Life Next Door; Chapter 5~Rooftop Talks
It’s a bit shorter than usual, but I couldn’t include what all I wanted to or it would’ve been too long. I probably won’t be updating it until February because I’m super busy with midterms, but hope y'all enjoy! And feedback is always welcome. ~Brooke
“Well?” He looked at her expectantly, before kneeling down to submerge himself in the many pillows layering the floor. “Are you going to join me?” She smiled down at him, unsure of where to sit. He studied her face as she eased herself onto the floor, quickly understanding her apprehension. Straddling his legs, he patted the floor silently inviting her to lean on him.
“Did you really not have a clue that Val and Alex were going to do this? Or was that just a cover up?” She sat down, still facing him, hesitant to lean into him. After a second thought, she added, “You aren’t one of those guys who pretends to act one way so you get what you want, only to be a completely different person, are you?”
Leaning backwards, supporting himself with his arms, he met her with a steady gaze. “You seem to know a lot about annoying people. I’m just me Meryl.” Patting the floor once again, he gave her another invitation to lie against him. She sunk into his open arms, finding comfort in the warmth radiating off his body.
For quite sometime, they didn’t speak to each other. Their silence was a conversation in and of itself. Gazing at the stars and surrounded by the city noise, Meryl suddenly wished she was in Michigan. The stars, she thought, were so different. From her home, she could see the sky so vividly because there wasn’t a big city with lights taking away from the night sky. She knew Maks would love it because of how thoughtful he was about everything. He would appreciate the slower pace. Just as she was about to break the silence, he beat her to it.
“Hey Meryl? You don’t have to answer it if it’s too personal, but why do you make references about what my intentions are? I’m not insulted or anything, just curious.”
Meryl felt uncertain. Should she tell him, someone whom she really didn’t know that well, about everything? Everything as in Vinny? The overwhelming sense of wanting to be something more than just friends with Maks was nagging her though. She knew from past relationships that being truthful with somebody was the foundation of a good relationship, romantic or not.
Regardless of whether or not she wanted to tell him, she knew here and now was the best time to talk about whatever they wanted to talk about. So, with nothing to be distracted by, no Alex or Val possibly interrupting them, no opportunities to let the feeling of fear get in the way, and with endless time together, she relented in telling him everything.
“I dated this guy named Vinny for about five years,” she began, speaking to the open skyline, still not facing him. “I really thought we had a future together. He was the one, I thought I was going to marry him one day. But then,” she paused for a moment, trying to control her unsteady voice. “But then, I came back early from a skating competition. I was going to surprise him, but instead I was the one surprised.”
Maks couldn’t tell if her voice was breaking from sadness or if it just got to her talking about her past. Unsure of what to do, he resorted to a method his mother taught him, the stroking method. His mama said, “to make a girl feel better, just rub her softly. The contact will make her feel ten times better.” He began to softly rub her arm underneath the blanket that was covering them, moving his hand up and down the length of her arm.
After a pause, she continued, her voice growing stronger as the words spilled out. “My surprise was that there was a younger twenty year old in bed with him.” His mouth dropped open, shocked anyone would ever do anything to potentially hurt her. “And when I walked in, he was like a deer caught in headlights.” She sat up, not wanting to lean on him, but to face him directly so she would see his reaction to what she was about to say. Looking at him, she started to laugh. “Joke’s on him, because she was dumb as a doorpost. She thought I was his sister and was half drunk.”
“What did he say?” Maks asked.
“He couldn’t even speak he was so stunned,” she snorted. “I don’t think he expected me to actually get rid of him. I think he thought I was too afraid to lose him and that I would let him get away with it. But I didn’t. I got myself together, packed my bags, and left the next day.”
He grabbed her hands, staring into her eyes intensely. “I can’t believe she did that,” he said, slowly getting angry as the look in his eyes intensified. “That’s so wrong. Especially that he would do it to you of all people. You’re an angel, you don’t deserve that.”
She didn’t expect him to react that way. Because what guy would care that much? Clearly, she was hanging around the wrong city all her life. The look on his face made her feel shy all of the sudden, causing her to break the eye contact between the two. She looked down at her hands, unsure of what to say. Realizing she could use contact again, he took her fingers with his, slowly grasping her hands.
He started swaying both their hands, in an attempt to get her to look at him. “Tell me more about your life before you came here,” he whispered, his voice low and raspy. Being in such close proximity gave her goose bumps. Being so close to him made her nervous, but there was such an odd comfort, that the nerves washed away as she continued to speak.
She decided to play it coy. She would only reveal what he asked. “What do you want to know?”
“Tell me about your career. Ice skating, off the ice, what are your interests?” Thinking he was going to stop, she began to speak, only to be interrupted with more questions. “Your hopes and dreams? Long term goals?”
Here came the feeling of awe and surprise. It was incredible that a guy was willing to skip the small chat so quickly, not just for the sake of not liking small chat, but because he actually cared enough to talk about her. She studied his face. His eyes seemed soft, but she knew from about two minutes ago that their expression could change in an instant, almost like a calm ocean becoming a deadly scene. She couldn’t see much of his face, but from the dim lights that were strung above them, courtesy of Alex and Val, she knew that he was staring intently at her waiting for her to continue.
“Well before I get deep into my fascinating sob story, how about we get ourselves champagne?” she joked, nodding towards the bucket that sat on the table several feet away from them. He jumped up quickly, motioning her with his hands to stay seated, and grabbed the two champagne glasses sitting next to the bucket. The moonlight directly behind him created such a perfect silhouette of his body, as he expertly opened the bottle and poured the drinks. He walked back, now his turn to admire her. Her petite frame was enticing as she sat amongst the pillows, patiently waiting for him so they could continue their conversation. He was amazed that he cared so much for someone, someone he barely knew. It was incredibly refreshing though, to be around a woman who actually had things to talk about, and was more than just her outer appearance.
He handed her her drink before settling between the pillows. “Cheers,” he said, holding up his drink and clinking it with hers.
Meryl took a sip of her drink, unable to take her eyes off of Maks the entire time, a smile forming on her lips. “So, I guess I’ll pick up from where I left off?” her voice trailed off. Maks smiled, encouraging her to go on.
“Well, like I told you when we first went to Moon Doggie, I was an ice skater. A good one. But after Charlie hurt himself and I kept pushing myself to be this amazing ice dancer it just wasn’t clicking anymore.” She thought back to her ice skating around the rink back in Michigan. She had practically begged Charlie to try it again. Meryl remembered crying on the sidelines, when Charlie told her it was over. Who knew the man she was in a dedicated partnership was really going to leave her. Charlie, Meryl thought, was the one man who would never leave her side.
Her eyes focused on Maks, causing her to blush after she realized she completely zoned out. “Anyway,” she said, clearing her throat, “I lost to Charlie and ended up with no partner. And eventually, I stopped ice skating because I was so not used to doing it alone. And when things with Vinny blew up in my face, I knew I had to get out of Michigan.”
Maks noticed the change in Meryl’s face the minute the word “Vinny” slipped out of her mouth. He couldn’t imagine the pain she must have gone through. The sadness in her eyes became all too apparent and too much for him, as he found himself slowly reaching out to her. Using his back arm, he shuffled the pillows and arranged them so he could comfortably lie back on the floor.
When she felt his large hand circling her waist, a feeling of electric shock zipping through her body. In return, her gripped his neck with her hands, her breathing beginning to quicken as their eyes met again. Kneeling on her knees, she was at the perfect height to stare straight into his face. She began memorizing the outline of his lips and took in the way his eyes traced her body starting at her eyes and working his way down, making her feel absolutely breathless.
“Maks?” she breathed, knowing she was unable to control herself any longer.
“Mhmm?” he responded, as he closed his eyes, slowly becoming familiar with the curve of her hips.
“You have to kiss me,” she found herself saying, bring him closer to her.
“Yeah,” he replied, leaning closer, “I do.” His lips, warm and soft touched her forehead first, leaving ghostly kisses, as he slowly worked his way down her face. Bringing his hand to press the nape of her neck, his lips move slowly to the side of her mouth. His skin was warm, but his lips were warmer as he encompassed her lips with his.
She drew him closer, so close, not even an ounce of air could get in between them. She felt his tongue flick out to part her lips. Almost immediately, she allowed entrance, their tongues dancing like one. Lips tingling, she slid her fingers through his hair, while at the same time, breathing in his musky scent. Her fingers traveled from his hair to his chest as she felt his heart beating faster and faster, beneath her fingers tips. The two seemed to melt into one another with every second until they had to break for air.
They drew apart, eyes locked and smiling. Maks grabbed her hands, tracing circles on her soft skin. “Well… I didn’t expect that at all, but I’m not complaining.”
Flushed, Meryl let out a shaky breath. “I don’t even know what to say….” She leaned away from Maks, only to immediately find herself missing his touch. She leaned back, unsure of what to do.
“Well…” she laughed awkwardly.
“So,” he spoke quietly, pulling her closer dropping kisses down her face. “Tell me, do you still ice skate?”
“No,” she let out a quick breath of air. She wasn’t new to kissing. At least she didn’t think she was. But the way Maks kissed her, talking to her in between every kiss, it made her shake all over. And if just kissing made her lose all feeling in her legs, she couldn’t imagine what would happen if they went farther. “Well,” she panted, planting a kiss on his temple, making her way back to his lips. “I lost my passion for it when everyone who made me passionate gave up.” She continued to kiss him, seeming to not be bothered by what she was saying.
It broke his heart to say the least, that she was let down by her own passion. Maks could never imagine not dancing just because of a few bumps in the road, no matter how tough things may have been. Dancing was the air he breathed. You couldn’t just give up your passion. He grabbed her wandering hands and held them tightly in his own.
“Do you every want to ice skate again? Not even to be competitive, just for the fun of it?”
“No,” she simply stated. “I don’t want to go back to something that let me down. I do miss being super active and I enjoyed the dancing part of it, but I just don’t see ice skating in my future anytime soon.”
Meryl took in Maks’ expression. He looked so forlorn that she leaned her forehead against his, nuzzling his nose. Their breathing regulated again, the small puffs of air, the only noise now. He suddenly leaned back, causing an off-guard Meryl to fall forward suddenly.
“Would you be willing to come and help me teach my dance class?” he asked, eyes bright and eager. He looked at her pleadingly, and she knew she couldn’t say no to him. Deciding not to answer his question, she dodged his question with a question of her own.
“I didn’t know you owned a studio?” she said coyly, playing with the ring on her middle finger.
“Stop trying to avoid my question,” he replied. “And yes, I own a dance studio with Val. We do quite well for ourselves. Think American Dream type of life. But seriously, I think you should seriously consider joining us. Just for one class to see if you would like it or not.”
She took in his expectant face and looked away. She knew she needed to be active, for her own sanity. Ice skating or no ice skating, she needed the movement, it was in her blood. She stole a quick look at him, the moonlight still outlining every part of his perfectly sculpted body. From his messy hair, courtesy of Meryl running her fingers through it, to his lower body in his jeans, she knew if anything, going to the class would be a good excuse to hang out with him more.
“Wellllll,” she teased. “Because you’re practically begging me to join you and because I need to get out more, okkaaayy I’ll go. But just this once if I don’t like it. Okay?”
He nodded eagerly, enclosing her in a big hug. “You’ll have fun,” he assured her. “And if all goes wrong, you’ll get to see me moving my hips, all sweaty and maybe I’ll take off my shirt just for you.” He winked at her, only to receive a playful push from her, her laughter echoing into the night.
Their foreheads leaned forward, both of them smiling from ear to ear and both secretly hoping that whatever they had would blossom into something crazy beautiful.