It was Derick's first time shopping for food in Pittsburgh. He'd gotten the name and location of this particular grocery store from Carl, about whom Derick was determined to avoid thinking while he shopped for the basics.
Unfortunately, the refrigerated section left Derick frozen in place and thinking about Carl because the margarine Derick wanted to buy was right next to the whipped cream.
Being a professional athlete, Derick didn't eat dessert all that often, so he didn't usually buy whipped cream. In all honesty, he had no idea where his old grocery store in Ottawa kept the whipped cream - he just knew that it wasn't near the margarine or anything else he purchased regularly because he'd never come across it in his time there.
But now, in the city where Carl seemed the happiest Derick had ever seen him, in the grocery store that Carl had recommended to him, Derick found himself face-to-face with the food item that most reminded him of Carl: whipped cream.
Derick had long suspected that part of Carl's love of licking whipped cream off Derick's body and vice versa came from the fact that whipped cream was a dessert food they weren't supposed to have with any frequency. They never really talked about why they enjoyed doing it - they just did it fairly often, along with sex in other ways, until Carl's trade to Anaheim. Despite their best intentions, the relationship faltered quickly due to distance and Carl's frustrations with his performances on the ice. Therefore, when Carl was traded to Pittsburgh mere months later, Derick did what felt like the logical thing to do and asked Carl about breaking up; Carl agreed more readily than Derick had hoped for, but it was no real surprise. By the time Derick was traded to Ottawa, he and Carl had settled into a good friendship, and Derick had mastered the art of burying his lingering romantic feelings for Carl.
And here Derick was, with all those lingering romantic feelings refusing to stay buried because of whipped cream. And Carl wanted to hang out later in Derick's new place.
With a long sigh, Derick put both the margarine and the whipped cream in his shopping cart. Seeing it every day in his fridge at home couldn't be much worse than seeing Carl every day on the ice, right?
A couple of hours later, Derick welcomed Carl into his humble new abode. "I haven't unpacked all that much," he apologized.
"I didn't expect you to be all moved in yet," Carl laughed softly. "Were you able to get to the grocery store?"
"Yeah, it was..." Derick wasn't sure how to finish the sentence, but Carl was looking at him expectantly, so he had to say something. "Yeah, everything was fine there. Thanks for the info."
"Of course." Carl smiled his beautiful smile. "Anything to help you feel at home here."
Derick sighed involuntarily.
"What's wrong?" Carl frowned, which Derick never liked to see.
"I got whipped cream," Derick mumbled, staring at the floor. "I saw it in the store, and I bought some even though I haven't been able to touch the stuff in years because it reminds me of us being together - really together, I mean."
Carl made a sad sound and rested his hand on Derick's shoulder, prompting him to look up and listen. "I didn't realize you missed me so much, Derick. I'm so sorry for making you so sad."
"It wasn't so bad before," Derick explained. "Or, at least I could control it. But now I'm here and I'll see up close just how happy you are without me. And I can't stand in the way of that."
"Oh, Derick..." Carl sighed. "Yes, I'm happy here. But I'd be happier with you - if that's what you want, of course. I don't want to pressure you."
"Why wouldn't I want you?" Derick shook his head in disbelief. "Who wouldn't want you?"
Carl didn't answer. Instead, he wrapped his arms around Derick and held him close. Derick kissed him softly.
"I'm so sorry," Carl whispered. "I should have made it clearer that I never stopped loving you."
"I don't think I would have believed you," Derick admitted. "It took a long time to believe you back then."
Carl made another unhappy sound, just like he used to do when Derick expressed a lack of self-confidence back in New York.
"I'll work on it," Derick promised. "But right now I want to do the whipped cream thing again, like you talked about?"
Carl nodded and released Derick with a light shove towards the kitchen. Derick ran to the fridge, grabbed the whipped cream, and returned to Carl, whom he led to the bedroom. With a deep growl, Carl pushed Derick onto the bed and stripped him roughly, kissing Derick's skin as he exposed it.
"Carl..." Derick whimpered once he was naked. "Please, I need to see you..."
"I love it when you need it." Carl took off his clothes swiftly, then smirked as Derick stared at him. "How do I look?"
"Like an X-rated Disney prince."
"Not R-rated like you used to say?"
"More than just R-rated. X-rated."
Carl licked his lips. "Thanks. You look even better than back then, too."
Derick felt himself blush. He couldn't bring himself to speak. Carl understood anyway and climbed on top of him to kiss him hard. Derick kissed back just as hard.
After about a minute, Carl picked up the whipped cream and shook it slightly. "Ready?"
"Yes." Derick gasped as the chilled substance covered his chest and stomach. "Oh, fuck..."
"Maybe later." Carl leaned down and licked slowly, biting every so often with just enough teeth to sting but not enough to leave a mark. "You taste even better than I remembered."
Derick grabbed the sheets to try to lessen his squirming, but it didn't really do much. By the time Carl was done eating the whipped cream, Derick was hard and desperate. "Carl, I..."
"Yes, I know..." Carl kissed Derick and went to work stroking him. "Come as soon as you're ready."
It wasn't long before Derick did so, shouting Carl's name before watching Carl finish himself off with a few quick strokes. "You've got me all messy again," he laughed.
"I know." Carl squeezed Derick's hand. "Want me to help you test out the shower?"
"It seemed fine this morning, but I'm not saying no." Derick smiled as he and Carl got up. "Just so I'm clear - are we boyfriends again? Because I want to be, but if you'd rather ease back into that title, then I can be patient."
"I don't want to wait, though I do like that you want to be clear - we weren't very good at that when I went to Anaheim, looking back on it." Carl followed Derick to the bathroom and grinned possessively as Derick entered the shower. "We're boyfriends again now, and I'm not letting you go again anytime soon."