As You Please


I woke up to the sunshine pouring through my bedroom window. The warmth of the sun on my skin was enough to lull me back to sleep, but as I went to turn my back to the light, I felt a heavy weight around my torso, locking me into the position I was in. When I opened my eyes, allowing them to adjust to the brightness of the room, I noticed the familiar strong forearms locked around my waist.

It was Auston.

I was pulled into him like a stuffed animal. My back was pressed against his chest as he kept his face pushed into my hair. One of his legs had slipped between mine, and one of his hands was slipped under my tank top. As I took in the feeling of his hand on my skin, I squeezed my eyes shut and let a shiver rush through my nervous system.

“Hey,” I whispered as I looked down at his arm and started running my finger across the designs inked into his skin. When he didn’t even stir from the touch, I let out a small sigh and tried to adjust myself so I was looking up at him.

It didn’t work.

Huffing, I moved my head a little, feeling the man’s facial features against the back of my head. After a few second, the man let out a groan pulled his hand from under my shirt and wrapped it around my torso, pulling me in a little closer.

I was burning up from his touch. I could feel the sweat start to drip down the back of my neck.

“Auston,” I whispered, poking his arm wrapped around me. “Hey, wake-up a second.”

The brunette groaned and then let out a long sigh. “Tess?” He whispered into the back of my head. His morning voice was deep and scratchy. It made my ears twitch. If I had the option to wake up to that voice calling my name every morning, I would take it without a second thought.

“Yeah,” I breathed as I pulled myself from my thoughts and gathered whatever composure I could muster. “Can you let me go? I wanna make some coffee.”

“I’m comfy.” Auston huffed, pulling me into him and readjusting me so his chin rested on the top of my head. “Make it later.” He suggested as he pressed a kiss into my hair and then snuggled up to me. It sounded like a suggestion, but it was more of a factual statement.

Sighing, I placed my hands against his forearm. The feeling of his arms around me wasn’t something I wanted to give up, but the longer I stayed there, the faster the thoughts about him started to rush through me.

The previous night, after we had finished picking at the take-out, Auston and I sat on my couch, finished the bottle of wine and talked. He told me about his parents and growing up in the U.S. He told me about his time in Switzerland and all about his ex. We had a heart-to-heart about relationships and feelings.

We talked about the future and what we wanted, where we wanted to go and what we needed to do for ourselves. By the end of the night, I felt like I had known the brunette my whole life. I felt like I knew every single aspect of his life, like I had just watched it on a high speed film reel.

I told him things I hadn’t even told Hunter, Brett, or my best friends from college..

I had never felt so comfortable speaking to another human being,

When we had finally decided on going to bed, he stretched out on the couch. I thought about leaving him there, but after everything that had happened, I couldn’t do it. I invited him into my bed, nearly six times before he finally agreed. He was tense and awkward. I felt like he was going to implode on himself when I pulled the covers up and looked over at him.

I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to rip his clothes off and get lost in him and these sheets, but I didn’t.

I couldn’t.

I told him my intentions were innocent after a while of us laying in silence. When the words hit the air, he let out a long exhale and smiled at me. He told me he was on the same page, even though it was hard… really hard.

I agreed with him, but didn’t let him know it.

“It’s later.”

“Oh my god,” Auston whined as he rolled onto his back, loosening his grip on me and let out a long sigh. “I was so warm, Tess, what’s up?” His voice was still deeper than normal, but he sounded fully awake as he turned his head and looked over at me. His once perfect hair was sticking out in a few different directions while his big brown eyes turned a golden yellow in the singlight.

I bit back the first words that came to my mind.

Kiss me?

“I want coffee and your arms are heavy,” I sent him a smile and went to climb over him when he stuck an arm out and hooked it around my waist. As he pulled me into him, I looked up and felt the world start to slow down as my eyes took in the distance between our lips.

Looking up at me, the brunette ran his every over my face and swallowed hard. “You’re really cute in the morning.” He whispered, his fingers gently pushing a piece of hair behind my ear. The thought came into my head again. The words were on the tip of my tongue as he looked deep into my eyes and smiled.

Just as a wave of nausea washed over me, his grip on my torso released.

“Make me a cup too? I’ll be up… eventually.” His cheeks started to burn up as he grabbed the blankets and quickly pulled them over his body. As he turned on his side, I ran my eyes over him and noticed a the majority of the blankets covering his hips.

His hips…

The thought was filling my head as my pupils started to dilate. My heart went from a resting rate to somewhere in the 140s as the realization of what was going on came full circle.

Leave, Tessa, Leave. Leave.

I nodded my head and walked out of the bedroom without another word. Shutting the door behind me, a shiver ripped through my body as I felt every inch of my skin turn warm before going numb. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t want to let my mind wander. Not now.

Just go get coffee, Tessa. That’s all you want—coffee.

I turned on autopilot as I headed into the kitchen and started my daily routine. Tending to the coffee maker, I placed a new filter in and went to reach for the ground coffee when I heard the familiar hum of a cell phone ringing. As I looked around, I noticed my phone sitting on the coffee table, screen up.

Walking over to it, I picked it up and felt a smile surface on my lips as I saw the familiar name.

“Hey Brett, still on for lunch later?” I called into the phone as I put him on speaker and walked back over to the kitchen. I set the phone down near the coffee maker and listened as a static came through before his booming voice yelled a ‘Good Morning, Sunshine’ through the room.

Rolling my eyes, I went to speak when his voice sounded through the room again. “I have two questions, sleeping beauty,” Brett’s voice dropped to a tolerable volume. “Did you fuck him and what’s his last name?”

I couldn’t help but groan as I shut my eyes and tilted my head back. I wasn’t prepared for these torturous questions before a cup of coffee. Especially after falling asleep so late and waking up only a little after ten. I knew what else he was going to ask, I knew where this whole phone call was heading. I just didn’t understand why the man couldn’t wait for our lunch date.

“I did not you pig, and why do you need to know his last name?” I crossed my arms against my chest, my heart racing as the thought of what I woke up to rushed through my head. Blinking the images away, I turned my attention back to my coffee maker. Pouring in the water, I pressed a few buttons and listened as it hummed to life.

Turning from the phone, I walked over to the cabinet near the fridge and opened it. Pulling out two big mugs, I heard Brett speak again. “I have this wild theory and I just want… I think I might be right.”

“About?” I questioned as I set the mugs down and pulled myself onto the counter. Swinging my legs a little, I grabbed the phone and set it down in my lap.

“Oh, Tessa,” Brett called out to me dramatically, “You don’t know his last name?”

“It’s Matthews, Brett. Fuck.” I hissed as I felt my face start to grow with embarrassment.

I did invite him over without knowing his last name. As least I found it out before I let him sleep over in my bed.

The line fell silent for what felt like hours before Brett roared through the speaker. His loud voice was rambling on so fast the echo from the speaker of my phone was starting to give me a headache. Wincing, I pressed my fingers into my temple and grabbed the phone. Holding it away from me, I waited until the man stopped rambling.

“Slow and in English, please?”

“Do you know who he is?” His voice was clear and slow.

“I told you his name,” I hissed as my eyes rose from my phone to the almost fully brewed pot of coffee. “I’m not playing this game, can you fucking-”

“Auston Matthews, born September 17, 1997, is an American professional ice hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League. Previously, Matthews played for the U.S. National under eighteen team in the junior United States Hockey League and the ZSC Lions of the Swiss National League.”

I felt my body start to shut down as everything Auston and I had spoken about was validated in the words Brett was repeating to me over the phone. My heart was beating so slow I could barely keep myself conscious as the man continued.

“Widely considered the top prospect of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Matthews was drafted first overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

I’m just a hockey player.

I felt like the world was moving in slow motion as I looked up and watched the brunette I had left laying in my bed walk over to the door frame of the kitchen and leaned against it. When he looked up and saw my face, all of the color drained from him.

Brett started speaking again.

“Matthews became the first player in modern NHL history to score four goals in his NHL debut. He scored 40 goals in his first season, the second rookie since the lockout to reach the milestone and the fourth teenager in league history to do so, winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as the top NHL rookie.” Brett paused for a moment, “Do you want me to keep going? How did you not know? Did Hunter really fuck you up that bad you didn’t even pay attention to-”

My lips were trembling as the memories of Hunter and I fighting about going to hockey games hit me like a tsunami. Every time the word fell from my lips, it was a fight. He was so hell bent on me and my career. So engulfed in the money I made and the life of luxury I gave him that he was terrified of me getting the itch to play again. He knew if I wanted to I could be a professional.

He knew I would leave.

Attending a Leafs game was the match that started a fire the night he hit me.

“I have to go.” I could barely speak as Auston ran a hand over his jaw and looked down at his feet. His eyes were glassy as he sucked in a deep breath and let his shoulders slump forward.

“I didn’t mean to bring that up, Tessa.” Brett sounded sincere, but I could care less.

I could still feel the ache of my skin where he left bruises. I could still remember the days after where I would see and hear things about the Maple Leafs and just… turn off.

“Bye, Brett.” I hit the end button on my cell phone and set it down on the counter.

We stood in silence for what felt like hours. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him as he stood there, not once looking up at me. He knew how hurt I was, it was dripping off of every feature as soon as my eyes locked on him. I couldn’t believe after everything we told each other last night, he skipped that.

I parted my lips a few times to speak, but couldn’t force the words out.

When I shook my head, feeling my mind start to function again, I looked up at him and watched as he dragged his eyes through the whole room until they fell on mine. He looked terrified.

“Are you kidding me, Auston?” I whispered, my hands trembling. “Just a hockey player?”

He pressed his lips together for a moment before responding. “I mean,” he refused to look away from my eyes. “I am.”

Anger flashed through me. “Being an International Superstar isn’t being just a hockey player, Auston. What was going to happen when I eventually found out? Or was this your one and done? Am I a loss in your book?” The brunette’s features turned to stone. “Was I your replacement for the best tits in Toronto?”

“You really think that?” He inhaled sharply and pressed his fingers into his forearm. “Honestly, Tess, do you?”

I didn’t, I was just overwhelmed. I was upset. I stayed silent.

I shook my head.

“I’m the same person that you met at the bar. I’m the same person that you talked to last night. Nothing’s changed.” He took a few steps closer to me, the hard look on his face softening. “I was afraid to tell you, especially after when you told me what happened.” He bit his lip as he nodded his head a little.

The memory of me telling him about the night Hunter caught me coming home from a Leafs game washed over me again.

“You still could have. I mean...”

“I was afraid for this to happen.” Auston whispered as he set his hand on my shoulder and ran it down my arm. “I liked someone looking at me for who I was and not what I did or the shit I have. I just… I was afraid to never see that look in your eyes again and I… I just… couldn’t do it, I guess.”

I stayed silent as Auston ran his fingers gently up and down my arm. The light friction was making me dizzy as I kept my eyes on his chest. I wanted to go back into bed and wake up in a different universe. I wanted to go through a day without my life twisting and turning.

“Are you mad?” His voice was barely a whisper.

“No,” I replied almost instantly. “I’m impressed, obviously. I’m upset I had to find out from Brett, but…” I looked up at the brunette and felt my eyes sink into his. I felt my body start to relax as he put his other hand on my shoulder and rubbed the sides of my arms. I didn’t realize how cold I was. “I get it. I’m not mad. You just caught me mid-processing this and it was a lot.”

Auston let out a long sigh as he leaned forward and pressed his forehead against mine. Having him in such close proximity was driving my senses wild. It was an overload again. It was too much to handle.

“Hey Auston,” I looked up at him, trying to contain the shake in my voice from having him so close. As he hummed and put his eyes in mine, I bit down on my lip and watched as he struggled to keep his eyes on mine. I knew what he wanted to do because I wanted the same thing. “I need more time before we play any one-on-one.”

The smile that spread across his face was so contagious I found myself mirroring it within seconds. Parting his lips, a soft laugh filled the space between us as he pulled his face away from me. Pushing himself between my legs, he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me against his chest. He set his chin down on my shoulder and he let out a deep breath. I felt him melt into me.

“Come to my game tomorrow night, I’ll get you and the guy that ratted me out good seats.”

I shut my eyes and let the warmth of his hug consume me.

“I don’t wanna wear your jersey.”

Auston pulled away and gave me a wide grin as he wiggled his eyebrows and set his hands down on my knees. “You will after I score a hat trick for you.”

Rolling my eyes, I hopped off of the counter and looked up at him. “Bet?”

I turned around and grabbed the coffee pot. Pouring two cups, I turned back around and handed one to Auston. “What do I get when I win?” The honey colored spots in his eyes started to darken as the corner of his lips curled into a smirk. His voice was deep and challenging.

“What do you want?” I whispered, looking up at him from under my eyelashes. As he licked his lips and lowered his head a little, he took a step closer to me.

“It’s a secret.” The breath leaving his lips and hitting mine was driving me mad. “What would you want if you were going to win?”

Rolling my eyes, I looked up at him and smiled. Our noses were barely touching. I dropped my eyes to his lips for a long moment before looking back up at him. I started to lose myself as I ran my eyes over the hungry look on his face. I could feel my heart struggle in my chest as I shrugged a shoulder and tilted my head back a little.

His eyes followed mine like a predator hunting its prey.

“It’s a secret.”
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