Apologies

ch 42 apologies July 26 2017

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 42

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:  3559

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, recovery, forgiveness, concern, anguish, family relationships

Summary:  Thalia has a special visitor in Chicago while she takes time away to heal…

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Author’s Note:  There are three remaining chapters in this series.

His knees practically knock together from sheer nervousness.  He truthfully can’t remember the last time he stood on a girl’s front porch, facing the fear of meeting her family.  He clutches the fragrant bouquet in his hands, smiling that he will soon smell the scent on her skin in person.  Pushing the buzzer, he chuckles to himself at the sound of a little dog barking fiercely on the other side of the door.

A quiet voice calls out, “Buster, hush!  I hear it; I’m coming.”

The intricately carved wooden door opens and a pretty blonde smiles out at him.  “More flowers?”  She chuckles.  “I hope they’re paying you extra this week for all these deliveries.”

She reaches for them, with cash in her hand.  A tip.  She thinks he’s a delivery person.  He clears his throat and says, “No, um, actually, I’m here to see Thalia?  I’d like to deliver these in person.”

The smile on her face grows and her head bobs up and down.  “Mmm… I see. Are you Chris or Tom?  Come on inside.”  She ushers him in, closing the door behind him.  Before he can speak, she continues, narrowing her eyes at him.  “I remember you.  You were at the club?”

Nodding, Chris replies and introductions and pleasantries are exchanged.  A yip pulls his attention down to the little dog sitting at his feet.  “Buster, you go.” She waves the dog away.  “I’m safe, ya silly mutt…  Follow me.  She’s holed up in her room and doesn’t come out much.  She didn’t mention you were planning to visit?”

“She, uh, doesn’t know I’m here. In Chicago.  She has no idea I was coming to visit.”  He admits nervously, following her down a hallway, catching glimpses of a dining room and family room.  They veer to the right and this hallway is lined with family photos.  He wishes he had time to stop and look, to see pictures of Thalia as a little girl, to know her life.

“Relax, sweetie.  If you’re half the man she thinks you are, she’ll be glad to see you.”

Her words stop him in his tracks.  Not paying attention, he runs right into her when she stops at a door.  “Sorry.  What?  She told you about me?”  Another piece clicks in his brain.  “You asked if I was ‘Chris or Tom.’  So you know?”

“The dining room banquet table looks like a showroom for a floral shop.  Honestly, all the conflicting smells are giving me a headache,” she smiles.  “When the flowers kept coming, I started to figure it out.  Two boyfriends?  Good for her!”

Stacey pats Chris’s arm gently and he likes her instantly.  She knocks on the door.  “Thalia, honey, you-”

A muffled response comes through the door.  “Stacey, I’m tired.  Whatever it is, let it wait.  I’ll be down for dinner.  We can even braid my hair tonight, but just let me be, please.”

The broken sound of her raspy voice is heartbreaking, but just hearing it springs alive his hopes.  His pulse races knowing she’s on the other side of that door and the thought he could be the one to lift her spirits. If she’ll accept his apologies…

“But Thalia,” she pushes open the door, ignoring her stepdaughter’s request.  “You have a guest.”  With a flourish of her arm, she ushers Chris into the room.

Her eyes widen in shock and her mouth pops into the sweet little “oh” she sometimes makes.  “I’ll leave you two alone,” Stacey says warmly, closing the door on her exit.

“What are- How?  I mean… What the hell?  I can’t make words.” She giggles.  “We kept playing phone tag and… and you didn’t answer my messages.  I thought-”

Not knowing really what to say, needing to rein in his emotions at her presence, he stalls for time.  “You’re watching TV?”  Chris looks around the little room, an obvious shrine to her high school days.  It doesn’t look like a thing has changed since she left for college.  He can feel her eyes watching him, but he needs to look.  Stepping to her desk, his eyes brush over photos of friends and family, the same funeral announcement she keeps in her apartment and a high school plaque for her top score on a college readiness assessment.  Turning back to her, he smiles.  “You hate television.”

Her battered body sits propped up between pillows on each side, her right arm in a sling and her other hand resting near the remote.  The bruising is still harsh, and the stitches mark her cheek.  “Look like hell, don’t I?  Can’t fuckin’ sleep.  Meds keep me up at night and I sleep all day.  I’m hungry, but then I throw up, and please, please, as much as I love to share a laugh with you, please don’t make me laugh.  My ribs ache so much….”  She turns off the program.  “Hate that shit.  If that’s a ‘real housewife,’ I don’t wanna be one….  My brain is turning to mush already.  I can feel it.”  Tucking her hair back, she sighs.  “Please, come around here. Sit on my good side.”  She motions him to the left of the bed.  “I’m glad you’re here, Chris.  It’s a nice surprise.”

Holding out her good hand, Chris realizes he’s still standing there awkwardly with the bouquet of orchids and pink calla lilies in his hand.  Stepping forward, he kisses her forehead, the one spot on her face not bruised.  Whispering he says, “Hey, Niña.  I missed you.”  He hands her the flowers and she inhales their aroma, murmuring how beautiful they are.  He eyes the row of vases lined up on a bookshelf under the window.  “I promised you a Spring Break together.  I always make good on my promises; you know that.”

“You do; that you do.”  She hands the bouquet back to him and he lays it on the bedside table before sitting gently on the bed next to her.  “That’s why three is my favorite number now, you know.  You and your promises.  Scootch closer and turn so I can see you better.  I missed your face.”

His heart melts.  Whatever anger he had, distrust he felt… he feels it all rush from his body the minute her hand rests on his thigh.  First giving a squeeze of his tight muscle, she turns her palm up, inviting him to hold her hand.  Just as he has so many times before, he winds his fingers between hers and holds her hand tenderly.

holding hands Chicago Chris.gif

“I was an ass, Thalia.  The things I said?  I-”

“Stop.  I don’t wanna do that.  You’re here now.  Don’t you think that says everything?”

Her eyes brim with tears and she wiggles uncomfortably on the bed.  He simply nods.  “Yea, I guess it does, but I still want to say I’m sorry.  Seeing you in that hospital bed?  That was the scariest moment of my life, listening to you tell-”

“I don’t wanna do that either.  You haven’t answered my messages; did you know they got him?  Tina had a frying pan in her bag,” she chuckles.  Wincing, she pulls her hand free, placing it on her ribs and dropping her head back in pain.  “Shit, I keep forgetting not to laugh,” she states painfully.  “She had a frying pan and hit him over the head, several times.  That’s why they found a bloody handprint on the door.  He was clutching his head when he ran off.  She covered me with a blanket and called 911.”  Placing her hand back in his, she traces over his fingers and up the veins on his arms, looking to them and avoiding his watchful gaze.  Her touch calms him and he feels at peace for the first time in days.

“They tell me she stayed with me till she heard the sirens but then she left because she was afraid they’d make her leave or she’d be in trouble for hitting him.  Can you believe that?”   Shaking her head in disbelief she raises her dark chocolate eyes to his.  Under her long lashes, he sees how tired she is, and a little hazed from the pain medications.  “She’s a hero, and she thought she’d be in trouble…”

“That’s amazing; and I already knew. I’ve talked to Jim. But thank you for telling me.”  His hand slides up her arm, tickling the soft spot at her elbow, to her hand, where she’s tracing over an old faded tattoo.  He lifts it to his lips and kisses gently, the velvety softness of her skin warm against his plump lips.

“So too mad to talk to me, but asking my friend about me?  Man, that is such a punk ass little boy move, Evans,” she teases, hitting his leg.  “No boys for me… You have to be my man.  The one to take care of me.”

“Then I failed horribly, because I wasn’t there when you needed me most.”  He doesn’t want to remind her she has another man for that task as well.  “Thalia, honey, I wasn’t avoiding your calls.  I was busy working extra hours, late ones, on a last minute…”  He pauses, searching for the right word, but not finding it, so he continues,  “… thing… that came up and several faculty members were called in to help. I was afraid if I called, I’d wake you.  And then I just lay awake for hours, thinking all the horrible thoughts, and-”  his words drift off…

Like she can read his sad thoughts, she pulls her hand free and caresses his cheek, scratching her fingers in his scruffy stubble. “Hey, stop.  I handled myself.  I can be a tough bitch when I need to be…”  Sighing she closes her eyes and strengthens herself.  “You were both there when I really needed you most.  And you untucked my feet from that damn blanket.  I am forever indebted to you.”

Carefully resting a fist on the bed at her right hip, he leans over her, mindful not to bump her injuries and he delicately hovers his lips over her lush full mouth.  She sighs contentedly and her tongue flicks out, wetting her lips in anticipation of their connection to come.  Lightly, he brushes against her, the kiss growing from soft and sweet to heated and powerful.  She relaxes into him and a quiet moan sounds in the back of her throat.

Her hand runs up his chest, reaching slowly over every muscular ridge.  She pats his chest and Chris pulls back with a little pop.  “Don’t make me breathe so hard,” she admonishes him, her eyes brimming with tears.  “My lungs won’t expand that much,” she jokes.

“Ah, honey, did I hurt you?”  He moves back gingerly looking over her to ensure he caused no harm.  “Why are you crying?”

She just lets the tears begin to fall.  “Please.  Please just hold me.  I’m so damn tired.  Physically and mentally, and I can’t pretend to be strong for now. I see the hurt in Dad’s eyes when he looks at me.  I hear him talking to Stacey at night and I just-”

“You just need to shut down, and let someone else carry the load…  I totally understand.  What do you want me to do, baby?”  Chris bites back his own tears, taking the lead over her.  Fuck.  The skinny British ass was right…

She leans forward and points to the recliner next to the bed.  “I can’t sleep flat; I instinctively try to roll to my belly and that doesn’t work with a broken arm.  I’ve be sleeping in that.  Can we sit in it together, and you rock me to sleep?”

“Anything for you, Niña, as long as you’ll take me,” he says.

“You were an ass, but I deserved it.  I should have been more honest.  With both of you.  I’m sorry.”  Her sobs grow louder as he gently lifts her in a basket carry and pivots to sit down in the chair.  “I was selfish and frivolous with our emotions and-”

“There, there.  None of that now,” he whispers, brushing his lips over her forehead.  “You settle yourself.  Move around till you’re comfortable and then I’ll wrap my arms around you and hold you till you sleep and all your cries are out, babe.”

After she squirms around a few minutes, he can’t take anymore of it and gently taps her hip.  “You little minx!  You did that on purpose, rubbing your peachy ass all over my lap…”

Nestled into his neck, she pulls out the chain to his Saint Christopher’s medal and whispers in Spanish.  Her breath is heated and moist against his skin and he longs for more contact with her.  She’s just too fragile, in body and spirit to even think of more.  Logically he knows that.  Try telling that to his dick rested against her hot little pussy.  He groans and bites the tip of her nose, another non-bruised spot.

“You’re evil.”

“You love it.”  She sniffles, her tears beginning anew.

“Aren’t we a twisted pair?”

Resting his arms around her gently, he can feel the bandages and wrappings around her chest through her ratty old high school t-shirt for the quiz bowl team.  Her cries increase but her battered form melts into his arms.  “No.  Tighter.  Hold me tighter,” she breathes out through sobs.  “Pair?  It’s a fuckin’ triangle and I didn’t even see the mess I was making.”

Leaning back on the chair, the recliner foot rest kicks up and Chris pulls her back against his chest.  “Thalia, shhh.  Not now.  You need to sleep.”  His fingertips tease and tug at her wild hair.  “Cry all you want, but no, no more talking.  How can I be mad at you?  I’m crazy about you.  I still know what I know- I’m not your only man.  It just made me angry finding out who it was…  I think… I,” he sighs.  “I think I liked it better when I thought you were seeing a married man.”

Sleepily, she gasps.  “Fuck, Chris!  How could you think that of me?  That’s awful.”

Looking down into her eyes, he raises one hand and swipes his palm over her face, forcing her to close her eyes.  “Shh…  What else was I supposed to think?  There were no signs of anyone else in your house, you were always free in the evenings, we spent Sundays together all the time.  I never imagined in a million years you were fu-…”  Sighing bitterly he stops himself.  “Get some sleep,” he says somewhat forcibly.

She trembles in his arms, and he senses the change in her.  She responds to the verbal force.  Damn.  Fucker was right again…  

“Sleep,” he says again, caressing her back until she falls limp in his arms and her breathing rate changes, turning to quiet little snores and puffs of air against his neck.

Chris watches her for a few minutes, his heart lurching again at the bruises that have changed color and still make his gut burn with anger. If that bastard hadn’t be arrested, he’d would have hunted him down and beaten the shit out of him.

His body tenses in anger, and Thalia shifts ever so slightly, making a soft protesting sound without waking up. Willing himself to calm down again, Chris scans the room instead. His gaze falls on the coffee table next to the recliner, where a glass vase is overflowing with unfamiliar yet beautiful flowers in various shades of pink and white. A letter lies next to it, unlined white pages with messy yet straight handwriting.

It begins with “My dearest Warrior Princess”, and he knows who’s written to her even before his eyes skip to the bottom with the words “Yours forever, Tom”.

Shit, this is none of his business. He shouldn’t snoop around.. But he can’t help himself, his curiosity wins out over all the other feelings.

“Only a couple of sentences,” he silently promises himself and squints at the lines, wishing he was wearing his glasses.

I sincerely hope you’re feeling better now, darling. You’ve been gone only for a few days, but it’s like you took all the colours away with you. I go about my daily routine, and everything reminds me of you. I can’t even sit at my desk without thinking of all the good – and bad – things that happened in my office. Foolish, I know…but doesn’t love make fools out of all of us?

To paraphrase – and hopefully not mangle – a quote from ‘Jane Eyre’: “I feel as if a link, a thread, exists between your heart and mine. And should that link be broken by distance or by time, my heart would cease to beat and I would die, and you would soon forget me.”

Scoffing, Chris snaps his eyes away from the letter.

Sappy British idiot. Then again, Thalia probably loved this with the same intensity with which she’d love a totally different message he might’ve sent her.

He wiggles a little, cradling his girl closer while trying not to jostle her. Closing his eyes, he listens to her soft snores. And deep down inside him, a voice wonders whether Thalia will indeed move on and forget about them both…and whether it will feel like a form of dying to him too.

Shutting himself off to all of those unwelcome thoughts and emotions, Chris matches his breathing to the soothing rhythm of hers, lulling him to sleep as well.

#

What seems like just minutes later is actually hours, but his eyes slowly open when he feels another presence in the room.  Rolling his neck side to side, doing his best not to disturb his sleeping angel he focuses on Stacey standing near the desk.  Her smile is wide and her eyes are soft.

“You two are fuckin’ adorable,” she whispers.  “She’s peaceful, I can see it in her face.”  She moves to sit on the bed near the chair and confides in Chris.  “Her father is so worried; we all are.  But I can see it now.  She didn’t need to come home to heal.  I knew something was up when I was there last month… whether you like it or not, both of you changed her.  She needed you… She needs him.”

She scrunches up her face in thought, and Chris recognizes it as the same expression Thalia has when she’s lost in the depths of her mind while studying.  Fleetingly the academic thought of heredity versus familiarity floats through his mind.  Her weight shifts on the bed and it squeaks, pulling his thoughts back to the stepmother.

“Thalia’s tough as nails.  Always has been, but,” she shakes her head, “I can see that love has changed her.  As mad as you are, she’s still in some ways just a child.  You can’t blame her for wanting all the toys, collecting the good looking boys on campus.”  Her laughter is light and airy.  She gazes affectionately at the snoozing woman in his arms and he knows the love she has for her stepdaughter; he feels it as strongly as anyone would recognize the love of a daughter.

Chris nods and sighs.  “We’re men.  And you have to know, at least for me anyway, it had nothing to do with being older or a professor.  She’s not even in any of my courses.  She was just an amazing woman I met at a bar one night, and I was the lucky one.  She picked me.  She’s beautiful and charming and so damn smart; so smart it’s scary.  I’m just lucky she let me in her life when I needed someone, and I guess she needed something too.”

Stacey pats his arm, “You understand that’s how we can love two things at one time?  Because they’re different from the other… I don’t think she ever meant to hurt either of you… But I hear her cry at night; and mumble your names.  Hurting either of you damaged her more than whatever that asshole did to her.  That’s physical; she can heal from that…  But her heart, her mind and how she feels about you both?”  She shrugs her shoulders.  “You love what you love, and sometimes it sucks.  But I think if you leave her now, that will be a different pain and will last you both much longer.”

Chris can feel Thalia change  in his arms, rising from a deeper sleep.  Her breathing moderates and he’s aware she can most likely sense their communication, even if she’s not aware of their words just yet.  His hands circle over her back to pull her from sleep as he simply tells Stacey, “I’m not leaving.”

Stacey rises from the bed, gently tucking back one of Thalia’s wayward curls.  “Good, because her father will be home from work in about an hour, and Jim and his wife are coming over from their hotel for dinner.  She hasn’t had a real bath in days.  I’ll get everyone to go out for ice cream and you can take care of my girl.  I can’t imagine she will want you to go back to your hotel tonight?  That’s the best she’s rested since she got home.” She nods to Thalia in his strong, muscular arms.  “Don’t worry about her dad, either.  I’ll take care of that with my husband.”

Click here for Chapter 43 Homecoming

 Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Acceptance

ch 41 Acceptance July 23 2017.jpg

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 41

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: 963

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, hospital, acceptance, jealousy, concern, anguish

Summary:  There’s at least one decision Thalia can make…

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Pale and withdrawn, Thalia pulls on the nasal cannula and adjusts it.  Chris notices her skin looks red and raw where the tubing lays against her lovely but bruised face.  He hides his wince and stares back down at his boots.  The room is a tense silence; Tom pacing at the window.  The constant movement grates on his nerves but he understands the man’s frustration.

Both men look up when the door opens and Big Jim returns to the room, a tray of coffees in his hands and a box of donuts under his arm.  He sets them on the table and hands a steaming cup to each of them.  “Jim,” Chris nods nearly bowing under pressure as the larger man pats him on the back.

“Did she tell you yet?”  Jim asks, a little too happily. Two faces – so different but both haggard with exhaustion and worry for the same woman – turn his way in curiosity, and he ignores them for a moment.  He tears open three packets of sugar and pours them into his cup.  With the little red straw he stirs the beverage before licking it and throwing it on the food tray.  Turning to his ‘adopted’ daughter, he fusses, “You didn’t eat enough.”

Thalia rolls her eyes.  “I’m a big girl, I won’t waste away.”  Her breathing is restricted when she speaks, barely above a whisper.  “I can’t; my ribs… it hurts.”

Patting her hand in a fatherly fashion, Jim finally turns to the men in the room who are still waiting for an explanation.  “My wife, Sarah, and I are taking Thalia to Chicago when she’s released from the hospital.  She needs to go home and get well.  Spring Break is next week so she won’t miss that much school, but she’s been approved three weeks of medical leave from classes.  We feel she needs to be with family to care for-”

Tom interrupts the bartender.  His active hands show a man who is at a loss, grasping at anything. “My home is large enough, she can stay with me, we can hire a nurse and-”

“Tom?  Tom, it’s okay.  I won’t be gone long.” She whispers, sucking in a deep breath.  “Chris?  I need family.  I need time to be alone.”

His heart stops but he understands.  Chris also hears what she doesn’t say, recognizing she’s talking to him and not Tom.  Even in her brief moments of clarity with all the pain killers coursing through her system she’s realized Tom’s thoughts and emotions aren’t stable.

“Tom, we need to let her do this.”  Chris’s voice is calm and even, a grounding force in the room.  “Her family can give her a safe haven.  We’ll be here for her when she gets back-”

Tom turns wildly.  “How can you be so calm?  This is madness!”

Standing up, Chris walks to the foot of the hospital bed and rests his hand on her leg.  “Ranting and raving here isn’t going to do any good.  She’s obviously had a lot on her mind, but she can make one decision.  That’s to go home.  Alone.  We need to respect that.”

“Thalia, but,” Tom starts, moving to her and placing his hand gently on her forearm above the cast.

Taking another painful breath, Thalia stops him. “I can’t.  I can’t handle you both in the room at the same time…” Her voice drifts away as she takes another breath, clutching the tubing to her nose.  A small smile graces her chapped lips.  “You both and your damn sweaters.”

Chris chuckles and Tom rolls his eyes, shaking his head.

Jim ignores that comment and looks to the monitors attached to her, identifying the increased beeping.  “Is that why your heart rate is up?  Which one do you want me to kick out?”

Closing her eyes, Thalia is non-responsive to the question.  Chris can see the avoidance and is relieved when a nurse enters the room.

“Well, what a handsome collection of visitors you have, my dear!  But gentlemen, I’m going to have to ask you all to leave for awhile.  She needs her rest, and she obviously isn’t getting it.  Too good looking.  Y’all have her heart racing!”

The little woman playfully pushes them out the door and Chris watches through the window as she checks over her vitals.  He sees Thalia speaking to the nurse and gesturing to them, being shut out when the nurse walks over to close the blinds.

Fuck.  He slowly walks to the row of seats down the hall from her room.  As he sinks into another uncomfortable hospital chair, he watches Hiddleston punch the door open at the end of the hall.  Chris rests his head back against the wall, wondering when he’ll have to say goodbye; when will they release her from the hospital…

It hurts too much to see Thalia suffering and yet doing her best to show a brave front. He’s never felt so damn helpless in his life – apart from when his marriage fell apart. And in a way, it’s the same situation, though it’s also completely different. Because this time he isn’t afraid of losing his daughter but the woman he loves.

Kicking his boot against the ground, he admits it hurts so fucking much. He doesn’t want to be the calming force in the room. He wants to lose his shit too. He almost envies the tall Brit for his emotional outbursts.  Sighing, he watches the nurses go about their rounds, starting to clean up lunches from the rooms.  But clearly, an outburst and stress isn’t what Thalia needs right now, and if he can do even the smallest thing to make this ordeal easier for her, then he’ll damn well do it even if it kills him.

He can still be the better man.

Click here to read Chapter 42 Apologies

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Crashing Down

ch 40 crashing down july 19 2017

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 40

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: 1088

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, hospital, anger, jealousy, concern, anguish

Summary:  Tom’s world falls apart as he begins to see what’s happened without his notice.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

A special thanks to @jennphoenix for allowing use of her edits on the cover and in the story!  She’s an amazing artist; make sure to check out her work!

Having been dismissed by Thalia’s friend, Jim, Tom charges out of the room ahead of the other man; his work enemy.  He can’t even remember why they never got along; it’s almost become a running joke among the staff, but now he has good reason to detest the crass and abrasive man.

Evans wants Thalia as much as he himself does.  And sadly, she seems to be just as smitten.

How the fuck-all did it turn to this?

Entering the waiting room a few doors down, Chris catches up behind him, quietly spitting out his words, dripping with hate and venom.  “Warrior princess? That makes me sick. Let me guess you have her dress up and you role play all your sick little fantasies from-”

Tom spins on his heels to face the man.  In his features close up, Tom sees his hurt and concern despite the calm reserved front he put up in the room for Thalia’s sake.  That should knock him down a peg or two, but Tom hurts too, in more ways than one – and dammit he wants someone else to hurt more.  “Shut up Evans, I punched you once and I’ll do it again.”

In hushed tones, Chris guffaws, scratching his beard.  “Ah, I see… so that’s how it is.  You couldn’t get it up for Kent so you resorted to finding students who would obviously do anything-”

“Evans!  You will stop now.”  A family with a smaller child moves away, possibly fearful of a physical altercation.  “That is Thalia you are talking about.  You know her. And if you know her as I do, I’d reckon you love her… And I will not let you belittle her like this.”

Seething, he pushes the sleeves up on his red sweater, prepared to come to blows if necessary.  Instead, he is met with silence.  “What? Nothing to say about that? I’ve left the dumb American speechless?”

Chris collapses in a chair behind him and hangs his head in shame. Tom leans against the wall next to him, crossing his arms over his chest.  He can’t believe he so easily bested the boastful son of a bitch that grates on his nerves.

Rubbing his hand over his buzz cut, the seated man quietly replies with an undertone of distaste.  “I have nothing to say because you’re right….  Thalia is none of those things… but that damn little submissive thing you seem to have her do… that’s not her.  I like it better when she thinks for herself, takes charge.”

The look on Chris’s face sickens Tom as he stretches out his legs in front of him, leaning back in the chair.  He closes his mind to any images of Thalia with another man.  Tightening his fists, the Brit wants nothing more to beat this man senseless, to knock that smug grin off his face.

“Are you talking as a metaphor for her life rather than what goes on between us?  That woman is always in charge; she does everything on her own. She deserves time to allow her brain to slow and let someone else take the wheel and tell her what to do…  To not have to make decisions for herself all the time.”

Chris scoffs, turning to look at the thud of a falling soda hitting the bin in the vending machine.  Standing up, he faces the tall, slender man.  “If that’s your kink… you’re missing out on a lot of other fun.”

His look is pure hatred and Tom’s blood boils that it’s Thalia’s reputation at the root of it.  Tom grabs his shoulder and steps into him.  “Evans, shut the fuck up before I call security and have you removed from this hospital… or better yet turn Big Jim against you.  You’re the one with the collection of students, not me.”

Chris doesn’t even respond to this barb, crossing the room and getting a snack from one of the machines. He sits down on a bank of chairs under the window, the lights of the city glowing in the morning sky.

The tension in the small waiting room is thick and most people have moved out to find other spaces.  A good fifteen minutes of silence pass.  Tom moves closer, falling into a chair nearby, physically and mentally exhausted from the day’s’ events.

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In the quiet between them, Chris finally replies.  “None of those stories are true. I only had eyes for my wife, but she obviously didn’t feel the same.  She killed me and stomped on my heart.  I forgot how to live.  If it wasn’t for my daughter I’d have given up, but I was just going through the motions.  It wasn’t until I met Thalia that I woke up, began to live again…”

The man’s heartfelt words hang in the air.  How fucked has this become?

Tom realizes it was his idea they see other people to take suspicion off themselves. But he’d intended it as a ruse, dutiful pretending. For fuck’s sake, he had never considered losing her to another man…if he’s lost her.

Running his hands over his face before resting them to his forehead, his thoughts roam.  He chides himself.  How ironic.  Here he is, a man who’s been a commitment phobe for years, who made a vow to stick to affairs or simply stay single and bury himself in books… He loves travel, loves reading, loves teaching just as much – so he hasn’t really missed all the dating hype.

Until last year when a certain curvy, genius of a woman turned his life upside down. Thalia has made him question everything, most of all his own desires and dreams.

How is that even possible? Is Thalia ‘the one’ for him?

His head pounds at the thoughts.  If she is, why hasn’t he taken the last step and allowed her fully into his life?

And is he ‘the one’ for her too?

A quick glance at his colleague in the chair deepens Tom’s frown. Isn’t Evans’s presence here an answer to the last question? He rubs at the knot of tension at the back of his neck.

He can’t think, can’t make sense of his own jumbled emotions. This is so fucked up it’s beyond his grasp.  And no, he definitely shouldn’t ask himself whether what they’ve shared has really been as special to Thalia as it has been to him over these last several months.

Scratching the overnight stubble on his chin, Tom admits to the universe, “She does have that effect on people….”

Click to read Chapter 41 Acceptance

 Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Emergency

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Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 39

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.

WARNING- THIS STORY COULD FEATURE DETAILS THAT ARE TRIGGERING TO SOME INDIVIDUALS.  IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS BEFORE READING THE CHAPTER, PLEASE CONTACT THE AUTHORS

Word count: 2543

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, hospital, discussions of violence, police questioning, anger, jealousy, concern, anguish

Summary:  Chris and Tom are at Thalia’s side when she needs them most…

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

WARNING- THIS STORY COULD FEATURE DETAILS THAT ARE TRIGGERING TO SOME INDIVIDUALS.  IF YOU HAVE CONCERNS BEFORE READING THE CHAPTER, PLEASE CONTACT THE AUTHORS

Rounding the corner in a rush, Chris can hear the clipped British voice he hates so much, now with even more reason to do so.  But he acknowledges it sounds panicked and hurt.  Fuck, the man is just as damaged by this as he is…  Should have known he was on her emergency call list in her phone too.  Bet she never thought it would actually be needed, or that they’d have to meet this way…  He slows his pace and walks up to the counter.  “Any news?” he asks quietly to Professor Hiddleston.

Tom turns to him, fear and exasperation in his eyes.  “Dammit.  Should have known you’d be here…  They won’t tell me a damn thing.  Maybe you’ll have better luck.”

“Well, you’re kinda tall and creepy, like walking Death. No one wants to see that in a hospital.  Sit your ass down.”  Chris wryly laughs and offers a crooked smile, to ease the tensions.  Hiddleston’s eyes grow wide and his mouth drops, then snaps shut.  He nods and walks to the bank of chairs along the wall to have a seat.  He drops down with defeat and hangs his head in his hands, pinching and rubbing the bridge of his nose.

Chris scratches at the scruff on his chin and adjusts his glasses.  A phone call from a cop at three am telling you there’s been an accident is never a good thing.  Looking at the name tag of the nurse, he pulls himself together and puts on an act of calm, trying to disguise his pain better than Hiddleston.  “Excuse me, Nurse Kelly?  I received a call that Thalia Bareo was brought here?  She was in some sort of accident?  That gentleman over there-” he gestures to the chairs “- and I are both on her emergency call list.  She has no family here and we’d like some information please.”

She smiles into his blue eyes and he bats them once or twice for good measure.  “Bareo?  They’ve just brought her back from putting on a cast.”  Chris can feel Tom’s presence as he steps up to the counter behind him to listen.  “According to this list of injuries, her arm is broken. She also has two cracked ribs, stitches on her cheek from a gash, and some damage to her knee that is still to be determined.”

Tom sighs, resting his fist on the counter, “All that from a car accident?”

Looking at her computer screen, a grimace darkens her face.  “No.  Not a car accident.  I’m sorry, sir, but she was a victim of assault.”

“Holy shit,” Chris hisses.  “Was she raped?  Where there signs of rape?”

She shakes her head, no.  “She was conscious when they brought her in.  She has bruising on her body, but she was adamant that no rape had occurred and rejected subjecting herself to a search.”

With worry, Chris picks up on one thing the young nurse said.  “She was conscious?  She’s not now?”

The nurse shakes her head.  “The pain meds are pretty strong; she’s been drifting in and out.  The police have been waiting to ask her more questions about her attack.  And a counselor should be in with her soon, just to check her mental state.”

“Thank you for your help; can we see her now?”  Hiddleston asks, his usual air of propriety returned.

Smiling, Nurse Kelly replies, “She’s down in 604.  She’s bruised pretty badly; be prepared.”

Chris backs away from the counter and makes eye contact with Tom.  “Do you have any idea what the fuck happened?”

Bowing his head and ushering Chris in front, Tom simply replies, “Guess we’ll find out when we get there.”

The men walk in awkward silence down the hall, greeting the officers waiting outside her door.  The lead cop asks them for information, but both men have nothing to add and they are allowed to enter her room.

A faint light is on over her head, giving off an angelic glow to her wild mass of hair.  A row of suture tapes railroad across her left cheek.  Blood spatters still dot across her face and her hairline.  Plastic tubing runs from her nose to an apparatus providing her with fresh oxygen.  Her eyes are closed and seem sunk in, dark circles underneath. One hand lays next to her on the bed, tubes in it, most likely for pain medications to be administered intravenously.  Her other arm rests across her chest in a sling and cast, reaching up above her elbow on her right side.  Her leg is obviously propped up on a pillow under the blankets.

Biting back the rising bile in his throat, Chris chuckles instead.  “Gawd, she’d hate that.”  He steps forward and pulls the tight blankets loose from her feet and uncovers her toes, pressing them gently with his firm touch.

“What?” Tom asks quietly as he steps forward.  He pulls a handkerchief from his pocket and wets it with water from a jug on the bedside table.  Carefully, he begins to dab away at the dried blood.

“You know, how she hates having her feet covered with blankets when she sleeps?”  Chris replies, watching the man closely.

Tom stills.  His eyes dart to Chris, but he does not turn his head, continuing with his task.  Sadness fills his voice.  “No, that’s something I didn’t know.”

Well that clears up his question as to why she’s available most nights he shows up at the bar…  He’s the one who gets to actually sleep with her… Score one point!

Jesus fuckin Christ, Evans!  Warped sense of humor?  That’s how you’re going to get through this?  

Yes. He looks at all the monitors, but none of the numbers and jagged lines running on the screen make sense.  All that matters is the beeping of her heart.  She’s still here. Whatever happened, we can get her through this…

Drifting from sleep, Thalia raises her hand and tries to bat away at Tom’s.  Her eyes flutter open and the first face she sees is his.  A weak smile breaks from her chapped lips.  “You’re really here?”  she chokes out.  “I’m not dreaming?”

Chris watches as Tom’s eyes fill with tears.  It’s hard for him to see through his own watery eyes…  The tall man pushes back a wayward curl and kisses her forehead tenderly.  Her eyes close as she soaks in his touch.  “It’s not a dream, darling, I’m here.  My warrior princess, I’m always here for you.”

Chris clears his throat and her eyes dart to his.  Tears spill over the edge of her dark eyes and the drops cling to her lashes as they run down her face.

“Chris.  He… he didn’t break me.  I’m just a little battered.”  Her smile grows.

Chris walks to her side and takes her hand in his.  He traces his touch along the palm of her hand, ignoring the searing gaze from Hiddleston.  Raising her hand, he sweetly places a chaste kiss in the center of her palm before lacing his fingers with hers.  “Just a little battered, Niña” he repeats his tears falling too.

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The trio sits in silence a few moments as her fingers run over his and Tom continues to wash her face.  A knock on the door announces the entry of two of the officers with more questions for her.

Slowly the story unfolds.  Donnie, the bar regular who often hits on her and gets kicked out for lewd behavior, attacked her in the stairwell of her apartment.  As soon as she says his name and tells them Jim, the owner of the bar, would know where to find him, one of the officers leaves.  The other elderly man remains to take her statement.  He’s kind and not pushy, and treats her with kid gloves, aware of her fragile state of mind.

She tells how he snuck in behind her, pushing her down.  He called her horrible names and said nasty things, how they fought and kicked at each other as she tried to run up the stairs to get to her apartment.  Her assailant pulled her leg, yanking her back to him and her knee hit the step and her face too, resulting in the gash.  Her eyes are closed as the tears stream down her face and she avoids eye contact with any of the men in the room.

Her attacker ripped her leggings and pushed up her skirt and she feared for herself, but when he struggled with his own pants, she had squirmed away from him, jabbing him with her keys and kicking him backwards and the man fell down the steps.  She began to try to run down them, to climb over him, thinking escaping the building was a better option.  She’d called out to her neighbors for help but no one came.

All the men freeze when this thought halts her and she sobs, Chris squeezing her hand to remind her she came through it.

“No one came to help,” she cries, her eyes searching his.  He chokes out his own sobs, no longer hiding his pain as he holds her hand tighter.  When he hears a faint echo, he realizes the sounds are Tom’s cries as well.

“When I ran past him again, he jumped up quickly and was on me.  He slammed my arm into the metal railing.  When I dropped from the instant pain, throwing up, that’s when he threw his weight against me…”

Tom’s eyes widen in horror and his face shows the sickening in his stomach from just hearing about her attack.

She wiggles her hand free from Chris and covers her mouth, hiding behind it as she gets to the hardest part of the story.  “That’s when he punched me and he… he had himself out and he was gonna… He was gonna rape me.“  She spits out the words, determined to finish her tale.  “And he punched me again and told me he was gonna fuck me and make me suck his cock and that I was a slutty whore and I’d like it.  He pushed me against the stairs and I felt my ribs break against the steps and he was ripping at my clothes, but I kept hitting back and scratching him, his face and I started to black out, the pain in my arm and my chest was so bad.  Tina.  Tina saved me.”

“Chris,” she grabs his sweater.  “Chris, Tina saved me.”

She collapses back and seems to faint, her heart rate resting on the monitor as the beats still.  Chris hadn’t been aware of the increased beeping until it actually slowed.

“Who’s Tina?”  the officer asks.  Chris shares with the cop what little he knows about the homeless woman and tells where they might be able to find her for more information.

“Are we done for now, officer?  She seems to have reached her limit,”  Tom interjects.

The cop nods.  “Unless you have anything else to add, it looks like we’re done here for the time being.”

“Were you at the scene?”  Tom inquires of the officer.  “Are we sure there was no rape?”

Solemnly, the man places his notebook in his pocket.  “There was a lot of blood on the steps. Some spatter on the wall.  You can see he banged her up pretty bad.  It looked like she fought back.  There was puke, like she said. A bloody handprint was found on the door, possibly left behind when the attacker exited the building.  If it’s his, we got him.  Her clothes, although ripped and disheveled, were still intact.  The 911 call was from a woman, possibly this Tina?  And she was covered in a blanket when we arrived at the scene.  Whoever called it in, wrapped her up and took off.  She’s very lucky.  And the fact she recognized him should help a lot.”

He hands both men his card and tells them to be in contact if they have more information or questions, and quietly leaves.

Hiddleston rounds on Chris.  “How the fuck does something like this happen?  How do you know all these things?”  His voice rises and he storms away from the bed, balling his fists.

Finding vaseline in a drawer by the bed, Chris tends to Thalia’s chapped lips and adjusts her back comfortably on the bed.  “I hang out at the bar a lot; I know the people there.  I watch her work.  I should have recognized the asshole for what a piece of shit he really was; but she’s a different person there.  Not the academic, driven force we usually see and know.  It’s like a flip side to her personality; very gritty and earthy.  It’s one of the things I admire about her.”

He drops back into a chair folding his hands across his chest and hoping to get some rest.  No one has come in to tell them they had to leave, and he plans to stay by her side until he’s forcibly removed, he thinks with a crooked smile.

“Smiling? What the hell have you got to smile about, Evans?” Tom asks, his hand on the back of the chair, looming over Chris.

Chris isn’t sure when the man advanced on him.  He’ll have to keep his guard up.  He never expected Professor Hiddleston to be such an aggressive sort or so agitated under pressure.

“Honestly, I was smiling just thinking about how sassy Thalia can be.  The fact it gets on your nerves that I’m smiling is an added bonus.  You’re fuckin’ crazy if you think-”

The door opens and Tom steps back.  A burly man enters with a duffle bag over his shoulder.  “Who the hell are you?”  Seeing Chris, Jim asks, “Who the hell is he?”

“That?  That would be her other boyfriend,” Chris jokes.

Reading Jim’s expression, Chris throws his head back in laughter.  “Gawd, no.  Not like that.  Jesus, Jim.”  Chris rises from the chair and moves next to the man, his attention now solely on Thalia, asleep in the bed. “She sees us separately, Jim.  This is Tom Hiddleston. Tom this is Jim, the owner of the bar and a long time family friend.”

Jim stares at Tom’s outstretched hand and Tom drops it dejectedly when the man refuses to accept it.

“Tom? As in the big important Professor Tom?  The one with the Shakespeare and the fancy words and expeditions?”  He looks to Chris, and Chris tilts his head to affirm his questioning.  “I should fuckin’ call the Dean tomorrow and have your job; taking advantage of a student like that.”

Tom starts to defend himself, but Chris isn’t sure of his mental state and wants to avoid any kind of confrontation.  “Jim, let’s not do anything too hasty.  One thing at a time right now, don’t you think?”

Jim sighs heavily, “You know I don’t like you very much either… Is it true; was it Donnie?”

Tom wanders away to stare back out the window.  Chris shares an empathetic glance with him before turning his attention back to the fatherly man.  He fills him in on the details and when Jim asks to be alone with her, both men kindly leave as the sun begins to break over the horizon.

Click here to read Chapter 40 Crashing Down

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando.  All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Healing Hands

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A Chris Evans fan fic

By avenger-nerd-mom

Chris and his girlfriend get caught in an ice storm while on a romantic getaway.  Chris is worried about her health and does everything he can think of to help her feel better.  If he doesn’t Dodger might just attack him

Warnings: Language, Adult Situations, fluff, concern, NSFW, drinking, anal play, daddy kink, dom/domme behaviors, finger fucking, penetration, pull out method, no condoms

Word count: 4212

He sneaks up on her quietly as she sits in front of the fireplace, sweetly whispering to Dodger in her lap.  He cringes when he hears the cough rumble in her chest and she heaves to catch her breath.  He winces at her perceived pain.  “Oh, babe, I’m so sorry.  This isn’t really what I had in mind for our romantic getaway.”

He sits quickly and offers up his apologies.  Dodger lifts his head, looking at his owner, his eyes pleading with him to help her.  “I hear ya, Bud.  There’s no medicine in the place.  I searched every cabinet and drawer.  All I could find was this.”  He holds up the dusty bottle of whiskey and two small jelly jars he found in the kitchen.

Her burst of laughter breaks into coughs and he pats her back.  Her eyes water and she giggles quietly.  “Likely story.  You’ve been wanting to get me drunk from the minute we started dating and I told you I’ve never even had a shot.”

He kisses the tip of her nose, blushing at the truth to her statement.  “Whiskey is on old-time medication, it’ll definitely sooth the pain.”

“Or I’ll be so drunk, I won’t care.”  She laughs, caressing the side of his cheek, scratching at his beard.  “You need a trim.”

Chris shrugs.  “Ah, I gotta shave it off soon enough.  I’m doing the mountain man thing this week, just for you, babe.”  He stretches out his arms to show off the tight Henley and flannel plaid and she leans against his chest.

“I love my man in plaid,” she chokes out and he caresses her hair back over her shoulder and rubs down her spine as another series of coughs wracks through her little body.

He feels just awful. Their time together is always so rushed and sporadic.  She hadn’t been able to get away at the holidays, so they’d compromised with a mid winter getaway to a cabin owned by a friend of his.  He wasn’t expecting an ice storm to hit, followed by a large snow.  The power lines had snapped on their second morning in the cabin, and now on the third night her cold had turned worse.  He’d tried earlier to get the car out, but there was no where to go.  All the shops in the village down the mountain were closed and they were pretty secluded from the outside world.  Fortunately his phone service worked, and he’d been able to inform friends and family they were safe and sound, but he really was concerned for the rattle in her chest and wanted to get her back to civilization as soon as possible.

“Stop thinking.  You’re too loud.  I’m fine,” she wheezes.  “Pour me a shot.  Let’s do this.”

She sits up and rolls her eyes as his look of concern takes on a mischievous grin.

“Go ahead.  Rub your hands together gleefully like the villain in old cartoon about to steal the innocent virtue of the fair maiden.  I know you’re dying to,” she teases.

He throws his head back in a hearty laugh, but stops when her laughter brings on another series of deep coughs.  He shakes his head, “Stop that!”  He rubs her arms and scolds her.  “Don’t laugh at me; it makes you cough.”

“Telling me not to laugh at you is like telling Dodger not to bark at birds in the yard.  I can’t help it.  Your laughter is infectious. It’s one of the things I love about you.”  She dips her head and smiles up at him sweetly.  “It’s one of the first things about you when we met that I was attracted to.”

“Not my charming personality or my bulging muscles?”  He flexes his arm for her and she turns up her nose.

She shakes her head and holds up her jelly glass. “Not too much… No. None of those things.  Those things actually make you a dick sometimes,” she giggles.  “It was watching you at my niece’s party laugh and play with the kids on the swingset for an hour and you never wore out or got tired.  That’s my Chris.  That’s my fantasy and the man I want.  The Hollywood you can go to hell.” She coughs again and smiles wryly.  “But it’s time to get back to work.  You’re getting soft.  Been sitting on your ass too long.”

“Man, you really know how to kick a man, don’t you,” he chuckles.  “Yes, ma’am.  On it.  Back to work ASAP.”  He salutes her before pouring a fair amount of the dark amber liquid into her glass.  “How is it you’ve made it to this point in your life, you were a college sorority girl, and you’ve never been drunk or had a shot before?”

“Smart life choices.”  She taps him on the nose with each word and he smiles.  “Oh my God, this fuckin’ stinks.  It’s like paint thinner.” She complains and screw ups her face.

He smiles at her expression and his heart flutters.  “Don’t smell it.” He pours himself a larger drink.  “Just knock it back.”

She stares at the liquid and swishes it around.  Dodger lifts his head to watch her and he even pulls back from the smell and brushes his paw over his nose.  “Right, bud?  Can you believe Daddy willingly drinks this shit?”

“Fuck, babe.  Don’t call me Daddy unless you mean it,” Chris moans in frustration and adjusts his jeans to prove his point.

She chuckles and does her best to hold in her cough, trying to hide her blush.  “Damn you, I didn’t mean it like that.”  She tosses her head back and her curls cascade down her back as she lifts the glass to her lips and downs it all in one choked gulp.  She sputters and lifts her head upright and cringes at the taste, wiping her mouth on the back of her wrist.  “Fuuuuck, that burns.”

Chris lifts the glass to his lips.  He watches her closely as her eyes follow his movements, and he chugs his shot down quickly.  He laughs as she holds her hand to her chest, still shuddering from the burn of the whiskey.

“That’s awful,” she whispers.  “Why?  Why would you chose to drink that for fun?”

Chris moves closer to her and Dodger growls at him lowly.  “Hey man, she’s my girl too.  Watch it.  I’m not gonna hurt her, relax Bud.”  Dodger bares his teeth and Chris taps him on the nose.  “Enough of that.  You go.”

Dodger nudges her hand and she tugs on his ear gently.  “It’s okay, you’re not in trouble.  Go sleep.”  The protective mutt rises from his spot and stretches slowly, irritating Chris on purpose.  She coughs and chuckles and taps the dog playfully on his hindquarters to get him moving faster.  “Go now,” she commands and he totters away, his back legs stiff from his interrupted nap.

“Damn dog,” he grumbles.  “Likes you more than he likes me.”  Chris adjusts the pillows behind him, and leans back against the couch.  “Are you warm enough?” he asks as he pours two more shots, handing her another.

She shakes her head no, trying to refuse the little glass. Chris doesn’t give her choice. “You’re still coughing.  Tonight it’s not meant to be fun.  It’s to help you get better until we can get to the store or a doctor and get you some medicine.”  He holds the glass to her until she willingly takes it and chokes it back.

“No more.”  She spits out, scrunching up her face again.  She covers her hand over her mouth and breaths in.  “God, it’s on my breath.  It stinks.”

“Hush,” he drinks his glass and gently pulls her to him.  “You complain a lot.”  She rests against his chest and plays with the buttons on his shirt.

She bows her head sheepishly.  “I’m sorry.  I’m kinda ruining our romantic getaway, aren’t it?  You’ve done everything.  All I’ve done is sleep, cough and sneeze.  You’ve been chopping firewood- very sexy to watch from the window, I might add- gathering food we can cook over the fireplace.  Thank god for hotdogs and popcorn,” she giggles. “And I’m glad you carried the mattress down here.  The loft would be too cold.”

She reaches her arm up and pulls another blanket off the couch from behind him and he helps adjust it over the top of them.  He doesn’t want to admit to her that he’s too warm under her body and the blankets and the heat of the blazing fire.  After the blanket is settled, he tugs under her ass and shifts her body higher against his, resting his denim covered cock between her legs.  She’s weightless on top of him and he loves being her big, strong protector.

He wishes she could see what he sees right now.  Under the haze of a slight fever, her eyes warm from the liquid fire she ingested and glints of hazel and green sparkle back at him as she searches his face.  Her lips are plump and ripe for the taking.  And the smell of the whiskey on her breath begs to be savored.  He pulls her close and kisses her tenderly, not wanting to take all her air but needing to share his with her.  Her lips part so she can breath and he continues to caress her bottom lip between his as a breathy moan escapes the back of her throat.

She snakes her hands from between them and wraps one around his neck and slides the other lower, down the row of buttons on his shirt, stopping at the waist of his pants..  His bottom lip resting against hers, he whispers.  “No, you need sleep.  We can play later.”

She whines her complaint and he chuckles, kissing her again.  She moves her hand and grabs his hip, sighing.  “I really am sleepy.”  She kisses him again, sucking in all of his air to her desperate lungs before separating with a smack.  “Thank you for breathing for me,” she chuckles.

“Anytime, sweetheart.” He kisses her forehead before gently pushing her to the side, snuggling her next to his body and adjusting her in the crook of his arm.  “You realize you haven’t coughed in nearly five minutes?”

“Yes, fine, oh wise one.  The whiskey worked.  You were right.  I’ll cross-stitch it on a pillow for you.” The little blonde pokes him in the ribs.  “Don’t get too used to hearing me say that.  But I’ll make you a commemorative keepsake.  I’ll date it and everything.”

“Well, damn.  You’re rambling like a woman who might be a little tipsy.”  He laughs warmly, the shake of his body jiggling both of them.  His foot wiggles from under the blankets.

“Shut up and kick off your socks.  I know you want to,” she laughs, snuggling up into his neck and inhaling deeply.  “You smell so good.  Like cologne, firewood and snow.  Better than a candle,” she mumbles.  “So sleepy…”

Dodger raises his head and gives a happy bark before resting his head on his paws again, curled in front of the hearth.  Chris tips his head to the dog, indicating they both have watch over their girl for the night.  Chris tries not to shift away from her damp breath on his neck but he knows he needs to keep her warm through the night.  He’s worried about her becoming more sick before the morning.

#

Hours later, the wheeze has returned to her lungs and her chest heaves for breath.  He can feel each labored cough as they slowly build again.  The fire has died down, and Dodger is curled up on her other side to keep her warm.  Chris slides out from under her and smiles at the quiet whistle she makes from her congestion.  She would be so embarrassed, but he finds it just  adorable.  She’s always so tough and strong and this vulnerable state is endearing.  She’d probably punch his arm if he told her, so he’ll keep his thoughts to himself.  While covering his feet with his socks, Dodger lifts his head and yawns.  Chris puts his finger to his lips, as if the dog really understands.  The pup lays his head back down over her hip and whimpers quietly.  Chris pats the mutt’s head affectionately, knowing he’s leaving her in good care.

The power is still out.  A quick check of his phone tells him the time, but to conserve the battery he shuts it back down.  Piling on the old army jacket and silly fur hat he found earlier in the day, he heads out to the back porch to bring in more firewood.  He is startled by a doe and her fawn foraging under the tree and stands to watch for a moment before they run off across the valley.   He’s pretty sure he hears coyotes baying in the distance. The air is cold and stings his lungs while he quickly gathers enough wood to last till sunrise.

Returning to the chilled living room, he quietly places the wood in the fire and stokes the flames, Dodger and his love sound asleep.  He makes a stop in the bathroom and changes into comfortable sweatpants before foraging in the kitchen of the small hand crafted cabin.  Taking a water bottle from the cooler he finds her more aspirin.  Nibbling on the chocolate cake they brought from the bakery, he realizes he’s not really in top shape to go back to work.  A few more days of splitting firewood should do the trick.  Through the cold night air seeping through the chinked paneled walls he can hear trees bending and cracking under the pressure of the ice.

Stepping into the living room-

“Sweet Jesus.”  His heart stops at the sight in front of the fireplace.

Her bare bottom is raised up in the air, as she rests on her knees, face down on the mattress, her arms folded over above her head.  At least twelve thoughts- only twelve?- roam through his mind and he thanks God quietly she is faithful about attending her yoga class.  A quick look around the room has Dodger in his kennel, out of sight, and the jelly glasses lined up on the hearth, hers empty and his ready to go. Trying to find his voice and not sound as off balance as she’s thrown him, he murmurs lowly.  “Can I do something to help you?”

“I can’t sleep.  I thought you might be able to wear me out,” she offers, turning her head to him, her voice low and quiet in return.

He kneels on the mattress behind her, his eyes on the prize, willingly given to him.  “Are you sure?”  He asks tenderly, wanting her so badly but knowing she isn’t really physically up to anything zapping what little strength she has left.  His hand caresses gently over her right cheek and her skin rolls under his touch.

Licking her lips, she sticks her tongue seductively between her teeth, before breathily supplying her response.  “Yes, Daddy, make me better.  Use your hands to heal me.”

His own breath catches and he grips her flesh.  He instantly springs to attention turned on by her words, a game they’ve never played before.  He raises his eyebrow to her and she winks back, giggling and hiding her cough.  Closer now to the fire, he sees she’s added their favorite lotions to the pile of her clothes next to the whiskey bottle.  Daddy?  How drunk is she?  “My pet,” he intones, using a new nickname for this little foray into a darker world, “are you sure?”

She rolls her eyes at him and shifts forward on her arms, raising her ass higher.  “We already have a few rules, Daddy.  If I start coughing too much, or can’t handle it, I’ll call ‘recess’ tonight.  And no, I’m not drunk.  Just feeling very warm, from the booze, the fever, the fire. You.  We haven’t been together in weeks, Chris. First we were apart, then my period, and now I’m sick.  I just need it, please?”  She reaches back and squeezes his thigh, one of their signals to continue.

He reaches for the bottle of lotion and pours some in his hands, warming it with friction as he rubs his palms together.  The fire crackles and pops, the dancing flames reflected in the warmth of her eyes.  He takes the poured liquor and savors the taste, hot on his tongue.  He pours another shot for later as a filthy idea she just might like pops in his mind. He smiles and shakes his head as she hiccups quietly.  “Not drunk, you say?”

“Oh, maybe a little buzzed,” she confesses.  “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want this, or that I’m not aware of what’s going on.  I had the forethought to put the dog up, get lotion and condoms.  Give me some credit, man.  Control issues.  You and me both.  If you think I’m not game, stop.  But I know what I want, and right now, I really just want you to finger fuck me.”

He chuckles.  Strong and independent.  Just the way he likes her.  Loves her.  “Why?”

She coughs and he rubs over her back as the sound subsides.  She chokes out a quick breath before telling him what he needs to hear.  “I saw you light up when I was talking about our puppy parenting.”  She moans quietly as his hands run over the curve of her ass and she rolls with his caress.  “I can give up my need for control so you can have your fun, that’s what loving couples do, Chris.  I want to give this to you.  So, tonight, while I’m tipsy, I’ll be your pet and you can be my Daddy.”  She rocks back on her heels and rises to kiss him.  “Play, have fun, babe. I love you.”

He kisses her lips tenderly at first before growing in intensity.  When she’s struggling for breath, he releases his hold of her mouth and gently pushes her back to her resting position.  As her breathing returns to normal, as normal as it’s been the last few days, he continues to rub over her.  She settles in and his hands work magic over her skin.  Work tension and family stresses leave her and they listen as the wind picks up and freezing rain pelts the cabin again.  He murmurs to her, telling her all the things he loves about her.  She moans and whines happily and he loses all track of time.

Taking another shot, he wonders if she’s half asleep.  A slight cough answers his question as he smiles, holding the warm liquor in his mouth.  He bends over her, ripe and ready and pulling her flesh apart, he swallows the heated whiskey before licking his tongue gently across her pretty pink rim.  She gasps in shock, then practically purrs in excitement, while he kisses gently, teasing with his tongue, pushing her tender opening.  She spreads her legs for him and with one hand he wraps around her waist.  He blows warm air across her sweet little hole, reaching under her to slide his fingers between her wet, aching lips.  He sets a slow rhythm, nibbling on the flesh of her rounded ass, grazing her pussy with his fingertips.  Her breathing builds and she coughs a few times, humming her pleasure and fisting at the sheets.

“Please, more,” she whines.

He soaks in her pliancy and teases along the entrance to her cunt.  She’s dripping with desire and he wants her so badly.  “Please, what?” he growls, his hand slapping across her ass.

She chuckles, her eyes watching the fire blaze.  “Daddy, please, I need to feel you inside me; your healing touch.”

He swiftly brushes over the tight bundle of nerves found hidden between her walls and she jumps in his hands.  He bites at her hip and kneads her toned skin. Another swipe through the wet, and he pulls some out to tease around her clit, rolling the swollen button between his fingers.  She whines and rocks back in his hands, grinding against his palm.  Darting forward, he penetrates her with two strong fingers and pushes to her inner depths as she cries out a happy sound.  “Fuck, me Chris,” she pleads.  “I wanna come in your hands.”

“You’re so wet, my pet,” he rolls his eyes at the unintended rhyme.  “It won’t take long will it?  Tell me.”

“No, no it won’t,” she admits.  “I hate playing without you; I need this.  Daddy,” she giggles.

“That’s right, you shouldn’t play without me.  You should save yourself and only come for me,” he commands lowly.

“Then do it; make me come.”  Her body ricochets against his intrusions and her breasts sting against the friction of the mattress.

His fingers scissor through her slick, pounding again and again.  Her cunt tightens around him and as her pleasure rises her vocals echo in the small room.  He leans over her, kissing her back and pulling himself from his sweatpants with a swift, forceful tug, drops of precum rolling down her backside.  As she begins to come she shifts onto her stomach and grinds his hand into the mattress, pushing her clit against the bed.  He falls over her as her body stills and she silently finishes her rolling orgasm, pulsing and pulling his fingers in as far as they’ll reach.  He bites at her shoulder and she turns her head, searching for his mouth.  She lifts up for a kiss as the quaking stops and he covers her mouth, capturing her final sounds of completion.

Her body begins to convulse in shakes and he realizes she’s coughing again, but she requests he doesn’t move.  “I like feeling you on me.  Warm and safe, Daddy.”  She smiles between coughs, before she finally rolls to the side and pushes him off.  “You always make me feel so loved, so protected.”

Her eyes are drawn to his exposed cock, and he shakes his head ‘no.’  “No,” he chuckles, trying to put it away.  “You’re too sick.  You can’t stop coughing.”  He pauses so she can hear herself and he can prove his point. “I’m not gonna ask you to take care of me.”

She reaches for his stiff cock and says, “You’re not asking, and I appreciate that, but I need this too…”

She tugs up quickly on his shirt, and his nipples harden in the cold morning air.  She pushes him back against the pile of pillows against the couch, and straddles him quickly.  “I’m done playing and begging.  Now I’m taking what’s mine.”

His head falls back and roars with laughter as she straddles him and sheaths him.  “It’s all yours babe, my pet, every inch of it.” He looks down to see he’s totally hidden inside her and it’s so fuckin’ sexy.  He quietly whispers his thoughts to her as he tucks her hair back and holds her face in his large hands as she rides him.  Up and down, controlling him now, she quickly pulls him to his edge.  Teetering there, he pushes her over, pulling out and tugging, long ropes of creamy white cum on her tight stomach.

He collapses next to her and she winds her fingers in his hair.  “You cheated,” she coughs.  “That’s not what I wanted.”

He kisses her shoulder, and mumbles sleepily.  “Wasn’t covered… unless we’re ready for a little one to be calling me ‘daddy…’”

She traces her fingers along his profile.  Her voice dances with a gleeful joy.  “Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad…”

He rises up on his elbow and smiles down at her.  He grabs his shirt and wipes up his mess across her belly.  “Now I know you’re drunk,” he laughs.  “Just a month ago you didn’t want to talk about this.”

“Things change,” she shrugs her shoulders and her eyes seek his in the firelight.  “Just a month ago I didn’t know how tender and calm you could be in a crisis.  It’s like you just passed a test or something.  You’ve taken such good care of me, so worried about me and doing everything to comfort me and make me better.  Maybe it is time someone really call you ‘Daddy.’”

Dodger barks and growls, pacing in the kennel.  “Diaper changes, letting the dog out in the middle of the night, guess it wouldn’t be that different,” he jokes.

“The man with the plan and healing hands,” she giggles and coughs.  She sits up and pulls on her tank top.  She pours another shot of whiskey to calm her cough and her face reflects the bitter taste.

Chris chuckles, his hand tight on her thigh.  “Just where do you think you’re going?”

“Dodger needs out and I gotta use the restroom,” she blushes, searching the pile of clothes for her panties.

“You’re not going out there.  I heard coyotes, and it’s raining.”  He rises next to her and kisses her neck with care.  He crawls to the hearth and puts another log on the fire.  “I’ll take care of him; you take care of you.”  He hands her the water and aspirin.

She smiles kindly, and teases in a light tone, “Yes, Daddy.

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