So today I made a decision- come hell or high water, I was going to update! I hate making you guys wait for "The Dumbing Down of Love" chapter but this story has been on my mind lately. I promise that after this, I'll start writing the next chapter on Dumbing Down.
Also, thanks ladies for your comments! You're all equally amazing and I love the support. Hope everyone had a good week/weekend! The game yesterday was terrible because I was so nervous the whole time and screaming at the TV in my dorm. Needless to say, several people popped by to make sure I was okay :) So many girls around here just don't understand what hockey does to a person and it's sad.
A flash. That was all I saw as his lips gently massaged mine. I couldn't tell if my eyes were still open or if they had closed as a reaction to the light I saw. Instead I stood there dumbly letting my body soak in the new waves of sensation as I waited for my brain to turn back on and start working normally again. Once my brain turned back on then surely I would push this man away from me.
Instead it was as if someone had pushed a giant pause button, momentarily shutting everything down around us and leaving me with nothing as a distraction besides the feeling of this man standing oh so close to me and pulling my hips closer to his body. I hadn't been kissed in what felt like forever and now I was torn between not knowing what to do and feeling like I was going to hyperventilate.
He changed the angle of the kiss, tilting his head slightly to pull back and meet my lips again gently coaxing me into joining him.
Why hadn't I pushed him away yet?
He broke the kiss so that we could both collect ourselves but I wasn't sure that I had moved, much less breathed in the past minute or so. He stood in front of me but still close enough that I could lean forward and touch my forehead to his chest if I wanted to. Which I didn't.
Just thinking about taking a step closer to him snapped me back into reality and the present situation that I was in.
"What the hell was that?" I asked finally taking that giant step back and putting the much needed distance between us.
"Don't get mad" he stated putting both of his hands up as if to shield himself from me. As far as I was concerned, he had brought this upon himself and if he thought that he could just kiss me like that, then he better be ready for the consequences.
"Don't get mad? Don't get mad?!" I repeated looking at him incredulously. "How am I not supposed to be mad right now?" Especially since the ground beneath me still felt a little shaky.
"Well you like it. So you not mad" he stated simply, a shit-eating grin blossoming on his face. How had he gone from looking scared of me to pompous asshole so quickly?
As I stood gaping at him, literally my mouth hanging open for bugs to fly in it, I marvelled over his arrogance. Not only his arrogance, but the fact that the man literally had borscht for brains. Maybe one too many pucks to the head did that to a guy. He laughed outright at my expression and that snapped me back into form.
"Oh believe me, that was not an enjoyable experience, Mr. Malkin. Rest assured that it won't be happening again."
"You call me Mr. Malkin?" he questioned still smiling at me like I had told a joke. "You only call me 'Mr. Malkin' when I do something bad." His eyebrows wiggled suggestively at me and I felt the sudden urge to rip said eyebrows off of his big, dumb, russian face.
"Get out" I commanded in a low voice pointing to the door. I was beyond angry at this point and at the gall he had in not only assuming that I had wanted to be kissed by him, but also that I enjoyed it!
"Oh come on, I joke" he said looking put off for the first time the entire evening. It was good to finally see his feathers ruffled.
"I don't care if you're joking" I replied unable to pass up the opportunity to correct his english. "I want you out of my office."
This time I gave up my rule of not touching him and grabbed his arm, tugging him to the doorway where he would hopefully move along and leave me alone. Unfortunately, he didn't budge and then I was stuck trying to pull forcefully on his arm without much success.
"I do you favor? Apologize?"
"Apologizing is supposed to be a favor to me?" Was he serious? Or had I been giving him too much credit all along in actually thinking that he was smart? He was more proof that all men were created without the equipment needed to process emotions.
"What?" he said crinkling his eyebrows together in confusion. "No, no. I don't explain right." He sighed heavily dragging a hand across his face in frustration. Frustrated didn't even begin to explain what I was feeling right then. I was angry at him for his arrogance and I was angry at myself from actually letting him kiss me. I was a tough, independent girl. He wouldn't have been able to kiss me, and continue kissing me, if I hadn't allowed him to. I would never verbally admit to anything but I hadn't exactly pushed him away either.
Exactly why I hadn't been able to push him away was yet to be determined.
"You never let me talk. You just get mad."
"I'm letting you explain now!" I told him, now on the verge of yelling. He let out a string of muttered russian as he looked up at the ceiling and rubbed his temple. I hoped that I was giving him a massive headache from all of the trouble he was causing me.
"Come to dinner with me" he stated once again pushing the subject aside. Even though his accent made everything sound like an order in english, I could tell that he was genuinely asking.
"What? No!" told him feeling incredulous at how he was able to just assume things left and right. Maybe he thought that if he fed me again, I would be nicer to him right now. Wasn't taking me out to dinner only going to blur the lines of our professional relationship even more?
"Why?" he asked crossing his arms over the expanse of his broad chest. "What is reason now?"
"Oh there are many reasons" I replied laughing sardonically. Maybe this was how they did things in russia- man meet woman, man drag woman off to cave- but it wasn't how things functioned in my world. I was used to smoother men and I certainly wasn't used to clients taking an avid interest in my dinner plans, or unexpectedly kissing me.
"I explain if you come to dinner with me." He raised his eyebrows as if challenging me.
More muttered russian followed my response and I almost wanted to laugh. I loved having the ball back in my court and being back in control of the situation. He wasn't the type to force himself on a woman either- at least I didn't think so.
"If you don't come with me, then I ask you question." This time, I knew he wasn't requesting this information or being polite. Apparently he was ready to meet me head on in this little game we were playing.
"Fine" I said accepting the challenge.
"Did you like it: truth or false?"
My heart sped up unexpectedly from his question as if my heart and mind had splintered off in different directions. "True or false. The expression is true or false" I corrected stalling myself for some time.
He nodded once acknowledging the correction but obviously waiting for my response. Nearly a foot taller than me, he towered over me waiting patiently, brown eyes meeting blue.
"No. I didn't" I told him feeling slightly put off from our eye contact. I knew instantly that he knew that I was lying. A light that had been missing in his eyes flickered back on as he stared, appraising me.
"You lie" he stated simply shrugging his shoulders in what I noticed was a habitual move for him.
"I'm not lying!" I stated getting riled up because I knew that he was right. Truthfully I wasn't sure yet if I had enjoyed it but I wasn't sure that I had hated it either. It had just been different. Something completely new to what I had experienced before.
"You think you can lie to everyone but I see. Your nose twitches."
My nose twitched? Of all of the body parts to give my lying away- it was my nose?
"Look in mirror if you want. But it true."
"If it's true then how do you know this?" He was the first person in my entire life that was able to tell if I was lying or not. Not even Peter had known! Like any relationship, there were times when I lied just to avoid hurting his feelings. Little things like faking an orgasm or pretending to like a gift were all just things that one did in a relationship- it made the other person feel good so its automatic.
Instead of answering my question, he rolled his eyes as if I had asked a stupid question. "Get your coat" he said picking the garment up for me and holding it out. If we were really playing a game this would be the moment of dodgeball when it's you and the opponent. And the opponent has you in a corner waiting to pin you with the last ball.
He helped me into the coat but I wasn't sure if it was out of politeness or because he wanted to make sure that I would follow his orders.
"I can button it myself" I told him swatting his hands away from me. He grinned again watching me button up my trench coat and reached down to tie the belt for me before I could protest. Pulling it tightly, he used the leverage to pull me a tiny bit closer to his body. My eyes narrowed at him as he continued to fiddle with the ends.
"So where do you want to go?" he asked still not letting me go.
"Home" I replied saccharine sweet and all sarcastic smiles.
"Okay, we order in, watch movie" he replied countering me.
"What? No!" I protested as he led me out the door. He barely gave me time to collect my things and shut the light off himself before pulling me down the hall.
It wasn't until we were halfway down the hall that I realized he was holding my hand. I tried to pull it away uncomfortably but his grip only tightened and I could tell that he was trying to cover it up underneath the shadow of his ballcap. His hand was firm on mine and rough from spending hours inside a hockey glove every day. He led me to an elevator that I was unfamiliar with and I suddenly realized that we weren't going to my car but the player's parking lot instead.
"I drive to restaurant" he stated as if reading my mind. He led me to a flashy convertible standing closer to me than I would have liked as he opened the passenger door. He didn't move out the way so that I could get in and instead stared at me to the point where my neck felt hot from nerves. Before he could try anything I pushed the door open not caring if I hit him or not and ducked in.
He jogged around the front of the car joining me inside and filling the car with the clean scent from his shower. Until the game had ended and until our scuffle in my office was over, it was already after 1am and I had no idea what restaurant would even be open now. It was also irking me that he was driving because after we ate, I was going to have to be driven back here by him and then drive myself home.
"Where are we going?"
"Can't you wait? Be surprised?"
Uh no, I couldn't wait. Especially not in a strange man's car who I had been fighting with for the past couple of months. Something about this whole scenario told me that I distinctly didn't want to be surprised by him anymore. In fact, I officially hated surprises now thanks to him.
He drove in silence not attempting to make conversation with me and vice versa. Instead I focused on the radio, fiddling around without asking and changing the station multiple times until I found something good to listen to.
Eventually we pulled onto a brightly lit street with lots of people crowding around different bars on the sidewalk. He pulled into a parking garage and parked the car, getting out without waiting to see what I was going to do. I thought he was leaving me and sat in shocked silence before fumbling with my seatbelt and starting to open the door. I almost whacked him with it again as he attempted to open it for me and I practically sprung out.
His now familiar chuckle filled the silence as he appraised me with another expression of amusement.
"You can't wait. I try to be nice and open door and you almost hit me." He was trying to open the door for me? When was the last time that a man had opened my door? Peter? One of my aunt's boyfriends?
"Oh" was all I cleverly replied with, still trying to familiarize myself with the new situation I was in.
We walked down the bright street past numerous bars and crowds all enjoying their Friday evening. I was careful to keep distance between us as we walked even though his hand would sometimes rest on my back as he led me across the street and through thicker crowds. Several times I tried to move my body away from his but he would only press his hand harder against me as if he knew what I was doing and he was trying to antagonize me.
"In here" he commented leading me ahead of him into a bar/restaurant I didn't even have time to see the name of. All I could see was that it was crowded even though it was getting late- even for a bar.
"Will they still be serving food?" I wondered aloud not sure if he even heard me over the dim roar of the crowd. However the crowd was also our saving grace. No one noticed us slip in at all- not even the servers. He grabbed my hand without asking, again, and led me upstairs to a loft where more tables were set up and it was a little bit more quiet.
I headed towards a booth on instinct thankful that we would be able to put a thick, wooden table between us. I slid in and slipped off my jacket expecting him to sit down across from me like any other normal person would. Instead he slipped in next to me, forcing me to move over to adjust to his presence in the booth.
Now hip to hip, and shoulder to shoulder, I turned and scowled at him hoping he'd get the obvious hint and back the fuck off.
"There is such a thing as personal space" I warned him.
"More comfortable this way" he stated simply ignoring my hint. "Want to share something? I'm not hungry."
"If you weren't hungry, then why did you drag me out here?" I questioned getting progressively more irritated with him. I needed to be reminded again of why I was sitting in a bar at 1:30 in the morning with someone I was starting to hate.
A waitress appeared at our table saving him from having to answer my question. She took our orders with a girn on her face as she looked between the two of us. I knew instantly that she recognized him and I felt my eye twitch in barely restrained anger when she winked at me and commented, "It's nice when they still want to cuddle like that isn't it sweetie?"
Sweetie? We looked like we were the same age for fuck's sake! Who was she to call me sweetie?
Geno cut me off before I could say anything to the waitress and ordered us both a beer. "And the nachos" he decided shutting the menu in front of him and handing them over to her.
"You ordered for me?" I asked trying not to twitch from being so close to his long arm which he had tossed around the back of our booth. Even though it wasn't explicitly resting around me, I felt even more surrounded by him just from the knowledge that it was there.
"It made her go away fast, yes?"
I blinked realizing that he had a point and shut my mouth. He had made her go away. We waited in awkward silence until the waitress brought our beers over smiling at us again before moving away quickly. I used the beer as a shield, staring determinedly at the golden foam and ignoring the eyes that I could feel had settled on me.
"Are you mad still?" he asked breaking our silence first.
"I don't know if mad is the right word for it" I commented sarcastically. "Maybe enraged, irritated and hostile would be better choices" I said ticking the words off my fingers as I spoke.
"You do that on purpose?" he asked smirking and shifting his body a little so that his legs pressed firmly against mine as he turned towards me. The arm resting around the top of the booth slid a little lower so that one of his fingers could trail lightly around a stray piece of my hair.
"Do what?" I asked trying to scoot away from him. I was already pressed against the wall of the booth and realized that I had nowhere to go.
"Use big words. Words I don't know." My heart sped up again from how close our bodies were tucked away in the little booth. The side of my breast was pressed firmly against his side setting off all kinds of alarms in my body.
He was back to staring at me intently, his brown eyes even darker under the shade of his hat. His hair curled slightly out from underneath the hat brushing the top of his collar and I noted that he needed a haircut soon. I couldn't remember what we were talking about anymore and instead stared at the lips that were forming unheard words.
Funny how I hadn't noticed them before when they were actually touching mine.
The moment was lost when the waitress reappeared quietly setting the plate of hot nachos down on the table and clearing her throat awkwardly. "Enjoy your food" she said grinning and winking at us once again before disappearing.
His eyes flickered between my gaze and my lips and for a second I held my breath in both fear and anticipation. Instead he surprised me by leaning back and untangling his arm from the back of the booth.
I stared at him in shock as he began to fill up a small plate with nachos. He raised an eyebrow at me when I continued to stare, obviously confused by his sudden change of actions. Instead of saying anything, he simply pushed the other plate at me as if instructing me to eat too and forget about it.
I guess I had a lot to think about that night.