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"Not exactly what I was expecting when they said we'd be staying at the Ritz."

Scott took one look at the flickering neon marquee outside their destination, a squat puce-colored building that'd seen better days, and regretted letting their taxi drive away. This couldn't possibly be their hotel, could it? The sign did, however, proclaim them to be at the "Hotel Rits."

Tessa was standing next to him, eyebrows raised and one hand hovering at her mouth as she stared at their illustrious accommodations for the evening. But there was laughter rather than anger in her voice when she said, "Oh goodness, it's probably just a mix-up with the booking. I'll call Marina and have her contact the ISU."

She and Igor weren't coming until tomorrow because they'd had to accompany Maia & Alex to another meet. Scott scrubbed a hand over his face, frustrated and exhausted, as Tessa pulled out her phone. The flight to Bulgaria had been long, it was nearly midnight, and he hadn't been all that jazzed about doing this in the first place. The ISU had been adding all these pissant little competitions to their seasons for a few years now, proclaiming that it would be good for the sport, especially if the Olympic and World champions were on board. Not that they'd had much of a choice.

Scott glowered and shook his head. Like skating in some backwater burb of Bulgaria was going to "elevate the profile of ice dance." The only thing it was elevating was the coffers of the ISU who probably got a cut of the arena's ticket and concession sales. Annoyed, he scuffed his foot against the ground, kicking a rock idly and sending it skipping across the cracked pavement.

He looked up as Tessa walked back, a sheepish expression on her face. "So, do you want the bad news or, uh, the bad news?"

Great. Scott groaned. It was going to be a very long night.

***

And the hits just kept on coming. Turned out this charming establishment--which was remarkably sold out for the evening--had their reservation down for one room.

With one bed.

Now he and Tessa stood at the foot of the massive round mattress bedecked in black satin sheets, silently, their eyes agog. Apparently, it was a themed room... or something. Everything was black or red and in one corner there was a brass pole that ran from floor to ceiling. Scott half expected to see handcuffs dangling from the walls.

Tessa started walking around, carefully skirting by the stripper pole to open the door to the bathrooom. When she came out a moment later, her very pale skin actually looked slightly paler. “The shower’s quite...interesting,” she said in a slightly strangled voice.

Scott closed his eyes. This was just fantastic. He hadn’t gotten laid in nearly three months, because he’d broken up with Jess four weeks ago and things hadn’t exactly been great between them for ages before that. And now he was stuck sharing a bed in some kind of Bulgarian sex den with Tess.

Tess with her perfect skin and those big eyes and that body that he’d been having an increasingly hard time getting out of his mind lately.

Not that that was all that new honestly, but ever since they lost the GPF (silver was a loss, as far as he was concerned), and had to readjust their focus, it’d been worse than ever before. That infamous “bubble” they’d drawn around themselves, which all the media outlets seemed to love to soundbite, was effective clearly, considering they both had Worlds gold to prove it. But there’d been a price to pay too.

It was no surprise he was no longer with Jessica. Tess too had broken things off with that snowboarder she’d been seeing, though Scott thought they weren’t all that serious to begin with. No, he was the one who’d been in a long-term committed relationship (he’d happened to glance at Jess’s laptop one weekend and been shocked to see a whole wedding board on her pinterest account) and had been foolish enough to think blocking out everything other than his skating partner wouldn’t have consequences. The truth was you couldn’t spend ten hours day after day gazing deeply into the eyes of an extremely beautiful woman, one who knew you better than anyone else on the planet, twining your body with hers in all kinds of intimate contortions, and not expect to find yourself walking around with a perpetual case of blue balls.

Yeah, tonight was gonna be torture.

He sighed, resigned, and dropped his duffel on the floor, then flopped onto the bed, kicking his shoes off as he sank into the too-soft pillows. Scott shut his eyes, determined to just sleep off the wicked sense of anticipation and restlessness simmering under his skin. It was just another night, he told himself. Forget about the stupid room. The bed was huge; he wouldn’t even have to touch her.

But he felt the mattress dip next to him and then the unmistakable scent of that brown sugar body lotion Tessa liked filled his nose and he had to swallow hard. “Oh!” he heard, the soft, startled exclamation making his eyes open automatically. Then he blinked.

There was an enormous mirror mounted to the ceiling and Scott watched as a flush pinked the cheeks of the Tessa reflection above him. Then she giggled, actually giggled, one hand sliding across the satin coverlet to clutch his forearm, her body twisting slightly, curling towards him. “Oh my god,” Tessa choked out, slightly breathless from laughter now, “This place is surreal. I b-bet the bed vi-vibrates too!”

He blinked up at their reflection, the curved C of her body inviting him closer, and he could picture it all too easily, his overactive imagination conjuring an image of them twined together, moving in a rhythm more perfect than any of their choreography. A strangled groaning noise slipped from his throat.

“Scotty?” Tessa asked, confusion and concern ringing in her voice, and he had to roll away until she wasn’t touching him anymore, hugging one rounded edge of the bed. It was rude, but he didn’t want her to see the obvious wood he was sporting now, because that’d be another fifty-seven kinds of awkward on top of this already ridiculous situation.

“Hey, you okay?” Her fingers brushed tentatively against his back, just for a second, and Scott barely managed not to flinch away.

“Just tired,” he muttered. “G’night T.” Her fingers fell away, thankfully, and he screwed his eyes shut, clutching one of the superflous bed pillows tightly in his arms. It was a poor substitute for what he really wanted, but Scott’s gotten quite good at pretending.

***

He wasn’t sure if it was the moonlight cutting through a crack in the curtains or the smell of brown sugar that invaded his senses first, stirring him awake. But when his eyes opened, Tessa’s sleeping face was just inches away, silvery slivers of light gilding the curve of her cheek, the rise of a shoulder. The heavy stupor of sleep lingered as Scott pressed heedlessly closer, and his hand rose unconsciously, one finger reaching out to glide across the soft skin at her temple. He brushed the pad of it down the line of her jaw, automatically tracing a figure eight at the dip of her chin, and her long eyelashes fluttered upwards slowly.

Tessa’s mouth curved into an easy smile as she fixed a heavy-lidded stare on him. “Hi,” she breathed, voice barely audible. Scott had no earthly awareness of what he was doing, so he was powerless to stop it when his fingertip chased that curve of her mouth, rubbing against the soft seam of her lips.

“Hi,” he breathed back, but his head was already bending slightly, nose nudging her cheek. Their legs brushed, one of his knees slipping between hers as he slid closer. Scott’s arm snaked around her waist, and it was almost like holding Tess in one of their skating poses, their bodies loosely twined horizontally rather than vertically this time, faces pressed close enough for him to feel the heat of her breath on his skin.

But then suddenly it wasn’t like that at all, because Scott was shifting, breaching for the first time that untrespassed last inch between them. His mouth slipped over Tessa’s, their lips melding together finally, finally. And then they were kissing--real, not-pretend kisses, and Scott gathered Tessa closer, his arm tightening, as their lips pressed together, again and again. Soft kisses grew bolder, deeper, more urgent as the hunger stole through them.

Scott hooked a leg over hers, rolling Tessa under him, as he brought his hands up to cradle her face, kissing her deeply. His tongue glided back and forth across the soft cushion of her lower lip until she opened to him then dipped into the wet heat of her mouth. A throaty moan vibrated from Tessa and he pressed his hips into hers, making slow, careful work of exploring her mouth, a lifetime of curiosity finally being satisfied in the languid twining of lips and tongue and teeth.

Whenever he’d thought about him and Tessa finally getting together--and of course, he had thought about it plenty--Scott had never once imagined it happening like this. Without prelude or preamble, in a seedy motel room in the ass end of nowhere. But it occured to him now that none of the myriad ways he might have dreamed-- rose petals and candles, fancy dinners, impromptu trips to Paris--none of it could’ve made this moment any more perfect. Because it didn’t make a damn bit of difference where they were or what had led to this. It had all faded away like so much background noise. He was aware of nothing but them: the feel of her body against his, the taste of her on her lips, the sensations flooding him, transporting the two of them to their own private universe.

The bubble, he thought wryly, and his mouth curved into a smile against her skin.

“Scott?” Tessa breathed his name like a question, and he pulled back to look into her eyes. They were round and luminous, shining in the dark. “What are we doing?”

He froze, heart pounding as he stared down into her questioning face and tried to catch his breath. “I- I don’t know.” A cold trickle of fear slid down Scott’s spine. “Do you--,” he closed his eyes, and let his forehead fall, bumping lightly against Tessa’s as he braced for her answer, “do you want to stop?”

Silence filled the room for what was, without a doubt, the longest moment of his life.

“No.”

Tessa’s voice, quiet but strong, sent relief rushing through him, and a surge of adrenaline. Then they were moving again, limbs locking as their mouths fused once more. They rocked together, a new urgency overtaking them. Tessa grabbed his shoulders and hefted her weight, rolling Scott onto his back. Her knees straddled his hips as she sat up, arms rising to strip her sweatshirt off, then she reached down, hands skimming under his shirt, warm palms caressing his stomach and ribs, as she tugged at the fabric. He arced up obediently in a half crunch and reached back, pulling it over his head and tossing it into a far corner. Scott fell back to the mattress and pulled Tessa down with him, hands skating up her back to work the clasp of her bra. It was pink and lacy and normally he’d have a lot more appreciation for it, but right then all he cared about was removing it, a feat proving to be ridiculously impossible for his overeager fingers.

Tessa was laughing at him now, her hands reaching behind her back and batting his away as she unhooked the offending fabric easily. A devilish gleam stole into her eye as she stared down at him, smirking, and pushed just one strap down a creamy pale shoulder slowly, teasing him deliberately. Scott growled and yanked her back down to him, rolling on top of her once more and hooking the straps himself. He slid the lace down and off, then stopped, drinking his fill of the sight of her before closing his palms around the swells of her chest. Tessa’s laughter turned to gasps in his ear, as he rolled his thumbs over the pebbled stiffness of her nipples.

Scott thought he had known all the mysteries of Tessa’s body, years of partnership making him intimately familiar with its contours and curves, but he was rapidly discovering, with great pleasure, just how very wrong he was. He hadn’t known the soft weight of her breasts in his hands or the supple curve of her back arching into his touch when he slid his tongue into the shadowed valley of her cleavage. She moaned, the sound of it music to his ears, but Scott kept going, nipping and licking his way over her toned stomach, pausing to pop open the button of her jeans and draw them down her legs..

One look at the matching scrap of pink lace between her legs sent all the blood in his head rushing to his groin and Scott, murmured, almost to himself “God, you’re beautiful” into the soft skin beneath her navel. She said his name then, an embarassed, hushed uttering, but her hand crept down, fingers smoothing his hair back then threading through the long strands, and that was all the encouragement he needed. Scott hooked his thumbs beneath the lace thong and eased it down, his mouth covering each newly revealed inch of skin eagerly, reverently.

Then she was bare before him, pink, wet flesh beckoning and he pressed a line of kisses down the inside of one leg, then the other, before he grasped her hips and lowered his face between her thighs. Tessa hummed, long and low, and her fingers tightened in his hair as he pressed into her with lips and tongue, tasting her intimately.

If he’d stopped and thought about what he was doing and more importantly who he was doing it with, Scott’s brain might have broken, shattered into a million pieces. So he didn’t think, just lost himself in the soft sharp cries filling the quiet room as he licked and sucked at her until her body arced right off the bed and she came on his tongue.

Just the sight and feel of Tessa breaking like that, for him, had Scott rock-hard and straining for release too. He slid back up her body, pressed his lips to her ear, and didn’t even care that h was practically begging. “Please Tess, want you so much, need you, need to be inside--” but he didn’t even get to finish the thought before she answered him, assuring him just as urgently, “Yes, yes.

Then her strong hands were pushing against his chest, rolling him onto his back and Tessa was climbing on top of him, those hands fumbling his fly open. She yanked his jeans and briefs down, then wrapped cool fingers around his erection, stroking him as he groaned with pleasure. It felt so amazing that Scott was afraid he’d come immediately if she kept going, so he grabbed her wrist, gasping for her to stop. Tessa’s hand stilled, gripping him more loosely and then she shifted up onto her knees, straddling Scott’s hips. Anticipation thundered through him as he stared up at Tessa, locking eyes with her, and her free hand slipped into his, fingers twining and gripping tight, and then--then she was sinking down on him.

If he lived to be a hundred, Scott would never forget that moment, the look on Tessa’s face as her body enveloped him, the way her hand squeezed his and her eyes shined wetly above him, wonder and awe in her gaze. Bliss rippled through him and he reached up, curling his hand around the nape of her neck and pulling her down to kiss her. Their bodies were still except for the motion of their mouths for an endless stretch of time, and then Scott had to move or he’d burst. He shifted his hips up, pressing deeper, and Tessa moaned, and then they were moving, rocking and thrusting together, need making their movements urgent and fierce. Their synchronicity on the ice translated to this too, it seemed, because they slipped into a rhythm far quicker than they should have for a first time. In no time at all, they push and pull of their bodies gave way to pleasure and they climaxed, almost together, Tessa shuddering and spasming around him, just a moment before his own release spiraled through him, a white hot rush of pure bliss spreading through him from head to toe.

Scott wrapped both arms around Tessa hugging her tight to him as a languid contentment filled him. He pressed a kiss to the sweat-sheened skin of her temple, and before he could think twice about it was breathing out the words, “Love you.”

His breath caught at the inadvertent admission. The words weren’t anything he hadn’t said to Tessa a million times, but here, now, after what they just did, it meant something else entirely. For the first time in their relationship, Scott was actually afraid he might not hear it back. He didn’t regret it, he could never, but suddenly the reality sank in that this one impulsive mind-blowing night could change everything for them. For better...or for worse.

But then Tessa curled in his arms, pressing her lips to his neck in a kiss, before she said, “Love you too, Scotty,” just like always, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

A smile spread across Scott’s face as he stared up at their reflection in the mirror, pale limbs twined together, Tessa’s head pillowed on his chest.

Maybe it was.