“I’m sorry about the series,” Charline begins and I find myself letting out a long whooshing breath of relief.
“Oh that…yeah, well, that wasn’t my best hockey ever,” I admit, reaching for her bag, which she doesn’t allow me to take. It’s just a small pull behind, but she seems determined to pull it herself. “Halak is in a groove, a lot of our guys were pretty banged up and tired. I guess it wasn’t meant to be,” I continue, turning to head back towards where I’d parked the car.
“Still, after the Olympics, it had to be a big let down,” Charline continues, reaching for my hand with hers as we walked and found that her hand fit in mine perfectly. It feels good there.
“Yeah, I guess,” I shrug. “I thought you were going to say something about Mel breaking up with me,” I admit as we reach the Land Rover and I open the tailgate to stow her bag but when I reach for it, her hand stays mine.
“Mel…broke up with you?” she asks, sounding incredulous but she can’t hide the smile that suddenly lights up her entire face. I shrug, as I’ve been doing in reply to that question every time I tell someone about it. As if it’s not possible for someone to want to break up with me. Considering what a total dick I’ve been, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. “So…is the wedding…off?” Charline asks quietly, hesitantly, her dark eyes searching my face for answer. I find it hard to answer this part, especially to my close friends that know the truth, and, I find to her.
“I haven’t…quite managed to do that…yet,” I admit, expecting the same sarcastic laughter that has been greeting me from my teammates and even my father, not that I’d expected less. But Charline reaches out and puts her hands on my shoulders and makes a little cooing sound, like a dove, and when I look into her eyes, I see actual sympathy.
“I’m sorry Sidney. I know you two have been very good friends for a long time,” she smiles sadly and then plants a soft, sweet kiss on my lips. “I know you’re not the kind of man who sets out to hurt anyone,” she adds quietly as she wraps her arms around me. Standing there in the middle of the parking lot with her arms around me, I feel better than I have for a long time. I hadn’t expected to. In fact I’d almost called her back and told her not to come. It had seemed wrong, somehow. Like rubbing salt into a wound, even though I didn’t seem to be as upset about Max and Mel being together as I thought I should be.
“Thanks,” I tell her as we unravel ourselves from one another. “I think I needed to hear someone tell me I’m not a complete monster,” I admit, brushing her hair back from her face s she grins up at me.
“Actually, I think I’m kinda the bad one here,” she admits, her dark eyes glittering with mischief. “I didn’t just come to give you some TLC, although I hope I’ll get the chance to do that,” she admits, reaching for my hand again and lacing her fingers with mine, all the while giving me one of those long, suggestive looks that causes my body temperature to rise. “I was hoping…I mean it sounds bad when I say it out loud, but I just thought…after what you’ve told me…well, I thought you might not actually go through with it and…it’s not like I was going to come into the church and be the one to stand up when they ask if anyone has any reason why you shouldn’t do it but…I was going to sort of wait outside…in case you bolted,” she admits finally, with a shy sort of a smile, her cheeks taking on a light pink hue. I can’t help but smile at the idea of her skulking around outside the cathedral, waiting for me to chicken out and run for my life. “I’m not saying you’re the kind of guy that leaves a girl at the altar but…I guess I am saying that I don’t really think you’re the kind of guy who’d marry a girl you don’t love either,” she adds, very quietly, almost under her breath, her expression turning deadly serious as she gazes up at me.
“I did…in some ways,” I tell her honestly, my hand still resting on her cheek, “and to tell you the truth, I don’t know what I would have actually done but…thank you for being here,” I add, just as honestly and then I capture her lips with mine and feel her body melt into mine and I can’t ignore the feeling that her body fits mine as if it were meant to.
The answer had come far more easily than I had thought it would. Even though my brain had begged for time to think about it and somewhere in my head I knew that it was too soon and the gesture too extravagant and yet my lips had opened and the word had tumbled out of my mouth before I could take it back. Then, the relief and happiness on Max’s face…it had been infectious and soon I had found myself in a huge happy group hug in and amongst people I know really, deeply care for me. But now, alone with Max, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed.
Especially now as I push my key into the lock and the deadbolt slides free, knowing that I’ll be alone with him again and that Kennedy and Jordan have gone off to find a hotel room, so that there is no risk of our being interrupted, maybe even for days. Suddenly I feel shy, nervous, those little butterflies in my stomach beginning to stretch their wings again.
Even when I feel his hand on my shoulder and his lips pressing softly to the nape of my neck, I think it should make me feel comforted, protected, and safe, but it doesn’t. I feel edgy, more anxious than I did the first night I’d gone to him looking to lose my virginity. I never imagined Max falling in love, least of all with me, and it seems like a huge responsibility has been placed on my shoulders - the woman who tamed Mad Max.
“Ma bichette, votre coeur est battement comme d’un petit lapin,” he whispers, his breath warm on my skin, sending goose bumps racing across my shoulders and down my arms.
“I’m scared,” I admit, pushing the door open and walking into the dark apartment. He follows close behind and when he closes and locks the door behind him, I nearly jump out of my skin.
“Of me, ma petite?” he asks, managing to look hurt and give me his come hither bedroom eyes at the same time. “Qu’aurais-je pu faire pour vous faire si mal?” he asks, moving to stand with me, taking my hand in his and raising it to his lips, his eyes, even in the dark, looking like the calm sapphire blue green seas off of a tropical island. I shiver as his lips make their way, slowly and deliberately up my arm, his gaze holding mine all the while. “What would you have me do, mon coeur? What can I do to make you…relax?” He says the last with his lips upturned in that mischievous smile of his that makes me grin back at him. “Pour vous, je ferai tout ce que vous me demandez,” he adds, raising his eyebrows in a way that says ‘dare me’.
“Aren’t you afraid?” I ask him, searching his face for any signs of the same misgivings that are currently plaguing me.
“Of what ma petite?” he asks, letting go of my hand in favor of brushing my cheek tenderly with the back of his hand.
“That I’ll go back to him? That…that I’ll hurt you?” I ask, leaning into the warmth of his hand and shutting my eyes against the naked emotions swimming in the sea blue of his eyes. Even though it’s only his hand pressed against my skin, I can feel his entire body go still, can hear his breathing pause, but only for a moment and then I feel his other hand slide across my cheek in and into my hair and then I feel his lips brush over mine.
“Je t’aime, mon amour,” he whispers, his lips brushing over my eyelids. “I’d rather try this than sit on the bench and watch him break you down, bit by bit.” It hurts to have someone else blame Sidney for what’s happened, but at the same time, it’s like Max is peeling my fingers away from the ledge I’ve been holding onto and whispering at me to let myself fall. “Je suis ici. Je serai toujours ici pour tu. Tu as mon coeur, est-il possible que je pouvais faire autre chose?”
“And if you aren’t?” I ask, opening my eyes to search his face. “If you go back to being the man whore….” He smiles but shakes his head as his hand slides down so that the pad of his thumb presses to my lips, effectively silencing me.
“I was never…well, no, that’s not true. Maybe at first…but it was more of an act after the first year. Those empty, meaningless women…they were never for me. But you…ma petite chaton, there’s always been more to you. Je tu promets, since we met, there has never been…il n’y aura jamais n’importe qui autrement pour moi, only you.” How could my heart not melt to have Mad Max say that? I can barely breathe as he strokes his thumb along my cheekbone and gazes down at me with such tenderness, love and utter devotion in his eyes. I feel tears filling my eyes again and his smile is full of the same sort of relief as he bends to cover my lips with his, his gaze still holding mine until his lips lift from mine, just enough for him to speak. “Can you love me, ma petite? I’m not asking you to declare your love for me now, just…do you think you can? Pensez vous que vous pouvez apprendre à m’aimer? “Taking his hand in mine, I bring it down so that he can feel that my heart is beating impossibly fast and then I offer him my lips for a long, soft kiss that leaves us both breathless.
“I have loved you Max,” I whisper, pressing my hand over his rapidly beating heart. “I’m only beginning to understand that what I feel for you is real and what I felt for Sidney was…a cheap imitation. I thought what I felt for him was real…until I was with you. There’s always been a little part of me, deep inside,” I whisper, pressing his hand to the centre of my chest “that was waiting, empty, to be filled. I knew he didn’t fill it but I kept waiting for him to. The first night I…that we…,” I feel a soft heat infusing my skin as I think about that first night in his bed. “The first time we were together…I knew. I fought it but I haven’t been able to evict you,” I add with a shy smile as I turn my lips up to his.
“I will never ask for more,” he whispers, a single tear escapes his sea blue eyes and then his lips crash over mine like a tsunami hitting a beach and I know there will be no more words tonight. Not unless they are in the forms of sighs or moans.
I feel his hands fisting in my hair, dragging my head back, his lips and teeth working at my neck, making me shudder. Backing me into the kitchen table, he lifts me up onto it and places himself between my legs. Our tongues twine, and dance before he lifts the black t-shirt I’d worn to match the one Gareth had worn out onto the runway at the end of the show when he’d joined me and Max and GaGa and all of the girls had come out clapping.
Inch by inch he lifts it, his hands running up my rib cage, his lips following until he captures a nipple between his teeth. Letting out a sigh, I dig my fingers into his hair and hold him there, enjoying his ministrations, biting down on my bottom lip and still not able to keep a moan from escaping as his other hand brushes over my nipple, his thumb flicking and running over it.
Pushing his tux jacket off of his shoulders, I hear myself making impatient noises which eventually get his attention and he looks up at me, that mischievous smile of his mocking me as he raises his eyebrows as if to say ‘what? What do you want?’ before he switches the attentions of his lips and teeth from one breast to the other.
“Maaaxx,” I moan, arching my back, wanting more but impatient to touch him at the same time.
“Patience ma cherie, now that I have you to myself…I intend to take my sweet time,” he chuckles, dragging what’s left of my t-shirt off and throwing it aside before carefully slipping out of his jacket and loosening his tie, before going back to work on my aching nipples, his tongue swirling in slow circles, his teeth tugging, his fingers pinching until I can barely breathe and only then do his hands drop to the snap on my jeans.
I reach down to help him but Max pushes my hands aside and make short work of tugging my jeans off and tossing them aside, along with my panties, and then he just stands there, smiling this sort of cat that’s about to get the cream sort of grin while he very slowly and deliberately tugs loose his tie, pulls it over his head and tosses it to me.
“Wear it,” he grins as his fingers go to work on the buttons of his crisp white shirt, undoing one button and then two, before meticulously rolling up his sleeves, as if ready to go to work. I drop the black satin tie around my neck, feeling the cool fabric drop and slide between my breasts as his gaze holds mine. I watch him lick his full lips as he rolls one sleeve all the way up to his elbows and the heat and desire in his gaze makes my nipples tighten, my stomach clench and my mouth go dry.
Having discarded my heels in order to pull off my jeans, Max now slips them back on my feet, but not before placing a soft kiss on each instep. Then, while he slips the black patent stiletto ankle boots back on, he kisses the inside of my knee, and then inside of my thigh and then, tossing my knees over his shoulders, he spreads my thighs wide and just…blows. His warm breath, blown across my most sensitive of sensitive spots makes me cry out, makes me whimper and beg and I know this is what he wants, maybe even what he needs, for me to be entirely and utterly at his mercy and knowing that he and only he can soothe the savage beast he has created and that is when I grab hold of him, tangling my fingers in the short choppy pieces of his sandy brown hair, and beg him for release.
Of course he has no intention of providing that release any time soon. He teases and taunts with soft vibrating kisses and short, barely there licks and nibbles that do nothing more than torment me, making me writhe in his hands, making me whimper and plead out loud. Happy in his work or at least content to be torturing me, he hums and sings bawdy French songs as he spells out his full, complete French Catholic baptismal name across my clit with his tongue, over and over again until I can barely breathe. But every time I start to hear that buzzing in my ears and feel that clenching at the base of my spine and that tightening in my stomach…he pulls back and blows, warm, soft breaths over my pussy until I’m nearly relaxed, and then he begins the game all over again.
“What are you thinking about?” I blink and turn to see Charline, lying on her stomach, watching me. I’d thought she was asleep. “You’ve been staring at the ceiling for…it’s her isn’t it?” she asks, and I’m surprised to see that she doesn’t look angry or upset at all. Instead, she reaches out to touch my face and smiles. “It’s okay, if you want to talk about her. I don’t mind,” she offers, the shadow of a smile playing at the corners of her lips.
“I’ve just been kind of a jackass,” I sigh, turning to stare back up at the ceiling.
“I knew…or I should have known that she’s been in love with me for…years,” I sigh and then shut my eyes. “I just keep wondering…I wonder if she’ll ever even talk to me again. If either of them will,” I add, wondering about what happened when Max went to her. I’ve decided that Mel must have felt like she had to turn to someone for physical consolation because I wasn’t there for her but I can’t see her being with Max. He seemed serious about it but I can’t see him staying that way….
“You can’t be responsible for how other people feel. If she kind of threw herself at you…,” I shake my head before Charline can finish her thought.
“It felt like we should be together,” I insist, heaving another sigh before turning to look at the woman lying shamelessly naked in my bed, her cool fingers now running along my ribs, teasing me, reminding me of the oblivion her body provides me. “I tried…she tried…I hate failing,” I grumble, and hear her laughing or trying not to laugh, but she can’t quite stifle it behind her hand.
“I’m sorry,” she apologizes when I shoot her a dirty look. “I get it. I do. Hey, I play too, I’m competitive too but you can’t be competitive in a relationship. You’re not on opposing sides. You have to be a team Sidney,” she snorts and although I know that she’s making fun of me she’s also making a point that I know some of the guys have tried to make with me more than once but….
“I feel like I’ve lost my two best friends,” I sigh, trying to explain what the worst outcome is and her expression becomes more serious and she cuddles closer to me, sliding her hand across my stomach and pulling herself into me.
“If your friendship is strong enough, you’ll be able to fix it,” she says quietly, looking up at me with her dark eyes, all sympathetic, which I don’t feel like I deserve right now.
“I don’t know how,” I shrug, reaching down to run my fingers through her long dark hair.
“Let yourself…let them have a little time, and then, when the time is right….”
“That’s the thing…if he’s traded, I might not have a chance to see them again,” I insist but Charline, even more insistent, straddles me, but not in a sexual way. More like in a wrestling sort of way, pinning me down and forcing me to listen to her.
“And when the time is right and enough water has gone under the bridge, if your friendship was strong enough, then yeah, you’ll be friends again. Especially you boys, you don’t hold grudges the way we girls do,” she grins, leaning down so that her arms are wresting on my chest and her pointed chin rests on the back of her hands, her lips not too far away but inaccessible, for the moment.
“I hope you’re right,” I sigh, gazing up into her beautiful face, running my hands through her long, chocolate coloured hair. I don’t want to think about Max or Mel anymore. It makes my head hurt, and she’s here and real, warm and available, her soft breasts pressed against my chest, a tantalizing reminder of how good she feels beneath me. “And I guess I don’t have to cancel all of those plans,” I add, fisting my hand in her hair and bringing her lips down to mine. She tastes of cinnamon gum and cool, clear water and I kiss her until it has to be all too clear to her just how done I am with this particular topic of conversation.
“You should though,” she whispers against my lips, her hips moving to make it easier for me to slide up inside of her and then she gasps, her eyes fluttering closed, her lips falling open in a sexy little smile.
“We could just change one of the names on the invitations and announcements, they weren’t going out until last minute,” I explain, reaching up to bite at her bottom lip. “You and I both know this isn’t just sex, not anymore. Marry me Charline. Fuck all the rest of it. Marry me.”
Taking my hand, Max leads me to my bedroom and when he pushes the door open, I’m suddenly very glad and more than a little relieved that this room has never been…‘christened’. Sidney’s never been here and in all the times Max was here, he never so much as came into my room. Until now, and as I cross the threshold, Max pulls me into his arms almost like a dancer and kisses me, a long, slow, sweet kiss that makes my heartbeat multiply.
It doesn’t matter that I can taste my own juices on him, or that he’s still fully dressed or even that my entire body is still tingling from being brought to the edge of the precipice too many times to count without being allowed to actually have release. All that matters is that his hand on the small of my back and curled around the back of my head makes me feel so safe, so wanted that tears spring to my eyes and I end up clinging to him, my head buried in his shoulder.
“Ma petite, mon amour, je t’ai fait mal? Ce qui est faux?” he asks, tipping my chin up and searching my face with the most concerned expression that I can’t help but smile it’s so endearing.
“Nothing…no…I just realized that I…that I really do love you,” I whisper, nipping at his bottom lip and being rewarded with another long, soft, toe curling kiss.
“Je t’aime, je t’adore,” he whispers as he kisses my neck and backs me toward the bed until my knees buckle against its edge and I fall back on it. He stands there, over me, looking down at me with a tenderness that makes my throat swell with emotion but even when I hold my arms out for him, he just stands there, his gaze holding mine and then, slowly, agonizingly slowly, he undoes the rest of the buttons of his now very wrinkled white dress shirt. Pulling the tails of his shirt out of his pants, he shrugs it off and then, balling it up, he tosses it aside.
Biting down on my bottom lip until it hurts I let my eyes roam over his round shoulders, that patch of wiry hair in the middle of his chest and those tats…. My hands reach out almost of their own volition, until I’m sitting up, running my fingers down his rib cage, tracing the dark ink with, first, my fingertips and then my lips and tongue until I feel his entire body shudder and I reach for his belt.
“No, mon chéri, if you even touch me I don’t think I will be able to control myself,” he insists, his hands reaching to pry mine off of his belt. I grin up at him, raising my eyebrow, assuming it’s a challenge but he smiles and shakes his head. “I mean it, mon amour,” he whispers, pushing me gently back onto the bed until he’s kneeling over me, his belt undone, his pants low enough on his waist that I can clearly see his goody trail and his hip bones and I can’t take my eyes off of the obvious bulge in his pants.
“Max…,” I begin to reach for his pants again but he pushes my hand away and leans in to capture my nipple in his lips, sucking it into his mouth until I lose that particular train of thought and am once again lost amidst the sensations his mouth and hands are causing as he slides his fingers inside of me and presses up against that spot that makes me cry out and push down against his hand. “No Max, I want you…now…please,” I whimper, feeling that tell tale clenching at the base of my spine, that cold tingling in my thighs.
I hear him grunt and struggle one handed with his pants, but he never stops his tormenting ministrations until I feel his thick fingers pull out and all at once they’re replaced by the long, thickness of him and in one, long hard thrust he forces the air from my lungs. Wrapping my legs around him, I pull him into me, pushing my hips up to meet his as his mouth finds mine and his hands dig into my hair and I feel him moan into my mouth and I know that he’s close and I know that he’s trying to distract me with his tongue and his teeth but I won’t be distracted.
“It never felt like this,” I whisper, pulling his mouth and teeth down to my neck where his teeth dig in, sending sharp bolts of pain mixed with pleasure that leave me panting beneath him. “It never felt like this with him Max. You ruined me for anyone else,” I hiss as he grinds against me, trying to force himself even deeper inside of me and I lift my hips, wanting him deeper.
“I never want you to be with anyone else, jamais, m’entendez vous?” he growls, his teeth digging into my shoulder as he makes, short, hard, deep thrusts that should almost hurt, but they don’t. I’m so wet, so close to the edge and every single thrust pushes me closer and closer to finding that happy oblivion. But I won’t go, not yet, not without him.
“I’ll never want anyone else,” I promise and believe it as I say it, my nails digging into his ass, pushing him deeper, hearing his breathing grow ragged as I do.
“Tell me you don’t love him, le dire pour moi. J’ai besoin de savoir,” he pants, losing all rhythm to his thrusts, just fucking me now, driving into me with lost abandon.
“I love you,” I cry, feeling that first wave reach the beach of my consciousness, knowing I’ll go under with the next.
“Mais, avez-vous l’aimez encore?” he grunts and I know he’s holding back, that he won’t allow himself to go unless I say it.
“I don’t,” I whimper as he holds my face between his two hands and stares down at me, fire and desire mixed with pain and longing in his eyes.
“Say it, pour moi, s’il vous plait, dites-moi,” he growls, holding himself still, which has to take enormous will power at this point. I find myself staring up at his handsome face, watching the sweat beading on his brown, the strain in his neck and around his dark, now almost royal blue eyes, and I don’t need to lie.
“I don’t love him anymore, if I ever did. I love you Maxime. You, I want you,” I insist, pulling his lips down over mine with one hand curled around the back of his neck while the other digs into his back and with one, last, hard thrust, I feel him let go. He groans into my mouth and his entire body goes rigid and still but I can feel his heart hammering against his chest and I can feel him let go inside of me, filling me as my own body clutches at him, holding him in a vice grip as my back bows off of the bed and I howl my release, holding onto Max for dear life.