If you’re still doing the prompts I have oneeeee hehe
" i mean... i-i'm cool with sharing the bed if you are. "
you got it baby 🥰
but i know something’s starting right now
It’s a sweltering Ravkan summer day, but nothing brings heat to her body like watching Mal in the pool, water droplets racing down his chest. His shaggy hair is a mop on his head, and she realizes this is what he must look like in the shower.
This is exactly why she didn’t want to bring him on the trip.
It’s the first week of July, and for the past three years, that’s meant a trip to the Os Alta Resort with Genya and Zoya. It’s a way for them to relax after exams and catch up now that they all attend different schools. But at the end of May, the two of them had FaceTimed her about a change for this year.
“We were thinking of taking the boys with,” Genya says gently, nervous for her reaction.
Zoya is frank as ever. “It’s cheaper that way. Besides, after all this long distance, I could use a week of uninterrupted fuc—”
“Relax, Starkov. We’re all adults here.”
“Anyway,” Genya cuts in. “We’re just telling you in case you wanted to bring someone, too. Maybe Mal?”
“Mal and I aren’t dating.”
Only in her dreams.
“Might as well be,” Zoya mutters.
So in the choice between bringing Mal on what has basically turned into a couple’s retreat and going to said couple’s retreat alone, she’s chosen the former. It would be fine. Mal knows her friends. Him and Nikolai like to talk sports. Maybe it’ll be a little weird, being the only non-couple, but they could deal.
It would have been fine, if it weren’t for this morning’s check in.
"So it looks like we have you booked for three single rooms," the concierge says.
Alina frowns. "One of those should be a double."
The concierge checks again, each click of his mouse making her anxiety rise. He frowns. "Sorry, miss. It's showing me all singles."
"It's fine," Mal says. "Could we just upgrade it to a double, then?"
"Er, I'm afraid we're all booked, sir."
Nikolai claps his hands together, cheerful as ever at Zoya's side. "Well, I'll just switch with Alina, and Mal and I can — shit, Zoy!"
Zoya had stomped on his foot.
"We are not switching shit," she hisses under her breath.
Nikolai sighs. "My deadly dearest, certainly it's no big deal—"
"I bought us a new toy for this trip. We are not switching."
There is a brief moment where everyone freezes, then Genya groans, shaking her head as she murmurs apologies to the concierge, who is trying hard to pretend he hasn’t heard a thing. The tips of Mal's ears go red, and Alina is sure hers match. David, lost in his audiobook, is oblivious to all of it.
Nikolai clears his throat and turns to the two of them with a sheepish grin. "Sorry, mate. You're on your own."
The concierge slowly raises a finger and says, "We might be able to supply a cot?"
Alina can feel everyone's eyes on her, which is the last thing she ever wants. She has the strong desire to curl in on herself, but that only really works in the winter when she dons large coats and sweaters. But it’s summer, and she is in only a mustard yellow crop top and jean shorts, though she suddenly feels as exposed as if she were completely naked.
Mal takes one look at her and gently nudges his foot against hers. "I mean . . . I'm cool with sharing the bed if you are?"
Her brain is looking for anyway out of this whole conversation, so she nods.
So far, they have been in their room once to drop off their things and change into bathing suits, both of them dancing around the bed without ever touching it. The air in the room feels charged even with sunlight still pouring in. What would tonight be like?
More importantly, how was she supposed to handle sleeping beside him when she can’t even handle watching him in the pool?
Genya climbs on Mal’s shoulders for a game of chicken — David is, unsurprisingly, not in the pool, but sitting beside Alina on a lounge chair. She feels a pang of something like jealousy as she watches the game commence, which cannot be more ridiculous.
They can’t avoid the night forever, and it comes much too quickly despite how long they spend mingling at the resort bar. In their room, Mal lets Alina use the bathroom first. A kind offer, she thinks, until she realizes it leaves her to stake out a spot on the bed first. No more dancing.
Left side or right? Does Mal have a preference? Does she? How long until Mal finishes in the bathroom and comes out to see her staring at the bed like a mental person?
Right side, she chooses finally. She curls up on the left side of her body usually, so this way, she doesn’t have to face him as they sleep. Good call. As she untucks the covers from the bed, she secretly hopes to find something horrifying, like blood or bugs, so they can get a refund and leave. Sadly, it is a perfectly fine bed. Alina plops onto it and tucks herself in.
Mal finishes in the bathroom a few minutes later, and if he’s as rattled about their sleeping arrangement as she is, he does not show it. There’s plenty of space between them as he settles into bed. Maybe this won’t be as bad as she feared.
“Well, goodnight,” Mal says through a yawn.
“Goodnight,” Alina replies.
They each turn off their bedside lamps. Mal is softly snoring soon after, but Alina stays awake much too long for her liking, thinking of how close he is.
They fall into a similar routine for the next couple nights. During the day, all is fine. Their little group meshes well. Genya and Nikolai are often off together, both of them on a mission, it seems, to try every flavor of ice cream from Os Alta's ice cream bar. Or sometimes it’s Nikolai and Mal running off, joining a game of pool volleyball, both of them stupidly competitive. When Zoya gets annoyed with the overload of children at the waterpark, she joins David on one of the lounge chairs to read for a while — Zoya a smutty historical romance and David a nonfiction on modern space travel. We just shouldn't let Jeff Bezos come back, he argues to Genya later, while Zoya murmurs to Nikolai something she wants him to do to her that night.
Alina thanks the saints her room isn’t next to Zoya’s.
The trip is going so smoothly that she doesn’t realize what trouble Sunday brings with it. It’s always their favorite part of the trip: bottomless margarita night. They all have absolutely horrific, hilarious pictures and videos of themselves from the past three years thanks to bottomless margarita night at Os Alta. But the thought of being drunk like that while she’s sharing a bed with Mal?
Okay, so she just won’t drink tonight. Problem solved.
“You can’t not drink!” Zoya says, personally offended.
“Come on, it’s tradition!” Genya agrees.
But she’s determined to hold out. Only when she sees the others with their drinks, she decides one sip won’t hurt. One sip becomes one drink, and one drink becomes a couple. Soon enough, she’s drunk enough to sign herself up for karaoke, another Os Alta tradition.
“I dunno what I should siiiing,” she slurs, swaying lightly on her feet.
“I have the perfect song for you!” Genya cheers excitedly.
So that’s how she ends up on stage, drunk off her ass, horridly singing Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. She really gets into it, jumping and nailing the talking parts a little too well. But she can hear Genya and Zoya screaming the lyrics along with her, and it only encourages her.
Genya records a Snapchat of her performance, snickering to Mal and David about how she’s going to accidentally send it to the asshole Alina dated last year who’s still entirely too obsessed with her.
Nikolai is the only one of the boys drunk enough to sign up, taking the stage after Alina to perform a disgustingly off-key version of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. They all agree that Freddie Mercury is rolling in his grave.
By the end of the night, the four of them are totally wasted. David, who had spent the night nursing one drink, his focus on getting Genya her drinks and ensuring that she didn’t trip over herself, has to help the aforementioned redhead up to their room. Nikolai and Zoya are a sight, both wickedly drunk, trying to help each other stay upright. Mal had only downed a couple drinks and is mostly sober, which Alina is very thankful for, as she can’t hold herself up to save her life. She nearly trips on absolutely nothing so many times that Mal finally scoops her into his arms, carrying her the rest of the way to the room. Alina giggles the whole way.
There’s no getting ready for bed that night. Mal sets her on the bed, and she resigns to sleeping in her red summer dress. When Mal joins her after having a shower, drunk Alina has no qualms curling up against him and sniffing him.
“Mm, you smell good,” she hums.
Mal chuckles even as he tenses. Alina has her arm around him and her face pressed into his side. He’s not sure he can breathe. She’s too drunk to notice the blush on his face.
“That’s probably just because you smell like alcohol,” he hedges.
Alina giggles and shakes her head. “No, you always smell good.”
He doesn’t know what to do with this information, but he does a lot of thinking instead of sleeping as Alina passes out next to him.
Monday morning brings with it a pounding headache for Alina. She prepares for the bright sunlight streaming through the window, but the room is dark when she opens her eyes. Mal isn’t beside her, but he left aspirin and a glass of water on the nightstand in addition to pulling out the blackout curtains. She falls in love with him a little bit more.
The day is a quiet one. The girls and Nikolai spend their time at the spa, Mal and David off doing saints know what. She gets the best massage of her life, and while her head still aches despite the pain pill, seeing Nikolai get his toenails painted bright red makes every sip she had last night worth it.
When they’re in the room again after dinner, tucking themselves into bed, Mal says, “You told me I smell good last night.”
Alina pauses. “I did?”
The night comes back to her. She totally told him he smelled good, and she had closed the space between them on the bed, curling up right next to him. She remembers all of it, suddenly and painfully.
“Oh, saints. Mal, I’m so sorry. I didn’t . . . I shouldn’t have—”
He cuts her off. “It’s okay, ‘Lina. You don’t have to apologize.”
Mal smiles an amused smile and leans over, tucking a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “No, you don’t. Not you. Never you.”
Alina is almost positive she can hear her heart pounding as Mal reaches for something tucked in the drawer of his nightstand.
“For you,” he says, handing her a long rectangular box. “Saw it today when I was out with David and I just— I thought of you.”
She can’t even process the image of Mal and David out shopping together, needing to open this damn box. With shaky fingers, she lifts the lid. Waiting for her inside is a dainty necklace with a gorgeous gold sun charm.
“Oh,” she says softly.
Mal blushes, and this time, Alina notices. “Do you like it?” he asks. “I just thought of you singing last night when I saw it. You’re so bright, Alina. All the time. Just like the sun.”
She has no idea what this confession means, or how she earned it from drunkenly telling him how good he smells — which his really quite good — but her heart has kicked into overdrive. She isn’t sure what, or how, but she knows something’s starting right now.
“I love it, Mal.” She turns so her back is facing him and hands over the necklace. “Will you help me put it on?”
He wraps the chain around her neck. The sun rests perfectly against her heart. She notices every little brush of his fingers against the back of her neck as Mal works the clasp.
When the necklace is secure, they both lay back down, noticeably closer this time. Not as close as last night, but close enough that their arms occasionally brush, close enough that she’ll end up kicking him during the night. Alina sleeps on her right side.
Their trip might be ending tomorrow, but something better was beginning tonight.
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