A/N: Vladdy and Leah’s conversation happens somewhere between chapters 48 and 49 from Along Came a Spider 1. Enjoy!
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Maks is full of pancakes and snuggled against me with his head on my lap. I can’t resist stroking his blond messy hair lightly as he’s fighting it, but slowly drifting to sleep.
He’s adorable. So much like his father who sits on my other side as we watch—pretend to watch—the movie Maks selected. With Vladdy’s arm stretched out along the back of the couch, I lean comfortably against his side.
He touches my arm, then whispers, “I put him in bed.”
At my nod, Vladdy stands and lifts Maks effortlessly.
“No!” Maks whines, pushing against his father.
“Shhh,” Vladdy hushes his son.
“No! Wait! Lee-lee, you’ll be here when I wake up?”
I have no idea.
My eyes shift to Vladdy’s who holds that answer.
He nods, then asks Maks, “Will you be awake before I go to practice?”
His whole body sags against his father with that one question. I can barely hear his “No.”
“Then you have your answer. Manners.”
His voice is so little. “Lee-lee, thanks for playing with me.”
I smile. “It was my pleasure.”
“You’ll come back?” he asks hopefully.
“That means no.” He sighs heavily, nuzzling his head against his father’s shoulder. “Bye, Lee-lee.”
“Bye, Maks.” I’ll miss him.
Holding him against his chest, Vladdy tucks Maks’s head under his chin. I don’t miss his proud smile or the way he presses a kiss against his head gently.
I’m a little jealous of such a sweet kiss, but hopeful for some time alone with Maks’s departure. Maybe Vladdy wants it too.
It isn’t long before Vladdy returns, settling into the spot next to me. I lean against his side, only this time, his arm wraps around me. Turning my head toward him, I wait, hoping he will initiate something—anything, but he only smiles when he realizes I’m watching him.
I release a small sigh while waiting for him to make a move—any move. Our lips are so close.
“Vladdy,” I whisper.
“Printsessa.” His face fills with concern once his eyes find mine. “What’s wrong?”
“You’re not going to kiss me?” I ask, my tone full of disbelief.
“You want me to kiss you?”
“It would only be kiss.”
“Do you really believe that?”
“What if you kiss me . . . and find out that you don’t want to stop?”
“But I would—for you. And me.”
“You don’t find me attractive?”
“I find you very attractive,” Vladdy admits.
I thread our fingers together, then give his hand a little squeeze. “You know, sometimes sex is just sex.”
“Krasotka.” He looks away for a moment before his eyes return to mine. “I’ve had sex. I want love this time. I wait for that.”
We’re both quiet as I consider his words.
“I don’t think I’m capable of love.”
“With the right person, you find love.” He leans forward, pressing a kiss against my forehead.
“Maybe that’s you,” I suggest.
Vladdy grins. “Maybe that’s Stoli talking.”
“Vodka has nothing to do with wanting to be with you,” I defend.
Reaching up, I stroke my thumb along his stubbled jaw, sliding my fingers into his hair, urging his lips closer. He hesitates, and my patience evaporates, then I eliminate the short distance between us.
A kiss that begins with timid touches grows bolder by the second, and our lips part. Cupping the back of my head, his tongue lingers, tasting and teasing mine. I whimper against his mouth as his kiss, full of confidence and promise, slows all too soon for me.
Once Vladdy pulls away, he rests his forehead against mine while we both attempt to control our breathing and fail miserably.
It’s probably the best first kiss I’ve ever had in my life and nearly impossible to contain the excitement simmering deep inside of me over something as simple as a kiss.
And not in a good way.
His eyes open, then lock with mine already watching him.
“Good?” His voice is low and rough, laced with a needy desire for more.
I have no doubt it’s a reflection of everything that’s brimming in mine. Running my fingers through his hair soothingly, he leans into my touch, as I whisper, “The best.”
Two words that put a smile on his face for the rest of our time together. But all I can think about is getting a second kiss before I leave. And possibly a third.