Hey Maksyl fam! By popular demand, here is the second chapter to my AU fic, “Time at the Studio”! ((Also, you get to meet another familiar face in this installment! Get excited!))
I’m so thankful for the amazing responses I’ve been getting about the first chapter. I really really hope you enjoy this one as much as you liked the first one! As always, feedback is appreciated so much. Thank you for being so amazing in your responses so far!
You can read the first chapter here if you haven’t read it already!
Three days had passed. She was riding her bicycle down her street the next time she ran into the Chmerkovskiy brothers.
Yes, she literally ran into them.
Or at least, she ran into Maks. Val jumped out of the way at the last possible minute, but Maks wound up flat on the concrete from the force of her bicycle’s wheels.
It wasn’t her proudest moment.
“Oh my gosh, are you okay?” Meryl hopped off her silver bicycle and tried to shove it off of the injured boy.
“Nice. Catching Maks off-guard is a feat,” Val quipped in lieu of greeting.
Maks just let out a long string of swears in his native language.
Meryl could understand a lot of the words he was saying—her intense study of Ukrainian the previous two days had really helped her.
She had always had an aptitude for picking up languages quickly. Ukrainian had been no exception. She wasn’t fluent; two days was definitely no span of time to become fluent in any language, but she understood the basics.
Meryl felt terrible for hurting Maks.
“You know, if you didn’t want me around, you could’ve just told me,” he gritted out a weak attempt at humor.
Meryl, despite knowing he was just kidding, apologized profusely.
“No, no! I wanted to see both of you again! I was actually on my way to see if you wanted to hang out… Frick, I’m so sorry!”
Val began laughing at her use of the word “frick,” but Meryl shot him a glare.
Val shut up immediately under the massive weight of the tiny girl’s gaze.
“Я казав тобі, братан, вона знає, як поводитися з вас і вашу безумство,” Maks muttered, obviously, to his brother.
I told you, bro, she knows how to handle you and your insanity.
Meryl felt flattered, and she would have loved to say ‘thank you’ in Ukrainian to freak him out, but she was curious to see what else they were saying when they thought she couldn’t understand them.
She ran a hand through her hair, still stressing out over the injured Ukrainian boy.
“Um, I’m sure my mom has bandages that I can get you,” she offered, appraising the bloody bruise on Maks’ leg.
“I’ll be fine,” Maks said, “it’s just a little cut.”
“A cut that I caused,” Meryl corrected, reaching out a hand for him to take.
Maks blinked, but accepted her hand anyway, tugging himself up off the concrete.
Meryl started to ask Maks if he wanted to use her as a brace to walk, but before she can finish her question, Val snorted.
“He can walk just fine, Mer. My idiot older brother is simply milking this injury.”
“Shut up, Val. Aren’t you, like, twelve?” Maks sniped, and Val laughed, clearly ready to retort with an equally-idiotic comeback.
Meryl decided to spare herself from finding out what that comeback was.
“Come on, we’re all going back to my house,” Meryl broke the boys out of their verbal battle and began walking.
They trailed behind her, Val wheeling the bicycle towards her house.
“I don’t know if I should go inside, Меріл. I don’t want your mom’s first impression of me to be ‘the bleeding boy in the kitchen’. I’ll just stay out here,” Maks’ voice piped up from behind her. She ignored it.
However, once they reached her front door, she turned around to the boys and replied to Maks’ comment.
“You’re both coming inside with me. My parents will love you both! You’ll charm them just as easily as you charmed me. Now, let’s go,” Meryl grinned.
She chose not to reply to the boys’ insistent “we charmed you?”-s.
“Mom, Dad,” Meryl called out once she opened the door.
From somewhere in the kitchen, her mother called back. “Hi sweetie! I thought you were going to go see if those two boys you’re friendly with were free. Were they not home?”
“Actually, they’re right here. I might have mowed one down while riding my bicycle over,” Meryl smiled as frantic footsteps sounded across the kitchen floor.
Meryl’s mom was suddenly standing in the kitchen doorway, wiping flour off her hands with a dishtowel.
Her eyes darted to Maks’ injury, and she cooed in the way only a mother can.
“Sweetie, come here so we can get you cleaned up!”
Maks obediently followed Meryl’s mom into the kitchen.
“It’s very nice to meet you boys, by the way! You can call me Cheryl, or Mrs. Davis. Whichever makes you feel comfortable,” her mother talked to the boys while searching the cabinets for a first aid kit.
“I’m sorry that this is such a terrible first introduction, Cheryl,” Maks said, managing to let out a loose chuckle. “I’m Maks. It’s really nice to meet you, ma’am.”
Cheryl found what she was looking for and turned back to the injured boy.
“You’re Maks!” She smiled radiantly at him, shooting Meryl a pleased glance. “I’ve heard a lot about you! And you,” she turned to Val, who had already pulled over a wooden chair from the island in the middle of Meryl’s kitchen, “you must be Val! You two made Meryl’s walk home so much fun the other night; her father and I got to hear all about it! I’ll give you both proper hugs once this cut is taken care of, I promise!”
Meryl watched as her mom fit the band-aid over Maks’ cut. Her heart ached a little at a pained mumble he couldn’t help but whimper out.
Meryl was mildly embarrassed at her mom’s gushing, but hey, it’s not like her mom was trying to embarrass her; she’s just a parent. They could all be that way sometimes.
Maks poked her shoulder from his seat next to Val.
“Меріл, you were talking to your parents about us?” Maks smirked.
Cue the blushing.
“Did you include my devilishly good looks in your description of me?” Val struck a cheesy pose.
Meryl laughed, finding Val’s insanity entirely endearing. “No, but I did mention your massive ego.”
This reply warranted a high-five from Maks.
It didn’t go unnoticed when Maks slipped his fingers through hers during their high-five, even if it lasted for just a fraction of a second, before pulling his hand away completely.
Her mind was racing.
She tried to clear her head.
Meryl noticed her mom idly standing by, watching the trio interact with a smile on her face.
“Mom, do you think we can go out now? I think there’s this cool new ice skating rink in town. Charlie—y’know, mom, Charlie White, from school—was telling me about it. He took his girlfriend Tanith there for their date last week and said it was awesome.”
“I didn’t realize Charlie was all shacked up,” Cheryl rose an eyebrow, clearly joking, but also the slightest bit intrigued, “Kids your age are dating nowadays?”
Meryl sighed. “Yeah, mom, but that’s not the point of the story. Can we go ice skating—”
Meryl registered the look of vague horror appear on Maks’ face at the prospect of ice skating right before he opened his mouth.
“With all due respect,” he interjected, “there’s no way I’m skating. The last time I fell on the ice, I needed stitches!”
“Come on, Maks, this time it’ll be different,” Meryl pleaded.
“Yeah, Maks, come on,” Val joined in.
“Do you enjoy antagonizing your brother?” Cheryl chuckled at Val’s attitude.
“Very much,” Maks confirmed with a roll of his eyes.
Meryl decided since her begging wasn’t working, it was time to break out the puppy-eyes.
“Please, Maks,” her tone changed to syrupy sweet immediately.
The very insant he glanced up at her, presumably to deny her request again, she proceeded to do her best puppydog eyes.
“Меріл,” he began, but she frowned and so he stopped talking at once.
“Maks, it’ll be fun!” She tried.
“I doubt tha—” he began, but she cut him off immediately.
“You won’t fall; Val and I will protect you! Promise.”
Maks’ expression changed a few times, from annoyance to fear to something a bit softer.
“It’d make me really happy,” she continued.
At that, his expression finally settled into one of grim acceptance.
“Fine. Let’s go ice skating.”
Meryl and Val whooped loudly, cheering.
Cheryl offered to drive them. The teens accepted.
The drive to the rink was uneventful, other than some Sam Smith song playing on the radio which Meryl immediately fell in love with.
“You lift my heart up/
when the rest of me is down/
You, you enchant me/
Even when I’m not around…”
“This song is so cute,” she squealed happily, while Val pretended to gag.
Maks just watched her, an amused expression on his face as she tried to learn the words to the chorus.
Right when the trio entered the rink, Charlie White greeted her.
He was there again, that time with some friends of his.
“Hi, Charlie!” She beamed back.
“What’s up?” He questioned, curiously eyeing her two companions.
“These awesome guys and I are going skating! Charlie White, I’d like you to meet Maksim and Valentin Chmerkovskiy.”
Charlie laughed at her grand introduction, but he made sure to let the boys know he wasn’t laughing at them.
“You really have a way with dramatic introductions, Meryl. Hi, Maksim and Valentin! It’s cool to meet you guys.” Charlie smiled, and Val shook Charlie’s hand. Maks followed suit a moment later.
“You can call us Maks and Val, bro,” Val chuckled, still shaking his head at Meryl’s introduction of them.
“Will do! Do you guys want to come skating with us?” Charlie offered, motioning to his group of friends skating around the rink.
“I think we’ll need a rain check on that one. Maks here is a beginner,” Meryl poked the side of Maks’ stomach, and he scowled at her.
This, of course, caused Charlie to laugh again.
He’s such a happy kid, Meryl thought. She liked Charlie. She could definitely see them becoming good friends in the future.
“Have fun, Maks! It’s fun once you get the hang of it. I should probably go rejoin the guys then…Oh, before I go, are we still on for that trial lesson on Thursday?” Charlie questioned, quirking an eyebrow at her.
“Yeah, I got it cleared with my parents. Let’s give it a go,” Meryl cheered. She high-fived the blonde boy, then promptly said her goodbye.
“Trial lesson?” Maks tried to keep his voice plain, but Meryl could sense the curiosity in his tone.
“Yeah, Charlie saw this flyer for ice dancing lessons on the rink’s front door. He thought it would be cool to try them out. He knew I danced, and since it is ice dancing, after all, he thought I would like it. He asked me to try them with him.” Meryl explained.
“I didn’t know you were that into ice skating,” Val wondered aloud, and Meryl thought about how to reply for a moment.
“It’s a lot different from dance, but ice skating is really fun. I think ice dancing could be a cool combination of the two, maybe, but I have to try it first,” she finally answered.
“You said he has a girlfriend, right?” Maks questioned, and Meryl tried to suppress a grin.
“Yeah, and she really loves ice dancing. She thinks we’d like it, too. Like, Tanith and I are friends, and that’s another reason he thought of having me do it with him in the first place. He knows nothing’s gonna happen with us,” Meryl explained.
She swore she could hear him mutter “good,” but before she couod ask him to repeat himself, Val interrupted.
“Can we go get our skates now? Let’s do this, guys!”