Maddie heard a distant crash, and she was immediately jolted from her sleep. What on earth?!
Her eyes focused on the room she was in, trying to remember where she was and why she was hearing such strange noises. When she heard David Addison cursing in the room next door, she was instantly pulled back to the present. Right, she had flown all the way to New York on a whim. She still felt a bit embarrassed by that fact, but what she had done today outweighed all those shameful feelings. She had been curious about David's ex-wife and had crashed a funeral to find her. Well, now she knew the whole story.
David could never find out about it, though. What explanation could she give him, other than that she might have been a bit jealous of the other woman that had been in his life once upon a time. Why was she even calling her the other woman? It wasn't like she and David had that kind of relationship. They weren't together. The thought alone made her laugh. Her and David?
Then why are you here?
She instantly banished that thought to some faraway corner of her brain and slipped from her bed, determined to find out if David was okay. He had been gone all day. From his ex-wife, Maddie had learned that he hadn't gone to the funeral at all. Where had he been? It was now well after midnight.
"David?" she called out through the door that was separating their rooms. "I heard a crash. Are you all right?"
"Everything's fine, Maddie. Go back to sleep. I'm sorry if I woke you."
Maddie frowned. He wasn't going to talk to her? He was literally keeping the door closed? She hesitated for a small moment, her hand hovering over the doorknob. It was none of her business; she shouldn't have been here anyway.
Her body seemed to have a life of its own, for she was suddenly walking through that door without any reservations.
David's room was still dark, save for the pale moonlight streaming in through the window. She instantly saw what had been the reason for the crash she had heard; he had obviously walked into a vase, which was now lying splintered across the floor. David was standing at the window, fumbling with the buttons of his shirt.
"Oh my, you look…."
"Wasted?" David interjected. His head shot up to look at her. "I know how much you hate that condition."
"Today, I'm being a bit more lenient with your situation. Can I… help you with anything?"
Maddie's eyes were soft as she gave him the once over.
"Do you want to sweep up the shards?" David asked, trying to send her his lopsided smirk. Instead, his smile came across as somewhat pained.
"We can call someone for that, but I'm not referring to anything material."
She dared to step somewhat closer towards him. The look in his eyes made her shiver a bit; he seemed to be trying to read her so thoroughly that Maddie felt a bit exposed. Then, he turned over a new leaf.
"As long as you're here, you could help me with these," he flirted while pointing to his shirt, his infamous smile fully in place this time.
Maddie rolled her eyes. There was the David Addison she knew and loved.
"I wasn't referring to anything… physical either," she sternly told him.
"Pity," David shrugged. He went back to trying to unbutton his buttons.
"How was today?"
Maddie stepped even closer, keeping mere inches of distance between them. The moonlight danced across his face and for a split second, she could feel her heart speeding up a bit. That was just a figment of her imagination, right?
"Great," David answered sarcastically. "Best day of my life."
"Don't be like that. I'm trying to be here for you, David."
He turned away from her and flopped down onto his bed, giving up on trying to free himself from the confinement of his shirt.
"I don't want to talk, Maddie."
"Okay," she sighed, walking over to sit down next to him. "Then don't talk. We can just sit here."
A look went across his face that she had never seen before. He blinked at her in the darkness, making the atmosphere in the room feel intense.
"Why are you really here, Maddie?" he suddenly croaked.
"What do you mean? I know now that it wasn't really my place, but like I said, I guess I thought I could help you."
"Help me…," he repeated, a bit dumbfounded. "Why would you do that? Wasn't it you who tore into me mere hours ago after drinking too much and forgetting to bring a couple of pictures to a meeting?"
"Well, yes, but…"
"I've done it again, Maddie. I'm so drunk that I can't even unbutton my own shirt and yet, you're not screaming. You want to help me."
Maddie looked down at the floor, trying to find the right words.
"Like I said, the circumstances are different. You're not here for an important business meeting, you're here because of grief."
"Grief," David repeated. "I'm not even sure if it is grief."
They sat in silence, until Maddie could feel his hand brush up against hers.
"It was a surprise that you came, but thank you."
She sent him a small smile.
Just like that, the atmosphere changed again. David's eyes glossed over, having an unsteady focus to them. A light feeling came to Maddie's head when she noticed him leaning forward. Wait, was he going to kiss her? He stopped just short of pressing his lips to hers, though. His nose rubbed against hers, soft like a feather. She understood now that he was asking her permission. Hot lead shot through her veins when she noticed herself contemplating it. She could smell his breath on her face and yes, while it was laced with alcohol, she could also smell him. It was intoxicating. Was he even aware that he was doing this? Would he remember anything tomorrow morning?
"I've wanted to do this for so long now. Ever since that kiss at the garage….," he trailed off, whispering the words to her.
He had thought about kissing her before this moment?
"Can I kiss you? I need to kiss you."
There was this swirling feeling in her belly that Maddie could not deny. She had felt it once before, at the garage he had just mentioned. Goosebumps appeared onto her skin and he had yet to touch her. God, what would it set in motion if they did this?
She could feel her head tilt upwards on its own accord, the pull between them too strong for her in that moment. She had to find out what it would be like without the hurried situation that had existed between them at the garage. She had to know what feelings he could evoke. He read her upward tilt right, for he softly stirred her lips with his, carefully testing the waters. Maddie's heart felt like a freight train, barreling through her upper torso with such force, she felt like it would burst from her chest. She leaned into him, needing more. They pressed their lips into each other, breathing each other in.
It wasn't a deep kiss, yet it was already becoming one of the most intoxicating kisses Maddie had ever experienced. Another quick peck, a few nibbles along the underside of her lower lip and she was shivering. This was… emotion.
He pulled back all too soon and Maddie almost felt like she had lost something important. His hand came up to brush her hair back and she sighed.
"You smell really awful, you know that?" she threw out there, trying to make light of the situation.
"I know," David chuckled.
"We should probably go to bed."
Maddie watched as his eyes widened and instantly realized her mistake.
"I didn't mean that, Addison!"
"All right, all right. It was worth a shot. I still need a little help with these, though."
He pointed to his shirt again and Maddie shook her head in amusement.
"Fine. Hold still."
She quickly unbuttoned all of his buttons, desperately trying not to focus on the intimacy of the moment, or the fact that she could feel his body heat penetrating though his shirt, warming her hands.
"There. You should be fine now."
Maddie stood up from the bed and headed back towards her room.
"Hey, Blondie Blonde!" David called from behind her.
When she turned around, she saw that he had gotten up from the bed as well. His hair was tousled, his gaze was intent, and the way he was standing there with his shirt hanging open did all sorts of things to her insides. When had these feelings for him begun?
"Thank you. Today was not my best day. Old hurt came back to bite me in the ass and you… you comforted me. Not many people have done that for me. So thank you."
"You're welcome," she spoke with difficulty, suddenly feeling the need to clear her throat. David Addison was hardly ever emotional about things, so yeah… this did something to her, indeed.
He smiled his lopsided smile, his eyes almost twinkling, and Maddie had to hold onto her doorpost to keep herself upright.
When the door closed behind her, she almost sagged against it, not even knowing what in the world had just happened between her and her business associate. They had crossed a certain line. Of course, a line had already been crossed when she had flown all the way across the country to be there for a mere employee during a funeral. What did this mean for them? Where would they go from here?
Feeling suddenly emotionally drained, Maddie got back into her bed and snuggled underneath the covers. She could do some more soul-searching tomorrow. Right now, she needed to sleep…
"Maddie?! Are you ready? We need to leave for the airport in a few minutes."
Maddie jumped at the sound of his voice addressing her through the door. Of course she was ready; she had been ready for hours. Her sleep had been restless and she had been up, pacing the floors of her hotel room since the crack of dawn.
How did it happen that someone as calm and poised as herself, was now anything but calm and poised over someone like David? Still, she couldn't help but ask herself dozens of questions regarding what happened the night before. Was it because she had seen a different side of him? Somehow, she now found herself picturing him as a husband… a father… and it blew her perception of him being an irresponsible jerk right out of the window. Why had she let him kiss her? He had been drunk, but what had been her excuse?
Most importantly, would he even remember any of it? That was the one thing that plagued her the most right now. In a minute, she would have to face him and try to read what he knew and how he felt about that.
Furious with her own anxious behavior, she grabbed her suitcase from the bed and stalked over towards the door that would reveal all. She flung it open before she could change her mind, stopping dead in her tracks when she saw David all clean and shaven without a care in the world. Nothing seemed to be on his mind.
"Hey, ready to go?" he asked, giving her the once over.
Maddie plastered a smile onto her face.
"Yes, let's get back to Los Angeles. How are you feeling, though?"
Oh, she hoped that this would bring up last night and they could settle some things.
"I'm fine. I came back later than I thought, so I hope you didn't wait up for me."
Her smile instantly fell. He didn't remember….
"I didn't wait up. I sure heard you come back, though. Did you call someone about that vase?"
She was being casual as heck, but she was wavering on the inside.
"Oh, you heard that? I'm sorry."
"You were kind of… wrecked. I hope you're feeling better now?"
"Nothing that a dose of aspirin couldn't help."
Why did this suddenly feel uncomfortable? Maddie cast her eyes down towards the floor, hoping that he would say something else, but he never did. He grabbed hold of his own suitcase and opened the door for her.
Maddie moved quickly to pass David in the doorway, but he stopped her with a light touch on her arm.
"C'mere, let me carry your suitcase," he offered.
"No, I've got this," was all she could mutter while trying to avoid looking directly into his eyes.
Carrying a suitcase would give her hands something to do, besides fidget.
The ride to the airport was silent, and the wait once they got there was a bit awkward. Maddie felt almost relieved when the airplane was up in the air and they were well on their way.
"She was there with that guy," David suddenly spoke up, while keeping his eyes closed.
"You know, at the funeral. My ex-wife's guy, that guy."
A nervous feeling came over Maddie once again, as she knew that David's ex-wife never cheated on him with a man… it was with a woman… and that must have been such a blow to his pride. She could never tell him that she knew, though, for then he would know that she had been prying into his private life.
"Oh, him," she therefore answered, giving him a compassionate look.
"Yeah, somebody told me they were getting married."
"Really? About time…"
"Yeah… I guess so…"
She watched him as he yawned, obviously dead tired after these stressful few days.
"Wake me when we're in the cab," he mumbled.
God, he looked so… she found herself wanting to comfort him, but not knowing how. She had already crossed so many lines in the timespan of no more than 36 hours. What could she do?
"David?" she gently nudged.
"Want half the blanket?"
There, now that was a form of comfort that she could offer without him reading anything into it.
"We'll figure that out when we get to your place."
A smile broke out onto Maddie's face when she realized that his banter was back full force. He cracked one eye open to send her a mischievous grin.
She scooted over towards him, giving him a part of her blanket, before realizing that they would have to remain close in order for them to both enjoy being swaddled underneath it.
"If I can borrow half a shoulder," she therefore asked.
"Only for about the next twenty or thirty years… Then I'm going to need it back."
Something fluttered inside Maddie's belly when he said that, her thoughts immediately picturing him as a husband again. She laid her head down on his shoulder, enjoying the warmth that he radiated. She was playing with fire here. However she could not stop herself from snuggling into him and closing her eyes. His heartbeat was steady underneath her ear and it lulled her to sleep instantly, her worries about them momentarily forgotten….
"David Addison! I'm surprised you even bother showing up when the sun is up! Lord knows you do all of your living at night. What's your excuse this time?!" Maddie almost screeched, squeezing her hands into fists at her side.
"I overslept, Maddie! What is the big deal?"
"The big deal?! I organized a staff meeting, that is the big deal! You were half an hour late!"
"So catch me up, will ya? God, you're even more on my case than usual lately. I'm late, I don't handle the receipts right, I'm not formal enough with the clients and I'm buddying up to Viola too much. Anything else, boss? Did I not sit down in my seat right this morning? Was I in the company restroom too long?" David taunted her.
"I'm not on your case more than usual, you've just been acting up more than usual. Is it too much to ask that you be a reliable partner?!"
David crossed his arms and stared at her intently, making Maddie feel slightly uncomfortable. She knew he was right; she had been on his case more than usual. It felt as if she didn't quite know how to be around him anymore, so she used the only defense mechanism she had: anger.
"Who was it that solved the MacKenzie case last week?" he shot at her. "Oh right, that was me. I do know how to work, Maddie. Me oversleeping isn't instantly going to catapult me into worst employee of the month. I'm sorry I missed half of the staff meeting. I'll go out and buy a new alarm clock this afternoon, okay? While we're at it, I'll stay late this evening to catch up on the work that I've missed. Are we good then?"
Maddie sighed and walked around her desk, rearranging some files on it to give her something to do.
"Fine," she mumbled. "You're dismissed."
David instantly turned on his heel and headed out the door, slamming it a bit too hard upon his exit. In a surge of despair, Maddie picked up her stapler and threw it after him. It hit the office doors with a thud, before landing on the floor.
Why was she so high strung around him? Did it have something to do with what happened in New York? Had it changed something for her? Why was she so desperate to continue to see him as the reckless guy who didn't take anything seriously?
And why didn't he remember when it had shaken her world to the core….
Maddie buried her head in her hands and took a deep breath. She couldn't work like this. Something needed to be done about the vision in her head; she didn't want to see him as the young boy who had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and did the responsible thing in the end. She didn't want to see him as Tess' husband. And most of all, she didn't want to be bothered with her thoughts about another woman meaning so much to him at one point in his life. What she needed to do was envision him drunk, careless, missing meetings and making inappropriate advances.
She got up from behind her desk with some notes and stalked over towards his office with long strides, feeling all eyes on her as she walked. The 'wobblies,' as David liked to call the employees, had always been very interested in the dynamics between her and David and this time was no different. She ignored the amused glances and barged in without knocking, finding him in his seat with his feet propped up onto his desk.
"You don't even bother knocking anymore?" David asked, raising his eyebrows up at her.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Did you have something better to do?" Maddie shot him a venomous glare.
"Okay, now what?! What did I do this time?"
"Besides being you? Not much. And since you're not doing much right now, I figured we could compare notes on the Levinson case. That is, if you have any notes to compare."
"The wrong side of the bed must have been extra wrong this morning," David told her, setting his feet back on the ground. He leaned forward, giving her an intent stare.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"It means that you're serving everything with a side of extra cold."
"I try to run a business here, Addison! I need everyone on board with me," Maddie explained.
"Oh, we're on board. We could do without the iceberg, though."
Oh, how she wanted to explode! He was pushing her buttons on purpose and she knew it. He took glee in riling her up and the annoying part about it was how she always took the bait. They were kerosene and a flame thrower when it came to their arguments. And boy, did David like to throw flames at her kerosene!
"How dare you?! God, sometimes I wish I had never met you!"
"Yes, but what would you have done to kill a day without me?"
Maddie almost threw her notes onto his desk, which he picked up with a daring look in his eyes. Finally, he relented and actually read what she had written down.
"Very nice. Here are my notes."
The office was silent while she read them. She was surprised that he had actually done the work. Her eyes widened a bit, while a hint of embarrassment began to settle in.
"Care to tell me what's really going on, boss?" David suddenly asked, all teasing gone from his voice.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that you're on edge. More so than usual. Ever since New York…," he trailed off and Maddie's heart started to pound.
She did not want to talk about New York or what it had evoked in her.
"What about New York?"
"I don't know. But something's bugging you."
Maddie refused to look up from the notes, trying to keep her decorum.
"Nothing is bugging me, David. Really."
"Really? Then why can't you look at me right now?"
Oh god, his voice had taken on that husky tone that usually made her insides melt. She carefully looked up to find him assessing her.
"There must be something, Maddie. I know you and I know when something is bothering you. Spill the beans. Did I do something? Well, other than obviously annoying you to no end."
"There's nothing bothering me!" she almost hissed.
She watched as he got out of his chair and walked around the desk, before leaning against it with his arms crossed. He was obviously trying to read her and she suddenly found herself wanting to leave.
"I'm not giving up. You might as well come clean."
"Do you need a hearing aid? How many times do I have to tell you that there's nothing to come clean about?"
To prove her point, she tossed the notes back in his face and made her way towards the door. Before she could open it, though, he had already caught up with her. He was keeping the door closed with his hand… and he was standing really close to her. Even though she was standing with her back towards him, she could feel his body heat radiating off him.
"It's just that I remember… some things. I can't really say if it's just a figment of my imagination, or if it really happened. But the way you're reacting to me tells me that it did happen, so I'll take my chances. Did we… kiss at some point? I mean, in New York?"
A shiver ran across Maddie's spine and she suddenly found a particular spot on the wood of the door particularly interesting.
"Kiss?" she muttered, feigning innocence.
She shrugged and finally turned around, staring up into his blazing green eyes.
"I suppose there was an innocent occurrence when you got back from the funeral, but you were drunk. Really, David. There's nothing to worry about; you were obviously grieving. I didn't bring it up because it wasn't anything special. Let's move on and forget it ever happened."
There, now that sounded strong and confident, didn't it? There was no way that he would be able to tell how her knees had suddenly gone a little weak.
"Nothing special… I must be losing my touch then," David joked.
"I won't hold that kiss against you, okay? There were extenuating circumstances and.."
"You won't hold it against me?" he interrupted her. "If my memory serves me right, you were quite the willing participant in that kiss."
A blush crept up Maddie's face and she had to look away for a moment.
"You caught me off guard! And while we're at it; why didn't you tell me that you remembered?!"
"I didn't remember until sometime later and I'm telling you now!"
"God, why are we arguing yet again? It happened. It was nothing but a gesture of comfort, okay? Let's move on and not talk about it anymore," Maddie suggested.
"A gesture of comfort? Right. Like our garage kiss was nothing more than a hurried goodbye. So, we only kiss on special occasions, then?"
"Why are you so agitated all of a sudden? I'm giving you an out and…"
"Giving me an out?!" David stared at her incredulously. "You are the most arrogant, icy woman I have ever come across, Madolyn Hayes!"
"Yeah well, and you are the most insensitive, crass man that has ever entered my life! Why would I ever want to kiss you?! It's nothing but a wet, sloppy memory laced with alcohol in my book! I'm out of here!"
The moment Maddie wanted to turn around, David grabbed hold of her upper arm and pulled her back into him. She stumbled against his chest, dazed by the quick movement. Before she had a chance to steady herself, his lips descended onto hers in a passionate fury. His mouth was angry and demanding, quite different from their soft kiss in the hotel room. His tongue swept into her mouth, making her almost sag into his arms. She fell back against his office doors with a thud, which could probably be heard by anyone in their outer office, but she didn't really care in that particular moment. He swayed with her, both of them leaning against the door now without ever breaking their kiss. Maddie's arms wrapped around his neck, pulling herself more closely into him. The kiss was feverish and desperate, almost as if they were trying to tell each other something. It was a good thing David had wrapped his arm around her lower back, for she suddenly felt like her legs couldn't carry her any longer.
It was over before she had the chance to get a grip on things. David pulled back, sounding almost out of breath and Maddie seemed to be panting a bit herself. She stared up at him, feeling suddenly a bit mortified that she had kissed her business associate in what was supposed to be a professional office. How did she let herself get so carried away? Out of nowhere, she slapped him across his face.
"Don't do that again," she warned him.
She pushed him off and staggered back, wanting to create some distance.
"What if I want to do that again?" he shot back.
Maddie quickly grabbed her notes, wanting to flee. He wouldn't let her, though. He stepped closer, hovering in her space.
"Let's be fair here, Maddie. You and I, that has been coming for a long time now. You know it and I know it. You feel it and I feel it. What happened in that hotel room wasn't because I was drunk. I've been wanting to kiss you again ever since that first time at the garage. I remember telling you so in New York, and that had nothing to do with the alcohol. I'm done with all the excuses and the back-and-forth parrying."
"You seem awfully sure of yourself, Addison. I don't want you. I never wanted you," she tried, stepping back. The back of her legs hit his leather couch and she knew that she was trapped. There was nowhere left to go.
"Is that why you fell into my arms mere minutes ago?"
"I didn't fall, you pulled me into them…. I tripped."
"I didn't see you struggling to get out of them."
Maddie took a deep breath, staring down at the notes that she was still clutching vehemently.
"I just… I don't… you and I are nothing alike. Most of the time, I want to kill you."
"It will prove to be a challenge, yes," David told her, a slight smirk covering his features.
"There's the business to worry about… how will we deal with the employees? I want to be taken seriously!"
"They will understand. I think they already know more than we give them credit for."
"You still need to treat me as your boss, okay? No funny business!"
David stepped closer again, their noses almost touching by now.
"Hey, you can be the boss wherever you want," he teased.
"There! Exactly that is why this can't be a thing! Stop making suggestive remarks!"
He laughed and she wanted to throw something at him!
"If I ever stopped making suggestive remarks, the employees would know for sure that something was up. It's what I do."
He had a point there.
"Are you running out of excuses?"
Oh, why couldn't she come up with anything right now?! He was leaning forward again and she just knew that he was aiming for another kiss.
"I think I'm running out of excuses," she finally admitted, her eyes focusing on his lips.
Neither of them heard Agnes DiPesto opening the door and taking a surprised look at her bosses, locked in a passionate embrace. She quietly closed the door again, a smile gracing her features.
"I'm sorry," she firmly stated to a potential new client. "They're behind closed doors right now…."
Thank you for the kind responses to my stories. They are very much appreciated! A special thanks to Marlena, who was a beta reader for this story. Yes, I used some original dialogue and setting again. Let me know your thoughts!