Emergency

ch 39 Emergency July 16 2017.jpg

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.

watching over in hospital.gif

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

Rage

et ch 38 Rage July 12 2017.jpg

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 38

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: 1424

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, anger, jealousy

Summary: After leaving Tom’s office, Thalia faces Chris.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Marching down the hallway, Thalia ignores when Professor Kent calls out her name from the faculty lounge as she passes by.  Jesus fuckin’ Christ.  She’s already got two staff members falling at her feet, she doesn’t need another one.  Her excited high from finding out about Paris is slowly being replaced with a headache as she runs up the back stairway to the next floor.  She knows it’s her fault, but Chris takes some of the blame for this explosion.  Opening the door, she feigns an air of professionalism as she enters the wing established for the History Department.  Students and professors are milling about, finishing up meetings and waiting for the next class sessions to begin.

Eying Chris at the end of the hall, she makes her way to him, her heart pounding in anger with each step.  She can’t mistake the swollen lip or the spot of dried blood on his shirt collar. Jesus, did the men actually come to blows about it?  He spies her and enters his office, trying to shut her out, but she gets her foot in the door before he can close it.

“Leave, Thalia.  I’m not in the mood.”  His voice drips with venom as he crosses the small room, plopping down on the couch.  Thalia realizes he’s clutching an ice pack in his large hand, holding it tenderly to his jaw.  She’s torn between caring for him or raining down hellfire.

Her anger wins.

“What the fuck did you do?” she seethes, her husky tone low to avoid traveling through thin walls.  “What gave you the right to open your damn mouth?”

The sassy Latina wants to throw something; to hit him- and he sits in silence, but she can see his anger raging too.

A heated flash of hate sex floats in her mind.  She shifts her weight from foot to foot to alleviate the ache between her legs.

Leaning forward, he rests his elbows on his knees, the blood pulsing through the veins in his neck.  Hot as fuck.  His dilated pupils tell her he’s thinking the same thing and debating his next step.

“I know what you’re doing… I told you to get out.  I don’t wanna do this.  You had your fun, and I don’t want to be a pawn in this sick little game any more.”  He adjusts the legs of his tight jeans and his hard on is obvious.  His words might be what his brain thinks but his body is telling her something else.

“Fuck that, Chris.  We started as a one night stand.  A quick lay from a night in the bar; that’s what you were looking for right?  Someone to ease your pain?  I was fuckable; no one else was around.  I told you I was with someone else; but you stuck around.  You got what you wanted, when you wanted it.  You’re just pissed because of who it is.”  She scoffs.  “You had to have known it wasn’t some college boy teaching me those tricks.  You benefited from it, so what the fuck is your problem?”  Her tone slices coldly through the air.  She bites back the bile in her throat at thinking of herself or their relationship in that way.

“I just can’t.  Thalia, you know… you know I wasn’t just looking for a quick fuck every now and then..  It just… It sickens me to think you were down there, practically right below where I sit now, fucking him on his desk,” his words are fire and wound her. “That’s the part that pisses me off, you being his fuck toy and-”

“Chris, it’s not like-”

Slamming his fist down on the table he lifts his eyes to her.  “The hell it isn’t!  It is…. The bruises?  Your insecurities?  It makes me sick.  I just wanna go to the dean and report his shit and-”

His anger takes hold as he jumps up from his seated position.  Instead of moving back like she had with Tom she steps forward. She’s not afraid of his fury, his passion.  She wants to feed off it…

In her heels, she’s right at his eye level and she can feel the heat rolling off him. Blood boils and a thrill of rage snakes through her stomach.  “Fuck that.  That’s bullshit and we both know it.  That would take all three of us down and ruin all chances of any of us working in academia ever again.  Say it, Chris.  Say what really fucking has you pissed.”

She knows.  She needs to hear it.  Wants to hear it.

“You fucked him; you were fucking him the whole time we were building… something together.  I don’t know what?  I never thought I’d fucking fall in-  No.  Out.  Get out.” Grabbing her by the left arm, he pulls her to the door.  But not before she saw it all written on his beautifully chiseled face.

When she jerks away from him, his voice rises in outrage.  “Oh, so he’s allowed to grab you, throw you around a little and leave bruises, but I can’t?”

“You asshole… That’s not it, that’s not how it happens any more than how you leave bruises on my hips.”  Tugging on her hair in frustration her fingers tangle in the curls, and she growls.  “Dammit, you’re being a dick.  You didn’t even give me the chance to tell him.  Instead you went charging in like… like a meatball frat boy.”  She tips her chin, using it to point at the blood on his shirt collar.  “Who threw the first punch?”

“Fucker, hit harder than I thought he would.”  He rubs his jaw, flinching at the pain. “Fighting for your honor, I suppose.  But really, you’ve been pretty open with me, I guess I kinda assumed he knew, so on that point, and that point only, I’ll apologize.  Yea, it was a shitty thing to do. I’m sorry.”

She purses her lips together.  “And just exactly where did this display of testosterone take place?”

He rolls his eyes.  “Down in line to check out books.”  His tone drops, a tinge of embarrassment in the words.

“Oh, Jesus, Chris!  How fuckin’ stupid? In front of students?  Faculty?  You’re a selfish ass, you know that?  You didn’t even give me a chance… And now?  Now?”  Her voice raises, shaking her head in disgust.  “I feel like I don’t even know who you are.  I didn’t expect you to get all territorial.  I know you’re mad, but you should have talked to me.  I deserved that much.  I’m a little fuckin’ pissed at you right now too, and -”

“Go.” Opening the door, he gives her a little shove, depositing her into the hallway.  “Go before we both say things we don’t mean.  Maybe I’ll feel different when I calm down, but right now I just need space.”

He shuts the door on her, leaving her to stare at it in disbelief.

Love.  He was going to say love.

And the daily question returns to twist in her brain: what the hell am I doing?

#

Two drinks and she knows it’s time to head home.  The headache from her eventful day held on with biting teeth and the alcohol isn’t easing the sting.  But she feels numb, just numb enough to crawl into her bed alone.  To cry herself to sleep because she knows her sheets smell like Chris’s cologne.  The scent seems to linger now, even after washing the bedding so many times.  She wonders how Tom never noticed it, but then again, they’d never had sex in her bed.  Except for a few recent movie nights, he’d never really spent time in her place.

She readies her keys as she crosses the deserted street.  It’s late enough she figures someone else already let Tina inside for the night.  Some lights are still on above in one of the neighbor’s apartments, but the older building seems a little rundown in the moonlight.  A car passes and honks at her, not that she was really in the way of the traffic.  She exhales into the cold night and the smell of booze assaults her nose, causing it to scrunch up.  Running her tongue over her teeth she decides the first task when entering her apartment will be to brush her teeth.

Opening the door she walks into the lit stairwell.  She stops to check her mailbox, not paying attention to the door closing behind her.  She thinks about her yellow toothbrush in the cabinet.  Next to the blue one Chris uses.

She jumps when the slurred voice behind her issues his greeting.  “Hey, sweetheart.  Got some love for me?”

Click here to read Chapter 39 Emergency

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

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

Jealousy

et ch 37 jealousy version to use july 9.jpg

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @devikafernando & @avenger-nerd-mom

AU FICTION

Chapter 37

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: 3314

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, physical violence, harsh language, jealousy

Summary: Tom receives news he wasn’t expecting.

Special thanks to @jennphoenix for use of her photo edit of Tom Hiddleston in the cover

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Stifling a yawn, Tom enters the library. He pats his full belly, a reminder of the quaint breakfast he and Thalia shared in the early morning hours after leaving the ball, before returning her alone to her little flat.  With his book in his hand, he realizes there’s a small queue in front of the desk, as if everyone had suddenly remembered it was time for books, especially with Spring Break right around the corner.

With a grimace, he notices that Professor Evans is also awaiting his turn. He joins the line behind him, murmuring a reluctantly courteous “good morning”.

His colleague turns and looks him up and down, as if searching for something. “Morning.” Evans continues to stare, which quite frankly is getting a bit unnerving.

Tom pointedly averts his gaze, pretending to study the magazines on a nearby rack.

“It was an amazing alumni gala, wasn’t it?” Evans asks.

Wondering why the normally sullen man is so talkative today, Tom makes a noncommittal sound and nods. He runs his hands over his jaw, lost in thoughts.

“Lots of beautiful women just begging to be ogled and spoiled.”

Half-turning, he gives the man the look he’d perfected over the years, raising a brow and looking down at him over his nose in that slightly snobbish way he knew infuriated – and intimidated – people.

“I’m sure you noticed those, Evans, but I can’t say they were my main focus.”

The answer to that is a snort and a raised brow in return, though on Professor Evans it looks cocky and passive-aggressive rather than haughty.

“Yeah, I bet. You were too busy drooling over just one woman.”

Mild irritation turns into something stronger, but Tom decides to dismiss the remark. If he took offense at every jab his insufferable colleague sent his way, he’d be in a bad mood all the time or getting into regular fist fights like hot headed teenage blokes.

The line moves forward a little. Just when Tom’s thoughts have drifted off—thinking about the secret tryst he has planned with his lovely Thalia during the break—Evans interrupts him once more.

“She was gorgeous last night, wasn’t she?”

Deciding to play ignorant, he mumbles a “who?” and adjusts his glasses.

“Don’t play dumb, Professor, that’s kinda not your style. Our shared assistant, of course. Who else?”

Narrowing his eyes, Tom shoots his colleague a glare. Is his mood off or is Evans even more of a pain in the ass than usual?

“Not very nice to objectify a student, Evans.” He gives his head a disapproving shake. “Then again, you’re not exactly known for your high opinion of women.”

The annoying Yank crosses his arms, reminding Tom uncomfortably how much bulkier Chris is, with his muscles straining under a casual shirt and jacket.  He remembers once overhearing students refer to them as ‘Professor Muscles’ and ‘Professor Brit.’

“What’s that saying about glass houses and throwing stones?” comes Evans’ snide reply, and something about his tone rubs Tom the wrong way. “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t your ‘high opinion’ of Miss Bareo that had you fawning all over her stunning body at the gala.”

Gritting his teeth, Tom hisses at him, “That’s outright disrespectful, Evans. Cut the crap and mind your own business. It’s not done to discuss a student’s appearance.”

Deep down in a corner of his mind, though, he worries. Was it really that obvious how smitten he is by Thalia? Did anybody notice anything suspicious? He rubs the back of his neck, sudden tension creeping in.

His colleague scoffs, his brows rising higher. “Seriously, Hiddleston? Pretentious much?”  He leans a little closer and lowers his voice to a tone that is even more offensive. “C’mon, man, no need to pretend with me. We’re sharing her after all.”

“What the fuck is your problem?” Tom snaps back, the angry growl loud enough for the professor in the queue before them to glance their way. “Stop talking about Ms. Bareo like that. She’s not a possession, not something to be shared or discussed like this.”  He gets in the man’s face, taking care to keep his voice low enough not to be overheard. “Get yourself laid if you can’t keep your vile thoughts to yourself.”

Evans throws his head back and barks out a laugh, completely catching Tom by surprise. But when he locks gazes with him again, there’s an almost palpable air of anger radiating from him.

“You really have no fucking clue, do you?”

Exasperated, Tom takes a few steps back, his fingers drumming against his thigh. “Just piss off,” he says none too kindly, hoping against hope that it’ll stop whatever nonsense the man is on about.

But apparently, Evans is on a confrontation course today. He bridges the distance and looms closer, his expression an odd mix of fury and…and what? Glee? Smugness?

“You know, all this time I thought you’re just really good at acting and shit, but I’m beginning to think you really are clueless,” he says, almost more to himself than to Tom. “Poor unsuspecting idiot. I guess you Brits seriously are all about ignoring the obvious and living in a high and mighty dream world.”

Before Tom can hurl an insult at him, he feels a strong grip on his arm. Too surprised to protest, he allows Evans to drag him a little to the side before he yanks his arm away and glares at him, drawing himself up to his full height.

“Hate to burst your bubble,” his colleague says with a sneer that makes it obvious he doesn’t hate it at all. “But you and I really are sharing Thalia.”

More than his words, which make no sense at all, it’s his use of Thalia’s first name that finally gets through to Tom. He reacts on instinct, giving the man a little shove to get him out of his face. “For heaven’s sake, Evans, if you weren’t breathing down my neck right now, I’d say you’re drunk. What the fuck is the matter with you today?”

Switching from that weird smugness to anger again in a heartbeat, his opponent leans closer again, as if preparing himself for a final punch. “How ironic that you’re using the word ‘fuck.’’ The insipid American tilts his head and sneers. “That’s exactly the word I’ve been looking for, Professor.” He spits the last word out with such venom that Tom can only blink at him, feeling deep down in his gut that something is awfully wrong.

“Because I know that you’ve been fucking Thalia. And here’s a newsflash…so have I. Now what does your sorry British ass think about that, huh?”

Tom stumbles back a step as if he’s been slapped in the face. What the hell?!

But…No, it can’t be. His first thought is panic at having been caught and how harmful that will be for him and Thalia, so it takes a moment for the other words to sink in.

“You…” His vision goes red for a moment, and he’s so shocked and furious he can’t breathe. “What the fuck did you just say?!” Grappling desperately for a bit of sanity, he adds with a sneer of his own that wavers at the edges, “Are you on drugs on something? You’ll take that back or else…”

“Or else what, huh?” The other man’s tone matches his, with a taunting edge. “You’ll tell on me? Well get that, Hiddleston, I’m the one who could tell on you. Jesus fucking Christ, what were you even thinking, man? Too pathetic to find yourself a date, so you need to take your frustration out on a goddamn student?”

Tom is still spluttering, jumping from one emotion to the other.

“Shut your bloody mouth,” he hisses at last, eyes shooting daggers. “You…you know nothing. Nothing!”

The last word is a half-shout, but he doesn’t give a damn whether they’re attracting attention or not. Everything inside him wants to strangle Evans, to turn back the time, to…to get back a semblance of control at least.

His opponent scoffs again. “You know what, Hiddleston? Maybe I shouldn’t even be angry with you, although you’re downright pathetic. I guess I should be thanking you instead, because it’s you who awakened her sexual appetite and I get to enjoy all that.”

Tom reacts so fast he doesn’t even know he’s moving. His fist connects with Evan’s solid jaw, and the satisfying thunk of the punch is worth the pain he can feel shooting through his hand.

“You sick fuck!” Tom grabs a hold of the man’s collar and slams him against the library wall, lifting his free hand for another hit. “What are you doing with her?”

Evans doesn’t even fight back. He laughs right in his face. “So…fucking…clueless,” he wheezes.

When Tom strikes out again, his opponent ducks, and they end up wrestling each other, Tom snarling out the meanest insults he can think of in this blurry state of seething rage and disgust.

“Whoa there, gentlemen, take it easy.”

From somewhere, a voice intrudes, and then several more join in. Before he realizes what’s happening, some staff members and students have separated them.

Breathing hard and clenching his jaw and fists, Tom glares at Professor Evans, who’s shrugging helpful hands off his broad shoulders. He brushes a trickle of blood off his lip with the back of his hand and shakes his head. “Fucking pathetic,” Evans repeats.

Knowing that he’s going to snap again, Tom turns on his heel and storms off, his mind a chaos of screaming thoughts.

He navigates the corridor in a blur and barricades himself in his office, ignoring the voices calling after him. Leaning against the door, he tries to get a grip on himself.

With a roar of anguish and anger, his fist hits the wood, and the searing pain is a welcome distraction.

For the next minutes – which felt like hours to him – he paces back and forth, muttering a mix of expletives and incoherent half-sentences. More than once, he has to stop himself from picking something up and throwing it against the wall so that it would smash into a thousand pieces…like his shattered hopes.

Images shoot through his brain of situations that take on a whole different meaning in hindsight.

Thalia sometimes seemed distant or even slightly different, and he didn’t notice a damn thing. The evening at the movies when she didn’t want to spend the night with him. Had she been with that…that witless and mannerless oaf even then? How about all those times when she brushed him off because of a study group meeting or her job at the bar?  Or just the other night when she showed up at his house, like a woman possessed?

With a groan, Tom sinks onto a chair and buries his head in his hands.

“Serves you right, you idiot,” he mutters under his breath. How could he have let himself be pulled in so deep? How had forbidden attraction morphed into something much more powerful and important? He should never have allowed himself to fall in love with Thalia in the first place.

“Love.” He balls his hand into a fist and relishes the stabs of pain where he’s split the skin on his knuckles.

It sure as hell doesn’t seem as though love is in the equation for her, or else she wouldn’t have fallen for someone else…someone so utterly not like him, at that.

Banishing all thoughts about the two of them together, Tom tries to take deep breaths. It’s been years since he lost control like this. This isn’t him, for God’s sake, all the violence and emotions spinning out of control. Or maybe it is, but he’s learned to keep this side of himself hidden because ultimately it’s self-destructive.

And a tiny voice in the back of his mind keeps repeating it’s his own damn fault because he never truly made space for her in his life…

Just when he can breathe a tiny bit easier, there’s a knock on his door.

He shoots bolt upright, panic momentarily replacing the other feelings. Surely that’s someone who has witnessed their fight. Dear God, how much did they overhear? He searches his mind for a recollection. Did they hiss or shout? Is Thalia’s reputation as an upstanding student at risk?

Christ, he needs to get his shit together. He isn’t in his mid-twenties anymore, he’s come so far and taught himself so much.

He removes his glasses and rubs his temples, the beginning of a headache throbbing dully in his skull.

“Not now, please,” he croaks out, hating how he doesn’t even have control over his voice.

“Tom? It’s me.”

Fuck.

Thalia. She’s the last person he wants to see now. Has word traveled so fast?

Before he can ward her off with a lame excuse, the door opens a fraction and she pokes her curly head in.

“Hi…I’m…  I’m sorry if I’m disturbing you, but I really, really need to talk to you.”

The expression on her face brings him up short. It’s not anger or shock or shame, it’s joy mixed with something he’s in no state to interpret. She’s half-way in his office before he can react.

Sending a silent prayer upwards that he can handle this, Tom motions for her to enter. He nods curtly, not looking at her, and walks to the window. With his back to her, he waits for her to tell him about whatever is making her smile so happily and goddamn beautifully.

He can hear her close the door and approach, but he resolutely refuses to turn around.

“You know I applied for several internships overseas?”

Tom nods again, gritting his teeth and struggling valiantly not to lose it.

“Well…I can’t believe this but…God, Tom, imagine, I got accepted at the Louvre. The Louvre! Paris! Oh, my God!”

Silence. He can picture her quivering in delight, can hear her need for approval and her wish to celebrate the news with him. If he’s half as good a man as he claims, he should embrace her, congratulate her.

But instead, he hears himself say coldly, “Marvelous. Perhaps you should ask Professor Evans whether he’d like to take you out for celebratory cocktails. Or better yet, to accompany you to France.”

The silence this time is different. Total.

“What…what do you mean?” She sounds a bit confused, but not guilty, and that’s the last straw for him.

Whirling, he faces her and allows his anger and disappointment to take over.

“You know perfectly well what I mean. Don’t deny it. That’s simply below you.”

They stare at each other for a few moments. Something in her expression changes.

“So, you know?” she asks softly, and now he can hear regret in her voice.

“Yes,” he grinds out, “and it looks like I’m the last person on earth to know.” He forces out an entirely mirthless laugh. “Stupid, blind, besotted Englishman. Didn’t see what was right under my nose. God, and here I was upset that you were doing assistant work for him when you were in fact fucking his dismal brains out.”

He pulls in a breath, realizing that he’s close to shouting.

Thalia is glaring at him. “It’s not like that. It’s…”

“Bullshit. It’s exactly like that.” Tom crosses the room to her, towering over her and feeling an odd twitch of satisfaction when she shrinks a little from his anger.

“Were you ever planning on telling me?”

She swallows, refusing to look away.

“Well, were you?”

“I don’t know.” Her tone is more belligerent now. She folds her arms over her chest. “I tried not to think about it.”

Tom clenches his jaw and keeps his voice carefully low. “For how long has this been going on? You and Evans?”

She raises her chin defiantly. “Since shortly after Christmas break. It…it was supposed to be a one-night stand, but…” She draws herself up and adds in a firmer but still soft voice, “But it became more. Exactly like what happened between us.”

“Don’t,” he snaps, making her flinch. “Don’t compare what we have with whatever you share with him. Just don’t.”

His agitated breathing is the only sound in the room for a few moments. When she reaches a tentative hand out to him, he deliberately steps back. Fighting hard for composure, he strides to his desk and sits down. He needs to keep his mouth shut or he’ll say something he’ll really regret later.

“How did you find out?” Thalia asks, and he grimaces.

“Your boyfriend told me.” He spits out the word ‘boyfriend’, as if the taste makes him sick to his gut – and it does.

“Shit.”

Her muttered curse brings the simmering rage to a boil again.

“I suppose he knew all along and I was the only fool completely in the dark?” He snaps.

“No.” She walks closer,a bit shaky on her feet, her expression such a mix of emotions now that he can’t read it. “Chris figured it out at the gala, though he knew that I was seeing someone else.”

“Seeing?” He sneers. “You were doing quite a lot more than ‘seeing’ me.”

Dammit, where is all that icy hate coming from? Why is he so shaken, and why the hell is he taking it out on her when he encouraged her date someone else?

As if she can read his thoughts, she brings the matter up in self-defense. “You’re the one who told me we need to make sure we don’t get caught, that we should see other people. When I asked you again about it, the night after the movies, you brushed it off, so nonchalantly…Why are you making such a scene?”

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he says vehemently, scrubbing a hand over his face. “I wanted us to pretend or maybe have a one-night stand or two.” He glares at her again. “And I certainly didn’t mean you should throw yourself at the next-best single professor.”

Now she looks wounded and furious at the same time. Advancing, she stabs a finger in his direction. “It’s nothing like that. Would you be happier if I did have a series of one night stands?  Shit, that’s fucked up too.”  She stops and throws her hands up to her face, rubbing her jaw in frustration. “Dammit, I didn’t ‘throw’ myself at him, and I don’t see him that way at all. Chris is…he makes me feel special, like you. He…”

Tom holds up both hands. “Stop. Stop right there. I don’t want to hear about him.”

Thalia makes a frustrated sound. “Oh for fuck’s sake, Tom, can’t you at least let me explain things? If I had told you, would you have approved? No, you damn as hell wouldn’t. The whole thing would have blown up in my face, and I would have lost you then and there.”

Her words finally get through to him. He stares at her, hurt replacing anger and making him feel even more helpless.

As if she can sense a change in him, Thalia takes another step closer to the desk.  “And I didn’t want to lose you. I want both of you in my life, can’t you understand that?  I wish you would listen to me… It’s just… well, whenever I tried to get closer, you pushed me away.  And with Chris, it was just-”

“No, Thalia.  Stop.”  Closing his eyes, Tom sighs in defeat. It’s too much; he can’t handle this right now or he’ll break.  And she’s right.  He pushed her away, when really all he wanted to do was hold her close.

“Perhaps you should go,” he says softly, looking down at his trembling,bruised hands.

After a moment, he hears her sigh as well, and then her footsteps move away from him. The door clicks shut, and he buries his head in his hands again.

Click to read Chapter 38 Rage

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

 

Mine

ET ch 36 Mine july 5 2017.jpg

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 36

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: 2392

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, jealousy, discussions of sex

Summary:  Chris shows up at the Gala in an attempt to win back Thalia’s heart, where instead, he sees something he didn’t expect.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Chris knew she’d be there, but watching Thalia out of her element is such a pleasant surprise.  All made up, she looks stunning in a black satin gown.  He’s so used to seeing her in jeans and t-shirts, he’s taken away by her royal air.  Her beauty sweeps him away as he slowly lets his eyes wash over her.  Her dark hair is pulled back in a tight chignon, with a pile of curls at the nape of her neck.  Frankly, he feels the black dress hides her best assets, but the diamond brooch on the hip, draws his attention to her waist and rounded hips.  The thigh high slit shows off her shapely legs but her confidence is the sexiest thing about her.

She turns, scanning the room and spots him.  Her surprised expression turns to a wicked grin and she licks her matte red lips as a tease.  Fuck, he can already feel the blood rushing to his groin and he wants to sneak away with her.  She turns back to her group, but a need and curiosity fills him so he walks towards her.  Crossing the room, drawn to her, he stops when he realizes who else is in the circle that seems to have her attention.  Professor Hiddleston.  That pompous British arse.

He hangs back, choosing to stop at the bar.  He’ll wait. He can see it on her face.  She didn’t mask it quickly enough…

So Tom is the other man he’s been competing with for her time and affections.  Well, she did say ‘for reasons’ she wanted to keep her other relationship private as well.  He had expected a married man, not this… Not another professor.

Making small talk with other community leaders and school figures, he waits till he can get her alone, and is pleasantly surprised when she comes to him instead.  She slides up next to the bar, but does not address him, ordering a gin and tonic, neat.  While she waits she turns and leans her elbow against the bar, her hand dangling down and caressing the sleeve of his suit.  Just the simple touch ignites him, but they don’t speak.  A game of cat and mouse, and he wants to make sure he’s the cat.

When she turns back around to get her drink, she brushes her full chest against his arm and he can feel her warmth.  She smiles innocently at him and begins to walk away.  He speaks her name and she stops walking, waiting for him to slide up next to her.  Discretely he addresses her.  “Not many students rank an invite to this event… Professor Hiddleston?  Well done, my dear.”

Fire flashes in her eyes, but he sees her breath catch; the flutter of her pulse at her neck.  He wants to watch it race.

“Chris.” Her tone is steady.  “Don’t do this.  Not here.  Please do not make a scene.”

“What if I want to?” He is heated and his fiery anger is fueling him. Tom fucking Hiddleston.  That man has been a pain in his ass ever since he came to campus.  He ignores the twisting of the knife in his heart.  A quick glance around the room, and he sees the tall Brit dancing with a member of the math department.  Without drawing attention to them, Chris moves back into her space, hissing in her ear.  “What if I want him to know- people to know- you’re mine.  I want you to belong to me.”

“I don’t belong to anyone,” she laughs haughtily, but he sees the fear in her eyes.   A quick blink and her confidence returns.  “Besides, I haven’t heard from you in days.  You didn’t return my calls and had your secretary tell me the work on the Honduras exhibit was complete.  I make my own choices, just like you seemed to make yours.”  She starts to move away from him, so he grabs her elbow.

“Bullshit, I can prove you’re mine.  I’d love nothing more than to find a quiet corner to fuck you in, to take you right here, but no,” he smiles wickedly and leads her over to a table.  With his touch on her arm, he can feel the blood coursing through her veins. She’s just as turned on as he is.  “Tonight isn’t my night with you, and now I know why, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.”

Pulling the chair out for her, he pushes down on her shoulders, forcing her to sit.  He squeezes his thumb into the permanently tense spot in her shoulder and her moan is audible even over the music of the jazz band playing on the stage.  The other couple at the table takes that as their cue to leave.

“Chris, why are you here?  You made it clear you… we, were done.  Please.  Let’s not do this.  Not here,” her voice pleads with him, a slight stall in her confidence.

Sitting in the chair across from her, Chris captures her between his legs, spreading his open for her to ogle as he leans back against the seat.  She sits prim and proper, keeping her legs closed.

“I came here tonight to tell you I wasn’t giving up.  I’ve had the worst week; but I can see you haven’t been too lonely.”  The scowl on his face mars his handsome visage as he stares across the room to the competition. He sighs, rubbing his fist in anger on his thigh and pulls his attention back to the maddening creature in front of him.   “I haven’t told you how beautiful you look.  By far, the most gorgeous woman in the room.  I’m sad you covered up your beautiful breasts, but you weren’t dressing for me tonight, were you?”

He chuckles at the rising blush on her face, her freckles showing through her make up.  “No, if you were dressing for me, the dress would show off you beautiful decolletage, and I’d want to bury my face in it.  But I can see how someone else might want not want such an intimate tat on display either.  Not that I mind; I think it’s beautiful.”  He closes his eyes in thought, visually seeing her lying back, her rounded breasts exposed for him.  Adjusting his glasses, he continues his fiery tease. “I love to cover it with kisses every time I see it, to caress it with my tongue before seeking out your succulent nipples.”  He watches as she folds her arms over her chest, trying to hide the hardening of her lovely tits at his words.  “Not that you don’t have beautiful legs that look so AMAZING wrapped around my waist, or up over my shoulders, but-”

She fidgets with a loose curl hanging by her ear.  In barely a whisper, words fall from her swollen lips.  “Christopher, what are you doing?”

“I’m making you wet.  If I can’t fuck you, I’m going to tell you all the things I would do to you tonight, and then when you go home with him, he has to know he’s not the only one on your mind.  He’ll know another man made his woman wet.”

Shuddering slightly, she taunts him.  “What if I just got up to leave?”

“Oh, Niña, you and I both know you won’t do that.  You’re too curious, you want to know things.  You want to know what I’d do to you.”  He absently scratches at the scruff under his nose, waiting for her response.  When there is none, he continues.  “Where was I?  Your legs.  Yes, beautiful, thick… My favorite place these days is to be trapped between them, your thighs against my ears, crushing my skull while  Ibrush my tongue over your slick wet hole.  Again and again.  So I think that’s where I’d start if we were together tonight.”

Turning a bright shade of pink, she squirms in her seat, admonishing him.  “Shh.  Not so loud; someone will hear you.”

But she doesn’t stop him.  People pass around the table, but the bubble of secrecy surrounding them seems to be visible, so no one stops to truly interrupt, although colleagues wave hello to him or wish her congratulations with her assistance on the project.

He leans forward.  “That reminds me; you’re loud too.  I fuckin’ love that.  I love to hear you   when you tell me what want or when you call out my name when you’re coming… Your moans and whimpers, your cry of ecstasy.  Tonight, I’d make you call out your praises and my name… At least three times, until the sun comes up.  Three is our favorite number.”

He stops a waiter walking by and takes two hors d’oeuvres from the tray, kindly handing one to her.  Not even looking at it, she sets hers on the table, almost afraid to take her eyes from his.  He pops the bacon wrapped mushroom in his mouth, promptly dropping the napkin on the floor.  Boldly, he leans forward to pick it up and runs his cheek against her exposed leg.  Inhaling, her scent is unmistakable.  “I can smell you… I love that after I’ve fucked you all night, and fingered you, I can still smell you on me when I get home in the mornings.  After I did all those things, I’d go home and collapse in my bed, and wish we’d been in mine, so it could smell like you and our sex.”

Tucking her leg under her, her intake of breath is sharp and she holds it.  Involuntarily she bites her swollen lip and flicks her tongue out to moisten the soft pink petals. Her pupils are black with desire and the beauty she displays for him causes his cock to stir.  “Look at me; look what you do to me.”  Commanding, he shifts in his seat and his discomfort is apparent in the suit fitted perfectly for him.  Not much space to expand without being noticed.

Her eyes drop for a quick peek and she glances up, batting her eyelashes at him.  “Damn you; this is ridiculous.  You need to stop.”

“But you can’t get up and leave, can you?  You’re too wet.  Dripping wet.  And no panty lines, so there’s not a damn thing there to soak up your juices.  I would offer to crawl under this table, but-”

She looks to him in surprise, and closes her eyes, shamefully acquiescing to his words.  When her closed lashes gleam with tears, he realizes he’s pushed too far, maybe had a bit too much fun at her expense.  He stops another waiter, grabbing two glasses of champagne, clumsily spilling one on her as he hands it to her.

Jumping from his seat, he grabs napkins from the table, proclaiming how accident prone he is and apologizing profusely.  Angry at first, she appears to soften immediately when she realizes what he’s done.  A wet spot on her dress.  From spilled champagne.

“My, my, what’s the commotion here? Darling, what happened?” His clipped British tone grates on Chris’s nerves, but Chris can see he barely registers with the man at the moment, Hiddleston’s attention solely on the lovely Latina.

Chris watches her cringe at the term of tenderness in public, but she replies calmly.  “Tom, it’s okay.  Professor Evans and I were discussing new archeology techniques for my trip this summer.”  She rolls her eyes and stands, still patting at her dress with the cloth napkins.  “He’s a clumsy oaf, and spilled our drinks.  It’s okay, I’ll just go freshen up before our presentation.”

Before she walks away, the tall, lanky Brit addresses Chris.  “Enjoyed chatting up my best assistant, have you Professor Evans?”  Professor Hiddleston asks politely.

“Assistant?”  Chris smirks at the implication, but lets it pass.  “She would be well-suited for my field, but it seems words have a way of reaching under her skin.  ‘Although she is little, she is fierce.’  That’s what your man once wrote about women like her, right?   A clear and focused mind, I’m sure she’s a great help for late nights researching your dusty old files.”

Catching all the hidden innuendoes, she blushes and moves to push passed them both.  “Excuse me gentlemen, I need to go freshen up.”

Tom pats her arm tenderly, and replies.  “I’ll be waiting, please hurry back.”

Chris calls her name as she walks away, stepping forward and handing her the little silver clutch she’d left on the table.  “I can still smell you,” he growls quietly.

“You ass; your words won’t take too long for a wordsmith to figure out; he’ll know, Christopher.” But she relaxes, gratitude written on her face.  “Thank you for the quick thinking with the spill.”

“I’m not sorry he’ll know.  May the better man win.  And if I’ve ruined the dress, I’ll pay for it.  Replace it with one I’d like better….  And as for the quick save with the spilled drinks?  You can repay me later,” he tells her with a wicked grin.

“Please, can we talk later?  Don’t make a scene; don’t do anything hot-headed and stupid.”  Her hands tremble at her side, and he’s never seen her so shaken.  “I’m nervous about my speech; please don’t ruin it for me.  If you still care about me, don’t.  I promise we’ll talk.”

He’s not sure what there is to talk about, but he can’t destroy her chance to awe the room full of people waiting to hear her speak.  He simply nods, before she whispers ‘thank you’ and walks away from him.

#

After cleaning up, Thalia returns to the ballroom, wondering just how much Tom has figured out and how much damage Chris has done.  If he shows his hand, this will all come crashing down and she knows it now.  Tom is the more possessive of the two, and won’t like finding out he has unknowingly shared her all this time.  She’s seen his dramatic performances in class and knows the anger he sometimes hides under the surface of his cool British exterior.  She’s not afraid of him by any means, but she is afraid of losing him.

She checks her clutch for her notecards containing her part of the speech to the gathered alumni and staff on behalf of the Literature Department.  Looking up she watches as Chris leaves the room in a huff.  Her heart drops, hoping she can patch things up with him before this turns into a big ugly mess.

Click here to read Chapter 37 Jealousy

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

 

Gala

et ch 35 Gala July 2 2017

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 35

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: 2894

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, FLUFF, discussions of sex, dancing

Summary: Tom takes Thalia to the Alumni Gala and even manages to steal a dance.

A special thank you to @jennphoenix for the featured edit of Tom in his tux!

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Two days later, Thalia stands frozen in the entry to the Grand Ballroom.  The mirrors on the walls reflect back the prism effect of the chandeliers; the beautiful displays of flowers in large urns; the click of high heels on the marbled floors.  Tom watches as her eyes take it all in and he has a vision in his mind of Cinderella attending her first ball.  She silently clutches her purse tighter and wiggles her body in a way to suggest she’d like to scratch at a seam or a sequin somewhere.

“Darling,” he whispers to her, placing his hand on her lower back and then stepping away.  “Are you going to be alright?”

“Tom, I don’t want to sound cliche, but how will I know which fork to use?”  She giggles and her eyes look to his smokey blue eyes for guidance.  “I had no idea this was such a big deal.  Other than a few weddings for friends, this is the biggest event I’ve ever been to… It’s overwhelming.”

Tom chuckles, pleased once again to be delivering a new experience to her.  “Take a deep breath; you’ll be fine.  I’ll stay by your side until your beautiful wings are ready for you to fly this evening.  People will worship you the way I do; you’ll stun them all.”

Colleagues pass by and make their entrance, waving hello and calling out greetings.  Thalia still won’t budge from her spot.  In all honesty, he’s never seen her so nervous before.  “Hey, Warrior Princess?”  He guffaws when her head snaps to attention.  “The biggest event?  What, no prom for you?  I thought that was an American rite of passage?”

He can see her relax, her usual confident spirit returning.  She chuckles and her eyes dance.  Tilting her head she smiles wryly at a reminiscence dancing through her mind.  Her sultry voice shares her memory with him, although not quite willingly.  “His uncle owned the limo company.  He parked the car and left.  We never actually made it further than the parking lot.  I would have been a little too disheveled to go in and his tux was…”  She stops her walk down memory lane and shakes her head.  “I went to the prom parking lot.  This is much, much nicer.  Remind me to thank you properly later.”

Pushing his glasses up slightly, he pinches the bridge of his nose.  “That’s a visual I didn’t need.  That’s awful.  You were just a child… how terrible for you.  I’m adding limo sex to our list,” he teases.  “Now, Ms. Bareo, pull yourself up tall, shoulders back.  You’re going to go in and own that room.  Horribly, every man is going to want you, and I’ll be jealous all night long.  Every woman will envy your Rubenesque figure, wishing they were willing to enjoy themselves more and-”

She laughs and squeezes his bicep playfully.  Her touch sears through his suit and his cock gives a little twitch.  “That’s great, Tom.  Call me ‘fat.’” She pauses, winking at him.  With a tilt to her head, she continues. “Amazingly enough, that worked.  This little girl from Chicago who was always told ‘no’ is now gonna go in that room and kick some ass tonight.  How many fellowships and grants do we need?  I’ll charm them all out of their pocketbooks!”

“I most certainly did not call you ‘fat.’”  He offers his arm to her, and she links hers through his as they move towards the doorway to enter the ballroom.  “But if that’s what it takes to motivate you, well then, by all means, I’m glad you interpreted my compliment in such a horrible fashion.”

“Thank you.  Thank you for always believing in me.”  Smiling at him sweetly, they enter the room together and she quickly changes her facial expression to show one of just friendship between them and nothing more to their observers.

As the evening wears on, Tom is spellbound, watching her transform herself into a radiant creature he’s never seen before.  He was right, everyone wants to know her, meet her, talk about her.  Although other students are present for the event, none of them has the flair she does.  She truly is the belle of the ball and he’s honored to be with her.  He catches her eye from across the room and she raises her glass to him.  Reading her lips, he can see her request: ‘Save me.”

He saunters across the room, his long legs moving fluidly and when he arrives, he sees the trouble.  Professor Shreiv is a bit tipsy and becoming very handsy.  Although Tom knows Thalia can handle herself, he extricates her from the situation before she truly does start to kick some ass.  Although he must admit, seeing her tougher side in action would be a turn on. She usually hides that facet of her personality from him.

Fuck, Hiddleston.  Now is not the time to be thinking about sex.  This suit is tight enough as it is.

He’s saved by the first sounds of music, and his eyes light up.

“Ready to bedazzle the crowd once and for all, Warrior Princess?” he asks. When she turns her luminous eyes on him, he makes a somewhat awkward half bow and holds out a hand. “Would the most beautiful woman in the room care to dance with the dismally boring professor from England?”

Her brows shoot so high up it looks comical. “No way am I going to dance in this dress. Not in front of all these people and to music I’m not used to.”

His face falls. “But, Thalia…”

Taking a few steps back, she shakes her head adamantly. “No. I don’t fancy falling on my ass tonight. While it’s big enough to cushion the fall, I don’t want to make a fool out of myself and you.”

Tom bridges the short distance and speaks into her ear. “First, you should stop mentioning your delectable ass because my zip can only take so much pressure. Secondly, it is simply not done to come to an event like this and not dance. It’s a sacrilege, for heaven’s sake. Like…like not ordering dessert or not knowing who wrote Romeo and Juliet.”

Thalia rolls her eyes at him, and he lets it slide because he wants nothing more than to sway to the music with her tonight, even if she will give him only one dance.

“Please, darling. Be mine for at least one dance.” He stares into her eyes, giving her his best pleading look. “You don’t need to do anything, I’ll lead you and I most certainly won’t let you fall. Please? It would make me perfectly, incandescently happy.”

With a defeated sigh and some mumbled choice words in Spanish, she nods.

“You’re insufferable, Tom, do you know that?”

He gives her a happy grin. “Insult me all you want, so long as you let me twirl you for a bit and be in heaven.”

His hand on her elbow, he guides her gently to the dance floor.

Thalia is a bit stiff in his arms at first, although she returns his smile tentatively when he beams at her. He slides a hand lower down her spine across her bare skin until it rests on that oddly intimate spot at the small of her back.

“Relax, darling, I’ve got you. Don’t concentrate on the steps, just follow my lead.”

He can feel her soften somewhat in his hold, but she continues to worry a corner of her lower lip.

“Would you like me to distract you?” Bending his head, he whispers into her ear, “Do you want me to book a room here at the hotel? After all, I need to reward you for being such a good girl and giving me this one dance.”

He lets his voice go low and deep, knowing what effect that has on her. Her gaze finally leaves their feet to lock on his. Her tongue sneaks out to wet her lips, and he regrets it for the umpteenth time this evening that he’s opted for such tight pants.

“If you booked one, what would you do to me?” she asks, her voice soft and husky, heightening his arousal.

His grip on her tightens. “First, I’d kiss you so thoroughly that we’re breathing the same air and that you can feel your all-consuming desire for me in every cell of your body. Then I’d slowly peel you out of this sinfully gorgeous dress, kissing every inch of newly exposed skin.”

Thalia shivers in his arms, and he pulls her a fraction closer so she can feel what she does to him.

“Would my good girl like that?”

“Yes, sir.” Her answer is a breathy whisper.

“Tell me more.”

Fuck, that’s hot. Tom risks a glance around. Everyone is engrossed in dancing and not looking their way after the initial surprise of seeing them together. And the band is loud enough to make it impossible to overhear anything.

He begins stroking her soft, exposed skin where his hand is resting on the small of her back, moving only his thumb discreetly back and forth while guiding her through the dance.

“Because you’ve been so obedient, I’d reward you,” he murmurs, wishing he could lean in more and nuzzle her face or neck. “You’d get to choose, my beautiful queen of the night. Would you like to come on my mouth or my hands?”

He hears her breath hitch. She’s liquid in his arms by now, completely focused on his words and moving fluidly in his embrace.

“I…I’d want your mouth….on my breasts first.” She swallows and her voice is a bit more confident when she adds, “I want you to lick and suck my nipples until I’m writhing and begging for more, and then I need you to bite them.”

Tom suppresses a groan. It’s a miracle he can still dance, he’s so hard he’s putting the expensive material of his pants to a damn good test.

“Minx,” he growls. “Demanding tonight, aren’t we? But I’d be all too happy to oblige.”

The song moves seamlessly into another popular tune, and Thalia doesn’t even protest when he continues to move with her, subtly grinding against her.

“I’ll scrape my teeth over your chocolate-colored buds until you curse in your tantalizing accented voice, begging for more. And then I’ll get down on my knees and worship you like the queen you are tonight. I’ll seek out every single hidden corner of you with my tongue and make love to your luscious cunt until you think your body has liquified and burst into flame at the same time.”

Thalia makes the tiniest sound, and Tom loves how receptive she is. Quirking a brow at her, he tuts softly. “Breaking so easily? No, no, we can’t have that. I haven’t even gotten to the really good parts yet.”

He can feel her pull herself together. She looks at him from beneath her long lashes.

“Is the good part the one where I pay back the favor by kneeling in front of you? Or did you mean when I slide my mouth over your hard cock through your pants without taking them off? When I run my teeth ever so gently over the bulge and you can feel how hot and wet my mouth is, how amazing it will be to finally have it close around you and take you in deep?”

His breath hisses through his teeth, and he notices a triumphant gleam in her dark eyes.

“Like that, professor? Do you want me to elaborate? It’s only fair to make you suffer too.”

“Oh, believe me, I’m suffering enough already,” he grits out through clenched teeth. “If we don’t stop this now, I’ll have to think of horrible things like arithmetic and asparagus and listening to Professor Kent drone on about baseball.”

That makes her laugh, and the spell is somewhat broken, although he can see her pulse flutter in her neck.  The urge to press his mouth to it is so strong that he moves back slightly, waits for the right moment and dips Thalia backwards over his arm.

She gives a soft, startled yelp and digs her nails into his shoulder, but he’s got her. With a wide smile, he tucks her back into his embrace.

“That’s what you get for being naughty,” he whispers, ensuring that they aren’t attracting too many stares.

They dance for a few minutes, each unable to look away from the other.

“This is a truly magical evening for me, Thalia,” Tom confesses. “You can’t imagine how much joy it brings me to be here with you, like this.”

She returns his smile. Her hand moves from his shoulder to his throat and she adjusts his bow tie lovingly, lingering just a little.

“Maybe I can. I… This… You’ve made me very happy too, Tom.”

They beam at each other, and he feels a bit like the cat that got the cream. If this were a dream, he’d wish he would never wake up again. But he knows all too well that reality will have them back soon.

“Let’s not make each other too happy, or we’ll have a scandal on our hands,” he says with a goofy wink, and it sends her into another giggling tizzy.

Sobering up somewhat, Tom adds, “I wish I could really book us a room here and ravish you, darling. But that’s a bit too risky even for my liking.”

A shadow falls across her face and she nods.

To lighten the mood, he moves their conversation to the here and now again. “You’re a natural at dancing once you let down your guard. Who’d have thought, Miss Oh So Reluctant?”

Before she can deny it or become self-conscious again, he gives her a gentle push and lifts his arm to make her twirl.

As his hand grasps over hers, returning her to his home position after her charming twirl, he teases, “I saw you talking to Professor Kent.  I’m sure that was incredibly dull.  Do you think someone should tell her she looks like a bottle of that pink antacid medicine?”

Thalia tosses her head back in laughter, a curl coming loose from her beautiful coif.  His fingers literally itch from wanting to tuck it behind her ear.  He’s heard the whispers.  Some of their coworkers starting to buzz that possibly she’s the reason for his current state of happiness, his English gloom and doom dissipating.  He doesn’t want to give them any more fodder for their gossip, but he’d love to whisk her away to a dark hallway somewhere in this hotel and fuck her senseless.  Her hands on the lapel of his tux bring him back to the present.  “What’s so amusing, darling?”

“First, when this song is over, and you let me go, head to the darkest corner of the room for a few minutes.  Otherwise, everyone will see your hard on for me. You know, you really need to invest in suits that aren’t painted on if you’re intent on not busting a seam or two. And regarding Kent?  That was quite a chat.  It seems as though she doesn’t just have a thing for proper British men, but possibly chunky Latina girls too?  I’m not sure, but I think she fuckin’ asked me out!” Startled, she sucks in her breath and her mouth makes the cutest “oh” shape when she realizes she’s cursed so vulgarly in the elegant setting.  Tom can’t hide his grin.  “She wanted to know if my internship for the summer didn’t work out if I would be willing to help her plan some course guidelines for the new minor in Sapphic studies?  A combination of history and literature courses and-”

“Bloody hell!  If she’d talked about that on our date I might have been interested!  That’s a fascinating topic for discourse and with the right-”

“Tom… Tom?  We’re not planning course work tonight. That’s her project, not ours.  God, I think you missed the point…”  She playfully hits his arm and he delights in this public exchange, their first outing together since the night they walked from the library to the bar.  And here they are surrounded by friends, staff and alumni.  And he doesn’t have a fucking care in the world.

Totally flustered, having actually missed something while lost in his daydreams, Tom laughs, “Was there a point? I’m sorry; I’m too distracted by you in my arms.  You look so devastatingly beautiful.”

Murmuring her thanks, she finishes her story.  “Either the woman is bi, or she was just wanting you as a cover as much as you were needing one.  She kept trying to convince me to tell her my phone number.”  Thalia shudders slightly in his arms.  “I think if I ever entertained the idea of a relationship with a woman, I’d have better taste than that.”

“Oh, fuck,” he whispers, twirling her one last time as the music dies down.  “Now I’ve got a whole new series of images in my mind of you doing such sinful things, but quite frankly, darling, I don’t want to share you with anyone.  Only room for one woman in my bed.”

Blushing as the song ends, Thalia courtesies to him and excuses herself to freshen up before the dinner is served.

Click to read Chapter 36 Mine

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

 

 

 

Boots

et ch 34 Boots june 28 2017

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @devikafernando & @avenger-nerd-mom

AU FICTION

Chapter 34

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: 4233

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, NSFW, bdsm, dominant personalities, sub, oral sex, condom use, intercourse

Summary:  A wild creature wakes Tom in the middle of the night…

Images found on Pinterest.  Gif created by avenger-nerd-mom on imgflip.com from those images

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

late night visit

Something has woken Tom up, but he isn’t quite sure what. Lying on his back with his head on his arms, he blinks into the dark with a slight frown. Was it a dream? A sound outside? Did he imagine a knock at his door in that groggy state of barely having been asleep for a few hours?

The second knock on the door is persistent and unmistakable.  It wasn’t some random outside noise.  Someone is at his front door.  Springing from the bed, Tom bangs his hip on the dresser and curses quietly as he exits the room. He jogs down the stairs quietly.  It’s well past midnight and he can only think of one person he’d want to be at his door at this ungodly time, but he doesn’t feel he could be that lucky.  His heart races, wondering if there’s some kind of trouble, or just a case of ‘wrong house’ by a local drunk.

Peering through the peephole on the door, he is elated to see Thalia standing on the other side.  Wearing a long coat, she has her hands shoved down in her pockets and her hair swept to the side in a loose knot.  Quickly unlocking the door, it flies open and he motions her in.  “Thalia, darling, what? What are you doing here so late?  Is everything okay?”  He caresses her arm tenderly, his eyes frantically scanning her face and hidden body for anything that might be amiss.

He looks down the street and doesn’t see her cute little junker car.  “Where’s your car?”

She brushes past him, her manicured nails scraping across his chest in his tight black V-neck t-shirt, eyeing his plaid pants.

“Sleep in pajamas, do you, Thomas?”

Thomas.  This is new.  So is showing up at his house.  She’s never been to his home before. He wasn’t even sure until now that she knew his address. His heart gives an excited flip in his chest.

Closing the door and flipping on the hallway lamp, he asks her again, “Are you okay?”

Dropping her bag by the side table, her eyes wander around the open layout of the entry way and adjoining living room, and her wild eyes lock on his.  “I got an Uber ride.  No one will know I’m here… I missed you. And I wanted to see how you live.”  She smiles up at him, stepping closer.  “Didn’t you miss me?”

Like a spring, his body responds to her words and he steps closer as well, closing the gap between them.  Her hands grab at the hem of his shirt and she reaches up on the toes of her well-worn cowboy boots.  “You leave me lonely at night.  Dreams, memories… my hands and my toys aren’t always enough.” His pulse starts hammering at the images that conjures up, but before he can even process them, she adds, “Tonight, I wanted you.”

Her lips press against his, hot and slick.  His mouth falls open and her tongue brushes against his before flicking against his teeth.  In her low rasp that wraps around his gut every time, she murmurs, “I hope you don’t mind…”

She moves away and pulls open the sash of her coat, revealing her naked form. Holy shit, she’s clad only in her boots. His cock twitches to life instantly, reacting to all those luscious curves so decadently on display. It takes his scrambled brain a moment to catch up with the rest of his body, his hands already reaching for her.

“Thalia…” He drags his eyes up from her ample bosom to her eyes, taking in the mischievous twinkle in them. “Good Lord, woman, you’re going to be the death of me.”

Hands shaking a little, he grabs the coat lapels and moves the chilled fabric completely off her body.

“You must be freezing,” he worries, only now remembering how bitingly cold it is outside. Hell, his bare feet on the floor feel like ice chunks, so how bad must it be for her?

She grins at him, stepping willingly into his embrace and nuzzling his throat where his pulse is galloping even faster now.

“I kept myself warm with thoughts about you and what you would do to me…what I want to do to you.”

Fuck. Tom wraps her in his big, strong arms and hauls her close. Her body is indeed a bit cold, and he rubs his hands soothingly over her bare back. As if on its own volition, one hand wanders lower to knead a butt cheek, and she sighs against his neck before scraping her teeth over his collar bone.

He’s rock hard already, and it doesn’t help that she’s rubbing herself against him. With her in those trusty, oddly sexy boots and with him barefoot, she’s the perfect height, and the warmth of her pussy, already damp, brushes against his cock.

With a hiss, Tom draws back, but she gives him no chance to say anything. All reprimands and questions die in his throat when she claims his mouth again.

Dimly it registers in his brain how take-charge she is tonight, as if some wanton nymph’s spirit has entered her body in her sleep and lured her here. It’s a huge turn-on, although he’s not quite sure what’s expected of him.

As if she can read his thoughts, Thalia pulls back a fraction. She slicks her tongue over his lower lip, then sinks her teeth into it and tugs softly, the way he usually does to her. One of her hands reaches up to rub over the beginning night scruff on his jaw, and a spark lights her eyes at the feel of it.

“I want that stubble all over me tonight,” she demands, her face flushed and her body now warm. “I want to feel it against my breasts and across my belly. I want to have delicious beard burn on my thighs.”

Jesus freaking Christ, who is this tantalizingly confident woman and what has she done with his good little girl?

Maybe a bit of his confusion–mostly overpowered by raging desire–has shown on his face, or maybe she’s surprised by her own behavior, but for a moment, Thalia hesitates and her eyes grow wide and vulnerable.

“Tom?” She gnaws on her lip and he soothes her, stroking up her arm over her shoulders and neck before tugging her hair free of its band.

“Yes, darling?”

“Can we…can I…I need…”

She falters, and somehow, he understands. He knows just what she feels and needs. This loneliness, this longing she’s mentioned, it’s inside his heart too, and he’d do anything to lessen it.

“You want me to hand over the reins to you, my beautiful hothouse orchid? Is that what my woman wants tonight, hm?”

He deliberately doesn’t call her ‘my girl’, and what’s said between the lines makes her eyes go dark again. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips, and her spine straightens as one of his hands on the small of her back pulls her close again.

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll be yours for the night.” Tom gives her a slow, almost predatory smile that is at odds with his words, and he feels her shiver in delight.

Wondering how far she’ll take her little jab at being a domme, he steps back and lets her go.

“Where and how do you want me?”

Thalia seems to grow two inches taller with the control he’s placed in her hands.

“Where’s your room?”

He jerks his head up towards the left, feeling himself grow even harder at the prospect of what’s to come.

“Take me upstairs.”

He turns and leads the way, repressing the urge to take her hand because it would somehow ruin the moment.

Once they’re in the bedroom, his hand hesitates over the light switch. She makes the decision for him, hitting the switch and letting him drink her in.

God, she’s magnificent. He wants her beneath him, around him, wants to lose himself inside her very being. But he orders himself to hold back and let her play out her fantasy tonight. He’s always known she has a wilder side hidden away, and it’s thrilling to watch it flicker to life.

Thalia bridges the short distance between them. She grabs his t-shirt and pulls it up, leaving his chest bare for her to touch. Her fingers trace over his pecs, circling his nipples and making him bite back a moan. They wander lower, her fingertips skimming over his abs and Adonis belt, slipping beneath the elastic of his pajamas without touching him where he wants her most.

For a second, her gaze stops in its reverent study of his body to scan the room. It slides over the bare furniture, over all the books lying everywhere, his glasses on the nightstand; over the bed and to the chair in front of his book-laden desk.

Tom nearly stumbles when she pushes him backwards with her palms on his chest and another mischievous gleam in her eyes. Obediently, he walks back until the back of his knees knocks against the chair. He sits down in his usual way, his legs spread a mile wide. His eyes never leave hers while a smirk lifts his lips.

“Are you gonna try some rodeo ridin’, cowgirl?” he asks, attempting his best imitation of an American drawl.

A startled laugh escapes her before she pulls herself together and presses a hand against his mouth. “Shsh,” she silences him, and he feels his cock twitch at her assertiveness.

“Maybe later,” she says, stepping so close that there’s barely an inch between his face and her round belly. “If you’re really good to me.”

He’s so turned on by now he can’t even smirk anymore. He wants more, needs all of her, in any way she’s willing to let him have her.

“Kiss me, Thomas,” she demands huskily, one hand cupping the back of his head and pushing him close so his lips touch her stomach.

All too happily, Tom obliges. He takes his time, remembering her whisker burn comment and brushing his chin and jaw over the soft skin of her belly while he kisses every inch of skin he can reach. Her fingers spear into the short hair at his nape, tugging a little to move his head up, down, left and right. Tom shifts in the chair, longing for a taste of her breasts or of her pussy, so close and shiny with desire. He can smell her arousal, and it’s going straight to his head and his cock.

“May I touch you?” he asks, his voice a low growl that has her shivering again.

“Yes. But don’t stop kissing me.” Her voice is breathless, but she manages to hold onto the slightly commanding tone she’s never used with him before.

Hungry for more, Tom scoots to the edge of the chair and places one hand at her waist while the other moves up to mold her large breast. Thalia gasps and he moves his attention to her pebbled nipple while he opens his mouth to make the kisses all over her stomach wetter. Using his teeth and his tongue along with his lips, he torments her by moving lower but never crossing the invisible border to pay attention to her quivering center.

His hand on her waist moves lower and back so he can fondle her butt. His fingers dive into the crease between her cheeks, stroking ever so softly while he dips his tongue into her belly button. With a whimper, her grip on his hair tightens to the point of pain, but it only heightens his arousal.

When a long finger dips to circle her most private place, she yanks his head lower. Tom takes the hint eagerly and strokes his tongue over her glistening lips to lap at her, dive into her like a starving man.

“Slowly. Go slooooow,” she demands, her words drawn-out moans with not as much determination behind them as a true domme would show it.

Tom changes his attention on her pussy to long, languid drags of his tongue over all of her, spreading her juices around but never quite touching her engorged clit. He rubs his jaw against her inner thigh, giving her the prickly friction she’s asked for and making her moan some more.

He loses all track of time. God, he could sit here all night, eating her out, listening to all those different sounds she makes when he adds tentative sucks on her outer and inner lips to his slow, thorough licks.

“More. Make me come.”

Her command strikes him like lightning, and he can feel himself leak precum, his painfully erect cock begging for attention.

His other hand joins the one on her ass so he can hold her close and open, and he finally goes for her clit. He sucks the throbbing bundle of nerves into his mouth and tortures it with his tongue and then gently with his teeth until she comes, half sobbing, half screaming his name.

Her thighs are trembling, and she has both hands fisted in his hair, making his scalp tingle. It’s a miracle she’s still standing upright.

Tom’s ability to think rationally is going out the window. He has half a mind to turn the tables, haul her caveman-style over his shoulder and have his way with her in the bed–but he uses his last ounce of self-control to indulge her.

Returning to slow, caressing licks, he eases her down from her climax and waits for her to step back or give him another order.

Her voice is even rougher when she moves her hands from his head to his shoulders and pushes him gently to say, “Now sit back and enjoy.”

As soon as his back hits the wood, Thalia sinks to her knees between his spread legs, and his cock twitches in anticipation. She pulls at his waistband and he lifts his hips so she can slide the pajama bottoms over his butt and down his legs before removing them. He watches with burning desire, a healthy dose of admiration and a tiny hint of amusement as she places his hands on the armrests and curls his fingers around them.

“Keep your hands there. Don’t move.”

“Yes, mistress,” he replies, two words he hasn’t spoken in years, since that one time he tried being a sub.

Thalia freezes, her eyes shooting up from his needy cock to his face, her pupils blown as wide as his must be. The oddest expression crosses her face, something like a secretive, purely feminine smile that has a decidedly wild edge to it and stokes the fire inside him.

Mesmerized, Tom stares at the transformation, but the expression is gone a moment later. Her long lashes sweep down, hiding her intense gaze from him.

“Keep your eyes on me,” she orders, but there’s a tremble in her voice. “I want you to watch me.”

Licking his lips and sucking in a fortifying breath, Tom braces himself. But he still isn’t prepared for her hot, wet mouth engulfing him and sinking down as far as she can go.

“Fuck, Thalia,” he curses, feeling for a panicky moment like a teenager who’s about to blow his load before things have even started. He hasn’t expected her to go straight for the gold, and he’s clenching his jaw so tightly it hurts.

She hums around him, which only makes matters worse. Only when her hands settle on his thighs and push down does he realize that he’s arched up to shove himself even deeper into her oh so welcoming mouth.

Using all his willpower, he lets her hold him down and keeps a white-knuckled grip on the armrest. Thalia starts bobbing up and down on his shaft once he’s settled down. She alternates between taking him deep and sucking only his tip, reducing him to a panting, groaning mess.

Enraptured, he watches her drive him to the brink while one of her hands leaves his thigh to slink between her legs and touch herself. Fucking hell, he’s pretty sure he’s never seen anything hotter than her sucking him off while pleasuring herself, a whimper off and on traveling straight through his cock to tighten his balls.

Just when he wants to break the silence and tell her he’s too damn close, she stops and lets him slide out with a wet pop. She stands up on wobbly legs, and before he can stop himself, he drags her close. He grabs the hand she’s had between her own legs and sucks her glistening fingers into her mouth, watching her eyes roll back.

With his other hand he fumbles behind him, reaching into the desk drawer for a condom. Taking it from him, she rolls it over him slowly as her hands tenderly caress his aching sac.

When she straddles him instead of punishing him for taking the initiative, he needs to pull in desperate drags of air so he won’t lose it.

“Ride me, cowgirl,” he growls, and for the moment, Thalia seems to have forgotten she’s the one in charge. Automatically, she scoots into position. Tom lines himself up with one hand, wrapping his other hand around the back of her neck to pull her in for a scorching kiss. He slides his tongue into her mouth at the same time he pushes up into her heat. She’s so slick he glides in easily until he bumps against her cervix, and both of them moan in unison.

Tom holds himself still, and he’s astonished he manages to do so.

Thalia’s eyes flutter open, and for a moment, they stay like this, connected and lost in each other. Then she begins to move, and his last bit of resolve flies out the window. Her hips rise and fall, circle and writhe. She grinds herself down on him with keening whimpers which tear through his self-control and make him want to pound into her like an animal.

He buries his face against her chest, kissing and panting and cursing, praying for her to climax soon because he can’t hold on long. When she clenches repeatedly around him and then goes utterly still on a choked sound, Tom grits his teeth and rides out her orgasm through sheer force of will.

He grabs her hips, his fingers digging in hard enough to leave bruises.

“Get up, turn around and straddle me again,” he urges her, hardly recognizing his own voice and caring not one bit whether she wants her control back or not.

Thalia moves as if in a trance, doing exactly as he says. It takes her a moment to find the right position with her back pressed to his chest, but then she’s back on his lap and takes him in until her gorgeous ass rests against his balls. A squeak and then a drawn-out moan let him know that she’s never experienced it like this before, with him hitting angles inside her that are enough to drive her up, up, up again.

This time when she comes, he follows right behind, with a shout that echoes in the nightly stillness.

He disentangles them after some moments and rises with her in his arms. Quickly, he strides to the bed, once again carrying her as if she weighs next to nothing. She rests her head against his shoulder until he sets her down on sheets, sweaty and sated with an almost serene look on her beautifully flushed face. Before he joins her on the bed, he kisses her calves and takes her boots off.

“Goddammit, darling, that was mind blowing. I feel as if some sort of succubus decided to haunt me tonight.” He scoots up and pulls her close.

She chuckles sleepily against his chest while he brushes his hands through her unruly tresses and spreads out her hair over his arm and the pillow.

“Yeah… I have half a mind to buy you a pair of cowboy boots and a trenchcoat so you can return the favor one day.”

It’s his turn to chuckle. She snuggles into his hold, and Tom kisses her temple and forces himself not to think about if and when she will get up and leave.

#

The next morning, she is still in his bed when he returns from his run.  The air felt like springtime, or maybe that was just the light residual feeling Thalia’s shocking visit left inside him.  Laying on the couch in the study, he relishes in the small sounds she makes in his house as she gets ready to start her day.  He can’t concentrate on the words of the paper he holds in front of him, nor hide his grin at her bounding down the stairs.

“Tom?” she calls, sounding again like his little girl.  “Where are you?”

“Down the hall, in the den,” he offers by way of direction.

He watches her enter the room and he swears the sunlight coming in the windows shines brighter at her presence.  She smiles warmly to him, wearing her own tight fitting jeans and the t-shirt he was wearing the night before.  Stretched tightly over her voluptuous chest, he can’t help but tease.  “A prize from your conquest?” he taunts.

“Damn right. I earned it.”  Her fingers drag over the spines of the books on the shelves, turning to him with a wicked smile.  “Don’t you agree, Thomas?”

He chuckles loudly, crooking his elbow and resting his head on his arm. “I don’t know what devil got into you last night, darling, but feel free to take advantage of me any time you wish.”  Laughter fills his voice and he can’t remember being so contented in a long while.

He’s had partners in recent years, but Thalia is the closest he’s ever come to a relationship in a while.  Her presence in his solitary space instantly changes things, and he knows this is the reason he’s kept her at arm’s length.  He doesn’t know if his heart can take the pain again. As she flips through a volume she’s pulled off the shelf, he’s reminded of a childhood tale and realizes she’s the beauty to tame the beast. Maybe it’s time to show her he’s ready to commit.  Looking around the dark room, it could use some feminine touches.

Tom is broken from his reverie when she plops in the chair closest to his head.  She runs her fingers through his wet hair and kisses his forehead gently.  “I’m going to New York tomorrow for that interview” she sighs.  “I don’t know if I want the job though, it just seems soul-sucking,” she complains.

“Welcome to the real world,” he laughs, reaching out to tangle his fingers in her hair.  He wants to tell her not to go, but New York is closer than the phone interviews she’s had recently with museums in Paris, Rome and Sydney.  ”The day after the interview? You’ll be back in time for your spa appointment?”

“I hate the idea of spending my morning in a spa.  That’s just not me, you know what I mean?”

He loves her no-nonsense style and casual look for the office.  She always looks more professional than the other student assistants and her name has popped up more than once for different campus openings in the fall.  Cocking his head, he asks, “What about your work for the history department?  Will you have time for that as well when you return?”

He hears the book drop to the floor, but can’t see her from her position behind him.  She sighs deeply and her voice is far away when she shares,  “That’s over.  It, uh, ended last week.  My… help… isn’t needed anymore, I guess.”

Twisting a bit on the couch, he can’t read the faraway look in her eyes as she stares out the window.  She smiles at a bird bouncing along the window ledge, and pulls her attention back to him.  Stroking his damp curls, she suggests, “Can’t we just skip the Gala, dress up anyway but fuck here on this couch instead?”  She wiggles her eyebrows lasciviously at him.

He chuckles, the sound rumbling through both of them.  “I love the way you think, darling.”  His arm, crooked around the back of her neck, pulls her closer as she leans in for a kiss and she gently plays with the collar of his shirt.

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Pulling back with his lip between her teeth, she tenderly bites down.  “My ride will be here soon; I’ll see at the drama department meeting at three this afternoon.”  He nods with a smile while she tugs his tie.  “Wear our tie instead,” she says with a hint of command in her voice.

“Anything for you, dear.  And if I wear my glasses too, will that have you in a wet mess all evening?”

With another quick peck on the lips, she rises with a laugh, pulling a jacket from her bag to complete the look.  “You know me too well,” she teases.  Tom starts to shift, but she stops him.  “You don’t have class till this afternoon; stay.  I can show myself out.”

Tom watches her sashay away, the swing of her hips in her boots just right to make a grown man want to cry, and he knows the room gets darker when she leaves.

Click here for Chapter 35 Gala

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

Choose

et ch 33 choose june 25 2017

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 33

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: 1380

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, real life discussions, angst

Summary: Things get out of hand when the shared time at the cabin prompts Chris to ask Thalia for more.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

Enjoying the comfortable silence between them, Chris was really glad he’d asked Thalia to go hiking.  He’s quite surprised by her knowledge of the wildlife in the area and indulged her wish to sit on the shore of the lake to watch a flock of Great Blue Herons skate across the patches of ice and break through to hunt for food. She happily clicks photos of the view, but ignores the occasional beep of messages coming in.  After about the fourth time she quickly types a response and powers down the phone, throwing it in his backpack. He doesn’t say a word. It’s none of his business, although his heart stings, wondering exactly how she ended up with a free weekend.

Absently she digs through the snow at her feet and finds a small stone, throwing it out and watching it skitter across the frozen surface.  “What’s next, mountain man? My ass is gonna freeze to this log if we sit much longer.”

“Thank God.  I was waiting on you.  Mine is frozen,” he laughs, rubbing his hands roughly over his ass as he stands up.  Reaching for her hands he pulls her up next to him laughing as she wraps her arms around him to help him with the task.

“You’ve got a nice ass babe, it’s just not as padded as mine. “

“Yea, you tease.  You keep reminding me you’ve got all that padding back there but then you never let me fully use it.”

She slaps his ass playfully.  “I’m fine with our play back there so far.  You just keep tempting me. Some day. “

“Some day.” He takes her hand in his and leads her back into the path.

The pair continue their walk through the woods, startling a doe and her fawn.  Talking quietly, they exchange more stories of their childhoods, spilling details about troubles they caused for their parents and high school hijinx.

At the back of the porch, Thalia stops, refusing to follow up the steps.  She looks out over the view, her brow furrowed in thought.  Chris sits down on the rickety old riser, noting it needs to be fixed soon.  Leaning one forearm on his thigh, he waits in wonder at her thoughts.  He plays with the buttons at the wrist of the worn plaid shirt, his coat laying next to him, warm from the walk.  Lost in her ruminations, he wished he knew where her mind went sometimes.  It’s not that he hasn’t been around her on her period before, but she usually takes those days to herself.  This is different.  Alone in the woods, they are entirely dependent on one another, and she’s not quite herself this afternoon.

Pivoting on her heels, she turns to him, fresh tears in her eyes.  “Why did you bring me here Chris?”

The million dollar question.  He wished he had a good answer for her.  Picking at a scuffed mark on the toe of his hiking boot, he can’t make eye contact with her, although he feels her eyes boring into the top of his head.   He decides to go with honesty, just as she did once.  “I knew you’d appreciate the history.  I wanna win you over; for you to see we’re good together.”  He looks up, his eyes fierce.  “Fuck, I’m not asking for forever, Thalia.  I know you wanna travel and see the world, and Avery scares you a bit, but I want you to see I’m the better man.”

He sees the flash in her eyes, wanting to rise to the defense of the unknown stranger, but he pushes onward.  “Even if you don’t choose me, don’t choose him either.  He’s not right for you.  The bruises, the sadness you sometimes have; constantly hiding your stress.  I get it; I do.  I lived it but didn’t know it for what it was two years ago.  But juggling two of us is running you down.  I can see it.  But I also know we have fun together, and I don’t wanna lose that.”  Rising to her he steps down next to her, placing his hand on her arm, her whole body closed and defensive.  He hates the pain in her eyes he causes now.  “I’m willing to ignore things just because I like being with you; I hate you have another man, and you still cling to him after all this time.  I want it to be me and only me.  I feel more alive with you than I have in months; I don’t really know who needs healing most here, but I know I need you.”

“Chris, I… I can’t… I just…”

She turns to walk away, going to the front of the house and he jogs up behind her, grasping her arm and spinning her to him, forcing her to look at him.

“Dammit, Thalia, you can’t just walk away every time something gets rough.  I’m telling you how I feel and if you care, you’ll listen.  You’ll talk to me.  Explain it, because I don’t fuckin’ understand.”

“Don’t you get it, Chris!”  She shouts, her voice echoing in the valley, a sound of release.  “Don’t you get it,” she repeats, quieter.  “I don’t have a damn clue myself.  I know it’s a hot mess.  And everyone’s gonna be hurt; and it fuckin’ sucks.  But I don’t know how to end it, or even if I want to.”

She pulls away from his grasp, walking to the swing hanging under the big tree in front of the cabin.  “Are you asking me to make a decision now, because if you are, I just can’t.  I keep… I keep hoping when I hear about my internship, I can get my head together.  The adult thing…”  She sighs, pushing her legs off the ground as she rocks back on the swing.  “The adult thing to do is for me to walk away from you both.”

“Wait till the end of the semester?”  Chris grabs the rope on the pendulum and stops her in motion, bringing her to a halt as she hits against him.  “Just get on the plane and not look back?  How does that help make it better?”

She drops her head, placing her hand over his, still clutching the rope.  “It doesn’t.  And I’d never do that to you.”  Looking him in the eyes, she tells her fear.  “Leaving either of you cuts me in half.  I need to be whole; just a bit longer.  You said it about yourself, and I feel it too, I feel alive with you… but,” she chokes on her words.  “But I feel the same about him too.  I’m sorry.  It’s childish; I want you both, and I know I’m going to lose you because of it.”

Righting the swing, he holds the rope with both hands, like a lifeline, looking down on her.  She looks small and lonely.  Not the Thalia he knows…  Words bubble out before he even knows where they come from… “What if…  What if I just take myself out of the equation?”  Stepping back, he leans against the tree, arms crossed and defensive.

Leaning forward on her knees, her shoulders wrack with silent tears.  His heart breaks.  That’s the last thing he wants to do, and he doesn’t really want to force his hand.  But he doesn’t know if he can see another way out, or another way to get her to make a decision.

Shoving off from the tree, he walks to the porch, pissed this discussion got out of hand.  He can’t really take it back now.  Maybe harsh words will lead her to a decision?

Gruffly, he says, “Don’t stay out too long.  It’ll get cold.  I’m going in to pack up my things.  We’re going back tonight.”

Fuck.  He wants nothing more than to turn back to her.  To sweep her in his arms and pretend none of this ever happened.  But he needed to speak his piece, to know where he stood and she gave him the perfect opening to get it out there.  Before he steps inside the house, he hears her say, “Fuck you. Why’d you go and ruin a perfect weekend?”

He’s not sure if she’s talking to herself or him and the door slams shut behind him.

Click here for Chapter 34 Boots

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

Prize

et ch 32 prize june 21 2017.jpg

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 32

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: 3272

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, NSFW, real life, foreplay, oral sex, dry humping

Summary:  Thalia’s period changes plans for the activities just a bit and the couple finds other ways to create fun

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

images found on Pinterest

Scrabble image created by avenger-nerd-mom

waking up in cabin.gif

The next morning Chris is woken by her hushed curses.  The sounds echo in the cold room.  He rolls over and looks at her through squinted eyes.  Her wild mane hangs around her and his plaid shirt, buttoned crooked, slides off her shoulder.  “You’re never awake first; everything all right?”

A quiet “fuck” snaps him to…  His blue eyes fly open and he quickly takes in her pained expression.  “Thalia?  What’s wrong?”

Dropping her head forward, her reply is muffled behind her hands and she pulls away when he reaches out to her wrist.  “Christ, it’s so embarrassing.”  She sighs heavily, looking at Chris with her dark brown, sleepy eyes.  “My period came early and I don’t have anything.  Can you drive me to town?”

Biting back the laugh and comment he knows will get him in trouble, he pats her knee, caressing his thumb over the old, knubby bedsheet.  Better early than late.   “It’s okay, babe; it’s a guest house.  I’m sure we can find ‘things’ you can use in the hall closet.”

He really hopes over time his mom, sisters, hell even his ex-wife have left things in the closet.  It’s the first time he’s ever seen Thalia unsure of herself, and although a crack in her tough girl armor is endearing, he wants to help right her as soon as possible.  Throwing the covers back, he starts to climb out of bed and she scrambles the blankets towards her.

“The bed, Chris…”  She chuckles, shaking her head.  The blush on her cheeks and the morning light hitting her face creates a halo effect, and in all honesty Chris has never seen her more beautiful.

Rolling back to her, he crawls up on his knees behind this beautiful, distraught woman.  Gently caressing down her back he tells her it’s no big deal.  Her plump, full body is warm, even in the cold cabin and he moves closer to her, wrapping his arms around her.  His t-shirt and flannel bottoms are no match for the cold air.  He’ll have to restart the fire soon.

She relaxes into him, resting her head back against his shoulder and reaching up to scratch his scruffy chin.  “That’s really nice, thank you.  Come on.  Go now and check.  I need to go take a shower.”

Kissing her temple, he slides off the bed, walking to the door.  “I’ll give you time.  When I hear the shower run, I’ll be back to check on you, alright?”

She nods her head, her hands still worrying at the sheets.

#

Fifteen minutes later, the fire is going again and he sees the sheets in a big ball in the hallway.  No stains to the mattress pad.  Not that it would have mattered.  As a father, he’s cleaned worse messes.  Setting out fresh sheets on the bed for later, he smiles to the little tune she hums, remembering another time long ago he waited impatiently while she was in the shower.

“A lot of the snow melted over night,” he announces, stepping into the steamy room, her signature scent of orchids filling his nose.  “If you feel up to it, I’d like to take you on a hike.”

He sets down the selection of feminine supplies he found in the closet on the counter.  “Do you need anything else, Niña?  I’ll go get the laundry started.”

Pulling back the curtain slightly, Thalia smiles wryly.  “No, please don’t.  I’ll take care of it.  A hot coffee before a hike sounds perfect; I’d like that very much.”  Embarrassed, she hangs her head, tendrils of curls falling around her face from her messy bun.  “Chris?  Thank you.  If… If you wanted to go home, I’d understand.”

Chris crosses the small room, placing his large hand on the back of her exposed neck, gently pressing his lips to her tantalizing plump flesh. Sliding his mouth from the welcomed exchange, he rests his forehead to hers.  “Oh, Thalia… beautiful, funny, amazing woman.  If you think we’re just here for a sex-fueled weekend, you are entirely wrong.”  His lips graze across her forehead and he turns to walk out of the room.

“I plan to beat your ass at Scrabble later today.”

Her laughter bounces against the tiles as he gathers the soiled sheets in his arms and takes them down the hallway, his own laughter echoing hers.

#

Over bacon and eggs, Thalia announces she’s not ready for a hike just yet.  She’d like to warm up and stay cozy by the fire.  Chris putters around the kitchen a bit longer, checking on the wash as she finds a volume from the bookshelf and carries it over to the couch to curl under the hand stitched quilt to read.  Shifting her slightly, he settles in next to her, opening a book on his tablet.  At one point, he knows she drifts to sleep next to him, and he rests his cheek on top of her curly head.  Happy. Content.  Satisfied.

When she wakes, she disappears into the bathroom.  Upon reentry of the room, she pulls the Scrabble box and a dictionary off the shelf and starts to set it up on the coffee table in front of the fire.  “How about that popcorn now?  I’m hungry; I could use a snack.”

Chris readies the kettle and the kernels begin to dance and pop over the flames as they decide on the rules of the game.  Sexy Scrabble.  Only words related to body parts and sexual acts, slang and traditional phrases included.  “What about scientific names, or Greek and Latin?”  Thalia asks.

Squinting, his competitive nature getting the best of him, Chris chuckles.  “You study languages.  I would be at an unfair advantage.  That doesn’t seem right?”

Tilting her head to the side, she pushes a wayward curl behind her ear. Adjusting herself comfortably on the pillow, she smiles up to him, still sitting on the edge of the couch.  “Well?  You could choose one of those words and we could try it out sometime…  But I’m telling you now, you’re going to lose.  I have an excellent sailor’s vocabulary.”  He laughs at her tease.

The game begins and she’s right.  It’s stacked against him. Right from the start, she plays ‘olisbos,’ earning nine points.  “Shit, this is not fair.  What the hell is that?”  He chuckles.  “Do I want to know?”

Laughing, taking a small handful of popcorn and chocolate candies she had in her bag, she replies.  “It’s fairly tame; it’s the Greek for ‘dildo.’”

“Fuck. Remind me to never play word games with you again; you’re gonna beat the pants of me.”

Raising her eyebrows, she giggles.  “Isn’t that the point, Evans? And you know, I get 50 bonus points because I used all my tiles.  So make that 59 points over there on that little notepad you’re keeping.”

“Fuckin’ hell.  Evil, evil woman.” He chuckles, laying out the only word at his disposal, ‘seed,’ for a measly four points.

Other words tossed about during the game are fairly customary, traditionally used in common language.  The list of synonyms for ‘whore’ takes the game to a new level, as slang terms were allowed in their rules.  But the dark-headed woman is constantly ahead in points and Thalia finally takes pity on him and allows Chris the privilege of using his phone to help him google words to use.  “Man, we shoulda set the rules for strip Scrabble.  We’d have been done in about four turns,” she laughs, throwing popcorn at him.

“Four is a good number.”  Wiggling his eyebrows at her, he hopes she knows he’s enjoying their meeting of the minds as much as he loves the joining of their bodies.  “Hey, Thalia.  This is a lot of fun; I don’t think I’ve ever had so much fun at Scrabble before.”

“Don’t you get soft on me; try to butter me up!  I’m gonna win this damn game,” she shouts playfully.  “Don’t try to distract me with your niceties.”

“I know you’re gonna win, and then I’m going to enjoy claiming my prize…  Hmmm… What should it be?  I’ll be honest, I’m leaning towards ‘irrumatio.’”  He’s pleased with his new vocabulary, learning this is the Latin for ‘face fucking.’

Placing the last tiles on the board, Thalia announces she wins, spelling out the word ‘fellatio.’  With a predatory gleam in her eye, she crawls around the table to him, pushing his leg to the side to make room between his thighs.  “You know,” she says, biting her lip seductively and then flicking her tongue out, licking her bottom lip, “that’s a prize you can claim now.”

Breathing ragged at just the touch of her hands on his thighs, he exhales, “We could… I could accept that reward right here.”

Rising up on her knees, Thalia places a frantic, heated kiss on his lips.  He winds his hands in her hair, tighter as hers knead over his thighs.  The flannel pants rub against his cock, already beginning to twitch with desire for this ethereal creature.  Her tongue teases along his swollen lip, encouraging him to open for her.  When he does, she pulls his bottom lip between her teeth, nipping and biting, her hands continuing to caress up his muscular legs.

Covering her warm hands over his bulge as their touches continue, quiet moans escape them both.  Massaging his hard cock through the soft fabric, he wills himself not to crack under pressure.  Her lips continue the chain of bites and nibbles across his sandpapery scruff.

Grasping his tapered waist, she tugs him further down the couch so his ass nearly hangs over the edge.  Resting back on her heels, she digs her fingers under the sides of the waistband and gives a yank as he lifts his ass up. Sliding the pants down his legs as he removes his t-shirt in a swift move, she licks her lips at the sight of his beautiful, veiny cock.  “Who’s really getting the prize here?” she moans quietly, removing her own t-shirt as well.

Rising back on her knees, she stretches up, resting her belly against his throbbing cock, running her hands over the defined plane of his torso.  “Like a damn Greek statue,” she whispers, memorizing every ridge with the touch of her hand, followed by her hot mouth blazing on his skin.

Chris writhes beneath her, enjoying each touch, wanting to be closer than ever to her.  Knowing he can’t have her is killing him, and she’s taking her time with her own pleasure.  Her fingertips scratch over his nipples, bringing them to painful attention, easing the hurt with her sweet lips wrapping around them.  “Fuck,” he chokes out between panted breaths as she sucks and bites at him, making her way south.

His slick precum lubricates between them and she continues to brush her body against his, the lace of her bra rough against his sensitive nerves.  She wiggles her ass back and forth as she slides across his body, tonguing his belly button and toying with the coarse hairs leading to his aching muscle. Putting his foot up on the coffee table behind her, he spreads his legs wider as she slides her nose along his cock, resting hard now against his thigh.

“You really suck at Scrabble.”  Thalia breathes warm puffs of air against his legs.  “Fortunately for you, I suck at other things.”

Looking up, her eyes capture his and her desire is evident there as she holds him in her hands, cupping his balls and rolling them between her fingers.  Slowly she uses one hand to slide up his thick shaft, covering the palm of her hand over the tip and using his slick to ease her glide as she begins to stroke him up and down, never taking her bright wide eyes from his.  When her touch becomes too much for him, his eyes roll back and he rests his head against the couch.

With his eyes closed he savors the feeling when her mouth closes over him, her tongue teasing under the ridge.  He can’t stand the torture.  Placing both feet firmly on the floor, he lifts his hips so the head slides into her waiting mouth.  She grips his shaft so only the tip can slide in and out between her lips as her tongue swirls around, sucking off him with each penetration into her opening.  Holding his balls tighter, she holds him in place silently guiding him and he rests back down as she sucks softly along his shaft with sweet open-mouthed kisses.  “Oh, shit, that’s good,” he groans as she repeats the steps going back up to the head before placing her mouth over the tip and sliding down on him.  “Fuck, yes,” he hisses, grasping tightly to the edge of the couch.

Pulling the clip from her hair, her curls tumble down over them, an erotic waterfall of sensation across his belly, thighs and exposed cock.  Her humming causes his need to build, and so aroused, his hips thrust up again, forcing his length down her throat.  Pushing up from the couch, she holds still as he reflexively pummels into her again and again, until she taps his thigh indicating her threshold.

He pushes back with his feet, shoving the table out of the way and pulling his shaft from her mouth,. Easing her gently to the rug, he spills himself over her chest, long spurts as she smiles up to him, caressing her hands over his muscled back and his tight ass.

Collapsing to her, she holds him close, tenderly kissing his sweaty temple and dragging her nails down his sides, holding at his V as he grinds against her a bit more.  “Jesus fucking hell; stop that,” she laughs, pushing against him, truly wanting what he’s offering.

“I should stop, ‘cause I know you’re gonna be mad…”  He whispers against her neck, nibbling the tender spot just under her neck.

Rolling him off to her side, they are both covered in his sweet sticky mess.  “Why would I be mad?”

“It’s in your hair, and I know you hate washing it when it’s cold outside.”

Gripping his chin, she holds firmly.  “I hate you, really.  But I think we both need a shower anyway, after.”

Biting the side of her cheek and pulling from her grasp, he rests his head on his crooked elbow, beginning to wipe her down with his t-shirt.  “After what?”

Propping up on her elbows, she drags a finger through the mess and licks it off like a lollipop.  “After a haircut.  Your hair is a shaggy mess.”  She tugs at the curls starting to grow on the back of his neck.

“You’re going to give me a haircut?”  He smiles in wonder.  “Fine, fine.  On one condition.  You stay halfway naked, just as you are now.”

Caught midway with pulling off her sticky bra, she pauses.  “That’s fine.  I’m okay with that.  Wrap up in a towel or something.  Easier to clean up.”  She climbs to a standing position and holds her hand to him.  “We’re going out on the back porch anyway.”

“What?  Fuck no.  It’s cold.  I hate cold.  I don’t wanna be half naked outside.”  He gets to his feet and holds her close before she steps from his reach.

Walking to the bathroom, she calls over his shoulder.  “You set the clothing challenge.  I’m just going with it.  It won’t take that long to cut and there’s less to clean up ‘cause birds will carry the hairs away to build nests.”

He hears her banging away at the cabinet doors and she emerges with two towels and the razor set from under the sink.  “You’re not kidding?”  He responds by moving to the back door when she pushes on his back, wrapping a towel around his waist.  “Have you ever cut hair before?”

“Chris, would you relax.  It’s just a buzz.  Running the electric razor over your head.  It’s not that difficult.”

When Thalia opens the door,  a whoosh of cold air greets them.  She lays out the kit on the little side table and Chris watches the goosebumps rise on her skin, her dark nipples peaking in the cold.  If it bothers her, she doesn’t say a word.  Stubborn thing…  She sets the chair in the center of the porch and motions him to sit down.  He tries not to shiver at her touch or the cold but it’s such a jolt to his system after the warmth they’d just shared together.  She wraps the other towel around his shoulders and gently blows on the back of his neck, telling him to look down.  She quickly runs the blade up the back of his head a few times, the comforting whir of the familiar sound easing his mind.  She blows on the back of his ear to brush away stray hairs and he can’t help but wiggle.  “Sit still,” she giggles.  “You don’t want it to look crooked.”

Walking around in front of him, she continues her task, her lovely breasts right in his face.  She stops and breathes heavily when he pulls her close, latching his warm mouth over one of her cold tight buds.  A few deep breaths and she regains her composure, returning to the job of trimming his hair.  His nose slides down the valley between her breasts and he takes the other tip into his mouth, beginning to knead the one he just left.  Her breasts feel larger, more full.  He keeps his touches light, realizing in her state she might be tender.  Her quiet moan is the only response she gives.  Resting the arm holding the clippers over his shoulder, the buzzing still in his ear, with her other hand, she pushes his legs together and straddles his lap.  Bowing his head to her chest, she carries on, small wisps of hair falling around them, tickling his nose and his shoulders.  His tongue flicks over her breasts and she begins to grind over his lap, a rise and fall of her own as the shaver slides over the top of his head.

With the click of a button the sound stops and the razor clatters on the table.  Her hands brush over his head, checking for hairs still too long.  He pulls one leg away and balances her on one thigh as she continues her ride, his hands greedy on her ass, pulling at her flannel bottoms, and playfully smacking her behind.  His mouth comes down roughly on her tattoo, the branch of orchids over the top curve of her breast, beautiful and sweet and highly erotic at the same time.  He feels her grow tight in his arms and she digs her fingernails into his shoulders as she comes, crying out in little whimpers, snuggling close to his chest when she comes back down.

Chris pulls the towel around them both, kissing her tenderly as she falls from her eroticism.

“Holy shit,” she giggles.  “Wasn’t really planning on that, but okay.”

“Niña, that was the most fucking awesome hair cut I’ve ever had.”  She still trembles in his arms and he holds her tight a few minutes more.  He’d carry her inside, but the whole threshold thing messes with his mind briefly and he waits till her legs are less jelly before insisting she go into the shower first.

The door closes behind him and he stands on the back porch, clearing their mess, his head full of thoughts.  He’s distracted by the sight of two birds, hopping over to swipe his hair, chattering and chirping away at one another about their good fortune.

Click here for Chapter 33 Choose

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

Cabin Fever

etch 31 cabin fever june 18 2017

Chapter 31

Educating Thalia

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: 3766

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, real life discussions, fluff, angst, weight issues   

Summary:  Due to a cancelled weekend date, Thalia has time for a special weekend with Chris.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

She taps her phone against her chin, replaying their call in her mind.  Darling, I know this is very last minute, but I have to cancel our plans for the weekend.  My friend, Professor Harelson?  The one I took the teaching position from?  He’s decided to elope with his love and he’s asked me to attend the ceremony as his best man.  I’d love to take you to Canada with me, but other friends might be there, and we can’t risk our secret.

Shoving away from the counter, she walks to the fridge, looking over her calendar for the week. She can’t believe it’s already near the end of March and Spring Break is just around the corner. The only big thing on the agenda is the test Thursday. In her effort to comfort Tom, she’d promised they could go to dinner that evening and she’d drive him to the airport..  She totally understood the concept of keeping things secret, and she wasn’t at all upset about missing the wedding of a person she didn’t even know, although she would miss him. She sighs happily, thinking of Tom and how things have been more balanced these last few weeks.  Movie night has become more commonplace, and their get away two weeks ago to see a play in New York had been wonderful.

Continuing to look over her schedule, she smiles at the notation about work hours on Friday and makes a hasty decision.

Dialing Chris’s number quickly, she opens the door of the fridge and pulls out the juice bottle, taking a long gulp, nearly choking when he answers so quickly.

“Do you just sit around and wait for my call?” she giggles, screwing the lid back on and putting the bottle back on the shelf.

“Yes, oh great one, I have nothing better to do than to wait for you,” he teases, an infectious warmth in his voice.

“I like that.  Keep it that way,” Thalia jokes.  “So, uh?  Plans this weekend?  Mine changed, and I was thinking maybe I could convince my boss to let me skip work Friday afternoon?”

Waiting while he rustles some papers around, she assumes he’s looking at his calendar.  “But you work for me on Friday.”

She laughs, resting on the couch and pulling her book to her, settling in for a night of study.  “Yea… I’m telling you now, I won’t be in to work.  I’m gonna convince my boyfriend to go do something fun.”

“Oh really?  Hmmm… He’s a lucky guy,” Chris teases, playing along.   She hears him moving around other things and then a quiet groan as she presumes he drops to the couch.  “I miss you.  I hate that Avery and I were sick this weekend and we missed our Sunday.”

“I know, baby, me too.  I’ll see you at the history department breakfast tomorrow?”

He sighs.  “Not the same…  Alright, Niña, I’m gonna let you get to studying.  If Jim can let you have the whole week off to study for midterms, I need to respect your time.  Besides, I have planning to do.  I think I have the perfect idea for this weekend.”

#

The longer they are in the car, the quieter she gets until he realizes she’s fallen asleep.  Works herself too damn hard.  I can’t believe she even managed to get away for the weekend.  And it’s not just work, it’s that other guy too. Fucker, I sure would-

Stop.  That’s not conducive thinking to a romantic getaway, he laughs to himself, turning off on the exit and following onto the small two lane highway.  Watching her peacefully, he gently tugs back at her pink scarf, thinking it’s too warm in the car to have it on her neck.  Another bruise.  She swears up and down the bastard doesn’t hurt her, but he just can’t seem to let his worse nightmares escape even his waking thoughts.

Chris signals right, even though there probably isn’t even another car for miles.  He’s glad he drove up earlier in the week and got the cabin ready.  He’s not been out here in a few years.  He and Maura last came for their anniversary.  Right before he realized she was fucking their friend.  Kinda spoiled memories of the old family homestead.  He’d like to create new memories, with Thalia.  Find a reason to love the place again.  If not, it’s time to pass it over to his brother, let him get good out of it, and still keep it in the family.

Pulling the car up to the front porch, he gently eases the car into park.  He turns down the music and removes his seat belt.  He leans over the console and gently pulls Thalia’s arm free from around her waist.  “Hey, babe.  We’re here.  Wake up Niña.”

She is the most difficult person to wake.  He chuckles, wondering if she’d ever just respond back with a punch in her sleep.  He tugs the scarf and says a bit louder, “Sleeping Beauty, wake up, come on.  You can sleep when I get you inside.”

Her eyelids flutter open and she yawns, quickly clamping her hand over her mouth.  “Onion ring breath. Disgusting.”  Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she rolls her head across the back of the seat to face him.  “Why’d you let me eat those?”

“I believe your exact words were, ‘These are all mine; if you touch them, I’ll stab you with my fork.’”  He chuckles when she covers her face in shame and giggles.  “Besides, those are the best onion rings in the state; we couldn’t turn them down.  Stay here; I’ll get the door.”

She rests her hand on his arm, holding him in place.  “You do realize I’m in my boots, not heels this time.  I’m perfectly capable of opening a door for myself.”

He chuckles, “Damn independent woman.  I know you are.  Doesn’t change the way my mama raised me.  Keep your stubborn ass in the seat.”

Chris climbs out the car before he can hear her smart remark.  He jogs around the front of the car, the fresh powdered snow kicking up around his ankles.  Snowball fight. Definitely.  Hot chocolate.  Warm fire.  The whole nine, like some frickin’ chick flick.  He wants the weekend to be all about her, her needs.  When he reaches her door, she’s making funny faces at him through the glass.  Opening the door, he laughs, “One beer too many at dinner; you’re goofy.”

“Yeah, I’m not a beer girl,” she shrugs her shoulders.  “I was raised on the hard stuff.  I can handle it like nothing.  Three beers and I’m toast.”

“Good to know,” he teases, pulling her from the warm car seat.

Thalia steps aside, wrapping the scarf back around her neck while he closes the car door.  “Where are we?” she asks.  “It felt like we were driving for ever.”

“Well, Miss, in a sense, I’ve kidnapped you.  I’ve taken you across state lines without your permission.  But I figured that was the only way to get you out of the bar and away from your books.  Welcome, my sweet, to the Evans’ cabin home.”

Sweeping his arm in a grand gesture, her eyes take in the little home behind him.  The cedar shakes covering  the front porch are partially hidden by snow, icicles hanging from the edges.  She takes in the small windows, and notices smoke from the chimney.  “This isn’t a resort?” she asks, a bit confused from her stressful week and classes.  “There’s a fire going?”

Chris takes her hand, and guides her up the steps, careful for any patches of ice.  “The groundskeeper came up earlier.  He knew I was coming and started a fire for us.  The house should be warm and toasty.”

Thalia sucks in her breath, sinking in the history before her.  She smiles at Chris warmly.  “It belongs to your family?  How long has it been here?”

“Since the early 1900s.”

“So these logs were hand hewn by one of your ancestors, painstakingly put together for his family, to protect them; to keep them safe?”  Her hands brush over the worn wood, aged with time.  She steps closer, pulling her phone from her pocket and turning on the flashlight to admire the work.  “You can still see the ax marks.  That’s amazing!”  She runs to the end of the porch, checking to see the style used for placing the logs together.  “Notched?  That took a lot of extra effort;  and the brush marks in the chinking?”  Turning to Chris with her eyes wide, she grins.  “God, I can’t wait to see it in daylight.”

His grin equals hers.  He just knew she would love the old place.  When he pulls the keys from his coat pocket, she takes them from his hand and he eyes her questioningly.  She turns them over in her hand, admiring the heavy brass key from days gone by, being used now as the key ring to hold the modern ones together.  She cocks her head and smiles, taking a deep breath and sighing.  Blushing, she hands it back to him.  “Kinda nice to get away someplace that doesn’t open with the swipe of a plastic card, ya know?”

Raising his eyebrow, he’s not really sure, but he can see her brain spinning, absorbing the history.  “Whatdya mean?”  he asks.

“It means something.  It’s real; there’s a history and an importance to it.”  She pauses, biting her lip as he ushers her into the warmth of the little cabin.  Blushing a bit, she continues, “I mean I’m not knocking fancy hotels, but this…  It’s something that lasts…. What did it go to?”

“One of the ancestors to originally live in the cabin worked in the local bank during the depression.  The key was to one of the vaults.  Story tells he brought it home every night and placed it under the mattress for safe keeping, along with the cash that was supposed to be in the vault.  He didn’t trust the bank system himself and wanted to keep his friends with money there safe and secure.  So he kept it at home instead.”

He watches her expression as he flips on the lights.  His parents did renovations on the home while he was still a toddler, to allow for plumbing and electricity, and he’d spent many summers visiting as a child.  Liking the cabin, the lake, the woods, had always been a deal breaker for him, and he’d dumped a few girlfriends back in his youth for not feeling the same…  Her eyes are wide and she smiles at him.  He nods his approval and she moves forward, tenderly fingering the quilt over the back of the couch.  “My great, great, great grandmother stitched that,” he tells her, a quiet awe in his voice.

She walks around the room, taking in the little details.  “So much history…”  She runs her hands along the mantle, looking at the pictures, some dating back to the early 1900s, with small descriptions placed in the frames to identify the family members.  “Genealogy…  Wow.”  Bending down, she pokes at the fire a bit and then admires the masonry of the fireplace, swinging out the arm for the old fashioned kettle.  “We could pop corn in this!”  Her grin is huge and Chris releases the breath he didn’t know he’d been holding.

“That’s the plan, there’s some in the kitchen.  You wanna do that now?”  He asks, shrugging out of his heavy coat and laying it over his grandfather’s rocking chair.  Her appreciation of the small details has him bouncing on his heels in veiled excitement.

“No.  No; come here.  Sit with me.”  She removes her coat, wrapping up the scarf around her hand and placing it into the pocket.  “I wanna hear all the history of this place.  Is that where your fascination with the past started?”

Chris pulls an album and family bible from a shelf and brings it to the hearth to join her.  She snuggles next to him as he tells her all he knows about the home and shows sketches passed down for generations, hidden in the pages of the leatherbound book.   At her prodding, he shares tales of his childhood, the mischievous troubles he caused with his siblings, and the time their father actually chased after them with a switch from the willow tree off the edge of the back porch.  Tossing her head back in laughter at their antics, her eyes light upon the loft above.  “Is that where we’re sleeping?  I’m not real balanced on ladders,” she shares, biting her lip, squeezing his knee.

“No, I thought we’d stay in the larger room, an addition on the back.  It’s not original to the cabin.  Dad, Pappo and Scott and I built it when I was about sixteen.  Cut the logs down ourselves and everything.  Following the notes left in the bible and the trees we used were-”

“Wait, wait,” her hands fly to his chest and he instinctively flexes under her touch.  “I need to picture this.  You.  With an ax.  Chopping logs and splitting them to build a house with your damn bare hands…  That’s just… Shit, I need a cold shower.”

Throwing his head back in full body laughter, he pats his chest, feeling the soft plaid flannel under his fingertips.  “Oh, Niña, believe me, at sixteen I was not the fine specimen of the man you see before you now.  I was a theater geek.  I took dance lessons at Mom’s studio.  I played lacrosse but was the worst player on the team; girls weren’t exactly beating down the door to date me.”

Flipping a few pages in the album, she finds a picture of him in his youth.  Tracing her finger over the image, she says lowly, “They were idiots.  Sounds like you were just the kind of guy I dreamed of.”

He tilts her chin up to meet his eyes.  “What about you, Thalia?  Tell me about you, what kind of boys did you date, what was your childhood like?”

“Chris, I don’t… Ah, you know, you’re gonna bug me all weekend if I don’t answer, aren’t you?”

“I can be very persistent,”  Chris smiles.  “I could maybe even withhold some things you’re needing.”

Needing?  You think very highly of yourself, don’t you?”  Her hand graces down his chest and pushes against the bulge in his jeans.  “Fine, put some more wood on the fire.  Let me get something from my bag.”

Seeing the hurt in her eyes, he holds her close, kissing the top of her head.  “Oh, Thalia, I didn’t mean to make you sad.  I just wanna know you; all of it, the good and the bad.”

“It’s okay, really.  Isn’t that why we’re here?  Getting to know each other more?  You mean a lot to me; I think… I think I want you to know.  But it’s not stuff I really talk about, you know?”  She shrugs her shoulders, tenderly kissing his cheek, her lips grazing his, but not a fully planted kiss on the lips.  “There will be tears… I’m tough, but you’re too big of a softie.  You won’t be able to handle it.”  Winking at him, she pulls from his grasp and stands up.

“Oh is that right?”  His stomach coils, wishing he hadn’t even started this line of conversation.  She’s probably right.

#

The pause in the conversation lasts longer than he anticipated as she took time out to make coffee on the stove, an addition to the cabin in the late ‘30s.  The wrought iron metal beast was no trouble to her, something Maura never mastered in twelve years.  The kettle whistles and she pours two mugs over the instant brand he’d brought earlier in the week.

“Real caffeine.  None of that tea shit you’re always making at work,” he teases as she hands the steaming cup over the back of the couch to him and then a package of cookies.

“Real caffeine,” she laughs, a blush rising over her cheeks, taking one of the cookies he offers before she rests between his legs.  “But I happen to like tea also, so don’t knock it.  It’s a talent in how you make it.”  She sets her coffee on the little table behind the couch and leans back against his chest, pulling the quilt over their feet.

In the dark, the room lit only by the warm fire, she shares details of her past.  Her mom leaving one day when she was barely six years old and never coming back; how her father retreated into himself, not really knowing how to raise a little girl.  With more nephews in the family at the time, she was just raised like ‘one of the boys,’ and could hook a worm and change a flat tire faster than any of them.  Her father always dreamed of sharing his shop with her one day, but she knew her dreams were bigger.  Chris hears her story and it tugs at his heart, wanting to make sure to always remember Avery needs to be a girl.  But a side of tomboy isn’t so bad either, if it leads her to have the confidence Thalia has, an inner sense of self.

“No one ever talked to me about it, it’s just always what it was.  When Dad married Stacey, when I was nine, things changed.  She took me to therapy, but by then the physical damage was already done,” she tells quietly, pulling a photo from the back of her wallet.  “This was me, at eleven.  Food was my solace, and it was the one thing I could have control over.  My mother reappeared when I was ten and for awhile I was shuffled around between the two homes.   She always had boyfriends, and some of them gave me the creeps, so I ate more.  If I was fat, no one would pay attention to me.”

Chris’s hands stroke her arms tenderly and hold her close, resting his lips against the top of her head.  The more she talks, he can feel her relax in his stronghold, like all the years of therapy and all she needed was this.  She continues her story, how books and intelligence was her way out.  “Stacey really saw something in me no one else did; she encouraged Dad to send me to camps and her parents were my surrogate grandparents and they footed the bill for a lot of things Dad couldn’t afford.  I worked hard for scholarships, but I took a year off college.  I came out East to establish residency to cut down on school tuition.  I stayed with Big Jim and his wife and worked at the hotel in town.  I met a woman there who hired me as a nanny for her son.  I later overheard her talking at a luncheon with some of her friends, saying that at least her husband wouldn’t stray with the ‘fat nanny.’  She should have been more worried about what her step-son was up to under her own roof, sanctimonious bitch…”  She pauses and shakes her head.  “Anyway, my aunts all thought that it was a wonderful job, that I’d finally tap into the ‘mother gene.’  No such luck.  That child was the devil’s spawn.”  Turning in his arms, she looks over her shoulder.  “He was like eight, or something.  One day, he was supposed to clean his room and I went to do laundry?  The kid climbed out the second story window, jumped on top of the pool house and ran away and hid for hours.” She pauses in her storytelling and takes a deep breath.  “My job was already on the line, but the final straw was the day she found me in bed with the step-son.  But by that time, I’d taken free use of their home gym, the pool and the nutritionist.  I was just the help.  She never paid attention to me.  She hadn’t realized while I was running after her brat every day I’d lost over fifty pounds.”

Chris lets her words flow, fighting the urge to clench and fight against the rich bitch, and her step-son.   Her tone drops.  “I’m not necessarily proud of it, but that job helped me get ahead.  I knew I wouldn’t survive in the heat of archaeological digs at my weight, so I got in better shape.  Round?  It’s a shape, right?”  She giggles.   “A lot of her pals are alumni at school.  They knew some secrets might not be safe, as I had been in their circle.  After that, getting scholarships and fellowships wasn’t as difficult as it had been before.  My first year of school was practically paid for by that group.  Since then, I’ve rejected their money, and worked to attain other connections.  Now, my education is what I can control, and my food choices are just for pleasure.  All things in moderation…”

She quiets and the silence hangs between them for a bit.  Her head lulls against his chest as she watches the fire, still fingering the edges of the photo of the heartbroken chubby little girl she once was.

His ears and heart take it all in, wanting to patch up her pain.  Breaking the silence, Chris speaks.  “Fuck.  That’s quite an origin tale, Thalia.  Ya know, you’re an amazing woman.  What a bunch of assholes!  I don’t know who I wanna hit first… Ok, yea, I do… the fuckin’ step-son…”  She chuckles, and he wraps his arms tighter around her holding her to his own pounding chest.  “What do you think pushed you the most, to be who you are now?”

When she doesn’t answer, he shifts her against his side, so he can see her face in the light of the flickering flames.  Tears wash over her freckled cheeks and his stomach drops; his heart hurts with hers and he quickly wonders if there’s more pain to her tale she’s keeping to herself.  He finds tears stinging at his eyes. She said I’d cry; she knows me too well.

“Always feeling like no one wanted me, or knew what to do with me” she whispers into the night.  “That’s my origin.  I had to be strong for me because no one else was.”

Gently pushing her forward, Chris wiggles out from behind her and stands up.  “I want you,” he tells her boldly, sweeping her up in his arms and carrying her to their room.  “And I definitely know what to do with you.  Thalia, let me be strong for you.”

Click here to read Chapter 32 Prize

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

Night In

et ch 30 night in june 14 2017.jpg

Night In

Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @devikafernando & @avenger-nerd-mom

AU FICTION

Chapter 30

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: 5279

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, Fluff, food porn, serious discussions

Summary: Thalia isn’t still isn’t feel well, so Tom comes to take care of his girl.

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

The doorbell buzzes, and Thalia nearly jumps off the sofa.

Oh God, he’s here. Is she really up for this?  He can be so intense…

The feeling from earlier stayed with her all day. She did have a slight fever earlier in the afternoon.  It’s not really the flu, but maybe a severe cold?   She never could tell the difference; she always had Stacey around when she was sick, to figure it out.  Thinking of Stacey and her dad only only makes it worse. She feels…odd. Off balance and uncertain, and she hates both with a vengeance. And to top it all off, she has no idea how to act around Tom this evening. At least if she’s quiet, she can blame her attitude on being ill.

With a sigh, she pads to the door. She’s dressed in her favorite canary yellow pajama pants, a baggy gray sweatshirt and fluffy, warm socks, with a shawl wrapped around her.

When she opens it, the first thing she sees are two enormous paper bags, one single pink orchid wrapped in transparent gift paper poking out on top. Then the bags lower, and Tom’s tired yet smiling face appears.

“Hey there,” she says, feeling her lips stretch into her smile almost against her volition.  “You look tired.”  She reaches for one of the bags, but he twists from her grasp.

“Hey there yourself.” Tom steps in, somehow managing with his freakishly long arms and big hands to maneuver the bags so he can lean in and kiss her cheek.  “Don’t worry about me; just tired.  My right hand was too sick to come in to work today,” he chuckles.  “How are you feeling, darling?”

She ponders the answer a moment, her gaze drawn to the concern in his deep blue eyes. “Not too bad now. Staying at home was a good idea. And I took some medicine to get the fever down. But I’m kind of tired.”

“Well, I’m armed with chicken noodle soup and movies, just as the lady instructed.” His smile turning goofy, Tom jerks his chin at the full bags. “And I brought a flower because a wise woman told me not so long ago that proper dates need flowers.”

Thalia’s mind does a little dance at the mention of their first ‘date’ when he treated her to a lavish dinner. How fitting that he draws her mind to this particular memory, because he pampered her amazingly well before a long night of loving. And pampering is just what she needs today.

“You’re too good to be true,” she murmurs, and Tom wiggles his brows at her.

“Need me to pinch you? I’m definitely true and real.”

With an eye roll, Thalia steps out of his way so he can walk over to the counter, where he sets the bags down. With a comical flourish, he takes out bags, boxes and cans until he’s emptied half a supermarket on her counter.  He shrugs out of his coat and lays it over the back of the chair, turning to point out the selection with pride.

“Jesus, Tom, I said I’m sick not looking for a food orgy.”

His signature “ehehehe” turns her to mush for a moment, and she licks her lips as he removes his tie. “I saw that, luv,” he chuckles.  “Don’t give me ideas we can’t follow through with.  You need your rest.”  Looking down at the food, he grins.  “I know you don’t need all this, but what’s a movie night without some snacks?”

Before she can protest, he waves a can of soup in the air.  “But first, your soul food.” He roots around in her drawers for cooking utensils, and she points to the cabinet for the pot. Still dressed from a long day on campus, she watches him heat up the soup and add some fresh chopped carrots and celery as well. Her mind transports her into a possible future. She imagines really being sick and having Tom fuss over her and make her soup, reading her a bedtime story from Shakespeare’s works and reminding her to take her medicine.

“Darling?” Tom’s voice and his hands on her shoulders pull her out of her thoughts. “Are you quite alright?”  One large hand feels her forehead, checking for a fever.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry. Just entranced by that mouth-watering smell after I barely ate anything at all today.”

It’s not a lie. Her mind’s been so off that she hasn’t had more than the reluctant bite she had in the morning, as if she’s really sick.

Another smile lifts her lips, and the noose she’s felt so tightly around her neck all day loosens a fraction.

“I also bought mashed potatoes, as you requested” he adds. “But let’s leave those for a proper dinner after your stomach has been mollified.”

Together, they get the soup into a bowl, and then Tom hands her a few DVDs he’s picked from another bag and pushes her over to the couch with a gentle hand on the small of her back.

“Go and get settled, darling. I’m going to go change out of these clothes and put on something comfy, then I’ll make us a tray with snacks and I’ll be with you in a jiffy.”

Obediently, Thalia walks over to the couch, not sure how she feels about Tom puttering about in her kitchen. It’s all so…strange. It never feels this way with Chris, and…

No. She won’t think of Chris today. Not now.

God what a mess. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea.

Determined to make this a good night, she gets the TV screen from the closet and hooks up her computer, getting ready for their movie night before taking her seat.

A few minutes later, Tom walks into the living space, giving the room only a cursory glance before settling his eyes on her.  He smiles when she sucks in her breath at the sight of him in his cozy plaid shirt, with a peek of a tshirt underneath for added warmth in her cold apartment, and well worn jeans.  He sets the laden tray down carefully before plonking himself down on the sofa next to her. It takes him a bit of adjusting because his legs are so damn long, but once he’s finally sitting comfortably, he shoots her an eager smile. Hidden behind his glasses, his eyes are sparkling with expectation and excitement, and there’s that boyish quality to him again that surprises her so much. Combined with his decidedly manly looks—highlighted by the shadow of stubble along his strong jaw and by his slightly disheveled hair—it makes him so attractive she wants to curse the unfairness of it all. Instead, she wiggles closer readily when he lifts an arm so she can lean into his side.

“Right, let’s have a look at your beloved superheroes,” he says with that infectious enthusiasm of his, and Thalia hits play on the DVD.

The movie hasn’t even properly begun and Tom’s hands are already wandering. But there’s nothing sexual to his touch. The hand of the arm he’s draped across the backrest of the sofa winds into her hair, and he tugs the hairband off to run his fingers gently through her tresses. Off and on, he stops gliding through her curls to massage her scalp ever so lightly or to trail his fingers over her neck in a soothing, rhythmic motion that relaxes her blissfully. If she wasn’t so focused on the movie, she’d feel drowsy by now.

With his other hand, he digs into the snacks—pretzels, individually wrapped chocolates, popcorn, toffees, peanuts, his long arms giving him easy access without having to shift. Off and on, he feeds her a bite in between spoonfuls of her soup.

Half-way into the movie, Tom disentangles himself from their embrace, and she can barely hold back a protesting sound because she hasn’t felt so relaxed in days.

He takes the empty soup bowl out of her hands to set it on the coffee table. Thalia’s eyes watch his long fingers deftly open a couple of buttons of the rumpled flannel shirt. Her mind is transported back to Chicago, where he wore the shirt for the first time. Something stirs inside her. Is it melancholy? Wistfulness?

She stomps down on the flicker of feeling. “Feeling nostalgic?” she asks, popping some popcorn into her mouth to hide whatever expression might be on her face.

Tom smiles a little crookedly. “As a matter of fact, I do.” His face grows thoughtful, and she can feel him zone out for a bit. When his gaze settles on her eyes again, he looks serious. “I may sound like a sappy old fool, but the time I spent with you in Chicago ranks way up high there with the happiest days of my life.”

God, why does he have to tug at her heart strings like that? “Way too sappy, mister,” she jokes, trying to lighten the mood. Tom’s expression clouds over instantly, and she feels as guilty as if she’d just kicked a puppy.

His beaming smile returns when she shares, “Mine too, Tom.  It ranks really high for me too.”

They turn back to the movie, and even though he pulls her snugly into his side again, something about him feels off.

With a small sigh, Thalia places a hand on his thigh and rubs up and down softly.

“I’ll always treasure our time in Chicago,” she admits, and some of the tension melts out of Tom’s body. She can feel him press a kiss on top of her head before he moves his arm to place his hand on her waist. It stays there, as if it belongs there for the rest of her life.

Soon, both of them become too engrossed in the movie to make normal conversation. Shocked that Tom hasn’t seen any of the Marvel movies, Thalia keeps throwing in extra information, filling him in on relevant tidbits that happened in previous movies. The first intermission has her pause the DVD and half-turn towards him.

“How come you haven’t watched any of these? They’re modern classics, damn it. It’s like never having listened to Shakira or something equally blasphemous.”

Tom chuckles, downing a few gulps of soda before answering. “In my defense, I did read some of the comics in my childhood. And they were fabulous. I just never got around to really caring enough to watch the movies.”

Thalia shakes her head, her curls brushing his face. “Shame on you. So, how do you like it so far?”

“It’s amazing. I’m positively surprised by how much backstory between the lines there is, how much emotional depth beside all the action.”

That is such a Tom thing to say that it makes her smile. But she gives him a mock-stern glare. “Well, I hope you’ll remedy your grave mistake and watch all the others too.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He salutes smartly, giving her a goofy grin. It turns into a smile when he leans in and pecks her on the cheek, a chaste brush of his lips that lingers a while and warms her from the inside out. “Thank you for introducing me to them, Thalia.  We can watch them together?”

The nagging voice in the back of her head won’t stop.  “That means you’d have to find time for me outside of office hours.”

The pained expression returns to his face.  “I know, darling.  Spring semester is always so busy for me, my evenings just seem too full.  I’ve been lackadaisical when it comes to making time for us away from my office, and you’re always on the go, my love.”  He squeezes her hand.  “I hope visits to the storage closet make up for some of the missed times?” he inquires, referencing their meeting earlier in the week.

She smiles, “For now,” winking at him playfully, though she wonders if it’s really enough.  But then again if both men were competing for the same hours, she wouldn’t know what to do with herself, so she lets it go.

She unpauses the movie and snuggles back into his comforting embrace. After a while, Tom pushes the tray to the side and props his socked feet up on the coffee table. Not even the action sequence on the screen can keep her from catching an eyeful of his long feet. It’s disconcerting to see him without shoes, in a weird way. His feet look even bigger without shoes on, and a giggle bursts free when her naughty mind wanders to what they say about men with big feet. Well, she knew all too well that there was some truth to that…

“What’s so funny, darling?” Tom shoots her a confused glance, his lips automatically lifting to mirror her gleeful grin.

“Nothing.” She chokes back her laughter and bites her lip, concentrating on the movie. From the corner of her eye, she can see Tom still looking at her. He crosses his legs at the ankles and rests his free arm behind his neck, sinking a little lower in his seat. Thalia mimics his actions, feeling mighty comfortable as she pulls the blanket over them.

She picks up her commentary, and somehow that sends her off on a rant about Loki and how Marvel doesn’t give him the attention he deserves. She talks about his development throughout the Thor and Avengers movies, and about how the actor playing Loki had managed to make the villain outshine the hero.

“So, you’ve got a thing for the bad guy, hm?” Tom asks, shifting his attention from the screen to her again.

Thalia gives it some thought. “I wouldn’t say that. Firstly, Loki isn’t a stereotypical villain. He’s kind of misunderstood, and he’s got this mischievous side to his character that always gets him into trouble but isn’t really meanness or evilness.”

Tom nods. “That’s kind of how the real Norse mythology portrays him, if my memory serves me correctly.”

It’s her turn to nod. “And secondly,” she shoots him a grin, “I’m pretty infatuated with Captain America too, and he’s definitely the good guy.”

Shifting to catch her attention, Tom says with a twinkle in his eyes, “Personally, I think a man should be a bit of both in real life, it will get him far.” He wags his brows at her comically. “A good boy in certain situations, a bad boy in others.”

With a guffaw, Thalia elbows him in the ribs. She’d been feeling so guilty just a few hours ago, and now look at her, laughing and thoroughly enjoying Tom’s company.

Being with him like this, with sex and secrecy out of the equation, is a totally new experience—if you disregarded Chicago, which was different in a way—and she’d thought at the beginning that it might be awkward. But it isn’t, and that gives her pause.

Pushing thoughtfulness away, she asks with a raised brow, “And what about women? Are we supposed to be a mix of good girl and bad girl too?”

Tom’s grin fades, and there’s an intensity in his gaze that she’s seen often. It always leaps into his eyes so suddenly, and it’s one thing she appreciates so much about him, how he’s genuine and all-in, whatever he’s tackling.

“Well, you’re the perfect mix of both, and look how wonderfully irresistible that makes you,” he says, his tone almost a low, growly purr before bestowing a quick kiss to her neck.

God, if she wasn’t feeling so out of it today, she’d be all over him by now. Even in her confused state, she feels a flutter in her belly.  The warmth bubbles out of her and she tells him just that.

“Good; then we’ll have another movie night soon, when you’re feeling better.”

The sound of an explosion pulls their attention back to the screen, and they watch the rest of the movie in amicable silence, punctuated by the occasional gasp or whoop at a great scene.

“Well, that was lovely, darling.” Tom says when the end credits are rolling. He makes a soft, satisfied grunt and shifts his position. She feels him nuzzle her throat softly, his stubble barely scraping across her skin, the clean, unobtrusive shampoo smell of his hair mixing with the scent of his skin. One of his big hands caresses her stomach, so lightly she senses the heat of his palm more than actual pressure. It draws lazy circles over the soft gray fabric, lulling her into a state of boneless bliss.

But she doesn’t want to doze off. Damn it, she has Tom over at her place for really the first time. She wants to treasure this.

“What’s a movie you’ve watched so many times you’ve lost count?” she asks, trying desperately to stay awake. She holds his hand steady on her stomach with her own, their fingers entwining.

“Mmm…” He leans his head back against the sofa, his face scrunched up in thought. “I think it’s a close tie between ‘Heat’ and Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.”

“What?” Thalia sits up straighter and lets go of his hand, checking his face to make sure he isn’t kidding. Those two movies are like night and day, and… “But that’s a children’s movie!”

He lets his head roll to the side, quirking his brows at her. “Yeah. And your point is?”

Now it’s her turn to frown thoughtfully. “Seriously? You’re not pulling my leg?”

Tom places a hand over his heart, assuming a comically solemn face. “Dead serious. Scout’s honor.”

That makes her giggle again. “I doubt you were ever a scout.”

He grins back at her. “Got me there, darling. But I was honest about ‘The Jungle Book’. I mean, how can you not love that movie? It teaches us so much, about friendship and family, about nature, about never giving up. Even after all these times of watching it, it makes me cry and laugh and sing along.”

As if to prove a point, Tom starts humming the tune to ‘Bare Necessities’, which sends her into another fit of laughter. She can’t remember a time when she’d felt so shitty but ended up laughing so much.

“Laugh all you want,” Tom said, crossing his arms over his chest and looking like a kid again. “It’s one of my all-time favorites, and I see no reason to be ashamed of it.”

Thalia shifts, half-turning on the sofa so she can face him. “I’m not saying it’s something to be ashamed of. You just surprised me, is all.” They exchange a smile. “It’ll be a great movie to show to your kids one day,” she adds automatically, then bites her lip.

Something shifts in his expression, almost imperceptibly. Curiosity has her shift closer and reach for his thigh, tracing circles on the bluish-purple, well-worn denim.  Her breath catches before she speaks, her heart racing.   “Do you want to have children some day, Tom?”

He stares into the distance before seeking out her eyes, his shoulders lifting in a shrug. “I think so, yes. I’m not so sure of when.” One finger lifts to his lips, rubbing pensively. “I know I’m not getting any younger, but for now, settling down and playing house isn’t how I envision my life.  Even if I found the right partner, I feel like there’s more I want to do first.”

The pounding in her chest echoes in her ears and she feels like it fills the room, wondering if he thinks he’s found the right one in her.

His hand captures hers against his leg, stilling it. With his thumb, he’s the one now tracing circles on her wrist. “But if I do get married and become a father one day, I’d probably love to have first a girl and then a boy because I know how wonderful it is to have a sister.”

Thalia allows her mind to wander for a moment, picturing a slightly elder version of Tom with glasses, a bit of grey at his temples and in his ginger scruff. She imagines him strolling to the park somewhere in London, holding the hand of a merrily skipping little girl with pigtails while a smaller boy is riding on his shoulders.

What does it say about her that her mind draws a blank on the woman who should be walking alongside him, holding his other hand?

Before she can dwell on the fantasy, Tom gives her hand a squeeze. “And you, dear Thalia?  Are children in your future?”

She chews on her lip, momentarily thrown by the question because being with Chris has made her oddly aware that having her own family isn’t so much in her distant future anymore but a real possibility if she chooses to take that path.

“I think I’ll go with your answer,” she says slowly. “Not now. I’m not ready for settling down yet, and it’s kind of scary to think of dedicating myself solely to a little person I’m responsible for when I’ve worked so hard to get to where I am.”  She sighs, searching his blue eyes, so intently focused on hers.  “Does it sound selfish to say I feel like I need to finish making myself before I make someone else?”

Tom shakes his head, squeezing more firmly. “Not at all… I don’t think anyone could ever accuse you of being selfish.”  He watches her thoughtfully.  “But when you do have them one day? What shall it be? A little girl with your riotous curls and your sass? Or a small, intelligent boy who loves burying himself in books?”

They exchange a look and a grin before blurting out at the same time, “Both. Both is good.”

Once their chuckles have subsided, Tom sits up and stretches with a drawn-out sigh, his plaid shirt rising to show a glimpse of his pale, nicely defined abs and sparse happy trail.

Somehow managing to look graceful while unfolding his long limbs and getting to his feet, he bends to pick up the tray with the half-eaten snacks and soda cans.

“Would you like anything else now, darling? Tea maybe? Your mashed potatoes?”

She shakes her head. “What I want right now is another movie, and some cuddles.”

He smiles, his eyes crinkling. “Your wish is my command. Give me a minute.”  Moving to the kitchen, he pauses.  “Is that a yoga mat in the corner?  I didn’t know you practiced yoga.”

His turn of phrase pierces a bit; just another example of how little they really know about one another.  She’s sure in passing on work days she’s mentioned going to the gym, possibly even yoga class.  It just proves how when Tom is in work mode, the real world often slips away.  Blushing a bit, she admits, “Yea, I was a little sore and achy this morning.  Some stretching helped, but then I was too zapped to put the mat away.” She shrugs.  “Perk of living alone; at least it’s my mess.”

He chuckles.  “Funny how we get set in our ways, then we begin to wonder if we could give up our freedoms to live with anyone else.”

She thinks on his words, but by the time he’s returned, she’s half asleep. Even more reluctant to lose her time with him, she stirs when the couch shifts from his weight. True to his word, he arranges himself for some cuddling. Sitting sideways on the sofa, his long legs hanging a little over the other end, he places a cushion on his lap and urges her to half-lie on him. It takes them some wiggling again, but then it feels so comfy she never wants to get up.

Between his steady heart-beat close to her ear and his soothing caresses all over her arms and back, she ends up missing half of the movie because she dozes off in between. Tom is quiet the whole time, only whispering an endearment here and there, holding her close without caging her in.

But then her stomach rumbles, and Tom grows alert from one moment to the next. He sits up straight, gently shifting her too. “Does my Warrior Princess need some magical health-restoring sustenance?”

She grins and nods, rubbing her sleepy eyes. “I’d kill for a steak right now, but I guess I should settle for those mashed potatoes.”

A mischievous glint enters Tom’s eyes. “Your stomach seems well enough, don’t you think? Can you handle some proper food?”

Thalia nods, wondering where this is headed to.  “What time is it?”

“It’s barely half past eight.”  Tom basically jumps off the sofa, not forgetting to resettle her tenderly. “I’ve got just the right thing in mind. Stay right here and let me treat you to one of the few things I’m truly good at.”

And off he is, with a bounce to his step, making Thalia wonder what on earth he’s talking about. What he’s good at? Shakespeare and stuff?  Amazing sex?  What’s that got to do with being hungry?

In a state of bliss and relaxation, Thalia tries not to think anything at all and simply wait.  She jumps when the phrase “bite that tattoo on your shoulder” rings from her phone.  She thought it was on mute, and rushes to cover the speaker with her hand.  Looking over her shoulder, Tom is focused on cooking, and not paying attention.  So like him actually, to be lost in his thoughts.  She sighs and shakes her head, still feeling a little off.  And guilty.  Terribly guilty.

Opening the screen to the picture Chris sent of him and Avery playing Legos at his kitchen table draws a smile to her face.  Their adoration for one another is touching.  However, her discussion with Tom reminded her of what she wants, but that doesn’t mean she has to make any decisions right away. Chris is still holding Avery at arm’s length from her.  He’s not pushing her into a mother role, and she can live with that.  He doesn’t seem to want an instant family, and Tom seems nowhere near ready to settle down.  Sending a quick reply, she snuggles down into the couch and laughs at the deleted scenes on the DVD.  Tantalizing smells waft from the kitchen after a while, making her practically salivate although she hasn’t had an appetite all day.

Looking over the back of the couch, she hides her laughter at the pile of bowls and broken eggshells on the counter.  She never would have guessed Tom was a messy cook.

“Hurry up, I’m starving now,” she whines.

“Patience my darling; good things come to those who wait.”

“I know, I know.  Delayed gratification,” she giggles.

What feels half an eternity later, Tom walks over the imaginary divide into the living space, his tray even more laden than before.

Her jaw hits the ground when she sees plates heaped full with mashed potatoes, fried eggs sunny side up and cut into pieces, sausages in bite-sized cubes, toast, two glasses of juice, grilled tomatoes, and bacon strips.

“What the… Thomas William Hiddleston, is that what I think it is?” She looks wide-eyed from the tray to his face with its smug grin and back.

“If you think what I think you think,” he jokes, “then you’re right.”

Thalia shakes her head, curls bouncing. “That’s a full English breakfast, right?”

He nods enthusiastically. “One hundred points, A+, Ms. Bareo. It sure is.”

“But, but…” she splutters. “Just in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s eight in the evening, Tom, not in the morning.”

He shrugs, barely managing to keep the tray balanced. Walking over, he sets it down and kneels in front of her, making a big ceremony of shaking out a cloth napkin he’s somehow found in her tiny, under-stocked kitchen. He drapes it over her knees, the funniest, kind of proud and precious grin still lighting up his features.

“If I may say so myself, I’m really gifted when it comes to putting a full English breakfast all hot on the plate at the same time.” Thalia muffles her incredulous laughter behind a hand as he goes on. “The tricky thing is the timing, you know. The toast should be hot enough for the butter to melt.” He points to the plate, his grin widening even more. “The bacon should be sizzling, the sausages and the eggs fresh.” He tilts his head, giving her one of those boyish, infuriatingly adorable expressions. “It isn’t an easy thing, but I do love a good challenge.”

“Dork.” She playfully hits his chest, and he captures her hand and peppers it with tiny kisses.

“But a dork who can cook. Want to see for yourself?”

He takes his place next to her again, and they tuck in, banter going back and forth between appreciative moans at the food.

Damn it all to hell, the man really can cook. Thalia represses the voice at the back of her mind that says it would be lovely to have him prepare breakfast for her on a regular basis.  She tries to stop the back and forth pendulum in her brain between Chris and Tom, instead focusing on the delicious food and wallowing in his attention.

After the late dinner, Tom drowns out all protests and does the dishes by himself while they have a shouted conversation over the running water, because he insisted she stay cuddled on the couch.  She could get used to letting him care for her in this way.  He  tells her more about English breakfast traditions she remembers vaguely from her time in Stratford-upon-Avon.

They put on another movie, this time a chick flick because she wants to wind down, but Thalia falls asleep midway. The next thing she notices is that she’s being carried. Groggily, she opens her eyes and squints at Tom’s face in the dim light.

“What…what’re you doin’?”

“Sh, darling, don’t fret. I’m just taking you to bed. You need a good night’s rest and then you’ll be back to your usual sassy self again in the morning.”

Shushing her half-hearted protests, he sets her gently down on the bed and tucks her in. He reaches out and brushes her hair from her face, checking her forehead for a fever again with gut-wrenching concern.  “I tucked you in here once before when you weren’t feeling so well.”

Thalia grabs his hand before he can withdraw it, leaning her cheek into his touch.

“You did.  I remember it well.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  Who would’ve ever thought we’d be here now, like this?”

“It was only my wildest dream, and I still can’t believe it came true, darling,” he whispers, placing a kiss to the back of her hand.

“I’m sorry, Tom. I wish the night didn’t have to end like this,” she says, fighting the drowsiness because it’s important to her to get these words out. “I can’t even give you a proper good night kiss, and I…and you…ugh.”

“Hey, hey, hey, don’t worry.” Tom leans in and brushes his lips over her forehead, wrinkled in distress. “I may turn into a starving sex maniac around you at times, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t keep it in my pants and just enjoy some time with you.” He smooths the blanket over her with a little smile.

“Sleep, my Warrior Princess. I’ll be on the couch. If you need anything, just call out.”

She wants to say more, her heart in her throat, but Tom places a finger over her lips and shakes his head. He waits until she closes her eyes, his hand brushing over her arm rhythmically—and before she knows it, she’s asleep.

Click here to read Chapter 31 Cabin Fever

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