This is it, my lovelies. This is the chapter. This is their happy ending (although not an ending per se).
There will be more to their story. There is couple more plot twists I have prepared for them; there are characters to talk about, loose ends to tie, and hot nights to describe. There are still the one-shots that I’ve stashed from the time when the story was first published on FanFiction site (I know you want to see the triplets, and Unna of course.)
But I feel that this chapter, below the title, is what we were all waiting for since that first one-shot titled “Camping” in my collection of short stories We Are Scattered Through Time and Space. It’s been four years of my life, and it’s been a journey. For me, and for the characters.
This John – Dr T, Dr Delicious, The Sun and Moon of Modern Neurosurgery – has been, and will always be my first true modern AU Thorin Oakenshield. And this Wrennie is the most honest, genuine, imperfect Wren I’ve ever written. If I didn’t love them all equally, I’d say these two are my favourite protagonists.
I hope this chapter will be as satisfying for you to read as it was for me to write.
P.S. And remember, there will be at least ten more chapters 😉 Hope you enjoy!
Four months later…
You like sleeping with John. He’s just the right density, not bony, not soft – warm and firm, and perfectly furry in all the right places. In his sleep he tends to wrap around you like an octopus, and you’re properly OK with it. There’re couple positions that you especially enjoy, such as curling in a ball, pressing your bum into his crotch. Since you’re significantly shorter, his arm doesn’t fall asleep under your head, and you get all the advantages of his snuggling. Or sometimes you like being the big spoon, and press your forehead above his shoulder blades, into the nape, into just the right spot.
There are issues, of course. His place, which he moved into a month after your break up, feels unlived in. He explained to you that he wanted to start from scratch, but somehow it just never became anything more than a perfect illustration from a home decour magazine.
The bed in your flat is too small for him. Lan and Thea bought it for you when you moved in; and although the two of you can fit when sleeping, shagging on it is really difficult. You always seem to end up on the floor. It also squeaks, loudly and annoyingly, and you wouldn’t want your neighbours to get jealous of how many hours in a row this concert continues.
You snuggle into the pillow, without opening your eyes. It’s warm and smells nice under the duvet, and you stretch your hand in search of the scorching skin, and maybe furry chest, but there’s… nothing. You stick your nose out… and catch the delicious aroma of coffee. He’s cooking breakfast in your kitchen. You’re torn between going there to ogle him – it’s a gorgeous spectacle, him in his pants, and bless that arse! – confident movements, glasses; and staying in the balmy warmth, with the smell of his cologne on the sheets, and bliss coursing your body after the three rounds the two of you went for last night.
He sticks his head into the room and smiles to you widely.
“Morning.” God, this voice needs to be bottled and prescribed as an antidepressant.
“Morning.” You smile back. He reappears in the room with a tray with coffee, fruit, and his favourite toast with marmalade.
“What are we doing today, Ms Leary?” he asks, stirring sugar in your coffee. “It’s Saturday, you had a long week, and you…” He kisses the tip of your nose. “You require spoiling,” he purrs, and one eyebrow jumps up.
“I did have a long week,” you agree. You’re very pleased with yourself. The papers for the post-grad went through three days ago, and you do feel you deserve a bit of rest and perhaps celebrating.
“So, what do you want to do?” he asks handing a triangle of toast to you.
“Nothing. I want to do nothing. All day. With you.” And then you want to do him. Repeatedly. Something tells you he knows.
“Perfect. I know just the place for that.” He pats his thigh under the blanket, and you giggle.
Eventually you do get out of the bed, take shower – separately, otherwise you’d never leave the flat – and go for a walk. Nothing is exactly what the two of you do. You wander into shops, look at windows, talk, and laugh, and kiss. You take photos with your phone, there are couple of selfies together. The two of you laugh at how in order to fit into the screen either he has to scoot, or you need to stand on a bench. Eventually, he picks you up bridal style. The photos feature his sleeve and then the collar of his peacoat, because instead of taking pictures, the two of you are behaving endlessly inappropriately, snogging in the middle of a park.
You stop for lunch in some sarnie shop, all hipster and organic, and you laugh at the light disdain colouring his face. Tofu burger with yam mayo is clearly isn’t his first choice. They have ace coffee though, and the two of you are walking out with compostable cups bearing some hipster slogans.
There’s a vintage book shop in the next block, and you pull him in. It’s the passion for the both of you; and browsing books, talking nonstop, takes the solid second place in the top five things the two of you do best together – after shag, of course. He’s wonderfully well-read, with diverse, very non elitist taste; you are a binge reader. If he happens to know something you don’t he’s never condescending. And the discussions the two of you have are most stimulating.
He’s standing near a shelf, a fourth edition of his favourite Omar Khayyam in his hand. He knows the book like the back of his hand, and yet you see his eyes slide tenderly along the lines. It’s lying open on his large palm, and he’s so beautiful to you at the moment that your eyes prickle. He blindly stretches his hand to his cup he put on the ladder by the shelf, and takes a sip. And then the cup goes back, and he gently turns a page.
“I want to live with you,” you blurt out, and he looks at you above his reading glasses.
“You hate your flat, mine is too small. And I want to sleep with you every night. And wake up together. And eat dinner together. And we spend five nights a week together anyroad…” Your voice dies out, and you awkwardly cough. “I mean when you want to… When it’s time… I’m just letting you know that I already want it, that I’m… there…”
Great, Wrennie, just bleeding great. You started with overly direct, clumsy declarations, and ended it with choked mumbling, with questionable grammar. Well done.
He smiles to you softly, and you feel your nose twitch in the daft nervous tick.
“I too want to live with you.”
Oh sod it, that’s a relief. You sort of suspected he did, since he always eagerly agrees on spending a night together, but that wasn’t the most graceful of offerings, let’s face it. Plus there’s always your shared history.
“We should look at flats then?” His tone is more questioning than stating, and is adorably hopeful. You exhale and step to him. He readily puts the book aside, and you pressed your forehead into his chest. Blimey, you love him in this peacoat. You love him, period. The peacoat is just a bonus.
He wraps his arms around you and kisses the top of your head.
“And I feel like I want to marry you.” Oh look, Wrennie’s cork has popped, and now she’ll have to move to the Arctic to escape the consequences. He stops gently rocking you from side to side. You realise the previous statement requires an explanation.
You wince away from him, and rush to clarify. His face is unreadable, just eyes might be a bit widened.
“I mean, I just feel very good about our relationship now… Recently… I mean, it’s been great since day one, since we got back together, but it’s just glaringly obvious to me recently. I notice it, all the time, how ace it is, and how happy I am. And you!” you exclaim hurriedly. “You seem happy. I mean, I can’t know for sure, but that’s how it looks. And I don’t mean a wedding or something, but you know how when people get married they are hoping it’s forever? That’s how I feel. Like if I had to choose now, I’d say yes, and wouldn’t have a shadow of doubt. And it all can change any moment, but… And when people get married they know it too, yeah? That anything can happen, but they go for it, and I absolutely certainly would.” You’re out of breath, and you inhale sharply. “What I mean to say is that I love you…” Your voice breaks, and you puff some air out. “And I want to spend my whole life with you.”
“I love you too,” he answers slowly, and you give up a nervous chuckle.
“Right…” You cough purposefully. “Let’s just forget this mental outburst…”
“And I do want to marry you,” he interrupts you in a low voice, and you freeze and throw him an embarrassed look. “No, that’s not exactly it… I want to be your husband. And spend my whole life with you, just like you said. And…” He gives you a calm and earnest look. “And if and when you decide you’re ready, I’ll be here.”
“Ready for what?” you breathe out.
“Anything. Anything you want.” He smiles to you, and your breath hitches from how clearly you can see that he loves you. “I’m OK with any level of commitment, Wrennie, so you just let me know.”
“I want to be your wife.” There isn’t a single moment of hesitation. “I don’t want a big wedding, maybe no wedding at all. But I want rings. And couple photos, and a pretty dress. And I want some B’n’B somewhere not too far. And shagging for a week nonstop, and you calling me Mrs Thorington, and…”
“Bath,” he says suddenly, and you realise tears are running down your cheeks. Happy tears.
“What?” you croak. You still haven’t kissed him. You need to kiss him.
“We can go to Bath.” His eyes are the brightest you’ve ever seen them. Like a July sky on the sunniest day. “For a week after, and I promise to you…” His voice breaks as well, and you rush to him and hang on his neck. “I promise to call you Mrs Thorington at least two thirds of the time.”
There are tears in his eyes too, and you kiss him, and he squeezes you, pressing you in, whispering promises, which you believe, and words of love, which you return with all your heart.
To be continued…