Petro and Ergo enjoyed their fifteen minutes of fame while Laura quietly fixed their lunch in the kitchen. She hadn’t said anything since they arrived and withdrew after awhile. Maksim and Alik busied themselves entertaining the boys with some boardgames Urmas had dug out of his endless supply of embarrassments from the past. The box still had Alik’s impressionistic view of somebody’s ass scribbled on the edge together with a cloud of fart, which didn’t go unnoticed by their little crowd.
But all Maksim could think of, was how quiet Laura had got since Alice had pulled her ambitions down. Nothing more than a stranger to punch of boys. He wanted to hug her and comfort her, but her request earlier to stop being so familiar held him back. So he suffered with her in silence and promised in his mind to make it up to her somehow.
Then he looked around where Joni was once again sitting in Jevgeni’s lap, Victor negotiated for a partner for the game, Kaspar was suspiciously quiet while pinching something under the table and the twins were busy explaining Anton the genius part of his brother’s plan.
He saw a shadow pass him from the corner of his eyes and watched Tessa approach her, offering to help. They talked quietly and then she hugged her in support he couldn’t give. God, he was jealous how easily she accepted it from her, but he reigned in the pain and tried to focus on Tessa.
Then his sister-in-law came back to living room with load of sandwiches and sat down in the middle of them, offering each of them one.
“Is she-?” Maksim asked her in a whisper when Tessa reached her one. She grimaced for a second and nodded then with a smile, assuring him she would be if she wasn’t now. There was a pause, she glanced over her shoulder, then she scoot up and stood closer.
“Get up,” she ordered, “I want that seat.”
Maksim’s mouth was full and he frowned. “Why?” he mumbled through his mouthful.
“Victor? Wanna play with me?” She asked behind her from the boy, who was gently being turned down by third brother. Then she swirled around and nudged him with her knee. “Come on, move!” Maksim waved her away, but the frown she was given made his stomach lurch. “Are you arguing with a pregnant woman?” She demanded, but he could see she didn’t mean the anger.
“Why?” he scoffed, but still stood up and jumped aside while she slumped down into it. He turned and his eyes widened, seeing the empty kitchen. She nodded towards the bedrooms and then he was forgotten as she pulled the boy in her lap and set the plate down on the edge of the table.
Maksim pressed the last piece of the sandwich in his mouth, heading that direction. He cleaned his fingers in his trousers and knocked on the bedroom door before barging through. He knew if he gave her the chance, she would not let him in, but this way she would at least be forced to talk to him.
“Hey, Laura -” he came to an abrupt stop. She was standing in the middle of the room half naked and turned to see, who came. “Sorry!” he babbled immediately.
“It’s ok!” She was still frowning, but he felt it wasn’t about being exposed. She’d worn that expression most of the day now, so instead of leaving, he stepped in and closed the door quietly behind him.
“I got some mayo on my shirt.” She said, choosing small talk over serious topics. “Have to wash the clothes anyway, so I might as well get started with it right away.” She fumbled with different shirts from her bag, lifting them up and turning them around before pushing them aside to choose another one. “I know it went well, but I can’t get the feeling to leave!” She hissed. “I know I’m not really their sister and all, but I’m their sister, you get it?” She swirled around, holding up a shirt. “This one? No?” Then she turned back on the bag and continued searching until Maksim had enough and closed the distance between them and hugged her tight.
“I can’t choose.” She whispered, hoarsely. “Since she said it, it’s as if I can’t make any decision right! Not that I was good with them before!” She snorted.
He nodded against her head, soaking in her heaves that would have been caused by tears had she shed any, but she didn’t.
“That one.” He pointed at the red one with sparkling ninja on it. It looked as if something a teenager would wear.
“Uhuh.” He didn’t let go while she bent over and got the one he picked. He only released her, when she raised her hands to pull it on.
His hands roamed over her back, then snaked around her and pulled her close, ran his finger over her chin and stretched her neck so he could peck a quick kiss on her lips. He didn’t plan to do more, but she didn’t move and her lips lingered, close enough to feel the heat from them. He hovered above them for a moment, seeking her eyes for confirmation that this was what she wanted and then slowly lowered to kiss her again. He took his time, savoring the feel of her lips between his before he pushed slightly, opening her mouth more and deepened the kiss. It was far past innocent, when he finally stood back, allowing them a moment to breath.
She was dazed, still standing there with her fingers crunching the ninja shirt. He was torn between leaving and staying, for all he knew she might regret the heat of the moment.
Instead, she was the one to close the distance between them this time and rose to her toes, leaning in for another one. Her fingers went around his belt and yanked him closer, her kiss mimicking him from earlier.