Anna dropped her bag with a sigh of relief. She was wet, she was cold, she was exhausted, and she was started to regret this entire trip. All she wanted to do was change into something dry and collapse on the bed….”Oh.”
"Um…" Her travel companion shuffled awkwardly, rubbing at the back of his head with one big hand.
The bed. The one bed. Anna looked around, as if a second bed might magically appear, but there was no such luck. There was just the faded wallpaper, a few kitschy landscape prints in cheap frames, a pair of mismatched nightstands, and the wide, canopied bed that took up most of the tiny room.
"I guess…when Elsa originally booked the trip, she didn’t think about saying two beds…" Anna said slowly. She and her sister had often shared beds on trips—it was cheaper, and since Elsa slept like a rock she wasn’t too bothered by Anna’s snoring and nocturnal kickboxing. But Elsa wasn’t with her on this trip.
"I’m sorry, Anna," Elsa had said. "I can’t go—this acquisition is too important for the museum, I have to deal with it myself.”
"You mean that if you don’t get to be the one to open the crate and see it for the first time, then you’ll probably cry and definitely spend the whole trip fretting about it getting smashed," Anna had translated, flopping on the couch so that her feet were in the air and her head dangled off the edge. She sighed loudly.
"I know, I just—I was really looking forward to this trip! I like museums as much as any normal person, which is to say not nearly as much as you like museums, but I was really excited about a trip with fewer museums and more mountains.” Anna had bit her lip. She’d finally gotten to plan a vacation that wasn’t piggy-backed on one of Elsa’s work trips. She’d been dreaming of hiking and nature walks and castle ruins for weeks.
"Anna, you can still go! Really you have to go, the deposit at the bed and breakfast I booked is non-refundable.”
"Alone? Elsa, you know I hate doing things alone. It’s just not fun without someone to share it with."
"So take someone! The reservation is for two—take a friend. And after a few days I can come down and join you for the rest of the week, I’m sure I can find a single room somewhere."
'Take someone', that had sounded easy. Except that most of Anna's girlfriends couldn't drop everything in their lives at the last minute just because some old woman had died and left an important statue to the museum. They had jobs, or classes, or babies, or pets that they treated like babies. And so in a fit of spontaneity, she'd asked Kristoff. They were friends after all, sort of. Their social circles overlapped, anyway. They'd hung out in college, bumped into each other repeatedly at weddings, gotten coffee together a few times after realizing that they'd ended up in the same city.
She was absolutely, definitely and completely not interested in a relationship, not after…well, she just wasn’t, but he was easy on the eyes and comfortable to be around. Okay, sometimes things did get a little uncomfortable in the pit of her stomach when he smiled, and Anna would find herself squirming in her seat, but he hadn’t made a move, so she could ignore that feeling. And other than his devastating smile Anna liked him a lot—well, she had liked him a lot more before they’d both fallen asleep, missed their train, arrived late, and waited for thirty minutes in the rain at a bus stop because he’d balked at the idea of calling for an expensive taxi. They’d had to walk another fifteen minutes in the rain from the last bus stop to the B&B, too.
Now they were both soaking wet, and staring at a single bed.
"I guess we’ll have to share—" she began.
"I’ll sleep on the floor—" he said at the same time.
"What floor?" Anna asked. "There isn’t enough floor space for you to stand, much less lie down."
"Well, I’ll—I’ll go ask about another room," he said, backing out.
Anna let him go. If she didn’t have a warm shower and dry clothes soon, she was going to lie down on the floor herself and cry. The bathroom was down the hall, and she took her nightshirt and slippers with her. Twenty wonderful, steamy minutes later, she shuffled back to find Kristoff looking sheepish, still in his wet clothes, and hovering in the hallway.
"There aren’t any other rooms," he muttered. "I asked if I could sleep in the shed, or something, but I don’t think she took me seriously—"
"Of course she didn’t! Don’t be ridiculous." Anna felt a lot more forgiving now that she was warm and dry. "Look, we’ll just have to share." She blushed, but went on quickly. "You should go shower and get out of those wet clothes, and I’m going to bed. We’ll just keep our hands to ourselves and figure something out in the morning, okay?"
After he left Anna crawled under the heavy quilt on the far side of the bed, sighing with relief. It was a chilly night, but she was too tired to fiddle with the radiator, so she curled up and waited for her body heat to warm the cool sheets. She was half asleep when the mattress dipped under a heavy weight, too asleep to resist the pull of gravity. Anna rolled over and found herself pressed against something pleasantly warm. She snuggled up to it, and after a moment felt the warm thing wrap hesitant arms around her. With a contented sigh, Anna tumbled the rest of the way into a deep sleep.
Anna woke up slowly. She felt warm and cosy and as contented as a cat with a steady sunbeam. A happy little grunt slipped out as she snuggled closer to her incredible huge hot water bottle. She usually got so cold at night during the fall, but she was warm all the way down to her toes. Anna sighed, trying to cling to sleep….
…until her hot water bottle mumbled. Anna was suddenly as awake as if she’d been splashed with icy water. There was not a hot water bottle in her bed. There was a man in her bed—a big, warm, nice-smelling man, but still. And she was wrapped around him like a sloth on a tree branch, too. Her head was tucked against his chest, so that she could feel his hearbeat, although that wasn’t so bad. What was bad was that one of her legs had gotten flung over his hip so that she was pressed intimately against him. If there had ever been any doubt in her mind that Kristoff was male—not that there had been, not that it would even have occurred to her to wonder, but oh god, if there had been any doubts they were well and truly laid to rest, because while Kristoff might be grumbling sleepily against her hair, another part of him was definitely awake and ready for action. Anna let out a squeak and shoved herself away, waking him up in the process. They both sat bolt upright and stared at each other, wide-eyed.
Kristoff’s hair was wildly rumpled around his head from being slept on wet, and Anna could feel that hers was even worse. She hastily tried to comb her fingers through it, then gave up and instead pulled the blanket up to her chest and tried to keep her eyes up (but it was hard not to stare, hoo boy). Kristoff blushed and pulled the sheet over his lap, his eyes also seeking the canopy of the bed.
"Sorry, I didn’t mean—I didn’t—I’m sorry," he said hastily.
"No, it’s okay, it’s my fault, I move around so much in my sleep, and I should have warned you, I wasn’t thinking—I was just so tired last night, I should have realized that I’d climb all over you. I’m really sorry, we should have made a wall of pillows, or something. Although that might not have stopped me, I would probably still have burrowed over to you, my sister says I’m like a heat seeking missile when I sleep, I’ll cuddle anything—not that you’re just anything, I didn’t mean to make it sound like you aren’t worth cuddling, I mean obviously you are, I’m sure you’re great at…cuddling, I just—we just haven’t had that sort of relationship—I mean not that you aren’t attractive, I just mean that I haven’t been ready—and of course since you weren’t interested—I just mean we haven’t been the cuddling sort of friends, we’ve been non-cuddling friends, and oh my god I have got to stop talking, I’m going to smother myself.” Anna fell back on the bed, her face bright red and burning, and pulled one of the pillows over her face.
There was a long, awkward silence, and then the bed shifted as Kristoff got up. “I’ll, um, I’ll go…get dressed, and then we can go down to breakfast, okay? I’ll, uh, I’ll knock before I come back in.”
He went out, and Anna groaned loudly into her pillow.
Breakfast was quiet, and awkward. Anna had thrown on some clothes and managed to tame her hair into a couple of plaits before Kristoff came back, and she was working very hard not to think about why he’d taken so long to change. He was clearly working hard not to look at her at all. It was going to be a very awkward trip, Anna thought.
But fortunately once they were outside in the fresh air, the awkwardness began to dissipate. They followed one of the easier hiking trails, looping up to a ridge with a good view. Just an easy climb, but scenic enough that Anna found plenty of things to say about how pretty it was, and it didn’t take long for Kristoff to relax into the light teasing that he’d always used with her. They got back down into the town in time to have lunch at a quaint little trading post. It was when they were relaxing at their outdoor table, full of hearty sandwiches and beer (for Kristoff) and lemonade (for Anna), that the subject of that morning came up again.
Kristoff frowned faintly at his plate, crumbling a stray corner of bread with his fingers. “Can I ask you something?”
"Sure," Anna said, leaning one elbow on the table. "Fire away."
"Why did you say that I wasn’t interested?"
He shrugged slightly, looking away and dusting his hand on his jeans. “This morning…you said ‘of course you weren’t interested’. Why?”
"Because…you weren’t. I mean, obviously. It’s okay, I’m not offended, or anything, I just…didn’t think about things being awkward, because you weren’t interested in me, like—y’know. That."
"Ah." There was a pause while he studied the wood grain of the table closely. "Anna…I think I should probably go home."
"Because—look, I asked about vacancies, while you were looking around the gift shop, and there aren’t any free rooms anywhere, and if the reason you were comfortable asking me on this trip is that you thought I wasn’t interested in you, then…then I’m here on false pretenses and I shouldn’t stay."
Anna stared at him.
"Are you saying…that you…about me…"
He nodded, and finally looked right at her for the first time since he’d asked his question. There was a warm light in his eyes, something that she’d seen in them before, but this time there was a hot, unguarded edge to the way he looked at her, something deep and smoldering. “I never made a move, because I knew about…about what happened, with your fiancé. I overheard something at Cecilia’s wedding, and eventually when I asked I got the whole story, and I got warned that you didn’t feel like dealing with relationships for a while, so. I knew that you weren’t interested So that was that. But this situation…” He took a deep breath. “It kind of complicates things.”
"Oh." Anna couldn’t think of anything else to say.
"I should go…get my things. I can catch the next train. And just the day after tomorrow your sister will come down, right? So you won’t be alone long. Will you be okay?"
"Fine," she said, a little blankly. "Fine, I’m fine, don’t worry about me."
She followed him back to the bed and breakfast, which was empty and quiet for the afternoon—all the other guests were out hiking, or exploring the kitschy shops. In their room, Kristoff went to pick up his bag, and as she watched him Anna suddenly snapped out of her daze. She closed the door behind her.
"Don’t. Don’t go because…because you think I’m not interested." He stared at her, open-mouthed. Anna bit her lip, then stepped forward to run her fingers up his arm lightly. "Don’t go."
"So…you are? Interested? Me? I mean, in me? I mean—"
She grinned at him. “Yeah. I mean…well, yeah. If this feeling I get in my stomach when you smile means interested, then definitely.” A slow grin spread across his face, and Anna felt her stomach flutter.
”What sort of feeling?” he asked.
"Like a hundred butterflies," Anna said softly.
He stepped closer to her. His hand reached out to brush down her shoulder delicately. “Are you feeling it right now?” She nodded, and his hand slid down to her waist, thumb stroking the side of her stomach. “And now?”
"A hundred more butterflies," she murmured. "Like…like something’s twisting up in a knot but…in a good way."
He leaned over her, his other hand coming up to cup her cheek gently, but Anna felt impatient. She lifted on her toes and pressed her lips to his. Kristoff let out a faint grunt of surprise, then she felt him smile against her, felt the hand on her waist running slowly up her back to rest between her shoulder blades, gently pressing her closer. The smile melted into warm, parted lips that tugged at hers. His tongue brushed delicately against her as if asking for permission and Anna hummed with approval. The knot in her stomach was an aching throb of longing that the stroke of his tongue did nothing to sooth. Everything about him, his taste, his smell, his touch, only made the knot tighten.
Anna ran her hands over his chest, his arms, slid them up to tangle in his hair. Finally. The thought startled her so much that she pulled back a little, breaking away from that burning kiss. She stared up into his face. Her breathing was ragged, she felt flushed and tingly from head to toe, and a part of her deep inside was definitely punching the air and whooping. Kristoff’s thumb stroked her cheek hesitantly.
"Are you okay? I’m sorry, Anna—"
The sound of her name on his lips, his voice just as rough and breathless as she felt. That was all it took. Anna smiled up at him, her fingers leaving his hair to brush over his lips, slipping down to grip his collar.
"I’m okay," she said. "I just—I didn’t realize how much I wanted this. How long I’ve wanted this. You." She leaned up to kiss the corner of his mouth. "I should have known," she murmured, lips brushing against his cheek.
"Because of the butterflies?"
"Because it’s so much more than butterflies. It’s…I want you so much it hurts.”
His hand slid up her neck, fingers digging into her hair, using it to gently turn her head so that he could take her lips in a deep, scorching kiss. “Do you want me to do something about it?” he asked, his breath brushing over her cheek.
“Yes. Kris—please, yes.”
Anna melted into him as he kissed her, moaning into his mouth as his hands stroked firmly down her back, pressing her flush against his hard body. She was shaking. He hadn’t done more than kiss her, but his arms were the only thing holding her up as he shifted to brush his lips over her jaw, down her neck, pausing to tug gently at the skin over her collarbone, tongue flicking out to taste her. Anna clung to his shoulders and sighed, her head lolling back, and Kristoff groaned roughly, taking advantage of her exposed throat. One broad, warm hand slid around her waist, slipping under the hem of her shirt and up her ribs, and Anna whimpered as it paused just below the swell of her breast. She squirmed against him, felt him shudder as she ground against the hard outline that had made such an impression on her that morning.
"Anna—tell me how far you want this to go," he said. He bit down another groan and nipped at her shoulder lightly. "Anna.”
"Everything," she managed to say. "I want everything. I need it.” Her fingers fisted in his hair, pulling him back to kiss her. “It aches,” she murmured. “Make it stop. Please.”
He pulled back to look at her, eyes dark, breath ragged, and then he scooped her up off of her feet, stumbled over his abandoned bag and tumbled them both onto the bed. Anna’s burst of laughter dissolved into moans as Kristoff knelt over her, tugging up her shirt to expose her stomach and peppering the soft, pale skin with kisses. His tongue circled her bellybutton, dragged down to trace the edge of her waistband. “Where does it ache? Here?”
"Mmm. Lower," she whispered, eyes slipping shut. There was the pop of a button, the slow slide of a zipper, and then Kristoff’s warm mouth pressing soft, sucking kisses down her lower belly. He hooked one finger in the band of her panties and tugged them down so that he could touch his lips to the vulnerable skin just above her dark red curls. Anna whined low in her throat. "Please…"
His hands slid down her hips and thighs, shoving down jeans and underwear together, then he swore under his breath as they caught on her shoes. Anna bit back a giggle as he fumbled with the laces of her boots. She propped herself up on her elbows, grinning as he finally yanking off one offending boot and started on the laces of the other. Her grin turned naughty. Kristoff hissed softly as her bared foot rubbed over the hard ridge that strained the front of his jeans, his hand tightening reflexively on her ankle.
"Do you ache too?" she asked. She felt as breathless as if she’d just finished a hard climb, and she stopped breathing altogether for a second when he lifted dark, burning eyes to look at her. For answer he tugged off her second boot and sent her jeans and panties after it. Rough, calloused hands smoothed up her legs, caught behind her knees to tug her toward him, bringing her close. Her thighs open and draped around his hips, Anna shuddered as he stroked up to her waist, up her ribs, finally slipping under her shirt to cup her breasts. He squeezed gently, thumbs rubbing over her nipples through the thin material of her bra. Suddenly impatient, Anna clawed at his shirt, tugging it up and off of him even though it meant that he had to take his hands off of her for a moment.
"Oh," she said softly, staring up at his golden skin, at the breadth of his shoulders, the sloping, sculpted lines of his muscles. He didn’t give her long to stare before he was bending over her again, kissing her, moving down to run his tongue along the edge of her bra, sucking at her through the fabric. One of his hands slid down to stroke firmly between her legs and she bucked against him, gasping. "Please.”
Kristoff leaned back again, fumbling in his back pocket for his wallet and fishing out a foil wrapped packet. Anna sat up so that she could reach his waistband, unbuttoning his jeans and shoving them down to free his cock. It was every bit as impressive as it had felt through his clothes, and she stroked a hand over it, feeling it pulse in her grip. His moan was extremely gratifying. Kristoff managed to kick off his boots and shed his jeans, and then he was catching her by the waist to move her up the bed, kneeling between her thighs. Foil tore and was tossed aside, and he looked down into her eyes.
"Is this where it aches?" he asked, nudging against her. She nodded and pulled at him with her legs. He slid into her, slowly and steadily filling her. Anna’s head pressed back into the mattress, her eyes fluttering shut as he began to rock against her, deep strokes that made tingling bursts of sensation roll through her body. Her hips lifted greedily to meet him. The bite of her nails on his shoulders only encouraged him to caress her breast again, to rub his thumb in rough circles over her clit, and Anna’s low whimpers became a cry as her whole body seemed to sing. Her back arched and she gripped his arms as she shuddered and bucked under him, the knot that had twisted tight inside her suddenly snapping and flooding her with sweet release. Kristoff murmured approvingly, gripping her hips and thrusting hard, driving her back up to the peak again until she shrieked, drowning out his harsh groan as his own climax hit.
They lay panting, twisted together. His lips found the sensitive spot behind her ear. “Does that feel better?”
"Mmm." Anna stroked her fingers into his hair and kissed him. "Much better."