Part Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Five
September ended without Bo or Natasha having time to realise. There was no chance to think about time passing as neither had time to deal with work, friends, and life whilst still making room for each other. They managed to spend at least five of the following ten days together.
That second Sunday saw the team away somewhere down South. They were travelling back after another victory on Monday, and Natasha was working hard, whilst never being far away from her phone, waiting for that all important text to say Bo was home, as avid as a heroine addict desperate for their next fix.
As she was about to go insane with concern, the bell over the door tinkled and she looked up to see Freya enter the cafe, smirking as she crossed to the counter.
"Hey, friend." Natasha smiled, reaching out to tickle the little man attached to her hip, Benjy. "Hey, little man." Then looking back at Freya, she grinned, "what can I get you?"
Freya was still smiling, "well, tea, a cookie for this monster and maybe a piece of carrot cake would be good, but I'm here really for two things."
Natasha half turned to grab Benjy a cookie, "OK, sounds ominous."
"Not at all." Freya was such a nice person that she imagined that she got away with whatever she wanted, Coop was powerless to resist her, that much was obvious. As she grimaced, Natasha knew that the same could be said for her, she'd not be able to say no to the other woman.
"Well, firstly, the guys only have a Friday game this week, so I was hoping that you and your hunk might want to join our dinner party on Saturday...very informal, but it's Lizzie's birthday, and she's feeling a bit out of sorts after having Seth, so I figured we could invite a few people around, obviously her and my brother, Blake and his wife..." when Natasha raised an eyebrow, she added, "the team captain, Oscar loves him and my husband played college hockey with his brother, and then you two. My parents are having the kids, a brave move on their part, but if nothing else Lizzie needs the space."
"OK, I can't speak for Bo, but I would love to come. What's the other thing?"
Freya took the cup of tea that her friend had prepared, and sipped it, hiding her grimace, "well, Sunday afternoon, three o'clock I think, there's a mini Hornet training session, the kids playing with the team, I've been nominated to work the refreshments. Teas and coffees for the parents, nothing much, I was just wondering if you'd help me...and maybe make us a cake? Oscar will pay for it, there is a budget, I'm doing two cakes, but a nice carrot cake would be a great fundraiser for the young team."
Natasha rolled her eyes, but smiled as she did it, "not blackmail at all."
Freya grinned, "I knew you'd do it. Natasha, you are amazing!"
The cafe was fairly quiet, so grabbing a mug of coffee, Natasha followed her across to a window table and sat opposite.
"So things are good? With the hottie?"
Natasha laughed, "he's not that hot."
"If I wasn't married I'd be chasing him everywhere."
"Ha, things are good, we're spending a few nights together every week. The team schedule doesn't make it easy."
Freya nodded, "You just wait til you have kids and you're on your own with rugrats."
She rolled her eyes dramatically, but thoughts of the future, thoughts of children both made her feel sick. It was the last thing she needed. Fortunately, as the blood drained from her face, Freya didn't seem to notice, and the door bell, more customers arriving, seemed like a heaven sent relief.
Freya waved goodbye fifteen minutes later, gesturing that the dinner party would start at eight, or at least she presumed that's what holding up eight fingers meant as she wrestled Benjy through the front door.
An hour later there was another timely ring of the bell over the door. The lunch rush was over, and there was never a lot of trade later in the day, most people went home for coffee. When she glanced up, her breath caught in her throat. Stood there, kit bag slung over his shoulder, looking delicious in his club suit was Bo. And the smile on his face topped it off. She was glad the cafe was empty, what with the surge of both tension and hormones zinging between them.
"Hey, you." Her voice was quiet as he dropped the bag and stalked purposefully across the room to her.
"Hey, you." He replied back. "Came straight here from the bus...didn't want to go alone."
His arms slid around her waist and he pulled her against him, her eyebrow raising as she felt him, hard through his suit, against her stomach.
"So just called around to avoid being lonely?"
He shrugged, but his grin widened as he lowered his lips to meet hers. He was so tall, so broad, yet so lean, he enveloped her in his arms, meaning she couldn't see past the bulk of his body, just the eyes that focused on her.
"Not that, not wanting to not see you."
She sighed, preening in his arms, "you saying you missed me?"
His cheeks pinked at that, and he gave an attempt at a nonchalant shrug. But it was anything but. "Can you not just accept what I'm saying? You got to make this hard for me, Natasha?"
She didn't want to ruin the atmosphere, but she also wanted to know a little bit more about where she stood with him, instead of turning a little prickly, she rubbed her hips against his. "You turned up with that, I haven't done a thing."
He eyeballed her for a long silence, then offered, "that is what thinking about seeing you does."
As confessions went it was less than explicit, but she still got a zing in her body at the thought of the effect that she had no him.
He kissed her again, swallowing her words, and she melted into him, until there was a ding, that damned bell over the door.
Pulling back she smiled at him, "you hanging around here?"
He nodded, "was hoping to. Don't really want to go home."
"You want to go upstairs? Grab a drink, something to eat or a shower? I'll be locking up in about an hour."
Bo grinned at that, "I'd stay here, but you have to face your customers again, and I have thoughts of what I'd like to do..." he purposely looked around the room, slowly and in a detailed way, and she knew he was hinting at all the places he'd like to have sex. Her turn to blush, she pushed him away slightly, placing a key in her hand.
"I'll be quick, promise!"
Bo did shower, he'd been on a plane and then bus, he hated travelling like that, and finally felt clean once he'd smothered himself in shower gel. He had some training it in his bag, so he was lying on the sofa, eyes closed, and ore than half asleep when Natasha came up the stairs and into the apartment,
"Tired?" She asked, dumping her keys in a bowl and kicking off her shoes.
He nodded, "travel, takes it out of you."
"You get a shower?"
He moaned, "I did, and a great shower it is, the power on it...wow. That's all I can say."
That made her chuckle, "want a coffee?"
She shrugged, "not after serving them all day. I was thinking of a glass of wine."
"Now that is something I could go for. Let me pour it, you go change or whatever."
Smiling gratefully, he watched her disappear into her room, and then heard the shower power up again.
Fifteen minutes later, she appeared looking fresh and clean, her damp hair wound up into a top knot, her face devoid of any make-up.
He was watching the evening news when she walked in, and he reached for her hand, tugging her into his lap.
"You look good."
She visibly stuttered at that confession and offered no resistance when he pulled her onto the sofa beside him, and kissed her.
"So, Freya called in earlier, asked me to help out on Sunday, at the junior funday thing."
He groaned, "ah, yes, our day off!"
She turned, snapping her head around to him, "they're kids."
He nodded, "I know, I just want to relax..."
"Is your knee hurting?"
Shrugging, he pulled her close again, "it hurts all the time, I'm just tired today, that's all."
She nodded knowingly, and that made him roll his eyes, laughing she poked him in the ribs.
"And there's a dinner party afterwards...at Coop's."
Running a hand over his face, he managed a wry smile, "so Coop's invited us both, together?"
"Seems that way. You don't have to look so unhappy."
"It's not that, it's not you...us. It's just Coop is all about sharing, he's like a fucking woman, all hearts and talking. I like being private."
She was watching him, and he hated her scrutiny, "we don't have to go."
He jumped up, moving away from her, struggling to manage his frustration, pressure seemed to be landing firmly on his head. Shaking himself, he turned to her, "of course we can go, I just don't want people interfering, I like keeping my personal life separate to work, it that wrong?"
Shaking her head, she followed his across the room, "of course not, but I don't think it's malicious. I like them, Coop, Freya, Lizzie and Oscar...and I think they like me. That's all it is, just making up numbers."
Groaning, he looked to the ceiling for a moment, taking deep breaths, hating that he felt trapped, forced, held to ransom. It wasn't her fault, it was him, it was all he'd lost, all he wanted, all he couldn't get, his head seemed to spin in constant circles and he was finding it so hard to focus.
Then he looked at her, anxious, biting nervously at her lip and he hated himself. Pulling her close her kissed her, soothing the battered lip with his tongue.
"You could never just make up numbers, they wouldn't invite me without you. You're everything that's good around here." He ran his hands up her arms to cup her face, "sorry, I'm a bastard, a ornery bastard, and I hate that I bring you down. I would love to take you to a dinner party."
Her smile was meek, but then suddenly, she was craning her lips up to his. A change in mood, and Bo knew that he could reassure her in ways that he couldn't with words, he liked being with her, he wanted to spend time with her, he was here after all, there was nowhere else he wanted to be.
"I want to be here, with you..." he finally confessed. "I've wanted it all weekend."
Holding her close, he pulled her onto his lap on the sofa, and kissed her, "not for sex, because I like you, I like your company."
She looked up at him, her eyes filled with happiness, and liking that sense of calmness, he handed her the glass of wine.
And that was pretty much how the evening passed, curled up on the sofa, sharing a bottle of wine and simple dinner, and watching a few movies.
It seemed so right to go to bed together, natural. Whilst that still scared Bo beyond belief, he couldn't take it out on her, and he needed a little distance. Memories were only ever a step away, and when he was successful, rich...then he didn't need anything, anyone, but now...now he had nothing behind him, nothing to fall back on and it scared him so much. The thought of his teammates knowing he was with Natasha was just as scary. Did he think that one of them would steal her away? He wasn't sure, but she made him vulnerable, and he was already far too open, far too exposed. Yet when he held her in his arms, it all felt so much better.