As You Please


“Are you mad at me?” Mitch sat down next to me, his wet hair sending droplets of water onto my jeans. As I brushed them off, I shrugged a shoulder and glanced down at me phone. When I saw her name, the annoyance I held toward the brunette dissipated. Opening the message, I felt my heart race as I read her words.

Literally 200 Instagram notifications. Are you guys 13?

Laughing, I pulled the phone from the bench and held it up to Mitch’s face. After a few seconds, he let out a laugh and ran his hand through his hair, sending more water droplets falling around us.

“She’s a smoke show, man.” Mitch reached next to him and pulled a long sleeve over his head. “I’m proud of you.” He gave my shoulder a punch before he stood up and sent me that normal shit-eating grin. “Don’t fuck it up, or I’m taking your place.”

Rolling my eyes, I stood up and gathered my things. Sending Tess a few smiley faces, I shoved my phone into my pocket and went to bid the guys a goodbye when I felt someone press their fingertips into my shoulder. By the amount of pressure and subtle sigh, I knew exactly what fatherly figure was swooping in to grab my attention before I disappeared for another day before the road trip.

I turned around with a small sigh. Looking up, I locked my eyes with Marleau’s and felt my heart sink. The look in his eyes was one I had seen before. The slight squeeze of a shoulder was something I had felt form him before. Half way through my first season, when I was starting to enjoy the girls and drinks a little too much, he did the same thing.

He reeled me in, thankfully.

Now, I didn’t want any reeling in.

“Can we talk in the hall?” I felt every muscle in my body tense.

“Yeah, of course,” I breathed as I grabbed my things and turned to him. My heart was racing as he lead us to the locker room doors. Pushing it open, he held it open for me, waited until I walked out, and then quietly shut it.

When we were a few feet from the door, he turned to me and sighed.

“Chris, the boys, and I love Tessa.”

I let out a deep breath I didn’t realize I was holding as all of the anxiety in my body started to release. Nodding my head, I went to speak when he cut me off.

“But, I’m worried.”

There it was

“Patty, I-”

“I don’t want to see you get hurt, is all.” Marleau sighed, his big eyes rising to mine. “I’m not saying stop. I’m not saying never see her again. Hell, I honestly hope everything works out and you to marry her. Chris was right about everything and I’m glad she talked to her about what we went through, but… I’m afraid of whatever you guys have burning out.”

My heart ached as I looked at him, the thought of myself being bored by Tessa’s presence filling my stomach with cement. The thoughts quickly turned into a mountain of worry as the word ‘rebound’ sounded through my head over and over again. I felt the skin under my hoodie burn in the exact places she touched me. Blinking, I could see her bright smile flash behind my eyes. Just thinking about her bright eyes looking up at me as we moved around in her sheets made sweat collect at the base of my neck. Usually a smile would surface on my lips as I felt the residual heat, but this time, I felt the corners of my lips dip down.

“We’ll be okay.” I whispered, my eyes meeting his, letting him know that I took what he said to heart.

With a nod, he changed the subject. “Did she give you an answer about the holidays?” Marleau looked at me, his eyes bright and hopeful that this question would even out the heavy conversation we just had. When he noticed the smile break onto my lips, he smiled himself.

“Her parents are in Barcelona. She didn’t want to tell Chris yes until she made sure I was okay with it.” I could feel my cheeks heat up as I thought back to her bright eyes looking up at me in the moonlight.

Marleau hummed as he rubbed the side of his face. “Smart woman.”

“She really is.” I breathed out, my eyes darting to his. “She’s a workaholic. Total boss. I love it. I’m envious.”

“You’re envious?” Marleau laughed as he put his arm over my shoulder and pulled me into a side hug. Patting my back, he took a step toward the door and nodded down the hall. “I’ll tell the guys to relax creeping on her. Go have fun, see you tomorrow night.” With a wink, he turned from me and headed into the locker room.

When the door shut, I pulled my phone from my pocket and smiled as I saw her name.

I have to work on some pitches tonight. JFYI

Shrugging my shoulder, I typed a response as I headed toward the parking lot.

As long as I can look at you, I’m good

She responded instantly.

I like it, don’t stop.
See you soon, Superstar

That big dumb smile was on my face as I walked through the facility and into the parking lot. When I reached the car, I tossed my things in the back and slammed the door shut. As I looked up at all of the cars, I felt the mountain of worry and uncertainty start to crush me.

Within seconds, I was buried in my own thoughts, anxiety rushing through my veins.

I knew what I wanted. I knew what I saw in us… but, Tessa?

What did she think?

What did she feel?

Am I just a rebound?


My face was inches from the computer screen when I heard my apartment door open. Gasping, I whipped around and slapped my hand against my chest as I looked up and watched the brunette that had been running through my head all day walked in and looked over at me, eyebrow raised and playful smile on his lips.

Blinking a few times, I let out a long sigh and pressed my shaking hands to my burning cheeks. A long groan left my lips as I heard Auston’s laugh fill the room. After a few seconds, I felt his strong arms wrap around my torso and pull me up from the chair. Feet on the floor, I looked up at him and felt butterflies come to life in my stomach.

“I have a key, remember?”

“I forgot.”

“I thought I was going to have to pull you out of your screen,” Auston laughed nervously as he pressed his lips to my forehead. “Important work?”

I hummed as I pressed my face into his chest and took a deep breath, letting the smell of his deodorant and cologne fill my sinuses. Letting my mind break, I wrapped my arms around him and felt as he instantly copied my actions.

“We have three pitches this week,” I sighed as I felt his large hand start to rub circles against my back. “I just want to be ready.”

“Big deals?” His voice seemed off, but I ignored it. We didn’t sleep much last night and he did just come back from practice.

“Manulife, Royal Bank, and a billion-dollar biotech company. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon.” I huffed as I pulled my face from his chest and looked up at him. “Luckily you won’t be here to distract me,” I sent the brunette a wink as he nodded and cracked a small smile.

Turning back to my desk, I pulled the wires from my laptop and walked it over to the couch. Setting it down on the coffee table, I turned to speak when Auston caught my lips with his. Running his fingers up my back, he intertwined them with my hair and tilted my head back gently as he bit down on my neck.

A shiver exploded at the base of my spine and rushed through me. I could feel the electricity coursing through my veins as he pulled away and pressed his forehead to mine. Breathing heavy, I looked up at him and felt my smile fade when I saw the worried look in his eyes.

My heart sank.

“What’s the matter?” I could feel my whole body shake as I spoke.

Auston parted his lips as his eyes searched mine. He stayed there, holding me close for what felt like hours before he gently pressed his lips to mine and pulled away. I could feel his fingers tremble against my skin. His heart was beating so fast I could feel it pounding against his ribcage.

The world stopped spinning as he took a step back and looked at me. The look in his eyes made my knees grow weak under the weight of my torso. I felt like the world was falling down around me. I felt like I was dreaming. A pain started in the center of my forehead like someone had just put a bullet through my skull.

“I’m in love with you.” Auston whispered, his big brown eyes holding mine as he pressed his shaking hands together. “I know, I’m sorry, I just… The last month has been a whirlwind and I don’t know what’s going to happen so, I just…” Auston took a step closer to me. Slipping his hands against my cheeks, he ran his thumbs against my cheeks and took a shaky breath, “I just needed you to know.”

“Auston,” I breathed, my heart racing as I looked up at him. Water started to accumulate on the brim of his eyelids. “What’s going on?”

He nodded for a minute before he spoke, “Marleau talked to me about things. We just moved so fast through everything, I’m terrified of burning us out. I’m terrified of losing you, of not seeing that look in your eyes when you look up at me. I just… I just felt like you should know that I’m not here just to fuck around and leave. This… This all really means everything to me. I don’t know how you feel but-”

“I love you too.” I whispered, my lips going numb as the words fell from them. As the small phrase hung in the air, the brunette looked at me, his pupils widening as he searched every spec of color in my iris.

“You…” a smile started to form on his lips as his eyes held mine. “Yeah?”

“I mean,” the anxiety in my body started to fade away. A chuckle fell from my lips, “obviously.”

“I just… I was getting in my own head and it’s only been a few weeks. It feels like forever but, I just… ”

“Didn’t want to end up being my rebound?” I asked, wincing at the sound of my own voice. When Auston nodded and bit his lip, I let out a small sigh and nodded.

“Honestly, that was the original plan,” I pressed my hands together as I thought back to the first time my eyes found his at the bar, “it changed when I saw you walking back to my building after you left.”

Auston beamed at me as he let out a small laugh and nodded. “Literally the moment I saw you running for me, I fell for you.”

Smiling up at him, I rubbed the side of my face and ran a hand through my hair. “Damn, we suck, huh?”

The brunette let out a loud laugh as he pulled me into his chest and locked his arms around my waist. Pressing a flurry of kisses to my forehead, he sighed and dropped his chin to my shoulder. We stayed in a tight embrace for a few minutes. Neither of us spoke. The weight of the previous conversation and the outcome of everything was enough to keep us in a comfortable silence. Every few minutes I felt my eyes flutter shut. The warmth soaking into my body and the comfort resting my head against him was softly putting me to sleep. I felt so relaxed and safe.

I had never felt so at peace with another human being in my life.

I’m in love with you.

His words sounded over and over in my head. At first, I thought I would start overthinking it. I thought my mind would take his words and actions and tear my tranquility to shreds, but it didn’t. My heart soared every time the phrase played in my head. I wasn’t worried. I wasn’t scared.

Yes, we moved at warped speed.

Yes, we were young and stupid.

And yes, it seems to everyone else like I moved on too fast.

But when I thought back to him, when I thought back to the last few months I spent with Hunter, nothing felt like this. I wasn’t in love with him. I was wasting away, waiting for something to break me from that relationship.

If anything, I wanted to thank him. Maybe a fruit basket or something.

“I thought you’d run.”

“I thought you were running.” I laughed as I looked up and watched as Auston pulled his face from my shoulder and looked down at me. “You really have to work on your delivery.”

The brunette rolled his eyes as he stole a quick kiss and then walked us back to the couch. Sitting down, he pulled me into him and then grabbed my laptop from the table. Handing it to me, he wrapped his arms around my waist and set his chin on my shoulder.

“Work, I have one more question, but don’t have the balls to ask yet.”

“Weird flex, but okay.” I laughed as I ran my finger over the trackpad and watched the screen come to life. During the few minutes of silence, I was getting back into the groove of work when he spoke.

“Come to the team holiday party with me. End of next week. You can meet all of your new followers on Instagram.”

Turning to him, I blinked a few times and watched as his big brown eyes held mine, practically begging me to say yes. Shrugging, I turned back to my laptop and felt him breathe a sigh of relief against the back of my neck.

“That’s kind of… official.” I couldn’t keep the smile from my voice.

“Part of the reason I want you to go.”

“You just wanna see me in a dress, don't you?” I felt him smile against my neck. I felt like I was floating when he spoke.

“Is it better than seeing you naked?” His voice was low and hungry. I felt like I was surrounded by fire as he rested his hand on my inner thigh.

“I guess you’ll have to let me know.”
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