Michael glanced at Mia, the best he could with his head resting on the cool window, who scribbled away in her journal, a slight frown on her face as she (assumingly) described her feelings at that moment, zooming away in his car towards his loft. A part of him was ecstatic that she would be seeing the result of his success -- his grandeur home -- but he was still somewhat awed at the scene in front of him. She was here besides him, the usual Mia who chose to write out her feelings in a Mead notebook rather than talking to real people who could return back with plausible solutions. She still held the plastic tiara in between her fingers of the hand that supported the binding of the notebook, propping it up so she could quickly write.
“Mia,” he spoke carefully, not wanting to disrupt her, however his neediness was returning at an alarming rate.
She raised her head and looked at him with large gray eyes. “Yeah?”
A smile ghosted over Michael’s lips. “How about we save that journal entry for later so you can start paying attention to me?”
She resembled a deer caught in the headlights, eyes going impossibly wider as she nodded and hurriedly finished her sentence. With a flick, the notebook was shut and sealed for the rest of the night. Michael slid over to her side, reaching for her hand. She allowed him to take the tiara away from her and toss it away.
“Don’t think you need that anymore,” he grinned, brushing her hair aside gingerly. The updo had been ruined by the the fake tiara and now rested like a raven’s nest on her head. Her eyes fluttered close before his lips touched hers, but she was quick to slid her arms around his neck for support when they did.
Michael felt her inhale against his mouth, and despite the romantic mood he set out to create, a laugh bubbling deep inside his throat. He managed to swallow it down until they broke apart, pulling her back before her brows creased with worry and her defense walls went back up. It was too late however, since her doe eyes faltered and the glaze over them from the kiss washed away.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Why aren’t you laughing?” Michael asked, holding her tightly. “This is hilarious!”
“Is it my dress?” Mia frowned. “I know I look like a snowdrop like that time we watched Star Wars --”
“And you asked me if I really loved you,” Michael finished with an impossibly wide smile.
Mia groaned, clearly not ready for such a statement from Michael and covered her face in her gloved hands. “I told you, I don’t like remembering that!”
“I don’t mind bringing it up,” he chuckled, “just shows how weird our relationship was back then.”
“Back when I was 14? You were practically an adult our entire relationship!” Mia’s head was still buried in her satin pink gloves, head shaking as embarrassment waved through her body like ripples of water; however each was stronger than the previous. Her face must have been crimson by the time Michael quit his laughter and reached out to remove her hands from concealing her face.
“At least we can laugh about it now,” Michael hummed once his seriousness had returned, hands gingerly placed on her shoulders, giving her a small shake.
“You’re the only one who’s laughing,” she pointed out miserably, looking up at him through her lashes.
Michael nodded, considering this. After a brief pause, he said, “Alright. I know something that’ll make you laugh. Your haircut from when before I left.”
She just had to hit him then, one good smack across his shoulder with a grouse, “Michael stop it!”
He hunched over and laughed harder, forehead touching her knee as his body trembled with cackles that filled the silent air. Mia’s driver’s mouth had twitched once too, behind the partition, however the girl didn’t see the humor behind Michael's words as she continued to bask in her own mortification. She thought her hair looked pretty nice even if it were shorter than her boyfriend’s.
Michael took a large breath and swiping over his eyes a few times, he sat back up and checked damage he caused, not regretting his abrupt behaviour once he saw the dismay in her orbs. He didn’t say anything, simply pulling her back into his chest and placing his hands under her neck to get her to properly glance into his dark eyes. He gently removed tendrils of her hair away from her face.
“Oh Mia,” he murmured, “I’m only trying to loosen the tension.”
Her ears perked up. “Tension? What tension?”
“You’re saying you’re not the least bit nervous about being alone with me? Your ex?” Michael licked his lips and lowered himself to kiss her jaw. Mia tilted her head and allowed him to press kisses to the area, eyes fluttering shut. She didn’t reply to him, and while Michael assumed she was liking the delightfulness, she was actually thinking of the right thing to say. He was never so...upfront about his thoughts, the moment took her breath away and not in a good way.
She didn’t know what to say but her arms were around his neck again, tugging him impossibly closer where he began pressing harder kisses. He’d never kissed her like this, granted it had been over a year since he had done anything remotely sexy with her, but she wasn’t a child anymore, per se. She didn’t mind it, and she would be lying to herself later if she admitted she wasn’t enjoying the treatment she was receiving. Michael’s neck was besides her lips and her mouth nearly watered at the scent of him. She was on the verge of releasing sounds she’d never made, yet a year ago this would have been a problem. Now, she couldn’t care less. She knew Michael.
“No,” she whispered.
Michael immediately drew back despite her incarcerating hold. His eyes searched hers. “What?”
Mia blinked a couple times before crying out, “Michael! I meant ‘no’ as in I don’t feel nervous with you!” She didn’t give him even a second to respond to her exclamation since her mouth was on his, hands quickly grasping his hands, putting them back on her body.
She felt hot against him and most alive, lips sucking in all the love her held for her, nose bumping into his. Her entire body was on top of him when her tongue slid into her mouth, and even though the dress was uncomfortably making it harder for her to situate herself in his lap, she managed in an awkward position. They had done this before, hell, it was impossible for her to release him sometimes before he left for Japan, hands clawing at him, but this particular feeling was enthralling, reckless even, as if she felt like she’d never be able to get enough of him.
Unless she did one thing.
Her hands ventured to the hem of his shirt and began harshly tugging the material up until Michael broke the kiss and caught her hands before they could touch his blazing skin.
“Wait,” he almost implored. “Just wait until we get to my --”
The limo driver tapped on the partition between the front and back. His voice was muffled behind the screen but they made it out nonetheless, despite their heavy breathing. “We’ve arrived at Mr. Moscovitz’s loft.”
They pulled away from each other. “There's no way he didn't hear us!” Mia whispered excitedly. “Hurry and get out before he lowers the partition!”
Michael obeyed, stepping out, but to Mia’s horror, he tipped his head to the driver, saying a quick thank you for the ride. Mia grasped his hand and quickly tugged him to the front gate, feeling Michael’s body quivering with laughter again.
Since when was Michael so...immature? In his twenties, she’s expected him to be more serious than ever yet here he was, giggling away the years he never joked around. Now that she thought about it, in the past years, Michael joking was pretty harmful. Perhaps Japan had really been the best for the duo.
He swung their hands with a tight squeeze at her fingers, and Mia wouldn't be surprised if he began singing in that moment, happily skipping away to his gates. He glanced down at her when she didn't return the merry movement of their adjoined hands. “Aren't you happy?”
Mia nodded. “I am. You're just...concerning me.”
“Why am I concerning you?” Michael reached into his back pocket and withdrew his keys, twirling them around his index finger as he waited patiently for a response. Mia’s eyes widened when he tilted his head and rested it on the painted black gate, a dark brow cocked with a smile littering around his lips. His hair kind of flopped over his eye, orbs completely somber like on her 15th birthday party. The moonlight shone directly on his face, radiating his beauty into the air.
Mia had never thought this before but aside from his hotness, Michael was quite...well, beautiful.
“I just want to get inside,” she said as a trance took over her and her hands gripped the collar of his Skinner Box t-shirt.
Michael watched her eyes for a minute, quietly and somewhat romantically, only because it was impossible to read Mia and he needed to know what the next move should be.
Once the gate was open, Michael silently led her to his front door. She had finally begun to let her eyes wander to his loft. He clearly wasn't behind modest about his success as seen by the colossal house before her eyes, a champagne colored door inviting her inside. The door was open and Michael entered first.
“Think of it like my parents’ house,” Michael muttered, noticing her shock.
“How could I?” Mia breathlessly laughed. “You're like a prince!”
“Finally, I’m worthy of a princess.”
Mia frowned and opened her mouth to object but he winked at her and began walking towards presumably the kitchen. Michael was clearly pulling her leg as he tossed his keys into a glass bowl besides the sofa, since the living room was the first room she saw upon entering. The movement made her shiver but he didn't notice, more keen on getting something to drink. There was a TV sitting in the corner of the room, moving boxes still littering against the walls. Her hands touched the beige colored walls, amazement passing through her body. This was Michael’s. Everything in this house was his and he had bought it himself.
Well, half of it was probably Boris’s.
Dread filled her body. Boris. She’s forgotten about him! “Um, Mic— ah!”
She heard an instantaneous bark and suddenly she was on the floor with Pavlov eagerly licking at her face, paws on her shoulders. She shrieked, putting up her hands to block the slick kisses but the dog didn't let up.
“I would offer you a drink but you're undera—oh. I see you've met my dog.”
“Michael get him off!”
“You know what would make us an even worse couple? If one of us were a photographer so we could—”
“Michael, I can't breathe!” Mia gasped between laughter, frantically shoving the massive dog off her torso but the beast wouldn't budge. Her dress was long ruined by mud stains and slobber but she couldn't care less—her grandma would have smacked the back of her head for thinking this, however the thought was pushed back to the depths of her brain.
Michael hauled the dog off of her and helped her stand up, making sure to place his hands on her waist to balance her. She toed off her heels and let them heavily rest besides them. Her height reduced by a couple inches, so she had to look up at him.
“You're gross,” he grinned. “Absolutely gross.”
“I know,” Mia grumbled back with a swift roll of her eyes. “Pavlov is a menace.”
“He missed you,” Michael shrugged, resting his forehead against the shorter girl’s eyes falling closed. “So did I.”
Mia’s heart soared, excitement shooting through her veins. However the moment’s magic diminished when he scrunched his nose and pulled away.
“I’ll get you a towel, Miss Slobber.”
Mia groaned so loudly, it echoed through the halls. As Michael disappeared from view again, she yelled in his direction, “You've ruined the moment twice already!”
“You gonna rule a country with that temper, Thermopolis?” he called back.
She huffed, crossing her arms childishly before sauntering towards his sofa to plop down on. Her dress lay in messy ruffles and she was itching to step out of it, remove her makeup. A yawn tore through her body as she rested her ruined hair on the headrest, eyes trained on his ceiling. For a brief moment, she imagined staring up at his old bedroom’s ceiling with the glow in the dark stars he fell asleep to for years. The memory was warm.
She sighed and picked her head up, silently bouncing her knee as she waited for Michael to return. For a guy with a massive home, it was quite difficult for him to find a decent towel to provide her, or so she thought. Impatiently, she tapped her fingers on the table besides the table besides the sofa, feeling the chestnut colored wood under her nails. Hell, she was glad she’s gotten her nails done before this. Who knew this would happen?
Well, besides Lilly anyways.
She stood up and followed Michael upstairs, still utterly shocked at this mansion he lived in. Upon reaching the second floor, she was hit with a hallway that led to different directions. She bounced on the balls of her feet impatiently. “Michael? Which way is the bathroom?” she called out loudly into the air.
“To the right!” he replied. “Down two rooms.”
When she found the right spot, she entered the threshold to see him rummaging through his cabinets on top of the sink with a frown on his face. “I was so positive we bought another three towels but I think they’re all in Boris’s bathroom and you don’t wanna go in there.” He turned to give her a grave look. “Trust me.”
She nodded and stepped towards the sink, twisting the handle for the warm water to begin gushing. Michael pressed a quick kiss to the top of her head before leaving the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. Mia splashed a couple of handfuls of water at her face, reaching for the soap to lather in her hands and scrub at her eyes. Once again, her grandmother would have fainted at the sight of her removing her makeup in such a vigorous manner but she wasn’t here, so Mia couldn’t care less. Once the mascara and glitter had washed down the drain, she toweled at her face, gently removing the remainder of the makeup clinging to her skin.
She patted down the wet areas on her dress but gave up once the material looked as if it would rip immediately and then exited the room. She wandered back where Michael had hidden himself. With no intention of intruding, she knocked gently on the neatly painted door, bouncing on her heels. When she was rewarded with a brief “come in”, she stepped inside. With a careful shut of the door, she was met face to face with Michael. Well, more specifically, she was met with his back, shirtless and reaching into his drawers by his bedside, a concentrated look on his face.
“Sorry!” she yelped, placing her palms over her eyes. “You said I could come in!”
“Right,” Michael said, sounding utterly confused. “And here you are. What’s the matter?”
“I’m topless,” Michael gently corrected her. “Just changing. Here, I picked out a shirt for you. Your options are sweats or boxers.”
A shirt was carelessly tossed in her direction, hitting her soft dress. She didn't remove her hands away.
“Are you dressed?”
She dropped her hands and to her surprise, pleasant surprise, Michael remained shirtless. He was now sitting on the bed, looking up at her expectantly.
“I’m dressed,” he said in an annoyed tone. “You've seen me shirtless far too many times. Why don't you go back to the bathroom and change your clothes. I assumed you’d want sweats.”
She gingerly picked up the material and nodded squeamishly, hurrying away once she held the clothes to her chest. Once in the pajamas, she returned back to his bedroom. Michael sat there reading a book, brows scrunched with concentration. When he heard the door close, he glanced up and sent her a warm, crooked smile.
“There's my Mia.”
She held up her dress. “Where do you want this?”
He waved a hand dismissively in the air. “Anywhere. Toss it in the closet or whatever.”
She opened his closet and was taken aback by the clothes hanging on each rod. Rows and rows of suits dominated over his polos and band t-shirts. His jeans were neatly folded underneath, shoes following after. She quietly hung up the dress before turning back to him.
“There's a ton of suits in there. You hate wearing them,” she started, sending him a smile as she sauntered back to him.
“Yeah,” he grumbled. “I hate it. It's like high school all over again.”
Mia tucked herself in between the sheets, wiggling closer to him until her cheek pressed against his shoulder. His heat radiated towards her, warming her up to a toasty crisp as when his hand touched her waist.
“Speaking of which,” Michael murmured. “What time is Lars picking you up in the morning for graduation?”
“Whenever I call him. He prefers it to be before ten because Wahim begged to leave Tina at my place for a bit.”
Michael nodded and dropped his head on top hers, eyes closing. He enjoyed the moment of silence, basically counting down the seconds until she'd speak up again. He was right. He only counted up to 87 seconds before she said, “So did you really like my book or were you just saying that?”
Michael chuckled. “I loved it, Mia.”
Mia hummed softly, raising her hand, draping it over his waist. She was hesitant about touching his bare skin, but he coaxed her, quite roughly, by tugging her forearms across his torso. He began counting down the seconds again with anticipation.
“I thought we were going to...you know. Do it."
His mouth twitched. “I thought so too.”
She fell quiet, unmoving in his arms. She almost didn't breathe. When she finally spoke, after a few seconds of consideration and careful word picking, she said, “Well, should we get on with it?”
Michael had imagined this certain situation now times than he'd want to admit. He'd thought it would be seamless: the removal of clothes, the butterfly kisses, and the breathy moans, but he liked where this was going. This Mia-y way of handling things by blurting out her desires even if they were ridiculous.
His eyes went all fond as he reached out to hold her hands. “Mia, you've made me wait four years,” he began, a funny sparkle in his eye. “I can wait a little more.”
She frowned, shaking her head. “That's just pure torture then, isn't it?”
He shrugged. “It was difficult being around you and not doing it, but I’m not a teenager anymore.”
“You make yourself sound so old,” she complained, sitting up. “You were a teenager two years ago!”
“Mia,” Michael shook his head this time, finally facing her. “If I asked you in this exact moment if you’d want to, would you say yes?”
Her confident features faltered, lips sucking into her mouth. Her eyes darted across the room before they met with his frantically. “Now?”
“Yes,” he replied, amused. “Now.”
She groaned loudly, creating some distance between them before he could reach out for her. She suddenly wished she had her satin gloves on so she could hide behind them, but all she could do was peek at him through her fingers. “You can't do that to me! There's gotta be anticipation and the right stuff. Like what I did before you left!”
“That ended up being perfect,” he retorted with a careless snort.
“Hey, at least I tried.”
“You tried to bribe me. With sex!”
“I was trying to show you that if you stayed, you would have something going for you!” Mia growled, brows knitting with one another.
“Something that you're still not willing to do with me,” he sighed, squeezing her fingers. “And that's okay.”
“Because you've been gone for two years!” she replied fiercely. “If you hadn't been gone, we would have done it a million times!”
He smiled at her. “Sometimes tells me you still would've made me wait.”
Mia dropped her head onto his shoulder. “Fine. What do you want to do then?”
Michael shrugged. “I'm pretty cool with you just being here. I bet you're tired. We can just sleep if you want.” He gave her a pointed look. “Only sleep.”
“Okay,” Mia muttered, watching him nod approvingly and slip under the duvet.
His arms reached out towards her, encasing her body and hauling her towards him with a swift but manhandling movement. She yelped and placed a hand on his chest to steady herself but he held her tightly, chuckling when she tried to wiggle away for breathable air.
When she quit struggling, she released a low groan and inhaled his scent, nearly dizzy at the treatment she was receiving from the man she loved. When her eyes drooped and mouth opened slightly against his neck, she felt safe and so warm, she felt as if she could stay there for days on end. For a second, she felt like Finnula the night of her wedding with Hugo, nestled into her protector’s arms, happy and relaxed. Perhaps there were more parallels to the duo and Finnula and Hugo that she had unintentionally included while writing the novel.
However what mattered was that Mia was heavily in love with Michael and no amount of countries between them could change that.
“I won't hesitate to make you sleep in Boris’s room if you snore though,” Michael said right as her breathing evened. "I'm serious," he warned her. She was too weak to laugh. Instead, she fell asleep, happy and self-actualized.