Dis: I own nothing. All rights belong to ABC, and the respective creators.
AN: Random escape plot bunny that needed to work it's way out for progression sake. Be warned this is a little choppy (hoppy?). I had to get it out of my system in order to move forward with the other story (which wont see this point for awhile). It has been awhile since I've written something of this nature and I can still feel the blush from writing what I did, and leaving out the British jokes that I didn't include.
Further you must go into this understanding that Romanian age of consent is 15yrs, with some clauses, which in the line of this story don't currently apply (as he isn't her coach at the moment!).
"Mark, I feel so bad for not telling Payson, but he asked me not to." Kim was saying, clueless to the fact that her two daughters were crouched in the hallway on the other side of the wall listening to every hushed whisper.
Payson had been doing much of the driving lately, and she'd noticed the change in mileage coupled with her mom's absence in the Rock's office that day. The mileage was very similar to the increase that had been on Kaylie's car when they'd gone after Marty. Her mom had been gone long enough to drive the Denver and back with time to spare. It was too much for coincidence, even if she'd believed in such things.
Becca was looking at her now and she shook her head and placed a finger over her lips. There was more to learn.
"Sasha had his reasons I'm sure." there a small pause "and you did place yourself in the middle by going there."
"I know; I told Payson one thing then did the other. Mark she's so heart broken. He's so heart broken." Payson could her her mom's tears.
"Is that his reason?" Mark asked.
"Yes. He thinks he is hurting the girls more by staying. He thinks the NGO will get off their backs if he is out of the sport." A coffee cup slams down on the counter make both girls jump slightly, but with out noise.
"Damn it. He gave me his word that if he thought he'd be hurting Payson by being in her life he'd leave, but.." he stopped not able to word the conflict he felt.
"I know, now they're both shattered." Kim said.
"Where's he headed?"
"Home, his Father's home."
Payson did her best to ignore the prickling stinging in her eyes.
The scrape of chairs sent her and Becca silently scudding back into her room where she eased the door shut.
She wasn't aware the tears were falling again until Becca wiped one away for her.
"Pay what are you going to do?" her sister was looking at her, worried and confused.
"You heard mom, he's gone." she whispered.
She didn't know how to explain to her sister that all anger had left her the moment she heard her mom say that Sasha was just as heart broken. The spike of adrenaline she'd felt at mention of his name went almost quicker than it came at the knowledge that he was hurting too.
The meet was a disaster. Darby was a disaster, her dreams, all of their dreams, were going up in smoke.
"Lo I need your help." she said. Normally she'd hesitate to ask Lauren and to trust her with something that could be used as blackmail so easily, but she didn't know who else to go to.
"I know Darby messed up but.." she begain
Payson had waved Emily over too.
"But what we need is Sasha. Put your jokes about me aside Lo, and your friendship with Darby. Do you really think she can get us to Worlds, let alone through it? Denver has Marty, the only other coach I know better we just lost."
The other two nodded
"So then what are we going to do? You heard Mr. Tanner and your mom, there isn't anybody else out there." Emily pointed out
"My mom found Sasha before he left for Romania. She didn't know Becca and I were listening when she told my dad that she'd gone to see him, she said he was heart broken to leave."
"Yeah, heart broken over losing you." Lauren quipped, but looked guilty the moment it was out.
"Lauren." Emily growled.
"Sorry, I just-"
"We all are." Payson said, acknowledging the bitterness and hurt each of them was feeling.
"What do you want us to do?" Emily asked. That was something Payson liked about Emily, she seemed to figure out where people were headed before they got there.
"I was thinking we could go jet setting this weekend. I've got a little saved up. My parents will kill me, but I'm sure they'll wait until after the Olympics." she tried to end on a humorous note, but it didn't work.
"There is no way I can afford a ticket to Romania." Emily said shaking her head. But all of them knew the real reason. "I can cover for you though. You guys can tell your parents you're staying at my place for the weekend."
Lauren shook her head.
"No sorry, I will vouch for you, cover for you, I'd even buy your ticket for you but I can't. Darby is staying with us and she'd notice. Besides I don't do international travel on such short notice."
"Trials are a week away, we have to do something." Payson begged, she hadn't thought they would back down on her.
"Here." Lauren rum rummaged through her clutch and handed Payson a black Visa card.
"Lauren, I can-" She started.
"You will. Now, we've got a slumber party to plan, and a coach to bring home." She winked.
As Payson packed her bag she couldn't believe she was actually going through with her plan, and alone. Lauren had already ordered the ticket online after they discussed the fact that she would be asked for her passport and her last name and the card name wouldn't match.
Lauren picked her up with Emily under the guise for going to dinner and drove her to the air port. A hour later she was cruising at altitude above the state Colorado.
When Payson touched down she realized that she had over looked one major issued. She didn't know where in Romania to begin her search for him.
As soon as she got through customs she turned her phone on to call Lo and let her know that she'd made it alright.
She didn't make it that far and a text message popped up.
"Luck is on your side Pay. I'm sure you already knew this, but here is Sasha's exact address. Daddy was mailing out paper work to him. Hope you had a safe flight."
So a shuttle and a cab ride later she arrived at his door step. Payson was beginning to realize how little she had really thought the plan through. Between her flight and time zone changes it was early morning hours when she got there. She was terrified and exhausted, and many other emotions that she couldn't describe.
Her heart pounded as the door opened before she had even had the chance to ring the doorbell.
"Payson Keeler." The elder Belov greeted. Payson's stomach turned. She hadn't expected Dimitri to be the Belov she found.
"I.. I was.." she couldn't form the words.
"You are here for my son. No?" he asked with a warm smile stepping back and gesturing her in.
All Payson could do is nod.
"He is fool, I tell him this, but he does not listen. Come, come, he won't be awake for a good bit." He ushered her into the kitchen all the while acting as if he'd expected to see her.
"So Sasha is here?" she asked.
"Yes, but here is not your Sasha. Here he is my Alexandru." He admonished.
"Ok." Payson didn't really get the difference, but she wasn't about to point that out.
Without asking he poured her a mug of tea placing the sugar bowl in front of her.
"You don't seem surprised to see me." She hedged after a swallow of the scalding liquid.
"After that last meet and the joke of a coach you had. I've never seen my son so angry over the sport. I will warn you, he is not happy with you girls, but that is a good thing. He still cares. And you… you are special to him. You still have it do you not?"
Payson paused for a moment then withdrew the Olympic medal from her pocket.
"Ah good. Do not go easy on him, but do not forget he hurts too." He squeezed her shoulder and held her gaze for a bit.
"Be at home. I must take care of business. He will be up soon, he does not sleep well these days."
Without a backward glance Dimitri Belov left Payson with a mouthful of question and a head full of thoughts.
She'd just pushed out of her mind the idea that there was more to Sasha's father's words than the surface meaning when she heard the bedsprings creak from down the hall.
She'd curled up in an arm chair that allowed her view of the hall, as that was the only possible direction he could emerge from.
Her breath caught in her throat as the hall light flicked on and it illuminated him. She knew she'd seen him with his shirt off before, but at the moment couldn't recall when. However she'd never imagined the sight before her eyes even in her crush driven fantasies.
He had a massive case of bed head, which he was currently running a hand through musing into worse disarray. Not just shirtless, the question of boxers or briefs was answered by the pair of tightly-whities that were hanging low on his hips.
She must have made the strangled shocked sound that she was feeling because he startled. The deer in the headlights look that first took hold was adorable, however the shock and anger that took hold next made her breath catch in a different way.
"Payson" God he had a way of making her name a question, menacing and (not that she'd ever admit it) arousing.
She swallowed hard and put on her competition face.
"Good morning?" she didn't try for a smile because she knew it would be strained; instead she tried to keep her eyes focused on his, which she found to be very difficult to do.
"No." he answered and strode into a door across the hall from where he'd emerged.
She could hear the tap running, and when he came into the main room he was dressed in a pair of gym shorts and a zip up hoodie that he'd left unzipped.
He took a seat on couch across from here without saying a word. They sat like that for several minutes, though they felt like hours to Payson. She took note of the bruises on his hands and the split on his upper forehead while they sat simply contemplating each other.
"You've been fighting." she finally said, it came out with a small bit of accusation which she hadn't meant.
"Boxing" he corrected. All she could do was frown; he looked so tired, and sad.
"How'd you ge-" he paused. "My Father knows you're here?"
"Yes, he let me in and made me tea before leaving to take care of some business." she answered. She was glad that he wasn't yelling yet. His tone when he'd said her name had put her on edge to expect a fight.
"And your father and mother?" he asked, but she could tell by the look in his eyes that he already suspected the truth.
"Think I'm at Emily's. Lauren bought the plane ticket and took me to the airport. Emily said she'd-" her voice died as he snapped a picture of her with his phone.
"What, was that?" she asked getting up and walking over to him as he furiously typed on his phone.
"Are you missing someone?" read the text message, he then pulled the picture up from the phone's memory and sent it as a separate picture text.
"Just you Sasha. We are all missing you. Do you need to ask?" came back Kim's reply before his picture had sent.
Payson wanted to scream at him but couldn't find the words, she simply stood gobsmacked by his elbow as his phone rang. She had no doubt it was her mother.
"It was taken in my father's living room just now."
Something on the other end of the line
"No, I am in Romania." he answered the extra amount of cool in his tone made it clear that he was barely containing his displeasure.
"That is what I would like to know as well. I thought it best to let you know that she is well first." he paused as Kim said several things that Payson still couldn't make out but could imagine knowing her mother, most of them being vague threats as to her funeral arrangements.
"Would you like to speak to her." at this he handed her the phone. She thought of refusing to take it for a fraction of a second, but nothing good would come of her acting like an insolent child.
"Hey mom." she cringed before her mom even spoke.
"Don't 'Hey mom' me. What the hell are you thinking? How... how did you even get a plane ticket out there? What about your practice? What if something had happened to you?" Her mom would keep going like this until she passed out if she wasn't stopped.
"Mom, MOM!" she raised her voice to get quiet on the line, "I'm fine. You know very well what I'm thinking and what I'm doing. I'll be home when he decides to come home." she was glaring at Sasha as she spoke.
"Payson... You're father isn't going to like this. Do you have any idea how bad this looks?" she asked
"I don't care what it looks like mom. He made a promise, and I'm going to make him keep it. Dad even said-" again she didn't get to finish her sentence.
"Your dad." she could almost hear the pop of when things clicked into place for her mom. "You heard our conversation the other night. Payson, you can't force him to change his heart sweetie." Payson could feel herself trembling.
"Our dreams, Lauren's, Emily's, Mine, are going up in smoke. Darby will be the ruin of us, I'm not coming back unless I have Sasha with me."
By now she was pacing the room and didn't turn to look at him as she said these things to her mother.
She could hear her mom sucking in a deep breath.
"This conversation is far from over Payson. Let me talk to Sasha again. I love you Sweeite, even if I'm not happy with your choices right now, I still love you."
"I love you too mom." Payson said, feeling a little numb.
She handed the phone back to Sasha, who gingerly placed it next to his ear.
"Ok." he looked up and frowned at her.
"I see. No, you know I'll take care of her. Yes, he is actually the one who let her in."
another long pause.
"I'll be in touch. And Kim, I am sorry. I-"
Sasha dropped his phone on the table, leaned back into the couch and rubbed a hand down his face. Payson took up the far end of the couch from him, curling her legs under her and waited for the explosion that she knew was coming.
She wasn't disappointed.
"Do you even understand what you've done by coming here alone?" he asked, his voice tight.
"I've come here to bring you back to coach. You promised you'd be there, that we'd go to the Olympics together." she stated, hating that she could already feel the tears building up.
"You have your team, you don't need me Payson. I'm no good for you girls, but that isn't what I'm talking about." he took a deep breath.
"You, a seventeen year old young woman just flew half way around the world alone and are now alone in my home. Payson, I'm a grown man, I may not be your coach anymore but this is still highly inappropriate, and when the NGO finds out where you are they will do their best to have you thrown out."
"And Darby running practice like it's KinderCamp won't have us laughed out? At least this way Lo and Emily get to go. "
"So you'd sacrifice your dreams for your friends?" he asked doubt clearly written across his face.
"I don't run out on the people that need me. I stand by those who I care about." she knew her comment had hit home but she wasn't finished.
"I walked into that gym the day after Beals showed that photo in front of everyone knowing the looks and whispers that would be there, I took the jokes and mocking gestures because I knew that if I hid others would think you'd done something wrong and you hadn't. But you go and ruin all of that by fleeing the country?" her voice cracked at this.
"It wasn't just you Payson. I let all of you down. Lauren had a breakdown on the floor, Kaylie could have died, and Emily was taken off the floor in handcuffs. What kind of coach lets his team come apart like that? I should have seen the trouble that each of you were in before it happened."
Payson could see the pain in his eyes, but his words felt almost rehearsed.
"That's bullshit, you're using that as an excuse to cower behind." she meant every word. His excuses of abandoning them being a noble cause had pissed her off enough that she was on her feet towering over him where he sat angled into the corner of the sofa.
Shock flit across his face for a brief moment.
"We're responsible for our own actions in and out of the gym. You're no mind reader, if you were Beals wouldn't have that damned photo and this mess wouldn't be happening. Lauren's mom died, no one could have prevented that and she wouldn't let anyone in. Emily made a bad choice, she's faced more tough decisions than the rest of us and none of us can change that. I, I kissed you, not the othe-" she stopped as he yanked her forward pulling her on top of him
His lips met hers, rough, hot and demanding. She fought him, not to get away but for control of the kiss. It took her mind only a second to figure out what he was doing. He was trying to scare her away by dominating and she wouldn't let him.
She ran the tips of her nails up his bare chest letting her full weight press against him. She lost ground as he shift so that he was pinning her under him. His tongue invading her mouth, then darting out to be replaced by his teeth nipping her bottom lip.
Payson had never felt anything like it, her body pressed back against this moving of its own will. He started working his way down her neck, his hands running up her side under the fabric of her shirt.
She fisted his hair and pulled him back enough to look him in the eye. She saw undeniable desire there, but she knew the guilt would fast replace it.
"You're not going to scare me off that easily Alexandru" she did her best to repeat his name the way his father had said it, but after being kissed the way she had it came out breathy and full of need.
Something in his eyes shifted, but he didn't speak.
He pressed against her again, softly kissing her this time, finding the soft spot where her neck and shoulder met. He never tried to remove her clothes though he'd let the hoodie he had fall to the floor somewhere in the process. His movements had become more precise and slower as his fingers kneaded her back with one and caressed her thigh with another; the anger was gone from him and now. Now she could feel his loneliness and longing. She could also clearly feel just how much he wanted her and the sudden realization made her breath hitch.
When he pulled away from her this time she saw the guilt engulf him as he rolled on to his back beside her.
"Don't you dare." she whispered.
Sasha looked at her in turn like a whipped puppy.
"You will not run away from me again Alexandru Belov." there was that look again when she used his given name.
"What" she only mouthed the word.
"It's almost as if you have discovered how very split I am." he said with a dark chuckle.
"Here, in my father's home, I will always be that unruly man-child full of ideas and dreams about the world. Out there, anywhere else, I am Sasha. And all that I have made that name stand for, good and bad." he closed his eyes as if trying to push down a memory.
"I see. So until just now, you believed you were only Sasha to me?" she asked, not really sure where she was taking this.
He took her hand in his, intertwining their fingers
"No. Dad was right. You've had my number for some time. I'm the one who has forgotten who I am."
Anything she may have said to that was forgotten as the screen door slammed and his father entered the house.
"Good, you two have worked things out." He says, there is no question that he has noticed Sasha's state of partial dress, their intertwined fingers or the general disheveled appearance of both.
"What time is it?" Sasha ask.
"Almost lunch. Do not worry, you do not work today. Take today with your lady. Tomorrow the two of you condition under my watch." The elder Belov smirks at this, between the shock on Payson's face and the disbelief on Sasha's.
"And just where are we going to condition Payson?" Sasha ask.
"Here. I will supervise the two of you. You will work out as well. You are so full of frustrations that it is like living with a fifteen year old you again! And you young lady fibbed to your parents." He said this, wagging his bushy eyebrows.
"Dad, Payson needs to get home, if the NGO finds out she is here."
"NGO, NGO!" he shook his head in agitation. "Do not worry about them. I spoke with Kim and Mark Keeler. Payson and I will leave for Colorado in three days. You will meet us in Hungry from here. You will apologize to all of your girls for being Fool, and then you will be with them as they win. Payson's parents will say she has been training with family in Minnesota if anybody asks. The girls Payson involved with getting here will back her parents' story. No NGO to worry about. Now, rest and enjoy each other, after today this is not allowed until after Olympics. No dating after all." The elder Belov parted with a hop in his step.