The rain comes down at a steady rate. Not quickening or slowing down. No thunder. No lightning. No wind. Just a dreary day. I look out into the city, feeling an immense amount of peace overwhelm me as my playlist specifically made for the rain plays it’s soft mellow tone in the background. I hug my white mug filled with coffee closer to me before taking another sip. The warmth slipping through my body as I let out a content sigh.
The grey sky outlined the contours of the city’s skyscrapers and reflected off the murky rivers. There was almost no sunlight shining through the thick grey clouds. I watch as the water drips down my high window, making small patterns. The light of the candles that I had lit gave a soft glow to my apartment. I had always loved the look of candles, they gave the room a soft natural glow, especially on a dreary day like today. Not bright and artificial like the ceiling lights or lamps. I always made sure to keep candles everywhere in my apartment, but I only had a few lit at the moment. Traveling so often had put me in many spots where there was no electricity. A candle was seemingly almost like a comfort of home; I could take one just about anywhere. Right now, the whole room smelled of warm vanilla from all the wax. It was a soothing morning, a much-needed soothing morning after the night I had had last night.
I look back into the stormy weather, my thoughts drifting. His eyes matched almost perfectly to the color of the sky, a blue grey. And like the sky they changed with his mood, sometimes a bright blue, other times a stormy grey. I’m pulled out of my thoughts when I hear his foot steps come from my bedroom. I turn to greet him and find that he is only in his grey dress pants from last night. The sight of him shirtless made my breath hitch for a minute as I trace the contours and lines of his muscles and broad bare shoulders. I could see the cross tattoo that marked the right of his rib cage, before my eyes make their way across his abs and up his solid torso and to the Talbot ‘T’ on his right bicep. My eyes finally make their way to his face; his eyes were a stormy grey color and clouded by sleep as he looked at me, pulling on his already messy short brown hair. I wanted to jump him right there, I had never felt so attracted to Max Talbot and he looked damned hot when he first woke up. Hangover and all. But it was Max and I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.
“Good Morning,” I say speaking first, it coming out more of a warm purr than I had wanted or expected it to.
“Morning,” he replies, his accent thick in a sleepy haze.
His eyes searching around the room and stopping to flicker over me. Suddenly I realized how short the robe I had brought back from China really was. I resist the urge to tug it lower, knowing it would give away my uneasiness. His eyes move over me, a heated look in them as they flicker up to my eyes. Confusion in their depths.
“The coffee is over by the stove and the aspirin is on the counter,” I murmur, not breaking his gaze.
He continues to stare at me for a moment, no doubt having trouble registering my words in his current state. Finally he breaks our silent staring contest and nods, his hand coming back up to tug on his hair before moving to the counter to get coffee and aspirin.
I turn my attention back to the view as The Weepies play “Gotta have You” softly in the background. I think back to a few minutes ago, replaying the picture of him walking in.
Fine, I’ll admit it, I wanted him. Perhaps a little more than I wanted to admit. He was strong, cute, funny. He could keep up with my sarcasm and dish it right back at me. He knew more about me and my past then most people I had interacted with over the past couple years, with the exception of my brothers. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t because I knew how strong my feelings were for him before, a little more than a simple high school crush. No I wasn’t in love with him, I knew that, even then I knew I wasn’t in love with him. But I could. I could fall in love with him and I don’t think it would take much. All the other guys I was romantically involved with were mostly for, well, sex. My longest relationship only had lasted 3 months, and that’s how I liked it. I had never been in love. I had loved, but I had never been in love and it never bothered me. I was not tied down to anything and that’s how I wanted to keep it. If I fell in love I couldn’t travel the world like I wanted. I didn’t want that. I wanted to travel the world, taste it, smell it, see it all.
That’s why I couldn’t be with Max, even if it was just sex. It would ruin what we had. I was here for the next 6 months and then I was leaving. If we remained friends we could keep in contact, the occasional letter or phone call before it eventually became too much and it faded away. No heartache, no obligations. If I got together with Max, there would be more attached to it. It wasn’t a random hookup, we had a past. It couldn’t be anything more than what it was now. No matter how curious I was to how good he was in bed. No matter how much I wanted to find out. I just couldn’t.
I feel an arm snake around my waist, making a warm and tingly sensation spread around my lower half and my heart lurch in my throat. He places a simple kiss under my left ear, the scruff on his face tickling my neck, his lips soft against me. His touch burned its warmth through my thin robe. My eyes close tightly, ‘No, no I can’t.’ I think, as I bite my lip to the feeling of his simple kiss lingering and the mixture of his musky cologne and the slight stale smell of alcohol hitting me.
“Thanks for letting me crash here last night Maggs,” he mumbles, his voice gravely in my ear.
I take a deep breath calming myself before opening my eyes turning around in his arms. I hadn’t realized how close to him I would be though and I subconsciously bite my lip nervously. Only inches where between me and his sexy smirk with the smell of coffee on his breath and mine. My eyes move up to connect with his stormy blue ones before I drop my gaze down. His bare chest almost touching me, making me curse myself for buying such a thin robe. He leans in a little closer, looking down to my lips.
I inhale quickly and take a step back breaking free of his arms. I hear him let out a rather defeated sigh.
“Sure thing,” I reply, looking down in almost empty coffee mug, gathering myself with a deep breath.
Clean slate, no emotions. Well, ok, emotion, just not the sexual charged one. I look back up to him, my eyes avoiding his dangerous ones that I know will pull me into a place that I just escaped from.
“So, how’s the jaw there, Ali,” I ask, turning his head with my two finger to view the side of his jaw.
“It’s fine,” he huffs, pushing my hand away, his own hand sneakily hanging onto my wrist.
“Really? It doesn’t hurt at all?” I say skeptically.
“Huh, and here I thought that he really landed that punch. Max, why would you try to pick a fight like that? I mean I know you were drunk but come on!”
“I didn’t pick a fight,” he growls rolling his eyes.
“Oh right, him punching you after you stood chest to chest and said I was going home with you, wasn’t picking a fight,” I snort.
“I didn’t mean for it to be a fight, I just didn’t want you going home with that dirt bag,” he says frustrated.
“Why the hell not?! It’s not like you don’t do it, and yes I know about your reputation, I figure people out for a living,” I say holding up my hand.
“That’s different and don’t pull the job card. You figure out dead societies not living people.”
“Same thing… sort of,” I shrug, “Don’t change the subject. I wasn’t a fan of having to take you home and take care of you when I had a perfectly good… “
“Lay? And you didn’t take care of me, you told me to that you were sleeping on the couch and threatened to break my fucking hand if I objected. None of this would have happened if you would have just obeyed the damn rules,” he grumbles, his hand tugging on his hair while he mumbles something in French.
“The rules? Max, come on! When have I ever obeyed rules that were set for me?! And your fucking rules were shit and you know it,” I shout.
“Damnit it Maggie! They were so that neither you nor I would get in trouble. I’m so sick of pulling you out of trouble,” he shouts back.
“Then don’t! I already have 5 brothers that feel like it’s their duty to do so, I don’t need another one. I’m a big girl, I can take care of myself!” I shout before walking off to my bedroom.
“Where the hell are you going?!”
“To take a fucking shower!” I shout over my shoulder before slamming the door to the bathroom. I walk over to the sink and brace myself on the cool granite counter, my head hanging low as I catch my breath and cool myself down in order to keep from punching the mirror. One I’ve cooled down enough I turn on the stereo I have in the bathroom, turning it up loudly incase ‘someone’ came knocking at the door wanting to continue our screaming match. Christina Aguilera ‘s “Fighter” blasts through the speakers, consuming my hearing and letting the anger roll around in me as the cool water from my shower cooled me down and slowly let my red hot temper flow down the drain. It wasn’t hard to get my blood boiling, but no one could heat it up as fast as Max Talbot, except maybe my father. But my blood was always boiling around him. No, Maxime Talbot was the only one that could make me go from completely mellow to a screaming match so quickly.
She was so fucking infuriating! I set my coffee cup down on the counter a little more forcefully than I should have making the hot brown liquid jostle out over the sides and into a puddle on the grey counter. I come out and she looks so tempting in that short little red silky robe, tied ever so loosely around her waist giving me a peek at the tank top she was wearing last night, but this time no bra underneath. Her legs were just as I had remembered, surprisingly long on her small frame with lean muscle that danced at any slight movement. With her back turned to me, I couldn’t resist her. Her skin was so soft and warm beneath my lips, smelling faintly of pepper and mint. Then she turned around in my arms, those captivating emerald eyes told me that she was feeling the same thing I was. That sexual pull. Her breasts brushing my chest through the thin fabric of her robe made me want to lay her on the nearest flat surface. I wanted her badly. But then she abruptly pulled away, making me frustrated. And then it began. God why did she always have to be so… so …
“Ugh,” I grumble out loud as I hear music blast from her bathroom.
I sigh my headache spreading to right behind my eyes in stress, and I pinch the bridge of my nose in hopes of stopping the pain. There was no way that the conversation would continue after that spat, nope nothing was going to happen at all today with Maggie, sexually or verbally. I walk into her room and button my shirt up, tucking it into my grey pants and quickly tying my tie so as to get out of here before she got out of the shower. When I woke up in her bed this morning, this wasn't how I envisioned the rest of the morning playing out.
I walk back into the kitchen and somehow I’m able to find a Sharpie and a napkin amongst a sea of boxes, some empty, some still needing unpacked. I jot down a quick message to her, before putting the cap back on the Sharpie and heading to the door. Luckily, I had my car here. Her car was still at the arena, but I’m sure that she would figure out how to get it. If she was truly desperate she would call me and begrudgingly ask me for a ride to pick up her car. But Maggie I’m sure wouldn’t wound her pride like that. She would figure out how to get it on her own.
I sigh deeply, the anger had defused out of me making me feel the slight ache in my jaw and thank God for the creation of aspirin to take away the pounding in my head. However, I couldn’t help but feel a slight ache in my chest as I looked around the room. The walls were still bare, but I’m sure that would change, after all Maggie was a photographer. The only picture on the wall was a startling image of the sun, orange color contrasted the stark white bottom of snow. I couldn’t tell if it was a sunrise or a sunset, but it was stunning. I hoped that I could see the rest of her photos at some point in time, get to know more about what Maggie had become. But now, I was just hoping that she didn’t completely shut me out. I walk out of the apartment wondering when or even if I would ever see Maggie Sutherland again.
I step out of the shower and towel off, I slip on a simple pair of boxers and a sports bra before walking out of the bathroom, just incase Max was there. Usually I wouldn’t have put anything on, but I wasn’t sure if I could stop him again if he looked at me like he had last night.
But as I walk into the kitchen, I see no sign of the overly confident hockey player, just a napkin with writing on it next to his coffee mug sitting in a puddle of coffee.
Call me when you’re ready to talk.
“Ugh, drama queen,” I say rolling my eyes. Leave it to him to make this my fault and blow everything way out of proportion.
“Well, Max Talbot, if that’s how it’s going to be, then fine. I’ll call you when I’m ready,” I grumble.