Second Chances

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Second Chances

Being Thalia

Chapter 24

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

In the sequel to Educating Thalia, the lovely Thalia Bareo is growing up, making her own way in the world after losing both men she loved, Professors Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston. The sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago holds down a job in Madrid as she tries to deal with the real world. She continues her studies and freelances as a consultant for museums around the world. Being Thalia updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Warning: As a whole, this work contains adult content. If you proceed you have agreed that you are willing to see such content. Each chapter will not be coded with individual warnings. The overall story contains no hidden triggers.

If you are new to the series and characters, click here to the beginning of Educating Thalia.

If you are looking for other stories in the sequel, click here for the beginning of Being Thalia

Word Count: 2343

Summary: Thalia comes to some deep realizations.

Previous Chapter, Whatever You Need

Sitting at the table, Thalia looks up from her tablet. Tom is sprawled across the bed, an impish grin on his sleepy face. “I know you’re awake,” she says quietly. “You made that sound you make.”

His arm raises and flops against his chest. “I do not make sounds in my sleep.” His tone is warm and playful.

“You do too. You snorted, like you couldn’t get enough air.”

He rolls over on his side, the white sheet twisted around his hip. “My grandfather makes that noise. Only old men do that.”

“Well, if the big shoes fit, honey-” she ducks when he chucks a pillow at her head. She laughs, tossing back her wild mane of hair. “Your grandfather? He’s still alive? Why did I not know that?” There’s so much about him she hardly knows. She rises from the table, pulling his shirt around her middle, barely getting the buttons to meet.

“He is, living out in the old English countryside.” Tom taps the bed, inviting her to join him. “Maybe you could meet him someday.” Thalia smiles warmly, still struggling with the buttons on his shirt. “What about your grandparents?”

She shrugs, giving up on the shirt. She pushes the sleeves up and tucks up her leg under her before sitting on the bed next to him. “I really lost track of my mom’s family, but mi abuelita, my dad’s mom, still lives in Puerto Rico. Do you remember, I went to visit, did some rebuilding after the hurricane, back in ‘17?” Tom nods, lazily dragging his fingers over her plump thigh. “She’s still there, in the little cabin we renovated. Dad’s sister left her husband and they live together, still running the food truck for tourists.”

Tom lifts his head. “When was the last time you went for a visit?”

Thalia shakes her head, reaching over and pushing back his wayward curls. “It’s been too long.” She puckers her lips. “I should do that in the next year, attach it to one of my trips for work.”

“I’d like to go with you. See the little island that produced such a dynamo as you.”

Thalia swallows hard. “Is that what we’re doing now, Tom? Moving forward? Erasing all the hurt and pain? Making plans for a future together?”

Tom sits up, reaching for the hand worrying the hem of his shirt. Clutching it in his, he holds hers tightly. Looking into her eyes, his soul wide open, he says, “I’m ready to start living again, Thalia. I’ve been given a second chance, if you’ll allow me in. I don’t want to waste a minute of it.” He grins widely. “You keep reminding me I’m not getting any younger.”

Thalia stares intently for a moment, her eyes searching every line of his face. The worry line between his eyebrows has lightened in the last few days. She shifts her body, stretching her leg out in front of her. “Tom, I’m not a girl any more. I’m not the people pleaser I once was, I pretty much do and say whatever the fuck I want.” She scoffs, looking around the room. “I don’t know if I’m really cut out for a relationship. For what you want.”

“Thalia, all I’ve ever wanted was you, and I was a bloody sod who didn’t see it till I left. I fear I’ve left you broken.” He pushes her hair back over her shoulder to better see her face. “If… If I didn’t know you had loved another man for a time being, I would be worried I’d scorned you for good.”

Thalia swallows again, turning to face him. Running her hand up his arm, she rests it against the side of his face, her fingers digging into his gingery beard. “Just because I loved him, doesn’t mean I ever stopped loving you. It was just a different love, that’s all.”

Turning his head, he tries to hide, but she can still see his features darken. His beard tickles the inside of her palm before he kisses it tenderly. “Darling, I don’t know that I ever truly told you I loved you. I love you. You are the very thing that makes me feel capable of caring and showing emotion. Brits aren’t always the best at showing their emotions, saying how they feel. We’re often seen as cold bastards.”

Grinning, Thalia leans forward, running her hand through his tangled hair and pulling his forehead to hers, pressing their heads together. “I never thought you were a cold bastard. But it’s nice to hear ‘I love you.’ I just… I don’t know if I’m ready to say it back.” She lifts her lips and kisses his expansive forehead. She pulls away and throws her arm out to the side, indicating the messy bed. “What if this was just a revenge fuck? I needed to get off and now I’m out the door?”

She moves suddenly to rise, but his arm clamps around her waist. “Don’t go. Where are you going? We have so much more to talk about.”

Thalia swings her leg over the edge of the bed. When she wiggles, the sheet shifts, exposing Tom. She licks her lip. Dropping her voice, she asks, “What do you wanna talk about?”

Blushing, Tom pulls the sheet up, covering himself. “Anything. Everything. Losing your dad… How’s your stepmother doing? Are you still teaching classes? What are you new favorite movies? Children. Do you want children?”

Her eyebrow raises. “All that? What kind of power nap was that? All the energy, such an array of topics… Children, Tom? Really?”

“You said last night we needed to talk about everything and get it out before we leave this room.”

“We also said we were going to use all those condoms, but I think there’s one or two left.” She looks to the side table, trying to change the topic.

“Thalia, I picture a little girl in my life some day, and she always has your wild hair, your beautiful, dark eyes.” His hand closes around her wrist. “Do you want the same?”

Gulping, Thalia rises from the bed. “I don’t know, Tom. I really don’t know.”

“Why are you running from me now?”

Thalia bends down, reaching for her discarded dress. “While you were sleeping, I had a reminder call of an appointment I can’t miss.” She tugs on the shirt tail. “Can I borrow the shirt? I promise I’ll be back in a few hours, and we can talk more then.”

Not waiting for his response, she dashes into the bathroom.

 

***

Two hours later, she paces nervously in her therapist’s office, nearly busting out of his shirt. Paired with the jeans from the bottom of her bag, she looks cute and rather well-fucked.

“So Thalia, dear,” the therapist says in her soothing tone, “if what you’re telling me is all truth, that you do love him, why the hell are you so scared?”

Thalia presses her hand to the window, the rain falling again, blanketing the city in gray.

“If he left me again, I’d have to drown myself in an ocean as blue as his eyes,” she whispers, her eyes filling with tears again.

“Ok. Now we’re getting somewhere,” the tiny woman says, sitting up straight in her chair.

Thalia turns to face her, wiping the tear falling down her cheek. “What’d ya mean?”

“You’ve been coming in here for three months, telling me all kinds of crap.” She chuckles. “Now this is the real meat of it, what we need to work on.” She tosses her notepad onto the coffee table and leans forward. “Thalia, from what I can see, you are an amazing young woman, with a good head on her shoulders. You make the history buffs of this city look like trolls, with your knowledge of everything- thank you for the tour you gave my granddaughter, by the way, she loved it immensely- And, in case you haven’t looked in the mirror lately, you’re a total knockout. So why would he leave you?”

Thalia nervously fingers the buttons on his shirt. “He left before.”

“But he’s back now, apparently ready to lay down his life for you. Why would he leave you?”

“My mother left. Everyone leaves.”

“Thalia, you can’t keep punishing yourself for something that happened to you when you were a child. She didn’t leave you because of you. From what you tell me, it sounds like your mother had her own demons.” Thalia chokes on a sob as the tears fall from her cloudy eyes. The woman rises and steps in front of her, clutching her forearms. “Thalia, your life is probably as grand as it’s been because she wasn’t there to pull you down with her. That was her gift to you, leaving you. You have to believe you deserve good things. Just because you think others failed at loving you, or you left too soon to allow yourself to be loved- don’t give me that look. You would have been happy in the States, but you wouldn’t allow yourself to be happy-” She gives Thalia a mothering shake. “He came back for you. This man came back for you. Not everyone gets so many chances, dear.” She lets go, patting Thalia’s arm before stepping back and resuming her professionalism. “Your assignment for the week is to keep journaling, but this week, look for three good things, happy things in each day, and think about the reason you deserve them.”

Thalia nods, reaching for a tissue. Wiping her nose, she lifts her purse onto her shoulder. “Ya know, Doc, I hate talking this all out. I always leave with such a big headache. But I like you. I keep coming back, cuz you remind me of my stepmother. Thank you. Thank you for providing me with clarity and insight, and a little bit of tough love.”

Walking out of the office, she bounces down the stairs. Hailing a cab, she drives across town to her apartment for a change of clothes and a few necessities. On the return trip to Tom’s hotel, she calls an order into Lucía, making special arrangements for dinner to be delivered later. The younger woman squeals with excitement, hearing the delivery is to be made to the Palacio.

Ay, chica, are you back together?” Lucía screams into the phone.

Thalia laughs, pulling payment for the ride from her bag. “I don’t know, but it was a much needed fuck. I think I hurt my back.” She leans forward, massaging the sore spot.

She tips the driver kindly at the curb, looking up at the grand building. The history alone makes her excited to enter the building, not just knowing she’ll be in Tom’s arms again soon.

Oh my goodness, you’ll have to tell me everything. Was it the Presidential suite, like you guessed?”

Thalia smiles to the porter as he holds the door for her. She stops to admire the Joan Miró painting in the lobby. One of her favorite Spanish artists, the bright colors and shapes always brighten her mood. With a light heart, she walks proudly through the lobby. She decides to forgo the elevators to take the grand staircase up, trailing her fingers over the ornate railing. “Of course it was. It’s the only room with a private library. It’s exactly how I pictured him. Books, clothes everywhere. His glasses on the bedside table. A little messy, which isn’t like him, but people change. He’s a little more flexible now, it seems-”

“Flexible is always good, especially in bed.”

Thalia laughs, walking down the hallway on the first floor to take the elevator up to his floor. Flattening herself against the wall, she waits for a group of businessmen to pass. “That’s not the kind of flexible I meant.”

“But it was still good? Like you remembered?”

Thalia feels her heat rising, already waiting for him. “Better than I remembered. But perfectly matched, like no time had passed. He remembered everything.” She licks her lips, reliving how he’d peppered her back and shoulders with tiny kisses. “He remembered just what buttons to push.”

“Oh, Lord, just hearing you talk makes me want to call Carlos.”

Pushing the elevator, she leans against the wall and waits. “Don’t call Carlos. You know he’s bad news. The new assistant Henrí hired? Flirt with him tonight. Invite him for a drink after your shift.”

“Javíer?”

“Definitely. I’ve seen him watching you. He likes you.” The elevator dings. “Listen, I gotta go. Delivery at eight?”

The women quickly say their goodbyes, and Thalia takes a moment to look at herself in the shiny gold reflective panels of the small oak box. She fluffs out her hair, and tugs down on Tom’s shirt. Her breasts threaten to pop out over the top of her bra, the buttons barely holding the crisp fabric closed over her chest and belly. She turns sideways, catching a glimpse at how her jeans hug her firm, round ass. “Still got it, I guess.”

The door opens and she can’t hold in a little giggle. Tom. Together again after all these years. What was he saying to her before she left, about kids?

She knocks on the door, shifting her weight from side to side, her overnight bag heavy on her shoulder. “Come on, Tom.” She knocks again, louder.

The door opens, and something about his expression, freezes her. Her mood instantly drops. With the phone cradled to his ear, he ushers her inside, but motions for her to be quiet. The room is different, clean. He stands in front of her, wearing only his jeans, hung low on his narrow hips. Tom watches her closely as he listens intently to whomever is talking at him. She puckers her lips, something welling inside her and she pushes him aside, hitting his shoulder as she steps forward.

His suitcase is packed, sitting at the foot of the bed. A few items still lay scattered around the room, but it’s obvious he’s getting ready to leave.

Click here for Chapter 25, Another Step Forward

Copyright © 2019 avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

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