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 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 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 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?”

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 9. Wrennie and A Missed Party

lwap9

The next months are a daze. You study; you go to the lab; you drag yourself home. You’re so tired, you don’t remember what you eat, and how you fall asleep. You grit your teeth and bash on. You drink too much coffee; you look like shite. The Spring is the worst. You’re so exhausted by then, your nails chip and you start losing hair.

John is helping. He cooks, or orders take away. He brings you a full plate. He picks up the half eaten one, once you crash on the sofa. He takes your clothes to a dry cleaners and turns on the washer. He gets groceries. He never complains, he helps you with whatever studies he can help with.

One evening in March you’re sobbing desperately in the shower, and he knocks at the door.

“Wrennie, are you OK?”

You’re so raspy from crying that you can’t answer.

“Can I come in?”

“Yeah.” You’re moving behind the fogged part of the door, so he can’t see what bloody mess you are.

You hear him come in.

“Wren?”

“Yeah?”

“What’s wrong?” His tone is soft, and it makes something snap in you. You emit another loud sob.

“We haven’t shagged for two months!” You lean into the wall and start slowly sliding down. “And I don’t want to!” The last words are already a wail. “I’m so skinny, it’s disgusting… and everything hurts, and I’m just… so… tired…” You press the heels of your hands to your eyes.

He comes up to the door and taps the tip of his finger to it. You lift your eyes at him. He’s smiling to you, it’s a sympathetic warm smile; and you cry harder.

He opens the door and steps into the shower, just as he is – in his soft bottoms, a tee, and socks.

He sits on the floor, water running down him, and pulls you on his lap.

He’s rocking you softly from side to side, and you’re shaking.

“Wren, it’s OK… I’ve been there, remember? I’ve gone through three med degrees, and I was no better than you.” He’s cradling your head in his large palm. “And yeah, it is shite, and everything else has to wait… But, love, you’re doing fine. The research is going well, the grant has been confirmed. Just breathe through it.”

“What about you? I sometimes think you’ll forget what I look like…” you whine. You’re beyond the point where you craved reassurance. You have no energy anymore. You think if he gets up and announces he dumps you, you will just turn off the water, and fall asleep here.

“I’m making the list of all the shag you owe me. For when you’re done with the studies. So you know, the reverse cowgirl on the living room carpet is in the triple digits by now.”

You want to laugh, but all that comes out is a strangled bark like sound.

“Wren…” He cups your face and makes you meet his eyes. “I understand. I was young, and ambitious; and unlike you I didn’t care how it affected those around me. I’m here, and I’ll help.”

You drop your head, pressing your face to his chest. Your hands are shaking visibly.

***

Summer is easier. You seem to have found your footing. There’s even a week off, and the two of you plan a vacation.

You talk about it in bed, his Mac on his lap. He shows you photos of Greece and Majorca, and you nod and grin. You adore the giant new bed you two bought for your flat, and the bedding with light blue paisley pattern – and John in his glasses and tee, clicking excitedly on the sites of resorts. You two end up staying in your flat through the whole week, shagging, eating, and watching telly – and it’s the best decision the two of you have ever made.

You come back to work energised and ready to kick arse. And you do. You feel like Thomas, or that other tank engine that could – you feel very professional and put together. You reorganize your schedule, and you start getting enough sleep. You don’t have time for anything else, but at least you stopped falling asleep in the lift between the entrance hall and your flat on the fourth floor.

***

It’s the end of November, and the phone rings in your lab. You pick it up; and a vaguely familiar female voice asks for you.

“Mrs. Thorington?” she asks.

“It’s Ms. Leary, actually.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t sure… Ms. Leary, I’m Eva Amandine, I’m Dr. Thorington’s teaching assistant.”

“Oh, right… Hi!” You’re flipping through a file for the current experiment. “You’ve met couple times in John’s office. And I think there was also that professorial party in May, right?”

“Yes,” she laughs softly. “The endlessly boring one, where we were the only two people under forty.” You hum confirming.

You remember Eva. She is tall, has raven black hair, and impeccable taste in clothes. Her heels were exceptionally tall as well. She was dressed all in black, and you thought there was something very dominatrix like about her.

“I’m calling about this party Dr. Thorington is invited to. One of his colleagues is receiving yet another award, and Dr. Thorington is supposed to bring plus one.”

“Oh…” You rummage through the piles of papers on your table. “Just a mo, I’ll find my mobile. For my schedule. When is the party?”

“It’s tonight, Ms Leary. I apologize it’s so last moment.”

“Oh…” You look at the row of tubes waiting for you. “I can’t tonight… I won’t find anyone to come in instead of me.”

“That’s a pity, Ms Leary. I’ll let Dr. Thorington know.”

You two say your goodbye, and you hang up. It feels strange that it was so last minute, but you forget about the conversation distracted by the bamf waiting for you.

***

And then one evening John comes home with flushed cheeks, smelling of cologne; and he waltzes into the living room, where you are for the first time in forever, before him, having dinner alone.

He’s humming a tune, and is loosening his tie. He’s endlessly lush in his black three piece suit, and you lift an eyebrow. He barks a throaty laugh, comes up to you, and stretches the hand to you.

“Well, hello there, doctor,” you purr, and he twirls you and then dunks you backwards. You laugh, and he pulls you up and to his mouth. He tastes like champagne.

“Good evening?” you ask with a giggle.

He picks you up under your arms and plops your arse on the table. He wedges between your knees.

“A very good evening?” you ask, and he grins lopsidedly.

“Horrid boring party. I drank just to have something to do.” He slides his palms up your thighs, and then dives in and presses his lips to your neck. You drop your head back invitingly.

“I’m very glad to see you then,” you murmur, and he presses his hand between your shoulder blades and, supporting you, lowers you on the table. He jerks off the jacket, while you unbuttons your jeans.

“I’m planning to reinforce this opinion in you, love.” When he’s randy or drunk, his childhood Northern accent peeks just a wee bit. Just a bit in the vowels. Just a bit more ‘loov’ in his ‘love.’ This turns you on so much!

Clothes fly off, only the white shirt and your bra surviving the purge, and the two of you spend an hour, energetically shagging, moaning, scratching, sucking, and grabbing.

In the bath afterwards, he’s tenderly moving a loofah on your shoulders in delicious circles, and you sigh contentedly.

“I honestly wish you could go to more parties with me.” He kisses your ear. “If we found a closet there and did what we just did there on the table, time would fly so much faster.”

You giggle.

“We would be arrested for inappropriate behaviour.”

“Well, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Everyone is way too proper at those parties.” He makes a dramatic disgusted grimace. “Mannered talking, champagne, no dancing on the table. I had to attend less of these dos when I was trying to sell myself. Who knew professors are so into unsatisfying inadequate parties?”

You look at him and gently wipe the bubbles off his eyebrow.

“I’m sorry I can’t come most of the time.”

He shrugs and pulls you closer.

“As long as I come home and get to… have dinner with you.” He wiggles his eyebrows.

Something pushes you to ask.

“So, you just go alone then?”

“Eva goes with me,” he answers offhandedly. “She’s no fun, though. She takes the parties seriously.”

You laugh, but something feels off. You will think about it later. You lean into his kiss, and slide onto his lap. You’re very glad you went for a roomy tub.

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 8. I Always Liked It Slow

Author’s Note:

I think this song by my beloved Leonard is the perfect soundtrack to Wrennie and Dr T’s relationship. The line ‘A weekend on your lips // A lifetime in your eyes’ reminded me of their weekend in Sheraton; and I can just hear ‘Let me catch my breath // I thought we had all night” pronounced in another, no less velvet male voice… 

If you like the song, check out the lyrics. There will no other like Leonard; there will be no other poetry like his…

copy-of-lwap7

Four months later…

You come home with only one thought in your head – you want to sit down. You don’t care if it’s going to be a sofa, an armchair, or the rug by the entrance door. You think you’ve never been that exhausted in your life; but to think of it, you felt exactly the same way yesterday. And the day before, and last week – and sadly, you’re sure you’ll feel the same way for a long time now.

Instead of pushing the key into the door, you stop and press your forehead to it. It reminds you of that day when you and John broke up. Although, the only similarity is that you’re frozen on the other side of the door from him. That’s where parallels end. You do want to see him. You do know what you feel towards him. You do want to come in – you just can’t. Physically.

The door unlocks, and he’s standing in the frame. It smells like Italian. There’s a glass of Scotch in his hand.

You peek, and your jaw slacks. He looks arsed up. He is so obviously drunk! The eyes are shiny, red-rimmed, and unfocused; cheeks red flushed. That’s so unusual that you straighten up despite being in danger to just fall into the flat like a rolled up carpet.

“Has academia defeated you again?” he asks softly, and opens his one armed embrace. You whine, step in, and press into him. That’s better. That’s a relief. John is very therapeutic.

“Remind me why I decided that post-grad was a good idea?” you mumble into his soft white tee. He smells like food, clean laundry, and John – he smells like home.

“Because you’re a badarse scientist, and weren’t going to let your giant intellect go to waste.” He rubs your back, and you moan into his chest.

You’d ask him if he’s trying to butter you up, but that would sound like flirting. And hinting on a shag. Which would be unacceptable, since you can’t shag. You’re too tired. You could probably just lie there, and let him do all the work – but surely, he’d get offended if you fell asleep mid-way. And you definitely would.

He closes the door behind you, and then kneels in front of you helping to take off your boots. You shake the coat off your shoulders, not caring that it falls on the floor, and plod into the living room.

“Italian?” you ask and drop onto the dining table chair.

“Yeah, I ordered take away.” He goes to the bar and adds more Scotch. “Three hours ago.” He gives you a soft reproachful look.

“I’m sorry…” You have no energy to get up and go to the kitchen. “We were in the lab, and then it turned out we needed to redo couple tests…” You can’t stifle a wide painful yawn. “And then one of the students in the group project cocked up some data…” You drop your head on the table.

He hums, and you hear a clank of the bottle. And then you remember. Oh fuck! Fucking fucking fuck! You jerk your face up and look at him.

“Oh god, it’s Thursday, and it’s our ‘dinner and talk’ evening, isn’t it?”

“Yeah…” You see him heavily sit down in the armchair. He takes a gulp of Scotch and drops his head back. His eyes slowly close.

“I’m really sorry…” you whine again. “It’s been a mental week, and…”

“It’s alright, Wren…” He lifts his head, takes a sip, and then goes back to the same position. “Have you eaten?”

“Some disgusting sarnies in the cafeteria. But I’ll enjoy the Italian tomorrow, yeah? I’ll take some to the lab for lunch. Or we can warm it up and have it for dinner.” You’re groveling, and he makes a small wave with his hand, his eyes still closed.

You consider apologising again, but then you realise that he’s much more drunk than you initially assumed. To think of it, except his stag night, you’ve hardly ever seen him under the influence, in all the time you’ve known him.

“John, are you OK?”

“Leonard Cohen died,” he answers, and takes another big gulp without opening his eyes.

“I’m sorry…” Your words sound empty, but you do sympathise. When it were an actor or a musician you were fond of, their loss always felt personal.

John loves Cohen. Well, ‘loved’ will now be a better term. Popular Problems, released couple years ago, is his favourite album.

“Should I choose some younger artist to fancy now?” he asks from his armchair, and you hum questioningly. “To make me more hip, and less… old.”

You frown not sure what he’s talking about.

“Peterson’s retiring,” he says. You properly fail to follow the leaps his mind is making tonight.

“OK…” you draw out. “Peterson from Cardiology? Well, he’s old, and…”

“We were in the same year in uni,” John interrupts. Oh bugger.

You could remind him it’s not dates and numbers that determine a person’s age. It’s not about ‘how long;’ it’s about ‘how’ – how the person lives, how they feel, how much they want, crave, how much they take from life, and how much they’re willing to give.

“Do you know that in a few years they will think I’m your Dad? I’ll get all that grey hair, and with your genetics you’ll stay young forever…” He emits a sarcastic sharp laugh, and finishes his bevvie.

Ah, so that’s what it’s all about.

You rise from the chair, cross the room ignoring the aching soles, and climb on his lap. He doesn’t stir, but you know he’s glad you’re here.

“So, is this Hemingway style drinking all about your mortality and…” you start in a light teasing tone, and he suddenly lifts his head and pins you with a dark stare.

“Do you want children, Wren?”

Oh sod it. Wrong time, wrong place – and really, John? Definitely wrong circumstances. He’s pissed, you’re exhausted. The combination is as cocked up as possible.

You have an odd thought. You wish you were forty right now. You wish you knew what one is supposed to answer to a man of his age, how one is supposed to talk, what to say to this question. Should you console? Flirt? Answer directly? Mollify?

And you’re tired, so very tired. And you feel young, and immature – and lost.

An adult wise woman would know what to say to her husband in this situation. She would know just the right words; she’d look into his eyes, and answer something that would make it alright. You want him to be happy. You don’t know how to make a man like him happy.

He’s achieved so much; but is looking back on one’s former successes a healthy way to deal with one’s age? He’s right – in ten years his hair will be all white. In ten years you’ll look just the same; you saw your biological mother’s photo in your file, she was thirty seven when she had you, and looked just like you do right now.

Are you to say that all is ahead of him? What if it isn’t? Are you to promise that the two of you will have a baby soon? You might not. There’s your education; and your career. On the other hand, you do want one. But you don’t want one right now. Right now, you want to sleep.

If you stay quiet long enough, he’ll shut like a clam, like he used to – or sigh melancholically, as he’s recently started. He’ll apologise, and say that the two of you need to go to bed.

“I’m sorry, Wren…” he starts, and you lean in and press your lips to his. He tastes like Lagavulin.

“I’m so tired…” you whisper, after moving away. His eyes open slowly, dark blue and shining. “I don’t think I can sustain this conversation.” He opens his mouth, and you press a finger across his lips gently. “Don’t apologise. It’s a valid convo, I just can’t…” You’re feeling sick, your eyes feel like full of hot sand, and there are some grotty yellow sparks dancing before your eyes.

He studies your face, and then sighs and nods.

You two go to bed; but despite how knackered you were, you can’t fall asleep. The conversation has left a nasty feeling somewhere in your stomach. And in half an hour or so, while you’re lying on your side, as if asleep, John carefully climbs out of bed, and leaves for the kitchen. You fall asleep before he’s back.

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 7. Together

Author’s Note:

This is it, my lovelies. This is the chapter. This is their happy ending (although not an ending per se). 

There will be more to their story. There is couple more plot twists I have prepared for them; there are characters to talk about, loose ends to tie, and hot nights to describe. There are still the one-shots that I’ve stashed from the time when the story was first published on FanFiction site (I know you want to see the triplets, and Unna of course.)

But I feel that this chapter, below the title, is what we were all waiting for since that first one-shot titled “Camping” in my collection of short stories We Are Scattered Through Time and Space. It’s been four years of my life, and it’s been a journey. For me, and for the characters. 

This John – Dr T, Dr Delicious, The Sun and Moon of Modern Neurosurgery – has been, and will always be my first true modern AU Thorin Oakenshield. And this Wrennie is the most honest, genuine, imperfect Wren I’ve ever written. If I didn’t love them all equally, I’d say these two are my favourite protagonists.

I hope this chapter will be as satisfying for you to read as it was for me to write.

Katya

P.S. And remember, there will be at least ten more chapters 😉 Hope you enjoy!

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Four months later…

You like sleeping with John. He’s just the right density, not bony, not soft – warm and firm, and perfectly furry in all the right places. In his sleep he tends to wrap around you like an octopus, and you’re properly OK with it. There’re couple positions that you especially enjoy, such as curling in a ball, pressing your bum into his crotch. Since you’re significantly shorter, his arm doesn’t fall asleep under your head, and you get all the advantages of his snuggling. Or sometimes you like being the big spoon, and press your forehead above his shoulder blades, into the nape, into just the right spot.

There are issues, of course. His place, which he moved into a month after your break up, feels unlived in. He explained to you that he wanted to start from scratch, but somehow it just never became anything more than a perfect illustration from a home decour magazine.

The bed in your flat is too small for him. Lan and Thea bought it for you when you moved in; and although the two of you can fit when sleeping, shagging on it is really difficult. You always seem to end up on the floor. It also squeaks, loudly and annoyingly, and you wouldn’t want your neighbours to get jealous of how many hours in a row this concert continues.

***

You snuggle into the pillow, without opening your eyes. It’s warm and smells nice under the duvet, and you stretch your hand in search of the scorching skin, and maybe furry chest, but there’s… nothing. You stick your nose out… and catch the delicious aroma of coffee. He’s cooking breakfast in your kitchen. You’re torn between going there to ogle him – it’s a gorgeous spectacle, him in his pants, and bless that arse! – confident movements, glasses; and staying in the balmy warmth, with the smell of his cologne on the sheets, and bliss coursing your body after the three rounds the two of you went for last night.

He sticks his head into the room and smiles to you widely.

“Morning.” God, this voice needs to be bottled and prescribed as an antidepressant.

“Morning.” You smile back. He reappears in the room with a tray with coffee, fruit, and his favourite toast with marmalade.

“What are we doing today, Ms Leary?” he asks, stirring sugar in your coffee. “It’s Saturday, you had a long week, and you…” He kisses the tip of your nose. “You require spoiling,” he purrs, and one eyebrow jumps up.

“I did have a long week,” you agree. You’re very pleased with yourself. The papers for the post-grad went through three days ago, and you do feel you deserve a bit of rest and perhaps celebrating.

“So, what do you want to do?” he asks handing a triangle of toast to you.

“Nothing. I want to do nothing. All day. With you.” And then you want to do him. Repeatedly. Something tells you he knows.

“Perfect. I know just the place for that.” He pats his thigh under the blanket, and you giggle.

***

Eventually you do get out of the bed, take shower – separately, otherwise you’d never leave the flat – and go for a walk. Nothing is exactly what the two of you do. You wander into shops, look at windows, talk, and laugh, and kiss. You take photos with your phone, there are couple of selfies together. The two of you laugh at how in order to fit into the screen either he has to scoot, or you need to stand on a bench. Eventually, he picks you up bridal style. The photos feature his sleeve and then the collar of his peacoat, because instead of taking pictures, the two of you are behaving endlessly inappropriately, snogging in the middle of a park.

You stop for lunch in some sarnie shop, all hipster and organic, and you laugh at the light disdain colouring his face. Tofu burger with yam mayo is clearly isn’t his first choice. They have ace coffee though, and the two of you are walking out with compostable cups bearing some hipster slogans.

There’s a vintage book shop in the next block, and you pull him in. It’s the passion for the both of you; and browsing books, talking nonstop, takes the solid second place in the top five things the two of you do best together – after shag, of course. He’s wonderfully well-read, with diverse, very non elitist taste; you are a binge reader. If he happens to know something you don’t he’s never condescending. And the discussions the two of you have are most stimulating.

He’s standing near a shelf, a fourth edition of his favourite Omar Khayyam in his hand. He knows the book like the back of his hand, and yet you see his eyes slide tenderly along the lines. It’s lying open on his large palm, and he’s so beautiful to you at the moment that your eyes prickle. He blindly stretches his hand to his cup he put on the ladder by the shelf, and takes a sip. And then the cup goes back, and he gently turns a page.

“I want to live with you,” you blurt out, and he looks at you above his reading glasses.

“Sorry, what?”

“You hate your flat, mine is too small. And I want to sleep with you every night. And wake up together. And eat dinner together. And we spend five nights a week together anyroad…” Your voice dies out, and you awkwardly cough. “I mean when you want to… When it’s time… I’m just letting you know that I already want it, that I’m… there…”

Great, Wrennie, just bleeding great. You started with overly direct, clumsy declarations, and ended it with choked mumbling, with questionable grammar. Well done.

He smiles to you softly, and you feel your nose twitch in the daft nervous tick.

“I too want to live with you.”

Oh sod it, that’s a relief. You sort of suspected he did, since he always eagerly agrees on spending a night together, but that wasn’t the most graceful of offerings, let’s face it. Plus there’s always your shared history.

“We should look at flats then?” His tone is more questioning than stating, and is adorably hopeful. You exhale and step to him. He readily puts the book aside, and you pressed your forehead into his chest. Blimey, you love him in this peacoat. You love him, period. The peacoat is just a bonus.

He wraps his arms around you and kisses the top of your head.

“And I feel like I want to marry you.” Oh look, Wrennie’s cork has popped, and now she’ll have to move to the Arctic to escape the consequences. He stops gently rocking you from side to side. You realise the previous statement requires an explanation.

You wince away from him, and rush to clarify. His face is unreadable, just eyes might be a bit widened.

“I mean, I just feel very good about our relationship now… Recently… I mean, it’s been great since day one, since we got back together, but it’s just glaringly obvious to me recently. I notice it, all the time, how ace it is, and how happy I am. And you!” you exclaim hurriedly. “You seem happy. I mean, I can’t know for sure, but that’s how it looks. And I don’t mean a wedding or something, but you know how when people get married they are hoping it’s forever? That’s how I feel. Like if I had to choose now, I’d say yes, and wouldn’t have a shadow of doubt. And it all can change any moment, but… And when people get married they know it too, yeah? That anything can happen, but they go for it, and I absolutely certainly would.” You’re out of breath, and you inhale sharply. “What I mean to say is that I love you…” Your voice breaks, and you puff some air out. “And I want to spend my whole life with you.”

“I love you too,” he answers slowly, and you give up a nervous chuckle.

“Right…” You cough purposefully. “Let’s just forget this mental outburst…”

“And I do want to marry you,” he interrupts you in a low voice, and you freeze and throw him an embarrassed look. “No, that’s not exactly it… I want to be your husband. And spend my whole life with you, just like you said. And…” He gives you a calm and earnest look. “And if and when you decide you’re ready, I’ll be here.”

“Ready for what?” you breathe out.

“Anything. Anything you want.” He smiles to you, and your breath hitches from how clearly you can see that he loves you. “I’m OK with any level of commitment, Wrennie, so you just let me know.”

“I want to be your wife.” There isn’t a single moment of hesitation. “I don’t want a big wedding, maybe no wedding at all. But I want rings. And couple photos, and a pretty dress. And I want some B’n’B somewhere not too far. And shagging for a week nonstop, and you calling me Mrs Thorington, and…”

“Bath,” he says suddenly, and you realise tears are running down your cheeks. Happy tears.

“What?” you croak. You still haven’t kissed him. You need to kiss him.

“We can go to Bath.” His eyes are the brightest you’ve ever seen them. Like a July sky on the sunniest day. “For a week after, and I promise to you…” His voice breaks as well, and you rush to him and hang on his neck. “I promise to call you Mrs Thorington at least two thirds of the time.”

There are tears in his eyes too, and you kiss him, and he squeezes you, pressing you in, whispering promises, which you believe, and words of love, which you return with all your heart.

To be continued…

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 6. Post and Mid

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The two of you sit down to a microwave warmed Lebanese dinner, him in his pants, you in knickers and the button up that you had to fish out from under a chair. He throws you cheeky looks, you can’t stop smiling. There’s complete silence in the kitchen, but it’s a comfortable one.

“Do you want to stay over?” you finally ask, when both your plates are empty. One of the thick eyebrows jumps out.

“A sleepover after the first time? You’re moving fast, Ms. Leary,” he purrs, and you give him an attentive look. You’re suddenly reminded of all those moments when being still with him, you weren’t sure if he’s just lightly joking, or there was a tinge of offence there. He might be just defensive. Or honestly not wanting to stay over. Alright, you properly should stop spiralling into a dark terrifying pit of insecurities and panic here.

“Suit yourself.” You force a joking tone out of yourself. You get up and start cleaning the dishes. “My bed’s too small anyroad.”

He’s sitting on his chair, relaxed, his legs straight and crossed in front of him. And then he stretches his long arm and catches your hand, and pulls you towards him. You take a step just because resisting would be an open confrontation. You expect him to press his forehead to your sternum – he used to do it a lot. Was he hiding his face when doing it? Quite possibly. Instead, he gives you an open direct look in the eyes.

“I’m sorry. That was a bad joke.” His tone is even and earnest. “I’d love to stay. In fact I really hoped you’d offer.”

“I just don’t know… how much of our relationship is back…” you mumble. It’s not the most eloquent way of putting it, but it’s pretty accurate.

“As much as you want,” he answers, and you chew at your bottom lip. He sighs, nuzzles your sternum, and then looks up again. “Wrennie, I’m nervous too.”

“Well, that didn’t seem to arse up any… functions…” you mumble, and he smiles to you. “I had a panicky moment two days ago, with the whole getting bladdered and coming to your place…” you admit grudgingly, and he nods. And then he pulls you on his lap. The thigh under your backside is hard and warm. “I think I’m sort of overcompensating today.”

“If you mean you’re terrified of having shown vulnerability and relinquishing control over the situation…” he starts, and then chuckles. “Oh, wait. Those would be my issues.”

“What did I say then?” you blurt out, and he gives you a soft questioning look. “You said in your note that I mentioned my renewed… self-pleasuring habits. I’m – almost – OK with it. But what else?”

“It was all very incoherent, and slurred, Wrennie.” He’s reassuring you. You don’t want to be reassured. You want an open conversation. “You did talk about shag. You seemed to be in anticipation.” He kisses your cheek, the whiskers tickle your skin because he’s smiling. “You said, ‘Can you imagine how ace it’ll be? All the emotions and the dry spell and you’re the biggest I’ve ever had!’”

“I did not!” you cry out in completely fake indignation.

“Did you ever…” He shakes his head in no less fake mournfulness, and you grab the long nose between your thumb and the curled up index finger.

“Take it back!” You gently pull the nose. God, you love the nose! “Take it back! I did not say that!”

“There were gestures. Like a fisherman boasting about his catch,” he continues in a now nasal voice, his eyes twinkling.

“Oh god! Can you be any more full of yourself?” You’re trying to suppress the laugh, but it bursts out of you in a series of snorts. “I don’t care about the size! And you know you have nothing to worry about! I care whether I said something embarrassing! Divulged something, like said I loved you, or missed you, or…” You realise you’re divulging something at the moment, let go of the nose – and before you can say or do anything, he grabs the back of your head and pulls you into a kiss. It feels almost desperate.

He lets you go, and you probably look completely narked.

“Wrennie, you didn’t say anything. You were cute, and sexy, and a bit unstable on your feet, and the only thing that wasn’t directly related to shag was that you said you missed my hands.”

“It is shag related,” you grumble, and press your nose to his neck. You have missed the hands. And the rest of him.

“You said, you missed how I brushed your hair when you had headaches. That wasn’t shag related. And very, very cute.” He wraps his arms around you. “Once you got sleepy, you stopped offering shag, and asked me to stay in bed with you. That was a much harder offer to decline.”

“You can stay over,” you say quietly, and feel him slowly exhale.

***

You two have tea, and chat, and then you’re suddenly climbing on his lap, and kissing him, and he picks you up, and carries you to the bedroom. You fall into the bed, and you feel hungry, and greedy, and possessive. You scratch his back, bite, and wrap your legs around him possibly cutting off blood circulation. He’s back in your bed, he’s yours again, and something snaps in you.

He catches your mood, and grabs you, and you feel teeth grazing your shoulder, and at some point his hand squeezes your arse definitely leaving bruises.

You have a ridiculously small bed, and since the two of you are moving very energetically, your bodies are diagonal to the mattress, and legs and heads end up hanging in the air. And then he emits a long intricate string of curses, and if you weren’t busy riding him, feeling his cock hitting some delicious wall, back there in your fanny, you’d be impressed by the diverse content, the word choice, and innovative grammar. He rolls off the bed, pulling you after him, making sure your knees and elbows are protected from the impact on the floor.

He’s once again on top, his torso supported on straight arms, and his hips are snapping. His thrusts are so deep and rough that you’re jerking on the floor, your hair moving around your head. And you push off the floor with one arm, wrap another one around his neck, and as much as hang on him. A large scorching hand cups your arse, he’s supporting you, and pulling you in with each of his movements – and then you come. It’s sharp and sudden and almost too much, and you fall back onto the floor, hitting your spine, and bursting into a flood of ridiculous sobs and tears.

You try to stop, and it’s not working, so you hide behind your hands, being a slobbery, daft, moronic imbecile as you are.

“Wrennie…” His voice is unsure. You’d never before fallen apart like this in his bed. Well, technically your bed. Well, floor.

“I don’t  know… I’m sorry… It’s just…” He starts withdrawing, and you don’t know if you should stop him.

And you tear your hands off your face, and look at him. And his eyes are worried, and vulnerable, and you suddenly realise there’s nothing to be scared of.

You realise it’s better to go all in and risk everything than to be afraid every step of the way. Maybe, you’ve grown up – enough to fight for what you want, and to be kind, and to be honest.

You exhale loudly through rounded lips, and wrap your arms around his middle and pull him down – back to you. He doesn’t resist, but his face is uncertain.

“I just got a bit overwhelmed,” you speak softly, and cup his jaw. “John, it’s alright. I’m alright now. I just…” It’s hard to find the right words, and even harder mid-shag with John Thorington. “There’s a lot going on in my head, you know.”

He nods and leans in and softly kisses you.

“There’s always a lot going on in your head,” he says, and you laugh quietly.

“Yeah… But less like this…” You clench her the muscles inside, and his breathing hitches loudly. Hells yeah, Wrennie’s got a hostage. “I felt… insecure again; and then I couldn’t get enough, just felt like I needed to stake a claim, and get all of it – all of you – for myself… and then it was just too much, and I got scared that you didn’t feel the same way, and then all my past doubts rushed into my head, and how I’m making the same mistakes, and…” You stop, and laugh again. “I assume you had a bit less thoughts.”

“I felt loved up and I was shagging my girlfriend. That’s about it.” He isn’t laughing at his own joke. “Wren, I’m worried too. To make the same mistakes. And that it was just a post-coital ‘I love you,’ and that I’m pushing you too hard again.”

Oh wow. That’s what he calls ‘that’s about it?!’ Your little melt-down is a bloody nothing compared to what he’s brewing in his noggin. And says nothing about! And summarises in less than twenty words! No wonder you’re the one with panic attacks, and he’s the one with the heart one. Good thing the two of you have started actually talking this time around.

“I love you,” you say calmly, and rub your thumb to the beard on the side of the chin. You’ve always adored the rough tickle of the whiskers. His features soften. “Here’s a mid coital one for you. And you aren’t pushing me. Maybe we are just idiots, and it’s just going so well that we can’t believe it?” you offer, and he finally smiles.

“That certainly does sound like us.” His eyes are warm and shiny now. “And I love you too. Pre, mid, and post.” You giggle.

“They should put it on the Thorington family crest.”

The two of you kiss for a bit, and you realise your back is cold on the floor.

“Shall we give the bed another chance?”

“I’d say let’s give another chance to the equestrian pursuits.” How can you say ‘no’ the dark blue squinted eyes and a lopsided smirk?

You push him onto his back, and… Giddy up!

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 5. Wrennie and John

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Author’s note:

Just a small note to let you know that I’m planning about twenty chapters for this story, to match the previous parts. There’s a conflict/plot line that I want to explore for them (no spoilers 😉 but I’m rather excited about it); then there will be the question of commitment to discuss; and then happily ever after. If there’s something you would like to also be included into this story, or a character you would like to see, let me know.

Cheers,

Katya


You go home. The decision is surprisingly easy to make. There are two main reasons. Firstly, staying would create misbalance in your relationship. Or to be precise, it would enforce the existing one. Because if you stay, you’ll be that same old Wrennie Leary: impulsive, immature, vulnerable. Once again you’ll be the one who opened all her cards. The one in love with the man who once again has all the power. You’d stay in his flat in yesterday’s dress, knickers washed in his sink; nothing of yours; no control. That does sound familiar, doesn’t it, Wrennie dearest?

Secondly, if you stay, you’ll have sex with him. And somehow you’re an adult enough now to think about it before doing it. As funny as it sounds, the first time with him – and you do know, it’s the second time around, and far from your first one – matters. It matters to you. You aren’t a virgin, and every sex is a unique experience; and maybe you won’t even remember what it was like; but right here, right now that’s not how you want it to happen.

You cook in his pristine kitchen, eat, clean up, and go home. You leave him a note at the back of his: you thank him for taking care of you in your vulnerable state, and joke that now he owes you the disclosure of some of his sex fantasies. You ask him to ring you up when he gets home, and invite him to dinner in the next few days, when it works for him.

You feel very empowered and very mature on your way home – and grumpy and acutely frustrated sexually later, in a bubble bath you’re soaking in. But you don’t doubt your decision.

He rings you up around seven, while you’re watching some old rubbish on Netflix.

“That was brilliant, love,” he draws out, after greeting you. His voice is shaking with laughter. “First, you arsed up my day. I couldn’t concentrate on a single thing. My teaching assistant asked me if I was going down with something. Then I left my office half an hour earlier. And, the twonk that I am, I spent the aforementioned half an hour in a flower shop, killing time, since I said I’d be back by seven fifteen. And then when I showed up with your carnations, and all fired up, you weren’t there.” He laughs louder. “Well played, Wrennie.”

“None of it was premeditated,” you answer, and chew at your bottom lip. You’re certain that he’s joking, you can hear it in his voice; but you still feel a wee bit bad. “I thought it was best to let you have rest after a long day at work. And… Don’t forget to put the flowers in water.”

“Cold, Ms Leary. That’s just cold.”

He’s wrong. You’re feeling very, very hot. From the low purr in his baritone, from the ‘Ms Leary,’ and from how easy and exciting it is – to flirt with him, to tease him; and finally, from the anticipation.

You two chat a bit more, and he’s invited to your flat for dinner in two days. After cordial goodbyes, you hang up, and settle back in your bed to finish the episode.

***

Two days later, the dinner – his favourite Lebanese – is ordered, delivered, and plated; the candles are bought and arranged on the table; the new set of light blue lingerie is hidden under a simple white button up and a pair of comfortable denim.

There are another ten minutes till the assigned time, plus another fifteen minutes that he’ll be late out of politeness, and you’re brushing and tying your hair, when you meet the reflection of your eyes in the mirror.

Is that really you? Is this Wrennie Leary? All smart and dispassionate, planning a date and sex with Dr Sexy? Is this what you want? Is this what the two of you have become – after all the pain, for both of you, after the catastrophe that was your break-up, after those months of numbness, and the slow tentative growing back together?

Have you lost something on the way? Some part of yourself, perhaps? Have you grown… old? Is this new – calm, collected, almost calculative – you is now… forever?

The buzzer rings, and you hurriedly check your mobile. He is exactly on time. Was he standing behind the door, his finger hovering over the button, waiting for the watch hand to touch the number twelve?

You answer and buzz him in.

You can hear hurried, almost running steps on the stairs – and he as much as smashes into you, scooping you, kissing you, carrying you inside the flat. Something falls out of his hands on the floor, and you realise the answer to all the questions above is ‘fuck no.’

“Sod the dinner!” you mumble into his lips, and he growls. Hells yeah, Dr T’s growls and rumbles! You have forgotten them, and yes to them, hundred times yes!

You’re pushing the jacket off his shoulders, he’s groping you. There are kisses, bites, and you grab the hem of his jumper and pull it up. It’s on the floor, he toes off his shoes, you grab his belt. His hands fly up to the collar of your shirt, and he jerks. Something rips, and you loudly curse from how fucking randy that made you and bite his bottom lip. The shirt is off, and the bra follows. That’s two hundred quid wasted.

The belt clacks, the trousers drop. Knowing his skill, socks joined them. You pull off his tee. Once it’s out of the way and he can move his arms, he starts pushing down his underwear. You unbutton your jeans and push them down. He drops on his knees, cups your buttocks, and pulls you to his lips. You wobble and then moan loudly. He’s just licked your stomach, and it’s so fucking sexy you’re going to combust. The knickers hit the floor, and he twists his neck, and covers your fanny with his hot open mouth. You bend backwards, with a loud groan, and his tongue sweeps greedily between your legs.

Your knees buckle, and you slump on the floor. He’s on top of you a second later, and suddenly a pair of burning icy blue eyes are in front of you.

“Yes… God, yes…” you breathe out, and wrap your legs around his waist. You’re on the pill, and you need him inside. Now.

He pushes in, you cry out. You squeeze your eyes, from the blinding dots of some mental fireworks dancing in front of them – and to feel it all.

“Wren…” he pleads, and you open your eyes. He needs you now, and here you are.

“John…” you breathe out, and he kisses you.

He starts moving, deeply, stretching you, purposefully, as if telling you something. And then you can’t think or notice anything anymore. You just feel. Him. He’s above you, in you, around you. Just John.

The two of you are sliding on the floor, with each thrust of his hips in you, and then the top of your head thumps into something. You throw your arms behind your head, press your palms into something cold, and it’s ace! Because now you have something to push from, and you wrap your legs around him more tightly, digging your heels into his arse; and you arch, shoulder blades lift off the floor; and you meet him with each movement. Again, and again. Together. More, and more…

…and the two of you come; he gives out a raspy cry, his massive, heavy body quaking, in you, on you, around you; and you arch even more, press him closer, wrap around him tighter, in a perfect orgasm – with him, only with him. Just him.

***

He’s exhaling in short funny pants, and you realise the two of you are in the kitchen. You turned left, while the bedroom was on the right, and your head is near the fridge. Your bum is cold on the floor. And then he starts laughing, and it’s your favourite guffaws, white teeth, and crow’s feet. So rare, but so John. Your John.

His whole body’s shaking in frolicks, and you stroke the thick silky waves at the back of his head. He lifts his face, and you quickly kiss his jaw. And then the neck, and you can taste the salt on the delicious skin.

“I had a Viagra with me. I was worried…” He barks a careless laugh. “I was going to sneakily take it before dinner if it looked like we were going there.” You snort. You think you’ve never felt happier.

“Oh we went there.”

“Yeah, we did.” He’s grinning, looking down at you, and you gently brush the tips of your fingers to his eyebrow, and then cheekbone, and along the long nose. He turned his face and places a small kiss on them. Your eyes meet.

“I love you,” you say it, and it’s the easiest thing.

“I love you,” he answers, and the two of you kiss.

Live Well and Prosper || Chapter 4. Good Morning, Wrennie!

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You don’t do the stupid thing. It’s shocking, isn’t it? Wrennie Leary acting wisely… Wrennie Leary acting wisely around Dr Delicious – and yes, he’s gotten all his positive monikers back – is even more astonishing. You don’t jump his bones, which consequently does not lead to you prolonging your backache indefinitely. You don’t try to kiss him. You don’t raise any other emotionally excruciating for both of you questions. You just watch the film and enjoy it immensely. In the last third of it he starts whining that it’s quite obvious who’s the ‘baddie’ here. It turns out he hasn’t seen the film before, and hasn’t read the book, but of course he guesses right.

The two of you eat dinner, and then he leaves, after stocking up your fridge, and kissing you to the top of your head. You don’t insist he stays.

In the next week and the half you don’t invite him over. Well, alright, he comes twice. But he rang you up on his own accord! Gracefully accepting his groceries, and his cooking abilities still counts as acting wisely. And again, you don’t offer anything but a film, a long and jolly chat, one game of chess, and two kisses to his cheek. Wisely! It’s called ‘wisely!’

It’s in equal proportions excruciating and exhilarating. It’s like watching a romcom with oneself in the leading role, and the whole ‘will they, won’t they’ thrill; but just as in a romcom we all know they will, don’t we, Wrennie?

And then you’re back at work, and so much has to be done; that when a week later you resurface, you feel like you’ve been on a deserted island. You even get a haircut, because it feels like you need to clean up now that you’re back to the civilised society.

And then it’s Thea’s birthday – and somehow, at some point, you get arsed up. In your case it’s two drinks. The first one makes you jolly and very, very friendly, but you don’t remember this stage. You reckon in the morning that there was no pause between the two bevvies, and you can only assume that either the person you were drinking with didn’t know about your intolerance, or they did try to get you bladdered.

The investigation will have to wait, since your priority number one – once you open your eyes and stare at the unfamiliar window curtains – is to figure out where the fuck you are, and how much aggro you’re in.

The room is dark, the curtains are drawn. You quickly look around. Everything is posh, elegant, but spartan. And then you recognise the painting on the wall. Unless the person whose place you are at has a copy of the Kandinsky that you’ve observed so many times above John’s headboard, you’re in Dr Delicious’ bed. You know very little about art, and Kandinsky seems to do the same thing again and again, but you’ve spent so many hours in various positions looking at it that you can’t possibly be wrong – here is that blueish greenish blob you always thought looked like a fish. OK, OK, a cock! You’ve always thought it looked like a cock. You’re a chavvy bird, what can you do?

You do the most logical thing you can in this case. You sniff the sheets and the pillow case. Yep, definitely John’s bed. Or at least the one he has slept in. You exhale in relief and plop back into his sheets. Out of all possible beds, this one is the jammiest for you to find yourself in.

After a few seconds of relief, you of course start panicking and hyperventilating since you are – Rassilon help you – in John’s bed. But it’s a mild panic and only a semi-hyperventilation. What’s the worst that could have happened? You shagged him? Fine, it was coming anyway. Pity you won’t remember it. You didn’t shag him and fell on the floor in a precise impersonation of Aunt Pittypat? Not bad either. Perhaps better. Whom are you bloody kidding?! All gods and deities, please, don’t let you two have shagged!

You are predictably as much as starkers. Predictably, because that is the cliche, and altogether this situation does seem like a beginning of a short but sweet romance story, or a scene from the aforementioned romcom. And also because you hate sleeping in a bra. It’s still with you under the duvet, so you assume you took it off yourself. The dress and the shoes are near the bed, neatly placed on a very elegant valet stand. My oh my, you do know that tie near your dress.

The knickers are gone, though. You rummage your hand under the sheets, but they are nowhere to be found. That’s a proper mystery! They were lacy thongs, and you hate those; so it makes sense that you’d take them off, but where are they?

You carefully climb off the bed and mince to what you think is a bathroom. You’re right, and you quickly make use of it and the loo. You also once again seek confirmation that you are indeed in John’s flat – though, clearly not the flat you remember. Products are the same, and there’s a long dark hair in the brush. You breathe a wee bit easier now. You find his robe and wrap in it. Your head’s splitting, and you properly don’t want to get dressed. Besides, you still don’t have any smalls.

Somewhat splashed with cold water, terribly hungover, pale, and disheveled you crawl out of the bedroom into a large living room. Even if your brain didn’t feel like black pudding, you’d be feeling all confused right now. The view in front of you is exactly what they call ‘it was like a dream.’ Here and there you see familiar things – the cursed Ming vase; the painting of that fashionable Japanese painter you always forget the name of; John’s laptop bag; other bits and bobs that you’ve seen and cohabited with for months – but the furniture is new, and it’s clearly a new flat.

You make a few careful steps, and then you see a note on the table. It’s definitely John’s confident, flamboyant handwriting.

Morning, love!

How’s your head? (The meds are attached.)

You see a glass of water and couple pills nearby. You’re still at sixes and sevens, so you decide to finish reading before taking strange pills in a strange home.

Last night I received a call from the concierge of my former building who claimed that my – also, former – paramour was hollering under windows, demanding entrance, threatening to start serenading me from under the balcony. (As flattered as I am, I find it necessary to remind you that the building had no balconies.) As my Romeo appeared mobile, though unreasonable, Mr Deel loaded the Hope and Pride of the Rivendell Institute in a cab, and I received the parcel here. Welcome to my new flat!

I suggest you take the pills, cook yourself a substantial breakfast, and then you will have two choices: 1. You could go home and have a lie-in. I took the liberty to text your friend Thea after you fell asleep informing her you’re safe, and in return she said she rang up the Institute and told them you had an appointment with your acupuncturist and weren’t coming into work today. 2. You could stay. I’ll be home at seven fifteen.

As you can imagine, everything mine is yours. None of your old things are left, sadly. As you recall, I sent you the forgotten items in the first week of our separation. But I’ve always loved the view of you in my shirt. Just a shirt.

You’ve been reading the note in his voice in your head. The last three are a sexy purr.

By the way, don’t look for your knickers. Among many other things you blurted out into my face last night, you mentioned you had thrown them out the cab window. You called it ‘burning the bridges,’ and then offered to describe them to me if necessary.

You’re suddenly not feeling that great, and hurriedly take the meds. Fuck you, Wrennie, you just had to go all in, didn’t you? Literally, couldn’t keep your pants on. And, what the bloody hell did you also blurt out into his face?!

If you happen to be still in this flat, at around six thirty, please, feel free to order dinner. There’re menus in the kitchen (second drawer to the right from the stove), but none of the choices is obligatory. I trust your taste completely.

Just to make the following hours more difficult for you (consider it the revenge for the sleepless night I spent trying not to think of the naked backside you gleefully demonstrated to me), I will inform you that the second most popular topic of your blabbering was your self-pleasuring habits, and my recent reappearance in the leading role in your fantasies. And yes, Wrennie my dear, I do think about that one time in my office quite often as well.

Love,

John

You finish the water in the glass, and plod to the kitchen to make a brekkie. To stay, or not to stay – that is the sodding question.