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well worth the wait

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London, Ontario, Canada - March 2018

Their houses could not be more different, Scott ponders as he lies on her bed, watching her flutter all around him, packing for Toronto. While he's messy and just lets chips fall where they may, her house is neat freak clean with everything in its place and a place for every thing. When he's all dark wood and shades of blue, grey and green, she's all light: white, cream, butter and every hue in between. Even her sheets are white which is mind-boggling: why would girls own white sheets?! Maybe they just like living life on the edge. 

Tessa has just gotten back from a pilates class and there's nothing quite like feeling two feet tall after a good session. She feels stretched, lengthened and strengthened all the way down to her toes. It's an all encompassing warmth of quiet and feel-good. Which is exactly the right state of mind to do some packing. She's going to be in Toronto for five days, it will require careful planning. 

"So, this dark blue sweater or this royal blue one?" she asks Scott, holding the two items of clothing for him to see. She knows he couldn't care less but, still, she'd like his opinion. 

Her voice brings Scott back out of his thoughts and he looks closely at the sweaters. "They look exactly the same to me Tess," he shrugs after a while. 

She smiles. "They're not even the same shade, but okay… Which one would suit me best?" she asks holding one sweater in front of her and then the other. 

"You'll look great in either of them," Scott says with a smile. 

She sighs. "You're no help. You do know it's not a trick question, right? You're allowed an opinion here," she lets him know. 

"I really don't have an opinion on this. You look great in everything you wear. Just pack one and be done with it," he laughs. 

"Pack one?" she cries out in fake shock and indignation. "Do you know me at all?" she throws herself onto her bed and snuggles into his open arms. 

He kisses the top of her head as she squeezes him tight and breathes in his scent. "I'll just pack both," she decides. 

"You always overpack," he points out, "and you never wear half the stuff you bring."

"I like having options," she smiles.

Scott cups her chin with his hand and brings her close for a kiss. Their tongues dance for a few minutes before they break for air and she nestles even closer. She's like a cuddly kitten. All warmth, purrs and asking to be petted. 

"Don't forget to pack all of your bling," he reminds her. "Where do you keep your medals anyway?"

"In my sock drawer," she says, hiding her face in his chest. "Not really glamorous, I know. Where do you keep them?"

"I keep them in my downstairs bathroom," he replies, "so that when people come over and go to the bathroom, they're within reach and we don't have to have that awkward conversation where they ask if they can see them. They're already there! So they can touch and wear them. And since there's a mirror too, they can practice singing the national anthem and take selfies." 

Tessa's mouth hangs open. "Are you for real?" she asks. This is such a Scott thing to do. Kind and generous are his middle names. He amazes her.

"Yeah. I mean, other people should get to enjoy them too," he grins. "I should totally put a camera in that bathroom to record what they do with them."

"That camera would have picked up some interesting things a few days ago…" she laughs, a teasing smile on her lips. 

"Yeah, maybe not, on second thought," he laughs as well. "We don't need that kind of thing leaking online."

"Agreed. And also, according to the Internet at least, we don't even need to have a sex-tape of us, we can just rewatch our skating programs. Apparently they were trending on a few dedicated porn websites," she giggles. 

"Get out of here!" he exclaims, both delighted and somewhat horrified. "How did you find that out, eh?" he says, wiggling his eyebrows in a suggestive manner. 

"Jordan saw an article about it online and texted it to me. She was rolling on the floor laughing," she tells him. "I'll send you the link. I think we should be flattered, right?"

"Yeah, we should!" Scott exclaims. "This is epic! I'll send that to every one of my buddies. This is gold!" he laughs wholeheartedly.

"Speaking of gold," she says, changing the subject, "those PyeongChang medals weigh a ton, eh? I think I read somewhere they're the heaviest ever made."

"Yeah, they are. Those two golds are like 4 lb. My neck gets tired after a while." 

Tessa giggles and kisses his neck lightly. Scott grips her hips tighter and brings her body closer to his, aligning them perfectly on their sides so that there's almost no space between them.

"I'm going to miss you," he whispers softly against her lips. 

"You'll be so busy with your buddies you won't even have time to miss me and we'll see each other on Thursday night. It's going to be fun," she whispers back.

"I'll miss waking up with you," he says, kissing down her neck. "I love how grumpy you are in the morning," he adds, moving his hands to her breasts. 

She laughs and moans at the same time. "Think of it as the perfect occasion to get up super early without getting a pillow thrown at your head," she suggests. 

He flips them over so that he's on top on her. She instinctively parts her thighs so that he can rest comfortably between them. "I'll definitely take that under advisement," he murmurs in between kisses. 

Tessa wraps her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. She is still amazed at how comfortable this is. It's like nothing has changed and everything has changed at the same time. Having your cake and eating it too. Hanging out with your best friend and getting to kiss and touch him every time you want to feel his skin underneath your hands. 

"We still have time before I have to drive you to the train station," he points outs, lowering his head and kissing her stomach.

"Oh yeah?" she flirts. "What exactly did you have in mind?" His tongue is playing with her navel piercing; tickling and eliciting luscious sensations. 

"Where's your sock drawer?" he smirks before getting up and going over to her dresser. 

For half a second Tessa wonders what kind of kinky sex game Scott is up to, but when she sees him rummaging through her drawers to get his hands on her most recent gold medal, she grins widely. He can feel her eyes on him as he removes all of his clothes slowly. He has the most gorgeous ass and shoulders. She marvels that she's the only one who gets to see him that way. She has shared him so many times before, she's not sure her heart could take it again.

"Are you serious right now?" she roars with laughter as he crawls back on the bed toward her, medal in hand, completely naked.

He drapes himself over her body and quickly gets rid of her sports bra, leggings and panties. Well, that was fast, Tessa thinks as she sees an eager glimmer in his hazel eyes.

"Representing Canada," he says in his best commentator voice, "Tessa Virtue, two time Olympic champion." He slips the medal around her neck and the cold metal between her breasts makes her shiver deliciously. 

"Where's yours?" she breathes, impatient. "I didn't win all by myself."

She's a vision: sparkling eyes, reddened cheeks, jagged breaths and hardening nipples. He can't believe she's his. Finally his. "Oh, I don't want anything getting in my way…" That sounds like a promise she can get behind. 

Scott kisses her deeply, gliding his hands everywhere but never really stopping anywhere for too long. He moves his kisses down her neck, licking lightly at the skin there, before moving down to her breasts, sucking her nipples into his mouth. Her hands are in his hair, tugging lightly. 

His head goes down and he licks a path from the middle of her breasts to her bellybutton. Oh, she hopes he's not stopping there. It's been far too long since they've done that and she has missed the feel of his tongue against her. His nose rubs along the line between her belly button and where the edge of her panties should be. The anticipation is killing her. He knows exactly what he's doing to her. 

He spreads her thighs as wide as they can go and lowers his head in between them. She is already slippery wet, just the way he likes her. The first touch of his tongue feels like a rainy fire spreading throughout her lower abdomen. Her whole body tightens and curls upward. 

Her hands burrow in his thick hair and press his face closer. "Fuck," she moans. 

She can feel him smile against her and it drives her crazier. Her hips buck and undulate for more against his mouth; he has to put a hand against her stomach to stop her from moving too much. His tongue laps, circles and sucks at her until he can feel her body convulsing under him. 

Tessa feels a wave taking her under as her thighs unintentionally contract around his head. The world around her disappears, only they exist in the confines of this existence. She feels like she's losing all sense of self; Scott is only an extension of her own body. Every atom of her body, every breath, every heartbeat, every thought is concentrated in the place where they're so intimately connected. Her orgasm wreaks havoc on her body like a tornado blowing everything standing in its way. She shivers wildly, her legs stiffen, her toes curl; she is overtaken with feelings and sensations. It's wet and hot at the same time, it's deep and it shakes her to the core. It feels a lot like unconditional love.

Scott gently strokes her thigh to help her come down from this high. Her body is still seizing from his touch. After a few moments, her legs unclench and he pulls himself up her body. Their medal is the only thing between them. How appropriate, he thinks.

He strokes her cheek gently as he captures her mouth with his. Is this what bliss feels like? Being happier about somebody else's pleasure than his own? Is this what love is supposed to feel like? He wants to spew every romantic line he's got in his book but he stays quiet. He runs his fingers along her face, brushing sweaty strands of hair from her face, and keeps on kissing her softly. He doesn't want to make her run for the hills.

"Are you okay, Tess?" he asks after a few moments. 

"I can't feel my body anymore," she smiles against his lips. "I think you ruined me."

"I think it's just the oxytocin running through your body," he says. 

"I believe the medical term is 'blissed out,'" she adds, wrapping herself around him, locking her legs on his ass. She can feel his hardness rubbing against her as she squeezes him tighter.

"Condom?" he asks, nibbling on her earlobe. She rummages quickly through her nightstand and hands him a foil packet that he quickly rolls onto himself. 

Scott slides into her swiftly. She feels amazing; she's still contracting all around him from her orgasm and he knows he's not going to last long when her body seems to be pulling him in deeper and deeper. She wraps her legs around his waist as he buries his head in the crook of her neck. Tessa can feel his uneven breath against her skin with every thrust he makes. Her hips accompany every one of his movements, welcoming him into her, pressing him closer. The feeling is consuming, the energy between them is overwhelming, almost suffocating. The room feels like a million degrees. He moves briskly and furiously inside of her now, chasing his pleasure. It comes in the form of one last hard thrust, melting away, as he releases inside of her with a groan. 

His body goes limp and she softly strokes his hair. "I feel like I'm 18 again when I'm with you," he remarks. 

"That was a lot of foreplay and anticipation," she says. "I didn't last long either."

"I feel like all of our partnership has been a giant ball of foreplay and anticipation," he smiles. 

"I still remember practicing for those risqué Carmen lifts," she reminisces as he gently pulls out of her and disposes of the condom. "I loved that program so much," she hints, hoping he'll catch her drift.

"You were the best Carmen," he says lying his head on her chest, listening to the wild beat of her heart. "I wish we could have had time to skate together before you left though, I miss it." 

"Yeah, I miss skating with you too," she says, still gently stroking his hair. 

*

Gothenburg, Sweden - March 2008

Umbrellas of Cherbourg is Tessa's favorite program of theirs so far. Of course, she also loves the movie so that certainly helps. It's so French and desperately romantic. She wishes she could actually visit Cherbourg! 

Scott was not convinced at first, but she brought him around. Now, he loves it as much as she does. They've been working so hard at it for the past year. Training for hours on end until both of their muscles shook with exhaustion. They've been driving themselves to exhaustion. But it's all for a good cause. It's how it's supposed to be, isn't it? They're supposed to be in pain, aren't they?

They missed qualifying for the Olympics two years ago and it nearly broke their spirits. Tessa spent at least two weeks bawling every time she found herself alone. Scott was not much better… The next games are in Vancouver in two years. In their country. They have to make it. They have to have a solid program. Umbrellas is a good first step toward that Olympic podium. It won them the free dance and the silver in this year's Worlds. No other team had even done that before them.

Except that Tessa's legs have been hurting her for a while now and she hasn't told anyone. Not her mother, not Marina, not Fedor and most certainly not Scott. Every time she skates she feels like her legs are burning. They cramp and she's always afraid she's going to crumble on the ice and take Scott down with her. She has nightmares about it every night. 

But who can she tell? She's not about to crush Scott's dream of the Olympics. And what if it's serious? What if she can never skate again? What then? She didn't train this hard and suffered so much just to give up now. Mind over matter. 

"Hey Tess," Scott calls her as she finishes putting her stuff away in her bag. "Your mom's waiting for us to get back to the hotel."

"Sorry, I'll hurry up," she apologizes. Her legs are hurting so much right now… Every movement is a challenge. She just has to grind her teeth and take it. 

"Are you okay?" Scott asks, getting closer to her. Did he see her wince? She hopes not.

"Yeah, I'm okay," she reassures him. And trying to convince herself while she's at it. "I'm just exhausted," she says, zipping up her gym bag. Was it this heavy this morning?

"We had an amazing skate today, eh?" he says joyfully. "Silver, Tess!" 

"Yeah," she agrees with a smile. "I found a penny today in the hotel lobby. I knew it was going to be a good day for us!" 

Sometimes she wonders if he's not the one who leaves pennies laying around. He knows how superstitious she is about these kinds of things and how happy she gets when she finds them on the ground. 

"Are you sure you're okay?" he asks again, coming closer. "You look really pale, Tess," he says worried.

She grinds her teeth. "I'm fine," she says, forcing a smile. "I just need some food and some rest." And some fucking Vicodin. A lot of it. 

"Here, let me take that," he says, grabbing her bag and carrying it for her.

She is in so much pain and she is so tired that she could just kiss him for doing this. He is so nice she could cry. Literally cry. This is not like her, but she has been on the verge of tears all day and if he keeps being this sweet, she's not sure she's going to be able to hold them off for very long. 

Bag thrown on one arm, Scott pulls his other one around her shoulders and presses her against his side. She grabs his waist and holds on. She just needs to lean on him a little bit. To help her walk. 

Scott isn't stupid. He knows something is wrong. And that something has been wrong for quite some time. He doesn't know what it is because she skates just as good as she used to, even better, but there is definitely something the matter with her. 

"Come on, Tess," he says, squeezing her shoulder affectionately, "dinner and then bed. We can even get your favorite."

He feels her tight grip on his waist. He doesn't know what's wrong but he can feel she needs it. She needs him. It's the same way he knows the moment she enters a room: he feels her, her presence, in his bones. 

Tessa has been quiet all through dinner, even her mother noticed it. But you don't break through Tessa the easy way. You have to poke and prod until it hurts so much that she is left with no other choice than to let out all of what she's been bottling inside. And now that Scott is back in his room and she's back in hers, it's the perfect time to do just that. He knows he needs to go to her. 

"Tess?" he gently raps on her door. "Are you awake?" he asks through the wood.

He hears padded feet coming to the door and some muffled curse words. The door flies open and Tessa appears completely disheveled and only wearing a thin white t-shirt and even flimsier panties. First, what is she doing answering her door like that? And second, does she want him dead? Her t-shirt is very transparent and, as per usual, she's not wearing a bra so he can actually see everything. And by everything he means her perfect breasts and their even more perfect pink nipples. He remembers the last time his hands were on them. They seem to be looking right at him. 

"Oh, hey Scott," she slurs, "wanna come in?" she asks, opening the door wider and letting him through. 

"Are you drunk?" he asks, watching her closely. Her gait is stumbling as she makes her way to sit on the bed. Good God, now he can see her ass… He remembers the last time his hands were on it too.

"What?" she cries out, almost offended. "Of course I'm not drunk!" she defends herself, but she doesn't sound very convincing. Something is definitely off here. 

He sits next to her on the bed. "I just wanted to check that everything was fine with you," he says softly, laying a hand on her knee. A move he immediately regrets because her skin is really warm and silky. "You were really quiet at dinner," he notes, trying to catch her gaze.

Scott looks a little blurry but Tessa assumes it's pretty normal after two Vicodins. The pills have started to work their magic and Tessa can't even feel Scott's hand on her knee. Which is kind of sad because she loves the feel of his hands on her. 

"Oh no," she says, feeling like her mouth is filled with cotton balls, "I was just tired. I'm fine now. I'm happy. So happy we won silver. That's so silver." 

She has a hard time maintaining eye contact and Scott notices how glassy her eyes look. They're not their usual shade of bright green. They look murky. 

"You don't look happy, Tess," he points out. "You actually look really really fucking sad." 

Tessa's breath catches in her throat. "What?" she denies, her voice croaky. "I'm not sad. I'm so so happy we won, Scott. We were amazing, you were amazing and I love Umbrellas."

"If you're happy, then why are you crying right now?" Scott asks, looking straight at her and trying to keep his voice soft even though he wants to shake her and yell at her to tell him what's wrong.

Tessa's hands immediately go up to her cheeks and find them wet. She didn't even feel the tears streaming down her face. She can't actually feel her face. She quickly wipes them off with the back of her hand.

"I'm sorry," she says, and the tears keep on flowing. "Today was just a lot of emotions," she lies. 

"Don't lie to me, Tess," he says, his jaw clenched tight. "Just don't fucking lie to me," he warns her.

He waits a moment for her to respond, but she keeps on wiping the tears away from her eyes.

"Are you high right now?" he asks, concerned. "Is that it?" he keeps badgering her. "Because that's the only explanation possible. You should be floating on cloud nine right now. What's going on? And don't you dare lie to me," he threatens her, his voice low, barely able to contain his anger. 

"No," she croaks. 

But she is. She is high. And for the first time since she's started taking (perhaps a little too much) Vicodin to help with the pain in her legs, she feels shame. Raw, deep and soul crushing shame. For what she's doing. But most of all for lying to Scott. 

"Is this…" he hesitates. They don't talk about these kind of things. They have a tacit agreement to never speak of these things. "Is this about Fedor? Has something happened? Did he… Did he do something?" he finally asks. 

He's actually afraid to hear the answer to that question. Maybe that's why they never ask. 

"What?" she exclaims, a bit shocked. "No, it's nothing like that," she says and the tone in her voice actually convinces him that the problem doesn't lie with her current boyfriend. 

"What is it then?" he asks again. 

"Could you…" she pauses. "Could you just hold me please?" she whispers. 

"Tess…" he whispers back. "I don't think this is a good idea," he says. 

And really it's not. He's spent two years avoiding being in this kind of situation with Tessa. The one where she's half naked and they're both alone in a darkened room with a bed. Their lips almost touched today at the end of their program and he's not sure his heart can take much more. 

"We're not doing anything wrong, Scott," she pleads. "Please, could you just hold me?" She looks at him with her sad eyes and he feels his resolve crumble. He's never been good at saying no to her. Especially when she's looking at him like that.

He sighs and pulls his arm around her shoulders. She curls up into his side, encircling his waist with both her arms and nestles her head against his chest. She's so warm. 

"Scott?" she asks after the longest time, looking up at him. 

He tenderly cups her face with his other hand, gently stroking her cheekbone. "Yeah Tutu?"

She takes a deep breath. "What would you do if you weren't a skater?" she asks in a grave tone. 

"What do you mean?" he asks, staggered by her question. 

"I mean, what would you do if you could never skate again? As a job, I mean," she carries on. 

She leans into his hand, rubbing her face against it, and turns to gently kiss his palm. His heart is hammering in his chest. What is she doing?

"I don't know what I would do if I could never skate again, Tess," he replies honestly and he can tell by the hiccups that shake her that it wasn't the right answer to give. 

She tightens the grip of his waist and climbs lazily into his lap, nuzzling her face into the crook of his neck. He can feel her warm breath and the wetness of her tears against his skin. It makes him shiver. 

He lowers his hand to her neck and keeps it there. "Tess, please," he says. "We shouldn't be doing this," he tries to reason with her. 

"We're not doing anything," she murmurs.

He can feel the thin cotton of her panties rubbing against his pants and the side of her breast pressing against him. She's going to drive him mad. 

"You should put on your pajamas, Tess," he suggests. "You're gonna get cold." 

Their gazes connect and Tessa starts pushing him to a lying position on the bed. 

"Tess, stop," he begs. "We're…" he stutters. "We're not doing that," he states firmly but even he can hear the desperation in his voice. 

"You can keep me warm, Scott," she slurs, lying down on her side on the bed. Her shirt rides up and he can see her pale muscled stomach and the navel piercing she got six months ago. Her nipples are pebbled and so visible through her shirt. Her hair is splayed around her and against the pillow like a halo. She looks like a painting. And the worst is that she actually has no idea how sexy she looks right now; it's killing him.

"You always keep me warm. You're like my own personal sunshine," she continues, her speech getting more and more slurred by the minute.

Fuck. His mouth is dry. His palms are sweaty. His heart is hammering against his ribcage. 

"Tessa…" he starts, rubbing a hand over his face. He needs to regain control of himself. 

"Stay with me," she asks, moving over so there's some space for him on the bed. "Please," she pleads. "We won't do anything," she promises. "We'll just sleep."

Her hand is on his shoulder and gently starts inching its way to his lower back, grazing her fingers along his spine. "I'm not sure that's such a good, idea," he shivers. 

"I promise. We'll just sleep," she insists drowsily. "I just don't want to be alone right now."

He knows it's a bad idea. He knows it, but that doesn't stop him from nodding his head in defeat.

"Okay," he sighs. "Move a bit," he says, going over to her side of the bed, gathering her legs together to put her under the covers. 

She turns on her side and nuzzles her head into the pillow as he slips underneath the covers as well. 

"I'll stay until you fall asleep, okay Tess?" he says, more for his benefit than hers. 

He presses his body against her, spooning her gently. Weirdly enough, this is way more intimate than all the other things they've done. He wraps an arm against her waist and she wiggles her ass into the curve of his hips, snuggling closer.

He lays his head on the pillow next to her and softly strokes her hair. "Try and sleep now, Tess," he whispers in her hair. "I'm here," he kisses her cheek.

As he keeps stroking her hair and brushing his fingers along her face in a gentle caress, he feels her falling into a deep sleep. Her whole body relaxes, her breaths become even and her eyelids start fluttering. 

He's in so fucking deep it's not even funny. 

When he wakes up the next morning, he's alone and she's already gone down to breakfast. 

Yeah, so they're not going to talk about it.

Reste, mon amour ! (Stay, my love!)

Ce n'est pas encore l'heure ! (It's not time yet!)

Je m'éloigne de toi. (I'm walking away from you.)

Ne me regarde pas ! (Don't look at me!)

*

Ilderton, Ontario, Canada - March 2018

We should find a Korean restaurant in Toronto, I'm craving Bibimbap like crazy!

Nevermind, found one!

This is the last of at least a hundred messages that Tessa has sent him in the last few days. She's been off doing press and having meetings in Toronto for two days and evidently she's having the time of her life. He can feel her excitement shine through every single one of her messages and pictures. 

Do you think a grey pantsuit might be too much?

I'm definitely doing a messy braid. 

If anyone asks, you love the Nivea cream because it's not greasy and you can get a good grip on me. 

A good what? What the fuck? What are they talking about in there? Scott shakes his head at his phone as he enters his house dropping his skating gear somewhere near the living room. He's been skating with kids this morning and while he does love teaching them some cool tricks and giving them advice, they're exhausting. 

He also needs to start packing for Toronto because he has postponed doing that for the longest time and his train leaves in two hours. When he gets his suitcase out of his closet, he notices that it's definitely heavier than it should be. He lays it onto his bed to open it and yep, there it is inside: a huge Banana Republic bag with a bow tied around it.

He knows exactly who's responsible for this. Tessa is so sneaky. He peaks inside the bag and sees a dark blue suede jacket and a navy striped t-shirt. There's no note, just a small piece of paper with a tiny red heart drawn onto it. 

He puts the paper inside his jean pocket for safekeeping and takes out his phone. She picks up on the first ring. "So, are we going to talk about this?" he asks with a smile. 

"About the Bibimbap?" she asks and he can hear the smile in her voice as well. 

"Well, first about the Nivea grip thing, then about the little gift you left inside my suitcase and finally about your Korean cravings," he lists.

"Hey!" she protests, "It's hard to come up with a link between ice dance, you and Nivea body cream. I had to get creative," she explains herself. 

"And the best you could do was 'so Scott can get a good grip on me'? Remind me how many hours of this tedious media training thing you made us take? And that's what you come up with?" he laughs. 

"Technically, I think it was 'so that Scott doesn't slip off of me'," she points out. 

"Not much better," he laughs. "Do you hear yourself? You're really asking for it when you say stuff like that." 

"I'm not going to let you lecture me on hearing myself talk. You're not much better mister 'if you get to sleep you're so restless,' 'gorgeous green eyes,' and 'fell in love with each other,'" she reminds him, laughing heartily as well. 

"True," he concedes, "but then again, I was always the one with the 'foot in mouth' disease so it's not really surprising coming from me. But don't worry, I'll swear allegiance to that Nivea body cream. Now about that little surprise present," he says.

"Did you like it?" she asks excitedly. 

"Well, yes, it looks nice," he replies somewhat reluctantly, "but, I do know how to dress myself, you know," he mentions. 

"Do you though?" she deadpans. He imagines her raised eyebrow and the look she'd give him if she were here. 

"I take offense to that statement, just so you know," he points out. 

"Come on! You're going to be so handsome wearing that! And they're really comfortable too," she says. 

"I'll trust you on that," he says. "It was really sweet of you to do that. You know how much I love opening gifts." 

"Promise you'll wear it on Friday," she asks, using that extra sweet voice of hers. The one she uses when asking for favors. 

"Of course I will, Tess. If that makes you happy," he sighs. "Now about your cravings…" 

"Bibimbap," she hums to the rhythm of Justin's Dirty Pop, popping the last p for special effect, "can't stop."

"Every damn fucking time, Tess," he laughs. "It's gonna get stuck in my head for the rest of the day now," he grumbles. 

"Dirty pop, that you can't stop. I know you like this dirty pop. This must be pop," she sings a little louder in his ear, giggling at the same time.

"I'm warning you Tess," he laughs, "if you keep singing this song, I'm taking you out clubbing tonight and we're singing karaoke."

"The only thing I want to do tonight is a bubblebath, a comfy bed and eventually you," she says, impish. 

He chokes a little on his saliva. "That's more than all right with me. So Korean, tonight?" he checks.

"Yeah, Korean tonight," she confirms. "I found this great little place where literally no one will recognize us. It's a hole in the wall. What time do you arrive? Do you want me to come and get you at the train station?" she asks.

"My train gets in at 6 pm, but don't come get me. I'll get my rental car and meet you directly at the hotel," he says. "What room are you in?" he asks.

"601," she replies. "You're in 602. And my mother has already gone back to London," she says in a suggestive tone.

"That sounds promising," he answers in the same tone. "Listen, I've already agreed to go to this club, The Boat, on Kensington Market, with my buddies. You're more than welcome to come, but I know it's not really your thing. It's a little too hipster for my tastes, but I haven't seen them in a long time and I'm sure it's gonna be fun."

"You go have fun, Scott," she smiles. "I'll be waiting for you in bed," she pauses for effect, "completely naked."

He gulps. "You have no idea how much I would love to continue this conversation, but I have to go pack. I'll see you tonight, okay?"

"Sure," she says. "Ugh, they're calling me. I have to go back to do some more press. Love you, bye," she ends the conversation and the phone call. 

He doesn't even have time to say it back. 

*

Toronto, Ontario, Canada - March 2018

"Room service!" Tessa hears his voice through the door after a brisk knock. 

She jumps to her feet and goes to open the door. He's there looking tired but gorgeous and she grabs the front of his shirt to pull him in. The door slams behind them as she draws him in further into the room. 

Her lips attach themselves to his almost immediately as she wraps herself around him, leaving no space between their bodies. Her hands are fisting his hair and his go down to her waist to grab her hips. 

"That's probably the best greeting in the history of greetings," he says against her lips in between kisses. 

"I missed you," she whispers softly. "It was so weird doing interviews without you. I kept looking to my left and you weren't there."

Scott cups her face in his hands and goes to deepen the kiss, tugging gently on her hair. It's only been two days but now that the floodgates are open, they can't keep their hands off of each other. They roam and stroke everything, eliciting delicious shivers and not so quiet moans and groans. 

"So, did you have fun babe?" he asks, once their kisses have slowed down and they're both sitting on the bed. 

"Babe?" Tessa frowns. "Really? I'm not sure I'm a 'babe' kind of person," she says. 

"I was just trying it out," Scott laughs. "Don't you like it?" he asks, kissing the frown between her brows away.

"Not really," she shrugs. "It sounds weird, eh?"

"Would you prefer sweetie, honey or darling?" he suggests, his hand gently stroking her throat, his thumb brushing her jawline.

"I'd rather you stick to Tess, T or Tutu to be honest," she admits. "I'm not really a pet name kind of girl." 

He shakes his head. "No problem, baby," he smiles. 

Okay. It did tug at her heart strings. Maybe, just maybe, she could get used to 'baby'. 

"So, you had fun doing press and stuff?" he repeats still stroking her neck with his fingers.

"Yeah, it was amazing," she says excitedly. "I met so many people and we talked about all kinds of things. Everybody was so nice and their questions were really interesting, too!"

"And yet," he smiles, "you still found a way to talk about me, eh?"

"You were brought up once or twice, yes," she says coyly. "I did a 'who's the most likely' and obviously had to talk about you and your strong karaoke game."

"A detail that, clearly, everybody should be made aware of," he points out, pressing a soft kiss on her mouth. 

"I run out of original answers after some time," she admits. "We should get prepared for tomorrow though, I have a feeling we're going to be playing a lot of games and I can't have you answering 'Tessa' to the question 'what's the last thing you ate,'" she laughs. 

"We would have a hard time explaining away that one, eh?" he grins. "Can you imagine everybody's reactions? We would literally break the Internet." 

"If you ever feel like you want to answer Tessa to any question other than 'who's your skating partner?' just say cherry pie instead," she giggles. 

"Speaking of cherry pies," he says, a rakish smile on his gorgeous lips as he pushes her further on the bed.

"I'm not sure if you're talking about sex or food right now," she giggles. 

He laughs. "I was going for sex, but now that you mention it, I'm starving," he says before kissing her deeply. He's never going to get tired of that feeling.

"Come on," she says, her lips red and swollen from their passionate kisses. "Let's go get something to eat. You're driving."

She gets up, holding his hand to make him stand up as well. He's grinning at her like a kid.

"What?" she asks, smiling.

"Put some Nivea on those lips, Tess. Be a good brand ambassador," he laughs. "You look like you've been sucking face with a jellyfish."

"You realize that you're calling yourself a jellyfish, don't you?" she shakes her head, bringing her hand to her lips. 

"I delivered that joke over the finish line and you know it," he shrugs with a smile.

As she's about to put on her coat, he stops her. "Wait, Tess," he says, his eyes twinkling with mirth and flirtation. 

Scott grabs her tightly and hoists her up against him, wrapping his whole body around her. His mouth descends upon hers in a series of deep wet kisses where their tongues devour each other. He trails his hands all over her back and wishes he could actually feel her bare skin underneath his fingertips.

They're both wildly out of breath and noticeably flushed by the time they finally separate. "Since we're not going to be able to do that while in public, I'd thought I'd stock up," Scott grins.

"I wish we could always hold hands," she whispers softly against his lips. "I love the way your hands feel in mine," she confesses, lacing their fingers together, her pinkie between his index and middle finger.

"I've felt the same way for the last twenty years, Tess," he says, kissing her gently one last time before helping her put her coat on. 

The tiny Korean restaurant that Tessa has found is quite a way from downtown Toronto, but it's probably better. There's a row of tiny shops and restaurants and a lot of free parking space. It's perfect. On a Thursday night, there won't be a lot of people and they will most likely be able to eat there incognito. They even put on disguises: baggy clothes and baseball caps. 

The hostess doesn't seem to recognize them and they're placed in a tiny corner booth where they both order the beef Bibimbap as soon as they're seated. 

"So, what's the planning looking like tomorrow?" Scott inquires. He knows she has told him literally a hundred times before, but this is not the kind of stuff he remembers.

"At least five tv interviews, some games, a surprise visit to The Social and a meeting with our publishing house to discuss the new chapters of our book and sign some copies," she lists, counting on her fingers. 

"That's… a lot of interviews," Scott sighs. 

"I know," she agrees. "It's going to be a long day of answering the same questions." 

"So, we're not a couple, right?" he checks with a knowing smile. 

"No, we're not. We're honored, flattered and proud. We take it as a compliment to our prowess in storytelling. It's heartwarming to feel people's support. I mean, let's try to avoid saying directly that we're not, at least for the moment. Let's just pivot back to the talking points and we should be fine," she explains. 

"Duly noted, oh captain my captain," Scott jokes, doing a saluting sign with his fingers. 

"We just have to mind our body language as best we can," Tessa adds. "It's always the thing that people notice the most." 

"I can't both control what's coming out of my mouth and the way my mouth is saying it," Scott points out with a sigh. 

"I know," she touches his hand briefly. "Try to stay still as much as possible. Don't fidget, make eye contact. Your mouth's not the problem," she smiles. "Well, it depends on what's coming out of it." 

"I'm not promising anything. I know I suck at this, Tess," he says. "I'm sorry." 

"You don't suck," she defends him. "You're just open and you wear your heart on your sleeve. It's one of my favorite things about you. Never be sorry about that."

"It's just tiring that they always go to the romantic side of our partnership. Like it's all we amount to," he says, frustrated. 

"It grates on my nerves too," she agrees. "But they don't understand what it's like, what we're like and they're never going to, so really there's no point in explaining ourselves to them. Or in trying to make them understand," Tessa shrugs. 

"Yeah, I know. It's just… You're just so amazing Tess. All you've been through… People should realize how brave you are, how much strength and determination it took to do what you did," he explains. 

"Scott, you're amazing too. And all I've been through with my legs, I would have given up if it weren't for you. If I were a single skater, if I had never met you, I would have quit. But you were there and you held my hand. You held me up. We did this, the both of us," she says softly.

Scott opens his mouth to say something back, but the waitress arrives with their steaming bowls, preventing him from doing so. It smells delicious. It smells like the Olympics. Like victory.

"Mmmm," Tessa moans. "So, so, so good," she says as she dives into her dish. "Bibimbap, can't stop," she giggles. 

"It reminds me so much of the Olympics," Scott says, eating some as well. "February was the best month. I wish it could have lasted forever." 

"So do I," she replies with a smile. "Oh by the way, I've been invited to an Arkell concert on Saturday night, after the hockey game. Wanna come with?" she asks. 

"Not really," he shrugs. "To be honest, I'm not really as into them as you are," he says. "Plus that guy definitely has a crush on you and I don't want to get in the middle of that. I don't want to have to punch him in the face," he jokes. 

"Are you jealous?" she asks, a pleased grin on her lips. 

"Tess," he says, giving her a pointed look. "You've been mine for the last twenty years. I know I have nothing to worry about. You have fun at that concert. I'll get some beers with the boys after the game." 

"Just wanted to make sure," she says, returning to her noodles. 

Scott smiles knowingly. "Are you jealous?" he asks, a genuinely surprised tone in his voice. He knows how to read between her lines. "Are you actually scared about me going out clubbing tonight? Is that why you brought up the concert?" he follows up.

"Of course not," she denies, avoiding his gaze. 

She actually is anxious. And maybe even a little jealous. How unlike Tessa. "Because, you know, before, when I said that you've been mine for twenty years… Well, I've been yours too," he says softly. 

"I know that," she says, locking eyes with Scott. 

"Just wanted to make sure," he repeats with a knowing grin. "So, are you done or do you want some dessert?" he asks once they're finished gobbling up their bowls. 

"How about some ice cream from that place next to the funny thing?" she suggests, not remembering the name but knowing that Scott will.

"Sure," he says as they walk back to his car. He turns on the radio and settles on an oldies station he knows Tessa will like. 

"Listen," she says, "about Montréal…"

"I wanted to talk to you about that," he says interrupting her because he's going to need all the courage in the world to say this and it needs to be now, before she says anything else. "We'll only be staying there for a few days before going back to London and then to Stars On Ice. So, how about instead of packing and unpacking, I just left my stuff at your place?" he says, getting it all out really fast. 

"What do you mean? Then all of your stuff would be at my place and you have a lot of stuff," she shrugs, not really understanding what he's trying to get at. 

"Well… what if all of my stuff was there? What would you think about that?" he asks softly. 

"Then you'd be going back and forth all the time. I mean, I know we live in the same building, but that doesn't seem very practical to me," she replies confused.

He smiles. "Okay… What if we live together and you understand what I'm saying?" he says, going for the direct approach this time. 

Tessa's mouth hangs open from astonishment. She did not expect this. "Are you serious?" is the only thing she can get out. Her mouth is dry and her heart is beating two hundred beats per minute.

"Yeah…" he replies. "I mean, it's a waste of money when we're only going to be in Montréal for a limited amount of time for the rest of the year with all that we have planned."

"This is really fast, Scott. I'm not sure this is a good idea," she says. "And the money has never been an issue before." 

"Okay," he sighs, "forget about the money. I want to live with you when we're in Montréal. I want to wake up every morning with you in my bed." 

"We don't have to live together for that to happen, Scott," she says, still not recovering from the massive news he's just hit her with. "This is really fast," she repeats. 

"I want to live with you Tess," he insists. "I want us to live together, share the same space, go about our lives and always come back to each other at night. We've known each other for more than twenty years, this isn't fast. We know everything there is to know about each other," Scott finishes, parking in front of the ice-cream parlor.

"Listen, this is a big thing…" she starts, fidgeting with her hands as she speaks. He can tell he's made her nervous and uncomfortable. He never wants to be the one to make her feel this way. 

"I don't need an answer right now, Tess," he says, laying his hand on her knee. "Just think about it. I'm not asking you to live together all the time, just in Montréal. To try. And see how we like it, okay?"

"I'll need to think about it," she says, still in shock. "We also need to talk about what we're going to do after the summer, you know."

"I know," he replies. "Let's take it one step at a time. First: ice-cream!" he says happily, holding the door open for her as she gets out of the car. Their hotel is close enough that he can just leave it here before going to Kensington Market later tonight.

Scott gets bubblegum and Tessa gets dulce de leche. It suits their personalities well: constant child-like joy and sweet and complex elegance. Tess holds his arm and presses their bodies close as they wander the streets somewhat aimlessly, slowly enjoying their treats.

"I want to hold your hand so bad," she says softly as they're about to arrive in front of their hotel. 

"Me too, baby," he whispers softly, kissing the side of her head. 

"I might get used to the baby thing," she smiles. "So this is me," she says as they arrive at the entrance of the hotel. 

"This feels like a first date," Scott jokes. "But not really because we're staying in the same room."

"If this is a first date," Tessa whispers, locking eyes with him, "are you going to kiss me now?" 

"I wish I could," Scott sighs. "So you're just going to have to visualize it in your mind," he continues, tucking a wild strand of hair behind her ear. "Me pressing my mouth against yours and licking your lips open. And my tongue dancing with yours. My hands would grasp your hips and yours would lock in my hair. And there would be moaning," he whispers lowly in her ear. 

Scott's voice is deep and husky. Tessa can feel his warm breath blowing on her earlobe. It makes her shiver deliciously. And his words… Scott should always murmur those kind of things in her ear. The filthier the better in her opinion. It feels like liquid fire being poured all over her body and settling deep in her lower abdomen. 

"I bet you taste like bubblegum," Tessa whispers back, electricity crackling between them. "I'll be waiting to check that out for myself later," she teases as she slips her keycard in his hand, making sure to slowly stroke the palm of his hand with her fingers. 

"I know exactly how you'll taste, Tess," he says with a deep longing sigh. 

Scott shakes his head to snap out of it and puts some much-needed distance between their bodies. He feels like his heart is going to explode out of his chest and he won't even mention what's going on down there. 

"Goodnight, Tess," he says a little louder, kissing her cheek. 

"Goodnight, Scott," she smiles back, her lips lingering on his cheek for a little too long. "Have fun."

When Tessa goes back to her room (their room?), she almost crumples down on the floor. She feels like she's sixteen again. Too many emotions are swirling inside of her. Want, desire, questions, love… She's not used to feeling so intensely. She doesn't know how Scott deals with it on an everyday basis. He's so passionate about everything. How does he not not combust from the inside out? How does he contain the fire?

To clear her head, she decides to organize and lay out all the outfits she has prepared for tomorrow's media tour. She knows Scott will most likely tease her mercilessly about her number of outfits, but that he'll lovingly carry her huge bag for her anyway. When she's done, her mind is still going a hundred miles a minute, so she decides to make flashcards with every talking point they need to hit tomorrow. She clearly underlines bullet points, bridges and pivots. Scott is going to need all the help he can get. He has no poker face. 

It's almost 1 am when she finally starts to feel sleep calling her. Her lids are heavy, her heart has significantly slowed down and her mind feels somewhat at peace. She crawls under the covers and lets Morpheus take her in his arms. 

It seems like she's only closed her eyes for five seconds when she's woken up by the thudding of shoes and clothes being dropped on the carpeted floor. 

"Scott?" she blinks drowsily, trying to feel around for her phone to see what time it is. The room is dark and she can only see his shadowy figure.

"Yeah, baby, it's me," he whispers, slurring his words slightly. "It's past 2," he replies to her silent question when he sees her fumbling with her phone. "I'm sorry I woke you up." 

He slips under the covers behind her, running his hand slowly from her ankle to her hip, making her whole body quiver underneath his touch.

"Fuck, are you actually naked here, Tess?" he asks, lining up his body against her, stroking her side. 

"Told you I would be," she says and he can hear the smile in her voice. "You smell like a brewery," she notes. And sweat. He smells like sweat and alcohol. "How much have you had to drink?" she asks, covering his hand with hers and guiding it to her breast. 

"Lost count after a while," he answers, kneading her breast and pinching her nipple. "Fuck, Tess," he grunts when he feels her nestling into the curve of his pelvis and wiggling her ass against his growing erection.

They've barely started and Tessa is already done with foreplay. She takes his hand and shoves it between her legs. Scott can feel her hot and slick against his fingers and he wastes no time pumping them in and out of her quickly. Her hips buck and undulate against him like she's dancing to latin patterns.

"You need to fucking stop moving, Tess," Scott hisses in her ear. She can almost taste the bittersweetness of alcohol on his warm breath.

In one quick move, he removes his boxer briefs and pushes her, belly first, into the mattress. 

"Scott," she moans and she feels the anticipation build up in every cell of her body. 

Tessa knows Scott likes to lead. She can feel it every time they skate together in the way he firmly holds her hand, grasps her wrist; in the way his hand cradles her hip tightly, encases her ribcage and digs into the soft flesh on her inner thighs when he lifts her. She likes this side of him. It never fails to make her wet in an instant. 

"I'm going to fuck you so good, baby," he promises, taking a condom from the nightstand and rolling it on. 

His inhibitions are down. She loves drunk Scott. Drunk Scott is pure raw unrestrained passion. He grasps her hips from behind and lifts her ass, bending her spine forward, making her support her weight on her elbows. She wished the room wasn't so dark. She would have looked at him over her shoulder, seen him completely unchained, and kept that image burned into her mind's eye for the rest of her life.

He slowly drags one finger down her spine until he reaches her lower back. The room feels like all the oxygen has been sucked out of it and yet it seems like the slightest spark will light it on fire. She wants its flames to consume them. 

He thrusts roughly inside of her, making her whole body jolt forward on the bed with the sheer force of it. 

"Fuck, Scott," she grunts, fisting the sheets. She can feel his grasp on her hips tighten. She's going to have his hands imprinted on her skin for weeks to come.

Scott's fingers dig into her hips and ass as he slams relentlessly into her. She can only react to that onslaught of passion. He's not holding anything back as he keeps moving roughly against her, in her, his breathing harsh and ragged. She can only push back so much but he's not letting her control this one. This one is for him. 

Their skin slaps wetly together as their groans fill the room. They're going to be hoarse tomorrow. Tessa feels herself falling toward the edge, inner muscles fluttering around him. Scott can read her body like an open book and he can feel her pulling him deeper inside of her. He knows the end is near and he can't hold off for much longer anyway. His hand goes between her thigh, where they joined, and he rubs lazily, loving hearing her keen under his fingers. 

Tessa feels her body stiffening and quivering as he thrusts deeper into her and keeps on stroking her mercilessly. She feels his wet breath on her spine and his fingertips digging into the flesh of her ass and she's done for. In a curse, she detonates, clamping tightly all around him. Her body feels like butter and she falls down onto the bed, her head resting on the pillow. She can't even feel her legs anymore. Scott grasps her breasts hard, and, in one last powerful stroke, comes inside of her with a grunt. 

Scott collapses against her, flattening her against the bed. She can feel his whole weight on her back. He's still twitching inside of her and she can taste his jagged breaths on her skin. He's everywhere. He surrounds her like warm water. He sweeps her hair off her shoulders and kisses her neck and spine, licking the sweat off her body. 

She reaches around to stroke his side and his back for a while and after his heart has regained a semblance of calm, he gently pulls out of her and flips them over, bringing Tessa's body close to his. 

"I feel like I should need a cigarette after that," she jokes, nuzzling his chest. They're all sweaty but she doesn't care. She wants to drown in his scent and the warmth of his skin. 

"I can't even feel my knees anymore," he laughs, stroking her hair. 

"Worth it," she says. "Did you have fun at The Boat?" she asks, yawning and fighting to keep her eyes open. 

"Yeah, it was fun," he says, kissing her temple drowsily. "I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, mkay? We need some sleep if we don't want screw up tomorrow's media circus."

"I made some flashcards," she yawns. "With bullet points. And bridges. And pivots." 

"Of course you did," he laughs. "Sweet dreams, T," he whispers, kissing her one last time. 

"Sweet dreams," she slurs, closing her eyes and snuggling against him. 

L'amour est enfant de bohème (Love is a gypsy child)
Il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi (It has never, never known the law)
Si tu ne m'aimes pas, je t'aime (If you don't love me, I love you)

Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi ! (And if I love you, you'd best beware!)

TO BE CONTINUED