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You Started It


Christmas Eve was the absolute worst day of the year to be out shopping. At least she didn’t have to drive anywhere, but Fiona battled crowds in every street, store and register line. It was hard to even get to the racks of clothes, which of course were no help once she reached them. She had no idea what to wear for dinner at Viktor’s. Something casual enough because they were staying in, but a little dressy because it was the holidays. And a date - it was definitely a date.
“I want it to be a date,” she said out loud to a display of shirts, a touch of wonder in her voice. They didn’t seem surprised.
Finally she settled on a gauzy black sweater that hung losely on her frame. Underneath she tried a tank top with wide stripes of gray and white visible through the outer layer. The sweater was shorter, and Fiona like the way the contrasting colors showed at her hips. Super soft skinny black jeans that she always wore went inside a pair of high gray riding boots. A little more shopping yielded a pair of sparkly hoop earrings and two bangles to match. It was enough but not too much - clothes that didn’t invite trouble but could be off in a second if it came to that.
Fiona shivered, not unpleasantly. She had a feeling things were coming to that even if she tried to fight it.
When she was ready with her bag in hand and outfit in mind, Fiona climbed into a chair in the MAC store.
“I have a date,” she told the artist, who herself was wearing enough makeup to star in a drag show. “But just dinner.”
The woman smiled like she could fix that with a few swipes of her brush. “It’s never just dinner, honey. I’ll give you something that’ll still look good tomorrow morning.”
Fiona asked for “pretty understated” and didn’t peek until the work was done. She had left enough time to take it all off at home and start again if need be. But to her pleasant surprise, the artist had done a perfect job. It was more a little than she usually wore - darker along the lashes, and purple at corner of her lid that made her green eyes shine. Everything else was light and amazing - an enhanced version of herself. Fiona bought the eyeshadow and the lipstick and headed home, praying not to run into Jonathan. ____
Viktor made sure every inch of his apartment was clean. He didn’t want Fiona thinking it was some kind of bachelor pad. He’d been to Toews’ place, he knew the vibe it gave off. Then he called his parents in Sweden.
“I’m having dinner with a friend,” he told his mom, assuring her this was not lonely Christmas.
“A girl?” his dad asked on the other side of the line.
“Yes, a girl. My friend.”
“Did you cook?”
“No time, Mom. I just got in this morning.”
His father snickered. “Just as well, don’t give her all your secrets yet.”
In fact, Viktor had opened all the packaging himself and set everything to be heated up. Each dish was fairly small but there were plenty of choices for two people and leftovers to boot. He’d gone the traditional American route, even though neither he nor Fiona were actually American. If he’d planned in advance he could cooked, or at least ordered something Swedish.
If I planned in advance I wouldn’t be fighting against Toews, he reminded himself.
He was dressed and ready, a bottle of wine open on the counter, when his buzzer rang. Viktor wiped his damp palms on his pants and let Fiona in. Then he waited, door open, for the elevator to arrive.
“He...,” he lost his train of thought when she stepped off the elevator. She looked incredible, like Fiona 2.0. Soft waves of dark hair tossed over her shoulder as she turned toward him. Those gorgeous green eyes went through him like an arrow. He stood up straight and cleared his throat.
“Hey,” he tried again.
“Viktor.” Fiona nearly walked right into the wall. He managed to get more gorgeous daily. Today his hair was pushed back from his forehead and he wore a light blue button down shirt rolled up his massive forearms. Dove gray slacks only accentuated his physique and height. He smiled and she felt the Earth’s gravity weaken.
“Merry Christmas.” He stepped inside and she followed, right into his open arms. Viktor hugged her with his eye closed, willing himself to slow down because they had all night. Fiona put her head against his broad chest and tried not to faint.
Inside his apartment was so spotless she had to smile. Ignoring the delicious smell from the kitchen, he gave her a little tour. A big flat screen TV, comfy looking overstuffed couch and chaise, coffee table with magazines carefully arranged. She bet there were a few Maxims hiding under there, maybe Playboy, or else he’d hidden those away.
“You have a fireplace,” she said.
“It gets cold in the winter.”
Fiona’s brain immediately calculated there was enough room in front of it for a blanket, some pillows and two people if they got very close together.
“And my tree,” he said proudly. It was perfectly decorated with ribbons and globes, sparkly silver tinsel and tiny white lights. And it was adorably about five feet tall. Next to Viktor’s six-foot, three-inch frame it looked like a toy.
“It’s so cute! I love it!” She pretended not to see that there was one package underneath it and she had a good idea who it was for.
After seeing the rec room-slash-office and bathroom, Viktor showed her the master bedroom. It wasn’t huge, but the bed inside was definitely a king and another flat-panel TV hung on the wall. A few pictures were scattered around but mostly it was a boy’s room with minimal decoration that still seemed very comfortable.
Very, very... stop, she told herself.
Viktor looked around like he’d never been in there before to avoid looking at Fiona. It may be Christmas but he wasn’t sure how long he could keep this Good Boy streak going. Being that close to a soft, inviting bed, coupled with the intoxicating smell of dinner in the oven was making his head swim.
“Hungry?” he asked.
He didn’t have a dining room, just a square table at one side of his kitchen. The places were already set and he even had lit small votive candles in holders shaped like reindeer. Fiona held one up and arched an eyebrow.
“From my mom,” he said. “They were here last year for Christmas.”
They lined the dishes up on the island - ham, potatoes, gravy, chutney, stuffing, apple crisp - and went through their own little buffet line. She was first, taking her time, enjoying when Viktor brushed against her side. Sometimes he forgot he was twice her size. They sat at one corner, as close as they could be. The warmth and the comforting scent and the overall coziness of the whole setup made Viktor blush with pride. Fiona rested her knee against his underneath the table. He filled her wine glass and then held his up.
“Thanks for coming over,” he said. Maybe he was leaning just a bit.
“Merry Christmas, Viktor.” Fiona smiled, then she ducked right in and kissed him on the lips. It was meant to be a peck but they seemed to stick together for a long, slow moment. He closed his eyes. Fiona’s heart zoomed.
Dear God I’m going to....
“Merry Christmas, Fi.”
Once the zinging feeling in his chest settled, it was as easy as ever to talk to Fiona. She cracked him up with stories of getting into trouble as a kid when they were off school for the holidays - trying egg nog for the first time, locking her keys in the car while it was running, perverted shopping center Santa. He found himself keeping up with stories of pranks his teammates had played on each other in every place he’d lived. It was a simple way to keep the conversation away from Jon. Just like at their first dinner, he almost forgot it was a date. Except that her dangly earring kept bouncing against the exact spot on her neck where he wanted to put his mouth.
“Vik,” she said, moving her head into his line of sight. He’d spaced out for a second. She smiled like she’d caught him.
He didn’t even think, just reached for her. His lips closed on her smile; she tasted like apples and sugar and wine. Whether by desire of surprise, Fiona parted her lips and Viktor swiped his tongue across hers.
Chairs squawked in protest; pushed back against the hardwood floor. She tried to stand as he tried to pull and Fiona ended up right in his lap, arms around his neck. Viktor braced his hands between her and the table so she’d be perfectly comfortable there. He pulled the plug on all his caution and kissed her deeply.
She snickered as they came apart, gasping. It had been long enough for them to lose their breath. Their foreheads pressed together, chests rising and falling in double time.
“Sorry,” he said without a hint of regret on his face.
“Don’t lie, it’s Christmas!”
He tilted his head. “Okay, not sorry.”
Fiona pressed her lips to his so softly they barely touched. “Me neither.”
Viktor put her feet on the floor and stood, never entirely letting go. He led the way into the living room and pulled her against him, sitting her between his legs in front of the tree.
“Did you know that Santa is Swedish?” he asked, grinning over her shoulder.
“Oh yeah?”
“He’s from Lapland. And if you’re Swedish, no matter where you live in the world, he visits you first on Christmas.”
Fiona couldn’t believe he could kiss her like that one minute and be so playful the next. How did he keep all that straight inside? It was impossible for someone to just be so... nice. So genuine. Viktor wasn’t putting on any kind of show for her, he was just glad to have her here.
He reached both arms all the way around her, picked up the single gift under the tree and put it in her lap. “See, he was here already.”
“I’m not Swedish,” she teased.
He let those arms settle around her waist, holding her comfortably like it was something he did every day. Something he’d like to do. She leaned against his chest.
“I told him it was okay. Open it.” His warm breath left goosebumps across her neck as he squeezed in to watch her open the paper. She slid her finger under each side and flipped it over before pulling the gift free.
The heavy square book had a glossy cover: Traditional Swedish Recipes. Taped just below the title was a little gift card envelope for Williams-Sonoma.
Fiona pressed her lips together and tried not to die.
“I actually can cook. Next year, maybe we can make our own dinner,” Viktor said softly. Then he used one finger to pull the hair back from her shoulder and put his mouth to that place where her earring touched her neck. Fiona’s entire body rocked. She let her head fall back onto this shoulder.
“I’m trying to be good,” she chuckled as his kiss trailed toward her collar bone. Her hands were moving down his thighs.
“Santa’s too busy to care now,” Viktor said against her skin. He was really trying to be good himself, when instinct told him to have a frank and open discussion about Jon. But this moment was too perfect to be ruined - she could stop if she wanted. After all it was up to her. Jon would play every card in the deck to get her into this position and there was no way Viktor was going to walk away now. He nipped lightly her earlobe.
She moved so fast it surprised them both. Fiona whipped around, straddled his legs and pusher herself right up against him. He grabbed a hold of her hips. Fiona looked like she wanted to say something to justify what she was going to do, she filled her lungs to give force to the words, but then she stopped. Just stopped, looking down from her perch in Viktor’s lap. She exhaled a short sigh and then kissed him. Her fingers slipped up the back of his head into his hair. He squeezed hard, her body so small in his arms, and settled her into a very compromising position.
Fiona giggled. “Naughty List it is.” ____
She was being swallowed by the Earth. It was possible her entire skeleton had turned to paste from the sheer deliciousness of kissing Viktor. For like an hour. They were twisted up on the couch, him half on top and his weight all that kept her from sliding to the floor. His shirt was halfway open and completely untucked, and sometime ago her gauzy sweater had landed near the window. But otherwise they were still fully dressed, if a bit out of breath. His huge hand was warm through her thin tank top and the lacy cup of her bra, his fingers brushing the bare skin just above her breast - back and forth, slowly and lightly. She pulled his lip between her teeth and slipped her tongue back into his mouth.
There wasn’t a single thought in her mind: not about Jon, not about anything. Other than the Naughty List. His hand brushed over her shoulder, making her shiver.
“Are you cold? I can turn on the fire.”
The temperature spiked just at the sound of his voice. Fiona dragged her palm along the small of his back, under his shirt.
“You’re warm,” she said. “Now I know how people survive winters in Sweden.”
Viktor pursed his lips into a little smirk. “It gets pretty cold here.” Then he shifted another inch, sliding his knee between hers, pressing down harder. “That’s why I have the fireplace.”
Fiona didn’t even look toward it. “If you go for that fireplace, I’m following you.”
He kissed her again, smooth as silk, then levered himself up with surprising speed. She squeaked in protest - it was quite cold without him.
“Fine!” She pulled a throw from the couch and shook it wide onto the rug in front of the grate. Then every single couch cushion and pillow joined it, including the one she hit him in the ass with.
That ass...
Viktor squatted to set the fire alight and Fiona fought the urge to growl as his pants stretched around his thighs. Instead she dropped onto the pile of pillows and stretched out with a sigh. Once the gas fireplace was on and crackling nicely, Viktor lowered to his knees and looked at her sprawled out.
He smiled. Not like the Big Bad Wolf who couldn’t wait to tear her apart - though she wanted him too - but a genuinely happy smile. She grinned right back at him like a kid in a candy store.
“Fi,” he moved in close, resting on an elbow. Thick fingers traced the arc of her ribcage, she drew a deep breath to keep from being tickled. “I’m not going to ask you to decide between me and Jon.”
She froze. His hand kept moving over her prone body, up between her breasts and out to lift the hair from her shoulder. Those storm-colored eyes followed.
“But I am going to ask you to stay.”
He looked at her and she thought she might cry. She wanted to stay and never leave, never be tempted by anything else or have to consider what some might call options. Fiona wanted the decision made for her. It was petulant and childish, but would be so easy.
Viktor watched carefully as his words reached her brain and pooled in her bright green eyes. A better guy would take her home, but he had already been so good. And he knew that Jon wouldn’t stop now, not ever, and for all he knew Fiona had already been down that route. He wanted to at least be equal, he wanted her at least to know how he was sure it would feel between them.
And he really, really just wanted her.
“You can say no,” he continued. “I will pretend not to cry.”
She smiled, an embarrassed little purse of those lips still flush from kissing. Now his touch traced her jawline, curling dark wisps of hair over her ear.
“I think you want to though. And if you want to then I hope you will. Don’t worry about later. Whatever happens, I still really like you, Fi.”
Fiona bit into the perfect rise of her lip, wondering if she was dead and this was Heaven. Viktor had managed to say “let’s have sex anyway” and make it into a reasonable, romantic proposal. He solved exactly the problem she’d been tossing in her mind.
If we do this, tonight, but we don’t end up together, what happens to us?
There were strings attached - they were currently wrapped around Fiona like two-hundred-plus pounds of Sweden’s finest netting - but life was messy. She wanted to be near him and with him and knew it might just be the thing that changed everything. It wasn’t a contest. It was about connection. And she was really, really hot for Viktor.
Can you go to hell on Christmas? she wondere. But once she silenced the guilty conscience inside her mind, Fiona knew this felt right.
She kissed her answer onto his lips. Viktor’s shoulders sagged with relief and he playfully kissed her back, running his teeth down her neck and grabbing her up, making her squeal. When he reached the top of her shoulder, he kissed her delicate skin in earnest, breathing in her scent.
Fiona whispered into his ear, “I like you too, Viktor.”
Because it was Christmas, and at Christmas you tell the truth. ____


Just found this,read it all at once and enjoyed it. Starting the sequel. Thanks.
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