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Open Ice Hit: Epilogue


“Babe,” Tommy hollered from the walk-in closet. “Where’s my green tie?”

Noah appeared in the doorway, startling Tommy into a rack of shirts. “Why are you shouting?”

“Because you stole my lucky tie again, you big fat cheater. I know what you’re up to.”

Noah crossed his arms, leaning against the closet door. When they had first gotten together, Tommy had thought he’d never find Noah more attractive, but time had been very fucking kind to them both—ten years after the fact, Noah had settled fully into his skin, something calm and sure in the way he handled himself that hadn’t been there in his mid-twenties.

Now, faced with that broad, athletic body, eyes already creasing with happy wrinkles, Tommy felt the same hot pull in his gut he’d experienced early on in their relationship.

Noah laughed a little. “Sore that you lost last year?”

“Sore that you lost the three previous years?” Tommy chirped back, grinning. The league loved pitting their teams against each other in the first game of the preseason—that hadn’t changed, no matter how many years passed.

Noah walked toward him slowly, looking fucking edible in his old sweats and t-shirt. Tommy hummed happily as Noah brushed their lips together before pulling away. Tommy looked to the side where Noah was holding up Tommy’s tie. “This what you’re looking for?”

Tommy snatched it out of his grasp, rolling his eyes. “Shut up.”

“We have a tie hanger for a reason, Tommy, so you can organize all your ugly ties.”

“Oh, please. You love this tie, don’t even front.”

Okay, so his lucky, first-game-of-the-pre-season tie wasn’t the classiest—it was black and green, like the Sea Dogs uniforms, little whales swimming up and down the length. Whatever Noah said, though, the one year he’d tried not wearing it, Noah had frowned at him all day.

Whatever Noah wanted to say about having routines, Tommy not superstitions, he sure was strict about some things.

Noah shook his head, giving him a kiss before walking back into the room. “Did the Instacart people come this morning?”

“Yeah. Saw you got some of that hot chocolate powder stuff I like, you old softie.”

“That wasn’t me.”

“Oh, did the Instacart fairies bring me treats again?”


“Wow, they must really like me,” Tommy teased as he followed Noah, chosen suit in hand.

“I wouldn’t know anything about that.”

“Uh-huh. Wait, what were your vows when you married me? ‘You have made me see things in myself that I never thought possible—’”

“I regret our wedding.”

“‘I didn’t think it was possible to love someone this much—’”

“Okay, better than ‘I want to make your life as awesome as possible.’”

“And have I or have I not made your life as awesome as possible?” Tommy asked, dropping the clothing on the bed and latching onto his husband’s back.

Noah smiled. “Hmm…I don’t know. Maybe you can think of something to make it a little better.”

“Oh yeah?”


Tommy tackled Noah onto the bed, a mass of laughing and flailing limbs.

It wasn’t the first time they’d ruined a suit by fucking on top of it.

At least the lucky tie made it out unscathed.

Tommy watched Noah skate on his side of the ice, warming up with the rest of his team. Neither of them could deny that, at thirty-six, Noah was entering the tail end of his career. He had two more years on his contract, a no-move clause, and the Phantom’s loyalty keeping him in New York, but Tommy doubted that contract would be renewed.

He also knew Noah had come far enough to not be so scared of that possibility.

It was weird, being younger than Noah and yet feeling so fucking proud of him every single day of their lives. No one in Tommy’s life had ever fought to be better—a better teammate, a better player, a better person—like Noah. He’d tried so hard to battle his demons, and he’d come out victorious.

It was obvious in so many things Noah did—both inside and outside their relationship—but it was moments like these, Noah in his natural element, chirping the rookies and joking with the veterans, that Tommy felt the love he had for this man come to the surface.

It was such a simple pleasure to see Noah so happy. So settled.

Although, the fact that the Phantoms had won the Cup for the second time in Noah’s career probably didn’t hurt.

As warm-ups wrapped up, the national anthem was sung and the benches filled, and Tommy wasn’t surprised when the linesman indicated he and Noah should take the first face-off. It had been that way since they’d gotten married five years ago.

They skated into place, the thrum of the crowd and the new season filling the air with electricity. Tommy grinned at Noah as they bent slightly at the waist, legs spread, waiting for the puck to drop between them.

One moment, two. Noah looked at him, a fierce, competitive love in his eyes. “Jag älskar dig,” he said, voice clear through the roar of the arena.

The puck hit the ice.

A new season began.


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