Haunted

ch 14 Haunted Feb 17 2019

Haunted

Being Thalia

Chapter 14

By devikafernando & avenger-nerd-mom

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 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 2077

Summary: Tom falls down a rabbit hole of forbidden memories.

This chapter contains sexual activities and reference to a near-rape experience.

Previous Chapter, Forbidden Fruit

July 2021

As his hands fly across the paper, Tom madly scribbles his forbidden thoughts of lost love and his mind wanders to happier days.

***

His head resting on Thalia’s plush thigh, Tom stretches on the huge king-size hotel bed in Paris, grateful for another stolen day with his girl.

They’ve slaked the fiercest of their thirst with a round of almost fierce love making already, Tom indulging in one of his favorite positions and urging Thalia to ride him, her glorious tits bouncing as he dug his fingers hard enough into her ample hips to leave faint bruises.

That was an hour ago, when he’d first arrived from the airport, finding her only wrapped in a sheet. He’d missed his girl, Thalia here in Paris, getting settled for her internship. Although only apart a few weeks, he wanted to make up for lost time. After their frenzied fuck, they’d followed up with the lazy cuddling he loves just as much. It strikes him how rarely they really get the chance to draw out the time with each other, to cuddle and talk or even take a nap nude before going for round two or three.

“Tom?”

The fingers combing through his short, slightly sweaty hair stop as Thalia speaks and jolts him from his indulgent haze.

“Yes, darling?”

He opens his eyes and shifts slightly so he can see her face better.

“Tell me more about kinks.”

Blinking, he shifts again so that he can roll onto his stomach and prop his chin on his hands. He reminds himself to keep his gaze on her face and not let it wander over her delectable body; she’s still naked, and has reached that stage when she forgets about any insecurities and is herself—and his.

“Where’s that question coming from now?”

There it is, that lovely blush that makes her freckles stand out more and that he always causes all over her curves when he licks and sucks and nips.

She bites her full lip but holds his gaze. “I may have read a romance novel last week that mentioned a foot fetish. A fetish is the same as a kink, right?”

He tries to look as innocent as possible. “And why do you ask ME that?”

Thalia prods his rib with a toe and he uses the opportunity to catch her foot and tickle her sole mercilessly until she’s a giggling, wheezing, writhing mess.

Scrambling up on the bed, Tom rearranges them so he can sit with his back against the high headboard and his naughty girl in his embrace, her back to his chest as she rests in the circle of his widespread legs.

Still a bit out of breath, she elaborates, “I know you’re much more experienced with all that…kinky stuff.”

He snorts softly and nips her earlobe, which makes her squirm and brush against him in all sorts of torturous ways.

“Up for some more educating, are you? Well, what sort of professor would I be if I got in the way of that? So, what do you want to know?”

“Anything. Everything.”

And so he tells her about stuff he’s read on the internet and even experienced first-hand or been told about by more daring friends.

He talks about weird fetishes like getting it on with teddy bears, being aroused by stuttering or even being attracted to dangerous criminals. When he mentions that some people get hot and bothered for statues, Thalia giggles. She gives him the once over and raises a brow, “I mean, you can hold a candle to Adonis. So if it’s that kind of statue, I can’t really fault people for having such a fetish.” Her other brow quirks too and he seems a mischievous gleam enter her eyes. “Although I do have to say that none of those classical statues come anywhere near to what you’re packing in real life.” She nudges her chin towards his crotch area.

Blushing but grinning, Tom lightly slaps her thigh, which makes her squirm. “I guess I should be flattered. Or worried that you’ve paid enough attention to that particular part of statue anatomy?”

They snicker before he continues. “Speaking of paying attention to bodies… Some people have a kink that isn’t all that weird. They get turned on by sex in front of a mirror.”

Thalia perks up at that. “And do you happen to know the name for that kink, Professor?”

Feeling a shiver dance across his spine at the thought of this particular kink that has sometimes called out to him too, Tom nods. “I do happen to know it, yes. It’s called Katoptronophilia as the Greek word for mirror is katoptron.”

Resting his chin on her shoulder and letting his hands wander idly over Thalia’s body to stroke until she’s very still and breathing carefully, he also mentions more normal or harmless things that can be kinks for some. Glasses, stockings, high heels, collars, food fetishes, exhibitionism…the list is long, and he loves her reactions and curiosity.

This is when he’s happiest, he thinks in a sudden moment of insight: when he’s got Thalia in his arms and they can talk and touch and be unashamedly themselves.

“Would you say you have a kink you aren’t even really aware of?” Thalia asks, her voice musing but also a tiny bit husky because she’s definitely noticed his caresses. “Or that you’re maybe hiding one from me?”

“I’m not hiding anything from you, love.” The words are out before he can think about them—and they’re true, even if he’s always been rather secretive in his life, lovers included.

Tom doesn’t have time to think about it because Thalia turns her head and kisses him. He pours his shock into the press of his lips against hers, slides his tongue deep until she whimpers softly and all but melts in his arms.

When they disentangle to breathe, she insists. “No, really. No kink that I should know of?”

“Well, we both know about your glasses kink,” he teases her, which makes her laugh and blush some more, squirming so her lush bottom grinds over his now very interested cock.

“Me? I can’t really think of anything subtle or hidden. A tea kink? Because I love watching a certain young woman prepare a proper English tea for me in the nude?”

There’s humor in his voice which has gone automatically to that lower, deeper register that she brings out in him, and it makes her giggle and swat his leg none too gentle.

“Be serious, Tom.”

“Oh, you want me serious? Is that what would make my girl happy?”

He grabs the wrist of the hand with which she just hit him and twists her arm back, gently enough not to hurt her but firm enough to make a point. He pulls it behind her back, then does the same with the other arm. Then he pulls her more firmly against his body so her crossed wrists are trapped between her spine and his chest.

A shiver courses through her, and when he drags his teeth over her shoulder, he hears a low moan.

Her position makes her unable to touch him or balance herself properly, and she’s at his mercy. It also thrusts her voluptuous breasts out more, and he’s tall enough to lean forward and take advantage of that.

One of his hands molds a heavy globe, kneading and pulling and rubbing his palm over her stiff nipple until she’s gasping. His other hand hooks one of her legs over his so that her thighs are spread even wider. He lets it glide over the inside of her thigh, dragging his blunt nails lightly over her skin and causing her to shudder again. Her body grows taut with anticipation when his fingers stray higher and he brushes his fingertips lightly over her swollen, slick lips.

“You’re wet,” he growls. “Is it all the talk about kink or is it me?”

“You.” It sounds breathy, hardening him further. “You know you always make me wet…Sir.”

“And that’s the way it should be.” Feeling an odd wave of possessiveness, Tom sinks his teeth into her neck and sucks to mark her, drawing another gasped moan from Thalia.

Something about the gasp makes Tom try to rein in his rampant desire and remember to take extra care of her. He’s seen her scars, knows that the memory of the near-rape is probably still on her mind sometimes. Drawing in a steadying breath, he loosens his hold on her a fraction. Sure, he’s just touched the evidence of her arousal, but what if her body is overtaking her mind and she’ll regret this later?

“Thalia, is this okay?” he asks earnestly. “I want your full consent. Are you fine with me restricting and dominating you like this or do you want me to tone it down a notch because of…well, you know.”

He doesn’t want to say the word, ruin the mood. It still makes him incandescent with rage and pain to think about what nearly happened. If life was a movie, he would be out getting his revenge and killing the sick bastard who hurt this beautiful creature.

Tom feels her curves move when she also hauls in a deep breath.

“This is fine. Please. I need it, need you.”

Thank heavens. He nuzzles her hair, then tightens his grip on her again.

“Think you can come for me, just from my hand on your beautiful, needy pussy?”

He can feel her hands flex useless against his abdomen and her thigh muscles twitch.

“Yes. Please. Make me.”

And so he does just that, touching her in earnest. He knows how she needs to be caressed, how to slide his fingertips over the sensitive area right next to her clit, how to draw tight circles and then let her hang for a bit by delving a finger in and pumping.

It doesn’t take long for her to quiver and clench around him, her body bucking so hard that he has to fling an arm around her middle and anchor her to himself.

With a keening whimper, Thalia comes, gushing over his hand while her back arches despite his firm hold.

Tom gentles his strokes, massaging some of her wetness in, bringing her down from the peak while peppering her neck with kisses.

“So precious. Mine.”

He releases her from his firm embrace and she moves languidly to turn around, but he sees determination in her wide, dark eyes.

When he fists her hair in his hand, she licks her lips and needs no further command. Kneeling between his legs, she closes one hand over his rigid length and bends forward for a first suck that has him grit his teeth.

When they lie in each other’s arms later, idly tracing circles on damp skin and synching their breathing, Thalia murmurs, “I think I’ve figured out one of your kinks.”

Tom somehow finds enough energy to lift his head an inch and glance at her. “Is that so? Care to enlighten me?”

She seeks his gaze, her teeth digging into her lower lip for a moment. “Being in control. Teaching me naughty things. Not just simply being a mild dom of sorts. It’s the educating aspect too, and being older than me and sort of getting to deprave me.”

Her choice of words makes Tom guffaw. “You were no Regency-era virginal maid to deprave, darling,” he protests among snickers.

“Gee, Tom. I didn’t get around THAT much,” she slaps his thigh playfully. “But you have to admit, you’ve taught me things, and you get off on that, knowing you were first.”

Her comment with its kernel of truth gives him pause. All said and done, that’s quite astute. Tom blinks at her, feeling a bit caught out. He wonders whether there’s a word for that too. And as the two of them drift into contented sleep, still entangled, he realizes something that makes him open his eyes wide again: He might still be doing all the educating, but in the end, he’s learning too. Learning how right she is for him, and he for her.

***

Folding the paper neatly, Tom vows to put it away, out of sight so Sabrina won’t find it. He wonders what to do with the box of old letters and keepsakes when they finally join households. He closes his eyes, whispering a prayer for strength and forgiveness, before reaching for his phone to return the call to his dear intended wife.

Click here for Chapter 15: Reaching Out

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

Closing Time

et ch 14 closing time april 19 2017

Educating Thalia

Chapter 14

Collaboration by  @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

A collaboration involving Professor Hiddleston and Professor Evans- The two are rivals at a posh New England university and have no idea they both have taken interest in the lovely Thalia Bareo. She’s a grad student with interests in language and history; a sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago.  Story updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Word count: 3400

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, fluff, drinking, discussion of homelessness, thoughts of sexual situations

Summary:  Professor Evans seeks solace in a bottle and finds himself in the bar where grad-student Thalia Bareo is finishing her night shift….

Click here to the introduction of Educating Thalia

“Ah, shit,” she mumbles, wiping the counter down. Her grumble catches his attention and he looks up, a smile of recognition dawning across his face. A brief image of the lovely woman before him in a short Tartan plaid skirt quickly romps through his memory.  With a slight nod, he runs his fingers across the top of his glass indicating another, and she motions to the other man behind the bar that she’s got this.

“What’s your poison, professor?” The plump latina asks, her accent thick and sultry.

He indicates the tap and looks on as her hand subtly strokes the metal handle before she pulls it down, watching the foamy brew flow into the chilled glass, stopping just before it spills over.

She sets it down with a clink in front of him. “I work all the way out here so I don’t have to put up with the college crowd; what’s your excuse for being at this dive?”

He ponders his response, taking a long sip of the dark hops as it cools down his throat. Even in the dark bar he can see her eyes darken for a moment while she watches the muscles in his neck as he gulps the beverage down. He continues drinking, his eyes on her as a blush rises on her cheeks and her nipples begin to strain against her shirt. She turns away from him, grabbing a bowl of mixed nuts to place in front of him, the heat diminished in her eyes.

He runs his thumb across his bottom lip, gathering the wasted drops off beer and flicks his tongue across the pad of his finger before replying. “I needed to get away from the college crowd too,” he tells her honestly.  “Sometimes it’s just too much bullshit, ya know?”

She wipes her hands on her apron, “Man, I hear that.  So what is it this time? Johanas and Smythes fighting over offices again, or the library collection refuses to update the check out system for references?”  she teases.

He chuckles and takes a handful of nuts, palming them and pushing them into his mouth.  “All of the above, and shitty freshmen that can’t write a goddamn sentence to save their lives.”

She laughs and rolls her eyes.  “I hear that too. Working as a TA in the language department; I can’t believe what they let in these ivy league doors these days, it’s a disgrace.”  Winking, her long lashes close and rest against her freckled cheek while she shares her tease with him.  “Kids wasting Daddy’s money, while I gotta work my ass off to get anywhere.”

She turns in a fluid movement to grab a bottle filled with an incandescent blue liquid, and his mind freezes on her use of the word ‘daddy’ and ‘ass’ in the same sentence.  From where he sits high on the bar stool, he can admire her rounded backside, in tight jeans with silver stitching on the pockets.  Reaching up to grab a bottle on a higher shelf, her shirt rises just enough to see a hint of her beautifully tanned skin.  Turning back to the main bar, she blushes lightly and self-consciously pulls her shirt back down.  He’s fascinated by watching her work as she mixes up a drink and shoots it smoothly down the wooden countertop and the other bartender catches it.  

“Thalia, right?”  Chris asks.  He knows she works for Hiddleston, but he vaguely remembers her from one of his study groups a year or two ago.  How could he forget such a beautiful name for such an alluring woman?  “You were in one of my classes, right?”

She nods.  “Your Women’s History class?  I gave my speech on roles of women in the World War II era while dressed in a USO showgirl outfit?”

Hell yeah.  She’d given the speech from memory, save for one notecard she pulled out of her cleavage halfway through the presentation.  He’d had such a hard-on the rest of the hour, he had to give her an A just because he couldn’t focus on a damn word she’d said.

“Do you commonly give costumed speeches?”  He asks, seeing her differently in the dark bar than he has before as she walks across campus, arms full of books.

Accepting a tip from a leaving customer she smiles brightly.  “Nah, I was young and foolish then, and besides, I’d worked really hard to make that outfit for a costume party.  I thought I might as well get more good out of it,” she laughs.

He smiles.  “Not so foolish now?”

“Grad student.  Bills to pay.  No time for fun.  Between school and workin-”

“Hey!” A voice at the end of the bar barks, “I don’t pay ya to flirt, I pay ya to mix drinks and clean tables.  Get to it!”

She drops her eyes.  “Sorry. Um, I wasn’t really… “  Shaking her head, she clears her throat.  “It was nice talking to you Professor Evans; I owe, I owe, it’s back to work I go.”  Humming quietly, she walks away, stopping at the end of the counter to pick up a big gray bucket to use to clean the tables.

He downs two more drinks during her absence, playing on his phone and returning emails.  Rolling his shoulders, he stretches his neck from side to side, watching her reflection in the aged mirror in front of him, rather than turning to admire her full figure.   Her dark curly hair cascades down her back, skimming just the top of the waist of her jeans.  Her tight v-neck tshirt supports a logo for the school team and hugs her tits just right.  From the fit, he can tell her bra is just a little too tight, and with each step she has an extra jiggle that makes him hard now.  He begins to fantasize about groping her voluptuous breasts from behind as he pounds against her ass.  Maybe she would even call him ‘daddy.’  

He shakes his head to clear the image.  Removing his glasses, he places them on the counter, rubbing his stubble gruffly.  Fuck.  She’s a student.  Even a damn good lay wouldn’t be worth risking his job.  And she would be good…  He can just sense it about her and that makes his cock twitch in his pants, and at the moment, he rather wishes he hadn’t gone commando after his shower at the gym.

He catches the eye of the other bartender and as if the guy could read his thoughts, Chris drops his head and hides his face in the crook of his elbow, staring into the amber liquid in his glass.

She chats with the other patrons and is obviously friendly with a few of the regulars.  When one guy tries to get a little handsy with her, she’s already twisted the man’s arm behind his back before he can jump to her rescue.  She gives the man a push and sends him on his way.  Chris watches as he scurries out the door.

Returning to her position at the bar, her face brightens when she realizes he’s still there.  “It’s late; don’t you need to be getting home?” she asks kindly, adding payments to the cash register and making a few notes.

“To be honest, I had a shit day and don’t wanna be alone,” he scoffs, slightly drunk and words slurred..  “When do you get off… work?” he adds with a wry smile, swishing around what’s left in the bottom of his glass.  “Sit with me and have some coffee while I dry out before I drive home?”

He sees her discreetly looking to his hands, possibly admiring their thickness or looking for signs of attachment, so he stretches his fingers to show there’s no wedding ring.   She leans into the counter, and pulls the glass from his hands, sitting it on the lower counter in front of her.  She rests her elbows on the bar in such a way to push her boobs together to showcase their beauty and whispers, “I got a better plan.  My apartment is just across the street.”  She twists her head to look at the neon clock on the wall behind her, exposing her graceful neck to him, to look at the time. “How ‘bout some early morning pancakes and some hot coffee before I have to hit the books.  Some of us actually prepare before we attend our classes,” she teases.

Chris can’t believe his luck.  It’s like an open invitation, but he sees a vulnerability in her too.  Her offer is gracious and full of concern over his slightly drunken state.  “That’s really nice, but we don’t have to,” he tries to deny his wish to say yes.  “The diner on the corner is open.”

She scoffs and rolls her eyes, “And it’s shit.  Besides, I really hate going anywhere after work and smelling like an ashtray.  I was gonna fix coffee anyway, so it’s no big deal.”  The beauty shrugs her shoulders, indicating it really is no trouble.

How can he resist?  “Sounds good.”  He pulls his wallet out of his back pocket and counts out a few bills to cover his tab.  She takes the money and raises her eyebrow at the tip.  Handing it back to him, he puts his hands up to stop her.

“Ok, fine,” she huffs.  He watches her move over to the end of the bar to open the register and address the other bartender.  “It’s slowing down and the tables are clear.  I’m outta here.”  Counting out her tips for the night, she doesn’t see the scowl on the older man’s face, but Chris catches it as the man turns to glare at him.

He strains to listen to their exchange over the din of the bar.  He can’t hear most of it, so he puts his glasses back on; he’s perfected the art of lip reading over the years.  Something to do on a slow day during boring staff meetings.  He catches the man’s concern for his female counterpart. “What? You’re leaving here with pretty boy?  Thalia, what are you doing?”

‘Pretty boy?’  Chris observes her looking around the bar, sweeping her arms wide.  Her voice is higher pitched and easier to hear.  “You’d rather I leave with one of the other patrons?  At least if pretty boy has tats, they’re spelled right.  But, Jim, don’t worry, my heart still belongs to you.”   She pats his big belly and rises on her toes to kiss his cheek.  Chris smiles at the scene.

Untying the apron, she tosses it under the bar.  He swears her voice is a bit louder, for his benefit as she continues. “Don’t worry about me.  You’ve seen me kick ass around here, you know if he tries something and I’m not interested, I can totally handle myself.”

Their voices drop but Chris continues to read their lips.  “You’re interested,” Jim nods towards him.

Thalia turns her brilliant smile to him and he watches her puff out her chest slightly and pull her shoulders back.   He returns the look and stands up from his seat, pulling his coat from the empty stool next to him.

She shakes her hair out, a thoughtful expression on her face.  “Maybe; I don’t know,” she says to the other bartender.  She grabs her coat from the hook and walks around the bar, titling her head to the exit and Chris follows her out, his hand on her lower back.

Outside in the cold, she pulls her collar up to protect her ears and loops her arm in his before stuffing her hands in her pockets.  “It’s just across the street; that doorway,” she gestures with her head as she leads him across the street.  Fumbling with her keys in the cold, she asks him to step around behind her for a minute.  “Hang on just a second; can you hold it open?”

“Sure?” he asks as she steps around the corner of the building and yells something down the alley and he hears a scuffle.  He’s surprised when she returns to see another woman with her.  “Tina, this is my friend, Chris.  He’ll be here tonight too, okay?”

Tina steps inside the warm entrance and mumbles something.  Thalia pulls a wrapped sandwich and apple from her pocket and hands it to the woman.  “Sleep well, Tina,” she says as the woman shuffles down the hall and disappears under the stairway.  

Thalia nods her head up the stairs and starts climbing.  Chris steps up beside her and quietly asks, “What was that about?”

Thalia grins and presses her lips closed tightly for a moment.  “She has no place to stay.  She’s harmless so a few of us let her in the building on cold nights and she sleeps under the stairs.”  Stopping at the third landing, she halts in front of the door on the right and unlocks it.  “I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve offered her my couch.”  She shakes her head, her hair falling around her shoulders.  “But she always says no.  About once a week I am able to convince her to come up for a shower and we have hot tea.”

Chris is blown away by her generosity.  “You have a habit of taking in strays?  Me?  Tina?  What do you two talk about?”

The door open, she motions for him to enter and reaches around and flicks the light switch.  He’s struck by the chill in the air, but the light casts a warm glow around the small space.  She places the keys on a side table and rubs her hands together for warmth.  “Wanna sit at the table? You might wanna keep your coat on.  It’ll take a while for the place to warm up.”  She moves to the radiator and clangs on it a few times with a metal wrench and Chris immediately remembers his days as a poor grad student too.  He bites back his laughter at the expression on her face, when she bangs it again and curses in Spanish before it rattles to life.

Crossing to the kitchen, she lays her gloves on the counter, and fills a kettle with water before adding it to the machine and settling it in its spot.  “She tells me about her life before she lost it all; her husband and son were killed in a car accident, and she just gave up after that.”    She reaches to her left and pulls out a coffee filter and grounds, measuring and adding it as well.  She pushes the orange button and the coffee maker makes a quiet hiss as it begins to do its job.

He watches as she moves about the kitchen and instantly feels at home in her space.  Funny.  That’s a feeling he hasn’t had in months.  He looks around as she talks a little more about Tina and straightens the counters, maybe a little embarrassed a guest is seeing it in a messed up state.  She halts when she realizes he’s watching and giggles.  “Sorry.  Habit.  I’m not used to having guests, and it’s a mess.”  She hands him a tin of cookies from above the stove and places two mugs on the table.  “So, listen.  Can you finish up the coffee?  If I have to smell like that bar for five more minutes, I might scream.”  She pulls a strand of hair to her nose and inhales.  She drops it in disgust and makes a stink face.  “It’s just awful; in my hair, on my clothes; on my skin.  I hate it.  And my hands?  I think they always smell like beer.”

She’s standing just close enough that he reaches to grab one of her hands and brings it to his face, brushing his nose against her palm.  Breathing deeply, the smell is strong, but she’s just left work.  “Occupational hazard?” he teases as he gently caresses the back of her hand with his thumb, enjoying the soft feel of her skin, afraid to lift his eyes to hers.

Clearing her throat, Thalia pulls her hand away slowly but the catch in her breath is audible and seems to echo in the silence between them.  Quietly she tells him, “If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to shower.  I won’t be long.  Make yourself at home.”

She rushes from the room quickly and enters through a closed door.  A few moments later, she comes out and rounds the corner and passes into another room with an armload of clothes. He hears the turn of the lock.  As he makes his coffee, he tries not to imagine her naked and wet in the shower, but the thought jumps into his mind anyway. Adding sugar, he visualizes the rivulets of water running across her hills and valleys as she soaps away a long night at work. If he were there with her, he’d follow the wetness all over her curves, with his fingers and his tongue. He’d… Shit, he probably shouldn’t be thinking this.

Chuckling at the sound of her humming, he tries to identify the song he’s heard on the radio as he reaches to the fridge for creamer.  On the door, he sees a recent application for paperwork to travel overseas and sees her birthdate, during the week of finals  She just turned twenty-five.  Pushing his glasses up, he rubs his forehead.  Twenty-five.  Fuck.  Is that too young?  She’s a grad student.  He shrugs his shoulders.  Not a student in his department.  What’s the harm there?

Sipping his coffee, he walks around the tiny space.  On the bookshelf are photos of friends and family…  A notice from a funeral she attended a few months back.  Books are piled everywhere.  Lots of little trinkets from tourist destinations across Europe.

The radiator is slowly warming the room, with a slight chill still hanging in the air.  He removes his coat and hangs it over the back of the chair before sitting on the couch and pulling the soft blue blanket around him.  The furniture is nice and newer, not typical college student decor.  He sinks back against the sueded fabric and settles in as the water shuts off.  Again, trying to shut out any thoughts of her naked behind the closed door, he pulls out his phone and checks for any updated messages.  Seeing none, he scowls at the screen, jumping a bit when the door creaks open.  

“Hey,” she says quietly as a waft of orchids from her bath soaps float from the room.  Her long curly hair is wrapped in a towel perched precariously on her head.

Damn, that’s really sexy, he thinks.  How do girls do that?  He smiles at her, in a pink polka dotted robe, tied loosely over a tank top and plaid pajama shorts.  When she walks to the kitchen, the robe splits open and he catches sight of the way her thighs sensually rub against one another as she moves. “Hey,” he responds.  “I didn’t know how you take your coffee so I just uh, didn’t fix it.”

She giggles.  “Strong and bold, with a little sugar.  Like my men,” she laughs and the sound is so joyous, he joins in the mirth.  Moving elegantly she seems comfortable in her skin.  Chris likes that about her right away.  She doesn’t seem phased by his presence or uncomfortable to be in her pjs in front of someone she barely knows.  As she fixes her coffee, he asks her a few more questions about Tina, her work at the bar and the memorabilia from her obvious travels.

“Ya know, Thalia, I always got the impression you didn’t like me,” he boldly states.

She settles at the end of the couch and tugs the robe around her middle.  He can see her carefully considering her words.  “You’re the type of man girls like me are taught to stay away from.”

A slow grin crosses his face, “Oh really?  And what type is that?”

“Handsome and self-assured?  But, I don’t know?  Tonight you seemed-  a little broken.  Like you needed someone just to be nice to you.  I can do that.  I can be nice.”

He wonders how nice she could be; how nice it would be to run his fingers through her hair; how nice to slide between her legs; how nice-

He clears his throat and takes another sip of his coffee.

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