I've been trying to get this right for over a week. Hopefully it lives up to my expectations for it!
Chapter song: "My, my, my"by Rob Thomas (I love this song, so romantic and good listen regardless)
It had been two days since Geno had spoken to me and I was past the point of being mildly amused by his childishness. Surprise, surprise to me. I was officially dating a child. Vero had rolled her eyes when I complained to her over coffee at Panera one night but I wasn't exaggerating. He hadn't come to my place all week and when I had invited him over for dinner the night before, he had brushed me off claiming that he had "things" to do.
What things? Like watching cartoons and getting food all over his couch while he scarfed down takeout? I had witnessed this before and it was the result of what happened when Geno is left to his own devices. It's not a happy thing to witness.
A small part of me had hoped that he would capitulate or ease up a little bit after his mother had visited me at my office. I had guessed that since she was on my side about not making a decision that could possibly hurt both of us in the long run, that she would tell him to back off and respect my decision.
Nope, it seemed like he was ignoring both his mother and me. Even making him sit for two extensive interviews hadn't gotten me so much as a snarl out of him. If it annoyed him to have to be so friendly with the cameras, he definitely wasn't letting on.
"Hey, Ava?" Lizzy Talbot poked her face through my office door first then shuffled the rest of her pregnant self through the door as I motioned her in. She was one of my favorite people in the entire organization simply because she handled her husband so well. It took quite a woman to manage Maxime Talbot and she did it effortlessly. It also sort of helped that she seemed to be in a perpetual state of pregnancy. Max it seemed, was a total and complete softy when it came to his wife and their children- future or otherwise.
"What can I do for you Mrs. Talbot?" I grinned, watching her park herself in one of the chairs facing my desk and stretch her feet out in front of her.
"A foot rub maybe?"
"Nice try. That's what your husband is for."
She sighed suddenly looking very forlorn. "Road trip starts tomorrow and I can't reach my own feet anymore."
"Poor baby" I laughed, grateful that I could still see my feet.
"Yeah, you laugh at me now. But wait until it happens to you my friend." I laughed until I realized exactly what she had implied and felt a peculiar sense of terror grip my throat. Lizzy glanced at my face and smiled knowingly.
"So how's your own romance going with everyone's favorite russian?"
"Actually, not so good right now." I wondered if she had come here for something or just to shoot the breeze. "He's sort of mad at me right now."
"Well we should go get drinks soon and talk about it. Well you can drink. I'll have coke."
I laughed remembering the bun in her oven. "You know where to find me" I smiled. Is that what you came here for?"
"Actually no. I have some licensing forms that Geno needs to sign. He didn't show up for his meeting with me yesterday and I'm too tired and pregnant to hunt him down. Thus, why I came to visit you. You're the only one that gets him to do anything around here that's not directly hockey related."
"He didn't show up for a meeting?" I was pissed off. He was assistant captain for god's sakes. When management told you to do something, you did it. Especially since Mario Lemieux was the reigning king around here.
"Nope. And like I said, in my current condition, I only have the strength to chase my own hubby around."
"Well I'll make sure he signs the papers" I said taking them and placing them in my inbox.
"Thanks. And by tomorrow please? It's a licensing agreement from Reebok so it's in his best interest to sign it asap. Especially since they're a little angry right now. They can't promote his big russian face if he doesn't sign the papers."
"Well it will be taken care of, believe me."
"Thanks, Ava. Well, drinks soon? Call me this week. Especially if you and Geno still haven't patched it all up, okay?"
"Thanks, I will. Make sure you stay off your feet more today."
"Yeah, yeah" she waved my suggestion off bustling out the door at her typical light-year speed.
Later when I had time to get away from my office for awhile, I decided to take my lunch break away from the office and try to hunt down where Geno was hiding. He couldn't have been at the arena because the team was leaving tomorrow for Montreal and Coach Bylsma had given the boys the day off.
I got in my car and drove to his house first knowing that would be the most logical place to look for him on an off day. Generally on his off days, he slept around the house and did little things that he usually didn't have time for- like grocery shopping.
I pulled into his driveway hoping that he was home so that I didn't have to go anywhere else. He was already going to make it hard on me by (probably) fighting with me and I didn't want to have to put more effort into this than was already necessary. Not to mention I was only able to take so much time away from the office without it looking strange or having to stay really late at night.
Stepping carefully on the slightly slippery sidewalk, I reached the front door and pressed the doorbell twice before starting to pray that someone would open the door. I heard heavy footsteps walking through the hallway and let out a sigh of relief- someone was home. Probably him.
I watched his shadow reach the door then peak at me through the clouded glass next to the door. As soon as he could make me out, his shadow turned and walked away from the door.
"Hey!" I yelled, so angry at him that I didn't even care that I was yelling on his stoop like a psycho. "Don't you dare walk away from me right now!"
Breathing heavily and feeling red from my face to the tips of my toes, I waited before I heard his footsteps approaching the door again. Seconds later he opened the door with a blank expression on his face.
"What do you mean 'what'?' He was dressed in the type of sweats that I usually loved to cuddle up next to him in and he didn't look happy to see me. Tough luck, bud.
"Come in," he said tugging me in from the cold. "You going to get sick."
"Thanks" I mumbled rubbing my hands in front of me. At least he cared enough to not let me freeze on the front steps while we had it out. I was sick of him ignoring me and acting immaturely about my decision. Sure, I hadn't exactly said yes or no yet but he was already acting like I had shot him down. Just because I couldn't do things impulsively like he could didn't mean that I wasn't just as committed to our relationship as he was.
However, given the way he had been treating me, I wasn't so sure that I needed to commit myself to someone who wanted to punish and ignore me as soon as I didn't fall in line with his plans. That had happened to me before and it wasn't happening again.
"We have to talk" I told him as I peeled off my gloves and stuffed them into my coat pockets. I walked ahead of him and into the kitchen to open up my briefcase containing the papers that he needed to sign. "Lizzy Talbot stopped by my office this morning to tell me that you hadn't signed these yet."
I passed the papers across to him and rolled a pen in his direction too. "They're for Reebok and you need to sign them for licensing."
He nodded and glanced over the papers as a cursory measure before signing his name and re-capping my pen.
"Why did you skip out on your meeting with Lizzy, Geno?"
His eyes met mine for a moment before he covered what I suspected was a fake yawn with his hand. "Don't know, I forgot I had it" he said stretching his arms high over his head and brushing me off. It was more than he had actually said to me in days and it still wasn't enough. What was wrong with him that he was treating me like this?
"Evgeni," I said using his first name. "Talk to me. Please."
He stared at me for a second before doing the most maddening action ever: shrugging and pushing himself away from the counterspace. "There is nothing to talk about."
"Where are you going now?" I asked watching him start to leave the kitchen.
"To take nap."
He left me standing in the kitchen alone, finally at my wits end. I was awfully sick of watching him ignore me and walk away after every one of our discussions lately. Still, it seemed like there was something else wrong here. Either that or my original suspicions were correct and one of the most intimidating players in the NHL was actually just a big baby on skates.
He had a head start ahead of me so when I finally reached the doorway of his bedroom, he was already laying down, facing the opposite wall on his side. I stepped out of my shoes and slid my suit jacket off leaving me feeling a little bit more comfortable in just my skirt and silky blouse. I crept over to the other side of the bed and slid my body in next to his so that I was spooning him. It was a little awkward to try to fit my arm over the expanse of his broad back but my body instantly warmed just from the feel of him. I hadn't been able to so much as hug him for days.
I squeezed my arm around him tighter and lifted myself high enough to brush my lips over the back of his neck. I knew he was awake from the sound of his breathing and just hoped that he would respond to me in some way. I didn't like being at odds with him and hated that we were playing the avoidance game.
After what felt like an eternity, he started to pull away and sat up. My heart stopped thinking that he was going to be a jerk and get out of the bed but instead he turned to face me and laid back down beside me. He pulled me tight against him and I breathed out a sigh of relief as his lips brushed my temple. We stayed like that for a moment before I had to ask him what was on my mind.
"Why are you really mad at me?" I asked turning so that we were now laying nose to nose. "Because I haven't agreed to move in with you yet?"
He ignored my question and shut his eyes, effectively shutting me out at the same time. "Stay, sleep with me." His grip tightened around me as if he wanted me to stay but I couldn't lie there with him when there was some sort of pink elephant in the room that only he could see.
"No, stop it. Stop ignoring me and just tell me what's wrong." Normally I couldn't get him to leave me alone and stop talking and now I was practically pulling teeth to get him to open up.
His eyes slitted open and from up close, I could see the anger and something else behind his pupils. "Okay, why did you live in apartment of other man before me?"
"What? you mean Peter?" I didn't see why this was relevant to our situation. Even though Geno had mostly gotten the details of my failed engagement from Max's big mouth, we rarely discussed the fact that I had been engaged. He didn't know a lot about my life in New York and to be honest, I liked it better that way. I didn't like the person that I had become in New York and I didn't see the point in sharing that with Geno either. If it wasn't who I was in the present, then why did it matter?
"Yes, you live with Peter", he spat his name out angrily, "a man who no respect you, but you no live with me?"
I struggled to keep up with the sudden range of emotions he was expressing. His accent had thickened and he switched into russian quickly to further tell me how angry he was at me. About Peter.
"So this is about my ex-fiancé?" I pushed myself into a sitting position to look down at him in utter confusion. I had no idea how he had twisted up our relationship with my previous relationship but I really wanted to hear his explanation.
"Yes!" He yelled, looking at me like I was the stupid one. His eyes flicked between me and the ceiling and I stared at him feeling stuck between exasperation and amusement.
Suddenly it made sense, stupid girl that I was. He was jealous. The big lug actually thought I still had feelings for someone who had wronged me so completely. And he actually thought that was the reason why I wouldn't move in with him.
Couldn't he see that because I had lived and learned from one relationship, I was trying to do better in another? I wouldn't lie and say that I hadn't felt like it was the right step when I moved in with Peter. It had seemed like the next logical step in our relationship and for awhile, everything had been fine.
What I felt now for Geno was definitely different than what I had felt for Peter then but that didn't mean that I had to move in with him. I wanted better for this relationship and I wanted to do things right. Waiting awhile longer just seemed like the right thing to do. Why rush when if we kept working and building our relationship, we had plenty of time in the future to live together and fight for more room in the bed?
"Geno, look at me" I leaned over him so that he couldn't look at anything but me. "I still want to wait longer before I move in with you. But it isn't because I'm still in love with Peter."
"I'm not in love with Peter" I repeated leaning down to brush my lips against his cheek. I should have hated the fact that this was why he had been avoiding and ignoring me lately but instead I just wanted to hug him. I climbed over him and straddled his hips so that it was impossible for him to ignore me.
His body remained rigid but at least he was looking at me. I waited until his hands gripped my waist to meet his lips gratefully. God I had missed kissing him. I missed how he took his time and how he brushed our lips back and forth, as if he wanted it to last forever. When he did that, I wanted it to last forever too.
His hands tightened on my waist and he groaned. I smiled against his lips knowing that I had finally broken through his defenses. Not that I was going to be able to defend myself from him much longer either. He flipped us over so that I lay beneath him, more than happy to accept his body weight on mine. As he kissed me, his hands slowly undid the buttons of my silk blouse and spread the fabric open to reveal my chest. He kissed the valley between my breasts and I felt his hand sliding beneath the fabric of my skirt to rub the ultra-sensitive skin of my thighs.
"Shirt off, now" I breathed heavily trying to keep my thoughts straight. He leaned off of me slightly so that I could help him pull it off then we both removed my bra so that we were chest to chest, breathing together like it was a team effort.
I closed my eyes while he continued to drive my nerve endings insane and relished in the feeling of being whole again. We weren't simple by any means but when we were together like this, a sense of security that I had never felt before settled over me. He made me feel like I was a person who deserved more than what I usually settled for.
I opened my eyes gasping as he did something new and wicked with his tongue before sliding back up to my mouth and stroking the inner crevices of my mouth with his tongue. We were both too impatient to play this game anymore and I snaked my legs around his waist as a hint to get things moving.
He smiled impishly and spoke to me in russian as he pushed a sweaty tendril of hair back from my forehead. Well two could play that game. I bucked my hips watching as his eyes rolled back and he hissed out a breath.
"Now, Geno" I told him, sliding my hand through his sweats and to the core of him. For the first time in my life, I felt powerful in the best way possible. I was a woman who was capable of bringing a man to his surrender just by being myself.
We rolled and he lifted his hips so that he could shimmy out of his sweats while I enjoyed the sight beneath me. My hair had fallen out of its bun at some point and pieces of it dangled around my head shadowing us in it's inky curtain. We watched each other as I slid him inside of me and he brought me down to kiss him while I set the pace between us.
He had been setting the pace in our relationship for as long as we had been dating and it felt good to finally be the one setting the pace and getting back to a place where we were both even.
He turned me to face him when we were finished and I slid my leg between his where it fit best while both of us caught our breath. I had no idea how I was going to go back to work after what had just happened and the knowledge that I had practically just ravished him made me want to smugly stay in bed with him for the rest of the day and keep reminding him of it.
"Let's not fight again. Unless we get to have make up sex like that again." I smiled as he laid there thoughtfully.
'I'll just say something bad, you get mad, then we do it again" he grinned the boyish smile that I like best and I gave him another lingering kiss.
"I'm sure you won't have to try very hard" I joked laughing when he playfully smacked my bare butt.
"You have to work?" he asked glancing at his watch on the bedside table. I nodded wishing more than anything that I could stay in this same position all day. The thought of spending the rest of the afternoon doing paperwork was dreadful.
"Go shower, I make something to eat." He pulled me up and out of bed and lead me into the bathroom. "Use soap, you need it" he laughed when I pushed him away from me and caught sight of myself in the mirror. He was right though. I needed to completely re-put myself back together before I stepped foot back in that office. I also needed to find a turtleneck on short notice from all of the marks he had left on my neck.
I was contemplating whether or not I should allow him into the shower with me when the phone rang in the bedroom. He sighed and stepped away after reaching around me to turn the water on in the shower.
"Go, I'll answer."
I nodded and smiled as I stepped under the hot spray. Everything was almost perfect now and I wanted to hit the pause button on life and just enjoy it the way that it was. Someone really needed to invent that button asap.