“But are you going, Wren?” Thea’s eyes are drilling into you like the XPERT 80 Portable Radiography machine.
“I don’t know.”
“Of course, you are. What are you going to wear?”
“I don’t know.”
“How about that nice jersey dress you bought last month? It will be perfect for almost any location. Where is he taking you?”
“Are you going to knob him after that dinner?”
“I don’t know, Thea!” you growl, and hide your head under the pillow.
“Wren, I see an alarming lack of enthusiasm in you!” Thea’s tone’s judgemental. “You should be pissing happy right now. You broke the pattern! Changed the star alignments! You practically turned the universe upside down!”
“I got asked out, Thea.”
“By Dr. Delicious!” Oh, that’s new. “Wren, you got asked to a date by a man who doesn’t date. Ever. Who claimed it repeatedly. Who’s emotionally arsed up and endlessly mistrustful.” There’s a pause. “Bugger, Wren, you are in deep shite.” Now she gets it.
You pull your head from under the pillow. Thea’s contemplating your hair.
“I gather the reception went well? You came back super late with your shoes in your hands. Meaning you stood a lot, so you did talk to people, and didn’t sit sadly in a corner like a nobby-no-mates. Your hair’s all messed up. So I presume, there was a lot of vigorous dancing…” She’s deducing, you’re dreading her arse scary intuition.
Have you mentioned that Thea has this scary ESP when it comes to any sort of social life?
“Tell me, Wren, where did you go after the reception?” Her tone’s very stern. Bugger. Did you mentioned that she has an even better ESP for anything that has to do with sex? The stupidest thing to do is to try to lie to her.
She jumps at you and pulls the blanket off your head.
“Wren, you slag! You met up with Dr. Delicious after the reception!”
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
He slowly lifts his face and looks you in the eyes.
“Will you go on a date with me, Wren?” Yes, yes, yes, bloody hundred times yes!
“Is it a good idea though, Dr. Thorington?”
He straightens up and looks down at your with warm gleam of a smile in his blazing blue eyes.
“I think it is the best bloody idea ever.” You smirk. He smirks back.
And then he cups you face and lowers his lips to yours. You hold your breath. An inch away from your mouth he stops. Are you fucking kidding me? Is he teasing?
“Hm?” You look at him. He looks hesitant, and the old hurt of rejection stirs in you.
You grab the back of his head and pull him in. It’s so good that you raspily moan in the middle of a posh hotel lobby and press your whole body into him. There are probably two to four members of your earlier audience roaming around. To say nothing of the fact that you’re ruining Thea’s masterpiece that is your lipstick. Frenzied Peach is quickly disappearing. Some of it gets spread over his lips. But most of the upper lip coverage is probably on the way to his stomach now. That thing he does when kissing… Let’s say you’ll need couple hours in a bathtub tonight just to mollify your raging libido.
“Have a drink with me, Wren…” He’s whispering. “After the reception…”
His lips slide on your neck. Shite, there might be minors in here. You have a quick peek. It’s mostly empty, the receptionist’s purposefully ignoring you, and busily disappears in the back room.
“I don’t drink, Dr. Thorington.”
“Let’s have tea.” He’s smiling in your skin. You shake your head.
“Water? Pickle juice?” You guffaw.
And twist out of his arms.
“I’ll text you when I’m done in here. And if I’m not too tired.” You lift your index finger in what you think is a strict gesture, and he suddenly catches your hand with his hot palm and kisses the pulp of your finger. What did you get yourself into, Wren? You are so bloody out of your depth. He’s still holding your hand and now his thumb is caressing the inner side of your wrist. Bloody hell…
“Can I have your number, please?” You’re working properly hard trying to keep your voice from trembling.
“Don’t you have my card?” He places a small kiss where his thumb was a second ago.
“I probably lost it.” He smirks and lets go. Phew, that was getting really… what? You don’t even know how to describe the dizzy, heated, messy contortion of sensations he’s giving you. He pulls another card from his wallet. You decorously put it in your clutch.
“And if we do meet up after the reception, it’s not a date. We are just going for a cup of tea.” Wrennie is being all teacher-y. And a bleeding liar.
No, not going to do it anyroad. Hah! And now you have a reception to attend.
“Good evening, Dr. Thorington.” He lifts a mocking brow. Arrogant prick.
“Good night, Miss Leary.”
You need to fix your lipstick. And make sure it isn’t smeared all over your neck. He turns around but then you call him, “John?”
That’s your seductive, suggestive tone. If he had ears like a cat, they would so perk up right now. He spins on his heels.
“You should probably get rid of this lipstick on your beard.”
You demonstrate him your best catwalk U-turn and head to the washroom. You hear a throaty chuckle behind you.
The party indeed goes well. You have half a glass of champagne, which for you is an equivalent of slightly pissed – maybe two to three glasses of wine or so for a normal person. Champagne is worse, since it’s fizzy. You chat, you mingle, you dance. A lot. The shoes are killing you, but it’s so worth it. The staff in the Rivendell Institute is lovely, and you are almost considering Dr. Elwig’s offer to stay. You’ll think about it later.
At some point you run into a tall blond guy with a fag at the balcony. He jumps away and hides it behind his back.
“Oh, it’s you…” He sounds relieved. He looks weirdly familiar. But just look at those blue eyes, and the Cupid lips, and the lashes!
“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.” You can’t shake ff the feeling you’ve seen him somewhere.
“No worries. I’m hiding a cigarette like a spotty teenager. How pathetic is that? And my Dad is not even here. It’s a force of habit, can you imagine?” He has a wonderful sincere laugh. He’s very easy on the eyes too. My oh my. But something in his face makes you uncomfortable.
“Want one?” That’s it!
“Are you Elliot Thrandon’s son?”
“Guilty.” His smile is sad. He pushes the fag in the corner of his mouth and stretches his hand towards you, “Lan.” That is not the name that’s floating somewhere in your slightly inebriated mind. “It’s a nickname, the real name is too posh and toffy for me.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Wren Leary. You rocked the auditorium today.”
“You work here?”
“Yep, I’m the black sheep in the Thrandon family.”
“Kudos to you in my books for that.” Yikes, shut your gob, Wren. He gives out more of his silver laughter.
“I like you, Wren Leary.”
It’s past midnight, and you’ve sobered up again. You’re exhausted and carry your nude pumps in your hand. Let’s face it, you stayed as long as you could partially to be too knackered to avoid the siren call of John’s card in your clutch.
You plod into the lift, and the doors are closing behind you. At the last moment a hand slams on the edge of the door, and with a mournful squeak it opens. You turn around to see who it is, when a long familiar arm snakes around your waist, and you are pulled into an absolutely indecent kiss with none other but Dr. John Crispin Thorington.