Touch the Nerve || Chapter 9. Wrennie Wakes Up

Chapter 8Wrennie Calls Sick (1)

Still frozen in your gridlock, you are silently praying for your phone to ring. That would dispel the tension and give you something to do. But no luck! He is shamelessly ogling you, and then his eyes are sliding down your back. It feels as if someone is pouring molten wax on your skin. His eyes are caressing the shoulder blades, the curve of the waist and then his brow cocks up. Fuck, the knickers. The dress was comfy, nothing gauzy, so you went for cotton bikinis. With Tweety Birds.

The ever so curled-up corner of his lips twitches and crawls up. You lick your lips and make up your mind. You are not fifteen, and that’s not the first bloke in your bed. Why would you be nervous, right? Whom are you bloody kidding, your hands are shaking… You lift your bum, bend your back, press your palms on the other side of the bed, across his body, and slowly get up on all four over him. He exhales sharply. In a fluid motion you shift your weight on your legs, and you are kneeling above him, shoulders straight and chin up. It’s your turn to lift a brow.

For a second he is staring at your breasts, and then pounces, pushing you into your sheets. His hands are on your shoulders, and he locks his lips on your mouth. Oh you needed this! He is greedy, skillful, and soon you are opening your mouth for his tongue. It doesn’t disappoint. Fuck, you are already wet! He suddenly sits up pulling you with him, and you are straddling him, your legs around his waist. He buries his hands into your hair and slows down.

He switches to small gentle kisses, your jaw, your neck, your shoulders.

“Wren…” He is murmuring your name into your skin, and you drop your head back. “Wren, I can’t…”

Sure, Phil, whatever you want… Wait, what?! You straighten up, his hands are on your back, and his mouth is pressed into your right shoulder. He is not moving.

“What?” Of course he can. The evidence is pressed into your drenched Tweeties.

“I can’t…” Are you kidding me? “I mean physically I can, but it will just cock everything up…”

Oh no, don’t tell me, now he’s planning to save your friendship! You are considering two options: getting off him and smashing his head with a lamp. Or getting off him and jumping out of the bloody window. You can always do both: lamp, then window. You start shaking. Not your month, Wren, not your month.

He is gently rubbing your shoulder blades. Bloody fuck, how many times have you been rejected in the past forty days?! He looks at you guiltily.

“Wren. I fancy you.”


“Sorry, I think I’m hearing things. I just heard you saying you fancy me.”

He actually pushes you off his lap and moves to the edge of the bed. You grab the duvet and cover up. His uncle’s ‘Miss Leary’ might have been easier to digest. Oh just don’t fucking go there, Wren, not right now… He nods and stares at his hands.

“But you can’t sleep with me?” you ask confused.

“Oh I can,” he murmurs and rubs his face with his palms. “But I don’t want to. I’ve never done it with someone… I care about. It’s not just a shag, don’t you get it?” He looks genuinely upset and a bit peevish. What the fuck is going on with your sex life these days?!

“I’m really not sure what to say here.” Mumble, mumble, Wren is a wonderful conversation companion.

“What can you say? Yeah, you fancy me too, cue rainbows and fucking unicorns. Or you are sorry, but you don’t see me that way. The second is more common. I’ve said it myself hundreds of times.”

“Not exactly the right time to mention this, don’t you think?” You sound grumpy.

“Should I pretend to be a blushing virgin? Some go for it. But I don’t think that’ll work on you.” Yuck, no. Too much emotions. What are you bloody talking about?! You have an eternal playboy going all gooey and mushy on you and spilling his heart to you on your bed… Hell with it all!

“Since when?”

“Since from the start. Bollocks, Wren, just in or out, alright?”

“Huh?” Very eloquent, dimwit.

“I am willing to try. With you.” He is giving you an earnest look, but then of course slips. “I am all for new positions.” Never without an innuendo, are we, Philip?

“Try what?”

“Dating. Commitment, candles, sunsets, all this shite.”

How romantic! Oh bugger, did you say it out loud? You don’t even like romantic stuff. He picks up your hands.

“Wren…” He is starting in a low sensual voice but can’t keep a straight face, and you both start chuckling.

“Where is this coming from, Phil?” you ask sincerely and look in his eyes.

He is rubbing your knuckles with his thumb and draws eights on your skin. Please, tell me he didn’t observe his uncle doing it. Feels fucking familiar. You jerk your hands out.

“Common, Wren, let’s do it.” His voice can also be raspy and seductive when needed. “It’s going to be a great new adventure.” He pulls you closer, still in a cocoon of blankets, and tilts his head. He is smiling slightly and gives you a cheeky look. “And then me and Tweety are going to have a talk.”

Oh, bollocks.


You are actually very proud of yourself. You don’t jump his bones right there, right then. Maybe you have smartened up in the last few weeks.

“I don’t know, Phil… I… Can I think about it?” It sounds stupid, but at least you are honest.

“Sure thing.” He is carefully pulling at a corner of your duvet. “Don’t mind me, I’ll do some bird watching meanwhile.” He already unwrapped your shoulder and places a scorching fluttering kisses on it.

Oh fuck.

“I’m serious, Phil. It’s not quite my game…” His lips are on your clavicle, and you literally swoon. The room sways, and you grab his shoulders. “And I think I’m going to be sick again.”

That stops him. To his credit, he doesn’t jump away.

“Do you need me to help you to the bathroom?” He sounds genuinely concerned. Fuck.

“No. I’ll manage.”

You scurry off the bed and rush to the bathroom. On your way you pass Thea, who is innocently sipping her tea in the kitchenette.

“Don’t you even fucking start!” you hiss at her and disappear behind the bathroom door. You hear her laugh on the other side.

You splash some cold water on your face and wrap yourself in a robe. It is short and silky, with lacy top and deep cuts on your hips. Shoot, that definitely sends a wrong message. You pull the belt tight. At least you are covered. You brush your teeth, and while your hand is moving frantically, you are thinking. Bugger, bugger, bugger!

The problem is you don’t have an answer. You just don’t know. Do you want it? Do you want him enough? Is it just you being randy and wanting someone to care for you? Especially after… No, Wren, stop it, we bloody agreed not to go there… These are two separate things. But they are not! Somehow, weirdly, it is all connected.

Then you freeze with your toothbrush still deep in your mouth. If you start anything with Phil and at some point, somehow he finds out… Then your past is not going to be some faceless jerks. Wait, but they are not all faceless! There is Killian… He just said ‘from the start.’ If he fancied you, how come he encouraged his brother to date you?

And then last but not the least, you know his past too. And as hypocritical as it is, do you want a bloke who slept with the whole uni? And you might be shallow, but do you want to walk through the halls with him and everyone will think you are just the next one daft enough to go there? Maybe you are just the next one, maybe that’s a page from his usual playbook… Fuck…

You press your forehead into the mirror and spit the foam. A knock comes from the door.

“You alright, love?” he asks. No, you are most definitely not.

“Yeah, just brushing my teeth. I’ll be out in a mo.”

You hear Thea’s voice too. “I’m leaving for my lectures. Have fun and do everything I would!” Guh…

The front door bangs, and it’s time to face the firing squad. You step out, but then you hear your phone ringing in the bedroom. Phil is propped on Thea’s chair, chewing a biscuit. Seriously, he has an oral fixation. He’s always either chewing, or sucking on a sweet, or… No, none of those mental images.

You rush by him and pick up the phone. It’s some marketing shite, but it gives you a moment to pull a long sweater over your robe. You hear rustling behind you, you turn and see him leaning on the door frame. You hang up and sit.

“I have a class in twenty minutes.”

“You are going? You are sick as a dog!” You give him a stare. He amends, “A silky, adorable, chow puppy?” He lifts his hands in mock surrender.

“It’s Perkins,” you deadpan.

“Yeah, you need to go.” No one skips Perkins.

You get up and give him a pointed look. “I need to get dressed.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Get out of my bedroom, berk.” You are giddy. Oh stop it, Wren. He smirks but leaves, and you hear his voice from the kitchenette.

“I’ll pick you up after the lecture. You should get a nosh after.” Really, he is worse than Thea in the innuendo department!

“I have three labs after. Pub at 7?”

“Are you going to stand me up again?” You come out and see him finishing an apple. Oh, the lips and the white teeth…


You come and slide your arms around his waist. He stops chewing and looks down at your. He is only maybe seven inches taller than you but it is actually an excellent height difference. You rub your nose into his short beard.

“I’m not.”

He tastes like apple.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 8. Wrennie Calls Sick

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You never actually get to proper crying. By the time you finally get on the bus, the tears are gone. Every bloody muscle in your body hurts, but you aren’t crying. You’re telling yourself you’ll get home, crawl under the duvet, and then you will think, and feel sorry for yourself, and analyze and analyze what just happened, and how your life turned into this pile of shite. You come back to the dorm, peel off your dress and bra, and in nothing but knickers you curl into a tight ball in your sheets.

The thoughts do not come though, and you don’t notice how you fall asleep. You wake up with your heart beating painfully and irregularly, and look at your phone. It’s 6.40. Shite! Phil!

You agonize for a few minutes. He certainly won’t believe if you suddenly come up with some half arse excuse why you are not coming. Fuck, fuck! But you just can’t drag yourself out, and in all honesty, what are you going to say?.. You are so not ready for any heavy conversations. You chew on your lip, and send him a pitiful text that you have a sudden food poisoning. You are trying to phrase it so that it looks like you are bloody devastated that you can’t come. You offer him lunch tomorrow, hit Send, and hide under the covers again. No answer comes in the next fifteen minutes. Oh sod it…

Now that there’s nothing to distract you from your thoughts, your mind is reeling. What do you do now? On a deep existential level. Is the universe telling you that you are a dirty slag and need to reevaluate your life choices? Or is Dr. Dark and Sexy just a tosser and you should just forget about it?.. And why does it hurt so much?

You know why it hurts, Wren. Because of those few moments when you just crawled into his sleeping bag, and he seemed to envelop you into his grassy smell and his warmth. You closed your eyes, and you’ve never in your life felt better. Or when he momentarily lost control and bit your lip, his heavy body pressing you into the ground, and you felt powerful, brave, beautiful… Because no one has ever made you feel the way you felt in those few short moments…

You start crying, dry painful sobs shaking your body, and you bite into your pillow. You hate him, you hate yourself, you hate the universe… You feel like screaming, or breaking something, and preferably over his head. You have no bloody reason, but you feel like he lied to you, like he stole something from you, like… You do not know anything anymore…


Thea knocks at your door.

“Wren, are you sleeping?”

“No.” Your outburst is over, and you’re shaking, your teeth chattering.

“Phil’s here. He brought ginger drops, chicken soup, and electrolyte drinks.” Her voice is sing-song, she is obviously advertising him. “Do you want me to send him away?”

Like you know at this stage. You hum neutrally. Maybe if you don’t answer categorically, she will decide herself. And the universe with her.

The door closes, and you hear muffled voices. Then it opens again, and in a second Phil’s weight presses on the edge of your bed. You know it’s him because of the spicy smell of his cologne and because even through a duvet, the quilt and the covers you are wrapped into, you feel the warmth coming from his hip, pressed into your back.


“Hey…” You sound awful. At least he won’t think you are faking it.

You don’t turn and curl into an even tighter ball. Suddenly his hand is in your hair, gently stroking, and it’s a bliss. You suddenly remember how you got very sick when you were nine, and in your foster home it pretty much meant you were stuck in bed, alone, and people sometimes forgot to feed you. Or bring you water for that matter. You had a very high fever, and you were imagining how, if you had had a mother, she would be sitting near you right there and gently running her fingers through your hair. Exactly like Phil is doing right now.

Probably, because he has a mother, who sat with him when he was nine and sick. Because that is what you do when someone you love feels like shite. Because that what caring is. Except he doesn’t care for you. Because it is Philip Durinson, the dirtiest stud and playboy of the uni. Insensitive and inconsiderate manwhore.

“Can I get you anything, love?” His tone is gentle, and you just want to cry again. You shake your head as much as your position allows.

You are silent for a few minutes, he’s running his fingers through your hair, you’re breathing through your tears. You are still shaking. He rubs your shoulder and then places his palm on it.

“Wren, did you take your temperature? You are shivering.” His palm touches on your forehead, and your whole body jerks. “You are not hot,” he sounds worried, but then again, it’s still Phil. “In temperature sense obviously.” He waits for you to laugh at his joke, but you’re too busy clenching your teeth.

Suddenly you hear two thuds of shoes falling on the floor, and he slides on the bed behind you. He wraps his arm around you, and you are enveloped in his heat.

He’s warm, his heart beating steadily, he buries his nose in your hair. Minutes pass, and you relax into him, shaking dies down, you even shuffle a bit to get a bit more comfortable. He pushes his elbow, and you lift your head. Your cheek lies on his arm, and he pulls you even closer. Your lids are getting heavier, and you drift away.


You wake up from your alarm blaring on the bedside table, and you leap towards it, consequently stretching across Phil. He wakes up, and you two are staring at each other. He has a naked girl lying across his chest, you are pressing your pelvis into his sizable boner.

Oh poop.

He lifts a brow and smirks. It takes you a second but then your understand his smugness. Cocky bastard! Literally. You guess the size runs in the family. Bloody hell!.. He’s almost ten inches shorter than his uncle. Wait, not shorter, less tall. Because there is absolutely nothing short about him. And judging by the bulge under your lower stomach, the width upholds.

Sod it, Wren, what are you going to do now? The phone’s in your hand, if you get up you will flash him. If you start sliding backwards, you will literally hump him. He is still, one arm under his head, another actually under your knee. Your skin starts heating up in his palm. If he moves at least one muscle in his glorious body, that will pretty much be heavy petting. He holds your gaze and isn’t moving. Bloody impasse.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 7. Wrennie and the First Proposal

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Deadre gives out a lilting laugh.

“How did I end up with a mini copy of my brother as a son? His father was so different! Have you actually met my brother, dear?” Oh, fuck, the relief! She was not saying what you thought she was saying.

“Couple times.” An understatement of the century, Wren.

The door opens behind you, and Deandre smiles. “Oh the tea!”

You turn and feel the smile freeze on your face. Dr. John Thorington is balancing the cardboard tray in his hand. There are three cups on it.

“I sent Philip for your paperwork. They are letting you out of your treacherous prison.” His voice is warm and humourous. You feel your eyebrows going up. It’s like a different person!

He carefully gives her a cup, and then finally looks at you. You see leftover affection in his eyes and defiantly lift your chin. He frowns and gives you your cup. His fingers brush yours, and you feel like hissing. He just makes you so angry! God, you are absolutely livid.

He takes a sip from his coffee and sinks in a chair by the window. He is so tall that he has to stretch his long legs all the way to the middle of the room. She’s smiling to him lovingly and turns to you.

“So Wren, those tests you mentioned, how are they going?” Bloody fucking great they are going! To be honest, surprisingly so, considering all the madness.

“Quite well, thank you.”

“You are in BioChem, aren’t you?” The Sun of Modern Neurosurgery supplies a line from his chair. His low voice is so irritating! And sexy! And irritating! You suddenly remember this same voice raspily moaning in the middle of orgasm, and you feel heat licking your nape.

“Yes, indeed.”

“What’s your upcoming thesis topic, Miss Leary?” Are we having a small talk now? Wanker.

“Molecular structure and functions of microcephalin.” Go to hell with your blue eyes and sensual lips.

“Fetal brain development? An ambitious topic.” He’s looking at you over the rim of his cup. And you bet he thought you’re a brainless trollop. Well, you are a trollop, but top of her class trollop, thank you very much

“Haven’t you received that Katransky grant last year?” he asks. What?! How?.. He slihgtly tilts his head, studying you. “I was in the committee. A really impressive proposal, Ms. Leary.”

Your head is spinning. He knew about your research… What the actual?..

Deadre laughs. “That would be the first time I hear you complimenting anyone in years, sweetie.” Sweetie? Him complimenting? First time in years?! Send help! Wren’s brain is fried.

“I do compliment. When it is deserved. Ms. Leary has shown a fair amount of innovation and creativity in her approach and deserves high praise.”

“Are you quoting your own report, Dr. Thorington?” Is that you talking? Sounds like you… Why can you never keep your gob shut?

He’s suddenly laughing, an open loud guffaw, white teeth and wrinkles in the corners of his eyes.

“Busted!” He takes another sip from his cup, licks his lips, and gives you a sly smile. “But your research is indeed stupendous.”

What in the name of Rassilon is this fuckery?


You chat some more with Deadre, about your tests and her dogs. Thorington’s silently sitting in his chair. Sometimes you feel his eyes on you and fight the desire to rub the back of your neck. Just don’t think about that night, Wren! You absolutely moved on, it was a one time thing. You shagged – sort of – your scientific hero when you got a chance, and that was fun. Case closed. He could have been a bit more gracious in the morning, but it’s all fine.

Killian returns with Deandre’s bag and papers. Phil’s apparently bringing over the car. That’s your cue. You let her hug you and promise to give her a ring.

“I am happy you are alright, Mrs. Durinson.” She is smiling to you.

“Thank you, love. I hope I will see you soon.”

You nod, wave to Killian and turn to Thorington to give your most polite and insincere goodbyes.

“I’ll walk you out,” he rumbles nonchalantly. God, please don’t!

You silently walk out of the room, and you open your mouth, but he interrupts, “Wren…” His voice is low and coarse.

“Please, tell me you are not going to apologise!” Filter, you need to develop some sort of a filter between the brain and the mouth.

He hikes up his brows. “What would I apologise for?”

Really? You tosser. Oh nevermind.

“Indeed. You were saying?..” He licks his lips. That is a very bad habit you have there, Dr. Thorington. Utterly distracting.

“I understand we started off on a wrong foot.” That is one way to put it. He continues his even polite speech, “But I believe we could reach some sort of an agreement.”

What the actual fuck?! He is not proposing what you think he is proposing!

“We are obviously attracted to each other, Wren, and you seem to have no more desire for any commitment than I do…” He lets you finish the thought in your head.

You really feel like pouring the tea left in your cup on his head. You clearly envision how the lukewarm liquid is dripping from his glorious strands and long nose. But then you stop yourself. What other impression would he have from you based on what happened? You did jump his bones in the first ten minutes after crawling into his tent uninvited.

Be reasonable, Wren. If the cap fits, and such. You exhale slowly to calm down and say, “Dr. Thorington, I am afraid we indeed have started off on the wrong foot. I don’t normally affiliate with men the way we… started off. And I have no desire to continue the same association with you.” He gives you a long appraising look and then nods.

“Thank you for your honesty. May I ask what was not to your liking in my proposal?” Seriously, are we going to continue a decorous discussion about it? “You surely have had one night stands before. Why not turn it into a comfortable arrangement? Or is it me personally you do not approve of?”

You literally see red. Your fists are clenched, and your jaws are pressed together so tight that it hurts.

“I do indeed have one night stands, but I am not that cold about it. It’s more impulses than a calculated approach.” Why are you explaining yourself? He’s just so dominating, suffocating, you feel pinned to the floor.

“May be it’s time to grow up and move to the next level, Ms. Leary.” His tone is sardonic, patronising, so very him.

And that is when you slap him. His head jerks back, and he is pressing a palm to his cheek. His eyes are livid.

“Listen, you wanker, I slept with you because I wanted to! Because I thought there’s something under this fucking cold exterior of yours! I wasn’t trying to achieve anything, and even less so I wanted to become your doxy. I’d rather shag a random wanker in a club bathroom, because we both feel like it, than this!.. I bet there is even a contract enclosed to it! You are such a dick!”

You realise you are yelling. You swirl around and run. You are only sorry you can’t hold back the sobs long enough for him not to hear them.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 6. Wrennie and an Awkward Visit

Chapter 6. Wrennie and an Awkward Visit

“Listen, Wren…” Phil puts his hand on your elbow. “Before we go in, can we talk?”

You stop and turn to face him. You were hoping to avoid this but you inexplicably feel like you owe him this.

“Sure.” You are looking anywhere but his eyes. He takes a deep breath.

“I was a wanker, I had no right to… to judge. I deserved your slap a hundred per cent. It was none of my business.” He shrugs. At least you think so, since the patch of the soft jumper on his sternum that you are staring at jumps up. He continues in a firm tone, “Whatever happened before the kiss is your life. You were right, I’m the last to place judgement.” Your lips twitch.

“That sounded rehearsed.”

“I might have practiced before a mirror. Couple… dozens of times…”

There’s a smile in his voice, and you meet his eyes. God, they are so warm, glinting, and you smile back. He places his hands on your shoulders and rubs a bit. Bollocks, that feels good. He murmurs, “Can we go back to where we were?”

“Sure, I was really hoping…”

His lips are on your mouth again, and bloody fuck! Does it have to feel so good?! But you already bodged it up once and learnt your lesson. You press your palms into his chest and gently push. He tears his mouth off yours. These are the sexiest lips… How did you not notice before? Or you did, but didn’t let yourself go there? And now they are wet, bright pink and slightly swollen from the kiss. Common, Wren, you need to figure it out quickly.

“I meant go back to being friends,” you mumble.

“That was friendly.” The smirk is lopsided.

“I am not one of your skanky muppets, Phil. Scale the pull talk down.” He gives you another smug smile and picks up a runaway curl. That’s way too far into your personal space. You feel heat radiating from his hand, and he twists the strand around his finger.

You batter his hand away.

“I meant we had lovely relationships before. Can we go back to that? All friendly and easy. You, me, Killian, pub…”

“It might be too late for it now…” He lowers his face to yours again and whispers, “I don’t want to go back to what we had…”

“Well, I don’t want to sleep with you.” Smooth, Wren, very smooth. And a total lie. Or not? Make up your mind!

He hikes up his brows and steps back. “Well, that was awfully direct.”

“You know me, Phil, what did you expect?” Which is coincidentally a very good question. What, indeed?

“Listen, Wren, I’ll be honest with you…”

The door to the room opens, and Killian sticks his head out. You squash down an impulse to jump away from Phil.

“Hey, Wren..” He sees he’s presumingly intruding, and he shifts between his feet uncomfortably.

“We are coming.” Phil closes the door into his face. “Wren…”

Alright, you admit your defeat. You really don’t know what you are thinking at the moment.

“Let’s talk later, alright? Maybe pub tonight, or something?” You bite your tongue to keep ‘it’s not a date’ to yourself. He stares at you for a second, scanning your face, and you feel the blush. Cursed pale skin!

“Sure, there at 7?”



Deadre Durinson is sitting on her bed cross-legged, reading glasses on the tip of her nose. She has her brother’s magnificent hair, gentle full lips and Killian’s brown eyes. She is reading Odyssey. Have you mentioned, you are in love with this woman?

“Wren, my love, how nice of you!” She stretches her elegant fingers to you, and when you take them she pulls you to sit near her on the covers. “How have you been, love? Haven’t seen you in ages.”

“Hello, Mrs. Durinson. Shouldn’t I be asking you how you are doing?”

“Oh, bless! It’s old news. I got torpedoed by this poor nimwit, but I’m in perfect health. I might have lost a couple hundred brain cells from all the scanning they did though.”

“It was just precautions,” Phil says softly, smiling to her.

“Between the three of you, fancy doctors, you would dissect me to make sure.” She waves her hand at him. “Philly, darling, could you fetch us some tea? I am sure they have at least one of those pretentious coffee shops in here.” Phil smirks. She turns to you. “Earl Grey with milk and sugar for me. Wren?”

“Same, please.”

He leaves with Killian in tow, and she picks up your hands. She is surveying you, and you blush again.

“You look a bit pale, my darling. Gorgeous as usual, but a bit tired. Have you been studying too much again?” You shift under her scrutiny, unaccustomed to anyone actually care how you look and feel.

“It’s the term tests time.”

“Have you been eating anything? It seems that there is even less of you since I saw you last.” Is she actually expecting an answer to this? You never know.

“Nevermind,” she says, suddenly drawing her eyebrows together. “I have a grudge to smooth out with you, young lady.” Oh no, which one of them talked?! Panic, panic! Don’t be an idiot, of course neither of them talked. “Last month, the swamp picnic…” Fuck, fuck, fuck! “You did not even say goodbye!” Oh all deities, thank you! You promise, you will never be a bad girl again!

“I was not well. I apologise though, I should have rung you.”

“Really? Sorry to hear that, love. I had a different impression though… Since my older, endlessly depraved son came home with a face sad as a wet weekend, I assumed there was a tiff.” Oh no!

“No, no tiff.” You smile the most unnatural smile you’ve ever plastered over your face. She lifts one eyebrow and looks scarily like her brother. Bollocks!

“You are good friends with Phil, my darling, I can see that. A smart girl such as yourself, you obviously understand that he is a lecher.” Good thing the aforementioned depraved older son hasn’t brought your tea yet, you would have choked and died just now.

She continues, “His uncle, God forbid, was the same in his age.” Oh my fucking God, can this conversation get any worse?! Probably not. “But they are just spoiled by all this attention. They think because they are lookers and have a long and complicated family name, they are entitled to a bit of… fun.” She wrinkles her noble nose in disgust.

And then you are ready to take your previous relieved praise to gods and deities back and shove it up your… Because she gently squeezes your fingers and says quietly, “But they have nice hearts. They can be loyal and kind. They just don’t know it yet. And you just have to give them a chance.”

Kill me now.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 5. Wrennie and the Aftermath

Chapter 5. Wrennie and the Aftermath

You lift your eyes at Phil. His jaw is tense. And then you feel very, very angry. Bollocks with it, you don’t owe him anything.

“Listen, Phil…” He raises a hand, stopping you.

“Just don’t.” He’s not looking at you and turns away to leave.

“Oh, don’t give me this shite!” you are yelling, but it’s so past your limit of patience for one day! “I’m not asking you where you spent this night. What tent you were shaking last night! Don’t you dare judging me!”

He spins on his heels. “I was comforting you, Wren! I thought some ponce offended you or something. And you are just… from under some wanker!”

You slap him.

“You have no right!” You are screaming into his face. “You are not to talk about keeping it in your pants!”

He snarls and starts leaving. Killian is frozen with his hands still half lifted. He looks at his brother’s back.

“Don’t you dare walking away with your tail between your legs, Killian!” you hiss at him. “You are my ride, and it has nothing to do with you.”

You pin him with a stare and he nods. “Let’s get back.”


You enter your dorm, and since you forgot to knock, you walk on Thea riding some guy. You quickly turn away.

“Oh bollocks, I’m sorry!” You are waving your hand blindly at them. “Sorry, sorry, I’ll just go wait outside, give me a shout when it’s safe to come in.”

You fall on the sofa in the lounge and close your eyes.

The image of Thea’s glorious naked back and buttocks is etched on the back of your eyelids, but it’s better than the two pairs of blue eyes. That you are definitely not thinking about! You rub your face. Fucking fuck! You really cocked it up, didn’t you, Wren?

Forget the getting off in the tent with the God of neurosurgery, that one’s understandable. The opportunity was there, he is as hot as it gets, no surprise there. But why did you offer him to do it without a Durex? That was barmy, and so not you! Alright, let’s choke it on his alleged mind-blowing attractiveness and you fawning over his gifted hands. It probably just made him think of you as more of a slapper, but again, as if he needed any encouragement in the area!.. Phil though…

You feel like dirt. You botched it up, bloody hell! Why did you kiss him back?! Why say that you didn’t want him to take it back? You were so deranged that you just wanted someone to hold you, to care for you. But Phil is absolutely the wrongest choice for it. He was just randy, and you were vulnerable. You jump up and kick the sofa. Tosser! Manky pig! He had no right… He was groping some blonde’s leg when you saw him. It’s not like you agreed on a date with him right after climbing from under his uncle! Oh fuck…

Thea peeks from the room, and you see a guy hastily disappearing in the hall. Is it that hazel-eyed hunk from the North, the postgrad from Genetics? Well done, Thea. You pick up your bags and drag your sorry arse inside. The questioning is imminent.


Three weeks pass, and you tell yourself you are fine. You even laugh about it with Thea.

“Two hot pieces of arse in one night! A Thorington and a Durinson!” She is shaking her head. “And none properly!”

You just smirk and pretend it doesn’t hurt. It still weirdly does. Is it because it seemed like so much more at that time? Lying in Thorington’s arms felt like something more. And then, and that’s even worse, Phil kissing you also felt like something more. How stupid are you, Wren, to fall for either?

You stop yourself right there, right then. You have not fallen for the dirtiest stud in uni after one kiss! You love Phil, as a friend, you hang out together, you have fun. Well, not anymore. You haven’t seen him since.

Maybe you can even fix it somehow. Joke it off, talk through it. You both were weird that morning, you kissed, no biggie. You both do it a lot. With other people. Why not with each other? You obviously are attracted to each other. Sleeping with each other would be bloody stupid, but surely you can salvage some friendly feelings between the two of you.

You bury your face into your pillow at night, and your mind wildly jumps between two hot bodies, pressed in you. Bollocks, at least choose one to obsess over. You shake your head. Banging that same head into a wall does not help much either.


Another week later Deadre Durinson gets into a car accident. It’s nothing serious but everyone knows, since the wanker who rammed into her car was a Med Student. They say that Thorington has gone mental and wants to kick the guy out of the uni. Knowing his influence, he very much might.

You ring Killian.

“Hey, it’s me. Sorry to bother you but…”



You hear him talking to someone near him. “Yes, yes, it’s her… I’ll tell her. Hey!” He’s back to you.

“Listen, don’t want to impose, just wanted to know how your mum is.”

“She’s fine, they keep her here for observation, but she’s fine. She says you can visit if you want.”

You write down the room number and pace around your dorm for another half an hour. Are you seriously going there? Which one are you worried to see more?


You buy her favourite daffodils and put on your best dress. Whatever your transgressions with her men were – God, please, please, let her never find out – you really want to visit.

They are both standing in the hospital, facing each other, leaning on the opposite walls of the corridor. They turn their heads simultaneously, and you just want to fall through the tiled floor. But even in your embarrassed mortification, you can appreciate the picture. Two manes, gold and ebony, expensive jumpers over white tees, muscular wide bodies relaxed. Thea would say, the mind races. You are bloody depraved, Wren.

You plaster a polite smile on your face.

“Hello.” Good, Wren, manners are important. “How is she?”

They look at each other, and you have a terrifying thought that they actually somehow found out and discussed it between themselves. Thorington steps forward and stretches his hand.

“Wren, right?” Oh, we are playing it this way!

You shake the hand – definitely not thinking about it rubbing your ankle in intoxicating scorching circles, fuck it all – and smile.

“Yes, Leary. I study with Phil.” Who is currently staring at his trainers.

“Hey.” You look at him from around the massive torso of his uncle.

“Hey.” Phil’s tone is flat.

Thorington is towering over you. “She is fine, they are releasing her in an hour.” He does have an orgasmic voice. You shiver and for the first time look into the blue eyes. They are cautious, cold. You tell yourself that all the tenderness and warmth you saw that night were a fruit of your hormonally unstabilised imagination. “Let me walk you there.”

“I’ll take her.” Phil steps forward and for a second you see hesitation on Thorington’s face. Phil is lifting his chin.

Oh, from where you are standing, at this stage it’s pretty much same shite.

“Sure.” Thorington gives him a plastic smile and steps back. His eyes didn’t warm up for a second. “It was nice seeing you, Miss Leary.”

You start walking and Phil joins you. You turn around for a mo. “You too, Dr. Thorington.”

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 4. Wrennie’s in Trouble

Chapter 4.Wrennie's in Trouble

You are waking up slowly, in a warm circle of his arms. You don’t jerk up, or jump up, shielding your heaving bosom like a deflorated maiden in a trashy romance novel.

You are not in a romantic comedy, you precisely remember how and with whom you fell asleep. He’s still out cold, long thick lashes resting under his eyes, a crinkle between his brows. Is he that peevish even when sleeping? A large hand is resting near your face, and you admire the fingers. Forget the mind-blowing looks and the bedroom skills, he is just bloody brilliant! You watched a tape of his surgery. It’s better than porn. In OR he is God! You would shag him even if he looked like Gerard Depardieu, and not the young hunky version. Brainy is the new sexy.

The fact that he’s gorgeous obviously helps. The straight prominent nose, sensual lips, the beard, and that bloody mane! They all have it, some sort of family tradition. Phil’s golden waves are soft, going down to his shoulders, and he braids a few strands behind his right ear. Once you became comfortable with him, the first thing you asked for was to touch the hair. He guffawed and bent down. You grabbed handfuls of the liquid sunshine, and you have to admit the feeling is purely orgasmic!

Killian and his uncle share the same deep dark shade, but to make matters worse Dr. Thorington has silver strands above his forehead and on his temples. And his hair is heavy, slick, as if spilling through your fingers. You had a good sample yesterday.

He stirs and opens bright blue eyes.

“Morning.” You decide to speak first.

And in his face you immediately see the one sensation that occupies his brain right now. Regret.

“Morning.” His voice is gruff.

You let him gather his bearings. He’s definitely planning to get rid of you, but no one said you are supposed to help him with it. Bugger, that actually stings. Is he going to throw you out of his tent or he is letting you down gently? Common, you arse, which line is it going to be? ‘It’s not you, it’s me?’

“Miss Leary…”

Oh that’s just glorious! You dirty fuckbag!

You jump up and start climbing out of the tent.

“Wren…” He tries to stop you and grabs your ankle. You kick him, hoping to hit something essential. Fucker!

“Get off me, you tosser!” You jerk your foot out of his hand and unzip the tent. You are hurriedly pulling on your boots, when his disheveled head sticks out.

“Please, don’t make a scene.” His voice is hushed.

“I assure you, Dr. Thorington, letting people know where I spent the night is the last thing I want,” you are hissing through your teeth. His nostrils flare, but altogether you can’t read his face. “Bollocks, if only it were at least worth it! I mean this humiliation for a mediocre rodgering! God, you are such a wanker!” You start stomping away.

You reach the clearing with the ashes of the bonfire. Bollocks, what are you going to say to Kilian?! Why you didn’t come back to the tent. God, hope they weren’t looking for you. You should have thought of it yesterday, Wren. People are sitting on logs, mostly the responsible adults since it’s still pretty early and most of the kids are comatose. You see Phil with a mug of coffee, fresh and smiling as always, chatting up some blonde. Kilian is nowhere to be seen.

Suddenly you feel like crying. And you also feel like running to him and hugging him. What’s wrong with you? You are not that kind of friends. Also, that’s the last thing you should do now. It’s his uncle, and you obviously should just behave like nothing happened! Bollocks, everything starts to look blurred, and you painfully bite the lower lip.

You see Phil lifting his laughing eyes at you, and then he sees your face. He pats the blonde’s lap, excuses himself and strides to you. He spins you to face away from the crowd and wraps his arm around your shoulder. He starts walking you away from the clearing, and you are shaking. Keep it together, Wren. Nothing happened, and the shite you are in is your own fault. And no one should ever know…

“Common, common,” he is murmuring and pressing you into him.

When you are far enough from the crowd, he stops and turns you to face him.

“Wren, what is it?” Oh, you just can’t do it. You press your face into him and sob. He is stroking your hair, pressing his cheek into your crown. “It’s alright, love, it’s alright. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

“I just don’t know…” You are hiccuping and feel like a plonker. “I’m sorry… I don’t know what’s wrong with me…” He wraps his arms around you and kisses your hair.

“It’s alright, it’s alright…”

You stay like that for a while, and your hysterics subside. Now you feel embarrassed. You step away staring at the ground, and wipe your eyes.

“Listen, Phil, I’m sorry… I don’t know what’s wrong with…”

And then he roughly cups your face and presses his lips to yours.

The kiss is mind-blowing. You are obviously all wound up, from last night and the crying, and it feels like an electric shock runs through your whole body. His short beard is scratching your face, surprisingly coarse considering how soft his hair is, and his palms are hot and gentle. He is stroking your jaw with his thumbs. You are still frozen, your arms hanging on the sides of your body. And it still feels like you two are as much as bonking here, and that’s just from mere lip contact! And then you push him away.

“What the sodding hell?!” You are panting. He steps back and stares at you. If he jokes it off, you are going to end him. You already felt like a cheap slapper today, that’s enough humiliation for a year.

“I am sorry….” He’s breathing heavily, lips slightly open.

“Fuck, what is wrong with you?!” You feel like punching him.

“I shouldn’t have… You were crying, and it just happened…”

“What?! Does crying turn you on? Or is it your idea of panic attack management?!” You shove him. And then again. You know it’s not him you are angry at. But you just can’t stop. ‘Wrennie just can’t control herself’ just seems to be your motto this weekend.

He lowers his head again. “I am sorry…”

“Stop apologising for kissing me!”

“I am not! I am apologising for the timing!” You both freeze and stare at each other. “You are upset, and I made you angry…”

“I am not angry that you kissed me, I am angry you tried to take it back!” You mind is thrashing. Please, please, just kiss me, I want to forget it all, that I feel like a cheat slut. Just turn it off!

He steps ahead and catches your mouth again. This time you are reciprocating, hands in his glorious hair, you push your tongue to open his lips. He’s grabbing your shoulder blades, presses his heated body into you, and you feel his thumping heart through his jumper and your PJ.

And then you remember why you are wearing PJs. And that there is a hole in your bottoms leg on your calf. And why your knickers feel so sticky. You moan into his mouth to stop him, but he deepens the kiss and moans himself. All your thoughts are out of your head, sublime warmth spreading through your body.

“Well, hello you two!” You jerk away from him, but he’s holding you tight. For a second you panic, what if… But then you see it’s just Killian. And then you panic again, because it’s Killian. He is smiling, and Phil is returning a grin. He probably feels so proud of himself right now! Please, please, shut up, don’t say anything! Don’t ruin it for him!

“And I was wondering where our little Wren spent this night! Congrats!” Killian lifts both his hands expecting a double high-five, from both of you. But Phil lets you go and steps back. His arms slack, and he’s staring at you. Your face is burning, you clench your jaw, and close your eyes.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 3. Wrennie’s Feeling Good


You consider leaping ahead and just kissing him, but the game seems to be going by different rules. Your left arm is wrapped around your middle, since you were subconsciously shielding yourself as he was so obviously apprehensive. Your right hand is near his palm, splayed on the floor of the tent.

You slowly reach for his wrist and slide your fingers up the inner side of his forearm. You let your nails scrape the skin slightly, and you think you hear his breathing hitch.

He lowers his face to your neck, and for a slip of a second you feel his hot lips on the side of your neck, behind your ear. Then you feel him smile into your skin, goosebumps quickly covering your whole body. You tilt your head allowing him more access. He brushes his nose along your throat. And then suddenly he moves you off his lap. You tense, but then realize that he is unzipping his sleeping bag.

It is open; and he’s lying back, one arm open, another one supporting the flap of the sleeping bag. The invitation’s quite clear. You bite your lip and then slip into his embrace. He closes the bag and smirks.

“You will have to zip it up if you want to stay warm at night.” There’s a bloody dozen of different innuendoes hidden in his one sentence!

You push one arm out of it and clumsily pull the zipper as far up as you can.

You two are pretty snug in the bag. Do they come in different sizes? This one seems to allow you both to be pretty comfortable inside, although you’re mostly lying on him, pressed into his right side. You gingerly place your right hand on his chest and feel the soft fabric of his henley. He pulls you closer, and you place your temple below his clavicle.

The erotic tension of a few seconds ago is gone, and you relax into the heat and fresh grassy smell of his skin. His breathing is even, heartbeat steady. You close your eyes and soak in the moment.

He is an amazing presence, strength and confidence radiating from him. You feel safe and sheltered. You don’t want to think of the world outside the warm bubble you are in, you don’t want to worry about tomorrow’s morning coming and bringing the harsh light over your sleeping arrangements. You breathe him in and understand why they call physical intimacy ‘to know someone in a Biblical sense.’ The physical closeness allows you to know a person better than a hundred conversations.

His fingers tread through your hair, and you feel him pull out the pins holding your messy bun together. The dexterity of a surgeon is a magical thing, innit? It allows a bloke to pull out twenty eight pins while a girl’s head is weighing on his shoulder to the ground. His other hand covers yours on his chest, and the thumb is rubbing your knuckles.

The strokes of his fingers are increasingly sensual. If he can cause this much hunger inside you by lightly touching your hand, what can he achieve with two hands? On some other of your parts? His mouth? His whole body? You take a shuddering breath and slide your hand from under his. And then you place it on the waist of his shirt and decisively slide it underneath. He sucks in air, and you feel triumphant. You are not a flustered girl he can play with. You splay the hand on his abdomen.

He pulls his torso from under you and rolls over you. Finally! He’s deliciously heavy and hot, and he lowers his lips on yours. You have never been kissed like that. He is possessive, passionate, demanding. The cliche of ‘claiming your mouth’ flashes through your mind. He slips his palms under your shoulder blades, and you arch into him. You wrap one leg around his waist and rub your pelvis into him.

He groans and moves to your neck. He gives your throat a long scorching lick, and you moan. His hands are on the buttons of your PJ top, and he follows up every opened one with a kiss on your thorax. Your top open, he takes your nipple in his mouth, and you claw at his shoulders. His tongue swirls around it, and then he slightly bites it. You wrap the second leg around him. Your underwear is drenched, and you just want him inside of you.

He’s apparently taking it slow. He is busy with the second breast when your patience snaps. You push your hand between your bodies and squeeze his erection. He hisses and bites hard. Good, enough of this unwavering smug self-control! You press your pelvis into him and cup his face. You force him to look into your eyes, and suddenly you feel so powerful. His body on yours, his lips on your skin, his hot cock pressed between you two, it all feels right and you give him a predatory smile. You catch his mouth in a bruising kiss and push his tracksuit bottoms down with your feet. It’s a very neat trick you learnt with a high school boyfriend, they never see it coming. You just have to be careful not to jerk them too sharply. He gasps into your mouth, and you close your palm around his cock.

Fucking hell, he is big. Not just big. You think it might actually hurt. But you are so wet and livid with lust that you just might be OK. Anyways, you are not stopping now.

“I am on a pill and clean,” you murmur in his mouth.

“I don’t sleep with women without a condom,” he is panting and jerkingly shakes his head. You assume that the long energetic strokes of your hand on his cock are slightly distracting.

“Do you have one?”

He is breathing through a wave of pleasure that shudders through his body and shakes his head. “You?”

“Why would I? I wasn’t planning on any adventures.” He snorts and then lifts burning eyes at you.

“Then we will have to solve our problems separately.”

He takes your hand and gently removes it from his twitching cock. Then he catches you mouth and slides his hand into your PJ bottoms. The apt fingers find your clit, and he gives it an experimental swirl. You moan and spread your legs wider. Oh, he is good! In most cases you need additional oral stimulation, couple fingers and a tongue, but he makes you come in a few seconds with just one finger in you. You are panting though your orgasm, and he’s lazily kissing your neck and collarbones.

Your turn. You roll you two over as much as it is possible in the sleeping bag and slide down his body. You are small enough, but there is another problem. You will probably faint inside the bag from overheating if you have to give him a blowjob without opening it. But you already hear him unzipping it. How considerate of him!

The task at hand is going to be labourious. His cock is not only large, the width is also beyond impressive. It has a whimsical curve, as if it is slightly pointing towards his left shoulder, and you giggle. He lifts a brow at you. You just can’t help it and tilt your head to match the angle. He drops his head on the ground and chuckles. Some snarky remark dies on his lips when you take him into your mouth and give him a long strong suck. He clenches his fists.

In a few seconds you have him completely unraveled and growling through his teeth. You are taking him deep into your throat, bobbing your head and massaging his testes. When you were sixteen you could not understand why Thea was so enthused when in some medical journal you read that squeezing your thumb in your fist apparently turns off you gagging reflex. Now you find this information very useful.

He pushes you off him and comes with a loud groan. You help him through it with your hand, pressing your lips to his hipbone, and he is taking shaky breaths. He is coming down from his high and starts laughing. It’s your turn to cock a brow.

He rubs his face with his large palms and speaks in a shaky raspy voice, “I don’t know why I’m laughing. I guess it’s just been awhile.”

He grabs a towel from a bag nearby and cleans up. You are waiting till he pulls his bottoms up, and then he opens his arms for you again. You nest into his side, and he zips up the bag. Then he lifts your face with his finger and looks into your eyes. You smile to him and then can’t hold back a yawn. He smirks and kisses you tenderly. He’s still smiling into the kiss but you already drift off.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 2. Wrennie’s Scared Silly


In the middle of the night while the noise of the bonfire party is still rumbling through the woods, you wake up because you desperately need to pee. You wander out of the tent clad only in your flannel PJs and wellies. Unfortunately alcohol consumption usually triggers promiscuous behaviour in youth, and all bushes around the campsite seem to be occupied by two, sometimes three people, and after learning four new sexual positions you’re desperate. The swamp and the woods frighten you, but the nature calls, sorry for the pun. You venture into your quest.

After twenty minutes of walking and finally in a state of a complete bliss from your bladder finally empty, you realize that you’re lost.

Not completely, you more or less know where to go to, since the noise of the bonfire is still echoing between the trees, but you suddenly realize that you’re separated from the hostile environment of the wild nature by the flimsy cotton material of your polka dot pajamas.

You carefully tread between the trees, constantly feeling that something grotty is stretching its furry paws to get you. Then you catch a face full of spider web and shriek. Your own voice frightens you even more, and you dart sideways. Your foot gets stuck in an especially gooey muck, and you frantically jerk it out. You know you’re being unreasonable, but you’re shaking and sprint towards the fire you can see between the trees ahead.

Two things happen at the same time. You see a tent, erected under a large oak tree, and something grabs your leg. It’s wet and scratchy, and you squeal. All decorum forgotten, you shake off your boots, grab the zipper on the tent, and jerking it open you jump inside. You pull the zipper up and freeze with your hands fisted and pressed to your chest.

At this stage you don’t care if inside of this tent you find the Dean of your Faculty. You won’t by the way, his tent’s green.

Hellhounds in tutus or a foursome inside this tent, nothing will make you leave it.


“Are you lost?” The sleepy voice of John Thorington startles you, and you jump up with a yelp.

The tent wobbles, and you stare into the darkness. Your eyes are used to the darkness already, so you can guess the outline of his mane and wide shoulders. His cologne assaults your senses. Who actually puts any on when going to spend a night on a swamp? Doesn’t it attract all kinds of stinging, blood sucking monsters? Or does it repel them? Your knowledge of camping is simply pathetic.

You will never confess it but you recognized his voice even before you could see who was inside. You attended all his guest lectures and watched his TED talk hundreds of times.

Dr. John Crispin Thorington. Phil and Killian’s uncle, Deadre Durinson’s brother. He’s brilliant. A renown neurosurgeon, he practices all around the world, travels a lot, and his short visits with the family rarely coincide with the occasions you are invited to. You suspect that he’s avoiding crowds. You have seen him – so to speak, in flesh – twice. Once, he arrived when you were already leaving the Durinson mansion, so you shared a breakfast. He was jetlagged, and you are still not sure if his haughty silence is his customary treatment of the likes of you, or you somehow repel him on a personal level.

The second time you saw him was in a more official environment, during the Honourary Dinner at uni.

You followed BBC Sherlock’s approach and deleted the memories of his glorious large body clad in a dinner jacket. You have a tuxedo kink. If a sexual fantasy also included his blazing blue eyes and the exotic luscious ponytail, an orgasm following it would probably incinerate you.

“Something touched my leg,” you breathe out as if it’s supposed to explain him everything. He is half lying on his back, propped on his elbows in futile attempts to see you better. “I am Wren, Wren Leary.”

“I know who you are.”

That’s a surprise.

“What I do not understand is what you are doing in my tent.” He sounds impatient. “Shouldn’t you be in Philip’s?”

“I’m actually sharing one with Killian.”

“You are dating him now?” Is it disdain in his voice?

“No, I’m not.”

“So whose tent were you looking for?” Now he’s clearly irritated. Even considering the manky turn this conversation’s taking, his voice is a mixture of treacle, tawny port wine, and a multiple clitoral.

“I wasn’t looking for anyone’s tent. Either would do, to be honest, at this stage.” You certainly feel that didn’t come out quite the way you planned it to. “I mean, I’m not dating either of your nephews, sir, don’t worry.”

“Why would I worry?”

Because the likes of John Thorington do not approve of the likes of you shackling their sons and nephews, you mentally explain.

“What I meant is that I got scared outside, and any familiar face would be welcome right now.”

“I am familiar.” Bloody hell, is he flirting? Of course not. You’re obviously misinterpreting.

You both are silent for a bit, and then he sits up. You’ve never realized how massive his torso is. He has the same body structure as Phil, wide shoulders and broad chest, but he is two heads taller. He takes up all room in the tent, and you suddenly feel trapped. Bloody nonsense! You’ve intruded on him, and also, you can just leave. On the other hand, whatever is out there might still be scarier than John Thorington. And lurking. it is clearly something that is capable of lurking.

You look at him sideways. His extraordinary hair is loose, like a curtain of glorious wavy sexiness. Shut your gob, treacherous libido!

“What did you say about your leg?” His velvet voice sounds dischuffed. You should assure him it was nothing, politely excuse yourself, and leave.

“I was walking back to my tent and felt something grab it.”

He sighs and starts rummaging in his sleeping bag. After a few seconds he finally finds his mobile and lights up the screen. You blink from sudden light and seeing his face – decorated with a peevish scowl and frowned eyebrows – so close in front of you.

“Let me see.” He definitely sounds irritated. You’re hesitating. With another exasperated sigh he shoves the phone into your hands and suddenly grabs you under your arms. He pulls you closer, you are practically on his lap, your legs across his, and his deft fingers encircle your ankle. You squeak.

“Does it hurt?”

“No.” You feel like a massive idiot. He gives you a sideways glance. Then he picks up your ankle and examines first the foot and then the calf. The PJ leg is torn and dirty.

“You probably tumbled over a root, I don’t see any injuries.” Your calf is in his palm, and he’s rubbing it slightly. “Does it hurt anywhere?”

“No, it’s fine.”

You suddenly realize that he isn’t stopping, his scorching palm is brushing your skin through the hole in the pant.

The silence stretches, and it’s quite a tense one. His thumb slips inside the gap in the fabric, and he draws a slow circle on your skin. That’s definitely impossible to misinterpret. You breathe in slowly and make your decision.

Touch the Nerve || Chapter 1. Wrennie’s Swamped

Wrennie's Swamped (2)

Have you noticed that if you are wearing earphones, everything around you turns into an indie film? At least if there is a connotative dissonance between what you see and what you hear. The student lounge in your uni and Maria Callas’ Si. Mi chiamano Mimi create the most gorgeous, absurd pandemonium. So-and-so is groping his girlfriend, so-and-so is dumping his boyfriend, someone is chewing, someone is staring into a laptop and ruffling their hair in an attempt to stimulate at least a bit of brain activity. And Mimi the Embroiderer is sharing her simple lifestory. Jean Cocteau is nervously biting his nails in envy, sitting somewhere on a cloud.

Philip Durinson is sauntering in the lounge, and you consider hiding under your desk. You really have no time for this right now. You recognize the gleam in his eyes. It says, Where is Wren? Let’s drag her into some new barmy adventure. She just loves it, judging by her panicked yelling and flailing arms. He is strutting to your table and with a swanky twirl of his wide muscular body he slides on a sofa near you. That is so not good!

“Hello, love.” He places his usual fluttering kiss on your cheek and peeks into your laptop. “What’s that?”

“You would know if you’d actually studied for your OrgChem.”

“I bloody aced my OrgChem!” His indignation is properly fake.

“Only because you crammed the night before, on three energy drinks and five espressos. And twenty minutes after the test you head was empty again.”

“You know me so well, darling!” He gives you his best white-toothed grin and steals a crisp from your package on the table.

You love Phil. He is hearty, light, sunny, all golden mane and laughing eyes. Sometimes you think it would have been so much easier if you were in love with him. But then you would shag for a while, and it would end badly. Who would dump whom would be hard to predict, considering the previous record for both of you. But then again, for a while you would have an excuse to touch him. Because you really want to. All the time. His skin is always warm, he smells so nice, and you just want to curl into him and snuggle. It’s probably all the abandonment issues and the lack of affection in childhood.

“Alrighty, love, how about that? Trip to the swamps!” He looks very pleased with himself.

“Is it a name of a colourful cocktail with a high content of booze in it?”

“No.” He is laughing loudly, fluffy lashes hiding the blue irises.

“Then I’m not interested.”

“Common, Wren…” He is whining now. It should be annoying, but somehow it’s adorable. Plonker! “It’s a family thing. Everyone from the uni goes, their parents join, pops watch birds and talk shite, and then there is a bonfire!”

He is making puppy eyes. Let’s face it, his are not that efficient as his brother’s.


“Did I mention there is booze, everyone dances, mother bloody nature.”

“I don’t do mother nature.”

“Please?..” He is clasping his hands and making a begging gesture.

You feel bad. Because really you have been ignoring him recently, for a while already. The tests, the labs, and then you are just so knackered all the time. You think how great it will be, both him and his brother will take care of everything, and you will feel like they bundle you up in this warm blanket of caring and fussing around you. They will be making sure you are having a great time, feed you, tuck you in. Alright, maybe not tuck you in.

“Where am I going to sleep?”

“Yes! She said, yes!” He jumps on the couch and makes his best impersonation of Tarzan. The lounge is roaring with laughter, happy with any distraction from actual work.

He jumps off the sofa and then suddenly picks you up and starts swirling you, bridal style.

“Are you bonkers?!” You are laughing too. “Put me down, twat!”

He speeds up and you squeal and wrap your arms around his neck, and he is guffawing now.

“I’m taking you shopping, love!” You skeptically lift a brow. “We need wellies for your tiny sexy feet.” You look at your feet and feel slightly iffy from a suspicion you might not like his answer.


“It’s a swamp, remember?”

Bloody hell, what did you agree on?


You fall into your dorm, bags so heavy that they are hurting your shoulders.

“What in the name of?..” Your friend Thea jumps off her bed and helps you to put your stuff on the bed.

“Phil took me shopping.”

“Tell me it’s lingerie.” She sticks her nose in one of the bags. She is a long time advocate for you two finally having it off.

“It’s not. And I paid for it myself.”

She pulls your new pair of wellies out of a bag and wrinkles her nose.

“Unless it’s his kink, I don’t want to know.”

“We are heading to the mansion for the weekend.”

“Just the two of you?” She is wiggling her brows.

“And a half of uni. All the posh ponces. Apparently some traditional bonfire or something.”

“Oh, I’ve heard of it. The Bonkfire!”

You are starting to doubt the wisdom of your decision.

Thea is “scum”, just like you. It means poor. And that her family name isn’t engraved on one of the marble boards decorating the stairway in the Central Building. Durinsons were among those who founded the uni. And their uncle’s portrait is in the library. It’s huge. He also apparently paid for the renovations of one of the buildings and for the Japanese garden on the roof. Pretentious nob twat!

“I thought you are not going there anymore.” She now pulls out a pair of thermosocks from the bag.

“I haven’t spent time with them for a while, I feel like a bad friend.”

“You know what would make you a very good friend to them?” You think you know the right answer.

“Let me guess, you are going to propose a threesome. Again.”

She gasps in fake shock.

“Wren, well I never! I’m sure he wouldn’t want to share you.”

“Who he?” She rolls her eyes.

Thea is wrong. On both accounts. Phil would share anything with his brother. They have this rare relationship you envy endlessly, but feel a bit creeped out by at the same time. They are always together, Phil being an overprotective older brother, meddling into Killian’s life too much, Killian asking him for advice on everything. Those two weeks that you sort of dated Killian, you wondered if he asked Phil’s advice on that too.

Secondly, sleeping with either of them would make you a bad friend. Neither is harbouring any feelings for you, you can’t say you fancy either romantically, so it would just botch your friendship up. And you love spending time with them.

“I was going to suggest you stay there for a week.” The’s tone is serious and you look up at her. “You are all daft and jittery recently, with all the work. You love their Mom, spoil yourself a bit.”

You think of Deadre Durinson and sigh. That is person you could spend more than a week with. She is funny, kind, and supportive. Everything a mother should be. Or at least you assume so, you never had one.

“Is it because you want the room all to yourself for the next week?”

“I will utilize it, of course. But I’m mostly worried for you.” You give her a hug. She is a good friend in all honesty.

“Thanks, pet. I’ll let you know how it goes.”


At six o’clock in the morning Phil and Killian knock at your door. You are stuffing your toothbrush in a bag, and Thea rushes to open the door. They give her a synchronized bow, and she guffaws.

“Oh glorious Thea, what a gorgeous flower you are!” Phil is announcing in his best debonair voice. She smacks his chest.

They tried it the first year. According to Thea, the spark just wasn’t there. You speak Thea-ish well enough to know it means they shagged all through the night like bunnies but didn’t feel like round six in the morning. And that’s a ‘no, thank you’ in her dictionary.

Killian helps you with bags, and you immediately fall asleep on his shoulder on the back seat. You open your eyes already in the mansion. A large crowd of their friends is already there, their older relatives slowly arriving, everyone gets loaded in seven Land Rovers. You get squeezed between Killian and a girl you’ve only met once before. She is the Dean’s niece, and the diamond on her finger is the size of Mount Vesuvius. It would be a pity to lose it in smelly swamp water, you think vengefully. She is chatting with Killian over your head all though the ride, and you think you need a migraine medicine by the end of it.

The tents are for two people, and somehow it is assumed you are sharing yours with Killian. You guess you are sort of familiar with each other. He spent a couple nights in your bed, but you never actually got to shag. The whole thing was about him being heartbroken, and you being stupid.

The day passes in decorous picnics, bird watching, – and there you thought Phil was taking the piss, – and fishing. When it gets dark, the younger lot finally gets their fun. The apparently long awaited bonfire time comes. It is roaring, flames are seemingly licking the sky, and you are awed.

The only problem arises when you realize that bonfire means bewy and skinny dipping. Neither of the two interests you. You can’t drink, pretty much losing consciousness after three shots, and even more so you are not looking forward to what you understand is an advertisement of available goods. When everyone starts talking too loudly and walking unsteadily, you sneak away and go back to your tent.

The Question of Publishing a Book

I have come to the realisation that publishing a book is like getting a tattoo.

First you don’t know what to expect, but it looks like an ace idea.

You plan and plan, and then you make a decisive leap, and go for it!

And that is when expenses start. And panic. There is a lot of panic involved. Am I doing it right? Why is everyone going to this place for it? Should I have gone with a different approach? Have I bodged it up completely?

Then comes the pain. It’s new, different… You have never felt a pain like this. It’s charring and you ask yourself what sort of a barmpot you are to have decided to do it.

There are bouts of ‘it’s not as bad as I thought’ feeling, though. And then something new pops up, and you are in agony.

There are questions to answer, and you have no idea if you are cocking it up. Also, somewhere in the middle of the process you are hit at the back of your head with a very ‘funny’ thought: it’s forever.

For all you short mortal life; and maybe, with enough ‘media coverage’ (Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.), even for a wee bit longer than that. That is the bloody scariest feeling you will ever have in life.

And then it’s done.

Just like that.

1 2 3 4

The last photo is taken after a short pause. It involved bawling. A lot. I opened the box and burst into tears. I can’t tell now if they were happy ones, or not. I felt very emotional after my first tattoo as well. It might be just a shock thing for my poor INFJ personality.



And when it’s over, you want another one.