For all his thirty years, Scott Moir had never really cared much for the arts aside from the kind performed on the ice, though he guesses that he's biased. Sure, he's an ice dancer—his career came with the inevitability of dancing, of course—and then there's choreographing programs and maybe a little acting here and there (though, there are some nights spent alone in the darkness of his room when he can admit that he hadn’t been acting at all), but twizzles and elaborate lifts are where he draws the line. Anything beyond that is beautiful and all, but he wouldn't be going out of his way for it anytime soon.
Tessa is the one busy designing jewellery, and then glasses, doing all the fashion-y things he wouldn't even care to know about had it been anyone else. Where Scott is usually focused on the technicalities of their skating, she is always the one adding small hand gestures and flourishes to their routine where he wouldn't have even thought to put, arms flowing delicately to the music in the dances that call for it, fingers warm on his sleeves as she teaches him to do the same. So, yes, Tessa had always been the artsy one, and they both know it.
Which is why he doesn't know if he should be relieved or upset when Tessa doesn't call him out on his sudden interest in interior decorating.
Maybe it's because he is exhausted to his bones after their ten-hour run at the rink today—hell, today and every other day for the past week—but his kitchen lights are bringing out the green in her eyes as she finishes cleaning up after their shared B2Ten dinner, and the sudden thought of her leaving makes him more breathless than he had ever been on the ice. Something … he wills his mind to conjure an excuse to keep her here longer, just for a few more minutes at least. He doesn't even think to stop the words as they come out of his mouth, and now that they are, he might as well roll with it.
"Hey, do you think I should get a new couch?" Scott figures that he can’t go any more subtle than that.
Tessa raises her eyebrows at him, and that somehow translates as a direct order to his brain to start rambling (as was usually the case when it comes to her). "It's just that ma mentioned something about dropping by to visit for a day or two, and I just figured that we’ve already been in Montreal for two weeks and it still looks like this ,”—he gestures wildly to indicate his slightly cluttered living room—“and I know that we usually hang out at your place anyway, so it probably doesn’t make much of a difference, but you know my mom, and you know she’ll start fussing, and the next thing I know she might be shipping in furniture and stuff, so I should get it over with right now—“
“Whoa, slow down there,” Tessa laughs. In the midst of his tirade, he hadn’t noticed how Tessa had moved closer until she was standing right in front of him. She places both her hands on his shoulders and leans in close. He tries not to think about how his hands automatically rise to her waist. “Let me get this straight,” she muses. “Your mom is coming to visit, so you want to buy a couch?”
Well, when she puts it that way… “No. I mean, yes… well, I—”
That has to be amusement Scott sees glinting in her eyes when she asks, “Is this your way of asking me to help you decorate your condo?”
“ Yes? ” It shouldn’t sound like a question, but it does. Is that what he’s implying? He’s not sure, and honestly, he doesn’t care either, as long as it keeps her smiling at him like she is now.
Tessa rolls her eyes. “You know, I’ve been waiting for you to say something like this from the day we stepped into this place.”
She inspects the room with a critical eye she usually only reserves for when they’re watching playback videos of themselves, trying to improve their routine, or when they’re scouting out this season’s competition. He tries to do the same, willing himself to see his condo the way Tessa would, but after a few seconds, the only conclusion he comes to is that it’s not nearly as fancy as her place.
It’s not like he doesn’t want his new home to look nice. When he first came here, the condo was already somewhat furnished—by that, he means that it had basic furniture, working kitchen appliances and hot water in the shower, which was good enough for him. The walls are a nice grey, the hardwood floors are polished, and someone had given the bathroom tiles a good scrub before he moved in. Sure, there’s a small brown stain on the kitchen floor that sort of looks like a cat if he turns his head a certain way, and his bed creaks a little too much whenever he rolls over, and his drink spills whenever the coffee table rocks on its uneven legs, but he remembers looking around and thinking that with a few touch ups, he could see himself ( and Tessa , a distant voice in his head supplies helpfully) lazing around on the couch on weekends and late nights after practice with some beer and a movie queued up. Well, maybe not too much beer, if their new nutritionists had their way. Not until they had Olympic gold around their necks. Still, he had the plan in mind; it’s just that he hadn’t actually gotten around to doing anything yet.
He guesses that the week Tessa had cleared when they first moved was meant for them to settle in and unpack at their respective places, but they were in the same building with literally twenty-three steps from each other’s front door—not that he’s counted or anything, except he did, the very first time he walked from his to hers—that the moment Scott sat on the floor and opened the first box, he stared at its contents for five seconds before he got back up again and left to see what Tessa was up to.
(She was about to hang up her curtains, which he promptly offered to help with.
“Are you done with your place?” she asked.
“Not much to unpack.” He attempted a casual shrug, probably ending up looking like he had something up his shirt, and ignored Tessa’s knowing gaze.
Two weeks later and the only things he’s unpacked are clothes, kitchen supplies and a few other things he needs to survive on a daily basis. He shoved the rest into the guest bedroom after Tessa said she’d come over for dinner.)
“You don’t need a new couch, if that’s your idea of redecorating, but I think you could use a couple of throw pillows and a rug here, maybe…” Tessa throws her ideas around and Scott nods along to everything she says like the whipped sap that he is, he thinks—even when Tessa notices and asks if he’s paying attention, even when she throws her hands up in exasperation and tells him to be ready after lunch tomorrow so they can go look at furniture together because she needs to pick some stuff up anyway, even when she tells him she’s leaving and kisses his cheek goodnight.
Only when the door closes behind her does he realize that he just scored at least a few hours with Tessa on a day that they aren’t required to spend together. Smiling, he starts to get ready for bed, telling himself that it’s not weird at all to pat himself on the back after how well this night turned out.
And that is how Scott Moir ends up spending a considerable amount of money on Ikea furniture he doesn’t really need, only half acknowledging the items picked out by his skating partner of eighteen years. All because his stupid brain couldn’t catch up fast enough with his constantly rapid beating heart whenever he was in the presence of said partner.
They walk slowly through each section, taking their time to look at things, Tessa picking up one of those lists and a pencil because of course she does , scribbling things down in her neat longhand as they go.
(When Tessa passes them to him so she can look at the carpets, he discreetly adds something else in the box below where she’d written HEMNES.
“ Tessa? ” she asks when she reads over it later.
“I think I see one right here,” he jokes, throwing her over his shoulder.
She laughs and playfully hits his back, and no , that is not his heart fluttering when she says “But you’ve already got one at home.”)
All in all, Scott thinks that the whole day is quite productive, at least on his end. He just spent the past two and a half hours goofing around and testing out sofas and couches and beds with Tessa, the one girl he had been pining on for God knows how long, like they were a real couple about to move in together. In a way, he guesses that they kind of are, if you ignored the fact that he hasn’t really kissed her in ages, and they return to their respective homes and their respective bedrooms alone, and they keep skirting around this unnameable connection between them when all he really wants is to cup her face in his hands and…
It’s a fantasy he visits on that day more than he cares to admit to himself. He still can’t get over how happy he felt as he watched Tessa roll her head back to laugh at his stupid attempt to look sexy on one of the display couches, how beautiful she looked even as she started tossing throw pillows his way when he took a shot at making what he hoped were seductive bedroom eyes at her (which he guesses are pretty much the same as any other time he looks at Tessa Virtue).
He gives her the time to scrutinize each piece so she can imagine how they’d look in his living room, content with being able to watch her eyebrows draw together in concentration, in a way that’s not too different from when they’re trying to master a new lift. But today there’s no pressure of getting it right, no ache in their muscles, no sweat down their backs, nothing to remind them of upcoming competitions. The Tessa in front of him is relaxed and unguarded, the way he likes her best; the Tessa that bounces on the sofa beds and wraps fuzzy throws around his neck and picks a stuffed animal off of a shelf and holds onto it until he offers to buy it for her. (She declines but he does anyway, ignoring how the cashier looks on with soft eyes at his hand on her waist, which Tessa miraculously doesn’t notice, or pretends not to, anyway. He holds on tighter.)
And as if it couldn’t get any better, just as they finish unloading everything from the car into his condo, she disappears into his room, coming out a minute later with one of his old sweaters over her jeans instead of the dressy blouse she had on before. She immediately pulls a box from the pile in the corner to the middle of the room and promptly sits down on the floor, tearing open the package and carefully pulling out its contents.
“Come on, Scott. These shelves aren’t gonna build themselves.”