Another Step Forward
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
IMAGES FOUND ON PINTEREST. Not TH, but reminded us of him!
Word Count: 1634
Summary: Tom does his best to explain himself to Thalia, to try to keep her from rebuilding the brick wall between them.
Previous Chapter, Second Chances
“Yes, yes. I understand.” Tom speaks into the phone. His hand wildly grasps for Thalia’s, but she shakes him off. If a man could die from a woman’s glare, he’d be burned to ashes in an instant. He keeps his eyes locked on her, trying to silently convey this isn’t his fault. “Can this wait? I’ve told you, I’ve made the latest flight I can get, and I can be at the office first thing in the morning.”
“Flight?” Thalia mouths, dropping her bag on the bed next to his.
He shakes his head, closing his eyes and looking up to the ceiling, raking his other hand through his messy curls. “Dammit, can we not do this? Don’t speak to me like that, please. We promised to be civil, and I mean to keep to my word. I promised I’d take care of it, and I will. I’ve changed my plans to come back to London, isn’t that enough?” He listens, irritation etched on his face as he slowly lowers his glance, turning his eyes back on Thalia. Her jaw twitches as she folds her arms over her chest. He sighs. “No. No, I’m not done with my research and the reparations I need to make here in Spain. As soon as I can clear up these other troubles, I’ll probably be coming back here to Madrid.” He lifts his eyes hopefully to Thalia, and she turns on her heels away from him, stomping into the bathroom and slamming the door.
“Listen, Sabrina, I don’t have time for this now. I told you I’ll be there tomorrow. I can’t fix it tonight anyway. Make yourself some tea and settle in. We’ll worry about it in the morning.”
Ending the call he drops his phone to the bed and lets loose a low roar. “Fucking fuckin hell,” he mutters, taking long strides across the room.
Ear to the door, he hears no sound. He raps his knuckles against the solid wood. “Thalia?”
“When are you leaving?” The sound is sad and muffled.
“Tonight. A cab will take me to the airport at 9:30, to catch the last flight out.”
The door flies open and he nearly falls into her.
“Please tell me you weren’t lying to me, that you weren’t just in town for an easy fuck?”
He steps towards her and she retreats, bumping into the large sink basin. He steps closer still, causing her to arch her back away from him. “Thalia, my darling, I have never lied to you.” He closes his eyes in thought, opening his eyes with a slow blink. “Not once can I think of a time I lied to you.” He makes one small step back, still keeping his leg between her thighs. “I’ve lied to other women, to get what I wanted, or to save face. Yes, even the woman I was engaged to.” He retreats further. “I’m not proud of it, but something about your faith in me always made me a better man. For you.”
Thalia hangs her head. Her voice is low. “I lied, stretched truths. I was a terrible person to you, and… and to him. But I don’t do that now, Tom.” She lifts her head. “If I’m in it, I want everything to be open and honest. Eventually, we’ll have to talk the past out, it’s the only way to move on.” She nods her head to the other room. “But apparently, you’re leaving?”
Tom turns, walking out of the bathroom and she follows. “Yes, bloody hell. I have to get back. I left too many things unfinished, up in the air. The catering and reception hall, the serving staff, it was all booked through one company. They’re threatening to sue if we don’t follow through on our contract, and the date to cancel has passed. Cancelling now, they want to charge a hefty sum. It’s going to cost me more than going through with the damn wedding.”
Thalia leans against the bookshelf, in a much less inviting pose than the one from the night before. “So what are you going to do?”
Tom strokes his beard, feeling the wall between them building back up. “Thalia, there’s nothing I can do. I’ll fly back tonight. Meet with their staff first thing in the morning. Check in with my literary agent, try to book a few more speaking engagements to make money to pay the costs. Maybe stop at the University, see if I can extend my leave for another semester.”
She crosses her arms over her hefty bosom. “And you have to see Sabrina?”
Her steely eyes say what her words don’t. He bows his head. “She’ll be there, she’ll have to agree to my proposal, since her name is on the contracts as well.”
“And what do you plan to propose?”
He flinches at her word choice. He should have only made one proposal in his lifetime, to her. That first moment the thought popped into his head, he should have said it, years ago that day in Paris. But he’d been gobsmacked by the feeling, and taken time to process it instead, overthinking everything. And he’d lost her. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing her again.
“Let her go ahead and have her big party, choose a few less expensive options they’ll settle for… Trade in the honeymoon cruise package for three tickets with her friends. Turn my name to mud in our social set. I suppose I can watch Wimbledon on the tele, just like everyone else.” He scoffs, falling back onto the bed. Resting his elbows on his knees, he holds his head in his hands. “I don’t know what else the hell to do. I’ll give it all up, Thalia, as long as I know you’re willing to give me another chance, that last night wasn’t a fluke.”
“How do I know you’ll be back?” Her wistful voice tears at his heart.
Tom holds his hands out to her, motioning for her to join him. “Darling, I admitted to you I haven’t gone down on a woman in over two years.” He’s surprised she follows his request. He pulls her down onto his lap. He pushes her hair back, exposing her neck. “You think after tasting you,” he nibbles her neck, scratching her with his beard, “just this morning after our shower, that I could ever leave your side again?”
She pushes against his chest. “Oh, Tom. No jokes- wait.” Her brow furrows. “We’ve been apart three years. You just said two years?”
“I wasn’t a total monk, darling.” He chuckles, tackling her to the bed when she tries to get away.
“Ass,” she giggles between peals of laughter as he tickles her.
“Thalia, I mean to court you. To right everything I did wrong our first time around. No sneaking, no hiding. Everything out in the open. That’s why I plan to ask for an extension on my sabbatical. So I can be here with you in Madrid.” He leans over her, his lips caressing against hers, grinding his pelvis against hers. “Would you like to come back to London with me tonight? You could stay at my place, maybe do some sightseeing while I take care of business?”
Running her hand down his chest, her eyes trailing down the same path, she shakes her head ‘no.’
“No. That’s really nice of you, but I think this is something you need to finish up on your own, free and clear.” Her fingers dig under the waistband of his jeans. “If things work out, I’ll go to London with you soon, when I get back from the States.”
“I hate you’re going to the States.”
“I don’t back out on my promises. Yes, I’ll be seeing… old friends, but I also have former students I plan to see for lunches and dinners. I’m looking forward to being in the classroom again.”
“I’ll miss you.” Tom leans forward and kisses the tip of her nose, pushing against her again. “You know, we have time before my flight, we could-”
She rolls her head back and forth against the bed. “I ordered food. It’ll be here soon.”
“Who needs food?”
They both laugh when her tummy rumbles.
“Ok, maybe you need food.” He leans forward and kisses the tip of her nose, grateful to be so close to her. “Can’t have my beautiful warrior princess succumb to starvation,” he murmurs quietly, running his hands over her thigh, pulling it up against his side, pushing her into the bed as he rocks back and forth.
She chuckles. “I think I have enough fat stores to last a few more hours.”
“Mmhmm. I thought you’d see it my way,” he says, leaning on one hand, using the other to rip open her shirt, latching his mouth over her peaked nipple under it’s satin cage.
She sucks in a deep breath. “Oh, thank you. That shirt was too damn tight. How can you eat so much and stay so damn skinny? I hate you. I really hate you, Tom.”
He tugs her nipple between his teeth, his long hair tickling her chest. “Uh-huh, no you don’t. Say it, Thalia. You need to say it. I need to hear you say it, darling.”
She grabs the back of his hair, lifting his head, looking him straight in the eyes. “I love you, Tom. So much. I’m ready. Ready to start this, see whatever this can be.”
His eyes well with tears as he kisses her tenderly. It’s all brushing and caressing, his lips stroking tenderly over hers, withdrawing and returning as if he wants each gentle nip, lick and press to be burned into her skin, into her heart, her soul.
Copyright © 2019 avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom