You are having luncheon with the interns, meaning the five postgrads you met before, Lan, and two more blokes finishing their degrees at uni. It is all light and fun. They give you their half arse ‘come, stay with us’ spiel, and you pretend to be impressed, and then you can actually enjoy tacos and chat. Until the topic of relationship arises.
Alice, the girl who told Lan that you have something going on with Dr Sexy, is looking at you askew, and you squirm on your chair. Lan helps you escape the unpleasant conversation, bombarding others with the newest gossips from the cooler area. Your undetermined romantic status forgotten, everyone loudly discusses some bloke chatting up some bird, neither of them familiar to you.
After the luncheon you pull Lan aside.
“Thank you for covering my arse, just there.” He chuckles.
“Welcome, my friend, but it comes with a price.” You’re smiling.
“Oh really? And what is it?”
“Favour for a favour, Wren. You need to introduce me to Killian Durinson. I’ve seen you all chummy with the Durinson brothers at the last year Christmas party at uni, and I am begging you…” He stops and looks at your face. You are probably greenish.
“I am not friends with them any more, a lot happened, and then…”
“Oh wait, is that what you meant when you said one shouldn’t date their friends?..” You nod, suppressing nausea. “And there I thought you are a smart girl, Wren! In what universe is Phil Durinson ever a good idea?” A neurotic giggle erupts out of you.
“And Killian too. But now that you mentioned it, it all makes so much sense with him…” Lan gives you a pensive look.
“And now you’re shagging their uncle.”
Well, there isn’t much point to deny it. In a few hours at the Tea Thing you might be announcing it to all the Riverdell.
The meeting with Elwig goes well. You wrap up the project discussion, set up the email exchange in a week, and sign couple more papers. You’re constantly peeking at the grandfather’s clock by the wall. You really don’t need to stay here till three forty five…
“Are you in a hurry, Wren?” He smiles.
“Oh, I’m sorry, just admiring the clock. Comtoise?”
He’s very pleased and goes into a long description of how he acquired such precious piece of antiques. The cursed piece’s minute hand is passing number eight. Bugger, bugger, bugger, let me out!
“Well, I have to thank you again for your visit to the Rivendell Institute, and express our hope to see you soon again, Miss Leary.”
He shakes your hand and gives you his usual little bow. You are backtracking to the door… and slam into John’s wide chest. Bollocks.
The chest you recognise immediately. You have woken up this morning in exactly this position, except his massive erection was pressing into your buttocks. And last night you were stretched on his bed, and he was pressing you into the sheets… Stop, stop, not thinking about it! Not a single bloody thought about his hips pounding into you! Fuck…
You turn around and smile. It’s probably a very shaky smile. He lifts one corner of his delectable lips. He doesn’t say anything, and you guess it’s up to you now. Where are you going to go now? Is it “John” or “Dr Thorington”? You feel tempted to go with “sugarplum” and enjoy the shock on his face. Although, knowing him he might call you “sweetheart” and smooch you in front of Elwig.
“Oh, hello…” That’s croaking, Wren! You just croaked.
“Morning.” Bloody hell, does he have to enjoy this so much?
“We are done here, so I’m leaving Dr Elwig in your talented hands.”
Yikes. You close your eyes. It’s because you still don’t have that filter, and you have been thinking about his indeed talented hands. And the magnificent things they can do to you. For example, that one trick when he curls his long index finger sunk deep into you and rubs the… Ahhhh, you need air!
You rush through the door, stride into the nearest washroom, and press your back into a wall. You have an hour to figure out how you’re going to behave near him in front of other people. At this stage it’s obvious if you don’t develop some sort of a coherent policy, you’re going to fucking embarrass yourself in front of everybody. You’re flustered, trembling, and want to jump him right there. What? No, you don’t, you made love three times already today. Fuck it, Wren, had sex! Not made love!
You splash some cold water on you face and stare at your reflection. Cheeks burning, eyes bright, pupils dilated. You can do it, Wren. You won the Rivendell Institute over, you charmed Hugo Elwig, you can behave mature and confident at the Tea Thingie. You just have to make a decision and follow through. The problem is you really don’t know what to do.
You are going back to your room and change. A very nice A-line burgundy skirt and a yellow blouse with little boats embroidered on it. Cute ballet shoes and an elegant cardigan. You’re putting on your coat when Thea calls to wish you luck.
“Will I see you after the party, Wren?” Her tone is suggestive.
“I don’t know.” You’re fighting with the clasp on your handbag. “Probably not.”
“Go get him, tigress.”
Oh, you are planning to.
The tea party is held in a big hall, large round tables covered with white tablecloths, cups and of course cursed saucers, platters and cake stands. Everything looks amazing, and you compliment it to Elwig, who met you by the entrance. He smiles.
“We thought it is good way for all the employees to bond and mingle occasionally. The Institute is so large that not everyone is familiar with all their colleagues.”
Everyone just seems to wander around, the seats aren’t assigned, so people just pick a seat and chat with whoever is near them. You are approached by some of those who heard your presentation, and you’re quickly sucked into the whirlpool of introductions and small talk. Soon enough you’re sitting at a table, an elderly professor whose lectures you attended first year is pouring you tea, and another of the researchers of the Institute is suggesting to try the tarts. People come and go, balancing the cups in their hands. Lan saunters by and winks to you. The Thrandon pedigree shows, he looks like he was born with the bloody saucer in his hand.
You manage to relax and actually start enjoying it, when you hear John’s voice. You sadly think that your radar is now forever calibrated to immediately distinguish his low rumble in a cacophony of voices. You turn and look. He’s amiably chatting with a group of older scientists. One of them claps him on the shoulder. John lifts his brow and obviously delivers a joke. Everyone is laughing, and a lady pats his hand covering his elbow. He has a peculiar way of folding his hands on his chest. He doesn’t cross them, just supports one elbow with the other hand, while the fingers of the first one are enveloped above the other elbow. How much of a fangirl are you if you noticed this habit? You are hopeless, Wren Leary.
He lifts his eyes and meets your gaze. The lips twitch, and you hastily turn away. The hour really wasn’t enough. But you think “Dr Thorington” it is. You are not ready.
“Ogling your man?” Lan slides on a chair in front of you. You breathe out in relief.
“No, agonizing over our status actually.” He sips from his cup. He’s such a beautiful creature. The piercing blue eyes, the cupid bow lips, silken blond hair in a ponytail at his back.
“I am going to play Fairy Godmother and will hook you up with Killian Durinson, even if it is the last thing I do.” You are smiling to him.
“Oh, Wren, you are a treasure!” He hands you a platter with biscuits. “A shortbread?” You have burned a lot of energy this morning, you really need some butter goodness.
You’re chewing in friendly silence, and he’s scanning the hall.
“Do you want me to tell you what your man is doing right now?”
“No, I am an independent woman, I don’t care.” He lifts his brow. How can he be single doing that? “Yes, please, Lan, be a sweetie, and tell me what not-so-much-my-man is doing?” He is laughing but then gets suddenly serious.
“He’s chatting with Elwig about you.”
“What? Why?” you squeak.
“They are tense, Elwig is accusing, Thorington is reeling, and they both looked at you at least three times already.” You’re losing the battle with the desire to turn around. “Don’t turn, they both are looking at you right now. Wow…”
“What?!” you hiss.
“Elwig has just jeered something though his teeth. And Dr John looks as if he’s going to punch him.”
You swirl around and see the two men in a death staring contest. Fuck.