“Thea, Thea, Thea, Thea, Thea! Thea-a-a-a!”
Wren’s shaking her best friend and her flatmate, and finally with a flail of arms and an enraged roar Thea Martin emerges from under her duvet.
“What the sodding hell is wrong with you, Leary?!”
“Thea, Thea, Thea!”
“What?!” Thea’s voice reaches the tonality of an elephant’s through-the-trunk holler.
“Thorington, Thorington, Tho-o-o-orington! Radio!”
Wren’s still having trouble expressing herself, and she points at the wall. Her room is behind the wall, and Thea rolls her eyes.
“What? What about your favourite Mr. Shagalicious Voice Thorington? What was he talking about in this show? Ants? Pants? Marmite sandwiches?” Thea’s voice is venomous.
“Lunch!” Wren hollers and falls face down into Thea’s opulent bedding.
“Sure… He talks about all sorts of rubbish on his science show. What’s with bloody hysterics at seven o’clock in the morning?”
There’s a mumble coming from under Wren’s squished face, and Thea pats the orange curly head. She gets it, though. The bloke has the voice any warm blooded human would have a crisis from. Given Thea doesn’t get what he’s talking about 90% of the time, but Wren with her three science degrees says he’s super smart. Thea often wonders whether Wren, who clearly gets off from the content, even notices the voice. If Thea needed stimulation, she would of course just imagine him say ‘turn around and bend,’ but Wren Leary probably just has long sciency discussions with him in her head. The chick is distressingly asexual. Given no one knows what he looks like, but still. Thea prefers to imagine him the way she likes them – tattooed and shaven-headed, on a bike, maybe, and definitely with arms like logs – but he’s probably a long lost twin of Boris Johnson.
There’s more muffled babbling from under Wren, and Thea is starting to suss something out.
“He invited you to lunch?!” she asks.
Leary resurfaces, probably for air, and boggles her eyes. Knowing her well, Thea moves away. Just in time, because Wren’s typical arm flailing starts.
“I rang the show! Seven times in the last six months! He’ll think I’m a stalker!” Wren squeaks and pulls at her hair.
The hair is ace, Thea would so use it to pick up blokes. Wren braids it and calls the curls ‘pests.’ Thea pries the curls out of Leary’s crooked fingers and starts patting the ginger’s head. The chick calms down and starts purring – like a cat. Works every time.
“So you called the show?”
“Yes. During the phone calls sections, nothing odd! And we discussed the topics. Blimey, he makes the best topic choices! And last night’s episode was on my thesis topic, and I rang them up, they patched me in, and we chatted! He is so—”
Wren emits a sound of a firmly squeezed rubber chicken and plops on the bed again.
“Yeah, OK… And he invited you to lunch? That’s odd, right?”
“No, nothing odd! It’s an official radio lunch, I’ve gotten a call from the station secretary. There will be other people there too! Maybe. I don’t know for sure. But it’s a thing. I mean, they do it there, a lot. Invite peeps who participate in the shows. Last month there was this lady from Essex, and she shared her gardening tips, so they invited her to a lunch with the hosts of Your Garden Show, and—”
Leary continues droning in the background, and Thea is scratching her head. She’s lost interest by now. There is only one perk to this whole story. For once, Wren can be shaken out of her androgynous baggy pants and jumpers a la potato sack, and dressed up. Thea wants to dress up Wren. The chick’s like a model shrunk to 0.75 size – long pins and no tits. Ice cream stick. Best body to dress up. Men generally pay Leary as much attention as to a fire hydrant, so Thea sees it as a challenge. Thea likes challenges.
“Oh, and I’m spending the night at Lan’s tonight,” Thea interrupts Wren’s mumbles. “So if you want to bring your Brian Cox home—”
Even Thea knows Brian Cox.
Wren expresses her loud righteous indignation. Thea chuckles and goes to the kitchen to make breakfast.
Wren’s shaking so much her teeth are chattering. Her two biggest regrets are: A. That she let Thea talk her into buying skinny jeans and a stripy jumper a la Warhol. She feels inadequate out of her protective layers. B. She regrets she agreed on this lunch altogether. She’ll go there and embarrass herself. And her hero will know she’s Ms. Thick Thickity Thickface from Thicktown, Thickannia!
The thing is that she was safe from her usual social anxieties because she didn’t know the bloke, couldn’t see him, and most importantly, he couldn’t see her. And if anything, she could always hang up and never talk to him again. And now she will have to talk to him! And there will be no escape! And it will be horrible!
John Crispin Thorington, with his PhDs in thermophysics, media, and communication, is everything Wren wants in a conversation companion. He’s intelligent; he has a wicked dry sense of humour; he knows his stuff. His show is entertaining, educational, and provocative. And now Wren will go there, will be completely tongue-tied, and he will know she isn’t the smarty pants she’s shown herself – and it will be horrible!
She’s finishing her PhD in astrophysics, and during her phone calls they had the best discussions Wren has ever had in her life. Every time after his show she would stretch on her bed, pleasant tingles running down her spine, from her properly sated brain, and she would feel so bloody good! What else does one need?
Wren’s entering the hall of the office building with the radio station, when her mobile rings, the Tardis landing noise from her ringtone bouncing off the wall and the tall ceiling. Under a judging glare from the receptionist Wren strangles the device. And then she sees that the number on the screen is the station.
“Ms. Leary, I’m calling from the office of The Misty Mountains Science Show. Dr. Thorington asked me to apologise but your lunch has to be rescheduled. We understand it’s the very last moment, but the circumstances prevent Dr. Thorington from meeting with you. Would you be available at some point next week?”
Wren’s frozen in the middle of the hall. OK, maybe she was bricking it, but that is sodding unfair! She was that close to actually meeting the bloke! That close! All habdabs aside, she loves the man! Sodding hell!
Wren mumbles in response, and after a few phrases – polite and indifferent from the secretary, and sad and listless from Wren – they arrange the new date for the lunch. In two weeks. Wren’s ready to cry.
She hangs up and is torn between actually letting herself sob a bit, and going to the nearest coffee shop and devouring a giant slice of cake.
“Can I help you, miss?” the receptionist calls to her, and Wren decides that a giant slice of cake it is.
And then the lift doors open, and a man steps out.
When Wren was five she got hit by a car. It wasn’t too bad, she just ended up on the ground and she broke her left arm. Altogether, the experience wasn’t that traumatic.
She feels exactly the same way right now.
She’s never in her life seen anyone sexier. To think of it, he might be the first man Wren has ever noticed in unadulterated terms of being fit. And isn’t he, dearie? Yes, he is, yes, he is. 6’4” of a massive body, wide shoulders, torso of a distinctly triangle shape, long legs, and a mane of dark hair. And glasses! Wren gulps loudly. He’s wrapping a long stripy scarf around his neck, while balancing a messenger bag on one arm, and pushing the other one into a sleeve of his peacoat. Altogether he looks like hipster Batman! With his brainy specs and black jumper underneath his black coat. The dark denim sits in the best possible way on his long strong legs. Wren’s dizzy.
What sort of magic is this?!
Wren’s gaping, he steps out of the lift and freezes in front of her. Her head would hardly reach his chin, and now he’s looking down at her.
Maybe, Wren’s sick. What other reason can there be? Surely, there have been equally sexy men in her proximity before. Why is this one different?!
“Um…” Did she just make a noise?!
She needs to stop! She needs to turn around and ‘basically run.’ Just as Doctor ordered. Just as she always does when there’s a possibility of human interaction.
He makes a step forward towards her and gives her a wide smile.
Did Wren mention he has a beard? No, she didn’t. Because she only just noticed. It’s thick, black, and Wren wants a burn from it on her arse. What?! Wren asks her brain. “Beard burn. On your arse. From rubbing,” explains the brain and then asks Wren’s fanny to elaborate. Her fanny elaborates. Wren’s only happy she’s wearing an antiperspirant.
Wait, what’s he doing? Why is he standing in front of her, smiling? And what is this gesture he’s making? Looks like he’s drinking from an invisible mug. And now he’s pointing at something behind her. She turns and looks. It’s a Starbucks.
Wren feels just like a Newton. Thud onto the top of the head… and a revelation! He’s just invited her to a cup of coffee.
She looks at him again, and he points at his throat. And makes a dry coughing noise.
“Oh you can’t talk!” she exclaims, and he smiles wider. And nods. And then points at Starbucks again.
Wren doesn’t understand what’s happening, but she’s not going to refuse!
They walk out, and then she taps his sleeve. He silently chuckles, his shoulders jump up, and he points at his ear and does thumb-up.
“Oh…” Wren blushes furiously. “Sorry. You do hear just fine. I was going to say, can we go to the coffee shop around the corner? I had a wonky day, and I need cake, and Starbucks just has this rubbish that taste like cardboard and costs like everything hipster.”
His shoulders shake in a glorious full-body laughter. He nods and loops his arm. Oh. Wren’s senses weren’t prepared for the warmth, and the smell of some expensive cologne, and the obscene images that filled her noggin right away. Blimey.
They have coffee, and have the strangest conversation Wren’s ever had in her life. He’s clearly not mute. He doesn’t know the silent language. So, it feels as if Wren’s playing charades.
The first answer is that he has a cold and lost his voice. He does work at the radio station, but she doesn’t manage to figure out what he does. Something with computers. He mimics typing on a laptop. Wren tells him about her lab, and he seems sincerely interested. It’s odd. Men rarely are.
There’s something liberating about him not talking, to think of it. Somehow Wren is only 45% flustered. The usual stats in a conversation with a moderately attractive male is 98%. In any other circumstances, a man that attractive wouldn’t be able to even ask her for time. He’d receive a squeak and then the view of her disappearing in the distance.
She finds out his name is John, he writes it on a napkin, and she is half conscious from randiness from watching his large masculine hands move. He has gorgeous wrists too, a stylish Tag Heuer on his right one, and there’s black hair on his forearms. He took off the coat, but left the scarf.
There are also things she found out on her own. For example, he’s clearly a sweet tooth. He munches three slices of cake while she’s still working on her first one. He also puts sugar in his coffee, and Wren wonders what magical sport could he possibly do to stay in such an ace shape. The jumper on him is thin enough for 10% of her brain to fantasise about his pectoral muscles while she’s telling him about her thesis.
Thankfully, he isn’t hard to understand – as unexpected and astonishing as what he’s delegating is. A. He stretches his open hand to her, and she puts hers on his large hot palm. It feels wicked! And then he rubs her knuckles with his thumb. In case Wren misinterpreted it, he then proceeds to step B. That would be pulling at her hand, and when she leans to him over the small table, he kisses her cheek. With an appropriate pause, which would allow Wren to refuse. Wren considers and slightly tilts her head allowing him access. His nose brushes at her cheekbone. Wren’s toast.
She has nothing to say anymore. She’s just staring at him. Step C is him getting up and stretching his hand to her again. With a smile. She gets up, he pulls her in, and Wren decides it’s that kind of day.
She splays her hands on his chest and claws at it.
“Can’t believe it’s happening…” she mumbles, feeling like a character in a romcom. Who says rubbish like this?
He smiles at her, looking at her with a jolly twinkle in his eyes, and she chooses to interpret this as a strange joke from the universe – and a chance for a one-off with a gorgeous specimen.
She grabs her coat and pulls him to the exit. He isn’t resisting.
Through the cab drive Wren is blabbering. Retelling the mad blathering would take too long, but the gist is that she never has one-offs, and that he’s a sexy beast, and… sod it all!
They enter her flat, and he finally kisses her. Her head fills up with some pleasant buzzing and some pink sparkly mist, and she’s pushing his coat off his shoulders. The scarf follows – and then the rest of his clothes.
Wren has to concede she’s an imbecile – whatever she’s imagined under those clothes is inadequate to the lush piece of man she finds underneath. She has a moment of ‘what is a man like this doing in my bed?’ but she loses the train of thought pretty quickly because he flips her on her stomach and starts rubbing his beard to her buttock. Wren would ask herself whether he could read minds, but she’s too busy panting. He gently bites the bum as well, and Wren moans.
The man is a hurricane. A silent, heavy, scorching hurricane! Wren has shagged seven men in her life. She most definitely isn’t thinking of either of them right now and comparing in her head. This experience is as far and beyond her previous clumsy dalliances as Pluto!
As he’d ‘explained’ to her by the door – using his five fingers – he has five condoms in his wallet… and they use them all. Wren’s never in her life had that much sex in the course of eight hours! And all of it silently! Well, from his side that is, because she’s been mewling, moaning, hollering, crying out, chanting his name, and giving orders. Yes, orders! She wasn’t aware of it before, but apparently she’s capable of commanding a man to kneel in front of her. The feral glimmer in his blue eyes and his fake obedience with which he lowered his immense body on the carpet in front of her bed were among top five highlights of her day. Possibly a month. Whom is she kidding? Her whole sexual history.
In the morning of the next day Wren wakes up lying across his stomach. He’s sound asleep, hair scattered on her pillows, one arm bend. Somehow the view of his relaxed, half curled fingers affects Wren most. Maybe because she knows how two of these fingers feel sunk into her fanny. The answer is – they feel divine.
Wren slides off him and sits on the bed, pressing the sheet to her flat chest.
“I’m still going to be needing that lunch in two weeks,” he says and opens his eyes.
Wren emits a shrieky squeal and falls off the bed onto her back. Her spine complains, and she’s staring at him from below. He’s laughing and stretches his arms from the bed. He pulls her up – his lips suspiciously puckered and his lashes fluttering.
“I lost my voice yesterday morning. But I reckon it’s back,” he purrs and smirks lopsidedly.
“You’re John Thorington!” she bellows.
“Enchanté,” he deadpans and starts purposefully pulling her to his lips.
Wren’s still buffering.
“And you – are Wren Leary,” he murmurs and his lips brush at her cheekbone. “I only connected the dots when we were falling asleep, and you muttered something about the cancelled radio lunch.”
“But… what… how…”
She pushes him away, and he stops. Wren needs to think! He needs to stop being so fit! And so distracting! If he thinks his unnaturally good looks in the morning, slightly flushed cheekbones, and shiny eyes will make her forget— What was she talking about?
She can’t help it! His lips are right there, and he wasn’t afraid to use them last night! She snogs him, he topples her into the sheets, and she wraps her legs around him. The feeling of his rock hard buttocks under her heels is already very much familiar, and so very rewarding! Wait! They have no Durex!
He seems to have arrived at the same revelation, since he rises above her on his elbows and kisses the tip of her nose.
“Pharmacy?” Wren offers, and he guffaws.
“Breakfast, then pharmacy.”
“Can we talk during breakfast?” Wren asks. “I’m a big fan.”
“I’ve noticed.” He suggestively wiggles his eyebrows.
“I didn’t know it was you! I’m a fan of the show!” She decides to make it clear. She’s no groupie!
“I know,” he chuckles. “I’m teasing. And before I sussed out who you were, I thought Ms. Wren Leary from Central London was a middle age school teacher. You’re very proper on the phone.”
He doesn’t need to voice out the continuation of this thought. She knows she was very im-proper in bed last night. What can she do? He has a strange effect on her.
One thing for sure: now that she’s seen him pant and shake while climaxing underneath her, his eyes squeezed tight, and his fingers sunk into her hips, she isn’t at all intimidated to talk to him about Bose-Einstein statistics.