Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Story

Time for a new story.  This started as a one shot after Sidney Crosby had a fight on 11/3 and turned into the start of a new story.  No telling how long it will go.  For now, it's definitely NC-17.  Hope you'll like it!

Love the Way You Lie

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Chapter 10 [The End]

Mike made grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch, like they were 10 years old.  They sat next to each other at the island in the kitchen, legs touching under the counter.  Andy insisted he cut the sandwiches diagonally because it made them taste better.  He looked at her from the corner of his eye, pulling the crust off her bread.  She was beautiful, wonderful and now she was his, really his.  He felt like shouting. 

“So, Crosby couldn’t seal the deal?”

Andy’s face went white as a sheet.  “Actually it was me.  Sidney was ready to go and I had a panic attack…”

“Ready to go?”  Mike pushed back from the island a little, ready to do something, anything.  “What does that mean?  What did he do?”

“Nothing!  No clothes came off or anything.  But if I had been willing, we would have completed the business transaction.”

“You kissed him.”

“Yes, there was kissing.”

“Ew!  Andy!  Those giant lips?  And he touched you.  Whatever you were wearing, burn it and I’ll get you a new one.  Crosby…,” he grumbled.  “I called you at like 1 AM.  Where were you?”

“After I bailed on the sleepover, we went to a club and met his friends.”

“Teammates.  You went partying with the Penguins.  We may have to break up already.”

Andy slapped a hand on the counter top.  “Mike!  Sidney was amazing.  He could have pushed the subject and then I would have slept with him.  He paid for it, right?  Didn’t exactly get his money’s worth when I went cold turkey.  If he’d been insistent, I would have had to do it.  Then we’d really have a problem.”

“Yeah, I bet I would be too grossed out to touch you.”

“And I bet he’s incredible in bed,” Andy said, then ducked before Mike could grab her in a headlock.  She ran around the island, Mike going the other way.  Andy grabbed half of Mike’s sandwich as she passed and ate it, across the counter, faking left to right like she was going to bolt.

“You are disgusting.  I’m going to kick his ass tomorrow.”

Andy got serious.  “Mike.  He doesn’t know it’s you.  He knows there’s someone – he could tell by the way I was acting.  And he knows it’s someone from your team.  But you and me, we’re a secret until you tell everyone.”

“Or until Crosby tells them something.”

Andy finished the sandwich.  “Well, yeah.  Or I could call him now.”

Mike caught her around the left side and smothered her face with kisses.  “I will tell the whole world… if you delete his number.”

They parked where instructed and Andy gave her name at will call.  The attendant sent them to another door where another attendant checked her name and asked them to wait.  A third person fetched them and wound down a series of hallways into the bowels of the Verizon Center to a brightly painted waiting room with couches.  Food was laid out on the tables and TVs were on, like it was waiting for a party.

As Mike came in a minute later, his breath caught in his throat.  Andy was wearing his number again.  She’d even pulled her hair forward over her shoulders so GREEN was clearly visible.  Her smile was wider, more real and her eyes lit up when she saw him.

She is mine, he thought.  It had been in his head endlessly as they spent the entire day before moving Andy’s stuff into his condo.  They hadn’t wasted a moment.  They loaded the Escalade three times and cleared out almost all the stuff she’d need to take with her.  Everything else would go to Goodwill the next day.  She is mine and I am hers.  The idea of it was concrete, but seeing her here, in the most public of places, with his friends and teammates a room away, made it real in a brand new way.

“Hey!” he managed to get out.

Woah, Andy thought as he hugged her in close.  He wore black warm up pants and a long-sleeved gray Under Armor shirt that hugged his upper body like plastic wrap.  His hair was undone, perfectly naturally messed up.  She tried not to wonder what he was wearing under the pants.  She failed.

“I missed you.” he kissed her quickly on the lips.

Jello!  Andy had known this would happen – seeing him here, behind the scenes – this was Mike’s real life and Andy had to figure out where she would fit in.  Vivian gave Mike a hug as well.

“Nice shirt,” he rolled the bottom hem of Andy's shirt in his fingers, near her stomach. 

“This old thing?!” she laughed.  “I’ve had it forever.”

Vivian busied herself fixing a snack so they could have a little pseudo-privacy.  Mike only had a few minutes before he was due back in the locker room to get ready for the pre-game skate.  He made sure he knew where they were sitting.

“Good luck,” Andy said quietly, their faces close.

“Feels that way,” he playfully hugged tighter around her waist.  His lips were soft, his light kiss hopeful.

“Hey there!” a voice boomed from behind them.  “What is going on in here?”  They broke apart to find Brooks Laich smiling hugely, like he’d just caught two people making out.  Which he had.  He raised his eyebrows at Mike.

“Brooks, this is Andy.  Andy, Brooks Laich,” he said.  Mike’s arm was still around her, a little possessively but she liked it.  It made her feel like something worthy of being shown off.

“Andy, it’s nice to meet you.  I was looking for Mikey.  If I’d realized he was kissing someone so beautiful, I never would have interrupted.”  He introduced himself to Vivian then reminded Mike they were due in the room pretty much now.

“I’ve gotta go,” he pulled her back in as he heard Brooks leave.  He was definitely on edge, but it felt good, like adrenaline in his veins, firing him up for the game.  He was going to play hard: she’d be watching.  “I can’t wait for you to meet everyone later.  They’re going to be so jealous.”

“Good luck, Mike.  And be nice to Sidney,” she whispered into his ear.

Mike hurried, hoping to catch Brooks in the hall.  No luck, and Laich was nowhere to be seen in the locker room.  He started suiting up.

“Who the fuck was that?” Brooks called loudly as he came through the door, carrying freshly-sharpened skates.

Half the heads in the room turned.  “Who was who?” Eric Fehr asked.

“Greenie was making out with some hot piece in the wives’ room.  Tall brunette in boots wearing a beat up #52 t-shirt that looked like she’d been sleeping in it since high school.  Not bad, Mikey.”  Brooks slapped Mike on the shoulder as he went to his stall.  “You’ve been holding out on us!”

“She’s…” Mike started.

“She was here the other night right, standing by the glass?  Did you pick up a puckbunny, Mikey?” Brooks kept going.

“What are you talking about?” Alex came into the room after a pre-game TV interview.  He was looking at Mike like he already knew the answer.

“Mike’s got a girl here,” Eric teased.

“Her name is Andy and… she is my girlfriend.  Sorry you haven’t met her before.”

A chorus of whistles, shouts and lewd comments rained down on his along with a few pieces of tossed equipment.  Mike smiled – the guys would love her.  Just not the way they might have before, he’d made sure of that.  She was his, now.  Thank God.

“Girlfriend?  She was in the paper, picture with Crosby.”  Overchkin said with a skeptical look on his face.  “You only go out with her?”  You mean she only goes out with me, Mike knew exactly what he was asking.

“Yeah.  She’s just friends with him.  And she’s moving in with me.”

Alex shrugged.  There were a million beautiful girls in Overchkin’s orbit, and he’d only wanted Andy because Mike did.  Because he could have her, because it was his choice.  Alex needed to be in charge.

“Better play good, Mikey, sign big contract. Sid make a lot of money and girls are expensive,” Alex gave him a smart-assed, gap-toothed smile as he let it go.

“Fuck you, Ovi,” Mike said.

Andy’s cell phone buzzed as they were on their way to the seats.

Sidney: White knight reporting for duty.

Andy: All fixed.  I owe you one.

Sidney: Come say hello.

She squeezed up to the glass near the bench, climbing over a few Penguins fans.  The team took the ice in their white uniforms to a chorus of appreciation for the visiting team.  Sidney was first out and Andy watched them loop around the ice at speed.  Jordan saw her and nudged Max at the blue line.  Max waved openly like a dork, making half the fans on her side of the ice squeal out loud.  Sidney saw the commotion and found Andy’s face. 

As the drill went on, Sidney’s place in the lineup brought him closer and closer.  Finally he was right in front of her, smiling.  She wanted to hug him for everything he’d done.  He stepped over the curb and through the open door onto the bench.  The entire crowd moved with him, following their hero toward the walkway to the locker room.  At the edge of the glass, he looked up at her.

Beautiful.  And she was, but in a way he hadn’t seen before.  It could only mean one thing.  She’s out of reach. 

“Hey,” he said, aware that hundreds of people were watching.

“Hi.  I’d say have a good game, but…”

Man, they are everywhere! she almost laughed.  Couldn’t find one good guy before this, now they’re coming out of the woodwork.  Sidney looked at her like he was trying to decide if she was really okay, or just covering.

“But you don’t want me making your boyfriend look bad.”

“I don’t know who you’re talking about,” she said primly, a tiny grin on her lips.

Sidney looked at her shirt slowly, then back to her face.  He’d made her come to the railing so he could be sure to see the back as she went up the steps. 

“Nice shirt,” he said.  Her mouth fell open slightly as she realized what she’d done.  Sidney made a teasing face and went back to the ice. 

Andy laughed her way to the Capitals side of the rink.  She stood a few rows off the glass watching them drill and stretch.  Mike didn’t look for her, and she didn’t need him to.  He’d be looking at her all the time now.

The whistle blew the play dead as Nuevirth absorbed a shot.  Mike rounded behind the net, slowing as Crosby circled past.  According to Andy, he didn’t know which of the Capitals she was seeing but it didn’t feel that way – Sidney had been glaring at him the first few shifts.  The puck dropped, was taken out wide by the Pens and Crosby positioned his sizeable backside right in the goalie’s face.  He chopped and angled, bordering on goaltender interference the way he kept backing into the crease.  Neuvy slapped at Sid’s legs, Crosby just elbowed back in.  Letang shot from the point, the puck rattled around and the net was knocked off.  Shoving ensued, the teams coming together.

“Fuck off,” Mike growled, cross-checking the number on Sid’s back, pushing him away from the goal.  All around them, players grappled with each other.  Crosby got right in his face. 

“Of course it’s you,” Sidney said with plenty of disgust, his meaning obvious. 

Mike wanted to pick a fight.  This guy had touched Andy, had kissed her.  His Andy.  He shouldered into Crosby, pressing him into the knot of players behind.  “When you’re jerking off alone, remember she’s with me.”  Someone closed in behind, pushing them together.   

“Guess I should have fucked her then, shown her how much better it could be.”

Mike got a glove up, giving Sidney a rough face wash while the refs tried to separate the guys around them.  “I will break your face, you piece of shit.”

Crosby roared right back.  “No fucking way you’re good enough for her.”

Mike bit back the vitriol he wanted to unleash, resisted the urge to shove the end of his stick into that mouth that had been on Andy’s skin.  “I will be,” he said.

“You’d better be, because she owes me one,” Sidney sneered.

Mike felt a hand pulling his shoulder, tugging him away from the fight.  “I’ll remember that when we’re spending your money decorating our house.”

Andy waited in the stands until someone came for her and Vivian.  She didn’t want to sit around with the wives and girlfriends before she’d even met anyone, before Mike had a chance to tell people about her.  Whatever he would tell them.  Finally a security guard led them down near the locker room, where Mike was waiting in the hall.

He was smiling sheepishly, hair styled and gelled like he was on his way to prom.  Andy guessed he’d done some TV interviews.  The Capitals had won a hard fought game, he had everything to be happy about, but that wasn’t it and she knew.  I can’t blame the guy, she thought.

“I didn’t fight him,” Mike said, shoulders rolling up.  Andy just rolled her eyes.  “Ready?”

“Okay,” Andy said.  She was nervous, very nervous and grateful when Mike wrapped her hand in his big one before he opened the locker room door.  The media was gone and nearly everyone was showered and fully dressed.  Brooks saw her first and came stomping over.

“Andy!” He gave her a big hug, like they’d been friends forever.  She would never know if Mike had asked him to do that, because soon she was being introduced to a line of people. 

“Good thing I already know all your names!” she laughed.  Little Michael Nuevirth blushed when she congratulated him on scoring points for her fantasy team.  The last person to come over was Alex.  He was smirking like he knew their secret, but he seemed less predatory than before.  His eyes never left her face.

“Andy, you make Mike a lucky guy,” he said.  “Probably you can do better than him.”

Mike watched carefully, knowing Ovechkin would get his digs in before leaving them alone.  Not too far, buddy, he was thinking.

“Nah, I think I did pretty well.”  Andy squeezed Mike’s hand.  Other women started trickling in, their men introducing Andy and Andy introducing Vivian.  Someone called for drinks, someone else shouted a suggestion and everyone headed for the door. 

Mike leaned into Andy’s side.  “Take you out before I take you home?” he asked. 

“This time, I’m taking you home,” she said.


“Got enough layers on there?”

“Fuckyoumike!” Vivian yelled, voice muffled by her scarf.  They were in the lobby of the hotel, team about to board the bus for the football stadium.  It was about three degrees outside and Vivian was dressed for it.

Andy came up behind her, lifting her arms out to the side.  “I can’t put my arms down!”

“Put your arms down when you get to school!” Mike said on cue, quoting A Christmas Story.  Vivian tugged the wrap away from her face.

“How many black guys play in the NHL, Mike?  Five?  That’s because it’s freezing and we are not stupid.  If I would die outside, then I don’t go outside.  Basketball, now there is a civilized sport.”

Mike reached over and pulled the scarf back across her face.  Her mitten-encased hands couldn’t grip to stop him so she trundled outside, sweating inside under her gear.  Andy laughed.

“You on the other hand, look beautiful,” he said, wrapping her arms around her.  She wore a red and white ski jacket he’d bought her for Christmas, a white hat with a Capitals logo and white gloves.  “Like a Capitals cheerleader.”  Andy jumped up and down, miming a cheer but really just rubbing herself against him scandalously.

“I love you,” he said.  Like crazy.  It had not even been two months, but their life together had fallen into place with only a few hiccups expected of a new couple.  He had never thought that coming home to someone, whether at the end of a day or the end of a road trip, could feel so good.  Every time he pulled up to the condo and saw the light on his heart did a little flip.

“I love you too,” Andy said.  And I owe you, she still knew.  Maybe she really owed it to luck, but she preferred to think that Mike had saved her before anything really bad could happen.  She knew that she’d saved him too, at least a little, and that made her proud.  Her new job as a consultant for a micro-lending finance company gave her just enough flexibility to pay down her loans and never miss a Capitals home game.

“Kick ass out there,” she whispered, lips grazing the soft skin just beneath his earlobe.

He looked at her from the corner of his eye.  “Anyone’s ass in particular?” he smiled.  Andy scowled and he crushed her into a hug, tipping her side to side while she shrieked for help.

All it took was one shift, the first shift on pristine ice unlike anything Mike had ever seen.  They skated on a mirror, right through clouds of their own breath.  Even beneath the hat inside his helmet, Mike’s ears pricked against the cold.

“How’s Andy?” Sidney asked, skating by.

“Completely in love with me,” Mike said honestly.  Thank God.

“Should I beat you for a goal then?  Remind her what she’s missing?”

Mike smiled at the difference he felt from the last time he and Sidney had this conversation.  He’d been scared, angry and moving a hundred miles an hour toward he didn’t know what.  Anything that hopefully involved Andy.  Now they were solid, they were happy.  He was happy because of her.

“Bring it on, Sid.  The only thing Andy's missing right now is being warm in my bed.”

A/N: You guys are awesome!  I had no idea there were so many other Mike Green fans.  And thanks to those of you stuck it out even if you hate Mike - I hope you still enjoyed the story!  Thanks for all your comments, they really make writing so much more fun.  New story coming soon!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chapter 9

Mike had turned his phone off because he didn’t trust himself. Then he lay awake for two hours looking at it. If it was on and didn’t ring, he’d never sleep knowing she hadn’t called. If it was off, it wouldn’t register the missed call if she did. Mostly he was afraid of answering it in the middle of the night, half-asleep, and telling her everything. Right after she got home from someone else’s bed. Or she wouldn’t call at all, having stayed the night with whoever had full pockets. The equations for misery were endless.

He imagined that his sheets smelled like her, the one she’d wrapped around her body and dropped in the kitchen. He should have had sex with her then, team rules be damned, if it was going to be his last chance to be with her. Eventually he tossed and turned himself into a fitful nap.

Andy called two more times, not caring that it was the middle of the night. She thought about driving there, but couldn’t – not in this dress, someone else’s hands still on her skin. Not just someone else, she reminded herself. She knew Mike would hate Sidney, she wondered if it would be more because of the logo on his jersey or her kiss on his lips.

She left her phone on, listening for the ring in her sleep.

Mike woke up starving, fetched the newspaper off the step and sat down to a bowl of cereal. He’d turn his phone on and face the day when his stomach was full. He got two bites of Cheerios in before he saw the photo.

The Capital and The Kid – Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby enjoys an evening out in DC, dining last night with a date at Maestro.

Andy was smiling, laughing even. Mike could see her dimples.

“Pick up, pick up, pick up,” Vivian chanted into the ringing phone. Finally, a click followed by a moment of silence.

“Hello?” Andy mumbled, still asleep.

“Get up, Andy. Your picture is in the paper.”

Andy dropped the phone and scrambled out of bed. She wore pajama pants and a tank top, swiped a hoodie off the couch and ran full tilt, barefoot, down to the street. She had the box open, free Examiner newspaper in hand and was back inside the front door before it could close.

“Oh my God,” she said to no one on the staircase.

Ten minutes later his phone rang. He didn’t want to answer it, didn’t want to even see if it was her calling. It could be Ovechkin, that smug son of a bitch, calling to laugh that someone had beaten him to the punch. Crosby. Of all fucking people.

Andy’s cell was trapped between her ear and shoulder as she pulled on jeans. She dialed again for a t-shirt, then again before quickly pulling on a sweater and replacing the phone. No answer.

Bang bang bang. Mike was sitting on the couch, his living room on the second floor above the entry way. Bang bang bang. His phone beeped.

Andy: Not leaving. Let me in.

Mike felt empty. It was all so obvious, so crystal-fucking-clear and he had willfully ignored it. If he was hurt or angry it could only be at his own stupidity. If he was betrayed, it was by himself. He’d felt like such a loser that first night in the hotel, as if calling an escort service were rock bottom. Now he knew it could in fact get worse. His socks made no noise on the stairs.

He opened the door, holding it in his outstretched arm. The logo on his shirt was faded from the careless way boys do their laundry. His hair was a mess, black eye nearly gone and he looked more defeated than ever before. Andy’s heart broke open and spilled inside her chest.

“Nothing happened,” she said.

Mike’s expression didn’t change. She could have recited the formula for cold fusion and he would not have cared. Nuclear launch codes, PIN numbers, his high school locker combination – nothing would have surprised him because nothing was true.

Andy’s jeans were too long, frayed where the heels caught beneath her shoes. She had on flip flops despite the cold and a blue hooded sweatshirt with a bird on the lapel. Her hair was a mess and she wore no makeup – clearly just out of bed. That used to look good to me, he thought acidly. She was most beautiful when she woke up.

“Nothing happened.” And then she burst into tears.

His shoulders and arms ached to hold her. Between the road trip and a bad night’s sleep, he was desperate for comfort. She had foremost in his mind every moment away from the ice – and a few on the ice, he knew. The end of the trip was the best part because he was coming home.

Andy stood there freezing and just cried. She had gambled and lost, something bad costing her something good. No, something incredible. She had never deserved it and now it had rightfully slipped from her grasp. Even so, I don’t want him to think I did it. I want him to know that much.

“I couldn’t do it.”

Pretty little liar, he thought.

“Call him.” Andy fished her phone out of her pocket. “Call him and ask.”

“You have his number?” The first words Mike had spoken.

Andy made a hard face. “He said that any guy who let me do this wasn’t good enough for me. And if that guy wouldn’t stop it, he would.”

“So he’s your boyfriend now.” Not a question. “Bought and paid for the whole show, eh? You’re off the market to the highest bidder.” It didn’t feel true, even as he said it. Words he didn’t believe just spilled out of him like oil, contaminating everything in their path.

“Mike,” the tears were back. “He was just being nice because I was a mess. I was like you, that first night. I wanted so much to help you that I would have done anything. It didn’t have to be sex and you knew that. It was in your eyes, you almost sent me home, you would have let me go if I asked. But I wanted to be the one.”

He had neighbors. He wondered if they could see or hear him, fighting with a call girl at ten in the morning. The urge to scream ‘Sidney Crosby fucked my girlfriend’ passed through his mind – no payoff though, not here. Tomorrow’s game was another story.

“You’ve got a new one now. The Chosen One. Big step up from me, Andy.”

“That is not true and you know it. Mister high-and-mighty, you called an escort service too. Same as him. Why you’re so much better than everybody else…”

Mike put his hands up in surrender. “You’re right. I am an asshole for believing you. I fell for every lie you told me, everything you did, and I am paying the price for it. Your real price tag.” He wanted to punch something, clenching and releasing his fist at one side. “Hooker with a heart of gold, right? Who hasn’t fallen for that one? I bet all your clients are chomping at the bit waiting for the minute I go out of town. A line of guys around the block for you.”

Andy wanted to punch something too. She wanted to punch Mike. Screaming, throwing things, lying facedown on the lawn until winter came and buried her under snow – they all seemed like viable options. “You think I'm faking this?”

“Nothing I think about you is right! You are a professional liar and I've been buying it because I want you. I need you. Or at least I need the person I let myself believe you were. I'm the asshole, eh?” he lifted his hands in question. “Because everybody wants you. You are good, Andy. You are so good.”

“I'm not that good.”

“Well then more stupid me, because I fell for it.” He looked away from her.

“It's not a lie, Mike. Everything with you... You know what Sid said last night?”

He pressed his back to the door. “I'm very sure I don't want to know.”

“Sid said, ‘Who is he?’ Because he knew I wasn't all there, knew that my mind was somewhere else. He figured out there was someone.”

“You mean there are a lot of someones.”

Andy stomped her feet. “Goddamn it Mike, there is no one but you! The night we met was my first night. Until yesterday you were my entire client list.”

That got his attention. “What?”

“You’re it. Well, you and Sidney but I didn’t sleep with him so I don’t think he counts. It’s just you.”

He didn’t even have to think about it. “For such a good liar, that one sucks.”

Andy met his gaze with a steady stare. He’d never seen her angry, but this was it. This look would scare someone on the ice. “Nothing was fake Mike, and nothing is. Whatever you think you saw, you saw it. Because I don't know how to lie, I don't know how to do this and not let my feelings get involved. You saw the truth and then Sid saw it too. Last night when my phone rang, I ran because I thought it was you.”

Mike’s rage was collapsing. Lies, lies, lies he wanted to keep saying but there were so many things that this could make true. The way she’d looked at him, made him feel special, told him true stories about herself. She had let him in, he hadn’t imagined that. He had assumed it was a weapon in her arsenal for ensnaring high-paying customers. Could it have been nothing more than one person caring for another?

“How can I possibly believe you?”

“Remember Vivian? She works. Got me the interview when I lost my finance job and couldn’t find a new one for six months. Moved, sold my car, everything I could think of. But no work is no work, and unemployment wasn’t cutting it.”

Somewhere in the universe a little light bulb popped on.

“Your kitchen table is too big,” he said.


“Your table is way too big for your kitchen. You said you’d moved – your last place was bigger. That’s why your table doesn’t fit.”

Andy nodded. Her bottom lip quivered, more tears on their way. This was it, the sad truth about how she’d come to be here, fighting for the heart of someone who had paid for her company. On paper they were both despicable, both users and opportunists. But she didn’t hate him. She loved him.

“Mike, I…”

All in one movement he scooped her up and pulled her inside, hauling her up to the second floor. Before they reached the top he was laying them down, feet sticking over the edge of the staircase. He couldn’t kiss her quickly enough, hard enough or deep enough. Andy had no breath left in her lungs. Mike’s mouth was merciless, pleading with hers for more than she could give. Finally, she pulled away.

“I’m so…”

“Why didn't you tell me?” he gasped.

“Tell you I was terrified?” She was really on the verge of crying now. “Tell you that all your money was getting you was some new girl who had no idea what she was doing? People don't pay for inexperience. For all I know, you've hired a hundred girls and I couldn't have you thinking we were ripping you off!”

“You knew I was a new client.” He held her so tightly she had trouble catching her breath.

“To us, but we are not the only game in town. And when you travel - Jesus, Mike. I don't know what you guys do on the road,” her head lolled to the side.

“I don't do anything, not anymore. And I had never called a service before you.”

“What?” Her hair fell in her face as she straightened.

He shrugged slightly. “First time for me too, Andy.”

“Oh my God. You didn't tell me either.”

He kissed her, hard, feeling the tears on her cheeks against his. He wanted to wrap her up and make all this go away. But we need to do this, he knew. “You couldn't figure out by how messed up I was? I already felt like a loser who you could only pity, I thought you must hate me. I couldn't tell you.”

“And I couldn't tell you. It would have been like asking you to save me... it's too Miss Saigon. I was in over my head, trying to swim.” She looked like she could use one now, tears rolling. “I was so scared but when we started talking I felt better - like I could do something for you, be someone that you needed. I wanted to rescue you.”

“I wanted to rescue you – I thought of a hundred ways. When you touched my face and kissed me before you even said hello, when you bagged on Carcillo instead of telling me I was an ass for picking a fight, I think I lost my mind. That was the best and worst night of my life.” His big hand brushed the hair from her face. Do it, do it, this is the moment.

“Any chance you’re still looking for a rescue?” he asked.

“Yes,” Andy admitted, pinching her eyes closed to keep from sobbing. Mike kissed her, tears and all, his heart pounding in relief.

“Then stop doing this. Crosby’s right, that fucking douche. I should have said IT that first night and I don’t care if I have to pay them to…”

She put two fingers over his lips. “No, I can stop. I’m done.”

Those words were exactly what he needed to hear. Mike drew a deep breath, feeling the fear drain out of him.

“I love you, Andy. I am in love with you. I would like the chance to earn you and fight for you. Especially if I get to fight Crosby.”

“I love you too, Mike. Turns out I needed you as much as you needed me. I wanted to call Madison Square Garden and have them make a PA announcement: Mike Green, please call your escort service and save your girlfriend.”

“Hmmm, girlfriend. I like that.” He nuzzled into her cheek. “Can I ask why you did it? Andy, I have money….” And lots of it. He’d already earmarked a ton to spend time with her, now it was free again. Whatever she needed, she could have it.

“No. I will take care of that myself. Your days of paying for my company are over,” she snuggled against him.

Might as well, you’ve come this far. “Move in with me.”

“Mike, I….” There was hesitation in her voice.

“Please. It’ll free up your rent money and I’ve already paid for the condo. Plus… I plan to keep you here anyway. Every night I’m home.” He held the back of her neck, keeping their faces close together. “Andy, I want to be with you as much as I can.”

She just looked at him for a solid minute. She wanted to, she really, really wanted to. Not paying rent would help, but it was more than that. It made them legitimate, it meant they forgave each other for the circumstances that had brought them together. It was like a fresh start.

“Bring your books and I’ll read them all,” Mike said.

“Okay, I will.”

They lay together, twisted up on the carpet supporting each other's weight and hopes.  An easy minute passed as they both took in the reality they had just created.

Finally Mike whispered, “Andy, what's Miss Saigon?”

“A play I am never taking you to see.”

He kissed her, perhaps the sweetest kiss they’d shared because it was the first really honest one. There was relief in it, and playfulness, and something about the kiss just beamed gratitude. That lasted a little while, until Andy curled her body in tightly to Mike’s, pressing her chest into his and pulling his leg up over her hip.

This is where I belong, she thought as he unzipped her sweatshirt, peeling up the t-shirt underneath and leaving a trail of kisses across her bare stomach.

This is how it should be, Mike knew with the confidence she had helped him find, the assurance of someone who had gotten what he wanted.

The soft cup of her bra gave way beneath his fingers as he gently circled her nipple, feeling it stiffen and rise. He primed the other while he body responded in kind. Her mouth continued to ride against his even as she shifted her hips, rolling them into his lap. He finally lifted the cotton layer over her head, lifted the fabric from her breasts and let his mouth tug and pull, kissing deeply over the soft mounds of flesh. Andy arched her back, offering herself to him, relishing in the slow attention of his lips. He slid a hand down her stomach, not bothering to open her pants, and didn’t stop until his fingertip was sliding over her slick entrance. He probed with finger and tongue, matching strokes, winding her up. His thumb found her clit, twitching lightly against the swollen nub as she began pant tiny noises of pleasure.

Andy’s body felt like a swing, twisted until its chains were tight and high. And she still had her pants on. “Mike, please,” she whispered.

Anything, he thought. He quickly opened her fly and shucked off her jeans. Her hands were under his waistband, then gloriously firm and warm as they wrapped around his swollen cock. He fought to keep control while she moved slowly, teasing him out to his full length while raking her other fingers lightly through the tangle of hair above. The she guided him toward the heat of her cleft, slowly running the head of his penis over the velvety soft folds of her slick flesh.

Andy ran her hands over the taut skin of his naked body, reveling in how she’d come to possess something so fine, and how stupid she’d been to almost lose it. Never again, she promised, helping herself to another handful of his perfect form.

His teeth caught her nipple again, a little less gentle, the tiny cry lost as he buried his erection inside her. Her body gave way like quicksand, sudden and dark, pulling him deeper for as hard as he pushed. He stroked again, another small noise sobbing from between her lips. They quickly found the soft part of his neck and locked on. His hips began to move themselves, questing after the sweet, hot space inside her body and the tight rolling grip it had on his dick. Before long, he was thrusting deeply, driving her into the living room rug with every stroke.

“Yes,” she let slip. Yes fuck me. Yes love me. Yes I want to stay with you. Her insides felt like melted chocolate, bubbling hotly when he filled every part of her. His smooth, long shaft plumbed her soaking pussy, harder and softer, faster and slower, drawing her pleasure out.

Andy twisted her hips and writhed down against him. The friction twisted his stomach, a low buzz building in his lower back and thighs. She felt like a lock he could open, his key made to fit. His breathing became more shallow the wetter she got.

“Mike,” came from her lips. And again. He slid his tongue into her mouth, caught her bottom lip and tugged it away from her teeth. She lifted her head, pulling him into her for another kiss. In his arms, he felt her body shudder.

She moaned, loudly and without inhibition for the first time. No worries that he’d think she was exaggerating, that working girls are supposed to sell it. It rolled uncontrollably from her body as she neared the edge.

Mike felt it, her body quaking around him. He was close, so close and he wanted to lose himself in her forever. Her first. When it came, she threw her head back, ultra-sensitive nipples grazing his chest as he rammed himself home, almost splitting her in two, and held her down hard against the base of his cock. She sobbed that noiseless breath that he’d come to love, mouth open and eyes closed as he twisted a hand into her long hair and kissed her exposed neck. Her body rolled and quivered, flashing and pulsing onto his hard-on like electricity.

“You feel so good,” he growled as she went limp in his arms. His erection was painful, stiff and filled to bursting. Her soft body welcomed him again, spent with pleasure he had provided, and he took the bait. Hips rolling, weight falling, he abandoned all thought as he stroked into her. The heat in his body reached a boil and spilled over.

“Andy,” he groaned as he came, hot and hard, spurting into her three, four times with a whole body shudder. He could have stayed hard, could have claimed her again immediately if he wasn’t so tired. Collapsing never felt so good as when his head came to rest on her tender breasts.

She ran her fingers through her hair. Her heart pounded not just from the sex but from an overwhelming sense of relief and luck. So much luck.

“Thank God for you, Mike. If it had been anyone else that night…” she whispered to the top of his head.

“I thought I’d lost you. First when you didn’t pick up last night, then when I saw the picture. I thought I’d missed my chance because I was afraid of sounding crazy. Of telling you how I felt when I’d only known you for a couple of days.”

“I felt it too,” she said quietly, wrapping her arms around him.

“I will take care of you, I promise.”

“And I will take care of you. Always,” she whispered.