What in the world had Dana been thinking when she called him in England two weeks ago to invite him for her birthday? And better yet, why had he so easily agreed to come without further thought, even agreeing to prepare the small cabin in the woods for the party, since she couldn’t get away from the stables in time? At least she had managed the time to bring all the necessary balloons, garlands and what not to the cabin the day before. Shaking his head, he nervously glanced at his watch. About another hour before Dana and her guests would be arriving. Leaning against the kitchen counter, he took another sip of water while pushing his left hand down the front pocket of his faded, well-worn jeans and scanned the room one last time. After arriving, he had immediately started with the decorating, only taking the time to put his suitcase in the adjoining bedroom. So he was pretty much done with everything. The decorations, not one of his better talents, were hanging from the ceiling, the food prepared and the refrigerator was well-stocked with drinks. He had even managed to get the fire going in the stove with the somewhat moist wood stacked outside the cabin, which was a feat in itself.
Now, the only thing left to do was wait… and think! Taking a deep, calming breath, he closed his eyes and ran his hand down his face, a nervous gesture he had never been able to shake. Yeah, he had been doing a lot of reflecting about the past for the last few days and again, his thoughts went back to why on earth he had so readily agreed to this insanity. But he knew the answer. Nothing! He had been thinking absolutely nothing! The only thing going through his mind at the time was being able to finally see his friends again. Friends, whom he thought he had lost after he and Olli had gotten divorced for the second time. But Jesus, he had completely underestimated his reaction to the idea of seeing his ex-husband again. He was over it, wasn’t he? Knew it was for the best that they had decided to go their separate ways… a second and yes, final time. And God knew they didn’t exactly part in the most amicable ways. If he allowed himself to remember the painful accusations both threw at each other during their last argument in London, his heart still stung, making the pain almost physical. But yes, they had said what needed to be said and it was done. It was over. Yet… his sweaty and trembling hands and the anxious butterflies in his stomach now told a whole different story. A story of –
The firm knock on the wooden door echoed through the small cabin and made Christian jump. After several silent seconds of staring at the door, he carefully placed his water bottle on the kitchen counter facing the small yet cozy living area. Nervously running his hand through his hair, he pushed off the counter and his long legs strode across the hardwood floors to open the front door, his bare feet barely making any noise. With one last deep breath, he grabbed the door knob and pulled it open with one swift move.
Facing him stood Olli, his clothes drenched by the pouring rain, which had started about an hour ago. The sight shot a flash of lightning through Christian’s body and quickly settled in his groin. Perfect! Just what he needed.
“You’re early!” was all Christian was able to say, his voice curt, as always hiding his nervousness and uncertainties with his brusque manner.
“Yeah... and hello to you, too!” Olli pinned him with a dark look, which held more than just the simple confirmation. Well, this was going to be fun!
Scrunching his eyebrows, Christian shifted slightly to the side to look past Olli, inspecting the darkening surroundings. “So… Where is everybody?”
Crossing his arms over his chest as if to keep out the cold, Olli hunched his shoulders and rasped, “They’ll get here soon enough. Dana called and asked if I could come by early and see whether you needed any help with…” Gesturing towards the living area, Olli quickly glanced passed Christian at the balloons hanging from the ceiling. “… you know, the preparations.”
“Is that so?” A hint of a smile crossed Christian’s features as he listened to Olli’s hesitant undertone, his hand beginning to squeeze the doorknob, turning the knuckles white.
“Yeah, that’s so! So... can I come in now or do I have to wait out here until the others arrive?” And why did the simple gesture of Olli raising his left eyebrow cause Christian’s temperature to spike up just a few degrees?
After a brief yet almost stubborn hesitation, Christian moved. “Sorry... Sure, come on in.” Raising his arm sideways, he gestured for his ex to enter the warm confines of the cabin, a cabin, which held so many meaningful memories for him.
“Just put your coat over by the wooden stove, so it can dry.” Christian watched as Olli crossed the living area to the corner where the fire was blazing in the stove. He allowed his eyes to slowly roam down the strong back, where the soaked shirt was plastered tight across Olli’s skin, revealing every damn muscle.
“Guess your coat’s not made for wet weather!” Shaking his head, Christian slowly leaned back to close the front door and as he looked back up, Olli had turned to face him, a questioning look on his face.
“I asked where the beer is stocked.” Olli’s piercing stare took him in, openly scanning his face and Christian immediately schooled his features in the hopes that Olli wouldn’t read his frigging mind, which basically screamed ‘WANT!’ and how pathetic was that?
Taking a hesitant step forward, he stuffed his hands down his front pockets, swallowed hard and simply nodded towards the kitchen area, not trusting himself to speak right now.