A/N: This snippet from Victoria happens after Chapter 33 from Along Came a Spider 2 for those who wondered how Vladdy’s dentist appointment went, like me. 😉
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Exiting a patient room, I’m not watching where I’m going when I run straight into a wall of lean muscle.
“Oh, I’m sor—Vladdy?”
His eyes filled with distress shift to one of recognition instantly.
“Hey.” He gives me a hesitant smile.
“What are you doing in the hallway?”
“Doc said it was okay.” He thumbs over his shoulder to our closed door patient room. “She is with Maks. My son.”
I didn’t realize he had a son, but I suspect this father-son outing is not going as planned if he’s out here. My eyes travel over his face, noticing he’s paler than I recall when I saw him at Casino Night while struggling to catch his breath.
“You’re not a fan of visiting the dentist?” I guess.
“You can tell?”
“Come on. You can wait in my office. We don’t want you scaring the other patients,” I tease.
After guiding him to my office and an empty chair, I close the door for a little privacy, but not completely, in case Bella needs him. Sitting beside him, I reach out, resting my hand on top of his. I’m not prepared when he shifts my hold to a much more confident, yet intimate clasp. His large hand is warm, but not sweaty, and holding it sends an unexpected thrill through me. It’s a struggle to keep my thoughts centered and professional when he appears grateful for this lifeline I’m sharing.
“Let’s take a few deep breaths together,” I suggest once his eyes find mine.
With a nod, we breathe in and out together. His chest expands and contracts with my gentle requests until he visually relaxes. When his eyes slip from my gaze, they roam the small space, but he doesn’t release his hold on my hand.
“This is very . . . pink.”
“What can I say? I like it,” I share unapologetically.
“Pink is good.” He grins shyly. “I like pink.”
“Can I get you anything? Green tea with honey?” I offer. “That always eases my nerves when I’m feeling anxious. Maybe it’s just the act of sipping tea that helps to shift my focus and slow my thoughts.”
“Tea would be good. Thank you.”
“Give me a minute.”
Vladdy reluctantly releases my hand, and I slip from my office, bound for our beverage center in the waiting area. After fixing two teas, I return, stepping inside to find his concerned expression in full-force once again.
“Here you go.” I smile reassuringly, then offer him a mug, which he accepts. “Is it the smells?”
Vladdy nods. “And the sounds.”
Returning to the seat next to him, I watch as he sips the tea, wondering how I can distract him.
“So . . .” I start.
His gray-blue eyes find mine again.
“You play hockey.”
We chuckle because . . . duh.
“I play hockey,” he confirms with a grin.
“How is that going?” I sound like an idiot, but he doesn’t seem to care.
“Good. You like pie?”
“Maks likes pie too.” After another sip, he asks, “What’s your favorite?”
“Hmm. If I had to pick just one, then I would say pecan. You?”
“I do not have favorite. I eat them all. Maks likes apple. I bribe him to come here. Would you . . . like to eat pie with us?”
“As in, on a date?”
He nods. “With Maks. After you’re finished working today. You have to eat, right?”
“Yeah, I do, and pie sounds great.”
I’m going on a date with Vladdy. And his son.
The thought makes me stupidly happy—and giddy.
“Um . . . do you want to meet somewhere? I’m usually finished around four.”
Vladdy smiles. “We are going to park next, then we come back to pick you up at four.”
“Then you’ve got yourself a date.” I wink, noticing my favorite color return to his cheeks.