Their first month of training, Bitty and Jack mostly worked on teaching Jack the basics of figure skating. Jack’s first tries at any sort of jump were a little disastrous, but he refused to give up. Every time he fell, he’d get up and tell Bitty to show him again.
The day Jack landed his first salchow, Bitty had let out a shout and skated over to Jack and thrown his arms around him. “You did it! Jack! That was amazing!”
When Bitty crashed into him, Jack wobbled on his skates and then fell on his ass taking Bitty with him. He held onto Bitty though, cushioning the blow.
“Thanks, Bitty.” Jack’s voice was breathless as he laughed.
The longer they sat there, the more Bitty became aware that he was in Jack’s lap. Jack seemed so at ease with how they were and the feel of his fingers on Bitty’s back was nice. “Um..did you want to do some more?”
Jack found he couldn’t look away from where his hands rested on Bitty’s back. Bitty was so strong, but Jack was always amazed at how that strength was contained in his smaller frame. “Yeah, that would be..um..good. Practice makes perfect, right?”
Pink spots bloomed on Bitty’s cheeks and he tore his gaze away from Jack’s eyes. “Yeah, you’re right. Once you’ve got this down, you’ll be landing axles and flips before you know it.”
When Bitty still didn’t move, Jack grinned. He liked the warmth of Bitty in his lap. “I hope so.”
“You two gonna sit there all day or actually finish practice?”
Bitty looked over his shoulder at his coach and made a face. “I don’t know, Lardo, Jack is pretty comfortable.”
Jack laughed and twisted to the side to dump Bitty off his lap. “Yeah? Well, Jack’s ass is numb.”
Before Bitty could do more than shriek at finding cold hard ice under him rather than the firm heat of Jack, Jack had stood and sped off. Bitty watched him a moment, enjoying the smile on Jack’s face as he picked up speed.
Getting up, Bitty gave chase. “Was that a joke, Mr. Zimmermann?”
Jack waited for Bitty to catch up and deftly turned and started skating backward. He was smiling and his eyes were twinkling with mischief. “Maybe. Catch me and find out for sure.”
Taking off again, Bitty stared in wonder as Jack put distance between them. “You better skate fast!”
“I plan to!” There was laughter in Jack’s voice and Bitty couldn’t help but join in as he took off after Jack.
Once Jack had mastered the basics of each jump, they slowly and carefully let Jack attempt doubles and triples. There were more than a few missed jumps and a lot of bruises, but after a couple of weeks, Jack could land a double toe loop with ease.
Bitty had watched him land three in a row before skating over and throwing his arms around Jack. “I know I say this a lot, but that was amazing!”
Jack hugged Bitty back, still feeling the rush of endorphins over landing each and every one of those jumps. “Thanks, Bits-I mean-Bitty.”
Hugging Jack harder, Bitty tried not to think about how much he liked Jack’s slip of the tongue. It would not be good to let his crush get out of control. It was a slip of the tongue and nothing else.
Reluctantly, Bitty let go of Jack. He started to skate away but then grabbed Jack’s hand so they could skate together. “Now that you’ve got the jumps down, ready to start lifts later this week?”
Jack groaned and let Bitty tow him along. “I know we have to, but I really don’t want to drop you. Any chance we can start off the ice? Preferably in a well-padded room?”
Bitty picked up some speed and whipped them around the corner. “I’m sure Lardo knows someone who would let us use their gym or something. She always knows someone. It’s like magic.”
At the next corner, Jack turned them and started towing Bitty. Bitty tightened his grip slightly on Jack’s hand and let himself be towed. He knew Jack wasn’t going to let go or let him suddenly stop, and it was a nice feeling knowing he was able to trust him this much. As they got close to the entrance to the ice, Jack slowed and pulled Bitty off the ice.
Taking a seat on a bench, Bitty started to lift his leg to untie his skate, when Jack’s hand on his thigh stopped him. “Let me. I’m down here already anyway.”
“Oh..um..okay. Thanks, Jack.”
“You’re welcome, Bitty.”
Jack gripped Bitty’s calf to work the skate off and Bitty closed his eyes and tried to ignore the way the simple touch was making him warm all over. When Jack shifted to work on the other skate, Bitty was very aware of where his head was. Thankfully, Jack was keeping up a steady stream of chatter, which served as a little distraction.
“So I think we’re doing pretty well. What do you think, Bitty?”
“Yeah, yeah, we’re doing good. Definitely doing good. Once we have some lifts and pick some music we’ll be on our way. Thankfully, time is on our side. We still have almost a whole year before we have to compete.”
“You’re right about that, thank goodness.” Jack patted Bitty’s leg as he worked the second skate off and set it aside. “I’m all done now.”
Bitty wiggled his toes in his socks to get some circulation back into them and once Jack had taken his seat, Bitty hopped up and knelt at his feet. “My turn.”
“Bitty, you don’t have to. Really, it’s okay.”
“You hush, Jack. You were kind of enough to take my skates off, let me return the favor.” Jack looked ready to argue some more, so Bitty pulled out his best set of puppy eyes. “Please?”
“We really need to limit the number of times you can use that look.” Jack leaned back on the bench and let Bitty get to work.
Focusing on the laces, Bitty shrugged. “And take away my one weapon against you and your stubbornness? I don’t think so.”
Jack laughed and as the sound of it washed over him, Bitty smiled to himself. He loved the sound of Jack’s laugh. Low and husky and a rare sound. Anytime Bitty could coax a laugh out of Jack, he felt he’d accomplished something magical.
Once Jack’s skates were off, Bitty took a seat next to him on the bench. “Jack?”
Pulling his sneakers on, Jack answered. “Yeah?”
“Do you have plans tonight?”
Bitty rolled his eyes. “Just answer the question.”
Jack rolled his eyes back at Bitty. “No, I don’t have plans.”
“Go to dinner with me?”
Jack used the time he spent lacing his sneakers to think. He did want to go to dinner with BItty. He really wanted to go. And really? What could be the harm?
“I’d love to, Bitty. Did you have a place in mind?”
Bitty was silently staring at Jack. He really hadn’t expected Jack to say yes. Other than that first time they’d eaten dinner at Jack’s place, Jack and Bitty hadn’t really spent much time off the ice together.
“That’s..um…that’s great. I don’t have anywhere specific in mind, actually. There’s a nice little diner downtown. We can both go home and shower and meet there or-”
“I could pick you up.” Jack blushed as it occurred to him how quickly he’d answered. “I mean..I could pick you up if you want?”
Bitty got his own shoes on and nudged Jack with his shoulder. “That sounds good. I’ll text you my address?”
Bitty had finally settled on what he was going to wear and was just about dressed when jack knocked on the door. Hurrying out of his bedroom, shirt still unbuttoned, Bitty let Jack in.
“I’m just about ready. Two minutes. Tops. I swear.”
Focused on getting ready, Bitty didn’t notice the way Jack just nodded dumbly while staring at the line of skin revealed by the parted edges of the shirt.
When Bitty returned, fully dressed this time, Jack was looking at the pictures on Bitty’s walls. There were pictures of him in costume at different events, but the ones Jack liked best were obviously from when Bitty was in school. Jack recognized Lardo in a few of them, and the incandescent smile on Bitty’s face in most of the pictures left Jack wanting one of those smiles for himself.
“Jack? I’m ready.”
Bitty gave Jack directions to the diner and once they’d been seated and had ordered, it was Bitty who spoke first.
“Jack, is this a date?”
Jack wasn’t aware he could his face could be much redder. “I don’t know. You asked me, remember?”
Bitty looked thoughtful. “And if I said it was a date?”
“I’d be very happy about that.” Jack took a sip of his wine, trying to buy a little time to get his thoughts together. “I’ve had feelings for a while now. Mostly since that night, you showed up at my place.”
Bitty studied Jack over his own glass of wine. “Good, because I want this to be a date. Hopefully the first of many.”
Jack started to reach over to take Bitty’s hand but was interrupted by a familiar voice calling his name. “Jack! Jack Zimmermann, is that you?”
Jack flinched and looked over his shoulder. How Kent Parson of all people was in this diner, he didn’t know, but he was going to try and grin and bear it. “Hello, Kent.”
Eric shrugs and blinks-he’s utterly exhausted from the eventful day. Jack is visiting the Haus for the first time since graduation so of course the entire team was all over him. It didn’t bother Bitty until about lunchtime, when he realized he and Jack had had almost no time together. They hadn’t even gotten to really talk since he arrived, but Bitty was still swept up in all of the madness, so close to Jack but not close enough for his liking.
Now though, everybody else was out getting ice cream in honor of Jack’s presence. It’s sort of hilarious really, Jack was supposed to go with them but he opted for a relaxing night alone in the Haus. That didn’t stop the team from going out for ice cream though.
There were a few strange looks when Bitty also said he’d be staying in, but everybody could see how tired he looked so there weren’t any questions. He knows that it might seem just slightly suspicious but Jack is leaving in the morning and he wants time with him, damn it.
Jack is already on the couch with the remote in his hand, flipping through the channels. Eric slumps down next to him, so close but not quite touching, the same feeling he’s had all day. Jack stops what he’s doing and looks at Bitty, then drops the remote and grabs him around the waist. He pulls him in and kisses him and Bitty’s heart just about bursts from the sensation of relief that floods through his body. He’s been waiting for this kiss not only all day, but since the last time he saw Jack in person months ago. He’s been waiting for too long.
Eric’s palm is pressed against Jack’s chest and he can feel his heartbeat, even through his shirt. It’s a little quick but so strong-heart pounding out of Jack’s chest as if to get to Eric’s own. He pulls away from Jack, their lips lingering and a smile forming.
“Hey,” Jack says, barely audible above the sounds of rushing blood and happiness and love ringing in Eric’s ears.
“Hi,” Eric responds, giggling and grabbing Jack’s arm. He pulls it around himself and snuggles up as close as he can, bathing himself in everything about Jack.
“So what do you wanna watch?” Jack repeats, obviously not really caring much about the answer.
“You,” Eric says through a yawn.
A moment of silence. Then: “So like, you want to watch me strip, or…”
Eric frowns, momentarily confused and confused, then starts to giggle uncontrollably. His body is shaking up against Jack’s, and when he looks up and sees the smile on his boyfriend’s face, Eric realizes Jack was kidding. Eric finishes his laughing fit with a tired sigh and hugs Jack around the waist.
Jack’s fingers go to Bitty’s hair, absentmindedly twirling and playing with the blond locks. It’s extremely relaxing, and with the gentle white noise of the TV in the background Eric soon finds that his eyes are too heavy to remain open. Before he actually drifts off, he thinks to himself this is perfect, then, if the others come back, Jack will make sure nobody sees. I trust Jack. I like Jack. Jack smells really nice. Jack will probably stay awake right? Yeah. Everything is fine…
He wakes up to someone saying, “OH SHIT, WHAT THE FUCK?!” His eyes shoot open and his heart drops. Jack is also reluctantly waking up, his arm still hanging loosely around Bitty’s body. Bitty doesn’t even bother to push him off; the whole Samwell Men’s Hockey team has already caught them in the act.
“Oh, Um. Hey guys,” Jack says, comically casual, and Bitty has to bury his face in Jack’s chest to hide the bright pink creeping into his cheeks. “I guess there’s something we should tell you.”
He thinks about how he’s going to do it a lot, probably too much, actually. But every single idea he’s come up with so far absolutely cannot top this one. He knows how he’s going to propose, but he needs that sign.
Sure, he could just make another, but he’s never been an artist and that sign truly was a piece of art.
That means I’m going to have to bring Shitty into this, he thinks to himself, scribbling in his notebook with the plans for the special day. He wants to tell as few people as possible about his plans; his friends have never been good at keeping a secret, and this one is pretty big. Even the slightest slip-up could tip Jack off.
FIRST OUTFIT IS WHAT SHE WEARS AT THE PARTY, SECOND IS THE MORNING
HOPE YOU LIKE IT
“Aria King.” Gilinsky stated, putting my drink down in front of me.
He gestured to the gorgeous brunette I had been staring at.
“Aria King. Current sophomore here, Literature major, survives on coffee, hates horror movies, pulls all nighters like a seasoned pro, and can drink you under the table, I guarantee you.”
Jack smirked, and I raised an eyebrow.
“She was Johnson’s tutor in English Lit last semester. Awfully funny too,”
Jack took a swig of his drink.
“You should go talk to her.”
“I think I just might.”
I got up from my seat at the bar at the college party I had gotten dragged to by Johnson and Gilinsky.
I weaved my way through the crowd, stopping in front of the girl.
How would I get her attention?
I smirked, then knocked her back with my hip.
“God, I’m so sorry!”
She smiled at me.
She stared at me for a moment.
“I’m Aria King, and you are?”
“Sam Wilkinson. I’m a good friend of Johnson and Gilinsky.”
She rolled her eyes playfully at this.
“Those two boys, I swear! Well it’s nice to finally meet you, Sam! Almost all of their stories involve you.”
She laughed and took another sip of her drink, emptying it.
“Would you care for another one?”
She gave me a small, secretive smile that caused my smirk to widen further.
“How many drinks have you had?”
“Too many” Sam giggled as I dragged him out the door of the frat house, past the couples making out and tables of shot competitions.
“You’re really pretty.”
“And you’re really drunk.” I grumbled, albeit amusedly.
“I’m not drunk!” He called out, then grabbed my shoulder to stop me from pulling him.
“I’m a little tipsy, I’ll admit, but not drunk.”
He leaned in a little, pausing to whisper in my ear.
“Do you want to dance?”
“Yeah, you’re definitely drunk.” I laughed, causing him to pull away and smirk at me.
“I’m serious, we’re going back to the dance floor.”
I smirked back.
“What if I say no?”
“Then I’ll have to do this.”
He grabbed my waist and threw me over his shoulder.
“Put me down!”
I screeched, still laughing.
The frat boys cheered as he carried me through the door.
“I don’t think I will. But by all means, please don’t stop squirming. I have a great view of your ass.”
The nerve of him!
“You’re acting like you didn’t know I was staring.”
I blushed fiercely, and suddenly he started to put me down.
He slowly took me off his shoulder, never letting go of my waist.
Finally my feet brushed the floor, our eyes never leaving each other’s.
I broke the staring contest to lean up to whisper in his ear, my hand on his shoulder.
“Are we going to dance, or what?”
I whirled around abruptly, pausing to press my back against his chest.
This would be fun.
I had been talking to her for hours earlier, liking her more and more with each word that slipped out of those pouty lips of hers.
What was I getting myself into?
I groaned as she grinded further into me, my hands firmly gripping her waist.
I could feel the effects of the alcohol burning off as I pulled her closer by crossing my arms over her waist, gripping her hips with my fingers even tighter.
She let out a quiet groan, and I grinned triumphantly.
I whispered quietly in her ear.
She didn’t respond, instead reaching her arms up to ghost her fingers over my neck.
I gulped but pressed into her further before spinning her around so my hands were gently caressing the small of her back and her hands were interlocked behind my neck.
She laughed gently, wiggling her hips a little just to mess with me.
“Such a tease.”
I groaned, and she buried her face into my chest to laugh.
I reached down to kiss her exposed neck, brushing my lips there just hard enough to make her shiver.
I pulled away, and she moaned a little.
I kissed her jaw, then moved up slightly to speak against her lips.
“Wouldn’t you love that.”
His lips hovering just above mine sent me over the edge.
I entwined my fingers in his hair, pulling him down further to meet my lips.
Our lips collided in an explosion of tingles and pulses of electricity, the world around us melting away into nothing but a dull thrum.
His right hand moved up to caress my cheek, his left arm holding firmly onto my back.
Until I felt a sharp push on my back.
I reluctantly pulled away from Sam, turning to face Gilinsky and Johnson with his arm still on my back.
“Sorry to interrupt guys, but neighbors called the cops. We need to leave, now!”
Sam grabbed my hand, pulling me along with the guys and out to the lot.
“Wait! I have my car!”
Johnson and Gilinsky were freshman, and not allowed to have cars with them on campus.
I dragged them over to my beautiful four door black matte jeep wrangler.
I jumped in the drivers side, Sam getting in the passenger seat and the Jack’s in the back.
I pulled out smoothly, careful not to hit the occasional passed out drunk.
A few minutes later we pulled into campus.
“What dorm are you guys in again?” I called back.
“Quad dorm over in Maxon…”
“We only have the key to our room. To get into the quad dorm itself we need the key, and only Darren remembered to bring that key… And he’s still at the party!”
I groaned in frustration.
“I live in an apartment off campus, you guys can stay there.”
I pulled out of the campus, and a few minutes later we hit my building.
I dragged the slightly tipsy Johnson into the elevator, Sam getting Gilinsky.
We hit my floor and I pulled the guys in.
My apartment was a nice and expensive three bedroom, courtesy of my rich father after a messy divorce as an apology for never being around.
I shook off the thought, not wanting to think about it.
“The two guest bedrooms are down that hallway and to the left, and the bathrooms are connected to it if you need it. As I’m the only one here who can hold their drink, I’ll be up early as usual with aspirin and breakfast.”
The boys thanked me, still amazed by my apartment.
I really hadn’t wanted them to know I was rich.
I woke up with a pounding headache and a light tapping against my door.
I remembered I was at Aria King’s apartment, a gorgeous girl that had been gracious enough to help out my idiot friends and I.
I also remembered kissing her.
I groaned a “come in”
“Breakfast is ready, come on out.”
Aria King herself smiled at me from the doorway.
I got out of bed, pausing to fix my hair in the guest room mirror.
I entered the kitchen, the two Jacks already lounging lazily on bar stools at the counter.
“Alright boys, I stopped at Starbucks this morning. Iced mocha latte for Gilinsky, peppermint mocha for Johnson, iced caramel latte for Sammy, and a large hot coffee for me!”
She shot off the names quickly, handing each of us our drinks.
“Aspirin is on your plates, and breakfast is almost ready!”
She smiled cheerily at us, amused by our current states of hangover-ness.
We all thanked her, the Jacks calling out a “Thanks mom!”
I downed my aspirin gratefully, and looked up from the bar to watch Aria dance around the kitchen, frying bacon, flipping pancakes, and scrambling eggs all at once, humming an almost familiar tune.
“Do you need any help?” I asked.
“No, it’s just about ready!”
She leaned over the counter to put bacon on all of our plates, then dumping a hefty stack of pancakes, and then eggs.
We all groaned another thank you while stuffing our faces with the incredible food, Aria smiling at us all.
She slid into the seat next to me, sipping her coffee with a slight smirk on her face.
I turned to her, knowing full well Gilinsky and Johnson were too busy gorging themselves to listen.
I rubbed the back of my neck nervously, feeling my face heat up.
“About last night-“
She cut me off with a small frown.
“I get it, you were drunk, and you probably don’t want to see me again.”
“No! That’s not it at all! I was actually wondering if you’d maybe like to go on a proper date with me?”
I smiled widely at her, noticing the Jack’s high five each other under the table.