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“You know you can’t take it back,” Emil said, putting on his best serious face.  Michele couldn’t just address himself as his boyfriend and then change his mind when he got embarrassed later.  Emil wouldn’t be able to take it.  But, to his surprise, Michele didn’t blush or pout.  He just smiled, reaching up and tugging on the end of Emil’s short beard.

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Barbacchiotto.” He released him and walked into the hotel room.  Emil stared dumbly after him before snapping out of it and following him inside, shutting the door behind them.

Emil stood there awkwardly for a moment, unsure what to do.  He knew what he wanted to do, but he wasn’t sure how Michele felt about it.  Their kiss the night before – and the several that followed – had been unplanned, a spontaneous touching of their lips after Emil had accidentally blurted out his feelings.

No, that wasn’t right.  Michele had kissed him.  He’d cradled Emil’s face and gently pressed their lips together.  He’d even deepened the kiss, his hot tongue sensuously moving against Emil’s as if trying to melt him from the inside out.

Michele was really good at kissing – not that Emil had anyone else with whom to compare him.

Suddenly he felt unbelievably inexperienced.  Sure, he’d kissed back, but then Michele fell asleep.  The late hour and the alcohol were probably to blame, but there were still a lot of questions left unanswered.

Now, without inebriation or sleepiness as a catalyst, he didn’t know how to proceed.  He just simply watched as Michele bent down to unlace his leather shoes, the pair of pants he’d borrowed from Emil clinging tightly to his backside and causing that delicious twisty feeling to settle in Emil’s gut again.

But what was he supposed to do?

“You know, you can stop staring any time.” Michele’s voice broke him from his thoughts, the tan man suddenly gazing up at him with amused violet eyes.  But there was a blush high on Michele’s cheeks that kept Emil from feeling completely embarrassed.

“Sorry about that.” Emil rubbed the back of his neck, which had started to feel hot and itchy.

“I mean,” Michele began, standing back up. “You can look if you want.” His blush darkened as he averted his gaze

Now was his chance.  With the stress and weight of meeting Sara’s fiancé off of the other man’s shoulders, Emil could finally focus on them and really talk about their relationship.  He took a deep breath and steeled himself.

“About last night-” but he paused, blinking.  It took him a moment to realize that both he and Michele had said it at the exact same time.

“Sorry, go ahead,” Michele offered, his tan cheeks still tinted pink.

“No, you first,” Emil insisted, since he honestly wasn’t sure how to begin anyway.

“Okay.” The other man cleared his throat and looked him straight in the eye. “You weren’t kidding, right?”

Emil pursed his lips, searching the other’s face for a tell.  Something that would hint at what he was talking about. “Uh…”

“About loving me?” Michele chewed on his lower lip. “You weren’t just saying it to make me feel better, right?”  He looked so vulnerable right then.  It made Emil want to close the distance between them, hold him close, and kiss the furrow in his brow until all the tension and uneasiness left his body.

But, instead, Emil frowned. “You’re doubting me?” The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.

“No, I’m not, I just.” Michele sighed. “I never realized and all I’ve been doing lately is coming to you and complaining about Sara and-” He swallowed. “It was a lot to take in and I was afraid that you just felt sorry for me.”

Now Emil closed the distance between them, pulling Michele into a tight hug.  He pressed their cheeks together and kissed the other’s temple.

“I’ve been in love with you for longer than I’d care to admit,” Emil breathed, trying to ignore the way his heart fluttered when Michele trembled in his hold. “I’m not the kind of guy who just says things when it’s convenient,” he promised. “I hadn’t planned on telling you last night or ever, actually, but I’m really glad I did.”

“Me, too,” Michele said, finally returning the hug. “I’ve just…never done this before.”

“And you were under the impression that I’m some sort of Casanova?” Emil laughed.


“Though, that might fit you better, since you’re Italian and all-”

Emil,” he growled in annoyance.

“Right, sorry.” He pulled back and touched their foreheads together. “We’re both pretty useless at this, huh?”

Sul serio,” Michele replied, rolling his eyes.

“You know, I’m going to start carrying an electronic dictionary around with me,” Emil threatened playfully. “Cuz I know what you’re saying can’t be as sexy as it sounds.”

Michele broke out of his hold, face bright red.

“What?” Emil cocked his head to the side.

“You think…I’m sexy?”

“Uh, well.” His own cheeks heated up. “Yeah, I mean…you are, so…” He licked his lips nervously. “What about you?”

“Do I think I’m sexy?” Michele asked, quirking a brow.

“No.” Emil snorted. “Do you, um…do you think I’m sexy?” The moment he said it, his face felt like it had burst into flames.  He wanted to take it back.  It was too embarrassing.  He covered his burning face with his hands.

“Hey.” Michele’s voice was soft, gentle. “Don’t hide.”

Emil didn’t respond.  He just squeezed his eyes shut tighter.  He should have asked about the kiss.  He wasn’t sexy.  That was Chris and Yuuri’s thing.  And Michele’s, of course, even if he didn’t exude it on the ice.

Se hai bisogno di sentirlo a parole,” Michele’s lips were suddenly right by his ear, his warm hands around Emil's wrists. “Penso che tu sia incredibilmente attraente.”

“I was serious about that dictionary.” Emil lowered his hands and frowned. “You can’t get away with only saying it in Italian, you know.”

“You’re right.” He brushed a hand through Emil’s hair and then lowered it to tug on his beard. “I think you’re very sexy, Barbacchiotto,” he said and Emil felt warmth bubble up in his chest when Michele said his nickname again.

“It’s the beard, isn’t it?” Emil asked, feeling braver. “Makes me irresistible, right?”

Michele rolled his eyes and shook his head, but smiled. “Something like that.”

“I knew it!” He took Michele’s hand and laced their fingers. “And I really do love you.”

“Yeah.” Michele brought their joined hands up, brushing his lips against Emil’s knuckles. “E ti amo.”

Ugh, Italian again.  Even though the words rolled off his tongue, dripping with sensuality, Emil still wanted to hear it in a language in which he was fluent.  “Mickey…”

“Fine, fine,” he said. “I love you, too.” He cupped Emil’s cheek with his other hand and pressed their lips together.  The kiss was short.  Far shorter than Emil had anticipated and it left him wanting more.  But then Michele spoke. “Emil?”

“Mmm?” He opened his eyes, not realizing he’d closed them.

“Do you think we could continue from where we left off last night?” Michele asked, his bright pink face starkly contrasting with the white shirt he was wearing.  Emil’s shirt.

Božíčku!” Emil exclaimed, pressing his hands to his cheeks dramatically. “Who’s the Casanova now?” he teased.

“I-” Michele opened his mouth and then closed it, his violet eyes bulging out comically. “I just meant kissing!” he blurted, his face taking on shades that couldn’t be good for his blood pressure.

Emil snickered and stepped closer, taking Michele’s hand in his again. “I’d like that.”