“Are you gay, Lan?”
He stops chewing his biscuit and lifts a black brow. That’s quite a move, to be honest! Almost as good as John’s. Please, say yes!
“You see, I’ve had some unpleasant experiences later, mistaking being chummy with someone for… you know…” You’re mumbling. “And you never should date your friend hoping it’ll turn into something more… And I mean, you are gorgeous, and I’m super comfortable with you, I want to be friends, and…”
“Yes, I am.”
“Oh Mother of God, thank you!”
He’s laughing. “Never been thanked for it before.”
You take another sip of your tea.
“I do feel really comfortable with you, Lan. It’s rare for me lately. Men frighten me,” you whisper in a mock conspiratorial manner. He chuckles.
“Do you also have a jealous boyfriend?” Do you, Wren?
“I’m not sure what I have. It’s complicated.”
“When isn’t it?” He’s staring at his ginger nut.
“Nasty breakup, eight months ago, dry spell.” Really, with these looks? Hell, what’s wrong with men these days?
“Nasty breakup, seven months ago, something barmy going on now.” Yep, that’s about sums it up.
“Does this something barmy involve a brilliant but stroppy legend of neurosurgery?” He gives you a mischievous side glance. “Alice told me.”
Alice is one of the postgrads. No wonder, after all the parading he did in front of them and Dr. Elwig.
“That was mostly for Elwig’s sake. He suspects Dr. Hugo wants to knick me for his center. I feel so desirable right now!” You mockingly press your palms to your chest and flutter your eyelashes. Lan laughs.
“You do realize that Elwig is like that with everyone?”
“I bloody hope so. The last thing I need is another of those stories!” Oops.
Lan’s giving you the brow again. Shite.
You start muttering, although knowing your ability to talk yourself into deeper shite, you really should shut your gob. “Recently I get hit on mostly by older sods. Something is wrong with the universe.”
“Hm…” He’s studying you. Don’t tell him about his father, don’t tell him about his father. “So, you are after all the girl my Dad had his nose broken over.”
Fuck. wait, what?!
“Dr. Thorington fixed my father’s highly cherished profile.” He turns his head sideways and points on his own nose bridge. “The treasure of the Thrandon family. I’m sure a good plastic surgeon can return it to its former glory, but the horrible crime will never be forgotten.”
You are mortified. And… excited. What the fuck? How is this knuckle-dragging, misogynistic, barbaric behaviour a good thing, Wren? And still, awwww, he fought for your honour. Poppycock, he was marking his territory again. Pillock. And it’s not even about you, it’s some old beef. Oh, by the way…
“What is it between your Dad and Thorington by the way?”
“My mom.” What now?
His face is expressionless. “Literally. She had switched between the two three times. Couldn’t choose.”
Ahhhh! You feel like bashing your head into a wall. No, please, not another brutal convoluted story in his past. You are so not ready to deal with it!
“She chose my dad eventually. Better family, bigger mansion, I suppose.” He sounds so cold. “Died five years ago.” Now you might be a bit less comfortable with him.
“We are quite a family, Wren. He hated her for loving Thorington, because if she were ever capable of any human emotions, it was only towards our good Dr. John. She hated me for ruining her health and looking like my father. He hated Thorington for obvious reasons. Thorington, I suppose, just despises us all. Never loved her, you know?”
Guh, that’s the limit of your endurance. You drop your head on the table and groan. Kill me now… Wait.
“What do you mean she hated you? You are her son!”
He laughs joylessly.
“Her cancer started after the complicated birth. She wasn’t a very affectionate woman anyways. I envy you since you think that a mother is supposed to love her child.”
“I am an orphan.”
“Shite, sorry, Wren.” He’s sincerely upset.
“Did I win the prize?” you deadpan.
“I thought it’s the competition for the most pathetic family circumstances.” He starts laughing.
“I still won. My mother was a cut throat gold-digger.”
“I never had one. I want my trophy.”
You are laughing together now. It becomes so uncontrollable that you have to hang on to each other.
And then you choke on your laughter. Judging by John’s snarl, he’s not enjoying the view of you wrapped around a gorgeous young bloke.
“Dr. Thorington, we were just talking about you.” The laughter is still rolling in Lan’s voice. Yep, you both are demented. You really shouldn’t but you just can’t help it. You giggle. Oh great, that’s obviously hysterics.
“I am flattered.” Are you now, John? Then why are your fists clenched? “Miss Leary, could I have a word with you in private?”
You let go of Lan’s shoulders you were hugging and get up like a badly behaved pupil called into a headmaster’s office. John opens a door leading inside for you – you were sitting in a roof garden – and you’re demurely walking in. And then you give Lan a glance over your shoulder. He’s hardly controlling a smile. You have to bite your lip too.
You mince by John and feel his heavy stare at the back of your neck. He picks up your elbow and almost drags you in an empty office. Oh, look, there’s a convenient desk here again. Shall we reenact the previous similar encounter?
Except, this time it’s his turn to hiss and point his finger into your face, apparently.
“I do not enjoy being mocked, Miss Leary.” His eyes are dark and dangerous. “Your attentions to other men are your personal business, you haven’t promised me anything, but I will not be ridiculed.” You’ve noticed that the angrier he gets, the posher his speech is. It’s when he is turned on, that it is all swearing and muttering.
“I apologise, Dr. Thorington, we were behaving childishly, but you just looked so grumpy.” You flutter your lashes. He looks flabbergasted. What? You know long words too.
“Grumpy?” You nod. He snarls, “I looked… grumpy?!”
He emits a growl and pulls you into a steamy kiss. Oh yes, Dr. Delicious has buttons and you seem to be learning where to push.
He backs you into a wall and bites your bottom lip. Fuck, it’s so hot! His skin heats up with an astonishing speed under your hands. You slide your fingers under the starched collar of the shirt, and he moans into your mouth.
There is probably something wrong with his noggin. Does he get turned on from being jealous? He obviously has vast unresolved trust issues! How’s seeing you with another guy an aphrodisiac for him? Or is he trying to remind you now why you don’t need to look elsewhere?
Because it’s working. Mommy…
Your knees are buckling, and he picks you up and flops you on a nearest lab table. Let’s hope there is nothing biohaz here. There are people behind that door! It’s not even locked! Oh, for god’s sake, whatever!
Oh wait… C’mon, Wren, you can do it. Don’t fuck it up! It’s time. You grew up, and you can build something instead of making immature spasmodic decisions and attaching yourself to a first guy who show you a bit of warmth and affection. Even if nothing comes out of this – let’s face it, absolutely mental – idea of relationship, you need to do it right this time. You need some integrity and openness, and you really need to shag him… No! Not the priority now. Fuck, you are so wet right now!
You press your palms on his chest and give him a small but assured push. He lets go of your mouth and lowers his head breathing laboriously. His palms are on the table, on the sides of your hips, and the resemblance to the last time is uncanny. You cup his face and lift it to look into his eyes.
“I do not give my attentions to other men.” You smile to him. “Although I indeed haven’t promised you anything, you did invite me to dinner. That would be unfair. Although I do not remember you confirming the offer.”
Inhale, exhale… His sides rise and fall like on some giant wild cat after a chase. Blimey, what a beast… You can almost see cogs turning in that big head of his.
We are doing it right, John. Integrity, openness, and no running around like a flailing chicken. And no shagging until you are sure, Wren. Your lady parts emit a lamenting protest. Shut it, Miss Fanny, you are not in charge here!
He straightens up and smiles at you.
“Will you have dinner with me tonight, Wren?”
“I’d love to.”