Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 20. Happy Ever After

From the author to my readers:

Here it is, my lovelies – the final chapter. Three years, ninety four chapter, four companion pieces; more than 150K words; the very first modern pairing; the hottest smut; the biggest heartbreak. The longest journey; the favourite characters.

It started as a one-shot based on a prompt ‘camping’ on fanfiction.net. It went on hiatus. It has been moved from FF to my blog. It could have ended twice since then. It had had a different wedding in it; and then the protagonists had to part their ways – because I’ve grown and learnt in the years it took to write it; and I just couldn’t do it to my dear Wrennie. She grew up as well, into Dr. Leary, and not Mrs. Thorington. She changed from the woman who finds herself accidentally pregnant; into a woman who offers her wonderful, progressive, feminist husband to have a child. It could have ended on a melancholic but gingerly hopeful note – with her walking away from their relationship, and then perhaps giving it another chance – but it turned out there were still people reading the story…

And you made it all possible, my dear readers! You guided, supported, asked questions, mused, disapproved, and sympathized. And you gave Wrennie and Dr. T their happily ever after.

And I will never forget it. Thank you.

Katya

P. S. I always thought that giving the soundtrack to one’s writing is a cheap trick, but since it’s my last chance…

The songs that travelled with me through the whole story:

“If I Didn’t Know Better” Nashville for sex and dance; first proposed by RagdollPrincess on FF. There was no dance scene in the charity auction chapter, but I could just see them in my head, and feel the warmth of a touch of a hand.

“As Cold As It Gets” Patty Griffin a song that caught my attention as a background music to a Thorin fanvideo, and that travelled with me from my first Middle Earth stories into this modern AU. When it was time to crank up drama in the story, Patty was in my earphones.

“Closest I Get” Katie Hertz the sound of Wren’s heart and Wren’s love for John.

And when the story gained the second life, after Wren walked out on John: “Slow” Leonard Cohen. Sometimes, we all deserve the second chance.

***

{From now on “Official Town Business” will be take this webserial’s place and will be updated on Saturdays. I hope you might consider reading/following the story.}

A/N: Leave me a goodbye comment, my dear reader. I want to remember you forever.

Six years later…

{Companion piece “Triple Trouble”}

Ten minutes into the drive all four men of your life are asleep; and you and Unna are left to think your deep feminine thoughts alone. Judging by a foot constantly digging into your ribs, your six month old fetus of a daughter is busy planning her Olympic athlete career. You’re pondering that blasted article you’re supposed to submit to a certain peer reviewed journal. Given a choice you’d rather shovel fish guts. The second pregnancy – which eventually will be thrice less productive than the first one – is much more difficult for you as a scientist. All you want these days is to curl in an armchair with a good book – something by Tolkien preferably – and a cuppa; and damn the articles, experiments, and grants!

John stirs on his seat, and mumbles something in his sleep. Poor duckie, he hasn’t had proper kip in the last four years. Funny enough, he’d been suffering from insomnia since he was a teen, and he’s still taking it worse than you. Maybe, it’s because less time passed for you between the mad uni years – survived on caffeine and refined sugar – and taking care of three babies. Or maybe, it’s just because you’re a woman, and thus, generally more of a badarse.

Unna inside settles on punching your bladder with an elbow; and now you have to choose between suffering and squirming; and making a stop at the nearest garage – and risking at least one of the boys waking up – most likely Othin, of course.

You sigh and slowly drive off the motorway, following a sign pointing at the nearest loo. You park, and gently touch John’s shoulder. His eyes fly open. Panic readily slashes into the blue irises. OK, you’re exaggerating – it’s just mild terror. In the habit still left from the days when a hiccup of one baby in one room could wake up the other two in the other room, he silently mouths, ‘What?’

“I’ll be right back,” you mouth in return, and point through the window at the washroom sign. He nods.

You carefully climb out of the Rover, and half close the door. The smack will wake up at least two; and just a lock clicking is enough for Othin.

In the queue to get some water and crisps, you’re lazily studying your reflection in a fridge door. Couple years ago you started cutting your hair very short, and this morning you forgot to brush it. It’s standing on your head in a very peculiar way. You consider quickly buying a tacky brush with Frozen characters that you see on the counter and trying to rein the daft orange semi-curls. You are after all going to a wedding.

It’s Thea’s wedding, as shocking as it sounds. Jimmy had finally ‘worn her out’ – his words, not yours. It’s been as long for them as you and John have been together. Together-ish. Just like the two of you, Thea and Jimmy had their ups and downs; but while for you it’s been a rollercoaster, those two have been in a bloody blender. They seem to break up and make up every month. But hey, who are you to judge? You’ve dumped poor Dr. Sexy couple weeks before the wedding. You bet there will be a dramatic falling apart just after the honeymoon is over – and perhaps, another wedding right away. Or a couple.

Killian and Lan are coming too. Thea has become their NGBFF, and they are her ‘run-to household when Jimmy’s once again fallen from grace.’ They call her ‘our practice baby.’ Altogether, clearly there’s a harmonious arrangement there.

You still see a lot of her, but mostly when you have ‘you time’ away from your family. Babies terrify – and honestly speaking, disgust – Thea. Six-month old Thomas spitting up on her best Dior coat didn’t help the case. Quite often you and Thea are joined by Candice – now Candice Dwalinson. Her son is two now; and the three of you go out, dance, and drink – except you, of course – away from all that manky testosterone.

Well, since we’re going through the list of your closest relatives and friends, Phil gets an honourable mention as well. The poor sod is in the middle of his divorce. His American viper has caught him cheating, and will now sue his arse off. According to Killian – the two of you are insufferable gossips, and couldn’t care less – she hasn’t been exactly the picture of marital faithfulness, but the plonker got caught first. Worse so, it was a drunk party shag. With three chicks. There has been a sex tape in the making involved. He’s in deep shite.

You take your bag and head to the car. Predictably, there’re voices inside.

“Giraffe!” Dain’s yelling, pointing at the piece of paper in John’s hand.

“Cow!” Othin offers another option.

You climb in and look at the back seat.

“Da can’t draw,” Thomas offers you an explanation. Apparently, your old man decided that drawing a deformed looking animal and letting the boys guess what it was must be the most engaging activity.

You look at the drawing and snort.

“It’s a dog, isn’t it?” you join the game, and get the very John Thorington, Roger Moore style eyebrow. “Cat?” you try again, and he theatrically crumples the paper.

There’s a protesting shout from Dain. He’s in the collecting stage, ahead of his brothers – everything has to go on the wall. Especially anything that has been touched, breathed at, or looked at by their father. Not that Dr. John Crispin Thorington ever needed an ego boost, but he has three avid fans. For them, he’s god. You expect this next one will just join the club. You bet they absorb this adoration towards him through the amniotic fluid.

Dain receives the smoothed out masterpiece; and he pressed it to his chest. Thomas is eyeing it with jealousy, but he’s too much of a Thorington to beg. Othin is already distracted by a dog outside.

John turns on Octonauts for them. They have a ration of an hour of ‘screen time’ a day, and they immediately grow quiet, fully absorbed in the adventures of Peso the Penguin and the Spook Fish. You’ve seen – sometimes with one eye, another peering into your laptop – about six hundred times. You properly hate the bloody Spook Fish. 

When they’re watching telly, only a live T-Rex barging in could make them hear or see anything around them.

You start the car, and then John’s hot hand lies on your knee. You press your lips to hide a smile. It might still be an affectionate gesture, and not a hint on shag. Nope, it is definitely a hint on shag – he’s stroking your skin with his thumb.

“What is it, Dr. Thorington?” you ask in a nonchalant tone.

“Why does it have to be something, Dr. Leary?” He mimics the intonation. “It’s my wife’s knee. I’m allowed to touch it if it’s not interrupting her immediate activity.”

“Uh-huh,” you draw out. “And the fact that there has been none of… a certain unmentionable activity in our house for fifteen days has nothing to do with this.”

“Sixteen, but who’s counting,” he answers, and the palm shifts higher. “And you fell asleep despite our ‘plans’ twice in the last week.”

“Well, at least I haven’t fallen asleep mid-process,” you snort, and he chuckles.

“No, we aren’t that bad yet.” You know his shoulders are shaking in his full body laugh. “But I’m serious, Leary. We have three months of life left. Let’s live it in full.” He then yawns, which gains him a quick sardonic glare from you.

“May I remind you that in most cases it’s you who loses consciousness before anything can start?” you point out. “I did try to poke you on Tuesday. You were nonresponsive. And I had a new… outfit on.”

“Oh? Damn it.” He emits a theatrical groan. You decide to take mercy.

“It’s in my bag right now.” You bet he’s just preened up.

“What colour is it?” he asks in a tone of a boy inquiring about a toy car under a Christmas tree.

You decide it might be a nice new game.

“Remember that day you came back from Japan for the first time?” A pleased hum tells you he remembers. “The same red. And it’s two items.”

“Two items? Hm…” He pretends to ponder it. “What else can you tell me?”

“There’s a bow.” He has a mild bow kink. There’s a low rumble in the throat.

“Any buttons?”

“A lacing.”

“You’re spoiling me, Leary.” His voice is dropping lower.

“I’m only returning the favour.” You quickly cover his hand, and intertwine your fingers. “I feel properly spoiled on everyday basis.”

***

The boys are placed in a guest bedroom in Jimmy’s parents house; and you two are in the next one. You’re closing the door between the rooms, when his fingers wrap around your upper arm, and he pulls you in.

You press into him, as much as your stomach allows; and ogle the sexy smile playing on his lips.

He makes a step backwards; and you follow. He leans to a bedside table, and pushes a button on the radio. You Don’t Own Me by Dusty Springfield starts playing, and you burst into laughter. He clearly has prepared, while you were tucking the boys in.

“Interesting choice,” you murmur, and he theatrically picks up your hand in an invitation to a dance.

“There was either this, or Dylan. Jimmy’s parents still aren’t over Woodstock.”

“Oh, so your generation then?” you ask impishly.

“Don’t push it, Leary. I’m still capable of throwing you over my knee…” He wiggles his eyebrows. “That is if I don’t fall asleep standing up.”

You laugh, and the two of you start dancing.

Dancing is one of the things that he does best. Oh wait, that would be all things requiring physical coordination! Bollocks, whom are you kidding? He’s basically 87% of a perfect man. Alright, maybe 92%. You’re biased, though. You’re madly in love with the bloke.

You move closer, and hide your face in his chest. He wraps his arms around you; and you breathe in the cologne, and the familiar, endlessly dear smell of his skin, fresh and spicy.

You two dance a lot. It’s your thing. Other things are ‘your thing’ too – reading the paper together; taking the boys to book shops; buying each other house plants; his magnificent back rubs, and the acupressure you’re certified in and that is the only thing that helps with his migraines. But dancing is special – it’s intimate and raw and vulnerable and open. It’s talking without words; it’s sex in clothes – not that they’re always present during dancing; or stay on for long.

Suddenly, you feel your eyes prickle, and a few seconds later you sniffle. By then you two are just rocking side to side holding each other tightly.

“Alright, Leary?” he asks, and moves away slightly, to look into your face.

You give him a teary smile.

“I am… happy.” You sniffle again, and the following little laugh from you is somewhat shaky. “I might be soppy from sleep deprivation.”

He guffaws.

“We could go to bed,” he offers; and you decide that it just won’t do.

You pop open the top button on his shirt.

“We could. Or we can enjoy the life in full.”

You lick your lips, and open two more buttons. Oh hello, chest! Look, Wren’s fully awake now! You place a slow, open mouthed kiss on the pectoral muscle, and give it a small bite. The chest rises in a sharp inhale. You tread the fingers of your right hand into the thick chest hair. There’s a lot of salt in this pepper now. Everything about the man makes you so randy – but fucking hell, the chest is pure magic!

You tilt your head and murmur, “I just think that if we don’t do something nasty on the Bofursons carpet, giving my knees and your arse proper rug burns… we’ll end up shagging tomorrow in some random place, once we can’t hold it back anymore… And then we will get caught…” The shirt is now on the floor, and you’re working on the belt. “And people will say, ‘Aren’t they too old for this? Look, she’s already preggers, and it’s still not enough for them…’”

He’s cupped the back of your head, and he leans in and catches your ear between his teeth.

“How about some carpet now, and then a quickie in the Bofursons’ pantry tomorrow?” he whispers, and hooks the finger of the other hand on the collar of your tee. The long nose brushes on the muscle between your neck and the shoulder, and your head spins.

“Should I go change in that new set?” you ask. You’re breathy, and your legs are wobbly – he’s kissing your neck just the right way.

“Nah.” He actually says ‘nah’ – in that posh voice of his, and you momentarily get distracted from your bosom heaving and giggle. “Keep it for when we’re old and disinterested in shag.”

“That will never happen,” you say solemnly. “You’re too lush.”

“Well, and if it does…” He kneels in front of you, and is unbuttoning your trousers. “Then we can buy a sleeping bag, unroll it on the bedroom floor, and reenact you crawling into my tent to ravish me shamelessly.”

“That never happened!” you protest loudly. That’s not the first time this conversation is taking place. “I legitimately thought there was something in the dark out to get me.”

“Poppycock!” He pops the ‘p’ and emphasizes the second half of the word. Cheeky bastard. And yes, of course you’re thinking about his cock at the moment. You’re intimately familiar. “You barged in to lure me in your web with your sexy PJ bottoms and your scratched ankle.”

“And wellies…” you pant out. He’s pulling down your knickers, and his tongue has just brushed at your right hipbone. “I had wellies on…”

“A definite turn on,” he purrs, and the tips of his fingers brush between your legs.

“Perv…” you breathe out.

“Beautiful…” he murmurs.

He’s kissing, and stroking, and undressing; and you push your fingers in the silky, heavy curls at the back of his head. Your body feels weightless and fluid and cherished. His wonderful hands caress your hips, and he starts leaning back. You’re even smaller this time with Unna, and you can still move very easily. He lies back, you crawl on top. Between the two of you, you have one shirt, one bra, and one sock left on.

You press your hands in the Bofursons’ carpet on two sides of his head, lean down, and look into his eyes.

“Dr. Thorington.” You smile widely; and the crows feet run into the corner of his mesmerizing cerulean eyes.

“Yes, love?”

THE END

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 19. Wren Noticed

Author’s Note:

I just wanted to remind you that contrary to the previous plan to wait for Dr T Series to be over, I’ve already started writing the new webserial Official Town Business. It’s updated irregularly for now, sometimes twice a week; so your best bet to keep track of it is to follow/like my professional Facebook page.

Cheers! Hope to see you there!

Katya

It takes you eleven months to accept that – as good as the two of you are at shag – you aren’t good at conceiving a child.

You consider making an appointment with Graham’s Candice without letting John know. You might disagree with her retrograde outlook at women’s rights and prerogatives, but she’s bloody good.

But then you decide that’s now how you two roll these days. You sit him down at dinner one evening, and carefully approach the subject. He’s quiet all through your speech; you make sure to speak unemotionally. His jaw is locked; and he presses lips in a stern line – but you didn’t expect him to take it any other way. He says he’ll think about it. And you trust his judgement – and you trust him – enough to leave it at that.

For three days he’s subdued, his face dark; and you let him digest. And then he offers to go to the fertility clinic where Candice and Graham work. You give him a surprised look. The clinic is in the same hospital where he operates. The rumours will spread. On the other hand, it’s one of the best places in the country.

You two go; and tests start. Two weeks later you think that if any more people look at your fanny, or you’re asked to supply a sample of yet another of your bodily fluid, you might murder someone.

You get a ring from Candice; and she asks you to come alone for an appointment. It can only mean one thing – it’s you, and not John who is the barney. There was 50% chance that would happen, but on the other hand he’s a bloke over forty five here, while you’re a perky healthy young woman.

You tell her you think both of you should be there, and she agrees in a professional tone. You know she thinks you’re making a mistake.

John gets his results the next day; and you imagine how his specialist gives him a clap to the back, with a surprised but approving chuckle. Apparently the line of Thoringtons – previously having included sea captains, baronets, and somewhere there a copper who apprehended a gang of Irish bootleggers in New York during the roaring twenties – will not be so easily broken.

Three days later, the two of you are sitting in Candice’s disgustingly cheery office; and she explains that although there’s nothing drastically wrong with your reproductive system, your history of endometriosis, and several other issues you’ve dealt with through years, just isn’t a ‘favourable environment’ for conception. Basically, you have a resisting fanny. She isn’t sick or broken – she just doesn’t fancy a sprog. You’ve had time to prepare for this news emotionally; so you just ask what the next step is.

The next step is hormone injections. And of course Candice rushes to reassure you – that it’s shown itself very successful; that the side effects are very mild these days; and that there are all those other options afterwards, such as in vitro, and surrogacy; and so on, and so on. And you nod, and try to ignore how pink her cardigan is; and how sick you’re feeling.

And then she starts asking when you’d like to start the injections; and suggests a schedule; and you suddenly hear your own voice, “I think I’d like to take a month off. Just take the pressure off, and just stop thinking about it, you know…”

John stretches his hand, and his fingers wrap around yours. You grasp the familiar warm hand, as if you’re drowning.

“I think that would be a great idea,” he says, and it’s that quiet authoritative tone that is just so John Thorington. Candice shuts her gob, although she was clearly going to disagree. He lifts your hand to his lips, and you turn and meet his eyes. The expression in them is loving and supportive. “Just don’t hope for less shag, alright?” One corner of his lips curls up, and you give out a small weak laugh. To Candice it probably looks like a randy joke; you hear the reassurance and love he knows you need at the moment.

***

You return to the flat, and he’s supposed to go to the uni. You took a day off, having prepared for the meltdown you were surely to have after the convo.

“Do you want me to stay?” he asks softly, helping you out of your coat. You toe off your shoes, and lean your back into the wall.

“I want wine,” you say, and he throws you a surprised look. You give out a neurotic chuckle. “You know how they do in films? Sit on the floor, drink wine, and cry.”

“We have that bottle of Shiraz somewhere. And if you just pour and drink, without decanting it, you’ll start crying faster.” He gives you a soft smile. “And conk out faster too. It’ll be a short cry, but the hangover will be worth it.”

You nod and head to the pantry.

“I do want you to stay,” you answer without turning, and he pulls out his mobile from his pocket.

***

The two of you are sitting on the floor of the kitchen, legs stretched in front of you, the bottle and one glass between you.

You’ve taken one sip. Normally, you can manage one glass before you, as he put it, ‘conk out.’ And yes, the hangover will be a bitch. You monitor your state. Your cheeks are already burning. The next step is crying, or laughing, or jumping his bones demanding something very, very obscene, more obscene that your usual inventive and enthusiastic shag. But not today – not when you feel like shite; not after eleven months of ace shag, full of laughter, and hope, and words of love.

The first tears run down your cheeks.

He downs the glass, pours more, and passes it to you.

“I know I have no right to complain… or feel sorry for myself…” you mumble, your voice nasal, and he looks at you softly.

“You have a bit of a right…”

“I’m healthy, successful; I finished my degree; I have a great job… And Candice is right, the injections are the very beginning, and there are all those other options, if the hormones fail… And it’s not like I’m explicitly infertile…”

He nudges the glass with his index finger under its bottom towards your lips. You sip.

“Love, you’re human,” he says and picks up the glass from your hand. “You know I can’t stand emotions, even when they’re due, but even I think you are allowed to sit and drink wine and cry today.”

There’s about a foot of space between the two of you. And you aren’t touching. You might feel better if you press into him – but you don’t want to feel better just yet.

“Thank you…” you whisper, and he nods, his eyes on the opposite wall. You chuckle; it’s bitter and neurotic. You’re clearly bladdered already. “And I’m sort of relieved it’s me, and not you…”

He gives you a side glance.

“Because I’d take a failure much worse than you?” he asks, and sighs. “You’re right. It wouldn’t have been a civilized half a glass of wine, and apologetic crying, if it were me.”

“Apologetic crying?” you ask with a drunk giggle.

“You clearly feel like apologizing for being upset,” he reminds you.

“Yeah, but that’s not what I meant when I said that it’s better that it’s me… I just meant, in a sort of strange way, it’s only fair… I already have everything I’ve ever wanted in my life, and there has to be some karmic justice, isn’t there? All I’ve ever wanted is the career and you…” You take the wine, and lift it to your lips.

“You have very low standards,” he laughs, and you look at him over the rim of the glass.

“But it’s true…” Your head is starting to spin. “Since that day, when it was me and Phil and Killian, and we came to the mansion… And you came down for breakfast… All I’ve wanted… was you. And then I saw you in the evening jacket… God, the dreams I had afterwards!” You’re getting lost in the memories. “But even then, the first time… You were drinking coffee, and your throat moved… And the way you hold your cup, between the middle finger, and thumb, sort of twisting your hand…” You mimic the gesture. “That day, I… I wanted you so much then.” You drop your head back and stare at the ceiling. “You seem so… grown up… so… wow…” You sway the glass in the air, and he catches your hand with it. You try to focus on him. “I don’t think you even noticed I was in the room. And then next time we came over, you were jet lagged, and grumpy… and Killian said not to mind you…” You laugh, while tears are still running down your cheeks.

“I did notice you,” John says. “The first time you came over… You wore a green jumper, and had a braid.”

You gape at him, your jaw ungracefully hanging.

“Why?” you choke out. You were young, you still are; you aren’t the sexiest of them all, neither are you pretty. You don’t doubt he loves you now; and you know your worth. But sod it, you aren’t the kind of a bird men notice in a positive way. You’re noticed for the strange angular face; and the carrot hair – but not noticed noticed, as in remembering what your hair was like then.

He smiles to you – that very smile that still makes you weak at the knees. With crow’s feet, and the curled up corners of his wonderful lips.

“Why do people fall in love?” he asks.

And you lunge ahead, knocking the glass over, your arms go around his neck, and you catch his mouth.

***

You get pregnant six months later. Everything goes by the book: the good – your tits are much more noticeable now; the bad – your gingerness ensures you nasty nausea as a side effect; and the ugly – the mood swings are so hard to control that even John’s recently developed angelic patience slips sometimes. Two months in, you two develop a system when one of you leaves the room when you start hissing and narrowing your eyes.

The element of surprise is, of course, gone out of your pregnancy; and once the test results are positive, there’s no exuberance. The two of you, Candice, Graham, and couple more people in the know just keep your fingers crossed and wait. You take time off the work; and John and you have hols in Scotland.

You’re lucky. The first time, as Graham puts it, sticks.

And then the day of the ultrasound comes.

Bonus chapter:

Companion piece: Three Cheers to John!

 

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 18. Wren, Ties, and Questions

Author’s Note:

Just a reminder that I’ve started a new webserial since this one is coming to a conclusion; and you can find it here. I was going to start updating it after Dr. T is over and once a week on Saturdays – but I’ve already posted three chapters. I can’t seem to be able to stay away from it! Give it a read 🙂 

Also, the easiest way to keep track of my updates (I’m mostly writing here and on Wattpad) these days, is to follow/like my professional Facebook page.

Cheers,

Katya

The two of you enter the flat, and you head to the bathroom to take out your contact lenses. You aren’t taking your terribly uncomfortable stilettos off, because you have plans. Big plans. On the way you yell ‘Don’t you dare touching that jacket’ over your shoulder. You want to unwrap your gift yourself. The response to this is a guffaw and ‘I wouldn’t dream of it.’

And then he yells, “Can I loosen the tie at least?”

“Hells yeah!” is your enthusiastic response. You pull the damn plastic pieces out of your eyes, quickly put drops in, and give yourself a look over. Maybe, loose hair on the shoulders would be better. You pull the pins out and ruffle the curls. Your eyes are shiny, and the cheeks are flushed.

You step into the living room. He’s sitting on the sofa, one arm along the top of the back, legs planted widely. The blood red ribbon of the bow tie around his neck, ends hanging along the panels of the starched shirt – yum! The man is worthy of a harlequin novel cover – and all yours!  

“Hello,” you purr, and he smirks lopsidedly. From the hungry look he throws to you head to toe, your skin tingles. You slowly walk up to him, and then give a twirl in front of him.

“You’re beautiful…” He smiles to you, love and lust mixed in equal proportions – just like you fancy it; and you pick up the skirt and climb on his lap. You straddle him, and his left hand slowly lies on your knee and slides higher, along the thigh.

You pick up the tie and start wrapping it around your hand, making sure it slides slowly around his neck, under the collar. There’s a hardly audible hiss of the silk on the broadcloth.

“Did you have fun tonight?” he asks, and you lean in and brush your lips to the corner of his mouth.

“Not yet,” you whisper, and feel the corner curl up under your lips; the whiskers scratch at your skin.

You move your lips, hardly touching him, to his ear, and place a small kiss on the lobe, and then on the warm neck, where you can feel his pulse beating quickly.

You then straighten up; and a delicious idea comes. You take the ends of the tie, and then lean in, and place it over his eyes. A throaty chuckle burst out of him.

The ribbon isn’t too wide, but it’s the gesture that counts. He will keep his eyes closed. You loosely tie it at the back of his head, and start on the buttons of the waistcoat and the shirt. Not too much, just to give you one of your favourite views.

His second hand is now stroking your thigh as well, but he’s quite passive – just as you hoped. You run the tips of your fingers on his sternum, where the coarse chest hair is the thickest.

The belt buckle clicks, and you slowly open the zipper. To reach, you move back, squirming a bit, and his hips jump up. Someone is in anticipation.

You push your hand down his pants, and gently stroke the smooth, silky skin. The familiar length and width, your hand encircling it, the hardness, and the twitch it gives when you caress the ridge with your thumb – all of it sends sweet shivers through your body, and muscles clench between your legs.

You pick up his chin with your curled index finger and make him lift his face. His soft lips part slightly, but he’s still letting you fully control what’s happening.

You finally kiss him, you can’t hold it back anymore; and you feel him lift his shoulders off the sofa. His lips and teeth are moving greedily; and you press into him, your right arm wrapping around his neck. And then you lift your hips, and lead him inside with your left hand, deftly moving your knickers aside. There isn’t much, just a narrow strip of lace; and it springs from under your middle finger you used to shift it. You move, and the lace predictably rubs him at the base. He exhales a low coarse moan into your mouth.

Still holding tightly to his neck, you move your left hand behind you, on his knee – and start rocking your hips, lifting and slightly twisting.

You’re losing control and the clear understanding of what’s happening, sensations flooding you. You let your body take what it wants. Muscles clench around him; your back is arching; and you cry out with each dip.

His hands were kneading your buttocks; and then they shift, and he grabs your hips, his thumbs on your hipbones. The rougher you move, the tighter the grasp of his hands. You feel your climax approaching and you know he’s close too – he now can’t help but start pulling you into him, pushing into you deeper. Harsh exhales fall from his lips; and you jerk; and twisting your body you grab the back of the sofa with both your hands. The angle changes, he growls. For a few seconds you greedily watch his face – the pleasure, the hunger, mindless greed – and then you cum, and squeeze your eyes; and he joins you, his hips buckle, and your feel his cum hit your walls inside. You force yourself to open your eyes, you want to see – he’s so very beautiful at that moment!

And then he jerks off the tie, and the large hot palm grabs the back of your head. He pulls you into a kiss, and you moan.

A few seconds later sanity seem to come back to both of you, and you softly laugh into his lips.

“I want a bath…” you whisper, and he tenderly kisses your cheekbone and your temple, making you squint in pleasure.

***

While he’s filling the tub, you quickly take off the make up. You both changed into robes, and he pats your buttock through the silk. You stick your tongue at him in the mirror.

He sits down on the edge of the bath, and you can feel his gaze on your back. You turn to him and smile.

“I have a mad question to you,” he draws out, and you hum encouraging him to continue, wiping off your mascara. “Dea congratulated me. And couple other people at the party as well. So… Are you by chance pregnant?”

You straighten up and look at him. He lifts one finger. “And before you say anything, I did say it was a mad question. Because I in no way suspect that you knew and told Dea before me. I just thought maybe she saw something at the party, and then started blabbering to people…”

“I’m not,” you answer, and step to him. “She’s apparently been hinting on it for a while. Killian mentioned she’d asked him if he thought I was. But I haven’t seen her, since… before we broke up.”

“Oh…” That’s a hell of an ‘oh.’ Call Wrennie barmy, but that’s a disappointed ‘oh.’ A very, very disappointed ‘oh.’

“I’m on a pill, John,” you remind him, and cup his jaw, making him look up at you. “You do know that, right?” He does. So, this reaction is a bit… confusing?

“Well, they aren’t 100% reliable,” he answers. So, definitely disappointed.

He wraps his arms around your middle, and pulls you closer. He pushes his nose in the opening of your robe, and nuzzles between your tits.

“Why do you think she did it?” you ask, and he sighs, tickling your skin with his warm breath.

“To piss me off. To humiliate you. It’s an intrusion into privacy, and she’s a big fan. People would ask, and you and I would have to react to it. Whichever way it goes, whatever you actually think about it…” He kisses your sternum. “It would still be unpleasant.”

“That’s mean,” you mutter, and he slightly turns and kisses the inside of your right breast.

“It is. I can talk to her about it.”

You thread your fingers in his hair. The silver and the ebony run between your fingers, and you feel love, and tenderness. You feel safe, and loved, and… home.

“Or we can make the rumours true,” you say, and he freezes. You feel him take a careful breath in, and then he lifts his face to you. Emotions splash in his brilliant cerulean eyes.

“I mean, it’s nine months. We can plan it accordingly; and I can organize my studies around it. I’d have to work less of course, but I do need to balance my life and work anyroad, and…”

His arms tighten around you, and he’s still staring at you.

“That is of course if…” you start asking.

“I’m in,” he breathes out, interrupting you.

“Yeah?” You bite into your bottom lip, and he grins widely.

“Oh yeah…”

The two of you laugh, and then he shifts, and pulls, and topples the two of you into the tub. He’s careful, one arm around you, another pressed into the opposite side of the tub; but you theatrically squeal, as if terrified.

“I’m in my robe, your plonker!” you holler, and start snorting and spitting water that got into your mouth.

He’s laughs, and kisses you; and you two move, and arrange limbs, snogging, and running hands over each other. Neither can stop grinning.

Live Well and Proper || Chapter 17. Wren Repeats Herself

Author’s Note:

At the moment it seems that there will be five more chapters (including two one-shots about the kiddies previously posted in Medical Cabinet) before this saga is finally over, and Wrennie and her Dr. Sexy will say goodbye to you, and disappear into their happily ever after. I’m a bit sad, but it’s light sadness.

I’m less sad than I expected, since last night a new idea for a webserial came to me! I conjure my plots and characters in the strangest of circumstances, but I have to say, I’ve never had a story come to me in a dream!

Nonetheless, here it is: Official Town Business. Give it a read, and let me know what you think! If you approve, it’ll be updated on Saturday, just as Dr T Series is right now, and you can see it in the menu on the top of the blog.

After a short amicable chat with Elvig, you make couple rounds, mingling and being the ace young professional you are – making connections, smiling to the very important people, charming their pants off. But not literally, of course – although the glimpse of your own very important person, in that perfectly cut jacket quite often directs your thoughts to this one specific pair of pants, and immediately down into your gutter. You quite fancy him in jammies, or nothing at all; but a bit of occasional formal shirt and black trousers are just the treat your libido can’t say ‘no’ to!

The next part is toasts. Thrandon pops up, and drones some sort of a string of banalities. If he wanted to let the guests know he isn’t that chuffed with the union, he made just the right amount of effort to show – clearly, zilch of preparation went into his speech; and the lazy haughty expression on his face speaks volumes. People clap; a few exchange confused looks. Lan kisses Killian. It’s the theatrical Hollywood kiss, with dipping the partner backwards, and lots of tongue. You giggle into the upper arm of your Dr. Sexy.

“I’m next,” John whispers to you, and you lift an eyebrow questioningly. You’d expect Dea to be the ‘father of the bride.’ “Killian asked for me.” John gives you a meaningful look, and you smile to him.

John’s speech is touching, loving, funny, and… just perfect. He shows support, happiness for his nephew, warmth, understanding, and finishes it up with a small anecdote from Killian’s childhood. Dea isn’t featured. People laugh, people sigh; couple peeps discreetly wipe tears.

“All I can say…” He lifts his flute, and smiles to Killian and Lan. He’s especially gorgeous at the moment, and you swallow a knot in your throat, from how lucky you feel, how much you love him, and how happy you feel. “Congratulations for finding each other, and I’m sure the two of you will be perfectly happy! After all neither of you will have to suffer like my partner.” He salutes you with his glass, and you laugh. “All the love and happiness in the world to Lan and Killian!”

The crowd cheers; Dea and Thrandon look like they’re smiling through toothache. Another Hollywood snog from the happy couple follows; and you get a soft kiss on the cheek. You pat his waistcoat converted tummy; and you two smile to each other.

***

An hour later, there’s dancing, and excessive drinking; and it’s obvious the crowd has thinned out, only the young and the strong left behind. You dance with both betrothed; and then sneak away onto the balcony for some fresh air. And some Dr. Sexy, judging by how he caught you looking at him and then pointing at the balcony with your eyes –  and nodded. The poor ducky can’t dance due to his ‘human pyramid-ing,’ but you think you two will snog a bit on the balcony, then maybe one slow dance – you basically dancing around him, not that bad either – and then you’ll go home. There’re enough enthusiastic guests here; and you can always blame John’s ‘early to bed due to old age’ routine.

You step outside, and drop your head back. The sky is pearly grey; and the night is wonderfully balmy. You still could use some skin to skin contact – for warmth purposes, of course – but otherwise you’re comfortable and pleasantly tingly from the excitement of the event, and for how lovely the two plonkers look together.

Fingertips slowly brush at your bare back, between the shoulder blades, and goosebumps run down your spine. You smile and slowly turn around. And meet the cold blue eyes of Elliot Thrandon.

“Miss Leary.” He smiles to you, his eyes unfocused, his grin totally arsed up. Yeah, he’s been poached like a pear.

“Mr. Thrandon.”

That was creepy. And disgusting. You now feel like starting to wiggle trying to wipe your back with a napkin. But you aren’t going to start a fuss just for that – for Lan and Killian’s sake. But one more thing…

He steps closer to you and looks down at you. Oi, mate, personal space!

“You look ravishing tonight, Wren.” He lifts his hand, clearly planning to pick up a curl near your cheek.

“Seriously?” You give him a sarcastic look. “What makes you think you can approach me like this?”

“I just thought you might be done with Thorington by now.”

You emit a short disbelieving laugh.

“Even if, say, I were done, and even in the mood to leave this place with someone else; and even if that someone were you… you still can’t touch me without my consent. It’s as simple as that.”

“Oh, the feminist rubbish,” he theatrically groans and takes a sip from his glass.

You decide the conversation is over, and start walking by him. He grabs your upper arm, and you give him an astonished stare. Really? You mean, really?!

You kneed him in the bollocks then, couple years ago, for exactly this bloody thing! If then he thought you were a chavvy bint, with no one to protect you and to back you up if the things went pearshaped – you’re the leading specialist in the Rivendell Institute right now! And you have signed a lovely pre-nap by the way – John insisted, mostly to facilitate you inheriting everything of his, in case of his death. If anything, you’d be able to pay off any charges of bodily harm, if Thrandon sues you, after he manages to straighten up.

“Let me go, Mr. Thrandon. I don’t want to hurt you,” you say calmly, and he smiles one of his wide barmy smiles. Is he on drugs as well?

“I love how feisty you are, Wren. But trust me, most women eventually choose me over Thorington.”

“Then you have scanned quite a narrow sample group,” you answer, and pull at your arm. He has three seconds to let you go: three, two, one…

Not only he doesn’t let you go, he starts leaning down to you. You can’t believe the pillock! Does he think he’s James Bond, and you will change your allegiances like Pussy Galore, after a glorious snog from him?

“I fancy the new classy you, Wren. But I bet the hungry ambitious girl is still under there, and she knows I’m a much more promising choice than Thorington.”

You jerk your arm out of his grasp.

“Both of us choose to refuse your generous offer, Mr. Thrandon.” You lift your chin and leave the balcony.

In the door you see John, and he opens his mouth to ask, his eyes darting between you and Thrandon; but you wrap your arm around his waist, turn him, and he obediently follows you.

“You got this?” he asks with a chuckle.

“I got this,” you answer with a confident nod.

***

You do end up kneeing Thrandon. You truly tried not to! It would be just bad taste! And repetitive! But the wanker asked for it!

While you were enjoying your slow dance with – or more precisely – around your wonderful husband, Thradon fell into the room; had more booze; and when John goes to pick up your coats, you overhear the blonde bastard and the Japanese.

The thing is you’ve learnt the language – as much as one can learn Japanese without living in the country for a decade. You started learning it when you were hoping to get your first Yamataki grant, and continued studying ever since. And then John – who speaks it as fluently as a Westerner can – helped you a bit. And yes, you two have turned it into a fun sex game. What didn’t you?

So, you can understand what Thrandon’s telling the Japanese about you. And about your relationship with John. And apparently about how little you charge for a night.

Luckily they’re in a secluded corner, sort of behind a nice ice center piece. You walk up, knee the wanker, and give the astonished looking Japanese a bow. You know you’re doing it right. You tested it on John. Formal, polite, perfectly executed – he had you against the wall after that.

O isogashī tokoro, shitsure shimashita.” You give them another bow, and happily bouncing go to pick up your dessert for tonight, who’s waiting you near a cab.

“What did you do, minx?” he asks, wrapping your coat around your shoulders, and kissing your cheek.

“I practised a bit of Japanese,” you answer with a smile. He hums.

“Shall we continue the lesson at home?” he asks, and you brush your hand to his chest, and then claw at it a bit.

“Yes, we shall, anata.” He laughs, and in the cab you press into him.

“John, could you do me a favour?” You press your cheek to his chest.

“Of course.”

“Could you rub my back between the shoulder blades, please?” You feel his hand snake under your coat, and the scorching familiar palm lies on your skin.

“I’m not sure it’s favour to you,” he whispers in your ear, and you feel the helix flame up. “I’m quite enjoying it too.”

“Well, let’s consider it an aperitif then.”

He catches your mouth, and you wrap your arms around his neck.

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 16. Wren at the Engagement Party

Author’s Note:

Just a reminder to, please, support two of my current endeavours: Hammer Up! on Amazon Kindle Scout (there’s still time to nominate it and get a chance to receive a free copy in a couple weeks); and Due North on Inkitt.com (sign in and grab a free copy of the full story before they’re all gone and the contest is over! You get a funny story, and I might win a publication contract. And please, leave a review. Just a few words are enough!) 

Thank you,

Katya

Killian and Lan’s engagement party is the acest, raddest, most hilarious thing ever!

But first there was this one thing… When the two muppets told you and John that they’re tying the knot, and they were thoroughly congratulated, Lan nonchalantly announced that his Dad was throwing the engagement party. The four of you were having dinner at your place; Killian and John cooked. The piece of news was released over the dessert, and you choked on your Black Forest cake, while John lifted one eyebrow – especially highly.

“Your Dad… Your Dad, Elliot Thrandon is throwing you an engagement party?” you asked, and Lan also cocked an eyebrow. This one wasn’t questioning; it’s more of a half wiggle. “I mean, he’s perpetually arsed up, so he knows how to… be merry; but I thought he didn’t approve…” You bit your tongue, but Killian seemed to be fine with it. He chuckled, and shook his finger at you.

“I’m a Durinson, and a nephew of the Dr. John Thorington, Wrennie.” He saluted you with his glass. “I might not have tits, which he’d hoped for Lan; and especially not such glorious ones as yours, but I’m the best Thrandon could get in this family.”

“What do the gloriousness of my tits have to do with it?” you snorted.

“They’ve been mentioned,” Lan drew out, and it’s John’s turn to choke on his cake.

“Pardon?” You gawked at Lan.

“My Dad is still not over them. It’s going to be fun at the party. His nose is looking even better than before, by the way.” Lan gave John a meaningful look.

“What the actual..?” you muttered. “I’ve only met your Dad once. And it’s been years!”

“He’s mentioned you since then… Might have something to do with how much you look like Mom.” Lan shrugged, and you whipped your head, and gave John a death glare. Seriously?! He could have bloody mentioned that!

“Only in size. And the eyes I guess. Well, the hair, and the mouth too…” John innocently sipped his wine. He was so getting an earful later!

“I thought he was chatting me up to cock you up!” you hissed at John.

“Oh, he was,” John answered, and smirked. “But we’ve always had similar taste in women.”

“Oh, that’s just grand,” you groaned. The three men laughed. “Thank goodness, it’s all complete bollocks, and you three are just taking the piss.” You threw a hopeful look around. “Right?” Three glasses were lifted in a salute, and you stuffed a forkful of cake into your mouth.

Oh c’mon, that would be simply ridiculous if they weren’t joking. You had indeed met the man only once; and it’s not a harlequin novel where He would been harbouring some sort of obsessive desire for Her for a long time. Also, men get fixated on the likes of their previous paramours only in the books of Jude Deveraux.

That evening you googled Imogen Thrandon, née O’Sullivan.

All you can say is ‘oh poop.’

***

The hall rented for the party is as posh as they come. Everything is decorated in white and silver, probably to go with Thrandon’s personal monochrome style. He’s almost always dressed in black and white, probably to match his long white hair and the surreal black eyebrows – you always get surprised when you see them. Seriously, like a jack-in-a-box toy, they just jump at a person, no matter how much one prepares oneself for them.

Lan and Killian look amazing, a blond and a brunet. And then you snort when you see that Killian’s wearing a burgundy tux, with a blood red waistcoat and a bowtie of a slightly darker shade. Way to stick it up to his future father-in-law! And John’s choice of a red bowtie with a white jacket becomes so much more understandable.

You’re wearing a black silk, floor length dress, tunic like, with a low V-neck right down to your waist. The back is bare, and John’s warm palm lies below your shoulder blades. A pleasant shiver runs down your spine. The two of you are still riding the wave of your sort of reconciliation. The ‘old couple’ mode hasn’t kicked in yet; and you two just can’t keep your hands off each other.

“Wren, darling, you look dazzling!” Dea’s voice is the first thing that greets you when the two of you come in.

You haven’t seen her since the wedding dress shopping trip. Oops.

John’s hand on your back twitches, and then he rubs your skin with his thumb in a comforting gesture. You stretch your lips in a polite smile.

“You’re simply glowing,” she purrs, before you can say anything, and her eyes run over your body. Hm, what’s this about? And then she notices the brace on John’s ankle. It does look good paired with one black Ferragamo, doesn’t it? “John, dear, what happened?”

“We were building a human pyramid,” you answer without missing a beat, and John emits a loud guffaw. All her toff upbringing forgotten, Dea’s gaping; the two of you pass her and go inside.

“Minx,” John whispers in your ear, and you throw him a side glance from under your lashes. He kisses your naked shoulder; and goosebumps gallop down your spine.

You see couple of your and Lan’s colleagues from the Rivendell; and you give them a wave.

“Oh, please, don’t leave me alone,” John whines in a fake high pitched voice. “Everyone here is either your mate, or old and boring.”

“Tough tits, love,” you answer to him. “Welcome to my life.”

You let go of his arm, and head to your friends, pretty much feeling his eyes on your arse. You’re feeling very good about your arse today. The black silk hugs it just the right way – which has already been confirmed by how you had to quickly take it off, once you got dressed couple hours ago and were putting on your jewellery, to save it from being crumpled when Dr. Sexy threw you on the bed and ravished you shamelessly. You might be adding extra bounce to your step.

Half an hour into mingling and chatting, you feel peckish. It’s the ‘standing and decorously eating canapés’ part of the evening, and you slowly make your way to the tables. You find Killian there, his plate loaded – and Phil in front of him, with some tall skinny brunette glued to his side.

“Wren!” Killian greets you, and you give him a tight, one-armed hug, and an almost kiss to his cheek – no need to smear your Guerlain Kiss Kiss Red Passion on him.

“Wren, this is Amanda, and you’ve met my brother Phil,” Killian sing-songs in a innocent tone.

“No need to pussyfoot around it, Killian. Amanda is aware of my past,” Phil announces in a toff voice, and turns to you. “Good to see you again, Wren.” His tone is a bit sour.

You give him a polite smile. “Hi. The pleasure is all mine.” You turn to his date. “Hi. I’m Wren.”

She’s stretched her hand to you, and you shake it. Her eyes are coldly studying you.

“Nice to meet you, Mrs. Thorington,” she greets you. Ouch. And brava, on the other hand. That’s a hell of a demonstration of being in the know, if you’ve ever seen one. That’s basically a ‘I know all about you, pet; and I don’t approve’ line, in a neat package consisting of two words.

“I kept my surname, actually.” You smile to her widely. “Men in this family tend to get a smidge possessive. I like to remind them it’s post Lady Rhondda era we’re living in.

She blinks uncontrollably. That was a low blow, Wrennie my dear. The chick is clearly American; and the historical reference was obscure at best.

Phil gives you a glare, and steers his plus one away from you.

“What’s a ‘lady rhondda?’” Killian asks, futilely trying to hide his sniggering under coughing.

“Look it up, love,” you answer with a flair, and snatch a vol-au-vent off his plate. He bursts into laughter; you’re chewing and smiling.

“She’s American. Daddy is a big pharmaceutical company. We hate her,” Killian reports, and you sneak a peek while loading moreish looking bites on your plate.

“We as in you and your Mother? Or you and Lan?” These would be radically different things, yeah?

“Lan and I,” he answers, and gives you a pointed look. “Mother is elated. Amanda has a sister, couple years younger. I think Mother contributed into Phil’s choice between the two of them more than Phil himself.” You cringe.

“What are we gossiping about?” Lan asks coming up and wrapping his arms around your and Killian’s waists.

“We’re being unfairly cruel about Phil’s private life,” Killin answers, and quickly kisses Lan’s cheek.

“There’s nothing unfair about being cruel about his private life.” Lan is perusing the table. “As I said before, he should’ve rebelled and did what you and John did – chose an undeserving slag.”

Al three of you snigger, and you throw a look over your shoulder. Your rebellious, slag loving Dr Delicious is on the other end of the hall, chinwagging with a couple of Japanese gentlemen from the Yamataki Fund. And then he turns and meets your eyes. Awww, he felt your looking! You smile to him, and don’t even find your own loved-up ogling that daft. C’mon, the man is a sex god, a grand husband, and he just gave you a wink! Can it get any better?

“Mom has been hinting you’re preggers, by the way. To anyone who listens,” Killian deadpans near you, and some sort of a fancy pork tapa gets stuck in your throat.

“What?” you rasp out, and quickly pick up a glass of water.

“Yeah, what’s that about? She even asked me if I noticed anything.” Killian gives you a theatrically inquisitive squinted look. “Are you in the family way, Mrs. Thorington?”

“Not that I’m aware of,” you answer, still trying to push the appetizer down your throat.

“Hm… Maybe just another of her bennies.” Killian shrugs.

You throw a quick glance at Deadre. She’s standing near the central piece, with none other than Mr. Elliot Thrandon himself. And then he turns and catches your eyes. You whip your head, like the last moron. He’s seen you looking, you daft cow! You should have smiled politely! And now it looks like you stared and then tried to hide it. Bollocks.

You pick up your plate and escape into the safety of the company of Dr. Elvig. At least here you know what to expect.

“Miss Leary,” he greets you, and you smile sincerely. “You’re positively glowing tonight.”

What the fuck?!

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 15. Wren, John, Ice

He hoists you up, his palms under your buttocks, and your bag loudly smacks onto the floor. Yum, someone’s prepared! And you don’t mean this quickly building pressure in his denim. It’s the glasses, the white button-up, the dark denim, and bare feet. It’s like he carefully assembled the ‘let’s conk out Wren’s self-control’ kit – and now he’ll pay for it!

You grab handfuls of his waves, and pull, making him drop his head back and meet your eyes. Recently, he’s been cutting his hair shorter; it’s below his jaw, curling behind his ears; and it’s all kinds of soft and lush.

“I’ve missed you.” You’re so randy, and high-strung, and almost mental from desire, that you’re shaking, and you have trouble unclenching your jaws. “I really missed you…”

His eyes are dark, and no more sane than yours. The kiss that follows is so fucking hungry, and the two of you are going so hard, that teeth scrape, and then you bite into his bottom lip. His hands squeeze your arse, probably leaving bruises. You bite into his jaw now, and then drag your teeth along the beard, and then catch the helix of his left ear.

He smacks your back into the wall; and you gasp, gulping air with an open mouth. Supporting you on his right arm, he batters the left one to the door, trying to close it; and then he turns and ends up back kicking it. You’re jerking your coat and jumper; he’s still assaulting the lock. He’s properly uncoordinated. It might have to do with how thoroughly you’re devouring his mouth. He sways, he’s always somewhat dazed if snogging is going full scale, which is properly adorable, if you think of it. Normally, you find this – almost innocent – look on his face, when his eyes are clouded, and he looks almost trolleyed, his gaze unfocused, so different from his confident machismo and vast experience – well, it’s endearing. But right now, you don’t need him loved up. You need him to shag you into the wall, until you don’t remember your bloody name.

“John…” You lick his neck, and he exhales noisily. “I haven’t had sex for twenty nine days, and I haven’t had a single orgasm without you.” You push one hand down his back, under the shirt, between the shoulder blades. The skin’s as if burning your palm. “I need you to do your fucking best here.”

You look in his face, and there’s a feral grin on his lips. He looks almost mad. And there’s some low noise in his chest. The fact that he doesn’t notice he’s growling means his ‘sanity valve’ has gone off. You’ve only seen this look – teeth bared, eyes narrowed – couple times. The results have been bloody spectacular.

He takes a giant step ahead, and plops your arse on this lovely chest of drawers you have in your parlour. And before you can praise the idea; he roughly picks you up, under your arms and flips you. You fall ahead, your stomach on it, and he jerks you towards him, his hands grabbing your hips painfully. Your lower half slides off, now hanging in the air. One hand lied on your back, pressing you down, and he quickly opens the buttons on your jeans. The trousers are jerked down, and you whine. You can hear his belt clank, and it feels like it’s taking him bloody forever!

“C’mon!” you grit through your teeth, and then he suddenly brushes his fingers between your legs. A loud holler that bursts out of you doesn’t even sound like something a human would make.

He presses his hips into you, and you can feel the scorching length, on the sensitive skin of your inner thighs.

He leans ahead, and his lips are near your ear. “I have missed you too…” His voice is all rasp; and a shudder runs through you. “God, I have…” The hand on your back moves, under your tee now; and it’s hot and possessive. “Tell me if it’s too much…”

“Oh, I doubt it,” you choke out, and he pushes in, making you cry out.

He start moving, roughly, forcefully, and you can’t keep quiet. It has indeed been a while, and after all, you’re no acrobat. A normal woman can’t possibly take some convoluted comfortable position, wrap her legs around him, or something. All you can do is to press your hand into the wall in front of you, and control the movement this way.

He’s not holding back, for sure; and it’s like your body had forgotten the length, the width, the stretching. You’re quickly losing any understanding of what’s going on, some mental shivers of pleasure running through you. Like an almost orgasm that has started and just doesn’t end…

The chest is actually banging into the wall, and you shortly wonder if people in the lift can hear it. The loud wailing that you can’t keep back will surely clarify to them what’s happening here.

Your pelvis is hanging in the air, his fingers are digging into your thighs, and the edge of the top surface is cutting into your stomach – but you don’t give a fuck!

Just before he comes, he’s thrusting so hard, that your arm twists, and your head loudly bangs into the wall. It makes you laugh, and then you forget about it, because nothing is more delicious that those last seconds when his brain has conked out, and he’s all lust, all animal. You can actually feel his cum hit your inside walls; he barks a very, very dirty swearing, and then he falls ahead, his elbow thuds into the chest, and he presses his forehead to your nape.

He emits a few pants, and then rubs his nose to your neck.

“Next time… Your turn… All for you… And slower…” he mumbles, and you snort. Someone’s ambitious.

And then you hiss, because you’re being sawed in half like a magician’s assistant.

“Tummy…” you whine, and he mumbles apologetically and straightens up with a groan. He gently puts you down, his cock sliding out of you; and you both groan and moan, swaying, and sort of not sure where you are.

And then he looks and you, and you both burst into laughter. He’s disheveled, trousers and pants around his ankles. Your tee and bra have been properly dislocated, and your jeans are only around one of your ankles. You’re both grinning and look like morons.

“Hi,” he says, which makes you laugh only louder. You step forward and wrap your arms around his middle, pressing your cheek to his chest.

It’s ace to be home.

***

There’s the second time, and it is indeed all for you – but for him as well. After a shower, the two of you spend two hours in bed, and it’s not just shag, although the shag is ace. There’s a sense of reassuring each other a bit, there. Kisses, touches, looks – purposeful, meaningful, savoured… You orgasm twice, in a proper missionary, with his loving, smiling eyes in front of you.

The next day starts about the same. Half-asleep shag, breakfast, shag, shower, a long walk. The weather is nasty; it’s cold again, and drizzling. You two stop and kiss on corners, buy couple trinkets for your place, go to a couple of bookshops – and to you personally the day is sunny, and spring is in the air. Is Wrennie a loved-up idiot? Yes, she is. Does Wrennie regret? Hell no! You haven’t felt this sodding happy for months.

You’re chewing your lunch in a small sarnie shop near your place, when he makes that gleeful throaty hum of his. If he were a cartoon character, there would be a light bulb above his head.

“Yes?” you drew out and snigger.

“Indoors ice skating,” he announces and wiggles his eyebrows.

“Definitely not.”

“Why?” He stretches his hand and snatches a slice of cucumber off your plate. “It’s May, we can’t wait till Winter.”

“I can’t skate. And to be honest I have trouble standing right now.” You give him a pointed look.

“I’ll teach you.”

“Oh c’mon, you skate as well?” You dramatically flail your hands. “Is there something you can’t do? Your omnipotence is getting annoying.”

He guffaws.

“It’s alright, love. I’m really not that good.”

***

He bloody is, lying bastard! The two of you strap the terrifying gizmos onto your feet, and the muppet turns into a hybrid of Ovechkin and Plushenko in front of your eyes.

You’re clutching the railing in the corner, like a cat whom someone is trying to drag off a sofa and into a carrier; and he makes fluid – sexy as hell – swirls in front of you.

“Give me one hand, love.”

“No!” you yelp. “I’m staying here forever. How can one move on these?!” He rolls – skates? glides? – to you and stops. Sodding hell, it’s like he was born in them!

“C’mon, one hand. Or better two. I can support you. Do you trust me?” Ugh, damn his emotional blackmail!

“Not when I have cleavers tied to my feet!” you bite back, but put your hands into his.

He starts moving backwards – you’re no physicist, but how is this even possible? – and pulls you after him. You emit a choked squeak.

“You just need to learn to be stable,” he preaches, and you give him a glare. The ice looks very cold, and very hard! And you know more about fractured bones than any person on this rink! “Just bend your knees a bit, and trust your body. It’s really not that…”

He doesn’t get to finish, since some sprog in a jolly bobbled hat smack under his knees, cuts him down, and Dr Sexy is falling!

He lets go of your hands – you’ll appreciate this later – at the moment you gasp, and he lands on his back. That was a bad fall. You know injuries, and you know falls. This one wasn’t good.

“John!” You can’t do anything! You’re frozen in an awkward position, legs like the letter x, hands splayed in the air.

“Are you alright?” he asks the kid, who already sat up and is rubbing her knee.

“Yeah. I’m good.”

And of course the damn muppet then jumps up and disappears, her skates making jolly scratchy noises.

He guffaws and sit up. And then his face twists in a painful grimace. He laughs again and shakes his head.

“Maybe they shouldn’t let pensioners on the ice.”

“Are you OK?” you ask, making – very small – fretting waves with your hands. You can’t afford any more movement.

“I think, I twisted my ankle.” He looks down at his leg, still smiling.

He takes off his skate right there on the ice, and starts carefully examining his leg.

“Well?”

“Yeah, a sprain. You’re driving, I reckon.” He gets up, and smiles to you reassuringly. Oh poop.

***

By the time you two are back home, you’re properly fed up with his age and decrepitude jokes. He ends up getting a brace on his ankle, and you help him into bed.  

“If you suggest to put you out of your misery one more time, or leave you on the ice to die, I might actually do it!” you hiss at him and point your index finger at his long nose. He’s smiling, very jolly and apparently proud of himself.

“We have Killian’s engagement party to go to in three days. Could I at least tell people it was during sex? That we were building a human pyramid…” he starts, and you grab a pillow and smack him to the face. There’re muffled guffaws coming from behind it.

“I’m going to make a cuppa and when I’m back, I want to hear some sense,” you announce haughtily, but a long arm wraps around your waist and you’re jerked into the rumpled sheets.

Decrepit my arse.

Author’s Note:

Please, don’t forget to support two of my current endeavours: Hammer Up! on Amazon Kindle Scout (there’s still time to nominate it and get a chance to receive a free copy in a couple weeks); and Due North on Inkitt (sign in and grab a free copy of the full story. There’re less and less left every minute! And please, leave a review. Just a few words are enough!)

Thank you,

Katya

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 14. Wren Rests

Author’s note:

Please, support my book Hammer Up! on Amazon Kindle Scout. By nominating by simply clicking a button, you will give me a chance to win a bit of cash (which I’m in dire need of currently) and an opportunity to be published on Amazon Kindle. Follow this link, please: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/3MXGEE2A2MXMD. If my book gets enough support, everyone who voted will get a FREE COPY of the book in 30 days. Please, encourage as many of your friends and relatives as possible to do the same.  

Thank you in advance!

Katya

The next two weeks pass in a blur. You move to the flat that John’s agent suggested, and study; revise; and study again; write proposals, outlines, reviews; you hardly sleep, and try really hard to eat regularly. Every evening you write a short email to John. Sometimes you send them right away; sometimes you rewrite it the next day, add more, and then send. He answers in a line or two. You don’t get any impression of apprehension from his answers; and if you had a moment to ponder it, you’d feel excruciating gratitude. But you properly don’t have time or energy to.

Once you’re out of the torture chamber they call your studies, you take a week of your vacation days; and you spend it in the rented flat.

In the previous fortnight you didn’t even unpack the small bag you came with, and now you wash your clothes; clean the fridge; buy groceries. The flat is tiny. The bed in on the mezzanine; the ground floor is an open plan flat. It’s very clean; the location is perfect. It’s generally perfect, because it’s so faceless – with all this light beige furniture, and Scandinavian style decour – that it’s impossible to feel that it’s anything but a hotel. You aren’t trying to make it a home – you have one. You just need a shelter.

On the fourth day of your third week away from home, in his usual quick response email that comes to your Inbox around eleven in the evening, John asks you to ring him up ‘whenever it’s convenient’ for you.

You tumble off the sofabed you’re sitting on with your Mac, and rush to your handbag on the kitchenette’s table.

He picks up after couple tones.

“What’s wrong?” you ask, your heart beating in your throat.

“No, no, nothing’s wrong.” He gives out a soft chuckle on the other end. “I’m sorry, I should have phrased it better. I was just hoping to… chat. Nothing happened. Everything is OK.” You exhale loudly. “Sorry again.”

“Jesus, John…” You give out a shaky laugh. “The things I’ve imagined…”

“Everything is fine,” he reassures. “I should have explained better.”

“No, no… It’s OK! And… I’m glad to chat.” You climb back on the sofabed, and pull your knees to your nose.

“I just… needed to hear your voice,” he says after a pause. You smile in the empty flat.

“And here it is.”

“Yeah… How are you doing?” You imagine how he’s lying on the bed, legs crossed in his ankles. He is such a large man, he always takes a lot of room. And he always feels as if he can pounce to his feet at any moment. Must be the fluidity of his movements.

“I’m… resting. I took a few days off work as well.”

“Oh?” He sounds a bit surprised. “Good idea.”

So, he didn’t check. You realize you had a tiny doubt that did he would. Perhaps, you’re still a bit cautious. Perhaps, you still expect something manipulative and controlling from him.

You both are quiet, but it’s not tense, nor uncomfortable.

“Thank you, John,” you blurt out with a loud exhale, and he chuckles on the other end.

“You’re welcome, Wren.”

“I mean, for understanding that I needed it, and for not taking it a wrong way… And I know how it could look to someone else, not that you ever care what others think… But I know that it was bloody unorthodox, and…”

“Wren,” he interrupts your increasingly nervous blabbering. “You took time off. You didn’t deprive me of anything. Well, shag… But you’ll just have to repay me later.” He clearly signals with his tone that he’s joking. “Things you’ll have to do…” he draws out, in that purry shag voice of his; but you don’t let him distract you, and hide behind the flirting.

“John, I feel guilty. I asked for it, and I truly believe I needed to do it, but I still feel…”

“Guilty,” he finishes your sentence. “Love, you need to learn to… actually hear me when I say something. I haven’t felt you had anything to apologise for because of your studies. I have the same judgement regarding you staying away for a bit. You need it. You can have it. I miss you, but I’m not dying here. More hot water for me in the shower.” You can clearly imagine the smile, and the crow’s feet, and the soft expression in his eyes.

“I’m almost done,” you mumble in a pathetically small voice.

“Good. I’m starting to get bored here.” His tone is light.

“And I miss you too. In case you doubted.”

“I did a bit, but now we talked, and you can go back to your hermit existence.” You lean back on the sofabed, with a relieved exhale, realising how tense your muscles were.

“If you ever need something… of the sort,” you start clumsily, and clear your throat. “If there’s something you need, something just as mental as this feat of mine, I’ll be very understanding.”

“Wren, as much as I hate bringing this up, you have been understanding regarding Eva. I consider us even.”

“No, no, John! That’s not the same.” You shake your head though he can’t see you. “Eva was your business. It was just the wrong time, and I couldn’t… think straight. Nothing happened, but I let it add up to my stress…”

“I wouldn’t have been that calm in your place,” he says darkly. “If there was some wanker making eyes at you, and bringing you your coffee, and…”

“Picking up lint off my lapel?” you supply.

“What?” You snort. It’s not a funny conversation, but he sounds utterly shocked.

“Nothing. Just something from films. But what I’m saying, me being away has nothing to do with Eva. Nothing in my life has anything to do with her. I trust you. You said it’s nothing – it’s nothing. So, how about if you ever need some time off away from me, I’ll be understanding. And if an Eva starts bringing me coffee, you’ll give me the same benefit of the doubt?”

He’s quiet for a few seconds. You were half joking, of course, but he’s apparently giving it a proper thought.

“Wren, I talked to my therapist yesterday. He says ‘Eva’ happened because of my fear of old age and death. Which one properly doesn’t need a PhD to suss out,” he adds venomously. “So, if some young git starts circling you, I…”

“You will ask me whether I’m having an affair, or considering an affair, or compensating for something lacking in our relationship. And I will tell you the truth, just like you did. Deal?”

He gives out a long exhale, that tickles your ear. You suddenly remember how such exhale feels on your skin, on your nape.

“Honesty for honesty, Wren,” he says, leaving the question hanging in the air. “You going away did cock me up. I’m… worried. I’m not taking it as well as I say…” His voice dies out.

“I didn’t take the Eva thing as well you think I did. I had doubts. I had… a melt down on the tube once. We’re human, John. We’re trying. We’re doing our best.”

“We are indeed.”

“And… we’re good, John. We really are.” You’re sure. You sound sure. He exhales again.

“Well, then… Deal, Wren.” You snort, and he joins you with a velvet chuckle. “By the way, unlike some cute gingers here, I do listen. And I did hear that you’ve just suggested that I let Eva behave this way because I felt something was lacking in our relationship.” You bite into your bottom lip. Oops, Wrennie, how about watching what you’re saying, love? Bugger. “And that’s just rubbish,” he continues. “I let it go on for so long because I’m having a midlife crisis, and many would say she was fit.”

“Would you not say she was fit?” Oh look, Wren, just can’t shut her gob, can she? “I’m not into the dominatrix thing, but she has an exceptional arse.”

“I’m not a serial killer, Wren. I’m not interested in a woman in parts.” You laugh. It’s a rather half arse joke, but you both are coming down after an intense conversation. You’re both entitled. “And thank you. Now I’m thinking of your arse.”

You can ask. Or elude. Or hint. And you’re bloody sure that in three minutes the two of you will be having a phone sex. And then he’ll jump in his car, and then you’ll be shagging on this very sofabed.

“Um… John… I think I should go.”

“We aren’t good at staying apart, are we?” he asks impishly. Damn him and his knowing tone. Well, yes, you are now thinking about shagging him into every possible surface here, so what? It’s a good sign. You’re getting back to normal.

“We don’t really need to be,” you answer softly. “And we’re doing well enough.” You bet he just nodded.

“Alright. Go to sleep. And email me soon, please.”

“I will,” you promise.

You say your goodbyes, and you throw the mobile on the coffee table. You then climb the sliding ladder onto the mezzanine, crawl in the bed, and fall asleep in seconds.

***

By the evening of the second day after the conversation, it becomes absolutely clear that you have nothing to do in this flat. You spend the day after it packing, cleaning, and wandering the neighbourhood you still hadn’t had a chance to explore. You find a nice coffee shop, and read a book in it for a couple hours. You buy a scarf, eat in a small Chinese place, and then have an ice cream watching children play in a park and a funny old lady chat with her dog.

And then in the evening you text John that you’re coming home. You take a cab, and drum your fingers on your lap through the drive. It feels like the cabbie is doing it on purpose, and the cab is basically a snail; and as soon as the car stops, you shove the money in his hand, grab your bag, and rush to the entrance of your building.

You’re jumping over steps, and then you’re in front of your door, and you bang into it with your fist, somehow forgetting that you’ve got a key, or at least that there’s a bell. And it flies open immediately, and he scoops you in his arms.

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 13. Wrennie Hears an Answer

Author’s Note:

Chapter 13 after Friday 13. Are you worried, my lovelies? 😉

He takes off his glasses, and gives you a long calm look.

“No, I am not.”

You nod, sit down in your favourite armchair, and fold your hands on the lap.

He watches you in silence for a few seconds; and then he puts the book and the glasses on the side table and sits up in a swift forceful movement.

“You do believe me, Wren, right?” he asks in a low voice.

You nod again.

“I do.”

“But..?”

You sigh.

“But now that we’re talking about it… And I hadn’t thought of it before… But it sounds like you’d expected this conversation.” You lift your eyes to his face. It’s pointless really. Not even a Jedi can read his emotions when Dr. John Crispin Thorington is intent on hiding them.

“I didn’t expect it. I was aware of its possibility.” His pointed level tone makes it bloody worse – about ten hundred times worse. “Wren, I didn’t know if you’d even noticed…”

“Noticed that your TA has a crush on you? It’s quite obvious.” Now you also sound emotionless, but your tone is more dull than his levelled cautious one.

“You seemed oblivious.”

“I hid it well,” you answer quickly, and then something painfully spasms in your right temple.

“Wren, I’m sure you know that nothing happened…”

Does he notice that he uses this mind-control voodoo on people? ‘I’m sure that you know…’ and ‘you do believe me…’ Fucking relationship Darren Brown.

You take a slow breath in, and close your eyes. The headache is rapidly spilling all over your head.

“John, I… I noticed Eva. I just didn’t know what you were feeling…”

“Flattered,” he interrupts you. Judging by the speed of the answer, he’s losing his composure. Funny, he’s just said he’d been preparing for this conversation. What’s throwing him off? “Wren, I was egotistic, and self-centered, and enjoyed attentions from a young woman. It was unfair towards both of you…”

You lift your hand stopping his clearly rehearsed speech. You somehow find it hard to speak. It might be the migraine. Or maybe, you’re just so fucking tired.

“I had a conversation with Eva, two weeks ago,” he says. “I tried to… discourage her from her behaviour.” His voice is growing emotional. “I might have been too subtle, but if you think I need to discuss it again with her, to make it clear to her…”

“It’s none of my business, John,” you interrupt this time. “You two are adults, and how you handle it, it’s up to you. Both of you… But you hurt me.” You stop and rub your temples. It takes two purposeful exhales to start talking again. “No, I’m wrong. Not you… It. It hurt me. The months of doubting, and worrying, and…”

“If I had known it bothered you – and for so long, Wren! – I would have put an end to her ridiculous flirting right away.” He’s raising his voice, and leans ahead, and makes a forceful gesture with his hand.

“You didn’t have to. You weren’t obliged to… It was just difficult. With my studies, and work, and never spending time together… And constantly feeling guilty about it…”

“Wren, we talked about it. You shouldn’t feel guilty. You’re building your career, and we’re both in it. It’s important for both of us.” More Darren Brown shite. Really, John?

“We haven’t talked about it.” You sound disinterested. You aren’t. You’re just knackered. “I remember you mentioning it once…”

“It is ‘we talked about it’ from a male’s perspective,” he jokes, but his eyes aren’t laughing. “Wren, you have nothing to worry about. Neither about our marriage, nor about Eva.”

You nod again.

“Wren, you’re pale, you look as if you’re in pain. And I recognise the apathy and the silence.” You look at him in confusion. “You had the same face when you came to break up with me.” Ah, so that’s what got his knickers in a twist. “I’ve learnt to accept that there’s always a storm brewing in your mind – but can we talk, please?”

“John, I’m not… questioning our relationship.” You search for words. “I’m happy we are… good, and that you feel good about… us.”

“I do,” he confirms readily.

“Good. And I was probably just… tired, and paranoid, and you did take her home that one time…” He opens his mouth, but you don’t let him interrupt. “John, really, everything is fine.”

“It doesn’t look fine,” he answers slowly. “It might be my turn to be paranoid, but, Wrennie, what’s going on?”

“I want to… take a break. My exams are done in two weeks, and after that… I’d like some time off. Maybe, even before it.”

He’s silent, and you wonder how to explain it to him. There’re so many ways he can take it wrong. The fact that he’s not roaring and blazing his eyes at you is a good sign.

“A break? You want a break… from our marriage?” Here we go. That’s the first of many wrong ideas he can get.

“No, John, it’s… not that.” You rub your face with your hands. “I just need… silence. Around me, and… inside. I know it seems all wrong to you, since the whole aggro started because we hardly saw each other but… I need to be away. To be alone… And then I’ll be back, and everything will be back to normal.”

He’s thinking it over.

“I just can’t think about it anymore,” you continue. “I can’t talk about it anymore.”

“I wasn’t aware my alleged inappropriate relationship with my TA was a public knowledge,” he grits through his teeth.

“There were rumours,” you tell him. He surely isn’t that naive. “There’re always rumours, and you knobbing a long-legged student of yours is the best one the university staff can hope for.” Wow, that was a fucking epitome of bitchiness. It was so bitchy that he cringed. “Sorry, that was uncalled for.”

He shakes his head. “You aren’t supposed to be apologising here…” he starts, but you just don’t want to go there.

“John, please. We were talking… about me staying away for a bit. I… I’m asking you to trust me.”

“Trust?” he repeats. “That’s an odd angle you have there, Wren.”

“John, I love you,” you say in an even tone. “I value our marriage. But I’m tired. I have nothing… nothing left inside. I can’t… be in a relationship right now. I need to get through my exams, and that’s all I have energy for. And then I want to sleep, and…” Your voice breaks. “And nothing, really. I can’t even think of anything else to do.” Your throat spasms, you’re close to tears. But crying right now would be as much as an emotional blackmail, and that’s not what you want in your marriage.

You want – and need – two adults to talk, to discuss, and to understand each other.

“I’m properly confused right now, Wren…” he draws out. “But I’m trying, yeah?”

He covers his mouth with his hand – that’s his typical frustrated gesture. You let him think it over. Or maybe you just have no energy to talk, or even just move.

“Alright, what do you want to do?” Here we go. He sorted the info into neat boxes in his noggin, and now he’s strategizing, and he’s ready for action. That’s what made him successful. the cunning, the ruthlessness, the calculative mind. You just hope he’s currently playing for the same team as you.

“I’d like to stay in a hotel for the next two weeks.” A second ago you didn’t have an answer to this question, but it’s suddenly all clear to you. “And after that I’d like to have a week, or two in some B’n’B.”

“Alright. Do we talk on the phone then? Emails? Will you let me know how long you’re staying away?” he’s pressing, but you give him a look, and he back off. Literally. He leans back on the sofa, and it’s easier to breathe right away.

“I’ll email you after the exams, and… no, probably no telephone rings.” He nods, more to his own thoughts than to what you said.

“When are you leaving?” That’s another question you didn’t know you had an immediate certain answer to.

“Now. I’ll pack a bag, and will ring up Savoy, or something.” Another nod follows.

You decide you need to leave while it’s all seemingly peaceful and quiet, and you get up.

“One question, Wren.” He looked up at you, his eyes of astonishing bright colour. “Are you sure you aren’t just punishing me?”

You give him a long look – and then you shake your head.

“I have nothing to punish you for, John. You didn’t do anything wrong. If I were you, I’d talk to Eva, and apologise to her, because you led her on, and let her… hope. But me… I have nothing to blame you for.”

You head to the bedroom, to get a suitcase and some clothes from the walk-in wardrobe, and then you stop and look at him.

“And thank you. For understanding,” you say softly.

“I don’t understand, Wren. But I’ll do anything possible not to arse up our marriage. You say you need time away, you get it.” He swallows, his throat bobs. “But don’t think that I’m happy about it.”

“It would be alarming if you did,” you attempt to joke, but it falls flat.

You leave the room. It takes surprisingly long to figure out what you might need. You wander the wardrobe, pick up clothes, put them back. John stays somewhere in the other end of the flat. You have a total brain glitch in the bathroom, staring at your bottles and jars. Eventually you decide that a few pairs of clean knickers and socks, denim, and tees, are all you need. It’s not like you can’t come back here at any moment to take more stuff.

“I rang up couple hotels, and there are options,” John’s voice comes from the bedroom, and you stick you head out. He’s standing in the door frame, quite obviously giving you space. “Do you want to hear them, or do you want to call them yourself? I don’t want you to feel like I’m intruding.” He sounds unemotional, keeping himself in check, but you detect no sarcasm in his tone.

“I perfectly trust your expertise in hotels.” And this joke pathetically flops down just as the previous one.

“I say you need to rent a furnished flat for four weeks,” he answers, and stretches a hand with a list of phone numbers to you. “I have an agent who can set you up immediately, it might be a bit more dear, but we can afford it.” He gives you a joyless smile.

You walk up to him and take the paper.

You can smell his aftershave, and you can feel the warmth coming from his body. And then you realise that you want to hug him. And kiss him. And make love to him. But if you touch him, even just brush your hand to his sleeved arm – you won’t leave. You’ll change your mind. And you need to leave. Otherwise you’ll break. The pain and the emptiness you feel right now will stay inside, forever, and rot, and slowly kill you. As overdramatic as it sounds.

You nod gratefully and go back to the wardrobe. You can hear him leave and turn on music in the living room. It’s On the Level by Cohen.

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 12. Wrennie and the Train of Thought

Author’s Note: Have you given a chance to my erotica/romance webserial Jack in the Box on Wattpad? Follow the link, and I hope you enjoy!

Summary: Armed with several degrees in psychology, sociology, and literary studies, as well as a particular set of skills and abilities, Gemma Wright works as a muse for artists in various creative fields. She can inspire a hit album; pull a popular novelist out of a writer’s block; or organize an international tour for a dance company.

Gemma has strict rules and a precise plan for her personal life – and Jack Richards, a famous mystery writer, definitely doesn’t fit her criteria. Perhaps, his direct competitor, John Barnett, with his soft manners and seemingly humble disposition, is a better match for Gemma than the dark and handsome Richards.

Understanding others and leading them to the fulfilling and rewarding life is Gemma’s specialty, but does she know the answers to the same questions when it comes to her own life?

“Nothing’s going on, Thea,” you mumble, and she waves her hand, summoning a waiter.

“Care for a shot, love? If memory serves me right, those few times I saw your arsed up, it had something to do with Dr. Sexy, and we ended up drinking vodka.”

You sigh.

“Vodka was later.” That was after the ridiculous auction, right after your break up with Phil. And you drank then to stop yourself from giving John a ring and inviting him for a consensual and thorough one-off. God, it feels like it’s been in a different life. “The time you’re thinking about was when you and I had wine, and it was mostly about Phil, not John. And no, I don’t want anything.”

A waiter pops a lager and a rum in front of Thea; and a second later the bottom of her now empty shot glass clanks on the table. She pins you down with an intense glare.

“Was our moose riding mate telling the truth? Is Dr. Sexy out of his bloody mind?” Thea isn’t one for pussyfooting, is she?

“No…” you answer, and you sure as hell don’t sound convincing. “The bird she mentioned is John’s TA. And…”

“And they’re shagging?” Ladies and gentlemen! Thea Martin, Master of Subtlety and Delicate Phrasing.

“Thea, I don’t want to have this idiotic conversation! I don’t want to be one of those women who whine about their partners to their girlfriends, over a drink, in a manky pub!” you cry out; and even over Fratellis’ Henrietta it seems everyone heard you and turned their heads to look.

“Yeah, you clearly want to be one of those women who bottle this fuckery up like a bloody stoic, and then their hair starts falling out!” she shouts back at you. Trust Thea to dig her heels in at the very wrong moment. “I’m your fucking best friend. And I bet it’s been fucking going on for… how long? Couple months at least? Yeah, Leary? And I’m learning about it from some daft Canadian in a jumper made of candy floss!”

You glare at her – but when did it stop her?

“So, is your husband sleeping with his secretary, or not?” she hollers, and she’s right. You’ve properly bottled it up, and there’s the cork! It just popped out, and is flying through the pub in a fucking beautiful arch.

“No, my husband isn’t sleeping with his TA!” you yell back, with all your lung capacity. “But he wants to!”

Here we go. Here’s the answer. Hanging above your table.

You pick up Thea’s lager and take one big gulp. She signals a waiter.

“Go for it, Wrennie.” She gives you a soft smile, and brushes her hand to your shoulder. “C’mon, you need to talk about it. I fucking know you. You’ll be in pain, and keep your gob shut. Remember when you cancelled your wedding?”

“Vaguely,” you bite back, and she gives you a pointed look from under a raised perfect eyebrow.

“You were half dead, and we couldn’t help you because you shut down; and Lan was considering slipping some tequila in your morning tea, we were so worried. So, talk. Well?”

You properly don’t want to.

“I’m never around, he feels old. She looks at him like he’s a new pair of Louboutins.” That’s a neat summary, isn’t it?

“Basically, she’s his equivalent of buying a red Ferrari?” Thea asks, and all you have left to do is nod.

“And what do you think about it?” She finishes her lager, watching you over the rim.

“I think that he has every right to buy a Ferrari if he wants to. If he’s not happy with his current car.” You point at your chest with your index finger. “Or he can just continue looking at Ferrari’s around him.”

“And if he decides to take one of them for a test drive?” Thea asks, and you throw a sad look into her glass.

“Then it’ll hurt very, very much,” you mutter, and then hide your face in your hands. You suddenly feel tired. And in pain. And scared.

You want everything to be simple, and easy, and you want to be happy. You want one job; you want to come back home from it, and have dinner with John; you want to be able to take a shower without falling asleep leaning against the wall. You want to see more than a glimpse of your husband a day. Your relationship right now is a PowerPoint presentation of the wonderful man you’ve married, but never see. Here’s a picture of John brushing teeth when you rush out to go to a seminar. Here’s John loading a dish-washing machine when you’re dragging yourself by him towards the bedroom. Here’s John sleeping when you’re back home. Here’s John sleeping when you’re leaving for the lab.

“He might be already sleeping with her,” you mutter. The lager is working. “And the worst thing is that I have no energy to ‘keep my eye on him,’ as our pink clad chum suggested. I just don’t see him enough. He might shave his beard, and I’d probably notice a week later.”

There’s another beer in front of you, and you mentally check your schedule. There’s so much to do tomorrow… Or you can just drink half of this beer, slip into coma, wake up tomorrow around two, be sick all day, and stay home for two days. Sadly, you feel too much like an adult for that.

“And what are you going to do about it, Wren?” Thea asks. She’s finally getting sloshed. She speaks slowly, and her giant hazel eyes are unfocused.

“I’m going to call us cabs, and we will both go home, to our men.”

“Sod it, I just realised… Have you heard her?” Thea suddenly snorts. “The pink chick… She said you needed to fight for your man!”

You help Thea to get up, and the two of you slowly head to the exit.

“I’ve heard her. But trust me, my ‘other woman’ will stomp me into dirt with her perfect stilettos. The sheer size difference, phew!” You wave your hand above your hand, mimicking Eva’s height.

“I think the Canadian meant a lot of blow jobs, and other stuff you normally wouldn’t let him do to you,” Thea announces, and you push her further, leaving the table with a couple of suddenly very interested looking blokes behind the two of you. “Isn’t it what you monogamous chicks do? Keep him happy between the sheets, so he doesn’t bolt.” Thea gives out a sarcastic laugh.

“How’s Jimmy doing these days?” you ask her. You might be a bit dischuffed. She’s one of you horrid ‘monogamous women’ now. No need to be snooty about it.

“Gets plenty of blow jobs,” she answers haughtily, and you steer her through the crowd. Some guy calls after her, and you give her a forceful nudge through the door.

“So, no bolting attempts?” you ask, and start looking for your phone in your clutch.

“Nah. Where will he go?” Thea gives out a dismissive huff. “And me too. I think we’re stuck together.”

The two of you are outside, she pulls the sides of her coat tightly around her glorious tits. She’s unstable on her stilts, and looks very grumpy.

“Fuck me, it’s boring…” She exhales a small cloud of steam and drops her head back, staring into the grey sky. “Monogamy sucks cock. And shag has gotten dull. Like a vinyl…” She twirls her finger in the air. “Same thing, again and again…”

You’ve finally gotten her a cab; you kiss her cheek, and send her off. When you’ve climbed into yours and given the cabbie the address, you drop your head onto the back of the seat and watch the city rush by.

Your shag isn’t boring, and not at all repetitive. Your shag is magnificent. It’s not that frequent, especially compared to what you two have had before; but Christmas was wonderful. And then a churning disgusting thought comes. What if he’s sleeping with the dominatrix, and that’s him compensating, because he’s feeling guilty? Maybe him being so understanding about your studies, and making you dinners, and charging your laptop at night – all that is to make him feel less gutted about shagging his TA?

Or maybe you’re just bladdered, and your thoughts tangle, and you’re an idiot.

***

A decision comes – as most of your big decisions do – as if out of nowhere, and it leaves no doubt. Your plan is to do exactly nothing.

In some strange way you feel like it’s just none of your business what John and his TA feel towards each other, and what sort of relationship they decide to build. Among other things, you strongly believe that if he shags her, he’ll just tell you everything, and you once again will have to look for a new flat. You wouldn’t be able to afford the one you live in right now.

Four months later, in the middle of a surprisingly warm spring, and unsurprisingly excruciating end of the semester, you have a nervous breakdown. You’re in the underground. A panic attack comes; and none of usual management mechanisms helps. An ambulance is called, you’re pumped with drugs. John is on a conference. Without his TA. It’s a three day, over the weekend trip.

The next day you return home. You refused the prescription drugs. You’re a ginger, and you know only too well the addictivity rates. You’ve also hadenough experience with withdrawal and ‘brain zaps’ in your teen years, to try anything of the sort again. You sign up to weekly therapy sessions, so that they allow you to continue your studies.

You never tell John what happened. You have two alternative explanations why. Firstly, he’s no imbecile. He can’t possibly be unaware of what Eva’s doing. If so, whether he reciprocates, or not, and whether they actually are involved, or not – either way, he will feel guilty, thinking this drama contributed into your breakdown. It didn’t. You are so overtired that you simply had no brain capacity to dedicate to it. You compartmentalized it after Christmas, and bashed on.

Secondly, it’s not that improbable that you’re punishing him – in a sort of masochistic, perverse way. You’re keeping him out of your life, in the best passive-aggressive move one can make. One of those that a person can later throw into the other’s face like a very dramatic accusation. ‘I had suicidal thoughts and almost jumped under the train, and you didn’t notice anything!’ or some other kind of psychotic rubbish. You hope you’re better and smarter than that.

And then one evening you come home from work, and he’s lying on the sofa, in his usual manner – reading glasses on the tip of his nose, fingers lazily flipping pages, and you toe off your shoes, put your handbag on the table by the door, come up to him, and ask, “Are you having an affair with your TA?”

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 11. Wrennie and a Pub

The two of you spend Christmas in the Alps. Both of you can only spare three days for the hols, but it goes truly brilliantly. There’s a fireplace in the chateau; you eat, shag, and chat. He reads you books; you tell him of your childhood. It’s as sincere and as real as it gets.

You even go skiing. Once. He endeavours to teach you; you’re pathetic. The two of you laugh, and topple over into the snow. His bright blue eyes – like a husky dog, as if outlined with black – are shining. You lean in and kiss him.

The nights are as amazing as they ever are, and feel new and exciting. After the skiing, you complain that everything hurts. You get a massage – and three orgasms.

You wake up in the morning, and you just can’t get enough of him. He’s guffawing, insincerely battering your hands away, whining that he’s an old man with a weak heart. The two of you shag against the wall, and then again and again – and then there’s a breakfast, and you go back to bed. Soon, it’s hard to separate cuddling and reading – and it is Khayyam after all – from sex. You’re straddling him, and your hips are moving in the rhythm with the ten century old poetry. And then afterwards, he’s nodding off, his cheek pressed to your buttock, his head heavily pressing your pelvis into the sheets, and you close your eyes, feeling the acute and definite happiness.

***

When you’re back home, there’s so much to do that you even stay at Lan and Killian’s couple nights. They live closer to the lab.

And then one evening you’re chewing Thai takeaway, and John makes that funny throaty noise of his. It means he remembered something he needs to tell you. You snort. This ever growing feeling of knowing him well, and loving it – is ace.

“What?” he asks, and you give him a wide grin.

“Go ahead. What is it?” you say and encourage him with a wave of chopsticks.

“You know me too well, and it’s discouraging,” he answers with a smirk, and you snort again. “Graham has a favour to ask, and I said I’d inquire.”

“Oh?”

“His Canadian gyno is lonely,” John announces, and you know he’s paused to let you appreciate the statement.

“He should put it on a t-shirt.” You giggle. “Does he want me to take her for a walk?”

He nods, and you roll your eyes.

“I’m the worst possible option here,” you remind John. “I’m introverted, constantly busy, and alcohol intolerant. I assume I’m not expected to take her to an art gallery? After those time I’ve seen her, she doesn’t strike me as an artsy type.”

“He meant a pub,” John answers with a chuckle. “And you should take Martin.”

Ah, Thea. That makes sense. Thea can organise a satisfying night out for the Pope.

“OK, I’ll ask her.”

“Thank you.” The two of you chew for a while, and then he yawns. “Can we go to bed early today? We’re having this cocktail party tomorrow, another book signing of another professor whose dull work no one will read…”

You pretend to be very busy grinding a baby corn with your teeth, while in reality you’re trying to unclench your suddenly spasmed jaw. Another party that you’re hearing about in passing; and for some reason feel like you’re being politely excluded out of? Is Wrennie mental? Aye, she is. Should she be? Hm… Eventually, you jerkily nod, and he leaves for the kitchen to get some water. You’re staring at his plate.

***

It takes you three weeks to find an evening when Thea and yourself can finally introduce Candice, the Canadian gyno, to the joys of a pub bender.

She shows up, all perky and bouncy, in a jolly pink jumper. Her blonde curls look almost unnaturally golden, shiny, and even. They remind you of cup-a-noodle, or buttercream in Mary Berry’s Victoria sandwich.

There’s a small moment of awkwardness, and then she offers to buy the first round.

You’re still on yours second virgin Pina Colada – and you do know how pathetic this drink sounds – when the ladies switch from lager to ‘something with a kick,’ as Candice puts it. Somehow a kick in Candice’s understanding gets best delivered by rum. Thea doesn’t mind at all.

Candice gets arsed up astonishingly quickly. And chatty, she gets very chatty.

“God, girls, you’re awesome!” she hollers, and her arms lie on your and Thea’s shoulders. “So awesome… I’m so glad we went out together. It really sucks here, without my girlfriends…” She gives you a shaky smile. “I had friends I went to med school with, and we would always get drinks on Friday, and I miss it, you know? So good to be here with you.”

Thea gives you a sardonic look from under a hiked up eyebrow. She had as much as Candice, but Thea Martin is a hard chicka. For her, it’s just an appetizer.

“So, what is it that you do, Thea?” Candice asks, and starts waving her right hand in the air, trying to catch the attention of the waiter. Her left hand is still tightly gripping your shoulder.

“I’m dabbling,” Thea give her usual answer.

“A what?” Candice blinks her large blue eyes.

“She’s good at a lot of things,” you explain. “She tries different things. She sings too. Like a siren.” You salute Thea with your glass, and she winks to you.

“Oh wow! We should go to karaoke next time then.” Candice takes a deep breath in, her lovely round tits rise in the tight jumper. “I’m rather OK myself. Have the right apparatus, you know?” She laughs and pats her cleavage. You believe her. She’s short, curvy, and all and all delicious. Graham is a lucky duck.

“I’m in computer science right now,” Thea explains lazily. “But I won’t last. It’s dull.”

“Wow, looks and the brains, all in one package!” Candice throws an admiring look over Thea. “You’re so cool! You both are!” she rushes to reassure you, and you laugh at her eagerness. “No, no, no, I’m serious!” Her words are a bit slurred. She’s as bladdered as a poached pear. “You, Wren! You’re a genius! Graham told me, and my Graham knows what he’s saying, you know?” Her round pretty face gets all loved-up, and Thea shakes her head and topples another shot of rum into her throat.

“Thank you, Candice, that’s very nice of both of you,” you answer, your voice shaking of laughter. You’re properly in the dark how to respond to this exuberant friendliness.

“I mean, with your studies, and your work… And you’re a fucking pixie, Wren!” She gestures an inch away from your nose, and you shy away. “I mean, the eyes and the cheekbones. You’re like an elf, or something.” Did you just hear a hiccup? “And your head is… Just wow. You deserve the best, Wren. All the best! And you too, Thea. Do you have a guy? Does he treat you well?” the Canadian asks in a strict tone, and Thea barks a throaty laugh.

“Chicka, you should ask whether I treat him well. I’m the bad one here.” She gives Candice a salacious wink.

“Good, very good! Let’s drink for it!” Candice finally catches a waiter – by a sleeve no less; and orders three shots, apparently having already forgotten you don’t need one.

“Men need to be kept under control, you know? Not all of them are as nice as my Graham.” She shakes her finger somewhere in the space between you and Thea. “And we deserve all the best, right? Especially you, Wren, you need to take it under control, you know?” She focuses her peepers on you. “I mean, it’s your man, after all, you can’t let that slut just steal him. You need to fight for him!”

You know how they say ‘like a bucket of cold water?’ That’s exactly how it feels. Scorching wave all over your skin, first like a burn, and then cold; then pain, in all joints, and full petrification. You have trouble breathing, and the glass starts shaking in your hand frozen mid air.

“I mean…” Candice continues, so clearly full of good intentions. And we all know where that sodding good intention pavement leads. “I’d just go and pull her hair out. Kick her skinny ass! Tell her to keep her hands off him. I get it, you guys might things differently here.” She lifts her hands in a defensive gesture. “Maybe you can talk to him too – but I say, what can a guy decide, right? They think with their dick, and this one is clearly a goner. I mean they left that book signing party together, and Graham agrees that she’s got her claws in him…”

Thea’s drink falls on the table, and rushes across the table, and pours onto Candice’s lap. The Canadian swears loudly and jumps off her chair.

“Oh shite, sorry, darling.” Thea starts pushing napkins into Candice’s hands.

“It’s OK,” Candice laughs. “I guess, you’re a bit tipsy too, heh?” She gives Thea a wide grin, and Thea nods.

“To be honest, I think I’ve had enough.” Thea’s as smooth as ever. “How about we call it a night, Candice?”

“Only if you promise me we’ll do it again soon.” She wraps her arm around Thea’s waist, she wouldn’t reach Thea’s shoulder. “Yeah?”

“Definitely.” Thea gives her a brilliant smile. “I’ll get you a cab, love. You’ll be here, Wren?” She throws you a quick look, and you’re still in the same pose as before, your eyes on the slowly expanding puddle of lager on the table. You give a short nod, and the two of them disappear.

“Be right back.” Thea’s whisper is the last thing you hear.

You don’t notice how time passes, and suddenly Thea plops back on her chair in front of you.

“What the fuck is going on, Leary?”