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well worth the wait

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Ilderton, Ontario, Canada - March 2018

People are always asking about their relationship. And not just the media: their friends, their families, their coaches and trainers also ask. Everybody asks. Spend enough time with them and eventually THAT question is gonna pop up. "Are you friends? Best friends? Lovers? Friends with benefits? Dating? Hooking up?" Scott understands why. He knows why. Contrary to what most people might think, he’s not stupid nor he is completely oblivious. It’s this thing between them, whatever you want to call it, chemistry, sexual tension, friendship, partnership, attraction, love. How do you even boil that down to just one word, one thing, one term that would perfectly express and encompass what they have?

And they play with it. The confusion. The not knowing for sure. The wondering. It’s good PR. It’s good marketing. Tessa is cunning about these kind of things. She understands how it works and she’s willing to play the game. She relishes in it a bit. He does too. And if they’re completely honest with themselves, they’re not even hyping it up. The way they play is the way they are. The words, the whispers, the touching, the hands, the hugs, the dancing and their programs. It’s just what they always had. Cameras are just picking up on it, magnifying what is there for the world to see. 

What do you even call spending every day together from sun up to sun down for the last 20 years? Well, almost every day. How do you define that kind of relationship? How do you even begin to try to explain it to the outside world? The joys, the pains, the heartbreaks, the elation, the depression, the work, the highest highs and the lowest lows. 20 years spent holding hands. 20 years of growing together. 20 years spent skating and dancing with and around each other. 

It boggles Scott. What are they supposed to answer to that question? There's not enough words in the English language to describe what they have. How do you even fucking try?The closest word would be soulmates. But then again it has that Disney happily ever after connotation that their story never had.

It boggles Tessa too. So they came up with a party line from which you try your hardest to never deviate: business partners, business relationship, platonic skating partners, friends, actors, storytellers. Or any combination of those words put together. And they're also flattered. Very flattered that people would actually care about them so much to think they're actually together. And proud. So proud. It's a testament to a job well done. Yes, very flattering. A nicely canned prepped answer ready to be drawn every time someone asks THAT question. The Virtue Moir word bingo. He's pretty sure his brothers have gotten hammered on that drinking game. It's easier to always repeat the party line rather than actually asking themselves the very same question. 

It's actually a little annoying they both think. Mostly because people and journalists don't have any idea how fucking hard it is. The work, the pain, the dedication, the sacrifices, the self denial. But then again, how would they, when they're not even able to put it into words.

It's a funny little relationship that they have.  

It's complicated. 

Scott ponders this as he stares at the ceiling of his childhood bedroom. Last night, his parents and his relatives threw him a big welcome home party and after a few beers, he wasn't in any state to get himself to his own house. After months and months of a strict no alcohol regimen, it took very little to get him completely sloshed. It's well past 12 pm and his head is still hurting. 

He knows he has to come down at some point and face the music. He's sure his mom has already prepared him a giant glass of orange juice with a side of two Tylenols.

His phone vibrates and he has to make a genuine effort to roll himself over to the nightstand to get it. 

Hey there sleeping beauty!

That's Tessa. There's actually four more follow up messages. 

Missed you this morning. 

The kids did as well.

Oh fuck. Yep. He has completely forgotten that he was supposed to go meet and talk to kids with Tess at her sister-in-law's school. Fuck. She even sent pictures. Well, at least it seems like they had a good time. And she looks good for someone who just travelled for 24 hours straight just the day before. But then again, she always does. 

"Well hello there Scott," she picks up on the first ring.

"Hey T, I'm so sorry. I completely forgot," he starts apologizing. She giggles on the other end of the phone. "Why didn't you call me?"

"No worries. I called your mom actually." Of course she did. "She told me you were out like a light and I'd rather you just sleep it off, party man." She giggles again. She seems in a good mood. 

"It looked like you had fun, eh?" he notes, finally gathering enough strength to sit up and rub his eyes. "How's the cold?" She was so sick after the free dance, at the gala and on the plane, he can't imagine she's feeling 100% today.

"It was so so much fun. The kids really had interesting questions and they loved the medals. I told them you were still sleeping by the way. They had a good laugh at that. The cold is getting better. Slowly. The drugs have started working, so that's good," she replies and he can hear the smile in her voice. 

"I bet they did and I'm glad you're feeling better."

"How's the head?"

"Could be better," he yawns. "Hey, have you eaten yet? You could stop by," he offers. He knows his mom would love to have her over. 

"Oh, that's nice but my brother is taking me out to lunch and I have another school visit this afternoon. Remember?" 

"I vaguely seem to recall." God his head is pounding. His body needs to get used to alcohol again. "Do you want me to come to this one?" he asks, even though he's in no rush to get out of bed and see the light of day. 

"No that's fine, you just nurse that hungover," she says and pauses. There's a bit of a silence. 

"Tess?" he asks, wondering if she's okay.

"It's weird, eh?" she finally sighs. "This morning, waking up alone and not going to breakfast with all of the team. Not going to practice with you."

"I know what you mean," he says softly. "I feel like I can't come down off this high."

"Yeah same," she says. "I miss you though," she pauses again, "which is crazy because we've been stuck to each other for the past month. It's just weird. It's only been one day," she rambles.

People often thinks he's the emotional one and Tessa's the cerebral one. But truth is, he knows that's only a facade. Tessa is overly sensitive, she feels too much and internalizes everything. That cold front is just there to protect herself from feeling too vulnerable and exposed. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He couldn't be guarded even if he tried. 

"I miss you too, Tutu," he replies tenderly. "How about you come over to my place to eat tonight? We could talk, watch a movie," he suggests. They are so codependent, it's not even funny.

"Sure, that'd be nice. I'll bring food," she says. "I have to go, my brother's calling me. See you tonight."

He barely has the time to reply back and she has already hung up.

Tessa. Tess. T. Tutu. 

How did they end up here, with five fucking Olympic medals?

What the fuck are they going to do now? 

*

Ilderton, Ontario, Canada - 1998

Tessa still can't believe they actually paired her up with the youngest Moir boy. His aunt Carol thought they would be a good fit and they are. They're almost the same size and he really loves to skate. He always tries to go as fast as he can. He has to be reminded at least once a day that he's an ice dancer now and not a hockey player.

But that's okay. Scott is really nice and outgoing. He makes her feel at ease. She doesn't really like all the other skaters, she's kind of a loner. But he's the best. He talks a bit and holds her hand. It was quiet at first between them, but now it's better. His mom told him to make an effort because she's so shy. It's your job to protect her now, she had said, Tessa is two years younger than you, it's up to you to look out for her. She's happy about that. She knows she can count on him.

They've been skating together for almost a year now. They even dated for a bit. He kissed her and everything. That felt nice. Their parents thought it was so cute, their little love story as they called it, but Tessa didn't think it was cute at all. It made her hands sweaty and her heart race. And sweaty palms are a no-go when you're an ice dancer. Eventually, they broke it off. Well, he did. She thinks it's mostly because his friends made fun of him. She doesn't care all that much. The kissing was nice. But she wants to win. And she still gets to hold his hand every day, so that's fine. And they dance. 

If there's one thing that she loves most in this world, it's to dance. She takes so many dance classes. She could be a ballerina if she wanted to. She has even been accepted to the National Ballet School this summer. That's going to be weird: spending a summer outside the skating rink and without Scott. 

"Hey Tutu," Scott starts with a worried tone in his voice, one morning before practice, "you're not really mad that we don't date anymore, right?" 

Tessa finds the question weird, she thought she had been pretty clear on the phone. "No, Scott, it's okay. We still get to skate together, that's all that matters to me." 

"Me too," he says, obviously relieved. "That's all that matters to me too. You're the best partner I've had."

"I'm the only partner you've ever had, Scott," she giggles. 

"That's why you're the best one," he says with a smile as he takes her hands into his to bring her closer and then engulfs her in a hug. 

"Promise me something Scott," Tessa says gravely. She's still in his arms. She likes it here. She's always cold and everything about Scott is warm. 

"Anything T," he replies, his voice muffled against her scarf. 

"We need to promise each other that if one of us falls or trips or makes a mistake that we won't be mad and won't hold it against the other. Never ever. We need to." Her voice is a little shaky and even if she's only 9 and he's 11, Scott knows she means business. 

"Of course Tess, I promise. No anger, no blame, no grudges," he says pulling back from the hug and looking straight into her eyes. He's never noticed until now how green they are. 

"No anger, no blame and no grudges," she repeats, holding his gaze firmly. 

They don't even need to pinky swear. These words are binding. 

*

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada - 2002

13 and 15 is an awkward age. While other teenagers their age are probably busy with their homework or thinking about their first kiss, Tessa and Scott are waiting for their turn to skate at the Canadian Skating Championships.

All the regular friends they don't have, all the parties they never went to, all the outings that they missed. Normal stuff sacrificed for a common goal. They don't even feel like they missed much to be honest. And this moment, this is it. The first time. 

"Ready, Tess?" Scott asks, warming his hands with his breath so they're not too cold before laying them on her back. 

"First championship," she replies. "Can't believe it."

"It's only novice level," he says with a smile, but she knows he's nervous. 

"I know," she says. He keeps stroking her back reassuringly. The feel of her bare skin under his hand brings a comfort and a quietness to his mind that no words can explain. 

"It's gonna to be okay, you'll see," he answers with a confidence that nears cockiness. 

"No anger, no blame, no grudges," she promises.

"No anger, no blame, no grudges," he repeats back to her, kissing her on the cheek. 

When they're finally done skating, the only thing they can hear is the loud cheering of their families. They won bronze. Third place. It almost brings tears to Scott's eyes. All the more so when he looks at Tessa. Even though she hides it well, he knows she's almost on the brink of tears herself. Her hands are shaking.

"We did it!" she exclaims joyously, falling into his arms.

"We did it!" he concurs, holding her tighter. 

They keep talking about their performance backstage while they remove their skates and gather their things. They can't seem to stop talking about it. Excitement is high and contagious. They don't even notice when two figures enter the room. 

"That was a very good skate," the woman says with an accented voice. 

"It really was," the man agrees, the same accent in his voice. 

When Tessa looks back up, her eyes widen and her mouth nearly hangs open. That's Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon. And they look even better in real life than they do on TV. They just won the silver here at senior level. 

Tessa and Scott exchange a look of utter wonderment. Is this real life? 

They can only mutter some thank you and some words about how much they love and admire them. How much they want to be just like them when they're older.

"You keep working hard and you keep skating clean and you have a bright future ahead of you," Marie-France says. 

"Thank you so much," Tessa says. 

"It means a lot," Scott carries on.

"There is a lot of potential inside of you. We can see it. You keep at it," Patrice says finally before coming to squeeze their hands and kiss their cheeks. 

"Can you believe that just happened?" Scott asks once they're gone. 

"Not really," Tessa says shaking her head. "Can you imagine how cool it would be if they were our coaches?"

"Haha, dream on, Tutu," Scott laughs as he rubs her head, messing her hair. "Those two are not retiring any time soon."

"You want a snack?" Tessa asks, rummaging through her bag and handing him a protein bar. "I'm always famished after skating."

He grabs the bar quickly and starts inhaling it. "What would I do without you, T?" he laughs, his mouth full. 

"Well, obviously, you'd starve," she smiles back.

 *

Ilderton, Ontario, Canada - March 2018 

"I brought snacks," Tessa yells as she lets herself into Scott's house with her key.

She hears a rumble and curse words being uttered from upstairs and can't help laughing. He's been going to bars with his brothers all day and probably isn't quite ready yet. Even though she told him what time she would come at. 

She moves towards the kitchen to put away the groceries and she notices on the way how messy the house is. He's just been back one day and there's already clothes, hockey gear and suitcases all over the place. 

She shakes her head. Plus les choses changent… the more they stay the same. She hears quick footsteps coming down the stairs. 

"I need to get dressed and then I'm all yours," Scott says as he appears in the kitchen's archway only dressed in a towel. 

All the years of seeing him half naked, feeling his body through cotton, lycra and mesh, putting her hands on his body and him putting his on hers have not desensitized Tessa to the sight of Scott. It brings back memories from an ancient time. Especially when he's half naked with only a towel knotted at his waist and dripping water all over the place. Even his hair is wet. His thick gorgeous hair. 

Tessa's mouth almost hangs open. "No problem," she manages to say, trying to keep her composure. "I'll just get started on dinner." 

Why does this feel so fucking different? She has seen him half naked more than a thousand times. How many dress fittings did they have in their whole careers? A fuck ton, that's how many. Why does her heart keep skipping a beat? 

"Dinner's already heating up, Tess," Scott says as he points to the oven. "I went and got take out from my uncle's restaurant."

"Oh, that's nice. Well, I'll just put the groceries away in your fridge and start setting up the snacks," she answers as Scott disappears back upstairs to get dressed. 

She needs to get a fucking grip. Like right fucking now. What is happening? Everything feels different now. Maybe it's all the recent questions about their relationship status that are finally messing with her head. 

Her hands put themselves to work on the snacks but her mind is elsewhere, analyzing and overanalyzing everything. She had gone unhealthy on the snack front: they earned it. Tonight, they celebrate with chips, popcorn, gummy bears and beer. 

Snacks in colorful bowls and ice cold beers go onto the coffee table as Tessa settles into the comfy couch and turns on the TV. The mindless chatter of the latest news helps her keep a clear head. She spies a little pile of DVDs next to the player and just realizes now how much thought Scott actually put into this evening. Is this a date? Oh my fucking God, is this a date? Of course it's not. They had their chances in the past and they always blew it.

Tessa doesn't have time to ponder more on the subject because she hears padded footsteps coming down the stairs and up behind her. She feels Scott's body leaning into the couch, into her, from behind and his lips kissing the side of her neck. He loves that spot.

"Hi T," he whispers gently against her skin. The kiss is light and airy. Like a warm summer breeze coming through the curtains on a scorching night to land on sweaty overheated skin. A delicious shiver makes its way up her spine. And then… his lips are gone. 

"Hey," she whispers back, her breath a bit caught in her throat. "What's up?"

She watches him plop himself next to her on the couch, a handful of gummy bears in his hand. He's wearing dark blue sweatpants and a tight grey shirt. No man should be allowed to look this good in sweatpants. 

"Not much. I slept half the day and then went to drink some more with my brothers. Let me tell you, my liver is not very happy with me at the moment," he jokes, a smile on his face. "I got a call from Sam, though."

"Oh yeah? So did I!" Tessa cries out. "He was so so happy and so excited for us."

"Yeah, he spent fifteen minutes reliving every step of the program on the phone with me. And he got interviews lined up for the next two weeks at least."

"Yeah, that's crazy. I caught him on Salut Bonjour but I couldn't follow everything he was saying. French Canadians speak so fast." 

"I'm sure he only said good things," Scott says with a smile. They exchange looks and Tessa knows that Scott knows that they asked Sam that question. 

"I need to get used to French again," Tessa says, helping herself to some popcorn. "We have to get back to Montréal at some point."

"I know," Scott sighs, "this is gonna be so weird. I know Sam is excited about choreographing for Stars on Ice. He's already full of ideas. It just can't compute that competition is over for us."

"I'm going to miss it so much," Tessa agrees, "but it's not like it's the end of our careers. We're still going to skate together. We're always going to skate together." Tessa looks at him softy. "And I don't know if you've had a look at our spring/summer schedule lately but it's jam packed. You're gonna get sick of me."

"Hasn't happened in 20 years, T," he says snuggling closer to her on the couch and putting his arm around her. "Not gonna happen now."

"Nivea's going to announce the partnership any day now," Tessa says, changing the subject. "I'm kinda scared and super excited at the same time."

"It's so great for you!" Scott says squeezing her shoulder. "First Canadian brand ambassador! You should be proud," he continues, locking eyes with Tessa. "I'm so proud of you."

"Yeah…" she says softly. "Plus, a ton a free skincare," she laughs. "You can't say no to that."

"True," Scott concurs. "So, what's your schedule like in the next few days? I know we have that media tour in Toronto soon. That I haven't forgotten," he laughs. 

"I have to go to Toronto on Tuesday for some PR and marketing meetings, Wednesday I have press all day and then that Nivea event. Remember, I told you about that."

"I remember you asking me to be your plus one…" Scott replies rolling his eyes. 

"Would you? Pleaaaaaase?" she whines softly, batting her eyelashes and smiling wide. It makes her dimples appear. Oh, she's good. She knows exactly what she's doing. She knows he can never resist her when she's like this, smiling up at him like he hangs the moon and the stars.

"I love you Tess, I do, but there's not enough smiles you can throw my way that will make me attend a skincare event," he laughs. "Even for you. Plus, all the spotlight should only be on you. That's not going to happen if you take me."

How weird to hear those three little words. Tessa has heard them at least a thousand times coming from Scott. He's always been very open and profuse with the way he feels and his displays of emotions. But tonight, with their bodies so close together and their shared warmth, it plays tricks on her mind and body. Her pulse races and her palms get sweaty like they used to do when they were kids and had to hold hands for the first time. So weird. She hasn't felt that way for Scott in a long time. A time that's never spoken of. A time that's best left in the past and should only be remembered in the dark solitude of a locked bedroom.

"It was worth a shot," Tessa shrugs with an impish smile. "Want a beer?" she asks as she leans towards the coffee table to get two bottles. 

"Sure," Scott replies, his hand lightly stroking her back. 

He is so handsy she's not sure her heart can take it. At some points in their career, dark points, they had both become completely desensitized to the other's touch, it didn't feel like anything special, they had lost their 'magic' for a little while. Thinking about such times seems so ridiculous now. Every touch seems amplified, multiplied by a thousand. She feels his hand stroking her back all the way down to her toes. The electricity between them… it's real. It's tangible, you can taste it in the air. She's sure it could fuel a small city for a month.

She hands him a beer and watches him closely as he uncaps the bottle on the side of his coffee table before handing it back to her and doing the same for this own bottle. God, how is he so sexy in every moves he makes… Does he also feel the tension in the air?

"You know, I don't think we'll ever have to pay for a drink again in our lives. I got free beers all day today," he smiles clinking his bottle with hers.

"That's certainly a perk. We should enjoy it while it lasts," Tessa replies with an underlying seriousness in her voice.

"So, I'll meet you in Toronto for the press tour after your little beauty convention? Sound good?" he asks in between gulps of beer. 

"It's a plan," she agrees, making note to remind him of the dates at a later time. 

The timer in his kitchen goes ding and he immediately gets up and goes to the kitchen. Dinner's ready. Tessa can smell all the deliciousness from afar. It smells like indulgence embodied: pizzas and cheese and chili nachos that he sets on the coffee table in front of them. 

"So, movie?" he asks getting the DVDs. "I got some of Audrey's best work for you here." 

Tessa is in no mood for Audrey tonight. "How about something a little more action packed?" she suggests. 

Scott's eyebrows raise in surprise. In 20 years, he has rarely seen Tessa refuse to watch some Audrey. Does she feel the electricity in the air between them? He can still feel his hand tingle from where he touched her earlier. Does she know? Does she know how crazy she drives him? 

"Sure," he replies while looking for another movie. "Jackpot!" he cries out. "How about some Tarantino?" he offers, holding a Kill Bill DVD.

Her heart skips a beat.

"Great, I love Kill Bill," Tessa answers somewhat truthfully. "Put it on and come back here, I'm getting cold."

"Here, I have some extra blankets," he says, getting up to get one from the closet. 

The opening credits have already started rolling as Tessa makes herself more comfortable on Scott's couch. How will she go through this night without hyperventilating?

"There you go," he says manipulating her body, her back, off the couch to wrap a cozy white blanket around her. 

Satisfied with how she's currently swaddled, Scott sits back on the couch and nestles himself closely against her body wrapping himself with what remains of the blanket.

He brings back her body to his. "You good?" he checks, putting his arm around her and letting her head rest on his chest. 

"I'm good," she nods. 

Tessa lets herself sink into the warmth and the clean, just showered, scent of his body. Scott's arm around her shoulder feels like a hot poker and his hand drawing circles on her arm does not help the matter. 

Does he do this on purpose? Does he remember?

He has to.

*

Canton, Michigan, USA - 2003

Tessa doesn't like Canton: she doesn't like her host family who is kind of mean, she doesn't like their new coaches, she doesn't like the city, its people nor the other skaters at the rink. 

She knows that Marina Zoueva is the best there is. She knows she will help them get that medal. She will help them get better, they will learn so much. She knows all of that. But that doesn't stop her from being sad. She's sad a lot these days. Everything is hard and cold here. When they were training back in Canada, everything and everyone was warm and nice. It's not the same here. She has no friends and she's pretty sure that none of the other Canton skaters like her. 

Everybody likes Scott though. He's the goofy outgoing Canadian skater that everyone just seems to love. Tessa can't blame them for loving him though. He is nice, funny and extroverted. Nobody likes a loner… And that's exactly who she is. 

She's so lucky she has Scott to rely on. He got his driving licence not too long ago and he drives her everywhere: the grocery store, the mall, to school, to practice and home. He doesn't even seem to mind. She's a bit clingy she supposes but he really is her lifeline in an ocean of strangers. 

They just got back from Eastern Europe when they had their first Junior Grand Prix. They even placed in the top 10. She's still jet lagged but the work never stops and that's why even on a Friday night, she's still practicing at the rink while Scott is doing cardio upstairs.

"Hey Tess," he kind of yells as he gets down to the rink. She almost doesn't hear him over the music. "It's almost 8 already, I need to get you home." 

Tessa skates over to the edge to talk to him properly. He's still all sweaty. "Don't you want to practice a bit more? We could skate together for a little bit," she says softly, looking down.  

"My legs are fried," he starts to say but he notices right away the way her face falls. "What's wrong?" 

"Nothing," she shrugs, "I just don't really want to go yet. I'd like to practice a bit more."

"I can tell something's wrong, Tess," Scott notes. "And you don't need to practice that much. You've been here since 7 this morning. You train harder than any other skater here."

She fiddles with the edge of the rink, her head still down. "You can never practice too much, Scott." 

His hands gently cover hers, mostly to stop their fiddling but also, a little bit, to comfort her. "C'mon, tell me what's wrong." Her hands are freezing underneath his, she never wears gloves to practice no matter how many times he tells her to.  

"I just don't want go 'home' to them," Tessa finally confesses. 

"What are you saying? Are they being mean to you?" Scott asks in a grave tone. His mother gave him a big speech before their parents agreed to let them move to another country: he's older, he has to watch over Tessa and protect her. He takes this very seriously.

"Well, they're not exactly being kind or welcoming… They have two daughters who skate competitively and they don't like me. I don't even know why. I'm nice to them, I promise!" Tessa says, a tremor evident in her voice.

His hand goes up to her face and awkwardly brings her closer to him for a semi-hug. "I know you are Tutu. You're the nicest."  

"It's just… It just… It doesn't feel like home. Canada is home. This is… This is just sad," she mutters still pressed against him. He smells like sweat: sweet and acrid at the same time. But she doesn't mind: she has grown to love that smell over the years. His smell.

Scott feels so bad for Tessa. Of course he misses home, his parents and his brothers but he thinks Canton is actually nice. He made some friends at the rink. A few are even ice dancers. It's cool to have people to talk to about this kind of stuff, people who go through the exact same thing you're going through. He knows that Tessa is a loner and has trouble connecting with people sometimes, but he didn't think it had gotten this bad. He didn't think she was sad and he feels so guilty because he should have been able to tell. He knows her better than anyone else and he's the only one she has here. 

"It's gonna get better, Tessa, I promise," Scott says. "You just need to get used to Canton. You'll make friends." 

"I don't need friends," Tessa protests. "I have you. You're all I need," she blushes a little at that and he decides not to comment on it. 

He knows she has a crush on him. And he kind of has a crush on her too. But they can't act on it. Ever. If they broke up or if something bad happened, that would be the end of both their careers. They both know it. Romance is not worth losing their partnership or their shot at an Olympic medal sometime in the near future. But that feeling between them when they touch… It feels like it's never gonna go away.

"Don't be silly Tessie Tess," he smiles. "Of course you need other friends. You need girl friends just like I need guy friends. It's okay to have other friends outside of us. We'll always have our bubble. But it's nice to have other people too," he explains. 

And he knows it's true. Tessa had her first period last summer… They were training hard and she must not have noticed or felt it, but after a lift, his hands were all red and bloody. When he got her down, he stopped right in his tracks he was so freaked out. At first he thought he had cut them on her blades but he quickly understood that was not the case. When Tessa finally got what was actually happening, she literally ran off the ice to lock herself up in the bathroom. She was mortified. He had to have Marina calm her down through the door and then call her mother. When she got back to the ice after having changed clothes, she looked like a warrior ready to take on the world. She looked so beautiful. He handled the whole situation like a champ, he thinks. It's the least he can do. He's sure Tessa has felt his erections pressed up against her A LOT in the last two years. And she never said anything or made fun of him. 

"How about we go get something to eat and then go see a movie?" Scott suggests.

"We have to get up really early tomorrow to train, that's not really responsible."

"Come on! We're allowed to have fun once in a while. The new Tarantino is out," Scott pleads with her. "It's gonna be fun, I promise." 

His smile is so earnest Tessa can't possibly say no. He helps her off the ice and they momentarily go their separate ways to shower and change out of their training clothes before getting into his car. Scott loves that car, he feels like such a grown-up when he drives it. He loves driving Tessa everywhere: they can talk about everything and anything and listen to any music they want. It's a small taste of freedom in their very regimented lives. 

When they finally make it to the showing, the trailers have already started and they rush to find good seats before the movie starts. Scott's hands are full of popcorn and sodas, it's self-indulgent but he knows it will cheer up Tessa for sure.

"So, what's it about?" Tessa whispers in his ear so as not to disturb the other movies goers. 

"It's about this woman who wakes up from a coma after a few years and she goes on a revenge spree killing to avenge the death of her husband and baby," Scott explains his voice low. His breath tickles her neck and makes her feel warm all over. 

Tessa nods and reaches over to Scott's lap to get some popcorn. Her hand grazes his thigh and she can feel him stiffen in the seat next to her. 

"I'm sorry," she whispers, "I was just trying to get to the popcorn," she explains. Their thighs are touching, it's very distracting. Which is weird because their thighs touch all the time in practice. But in the dark, everything seems heightened.

"No worries," he shrugs. It just felt like a lightning bolt went through his whole body, but you know, no worries. It's not like his heart is about to explode out of his chest. Not really.

Kill Bill is so engrossing. It's one of the best things Tessa has ever watched. She's not usually one for this kind of movie but it's really really good. The story is great and Black Mamba is so badass. She's glad Scott suggested going to the movies even if they're a little bit tired tomorrow. Maybe they could even skate to the music? It's really good and catchy. Marina would hate it though. 

She looks over to Scott and he seems completely captivated by the movie as well. She had gripped his hand through the whole Gogo and the Crazy 88 scene and they are still laced together. Like in practice when they get out of dance hold. As if he can feel the heat of her stare, Scott turns to look at her. 

"You're still liking the movie, T?" he asks, stroking their intertwined hands with his free one.

"Yeah," she replies excitedly, putting her hand on top of his. 

His first mistake is locking eyes with her and losing himself in her green eyes. Her gorgeous green eyes. The lights of the screen reflect in her irises giving them an eerie and almost dreamlike quality. 

Scott clearly hears her gasp and sees Tessa's eyes darken. The electricity between them crackles and what's happening in the movie is long forgotten. They both are in their little bubble. In the dark, only the both of them seem to exist. In the dark, everything is magnified. Scott swears he can almost hear the sound of her heart beating over his own. 

Their heads slowly come together at the same time. They move as one like they do on the ice. Scott's hands lazily cup Tessa's face, brushing his thumbs on her jawline along the way and he gently brings her face closer to his. He can see her eyes widen and he wonders if it's her first kiss (well her second first kiss, he already had that privilege a long time ago). He can hear his own heart drumming inside his ears and a fiery warmth is rapidly spreading throughout his body. He knows it's a bad idea. He knows it's a mistake. But he just can't help himself. He loves her. He wants her. With every fiber of his heart, mind and body.

Their lips finally press together in a small, closed mouthed, kiss. Tessa cannot believe what's happening. Scott is actually kissing her. It's not a dream. It's not a fantasy. It's not something she dreamed up just before going to sleep. Somewhere deep down inside, she knows they will both regret it once their minds clear but at the moment, she doesn't care one bit. The only thing she want is for Scott to keep kissing her. And he does. 

Something seems to snap inside of him: his hands come down to her shoulders and he presses her firmly against him, as much as he can with the armrest in between them. Scott gently coaxes her lips open with his tongue and quickly deepens their kiss. Tessa's heart cannot possibly sustain this kind of emotion. She feels hot and tingly all over. Her heart is bursting inside of her chest. Their tongues touch for the first time and softly learn their way around one another. Their kiss is soft and wet, all deep strokes and gentle moans. Scott can't stop his hands from running all over her body; from her thick hair, to her cheeks, to the curve where her shoulder meets her chest and all over her hips. 

It's heaven and hell all rolled into one and he never wants it to stop. It's so wet and hot and deep at the same time. The kiss grows more and more frenzied as their tongues keep caressing each other with more and more passion. Tessa's hands are clasped tightly in his hair and around his neck. It hurts him a little bit but the sting also feels kind of nice. Scott likes it when she drops the ice cold front and just lets herself go, whether it be on the ice or right now. She's uncharacteristically vocal in her appreciation and all those littles moans, groans and sighs are only turning him on further. And he's 16, it doesn't take a lot for him for be turned on. But Tessa, here, finally in his arms, letting him know how much she loves their kisses, it's the best feeling ever. It's almost too much. 

After what seems like an eternity, Tessa is finally the one to break their never-ending kiss. She is wildly out of breath and her cheeks are bright red. She looks like she's just finished skating a 10-minute program. Scott can barely keep up with his beating heart. Their gazes lock again full of tenderness mixed with disbelief. 

"That was…" Scott begins, completely breathless. 

"That was really… Wow," Tessa manages to say in between gasps. She can feel the redness of her cheeks. They're burning hot.

There is no need to say anything more. They both feel it, this inexpressible thing between them. Tessa pulls up the armrest as high as it will go and cozies closer to Scott. He manages to put his arm around her and her head now softly lays against his shoulder. This feels right.  

They don't know how they're able to go back to the film in between furious bouts of scorching kisses and wandering hands but, in the end, they still manage to get the gist of the plot. 

The ride home is unusually quiet. Scott's free hand has been on her knee and thigh as much as his driving allows him to do so and, every time, every single time, Tessa feel electricity zinging through her whole body. Can someone explode from feeling too much? 

"Look Tess," Scott starts as he pulls up in front of Tessa's host family house.  

"I know," she interrupts him right away. 

"What?" he asks.

"The kissing and the making out, it was amazing, but it can never happen again," she states calmly. "That's what you wanted you tell me, right?"

Scott is completely astonished. He didn't want to tell her that. He wants them to keep kissing forever but that's not exactly the responsible thing to do. They have to remain friend to keep their partnership safe. It's too precious to lose. He's so relieved that she seems to be in agreement.  

"Yeah," he nods, "that's exactly what I was gonna say. I mean, I love you, you know that right?" 

Tessa feels like someone just hit her with a crowbar. Right in the ribcage. This is the first time he has said those words. The first time anyone outside of her family has said something like that. 

"Yeah," she stutters, "I know."

"But it's better if…"

"I know," she interrupts him again. "We can't jeopardize our partnership. If something went wrong between the two of us, it could ruin everything. I know that."

"Exactly," he begins, "I mean, I want to, believe me, I want to, but skating is too important for the both of us to let romance interfere with it."

"Agreed. We have to be committed to what we want and give ourselves the means to get it," she states matter-of-factly. 

She is so grown up right now, Scott can't believe she's two years younger than him. This is one of the things he loves about her: her drive and her ambition. She's not going to let anything or anyone stand in her way. 

Tessa unbuckles her seatbelt and lays her hand on the handle. "Thank you for the night though. You were right, it was fun," she teases. 

"You're welcome, Tess." As she exits the car and goes to close the door, Scott can't help himself. "No anger, no blame, no grudges?" he checks. 

"No anger, no blame, no grudges," she reassures him before running up to the front door.

That night, in their respective beds, they both keep replaying their kisses in the darkened theater like it's their own personal movie. The same way you would replay a favorite scene over and over again. Sleep is elusive and their hands roam freely to the flows of their thoughts like waves crashing on a white sandy beach on a stormy night.

Who would have thought their little mantra would actually be easier said than done…

*

Ilderton, Ontario, Canada - March 2018

It's 4 am when Scott wakes up. The numbers shine bright red in the darkness of his living room. They fell asleep watching the movie last night and during their sleep, Tessa somehow managed to end up on top of him. They're completely entangled in the blanket and Scott can feel Tessa's soft breathing against his chest. He wants to beat himself up for thinking how right and amazing it feels. 

He gently strokes her arm and shoulder. "Tess, wake up Tess," he murmurs softly tickling her nose. Their backs are going to kill them if they keep sleeping like this.

She starts to move, tightening her grip on him before slowly blinking. "What… What time is it?" she whispers, still drowsy with sleep.

"A little after 4," he informs her.

She goes to sit up and stretch as he moves his legs over to help her along. "I'm so sorry I fell asleep on you. That must not have been comfortable for you," she says.

Scott lays his hand on her thigh. "It's okay, I didn't mind. I fell asleep too. I know I'm a good pillow," he smiles. 

"We didn't even get to watch the whole movie," she notes, sleepy eyed.

"We didn't the last time either," Scott smirks.

She blushes immediately just thinking about it. "You do remember!" she accuses him, jokingly hitting him on the chest.

He full on belly laughs now. "Of course I do, Tess! Did you really think I didn't?" 

"I don't know, you didn't seem particularly nonplussed last night," she chuckles. 

"Oh I remember it," he keeps laughing. "I remember it in perfect full color HD."

"Yeah well… So do I," she shakes her head. His hand on her thigh feels warmer by the minute.

"I remember all the other times too, you know," he confesses, a naughty grin on his lips. 

"Scott…" Tessa whispers. His hand is now slowly moving toward her hip. 

The tension between them is almost too much. It's the same as feeling a thunderstorm coming. Every hair on your body stands on end and you feel the electricity in the air all around you.

"You know you want to, Tess," he breathes.  

Scott can't believe these words are coming out of his mouth. He doesn't know what's going on with him. He feels daring and rash. The darkness surrounding them has certainly emboldened him. And she looks so beautiful in the moonlight, that might help too.

"Scott…" It's the only word she can get out. Her heart is beating like crazy. She wants it as much as she dreads it.

Scott firmly grasp her hips and moves her over to his lap. Her legs surrounds him on each side and he can feel her warmth soak into him. He doesn't need any more than that to get aroused. Her hands land on his shoulders and their darkened eyes connect.

"I know you feel it too," he says softly. Scott lets his hands wander all over her back, shoulders and sides; he feels her shivering underneath his fingers. Her breasts are right there at eye level but he doesn't dare look at them for too long or even touch them. She has to be the one to take the next step. 

Her body is throbbing under his hands and he's barely even touching her. She can feel her heart beating in her groin and a delicious warmth spreading in her belly. "I'm definitely feeling it right now," she jokes but her hips tell a different story as they press her body closer and closer to his. She wants him and he wants her. She can feel him hot and hard between her thighs as she rubs herself against him. Her body knows this dance. She knows its movements, its ebb and flow, it's a choreography their bodies remember well. They've done it before.

Scott grips her ass tightly and grinds her against his erection. "You know that's not what I meant, Tess." His voice is raw with desire as he looks at her straight in the eyes, a lustful smile on his lips. His hand lazily travels to her jawline and his thumb grazes her lower lip, pressing it open. She rubs her nose against his and finally takes the plunge, joining their mouths together.  

Muscle memory is an amazing thing. It feels exactly just like the last time they did this. The kiss is deep and frenzied as their tongues devour each other. Tessa's arms are locked around his neck, her hands fisting his hair. Scott reaches the bottom of her sweater and swiftly takes if off. She's not wearing a bra; he knows she doesn't usually but it's a little fact that never fails to turn him on. 

He can't stop looking at her. He's seen her naked before but it's like the first time every time it happens. It never seems to lose its appeal. His mouth captures a perfect pink nipple and she moans softly. Her hands push his face against her breasts to urge him to continue. She needs more. She needs it faster, harder. And she needs it now.

"Don't stop," she warns in a groan. His mouth is still doing delicious things to her breasts, licking, sucking and nipping his way from one to the other and then doing it all over again. Is it possible to get off with only his mouth on her chest? His hands don't stay idle for long; they move lower until they reach her waistband. He quickly unbuckles her belt and reaches her zipper. He tries to be smooth about it, especially with a writhing Tessa and one of her nipples in his mouth, but at some point, he knows they're going to have to unglue.

"Take off your pants," he orders breathlessly. His eyes are dark with desire and hers are not much better. 

She unlatches her hands from his hair, climbs off of him and just stands there, half-naked under his adoring gaze. "Take off your pants," she retorts with a cocky half-smile. 

Oh, so they are at this portion of the main event, Scott thinks, the one where sexy flirty confident Tessa is there to win it all. Her eyes are on fire.

"Actually," she smirks, "why don't you take off your shirt first? So we're on an even playing field, you understand." She puts both her hands on each side of her hips, clearly expectant. 

She likes ordering him around. And he likes to do her bidding. How can he say no when he knows what's going to happen next? He hastily takes off his shirt and sends it flying halfway across the room. 

"That's better," she says approvingly. With her hand, she motions for him to keep going.

He stands up and, under her watchful eyes, takes off his sweatpants as well. He's gone commando underneath and Tessa's eyes are immediately drawn to him. He's still as perfect and well built as ever. All those B2Ten training sessions were definitely worth it. Ever so slowly, her eyes never leaving his, daring him to say or do something, she slips off her jeans and her panties.

Scott sits back down on the couch and puts his hands around her waist. "Come here," he murmurs sultrily. He both wants to keep looking at her naked form for the rest of his life and get on with the program.

Tessa takes his hands in hers and moves them up to her breasts. He loves it when she's this forward. "Condom?" she moans as he tweaks both her nipples at the same time.

"Bathroom cabinet," he replies, stroking her skin and moving one of his hands lower and lower until his fingers reach between her legs. She's already all wet and sloppy just the way he likes it. 

She climbs in his lap and laces her arms around his neck. "Let's go then," she whispers licking his ear lobe. 

Tessa yelps as he grabs her ass with both hands, crashing their bodies together, her thighs holding him firmly in place. She can feel every inch of him up against her center. Scott gets up quickly and carries her all the way to the bathroom.  

He brings her up to the sink. "Drawer," he nods towards it. His hands are clearly full so she grabs the box and notices with a smile that it's brand new and has never been opened.  

She kisses him deeply as much as she can in this position and grinds her hips into his as if to tell him to get going. Which he does. He carries her all the way back to the living room as if she weighs nothing. Practicing lifts as much as they have in the last 20 years definitely has its perks.

He lets himself fall into the couch with Tessa on top of him. His fingers find her again and he starts to rub her gently in circular movements. She moans and bucks her hips for more. His fingers lower, play at her soaking wet entrance and enter her slowly. He keeps his eyes on her face, he loves seeing the pleasure take over. His fingers gently pump in and out of her, so agonizingly slow, to make it last. He's making her work for it. His fingers go deep and slow; they curl perfectly inside of her and hit that sweet spot every time they enter.

Her eyes are closed, her legs quiver and she clutches his shoulders, her nails nearly making him bleed. "Inside me, now," she orders, her voice shaky, as she feels around for a condom, eagerly ripping the box open. She takes him inside her hand and strokes him languorously. She delights in the way his face hardens and his grip on her tightens. He feels like steel encased in velvet. With a little maneuvering, she opens the foil packet with her teeth and finally slides the condom onto him. 

"Come here, T," he says softly. 

Tessa guides him to her entrance and slowly slides him inside, effectively impaling herself on top of him. She doesn't dare move at first, it's been a long time since the last time and she needs time to adjust to the feeling of Scott inside of her. Their eyes lock and there's so many emotions in his irises that she can almost hear his stream of consciousness inside her own head.

His hands come up to cup her face tenderly. "You're okay?" he asks softly. He needs a minute to gather his thoughts and feelings. Being back inside of her is heaven and hell combined. Hot and tight. And so fucking wet. He feels like he's going to explode any moment. It feels good, it feels right. It feels like winning two gold medals: the closeness of their bodies, the choreographed movements and that rush of adrenaline they're both addicted to.  

"Yeah," she says, encasing his hands in her own, "I'm good." She moves one of them to her breast and the other to her waist and Scott squeezes her gently. 

Tessa puts her hands on his chest to brace herself and finally starts rocking into him. The first thrust is always the best one. That perfect moment when she can feel every inch of him sliding in and out of her. He feels oh so deep inside of her this way. There's a feeling of completeness creeping inside of her, one that she hasn't felt in a long time. She bounces up and down on him, undulating her hips slowly and languidly, as she watches him. His face is twisted from pleasure and she can clearly tell he wants her to go faster but she's definitely enjoying riding him nice and slow, building up to their climaxes lazily. Scott's hips buck up against every thrust she makes and she can feel him getting closer. She knows this deep and slow rhythm must be driving him out of his mind. His hands are gripping her hips so tight, accompanying each of her movements, that she's sure he's going to leave marks. His eyes are semi-closed in pleasure.

She is hot everywhere and so wet that she feels like she's dripping all over him. And she's pretty sure she's screaming her head off. Curses fly all around them. She hears Scott grunt and groan each time he sees himself entering her completely. His eyes bounce everywhere: from her face, her breasts, her navel to the place where they're joined. There is just too much to take in all at once.

She can feel herself start to spasm and she knows she's going to come soon. She decides to put them both out of this slow torture and starts slamming herself harder onto him. She can feel Scott twitching inside of her and he grabs her ass to thrust deeper into her. With him so deep inside her, from this angle, he's hitting that sweet spot over and over again as she rides him erratically. The rhythm is gone, this perfectly choreographed dance becomes pure chaos and their thrusts are now feverishly uncoordinated. The time for slow enjoyment is over, they just want to come as fast as possible.

Tessa is pretty sure her heart is exploding; her throat is hoarse, her whole body is shivering and her legs feel like they're having a seizure. She slams herself hard onto him repeatedly, Scott's hands guiding her and pressing her closer, and then, the light explodes behind her eyes. She can't even hear herself yelling his name over and over again as she clutches his shoulders tightly. Every muscle inside of her tightens. She shudders on top of him for what seems like an eternity as she rides the waves of her orgasm before her body goes limp. Scott has to steady her, encircling his arms around her waist, as he thrusts roughly once, twice, thrice inside of her before he releases with a final roar. Their muscles are wobbly and they're just a wet and sweaty tangle of limbs on the couch now. Their hearts are hammering inside their chests.

"Fuck, Tess," he says, winded. Her legs are still wrapped around him and he's still inside of her. 

She raises her head to him, a huge smile on her reddened face. "Yeah… So… We did that," she laughs, catching her breath.

Scott laughs with her at the absurdity of the situation. They just fucked on his couch like a couple of horny teenagers. He gently pulls out of her and disposes of the condom as she climbs off and flops next to him, snuggling into his side. 

His mouth is immediately on her neck, pressing soft open mouth kisses. "Bed?" he asks, gesturing to the ceiling with a nod.

Scott is stroking her arm as he kisses the spot he likes so much. She is so over sensitive right now she feels like she could have another orgasm just from his touch. "Yeah," she agrees, "this couch is gonna ruin our backs."

With whatever strength he has left, he gathers her in his arms and carries her all the way upstairs to his bedroom. It's a miracle he doesn't trip on the way. It's kind of weird to be this comfortable naked with someone who has literally seen you go through puberty. But then again, not really. 

The bed is rumpled and undone and Tessa is not the least bit surprised. He throws her ungracefully on the bed and she yelps. He goes to his dresser and takes out one of his hockey jerseys that he hands to her. 

Tessa quickly puts it on as Scott slips into a t-shirt and a clean pair of boxer briefs. She gets under the covers and he joins her. She curls up against his side, her ear pressed against the crazy beat of his heart as he gently strokes her hair.  

"So, this was not part of the plan," she murmurs after a few moments of silence.

"Yeah…" he says. Are they seriously going to have that talk now? 

"Last time we did this was quite a while ago…" she notes, looking up at him and Scott wonders if there's a point or a meaning she's trying to convey.

He opens his mouth to speak but she beats him to it. "I missed it," she says. "Us like this, I mean."

Scott wonders if he's dreaming. Tessa is not usually that forthright about her feelings, especially feelings in regards to all of their little 'slip-ups'. "Yeah," he replies, "I missed it too."

"We're good together. Really good. We fit," she whispers in a yawn, rubbing her eyes.

"Yeah we do, Tess," he agrees, still playing with her hair. "How about we get some sleep now T, eh? It's almost 6 am and we have a busy day today." 

She yawns again and nods her head. "Goodnight Scott."

"Night Tutu," he replies, kissing her forehead softly. 

She nestles deeper against him and he wraps his arms around her, holding her tight. She falls asleep almost instantly. She's still sick and he must have really worn her out…

Fuck.  

Fuck. 

How is he ever going to sleep now? Scott wonders as he is left, once again, wide awake staring at his ceiling.  

Round and around and around and around we go.

 

TO BE CONTINUED