As You Please


Life was back to normal.

The day after the Maple Leafs game, Brett and I were back in work drowning in new projects and pitch ideas. The dark cloud that was hanging over my head last week was gone. A smile was on my face, the light was back on in my office, and the door was always open. Coworkers filtered in and out, I jumped on conference calls and status meetings. There was a purpose to my life again. I felt wanted. I felt needed.

Every night I was working late. Anywhere between eight to ten at night, I would be bundled up, walking home through the chilly streets of Toronto. Every night, I would feel the same knot in the pit of my stomach.

I was over Hunter. I was over the failed relationship and all of the strings attached. I knew it had only been a week, and Auston was soaking up much of that time, but when I was alone again, I felt fine.. When I was faced with putting our sheets back on the bed. I didn’t feel anything. They were sheets. They were clean.

I was better off without him. I was happier than I’d been in months. My bank account was quiet. My mind was at ease. I didn’t constantly worry affording our lifestyle. I didn’t think about walking into the apartment and having to clean. I was happy not to hear him scream at the television while he played a game on his Playstation. I was happy I could watch hockey again.

Every night, there was a new hockey game on my television. I didn’t care who was playing or what the score was, I was utterly infatuated with whatever was going on during the plays.

Auston called me every night. We talked about meaningless things, simple things. He would ask me how I was doing, I would tell him how happy I was, and the conversation would continue. We would talk about traveling. He would tell me about his parents and his friends. I would tell him about mine. He would ask me about his games, about his playing and mistakes. He would ask when he could see me again.

When he could cash in the winnings of the bet.

Even with my new found independence, there were some nights I would wake up and wish that his arm was wrapped around me and his face was pressed into the back of my head.

I would think about him constantly. The way his eyes met mine during the game still made my heart flutter. I could still remember the world falling silent when he pointed to me from center ice and blew me a kiss.

I was head over heels and terrified.

“Hey Tess,” Robyn, the CEO of the agency, poked his head into my office and frowned when he noticed the papers scattered across my desk, a clear indication that I was nowhere near the endpoint for the night. “Should I get a pullout bed for the couch in the break room or what?”

Robyn leaned against the doorframe, crossing his arms against his chest as he watched me shuffle through a few things before running a hand through my hair and letting out a deep sigh. “I’m so close to finishing the mock ups for these proposals, Robyn. I can’t leave yet.”

The man sighed, knowing how stubborn and dedicated I was. Ever since I had started working here I was usually the last one out of the office. It wasn’t because I wanted to suck up. I wasn’t trying to impress anyone. I just loved what I did.

“I need you for these pitches, Tessa. I need you on your game. We have three next week.” His bright blue eyes ran over mine a few times before he let out a heavy sigh and rubbed the side of his face. “Take the weekend off, please.”

“Will do, Captain.” I gave the man a wide smile as he rolled his eyes and pushed his body off of the doorframe. Bidding me a goodnight, I listened as his footsteps faded down the hall. After the sound of the front door shut, I let out a long sigh and looked at the massive amounts of papers scattered across my desk.

A sigh left my lips as I looked up at my screen and felt a dull throb start in the back of my head. I wanted to press my face against the desk and shut my eyes. I wanted to wake up and be in bed, wrapped in a hug, pressed against his body.

I wanted to hear his morning voice whisper into my hair.

“Get a hold of yourself, Tessa.” I hissed as I lightly slapped my cheek and placed my hand back on my mouse. I was halfway through finishing this presentation. I was so close to being able to shut my eyes and relax. I would finish this, pack my things, head home, grab dinner, and relax. I could proof these tomorrow. I could tweak these and practice over the weekend.

I was ahead of schedule.

My stomach rumbled as I hit the next slide of the presentation. I knew there were some snacks in the break room. I was almost positive Brett had left his pizza in the fridge, but stopping now would just make me be here longer.

It was already 9:30pm.

Another half hour flew by. My eyes hurt from staring at the screen, my hand was starting to cramp from the repetitive motions, and my brain was starting to lose interest. I kept thinking about him.

I found myself running through ideas of what he could have wanted for the bet. I thought about him staring at me with those eyes, like I was a beautiful gazelle in the middle of a field while he was a lion creeping through the tall grass. The look made my body warm. It made my brain slow.

It made me want to rip all of his clothes off.

It excited and terrified me. I wanted to sleep with Auston. The more we spoke, the more I learned about him, the more I wanted to. It wasn’t a social status thing, nor was it because of his paycheck. I felt a connection with him that I had never felt with another human being. With him I felt like I was the center of the universe, but without him I still felt whole.

I wanted him as a distraction. I wanted the attractive man at the bar to be my quick rebound, but now, I wanted him to stay. I wanted to ride these emotions out as long as possible. I wasn’t interested in dating other guys. I wasn’t interested in taking time for myself. I just wanted him.

A loud buzz filled my office. I hadn’t realized that my brain had completely shut off and started wandering through my thoughts. Nearly a half hour had passed since I last looked at the clock, and I didn’t accomplish anymore work. As a wave of self loathing crashed over me, I grabbed my cell phone and answered it, my body heating up at the name my eyes caught on the screen.

“Hey Superstar,” I greeted as his smooth laugh filled the other end of the phone. We stayed in silence for a few seconds. I felt myself lean back into my chair, my heart fluttering in my chest as he started to speak.

“We’re finally back in Toronto.” I closed my eyes and thought about him sitting on the plane, surrounded by his teammates, trying to inconspicuously talk to me on the phone. If I learned one thing in speaking to Auston while he was on a road trip, it was his teammates were ruthless when they even had the slightest idea that you’re talking to a woman.

The Maple Leafs had left Monday night for a small two-game stint in Florida. Tuesday they played the Panthers, Thursday they played the Lightning, and they managed to win both games. On those two days, I had told Auston to relax and keep his head in the game. I told him not to worry about calling me, but both days around midnight, I would see his name pop up on my phone.

He would ask me opinions on his play. I’d give him honest answers. He always enjoyed my honesty and the knowledge I had about the plays and ways of the game.

“How was the flight?” I looked up at my computer screen and huffed. Nothing on it interested me.

“Not bad, quicker than I thought,” a loud slam filled in the background noise. “Are you home?”

I laughed a little, feeling my cheeks grow warm with embarrassment. I wanted to tell Auston I was home enjoying my couch and netflix, I wanted to make him think I was fun and exciting by saying I was out at a bar, but in the end, I let out a sigh and told him the truth.

“I’m in my office.” I mumbled as I ran my hand down my face, my fingertips digging into my skin.

“Tessa, what the hell?” Auston laughed, “You’re still working? What is wrong with you? It’s Friday night.”

“A lot, apparently.” I felt a blush surface on my cheeks. “I have important meetings next week, I need to make sure these are done and-”

“Can you be ready to leave in about a half hour?” Auston’s voice floated through my head, making my heart beat start to race. “I can pick you up. I don’t have practice until Sunday morning. If you want to hang out. If you have other pl-”

I was saying yes before my brain knew what it was doing. I didn’t even let him finish, I wanted to say yes before he changed his mind. My chest burned with the thought of seeing him again, the thought of waking up to his arms around me made every muscle in my body throb.

The brunette laughed on the other end of the phone. It was a sweet laugh that I wished I had recorded. “Would you also agree to some lunch plans tomorrow?”

“Hm, that sounds suspicious.” I started to twirl some of my hand around my finger, my foot pressing against the floor as I started to spin myself around in my chair.

“Let’s just say I’m cashing in my winnings, deal?” I could hear the challenge in his voice,

“You got yourself a deal, Superstar.”


I had just finished packing all of my things when Auston sent me a text informing me he was outside. Heart racing, I quickly made sure i had all of my things, shrugged into my jacket, and then rushed out of my office. Setting the alarm, I shut the front door to my office and headed straight for the stairs. Every nerve in my body was vibrating as I heard my heels click against the stairs.

I didn’t realize how excited I was to see him until I realized he was right downstairs.

Pushing the door open, I walked into the lobby of the building and went to look outside when I saw the other man standing in the room. His hair was pushed back neatly. His skin looked so smooth in the dim fluorescents. Those big brown eyes were shimmering as he turned to me, his body wrapped in a plain navy suit with a white shirt and a matching tie. His black peacoat was draped over his forearm.

It fell to the floor when he saw me standing there.

We each took two huge steps toward each other and ended in a tight hug. Auston had his face pressed into my hair before I could even get a good look at him. His body vibrated for a moment as he groaned and lightly dug his fingertips into me, setting a frie in the pit of my stomach.

“Happy to see me?”

“I couldn’t wait to get home and see you. Seeing you in the stands wasn’t enough for me before a week road trip.” Auston sighed as he pulled his face form my hair and looked down at me, his eyes dark as he dragged his gaze from my lips to my eyes.

He pressed a long kiss to my forehead before taking a step back and picking up his jacket. Readjusting his suit, he ran his eyes over me once and looked back at me, a blush creeping onto his cheeks. “What ever happened to casual Friday, Ms. Stilettos and Pants suit.”

“They’re black jeans, Auston.” I ran my hand over them and bit down on my bottom lip. “I’ve been in and out of meetings and things, I need to keep myself looking like I know what I’m doing.” I shrugged a shoulder, my cheeks darkening when I saw his eyes still running over me. I felt myself start to melt.

“Did you eat yet?” I shook my head and watched as he rolled his eyes, a twinge of annoyance passing through his eyes before he smiled down at me. “I know this really nice place open late.” He saw me go to protest when he shot me a million-dollar smile. “They do take out.”

“You’re a saint, Matthews.” I smiled up at him as he tucked me under his arm and walked me outside. Opening the door to his car, he watched me climb in and then gently shut it. Within seconds, he was sitting next to me, his hand on my leg as he pulled out his cell phone and carefully pulled up a menu on his phone. Handing it to me, he started the car and turned on the heat.

“I usually go for the chicken or the salmon, but-”

“Auston, this is like forty dollars a plate, you get knocked around a little too much playing the Bolts?” I questioned as i scrolled through a few more things and felt my stomach knot. I always enjoyed splurging on food here and there, but this was ridiculous.

The brunette gave me a small smile and shrugged. He told me it was worth it, and not to worry. I, being who I was, worried, but eventually caved and ordered the wild salmon. With a nod, Auston dialed a number and gave my leg a small squeeze as he spoke to the man on the phone. I could hear the man on the other end of the line congratulate him on the wins. Auston took it with a smile and a polite thank you. After some more comments, the man asked if he wanted the usual.

“I have an extra order tonight,” Auston blushed as the man on the other end of the phone let out a long ‘Oh’. There were mumbled words and then Auston gave the man my order. There were a few more exchanges and then Auston hung up and shot me a smile. He told me that the food would be ready in twenty minutes which was just enough time to stop for a bottle of wine.

I informed him I was paying for the wine.

He held his hands up in surrender and shot me a smile.

The car lurched forward as Auston set his hand back on my thigh and pulled out into the street. The ride to the liquor store was quiet. The brunette focused out of the window while I let my eyes wander around the buildings passing by the window. The car was warm now, making it hard for my eyes to stay open as my body sunk into the seats.

With his hand on my thigh and the warmth of the air, I could have fallen asleep.

Auston pulled up to a store and parked the car against the curb. He offered to run in and grab a bottle, but I shook my head and unbuckled my seatbelt.

“I’m paying, remember?”

“Well, nothing too expensive, okay?” I rolled my eyes as opened the car door and told the brunette to wait in the car. Making sure I had my wallet, I shut the door to the car and walked over to the front door of the building. Stepping inside, I looked around and walked over to the row of red wines. Running my eyes over the labels, I eventually found one I liked and glanced at the price. It wasn’t the most expensive bottle, but it definitely wasn’t cheap.

I paid for the bottle and headed back out to the car. When I got in, Auston gave me a pointed look and then put the car in drive. He asked me a few times how much it was, but every time I simply shrugged my shoulders and smiled at him.

Every smile, he would smile, which would make me smile more. It was a never-ending cycle, but I couldn’t stop it.

Auston stopped at the restaurant and was in and out within two minutes. When he got back to the car, he ripped the receipt off of the bag and handed it to me. As I set it down on my lap, I watched as he crumpled the small slip of paper and tossed it into the back of his car. When I asked him how much it was, he gave me a big smile and shrugged a shoulder.

“Consider it part one of my winnings from our bet.”

I didn’t reply. Instead, I sat in the car and watched as the buildings slowly morphed into the familiar ones near my apartment building. With every inhale, I felt my heart start to race as I thought about being alone with him again.

Auston pulled into the parking garage and punched in the number. Pulling to the end of the lot, he turned into a spot and then killed the engine. When he turned to me, a small smile filled his lips as he took in the deep red on my cheeks.


“Don’t flatter yourself,” I joked as I grabbed all of my things and slipped out of the car. Making sure I had my key, I turned to walk toward the door when a dark suit filled my vision. Blinking a few times, I looked up and noticed the duffle bag hanging from the brunettes shoulder.


“Who said you’re staying,” I joked as i gave him an elbow. When I saw his smile morph into a smirk, I rolled my eyes and started heading to the elevator. Turning to him, I watched as his eyes quickly shot up to mine. Instead of asking what he was staring at, I ignored the blush on his cheeks and waited for the elevator.

When we reached my floor, I walked down the hall to my door and opened it. Holding it open for Auston, I watched as he calmly walked in and shut it behind me. We kicked our shoes off, set our things down, and then walked over to the small table in the kitchen. As I set the containers on the wooden surface and took off the tops, Auston found a corkscrew and opened the bottle of wine.

Pouring two glasses, he walked over to the table and set them down along with two forks. As we both sat down, I looked up at him from over the rim of my wine glass. When his eyes met mine, he smiled and nodded his head a little.

“I could do this every night, for the rest of my life, without question.”

Auston’s words echoed through my head for the next two hours. Whenever our conversation between bites of food or sips of wine would go quiet, his words would fill the void in my head. I thought about waking up every morning to his body pressed against mine. I thought about wearing his jersey to every home game I could make it to.

Through every thought in my head, every thought about him and I actually making it in the future, I didn’t think about sleeping with him. Flashes of his lips running across my skin didn’t plague me. I didn’t care about that. I didn’t want to rush it.

I just wanted to be near him.

Around 1:00am, we had finally decided on going to bed. As I slipped into my bedroom to change into my pajamas, Auston went into the bathroom to change. When I was done, I plugged in my cell phone and sat down on the edge of the bed.

After a few minutes, he walked in, shirtless.

I thought I was having a heart attack as he placed his duffle bag on the floor and walked over to the side of the bed he had slept on last time. Pulling back the sheets, he went to speak when he looked up at me and ran his eyes over the shock dripping from my features.

“You good, Tess?”

“Really, Auston, shirtless?” I huffed as I carefully crawled over to my side of the bed. “You’re trying to kill me or something, what’s the deal?”

“It’s comfortable!” He protested as he turned on his side and propped his head up. Copying his position, I pulled my gaze form his chest and looked up into his eyes. “You’ve never seen a shirtless man before?”

“A shirtless boy, little one.” I teased asI reached over and pinched the tip of his nose. After we shared a laugh, he looked up at me and smiled.

That smile made my muscles weak.

“Are you nervous about what you wagered in our bet?” My heart was in my throat as I felt my eyes run over his bare chest again. It was tomorrow. He had said it would be tomorrow. Did he mean now? Did he mean this? Was this just all a bet?

I felt the corners of my lips fall at the thought.

Was I just a bet?

“Are you going to spill?” I questioned, the light in my eyes dimming as I looked down in the sheets. My heart beat was slow as he put his fingers under my chin and looked at me, his eyes intensely holding my own. Shaking his head, the brunette pushed some hair from my face and gently leaned forward and set a kiss against my forehead.

It’s like he knew what I was thinking.

“It’s not that, Tessa.” He was serious. We had spoken enough in the last week that I knew when he used Tessa instead of Tess, whatever he had to say was one hundred percent serious.

I hummed as a response, my heart rate still slow, my limbs still heavy.

“What is it then?” I whispered, my eyes holding his for a moment. When I saw his devilish smile, I couldn’t help but to reflect it back to him.

“You, me, lunch, and a little one-on-one.”

All of the weight holding my body down was lifted. I felt like someone had shot my heart with adrenaline as I reached across the bed and placed my hand in the center of Auston’s chest, pushing him back a little. “I told you not until I had practice!”

“Who won the bet?”

I let out a long groan as Auston reached out and pulled me against his chest. Wrapping his arms around me, he rested his chin on my shoulder and nuzzled his face into the side of my neck. When he spoke, my whole body shook from the feeling of his breath against my skin.

“I’ll take it easy on you.” He teased.

“I don’t need your pity, Superstar.”

“Is that my nickname now?” Auston pulled his face from my neck and looked down at me, his eyes dark as he bit down on his bottom lip.

Shrugging my shoulder, I tilted my head to the side and hummed. Placing my hand against his chest, I watched as his body shook from my touch. “Do you want it to be?”

“Yes,” He breathed as his eyes dropped to my lips.

My heart was racing as I felt my fingertips dig into him. I didn’t know if it was the two glasses of wine or the realization, again, that Auston wasn’t the man I thought he was. He wasn’t here to get in my pants, show off his money or his status. He wanted to be here. He wanted to spend time with me.

He wanted to kiss me.

“Do you want to kiss me, Superstar?”

Auston’s eyes shot to mine. He stared at me for a long while before swallowing hard and moving his hand from my waist to my cheek. Running his thumb over the skin, I sucked in a deep breath and let another round of shivers roll through my nerves.

It felt like hours before Auston gently ran his thumb over my lips.

“Can I?”

I wanted to say yes. I wanted to completely turn myself over to him, but as I thought about it, as I thought about what it could lead to, what sleeping together could lead to, I froze. I wasn’t read to possibly ruin this. I wasn’t ready if this turned into a relationship based on sex.

I knew if we started I wouldn’t be able to stop.

It was only a week. Only seven days.

“Maybe if you win tomorrow.” I watched as Auston rolled onto his back, his arms spread out as he let out a huge groan. All i could do was laugh as I rolled over to him, placing my chin on his chest as I watched him fake cry. “Afraid I’m going to beat you, Mr. first overall?”

“I can’t handle.”

“You can’t rush perfection,” I snickered as Auston rolled his eyes and then looked at me, a small smile on his lips.

“I’d wait forever if I had to.”