(Note to the reader: Consider Karin and Landry an intermission of sorts. The way our cross-continental brainstorming goes, sometimes we discuss other angles. In this case, one particular angle resulted in Karin and Landry. They met at Club Avenue, where they sort of hit it off. What happened after that meeting? Here it comes… enjoy reading! Fauxscandinavian and PrincessofJLin)
Everybody loves me, Landry thought indignantly, why doesn’t she?
She had warm smiles for everyone but me. It was getting to him. It shouldn’t, but he couldn’t really understand what she would have against him.
Jess’ friend Karin was visiting Jeremy today – just like Landry. He was crushing Jeremy in 2K12 when she arrived with a huge basket from Volvo – a post-surgery greeting from Jeremy’s sponsor.
His eyes followed Karin’s movements across the room. Karin was talking animatedly with Jeremy’s parents and Jess. They hadn’t seen each other since the night at Avenue. In daylight, she looked better than he remembered. Karin had dark brown hair, light brown eyes, sexbomb lips and height. The Swedish genes, Landry assumed. She had her long hair in a bun today. She wore it down the last time and Landry’s fingers itched to run his hands through her locks that night. I still do, Landry decided.
“And you’re toast,” laughed Jeremy. Landry looked back at the flat-screen.
“Damn. I was distracted,” he argued.
“Not my problem, dude,” Jeremy grinned. He knew Landry’s eyes wandered the moment Karin came in. So, he’s still intrigued by her, Jeremy smiled. Karin was not usually Landry’s type; Landry liked blonds. Maybe it’s because Karin was not taken by the Landry charm that intrigued Landry.
“Do you need a break, Landry?” Jeremy asked.
“Uh, yeah. I haven’t said proper hello yet,” he smiled at Jeremy. When Jeremy rolled his eyes, he laughed. His friend knew exactly what he was planning.
Landry stood up to walk to Karin. “Hi, Karin,” he said and enveloped her in a bear hug. Jess smothered a grin. Karin looked absolutely terrified –or shocked – or both, at being hugged by Landry.
Karin could feel the hard muscle under Landry’s shirt and was aware of how fit he was – exactly like she imagined him to be. She quickly gained composure and hugged him back – not as enthusiastically, but enough that Jeremy and Jess didn’t think she was being impolite.
She lifted her head and said, “Well, hi, Landry.”
She smelled like a rose garden, Landry thought. Up close, her skin was smooth and flawless and her lips looked scrumptious.
“You can let go of me now,” Karin reminded him. He was looking at her intently. Karin was not a stranger to men. She could see that Landry was attracted to her. He had been interested in her since their group outing at Avenue.
She avoided him, because she did not trust celebrities. The only celebrity she liked was Jeremy – because he was different. But she knew Landry’s type – flirty, happy-go-lucky and narcissistic enough to believe that all women would just fall at their feet. Not this woman, Karin decided.
Pure ice, Landry observed. When he saw a spark of temper in her eyes, he was surprised. So she can thaw, he thought. He let her go – reluctantly. “Thanks,” she said.
“My pleasure,” he said with a grin. He winked at Jess as he turned to return at Jeremy’s side on the couch. Karin smoothed her clothes and hair, trying to regain composure. Yeah, she looks good all mussed up, Landry thought.
Jeremy’s parents left in the afternoon for Hamilton College to visit Joseph and the three of them stayed to keep Jeremy company – Jess, Karin and Landry. Dinner had been relaxed, taken in the living room, so Jeremy could prop his knee up on the couch.
Landry sat on the floor and was currently telling them about the pranks the Knicks made against each other. You have to admit, Karin conceded, he is funny. She wasn’t immune to good funny stories.
Jess sat beside Jeremy. He had his arm around Jess’ shoulder and she had her head resting against Jeremy’s. His best friend had been through a rough patch with the surgery and the succeeding therapy. It’s good he had Jess to support him.
I want that, Landry decided; Not Jess, of course, but what Jeremy and Jess have. But Landry hadn’t found someone – yet.
He slid his gaze to the woman sitting on the floor in front of him and smiled. Karin did not notice it, but they were having a double-date. Well, in Landry’s mind, it was a double-date.
Karin sat with her legs tucked beneath her. She looked relaxed right now. Landry loved the sound of her laugh. Not much Ice Queen there, he smiled inwardly. She had a deep throaty laugh – the sound of it was like a long sip of red wine, Landry thought and felt a curl of desire in his gut.
“I hate to leave, but I have to,” Karin sighed after taking a quick glance on her watch. “A normal work day tomorrow awaits me.”
“Let me drive you home,” Landry offered.
Karin hesitated. Distance, Karin, she reminded herself.
Sensing her hesitation, Landry turned on for logical reasoning and hoped it would work. “I’ll get you home faster than any cab,” he argued with a smile.
Damn that smile, Karin thought, instantly regretting the way it affected her. “Okay, thanks,” she politely answered.
They sat quietly in Landry’s car.
Landry was trying hard to concentrate. He could smell her perfume; the scent wrapped his senses. She was sitting with her legs crossed. It caused her skirt to hike up a bit and exposed gorgeous smooth legs.
What is it about her? Landry asked himself.
Be at least polite, Karin told herself.
“How’s the team handling Jeremy’s absence?” she asked to break the ice.
“We’re struggling,” Landry answered truthfully. “I miss him on the court.”
“You’re a good friend, Landry,” Karin said. She knew how much support he had given Jeremy – and was still giving Jeremy.
“I do what I can,” Landry smiled at her. So he finally got a compliment out of her – it felt good.
“I will be busy with away-games for the next weeks. Good thing Jeremy has his family and Jess – and you ladies to help her.”
As he pulled over in front of Karin’s apartment complex, he shifted his eyes to look at Karin. She had a warm smile on her face. The light from the streetlights illuminated her soft skin. Wow, Landry thought.
Unable to stop himself, he leaned in to take her lips in a kiss. Karin was caught by surprise, but only for a few seconds. As Landry tasted her lips, she did her own exploring of his mouth. She wasn’t a prude. Reality certainly did not disappoint her – those lips could kiss – just like she had dreamt they could.
Landry was baffled. Where had she been hiding? This was not the Ice Queen kissing him right now. When he eased back to look at her, Karin licked her lips and said, “Well… thanks for bringing me home, Landry. Good luck with the next games.”
Landry couldn’t read the expression on her face; he was still in shock over the kiss. “Nothing to it,” he murmured. “Goodnight, Karin.” Her name rolled out of him like a caress and sent a tingle down Karin’s spine.
As she walked to the door, she was aware that Landry had not yet driven away. Her legs were wobbly but she straightened her spine and summoned every ounce of will to keep walking and to not look back.
As he looked at her walk away, Landry was both frustrated and challenged. And I do love challenges, Landry decided.