Part Fifty four
A/N Sorry for the delay, I've been on a short trip, a Wi-fi free zone. Able to write, but not post. Lots of material to share, now. Hope you continue to enjoy, MZx
Chapter Fifty Four
It was the most fun that Bo had had on the ice in ages. He so often forgot why he played hockey, his love of skating at speed, at gliding carefree. That was what he'd loved first, skating. And being with Coop, his friend as much as his coach, Oscar his brother in law, and their kids. Coop was teaching Riley his five year old son to skate, Oscar was having less luck with his four year old Scarlett. Nate and Elena were a little older, and both could already skate, so Bo was with them, teaching them stops, turns, drills, sprints.
Within an hour they were exhausted, but Bo was just getting warmed up. Coop skated to him, his two children hanging on each arm.
"So Freya tells me she's with your lady, and there's the mention of going to the pub for dinner. You up for it?"
Seeing more of Natasha? He was always up for that, and a family meal was what they both needed, distraction from all that was unsaid and hanging between them.
Oscar took his children home to his wife Lizzy, she was home with the two youngest cousins, and they weren't joining them.
But Coop bundled his family into his large SUV, a vehicle that gloated in it's difference to the micro car that Bo himself had, and they both drove to the cafe across town.
It was locked up, but he could see the silhouettes of the two women deep behind the window. Elena was ahead of him banging on the door, and as he approached, and he saw the two women look up. He presumed they were discussing the weekend, in terms of the business, but by the look on their faces, it had been a serious chat. He hoped that Natasha was opening up, she seemed to keep so much bottled up, and he wasn't sure that was healthy.
Freya was a good person, she'd been so understanding to him, since he'd arrived really. And he liked the thought of Natasha having that same support.
Freya got up from her seat, as Natasha disappeared into the rear of the cafe.
"Hey, darling girl, how was skating?"
Freya hugged her daughter who looked up at Bo and smiled, "he's faster that Daddy."
Bo chuckled, "don't let Coop hear that, I'm not getting into a challenge with him!" Freya grinned at that, knowing how competitive her husband was. "How is she?" He added quietly.
Freya pursed her lips for a moment, then shrugged, "it's hell of a story. How the hell she's managed this long on her own, I don't know."
"I know. I'm so worried."
"She's strong, we just need to be there for her."
Nodding he moved into the cafe, following Natasha into the kitchen. She was slumped over the work surface, her body supported on one outstretched arm, her head hanging.
"Hey." He offered, very quietly.
He saw her shoulders tense for a moment, then she turned slowly, and gave him a half smile.
"How was the ice?"
He couldn't fight the grin that skating once again had caused, but this was about her.
"Good, as always, but how are you? Looked a bit deep earlier."
She nodded, biting her bottom lip, "kind of. That's all we have at the moment."
"But you're OK?"
"I'm not a crying mess, if that's what you're asking."
Laughing he reached for her, pulling her into a hug, he felt happiest when she was in his arms, and she did seem to physically relax too.
"Talking is good," he offered against her head, "if that's what you did."
Nodding into his chest she gave a muffled reply, "Freya is like the Gestapo. I reckon she could lead the Spanish Inquisition single-handedly...with a friendly smile and a cup of tea."
That made him laugh, "she was like that with me too. When I had my head up my ass."
It was her turn to laugh and she finally tilted her head up to him, "she's a good egg."
Shrugging, he lowered his lips to hers, "I have so many questions about that comment but none more urgent that this..."
And he kissed her.
A verbal cough interrupted them, and they were getting carried away. As soon as his lips hers, Natasha was in that great place, where nothing mattered, but Bo...and his kiss. As the voice...Freya, caused them to pull apart, everything came tumbling back, her sadness, her guilt...everything she was trying to bury, had been trying to for years.
Bo was talking, and she just rested her head against his chest hearing his voice rumble from his chest direct to her cheek.
"Nice one, Frey. Ever heard of knocking?"
"Well it seems you've worn my daughter out so much that she's desperate for food. And insists on sitting next to you."
His laugh was a warm sound, "ah. I see,"
Freya laughed too, "yup, You are the proud owner of an eight year old's crush."
"Girl's got taste," She mumbled quietly enough that only Bo heard it, and it earned her a tap on the backside.
"So dinner, come on lazy bones."
Natasha should argue that slur, after the day she'd had she was anything but, but she didn't. Instead she turned to Freya, "I just need to change, I've been in these clothes all day. Can we catch you up?"
Bo nodded, "I'll see these guys out, and lock up. I'll see you at the car?"
Natasha smiled at him, he knew she needed a little time to recompose herself.
The pub that was chosen for dinner, was a family friendly one, mid distance between their two homes. It had a children's play area, which was the reason why they'd picked it. So as they sat and perused the menu, the two children could go and play.
"So Pen here, said you liked Finland." Coop was watching Natasha intently.
Natasha nodded, "wish it had been Christmas, I bet it's even more special then, I just found the eternal darkness to be hard work. I mean there were about four hours of sunshine a day!"
"We don't appreciate the simple things until they're gone."
All four nodded at that sentiment.
Coop then spoke at length with Bo about the game that is seemed he had watched. Elena rushed to sit by Bo when their food arrived, and Natasha was happy to have Riley beside her.
She didn't spend that much time with children, it had always been so painful. Plus she was distant from most people, but Riley seemed to like her, and that made her happy and sad in equal measure.
"You're quiet," Bo leaned in and whispered at her ear. "Are you OK?" When she nodded, he sighed in relief, "I love you."
That made her smile, and that was his purpose. "I'm staying at yours again tonight, I'm telling you before you can protest."
Her eyes flaring was the only sign of her response to that, and that too made him happy.
The dinner passed calmly, despite the presence of two kids. In fact, Elena continued her infatuation with Bo, and was sat next to him by the time she had dessert, and they were both crouched over the activity pack that the pub provided. So not to be out done, Riley, who was the image of his father, dark hair, blue eyes and a killer smile, somehow, managed to find his way to sit on Natasha's knee, and she similarly, helped him colour in a picture of a carrot riding a horse, with a broccoli and corn cowboy chasing him, from the same packet as his sister. The weird and wonderful world of kids.
They parted in the car park, Bo driving them back to her apartment.
"Nice evening," he offered as they pulled up at a set of traffic lights.
She nodded, "they're such a nice family."
He agreed, "they are, and those kids are really cute."
She giggled and elbowed him in the ribs, "she has a proper crush on you!"
He blushed, "I wouldn't go that far..."
"You're a good looking man, tall, hunky...she's approaching puberty..."
He rolled his eyes, "you'd know more about that than me."
It was a throwaway comment, but it did cut her to the quick, but then her teenage hormone related mistakes had come back to haunt her very recently.
"Shit...I didn't mean..."
Natasha shook her head, placing a hand on his thigh, "it's OK...."
But they were both hit with an awkward silence and she wasn't sure they'd ever get back it.
As the drive continued in silence, she wondered whether they'd ever get past what had happened.
Stopping at her house, Bo turned to her, "sorry, I seem to keep thrusting my feet into things without thinking."
She shook her head, "it was a perfectly normal, appropriate throwaway comment, I'm just sorry I have such baggage."
He jumped out of the car, coming around to her side and helping her out too, "it's not baggage, it's life. And it shapes us, but doesn't define us, because if it did, I'd never be here, trusting you, loving you."
That made her blush, but he didn't give her long to contemplate that, because his lips were on hers, and it was a one way trip to public indecency...again. Though he pulled away and dragged her inside pretty rapidly.
There was a long set of stairs that led up to her above shop home, and that seemed to flummox Bo's intentions. Instead, he turned and pressed her up against the cold door and ravaged her.
Natasha was aware that they were using sex, albeit amazing sex, to get over any blip in their relationship, and whilst that smoothed out the bumps, it was anything but a solution, those problems still existed afterwards. But she was quite happy to live in the moment, resort to an activity that they both enjoyed, and where there was no differences or issues between them.
And the orgasms.
He blew her fucking mind...every time. This time was no exception, they'd ended up on the stairs, her a few steps above him, his head now rested on her partially clothed tummy.
"Wow." He muttered, aware that there was little else he could say, but when he looked up at her, found her smiling, he relaxed. Finally standing, he helped her to her feet, and then almost pushed her up the steps when her legs failed to work.
"I'll put the kettle on, make you some tea."
Smiling gratefully, she made for her bedroom, "I'll clean up, I'll be a minute."
His eyes were on her until she disappeared from view.
It was more an emotional repair, than anything physical. In her bedroom, she braced herself against the dresser and hung her head. It was all so complicated. There were so many faux pas, so many topics that brought the past up, a past that she was still consumed with guilt over.
Freya had listened earlier, she was a great listener. There was no easy solution, but Freya genuinely cared. She had two pieces of advice, both very relevant. Her theory about everything was that maybe Natasha hadn't actually celebrated what she had, a daughter. Mia remained a hidden, almost dirty secret, and Freya assured her that it was a huge thing.
Natasha couldn't process that, her head was still abuzz with everything that had gone on, but now, stood in her room, alone, she could see that her friend was exactly right.
There was no sign in her bedroom that she'd had a daughter, the lounge was an open area, but her bedroom, that was a sanctuary, private. But there was no photo, no keepsake, nothing to remind her, nothing to remember Mia.
Was it that simple?
Then there was Coop, Natasha insisted that she talk to him, there was no explanation, just a, "you need to talk to Coop." She'd tried to push the point but Freya clammed up, "that's a conversation for you and him, but I promise, it'll help."
Could she talk to a complete stranger? Not that Coop was that, but they weren't that close, and telling him anything...she sighed. Nothing was easy. It should have ended when she confronted Terrie, that was her cathartic moment.
But that hadn't happened, it was all as distressing and exhausting as ever.
She had no plan B, maybe Freya was right?
Stepping back into the lounge, she knew she'd been a lot longer than she'd expected, poor Bo, she was shutting him out, giving him grief, she didn't deserve him. Not really.
He was across the room, on the sofa, staring almost aimlessly into the distance, his phone almost hanging from his fingers.
"Bo?" She called quietly, and it seemed to pull him from his reverie.
He looked bewildered, so she rushed across, grabbed his hand. "What's wrong?"
He gave his head a shake, then met her eyes, "my parents. They're flying over tomorrow!"