Sometimes he finds himself longing for schoolyard romance.
It’s embarassing to admit, but Freddie has never actually held someone’s hand. He’d never had much of a childhood, and hand-holding, well, to him that’s always going to be something reserved for school children hiding behind the jungle gym and kissing each other’s cheeks on a dare.
He’d never had that. School had been a torment for him and the only kids he’d ever even brushed his knuckles past were on the other side of his chessboard, sweating nervously as he demolished them.
It gets lonely, being at the top. Unreachable.
If he were totally honest, that was what had attracted him to Florence Vassy. She didn’t give a single solitary shit about where he was, or who he was. She just wanted to see him play. And god, he’d never been beaten like that before, utterly obliterated in their first private match.
She, of all people, he could probably trust to touch him.
So he kisses her, occasionally, and she grabs onto his shoulders and he’s never completely sure if she’s going to hold him in place or shove him off until she’s kissing him back, and they fall into bed together.
They aren’t lovers. They certainly aren’t smitten schoolchildren.
They don’t hold hands.
The first person to hold Freddie Trumper’s hand is the last person that he ever wanted to touch him, or so he had thought until he felt the warm palm of the Russian close tightly around his hand, stopping him as he tried to turn away - tried to run -
They are at the Mountain View Inn and he could kill Florence for this. Sergievsky doesn’t let him go. His grip only tightens.
He’s a little tipsy, Freddie had known that the second he walked in the room. Where else had half of that bottle of wine gone? Typical Russian - but he doesn’t seem all that drunk, only - only earnest. It makes him want to….
He stills and twists to look back at him, beginning to scowl. “What do you want?”
But he doesn’t pull his hand away.
And in the morning when he scrambles to get all of his clothes off of the floor his cheeks will burn with the tender memories of that wine-stained mouth tracing heady patterns on his skin, loving him, marking him, and sweaty fingers clasped together while the headboard hit the wall, and he will think that perhaps hand-holding isn’t just for children, after all.