wide
open as it belted a car-shaking snore. "Looks like someone mixed their NyQuil
with their DayQuil."
Henrik just finished settling their bill (he still insisted on paying in full,
plus a generous tip) and wasn't quite expecting to see his driver passed out on
the job, a mere block away from the restaurant.
"What do we do?" Ezra blinked. "We can't disturb him. Look how peaceful he is."
Henrik slid his hands into his pockets. "Whenever a teammate falls asleep on
the charter bus, we dump ice water on them."
"That seems a little cruel."
Henrik scrubbed a hand across his stubbly face and chuckled. "Hey, it's
tradition. You wouldn't like what we do when someone falls asleep in the locker
"Hold that thought," Ezra said as he started toward Bricco. "Bee-are-bee."
"You're not getting ice water, are you? Make sure you ask for a full bucket."
"Cruel!" Ezra called before disappearing back into the restaurant.
Henrik leaned against the car and checked his phone, relishing the sensation of
a lunch date gone well. Knowing that Ezra both enjoyed and reciprocated his
advances made him feel much less guilty about their elevator ride that morning.
Henrik only cut it short because he didn't know what he was doing - and the
momentary loss of his faculties put him off from making another move. But now,
their situation was much clearer. Ezra was down for the flirting and touching
and Henrik was more than willing to oblige.
Their time together so far had been new territory for Henrik, especially in how
forward he'd been with the younger man. Yet Ezra made it... easier. Henrik wanted to be forward with him now. He wanted to touch, suggest, tease. Something
about the graceful way Ezra smiled, how it highlighted his beautiful face, how
his green eyes became even greener when he blushed... it all turned Henrik
stupid with lust.
"Here we go." Ezra's voice made him look up from his phone. The younger man
carried a small sytrofoam takeout box with a napkin and plastic fork. "I hope
Ned likes tiramisu."
"That's no way to wake up someone up," Henrik teased. "Unless you plan on
mashing it onto his face."
Ezra opened the Cadillac door, placed the takeout box on Ned's lap, and
gingerly eased the door back shut. "It's not meant to wake him up, it's meant
to greet him as a pleasant after-nap snack."
"That's very thoughtful of you."
"And yet I'm usually so wicked."
"Ah, I don't believe that for a second." Henrik took a step and closed the
space between them. Ezra wasn't short by any means - maybe 5'10, if Henrik had
to guess - but standing right in front of him really exaggerated their size
difference. It made him want to scoop up Ezra into his arms and carry him away
Somewhere that involves a bed, hopefully. Or
a couch. Or table. I'm not picky.
"Should we go for a walk, or something?" Ezra had to crane his neck to meet
Henrik's eye level. "It's a shame the public rinks aren't open today. You
could've shown me all those fancy hockey captain moves."
"Yeah? You'd be interested in seeing that?"
Ezra shrugged. "Sure. I mean, there's probably a reason they made your tall,
Swedish ass the team captain, right?"
"Ah!" Henrik mocked a hit to the stomach. "You really swung for the gut."
Laughing, Ezra poked Henrik's rock hard abs. "And I'm so sure you felt it. I
have a feeling you're a big show-off on the ice."
Hmm. A light bulb went off in
Henrik's head. The city rinks may be closed,
but the private rink that management rented out today isn't...
Henrik glanced at the nearest street sign. "How far away is Dufferin and
"It's a walk that way," Ezra pointed a thumb behind them. "Why?"
"You'll see." Henrik's grin grew devilish. He led the way with a confused but
intrigued Ezra trailing after him.
The smell of fresh, cool ice greeted Ezra as he followed Henrik into the
players box of McCormark Arena's hockey rink. It was in a nondescript brick
building off Dufferin, nothing fancy, but very spacious. Aside from a clerk who
greeted them at the front desk, the building was empty.
"Wow. The Portland Knights have this whole place to themselves?"
"Just for today," Henrik took a seat at the bench and pulled off his dress
shoes. "But we only used it this morning for practice. The boys are off
somewhere drinking the rest of the day away."
Ezra leaned against the dividing perch and gazed onto the slick, even surface
of the ice. "Seems weird that they'd be celebrating without their captain."
"Well, I found a better way to spend my time," Henrik said as he eased into his
Ezra threw him a withering glance. "I didn't know you'd be such a sweet talker
when I met you."
"No?" Henrik fastened his laces together with quick, practiced hands. "What did
you think of me when we met?"
"Hmm, I don't know if my memory can go back that far," Ezra teased.
Henrik stood and walked on his skates toward him as if they were nothing. God, why do I find that so hot? He was
taller than ever in the new footwear, a fact that made a warm tingling spread
through Ezra's body.
"I'll tell you what I thought of you when we met," Henrik offered.
"Uh oh. Should I be bracing myself for bad news?"
"I thought you were very shy, and very sweet," the captain began, "And you had
a smile that I immediately wanted to see more of."
Ezra's pulse quickened. "Kinda strange to hear myself described like that."
"Good strange," Ezra corrected. "And about when we met? I thought you were- I
mean- you've seen yourself. You presumably own a mirror, you've glanced at
reflective surfaces before. If somebody carved a lumberjack in marble, brought
it to life, and put a hockey stick in his hand, that freakshow would be you."
Henrik's big, booming laugh reverberated off the walls of the cavernous room.
Ezra loved seeing his normally serious face brighten like that. He wanted to
make it happen as often as possible.
"I couldn't believe you were paying me any attention at all," Ezra continued.
"You were just such a gentleman. I mean, a little scary, but still a gentleman."
Henrik thought for a beat. "I'm not that scary after you get to know me, right?"
"Well, I'm still getting to know you. But I'm not too scared of what I've seen
"Ah, hopefully you'll see me as completely harmless by the end of the day."
Ezra's eyes darkened. The end of the day.
The ticking clock counting down to the detonation of this 24 hour fantasy...
The mirth disappeared from Henrik's face. "Did I say something wrong?"
...except that you'll be leaving soon, to
another country, to another coast, and I'll still be here, aching for a
relationship that never started. Oh, and I'll be jobless! Still!
Ezra looked at the ground and closed his eyes, shushing the negative thoughts
away. He hated when he did this to himself but he couldn't always help it
"Hey." Henrik's concern was growing. "Look at me."
God, Ezra wanted him. Bad. The intense, gnawing attraction was almost enough to
make him forget about their implied deadline. "I know you're gone by the end of
the day. I just... don't want to think about it."
They might have had a good thing going now, but were they going to test their
luck with weekend visits or more one-day drop-ins? No, Ezra didn't want that.
It would only delay the inevitable, the ironclad thesis Ezra knew inside and
out, frontwards and backwards: long distance relationships never work out.
He did a double take when Henrik put a comforting hand on his arm. It startled
him, like being pulled out of a bad memory. Ezra started to regret how he
darkened the mood with his own doubts.
"If this is too much..." Henrik started gently. "I mean, I want to spend some
time with you and I want us to be on the same page-"
"I do too! If we're both on the same page, then no one gets hurt. Agreed?"
Henrik nodded. "Agreed. So, whatever happens between us today..."
"...it's just for today, and it won't mean anything." Ezra tried hard to make
his words sound final. "And that's what the both of us want."
"And now we're both on the same page."
"Same page. Same word. Same letter, even."
Ezra didn't know if he was satisfied with that and it didn't seem like Henrik
was either, based on the downward look on the captain's face. But what else we can do? I don't want to pack up
and go home right this second. Maybe it'll be easier if we both pretend, just
for the moment, that this all means nothing...
Henrik loosened his tie and stepped onto the ice. Ezra's mind was still
swimming with uncertainty when Henrik noticed the Zamboni machine idling on the
ice, way on the other end of the rink.
"Huh. You know, I've always wanted to drive a Zamboni..." Henrik's voice lilted
"What does it do?"
"It's an ice resurfacer. Keeps our playing field nice and smooth." That
devilish grin returned. "Come on, I have an idea."
"Wait- you're not serious. I'm not getting on the ice!" Ezra objected. "I don't
have any skates and I happen to be the least coordinated person in the world."
"I don't believe that."
"I was almost impaled on a bed post once."
"Ezra, come on! If I'm getting on that Zamboni, I'm not doing it alone."
Ezra hemmed and hawed, but he secretly liked the idea - sharing a romantic
Zamboni ride with a hockey captain. It was fitting, like a knight in shining
armor on a white horse.
"Well..." he relented. "Maybe just once around the rink. But I still need
Henrik shook his head. "No, you don't."
Henrik scooped the younger man into his arms, one hand around Ezra's back, his
other forearm under the boy's knees. He'd literally swept Ezra off his feet,
and the suddenness of it stole his breath.
Ezra felt the captain's muscles beneath his dress shirt, enough to tell that
they were barely straining under his weight. Henrik brought them onto the rink
and pushed off with his skates, which easily navigated the ice's cool, unbroken
surface. He skated with the confident ease of a professional and it calmed
Ezra, made him feel safer.
"This is easier, right?" Henrik smiled. His words escaped quietly, his mouth so
tantalizingly close that Ezra felt the hot exhalation against the sensitive
skin of his ear.
Henrik's muscles flexed as they got closer. They stopped in front of the bulky
machine, Henrik admiring its glossy red surface as he let his companion to his
feet. Ezra braced himself against the vehicle's bulk. The ice beneath his
Converse shoes was slick enough to make him nervous.
"So where do I sit?" Ezra asked.
Henrik climbed into the driver's seat, the only seat the vehicle had, and
patted his knee. "Up here with me."
Ezra colored at the suggestion. "Oh, come on."
"Don't tell me you're afraid of breaking my lap," the captain chuckled. "I've
carried grocery bags heavier than you."
"You sure we won't get in trouble?"
"I'm sure." Henrik extended a hand and helped Ezra climb up the step.
"And it's safe? You know how to drive this thing?"
Henrik eased Ezra onto his lap, one arm around the younger man's slender waist
and the other on the Zamboni's wheel. Their faces were mere inches apart, their
lips even closer.
"You're safe with me," Henrik said in a low, serious voice. "I'll protect you."
Ezra's warm body melted and he felt only butterflies. I'd like that. A lot...
Henrik switched the ignition and brought the Zamboni to life. The sturdy
machine hummed its mechanical song and lurched forward. Henrik steered the
wheel with his free hand and directed them onto the center of the ice. It moved
with the slow, lumbering pace of a sleeping animal.
I can't believe I'm riding a Zamboni on a
hockey captain's lap.
Any apprehension that had trickled into Ezra's mind quickly evaporated when he
saw Henrik's grizzled face leaning close to his own. And then...
Their lips finally met. They melted into each other, their kiss soft and
undemanding at first, a surprised moan catching in Ezra's throat as Henrik's
scruffy mouth closed over his. Ezra parted his full, pouty lips and accepted
Henrik's eager tongue, enjoying the hot, naughty sensation more than words
could say. He moaned again, lower this time, more guttural. Henrik's arm
pressed tighter around the younger man's waist, his other arm left the wheel
and firmly stroked up and down and in between Ezra's taut thighs. The boy
arched his back in pleasure, only barely aware that he was subtly grinding
against the material of Henrik's pants, against the hockey captain's massive,
"Fuck," was the only word that escaped Henrik's panting mouth.
They kissed again, and again and again, their tongues dancing against each
other, Ezra already feeling his soft skin redden and raw with the rough
scratches of the man's beard. He didn't care. He never wanted Henrik to stop
kissing him, never wanted to leave the security of his lap.
Ezra's hand traveled up Henrik's dress shirt, pulling at the man's tie and
drawing them even further into each other. The hand between Ezra's thighs slid
against the smoothness of his pants, moving ever closer to the source of the
material's sudden tightness. Ezra could tell Henrik wanted more than this -
more than a simple makeout session - and he wanted it too. Badly.
Both men were so distracted with each other that neither had noticed that the
Zamboni was driving straight into the path of a goaltender's net. With a
fantastic, whining crunch of metal and plastic netting, the machine demolished
the puny structure like a bulldozer nonchalantly plowing through a pile of
Henrik and Ezra pulled off each other, panting, their lips wet and eyes wide
with shock. Henrik hit the brakes and quickly switched off the ignition, but
the damage was already done. It took the two of them several moments to
register what had actually happened before they were able to speak again.
"That was totally your fault," Ezra breathed.
Henrik pinned him with a ferocious smile and consumed him in another hot, wet
kiss. Ezra leaned back against the wheel and brought his arms around Henrik's
neck, pulling the big, tall man into him, pressing their greedy, lusting bodies
into each other as hard as he could.
Just for the moment, neither of them cared about anything else.
End of Chapter 3
To Be Continued
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