“You haven’t been here for a decade and NOW you want to stay the night?” Maksim asked, baffled. He wasn’t the only one, who felt the awkwardness of his sudden request. His sister-in-law, who was talking with Laura became awfully quiet, listening in and Laura was frowning again, darting her eyes between the two men, sipping her tea.
“Yes! We’ll take our parent’s old bedroom – you two can spend the one night in the same room, right? Grownups as you are.”
“Out of discussion!”
“I’ll stay with the boys?” Laura offered without much emotion and kept drinking her tea. “But then the wake up process tomorrow will fall to later time.”
“We are leaving at nine and we already discussed it – if we don’t go tomorrow, we won’t see it.” Maksim insisted, but the way Laura was squaring her shoulder, he knew she didn’t like his ram-like stubbornness.
“Well!” Alik packed his arms over his chest. “We can’t share room with you! We want, you know, hump in the hays.”
Maksim blushed so hard his face fired up all the way to the hair root and he sputtered. “No, she’s not staying with you in the same room, she’ll stay in mine!”
The brothers turned in time to see the two women suddenly sharing glances, their eyebrows popping for a moment and then shrugging, like agreeing on something.
“I have better idea.” Laura said. “You two take your parent’s bedroom, me and Tessa will sleep in my room.”
Alik looked abandoned, but Maksim nodded. He liked that idea. Second later he realized that meant he was spending the night with his brother, whom he hadn’t been in the same house since their teen years! He pulled in a sharp breath before he wanted to protest, but the look on Laura’s face shut him up.
“And behave, boys, you know how easily youngsters are influenced these days!” Urmas smirked, rose and left before either of them could kill him for it.
“I’ll make up the beds.” Laura got up as well and headed to the kitchen.
“I’ll help.” Tessa offered softly and followed her, leaving the two to stare at each other. She wasn’t open for new ideas either.
“Laura! Look! A hedgehog!” Petro ran in with Joni in tow and pushed a rather big thorny creature towards women, who instead of going for the beddings had began making sandwiches.
Maksim huffed. He hated the idea of sharing the room with him, despised the idea it was their parents room, even more. He left his brother brooding alone and used the boys as an excuse, reaching for the animal. Laura followed him with her gaze all the way outside, where he took the small creature back outside before they could do the proper ogling and sat on the porch, where the boys immediately surrounded him as he began explaining them the peculiarities of hedgehogs.
Ten minutes later he was sitting alone with the hedgehog, watching as they played the ball Laura had tossed them after clearing that the thorny would have to back wherever it came from.
Laura joined his silence, keeping him company. Their knees touched, but aside that, neither of them moved for awhile. He felt his throat tightening and his eyes tinge before her arms pulled him into tight hug and her face pressed gently against his shoulder. He heaved for air, listening his own heart pumping so hard he was sure she could hear it too, but she didn’t seem to care. So he didn’t care either, burying his face in the curve of her hair and using the pulsating of her veins to calm his, the hedgehog taking off into the bushes.
“What happened?” he heard Victor’s voice in front of them, but felt her head shook and shoo him away. “Did they fight?”
God, he was making boys worry, he pressed his eyes shut tight. He didn’t want to deal with it right now!
“No, he just needs a moment, ok?”
“Sure.” Jevgeni’s voice said surprisingly close, but before he could react, he heard the older boy gather up his younger counterpart and taking him along, giving him some example of bad memories coming back, like when they missed their parents. This was not helping with his coping mechanism and he groaned, sensing another barrel worth of tears.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered to her ear, reluctantly pulling away.
“It’s been a trying day, don’t worry about it.”
He cleared his throat and wiped over his eyes, thankful it hadn’t been his brother. She didn’t disappear as he’d expected and kept sitting there, closer now, but still didn’t probe into it.
“I need to be alone for a while.” He said, getting up when he was beginning to feel chilly. He hadn’t finished with his work papers and he hoped, planned that he would do them now and literally hide until it was time to go to bed. No question Laura would drag him out of his cave for dinner, but that was at least two hours away at least.
“What would you like for dinner?” Laura asked, bending back her neck to look him straight in the eyes.
Maksim stopped to look at her. “Why?”
She shrugged. “I bet your brother hates your favorite food?” She offered nonchalantly.
“He hates stuffed paprika.” It slipped before he could stop himself, condoling such mean revenge seemed like a bad example, but still he couldn’t stop the smile and he felt his mood lighten up a bit.
She turned, dismissing him and he went back inside, stopping cold when he saw his brother, hands crossed over his chest, curiously studying him from the middle of the kitchen.
“So! She keeps together both boys AND you?”He sighed, as if satisfied by what he’d just witnessed and Maksim’s heart sank back into dark. He hated the tidea of him using it against her.
“Don’t start, Alik, I’m not in the mood.”
He smirked. “You’re heart that’s in the game!”