Final Countdown

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Being Thalia

Chapter 35

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 2020

Summary: In the days before the Big Occasion, there’s more for Thalia to handle than shopping, planning, and eating too much cake.

Previous Chapter 34, A Better Man

December 2021

Pushing the door open, Thalia waits for her stepmother to enter her little apartment. The cold winter wind whips around her, tangling her hair and she quickly closes the door behind her. Dropping the packages by the door, she slumps against the old wooden frame.

“What were we thinking? What the hell was I thinking when I let him talk me into a wedding in two weeks! I need my fuckin’ head examined.” She runs her hand over her hair, trying to tame the wild curls. She huffs, blowing a short piece out of her eyes. “Why didn’t you stop me, Stacey?”

The older woman giggles. “Would you have listened? You’re so much like your father, dear. Once you get an idea in your head, there’s no stopping you. And that man and his smooth accent, he charmed you into it before you gave it a second thought.”

“British arse.” Thalia pushes off from the door, unwrapping her trademark pink scarf from around her neck. Tucking it in the pocket, she rubs her belly. “We ate too many cake samples today. I don’t feel so good.”

Stacey nods her blonde head, her fair beauty the opposite of her step-daughter’s. “Tried to talk you both out of that too.”

“Can I gain so much weight in a week that the dress won’t fit?” Thalia’s dark eyes grow wide in panic.

“A week, love? Hardly. Our flight leaves in the morning and the wedding is in five days.”

“Five days. What the hell? Were we drunk? Who allowed us to make these grown-up decisions?!”

“You’re both adults.” Stacey tilts her head. “Not that either of you acted like it today in the bakery. I truly think you sampled one of everything. It’s a wonder Tom didn’t call from the airport, complaining he’s sick.”

“You’re right. I hope he’s okay.” Thalia spins on the spot. “Where’s my phone?”

Stacey enters the bathroom in the small apartment. “Check in the bag from the lingerie store. I think I saw you drop it in there after we left Tom at the airport.” The door closes behind her and Thalia hears the sound of running water.

Picking up the little pink bag from a ridiculously expensive boutique, Thalia carries it over to the couch. Pulling out the flimsy lace, she drops it in her lap, digging around for her phone. Tangled in the garter belt, she pulls it out, smiling at the phone case Tom gave her for Christmas. A collage of photos of the two of them on various outings, including the photo of them together at the archaeology site dig in Stratford Upon Avon. Two weeks. She’d waited two weeks. And six years to marry the man who owned her heart. Exhausted, her head flops back against the worn cushion. If someone had told her all those years ago, he’d really love her, or that she’d settle for an ordinary, married life, she’d have laughed.

She rubs her rounded stomach again, rumbling and rebelling against the sweet concoctions they’d sampled at the bakery. After all that trouble, she and Tom still hadn’t been able to decide on a wedding cake. Drinks with Henrí and his husband had settled it. Henrí would fly to London and prepare a special surprise, just for his lovely friend.

She smiles at the simple silver band on her finger. The braided pieces twisted around, and had once belonged to Tom’s grandmother. As the only grandson, it was his to give to the owner of his heart. Thalia found it very telling that it had not been offered to anyone else before her… A perfect fit, it was though it was meant to be, having been mapped by the stars, possibly long before they were even born.

Fortunately for her, his grandmother must have been a plump woman.

Theirs would be no ‘ordinary, married life.’ Preparing to sail around the coast of Greece, they had already decided on historic spots they wanted to venture to together. When they returned from their honeymoon, Tom would continue to travel back and forth from London to Madrid, to finish his next contracted book and tie up loose ends at the university. If he could find a job at one of the many facilities for higher learning in Madrid, their plan was to stay in the city that felt like home to Thalia. In the late Spring, they would enjoy a visit to New Zealand together, for a museum expansion for which she’d been hired to provide assistance. Her old pal Hemsworth had invited them to stay with him, and his wife, Jane. Tom was looking forward to the visit, enthusiastic about seeing his old friend as well, and to share good times together again, like brothers.

Everything seems to be falling into place, save for one little detail. Thalia’s heart thumps against her chest as she checks her messages. Chris still has not replied to her news, or acknowledged the invitation to her impending nuptials. Eyes closed and head back, she dozes off, worried for her friend, and surprised Avery hadn’t called her for the holidays.

Hours later, the phone rings. Looking at her screen, she shakes her head, realizing it was really only minutes. “Hey, Mr. Groom-to-Be. How are you?”

“I ate too much. All the frosting, and ganache… I’ve landed at Heathrow, but I may need to go straight to the hospital, make sure I’m not in some sort of sugar shock. I feel awful.”

“Say that again.”

“What?”

“Awe-fool. I like the way you stretch it out when you say it,” she teases, trying to mimic his dialect.

“I feel positively dreadful and awful, and you’re making fun?”

She groans. “Not by any means, I feel awe-fool too. My teeth even hurt. I think the sugar might have rotted them out.” She toes off her boots, letting them fall haphazardly to the floor, flopping under the coffee table. “Would you still marry me if I was toothless?”

Tom’s laughter snorts. “Oh, darling, that would be dreadful! Please don’t let that happen… You’re in a mood. Are you alright?”

Thalia rests the side of her head up on her hand, her elbow propped on the arm of the couch. “You know how much I love shopping for clothes.” Her voice drips with sarcasm. “I think we found the dress though, and there’s a store in London that has it in my size. Tomorrow after we check the venue, I’d love for your mom and sister to come with Stacey and I, to see me try it on.”

“Oh, they’d love that. You’ll call them after we’re off the phone?” He seems to be moving his cell away from his mouth, and she can hear him giving instructions to someone. “Did they treat you like a princess, serve wine and goodies while you were trying things on, like those bride shows on the tele?”

“God, it was awe-fool. Strangers poking me, trying to button and zip the dresses up, attempting to hide my love handles and shove them in place. I think I’m bruised…” She leans forward and rubs a tender spot on her back. “How can actors and actresses stand that, to have someone treat you like a mannequin all the damn time?”

Tom chuckles. “I can imagine that’s quite horrible, trying to make small talk, while getting your inseam measured.”

“I swear my tits were groped more today than they have been in weeks,” she teases, flicking her tongue between her teeth, continuing to rub her back.

“Then I obviously am falling down on my job duties as Mr. Groom-to-Be. I’ll added ‘more boob fondling’ to my growing list of things to do!”

“Yes, please do,” Thalia chuckles softly, resting back against the comfy couch.

Tom clears his throat, changing the subject. “Any news from the States?”

“It’s okay, ya know. You can gloat. You won, and now he won’t call me back. He doesn’t want to be friends and-”

“Thalia. Darling, please stop. I don’t want him causing you any pain. I know his friendship means a lot to you, and you had hoped Avery would be your flower girl. I don’t gloat in this, if I know you are hurting.”

“I think you’re lying. I think you are doing a little happy dance right now, in the backseat of your Uber ride, glad he’s out of my life.”

Tom sighs. “Fine, yes. We have no lies between us. It does make me a little happy, but not at the expense it’s hurting you. I’ll make some phone calls to friends I have in the department, see if I can collect any news for you.”

“You’d do that?”

“Well, I won’t drag Evans to the wedding, that’s for damn sure,” he chuckles. “But I can see to it that the man at least calls you, and acknowledges your news. I know your friendship is important.”

“Tom, I can hear you rolling your eyes.” She smiles softly, silent tears collecting under her lashes.

“My eyes don’t rattle, love. I do everything for you. I can do this as well, because it means something to you. Remember my mantra, ‘I’m a better man.’”

Thalia lifts her head when Stacey exits the bathroom, wrapped in her towel and dashing to the guest room under the stairs. “You’re the best man. You’re my man.”

“Just remember that, always, and we’ll be fine, darling.” Tom addresses the driver again, and Thalia winces at the sound of honking car horns coming through the phone connection. “I’ll collect you and your mother at the airport in the morning? Then straight away to the venue I want you to see. An old classmate married there, and I think it would be lovely this time of year.”

“It’s London, in December. Everything will be cold and dreary. Like I said, I don’t care where we get married-”

“-As long as we do,” Tom chimes in with her, finishing the sentence she has said so many times over the last few days. “You really would just show up in your boots and a sundress if you could, wouldn’t you, darling?”

Now it’s Thalia’s turn to sigh. “No,” she huffs. “Cuz you look too damn good in a tux. I don’t wanna miss an opportunity to see that. Oh, God! Tom, a photographer! We need a-”

“Already taken care of, love. Don’t worry. Well, if you want to worry, I guess you could. Luke and the boys are taking me on a stag night later this evening. He wanted to do it before you came to town.”

“Oh, Lord. Just don’t get arrested. I won’t marry you in a jail.”

“Ah, so you do care where we get married?” Tom jokes.

“I did not go to college, and move to Europe, to marry some dude with a record. If I wanted to do that, I’d have stayed in my old neighborhood. I’ve matured. I have standards now.” She laughs loudly. Her wide open mouth quickly turns into a yawn. “I’m beat. I need to finish packing, and get some sleep since we gotta be at the airport so early.”

“Right. Don’t forget your passport and birth certificate. We’ll need those to pick up the marriage license tomorrow.”

She mentally ticks off another box on her list. “Got it. Already in my bag for carry on.” She yawns again. “Tell Luke I said to have fun, and to keep you in one piece.” She pauses. “No strippers either.”

Tom’s haughty laughter hangs on the line as the call ends.

“Do British guys go to strip clubs?” she mumbles, opening her messages.

“I think in England, burlesque would be more high class,” Stacey comments, entering the room with her hair tied up in rag rollers.

“Uh, thanks, Mom. I didn’t need to know that.” Thalia sticks out her tongue. She quickly taps out another message, ‘I really wanted to talk to you about this. I thought we were friends?’

Lifting from the couch, she watches her stepmom dig through the fridge. “How can you even think of food after all that cake?”

Click here to Chapter 36, Finally

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

A Better Man

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A Better Man

Being Thalia

Chapter 34

By devikafernando & avenger-nerd-mom

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 3003

Summary: A lazy Sunday morning, reading in bed, turns into something more-

Previous Chapter, Chapter 33: Over Her Head

December 2021

This is bliss. And she’s missed it, Thalia realizes. More than she cares to admit.

Not reading, of course; she always manages to squeeze that into her schedule because books have been her first love and will always be part of her life.

It’s sharing the experience of reading that feels so wonderful. A lazy Sunday morning together. They’re lounging on her bed, snuggling while the rain is pelting the window with a lulling pitter-patter. The colorful Christmas lights on the tree Tom insisted they get for the bedroom add a soft glow to the room. She’s stolen one of Tom’s ultra-comfy sweaters, big and worn enough to accommodate her curves. Off and on, she inhales deeply, bathing in the oddly familiar and soothing scent of Tom with its hint of citrus and male.

Tom is wearing the blue twin to her red sweater, the sleeves rolled up to reveal his freckled forearms, long fingers cradling an iPad. He’s totally engrossed in whatever he’s reading on it, the tip of his tongue poking out in concentration occasionally.

Thalia drinks in his profile, which has softened a tiny bit over the years although the scruff highlights his still admirable jawline. With the slightest, contented sigh, she turns her attention back to her paperback and wiggles to get more comfortable.

They started out an hour ago with her head in his lap and his fingers sifting gently through her curls, massaging her scalp almost absentmindedly while both of them were reading. Then Tom got up to make them two hot chocolates, and when they settled back down, it was him with his head in her cushiony lap. He turned it occasionally, to softly rub his scruff over her thigh or press a kiss to it.

“I love a lazy day like this,” Tom murmurs absently, almost as though he’s thinking out loud.

Thalia drags her fingertip down his nose. “Can you read my mind? I was thinking the same thing earlier.”

His chest rises and falls when he chuckles softly. “I think, love, the ability to read your mind could be a very dangerous thing.”

“It’s full of nothing but food and sinful thoughts,” she giggles, flipping the page in her book.

“The best kind,” he replies, tracing his hand down her raised calf, clad in Christmas leggings. She hums, nodding. “Lazy vacations like this are wonderful. All the days are running into the next. Remind me when we’re going to the airport to get your mother?”

“Move, you’re making my leg fall asleep.” He huffs when she slides out from under him. Standing next to the bed, she shakes out her achy muscles. “Wednesday, around two? But we’ll have to leave earlier that morning. Remember? I rented a car for a few days.”

She steps out into the hall and jogs towards the bathroom.

“And Christmas is next Sunday?”

Thalia ignores him, hating when he yells at her through closed doors. Just to be petty, she takes a few extra moments to apply lotion to her hands after washing them.

On her walk to the kitchen, she tilts her head to the side, stretching out the kinks in her neck. “Yeah, but we’ll go to Mass the night before and open a few presents at dinner. That’s our tradition.” With a plate of cookies in her hand, she returns to the bedroom, crawling up next to him. “Dad never wanted to wait. Stacey says if she’d have let him, he’d have never even wrapped the presents, just given them to me when he bought them. And he was always sick after opening presents and dinner. He would skip church and Stacey and her family would take me to Mass.” Breaking a cookie in half, she hands a piece to him. Licking the crumbs from her thumb, she continues, “I didn’t figure it out till I was older that he stayed home to put out the Santa gifts that always magically appeared while we were gone.”

Tom good-naturedly laughs, thoroughly enthralled in the story of her childhood. “That sounds like a good plan.”

Tucking the pillow to her chest, she flops face first on the bed, hugging it under her, and pulling her book in front of her. She agrees. “They’d let me stay up and play with my new toys until I wore out under the tree, and they could sleep in the next morning until it was time to meet family for brunch.”

Rolling over onto his belly, he snuggles next to her, copying her pose, propping himself up on his elbows. “It’s nice to hear you tell stories, share your memories with me.”

Thalia blushes, hiding behind her curls. “It’s therapeutic. I can’t put all my feelings in a box and lock them away anymore. Or so Doc keeps telling me.” She rolls her eyes.

“It’s nice,” Tom reiterates. “Lets me learn more about you.”

She lifts her eyebrow. “Well, I’m done for now. That’s all you get to know today. I’m sure Stacey can tell you all kinds of stories when she’s here.”

“She is a talker.”

Clearing her throat, she explains, “She was trying to cover up for Dad’s sullen behavior.”

She sucks in her breath, hoping he’ll let that comment slide for now.

Patting the back of her hand, he quietly says, “Your father would want you to be happy. Are you happy?”

Thalia grins. “If we can stop talking about my feelings now, that would make me happy.”

Shaking his head, Tom wraps his arm over her shoulder, pulling her close to kiss the top of her head. “Fine. Go back to studying, Professor Bareo.”

Morning turned to afternoon. Naturally, they shifted and drifted again after some time, and now she’s half draped across his lean, impossibly long body, one of Tom’s arms around her waist while he holds his iPad in the other hand.

“Here, listen to this.” Thalia sits up a little straighter, loving how her curves slide against the hard, muscled angles of his body, willing the instant twinge of arousal down because she enjoys this time of cuddling and reading.

“This is the chapter about Sapiens and language,” she clarifies briefly. She’s reading “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari because Tom mentioned it years ago and lately she’s found herself doing astonishingly many things he’s recommended. “So, he says it’s all about gossip: The new linguistic skills that modern Sapiens acquired about seventy millennia ago enabled them to gossip for hours on end.” She clears her throat. “Harari goes on to say that the majority of day to day communication, whether it’s social media or articles in newspapers, is gossip. Here, this is where it pertains to our world.” Thalia adjusts her glasses, reading from the thick book again. “Do you think that history professors chat about the reasons for World War One when they meet for lunch, or that nuclear physicists spend their coffee breaks at scientific conferences talking about quarks? Sometimes. But more often, they gossip about the professor who caught her husband cheating, or the quarrel between the head of the department and the dean, or the rumors that a colleague used his research funds to buy a Lexus.

She giggles, hearing Tom chuckle too as he adjusts his position and stuffs a pillow behind his back. “Well, as a professor, I can certainly certify that affairs and cars are mentioned more often than historic finds or quantum theory,” he says with a raised brow.

“This is one of the author’s more controversial statements but it makes a whole lot of sense,” he adds. After a thoughtful frown, he elaborates in his teaching voice, “Doesn’t Harari go on to say that Sapiens had the language advantage over others because they were able to transmit information about things that did not exist? Things they haven’t yet touched or seen or tasted or smelled? Which of course paved the way for religion in all its forms.”

Thalia sits up straighter, a finger between the pages marking her place in the book. “I swear, Tom, your ability to remember things is just freakish. It’s almost as if you have a photographic brain.”

He gives her a sheepish grin, the hint of a blush rising on his cheeks. “Can’t say I do, darling, but I sure wish I did. I’m sure I would be taking lots of brain photographs of you, then.”

“Idiot.” She scoffs and playfully punches his stomach.

Catching her wrist, Tom lifts her hand to his face and kisses each knuckle.

“Your idiot.”

Something about his words sink all the way into her, slides into all corners, sidles into the little cracks and holes and mends her. Completes her-

Not so keen to analyze it, to break the mood of a lazy Sunday, she pulls her hand away after a quick smile and focuses on her paperback again. She mimics Tom, sitting up and leaning against the headboard, offering him another smile when he stuffs a pillow behind her back as well so she can get comfortable.

After minutes of blissful silence, Tom speaks up.

“Listen, this is absolutely share-worthy too.” He clears his throat and fidgets with his glasses.

To begin with I love you with a depth and passion that I have felt for no one else in this life and if it astonishes you it astonishes me as well. I never thought that — even if one was in love — one could get so completely besotted with another person, so that a minute away from them felt like a thousand years.”

Glancing up from her book, Thalia shoots him a glance. She’s caught only some of it as she wasn’t prepared for such a long read-out excerpt. That sounds like a love letter? Surely Tom hasn’t suddenly developed a taste for romance novels?

“What on earth are you reading? Is that some romance novel? Since when do you read those?” Still thinking on her own reading, she doesn’t pay him much attention.

He clears his throat once more. “It’s from the Letters Live publication. Titled ‘All this I did without you’. A letter from British conservationist, Gerald Durell, to his future wife.”

His voice cracks a bit, and she wonders whether Tom might be catching a cold. He did run through the rain earlier this morning to fetch them breakfast from the little corner store he likes, getting thoroughly wet because of course he didn’t take an umbrella with him.

“Beautiful,” she mumbles, diving back into her reading matter when Tom doesn’t say anything else.

She’s read maybe half a page when he clears his throat, speaking up again. “There’s more, it’s quite lovely. Listen: Darling I want you to be you in your own right…always, especially with me.

Thalia’s head snaps up. “Okay, that IS a nice one. Sounds like something you’d tell me… Got any more gems like that? He sounds like he’s an amazing letter writer.” She sighs. “It’s a lost art, letter writing, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is. Sadly, some never find a way to express themselves.”

“I have old letters Dad wrote me when I went off to school. Postcards you sent me. I even have old text messages saved. But that’s not the same as a love letter, not really. It’s not tangible.”

Tom readjusts his glasses and takes a deep breath that makes his arm brush against hers. Why does he seem so agitated all of a sudden? Then again, it shouldn’t surprise her. If he’s in, he’s all in. It’s one of the things she loves so much about him. Someone else’s declaration of love probably has him all emotional, and he wants to discuss his thoughts on the passage and she’s babbling about text messages.

“I’m sorry.” She runs her hand down his arm, tracing her fingers over his veins. “I interrupted your reading. Please continue.”

With a small smile, she waits for more snippets as his eyes skim down and up again, his tongue darting out to moisten his lips.

“This one is my favorite passage.” Swallowing with an audible click, Tom sits up straighter and she wonders briefly whether he’ll turn it into a theatrical performance of sorts like when he reads Shakespeare to her.

In you I have found everything I want: you are beautiful, gay, giving, gentle, idiotically and deliciously feminine, sexy, wonderfully intelligent and wonderfully silly as well. I want nothing else in this life than to be with you, to listen and watch you (your beautiful voice, your beauty), to argue with you, to laugh with you, to show you things and share things with you, to explore your magnificent mind, to explore your wonderful body, to help you, protect you, serve you, and bash you on the head when I think you are wrong.

Thalia guffaws at the last one, clapping a hand over her mouth. Oddly, it feels almost sacrilegious to laugh now. There is something so solemn and heart-touching about the words, something so emotional and sincere in Tom’s hoarse voice. It’s almost as if he’s written these words just for her, not simply reading someone else’s love letter.

The crazy thought has barely entered her mind when Tom lifts his gaze from the iPad and looks straight at her, the blue of his irises dark and gleaming. Thalia freezes in place, reacting instinctively to the almost palpable shift in the atmosphere.

Whipping his glasses off his face, Tom shifts his body so he’s kneeling up on the bed and facing her. He reaches out to take her hand, and it registers that his is clammy and trembling slightly.

“Did you catch cold in the rain this morning?” She reaches up with her other hand to brush a floppy curl from his forehead. “Are you running a fever?” There sure is a feverish intensity to his gaze now, and his jaw is all tense.

Why can’t she shake the feeling that she’s missing an important point here? Why does her heart tell her something her mind hasn’t fully processed yet?

Thalia feels a shiver run down her spine for no apparent reason as Tom’s fingers tighten their grip on hers and he pulls in another deep breath.

“Thalia María Bareo.”

Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god.  Her brain starts to catch up. He’s not sick. He’s –

“I meant every word I just read to you. From the moment you came into my life, you’ve turned me upside down and inside out. You’ve made me a different man, hopefully even a better man.”

This…this can’t be happening. This isn’t what she thinks it is. Or is it?!

Tom’s grip grows so firm it’s almost painful, and his eyes are alarmingly shiny.

“In you, I have indeed found everything I’ve ever yearned for, everything a man could ever want. I was a fool, more than once. I let life come between us, other people come between us. But perhaps that was for the better because now I couldn’t be more certain…or more in love.”

There’s a dull rushing sound in her ears and her heart is beating so fast she puts her free hand against her chest as if to prevent it from falling out.

“Darling Thalia, my fragile, yet strong, orchid… my one and only, I love you more than words can express. Will you share your wonderful body and magnificent mind and above all, your generous heart with me, for the rest of our lives? Will you make me the most incandescently happy man that has ever walked this earth? Will you…” His voice breaks again as she holds her breath. “Will you marry me?”

* * *

Tom has never felt so anxious in his life. It’s all he can do to breathe, and in a corner of his mind he’s amazed that he’s got all the right words out. There was more he had been planning to say. A proposal that was somewhat more eloquent and elaborate, more his own phrases than those wonderfully meaningful quotes. But his heart overwhelmed him in the middle of it all—and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. Because it’s all coming from his heart and he means every single word with all of his being.

He’s planned this…sort of. No stereotypes for them, like a ring hidden in dessert at a restaurant or a moon-lit walk where he’ll drop on his knee in front of her. They’re not a normal couple, theirs is not a normal love. And so this feels right. Books and feelings. And his life offered up on a platter, for her to accept or to kill him.

Thalia is staring, her mouth opening and closing silently, her fingers shaking. Or maybe he’s trembling so hard that he makes her shudder as well. When the silence stretches and the only reaction he gets is a single tear rolling down a chubby cheek, his heart plummets from his throat all the way to the floor and further down.

He feels hot and cold at the same time.

“Darling, say something,” he begs at last, feeling his whole world teeter on the brink.

“I…Tom…oh my god, Tom.”

Suddenly she’s blinking to life. Another tear rolls down—and then she launches herself at him and knocks him flat on his back, luckily not falling off the bouncing mattress.

As a garbled mumble against his chest, drowned in sniffling sobs, he hears her answer.

“Yes. Yes, I’ll marry you. Sir, Professor, Tom.” She giggles through her tears, lifting her eyes to his, the fevered pitch a match. “I’m yours, whatever you want me to call you!”

His smile is so wide, his face could nearly break in half. “Anything that makes you happy, my love, as long as I can call you Mrs. Hiddleston in return?”

Her lips land on his, soft and salty with tears. The corner of her mouth turns up to a smile and in her true fashion, she sasses back, “How does Bareo- Hiddleston sound?”

***

Proposal inspired from Tom Hiddleston reading Love Letters Live. For reference: This link has the full transcript as well as the video: https://sinosicat.com/2015/12/11/all-this-i-did-without-you/

Click here to read Chapter 35,  Final Countdown. There are two chapters remaining in this fan fic novella.

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

Over Her Head

1556734581474.jpg

Over Her Head

Being Thalia

Chapter 33

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 1656

Summary: A conversation with her stepmother makes Thalia realize her true growth.

Previous Chapter, Ready?

December 2021

Cradling the phone to her shoulder, Thalia digs through the box of wrapped ornaments. “I know it’s in here somewhere,” she mutters.

“Did you even hear what I asked? I asked what I should pack, weather-wise. Are you even paying attention to me? What are you doing that’s more important than talking to your mother?”

Thalia drops her hand down into her lap. “I’m sorry, Mum, you’re right. Just lookin’ for something I can’t find.” She sighs and tugs her cozy sweater over her belly. “No, I didn’t hear what you asked. Can you repeat it please?”

Stacey’s laughter stutters over the phone line. “Do you hear yourself? You just called me ‘Mum,’ with a British accent. Are you and Tom spending that much time together?”

Thalia screws up her face and scratches her brow. “Was that your original question? Or are you changing topics to try to get info from me?” She laughs. “Um, yeah. I guess we’re spending a fair amount of time together. I was in Greece for a week, after we got back from London, so-”

“London? What were you two doing there?”

Thalia blushes, grateful this isn’t a video chat. She swallows and runs her tongue over her teeth. “He took me to meet his parents. We had afternoon tea and cake with his mother and sister, before going to see a production in the West End, and meeting some of his school pals for drinks.”

“You met his old friends too?”

Thalia fidgets, wanting to get back to decorating the tree, and not wanting to give away too much information to Stacey. She takes every little detail and makes it bigger than it needs to be. She had shared with her mother they had patched things up and had been spending some time together, but she hadn’t gone into much depth, wanting to avoid the psychoanalyzing of every moment, every word spoken, that Stacey was known to put her through.

Besides, she likes keeping her new life with Tom private. Something they share between themselves because they want it that way. Not secret because it has to be, like before.

“We met his friend, Luke, and some other schoolmates happened to be at the pub where we were.” She clicks her teeth at the memory. “We didn’t stay long actually. One of the fellows was piss drunk and made an ugly comment about my weight.” She pushes down the flood of anger in her gut. “It was all I could do to drag Tom out before he started a fight. But he’d also had a pint or two, and was feeling no pain. Luckily, Luke and I got him out of there before fists started flying.”

“Oh, Thalia, honey, I’m so sorry. I hope that didn’t put a damper on your weekend getaway.”

She hides her smile behind her hand. No. The damper on the weekend was when the proper asshole insisted she sleep alone in the guest room, since his mother had it fixed it ready for her stay. He’d told her she was too noisy! Of all things!

She’d gotten even by sending him filthy texts and photos the rest of the night before finally falling asleep in his old rugby jersey. And when she trounced downstairs in her usual ‘morning before coffee’ grumpy mood, his mother was astonishingly nice. Kind and open with exactly the same charismatic smile as her son, and with a backbone of steel hidden beneath the affable charm. Mrs. Hiddleston–correction, Diana–hadn’t once treated Thalia oddly, even though she had reason enough to do so. They’d amiably shared coffee and fresh scones, teasing Tom about is wild, floppy curls when he came in from his morning run.

“No.” She answers her stepmother after blinking away the memories. “We had a really nice visit. His childhood home, his mother and sister, everything was great. It’s all so funny when you really get to know people and find out they are definitely a product of where they were raised. Books and music everywhere. Everything with a story or fact to go with it. His mother once worked in the stage and theater industry, so Diana really fostered his love for the dramatic arts. She had photos of his school plays, and albums with his school papers. He was always so smart!” She shakes her head in disbelief of his achievements. “You could tell he was a charismatic young boy.” Stacey giggles, but Thalia ignores her. “It was nice to get to know him on a more personal level, you know what I mean?”

Stacey hums quietly. “Thalia, neither of you are getting younger. He practically left a woman at the altar to have you back. Is this what you really want?”

Want, Mom? We’re just together, having fun. Getting to know one another, differently now. Better now. We’re both adults, have our own jobs and interests-”

“-Thalia, don’t be foolish. That man will want to settle down with you. There’s only one reason a man his age calls off a wedding and mere weeks later takes a former love home to meet his parents. If you aren’t looking for long term, if you’re going to break his heart-”

“Stacey, stop. Just stop it. We’re not putting a label on anything.” Is ‘mine’ a label? She smiles slyly, again thankful this is not a video chat. “He comes to the city to research and write. I fly off wherever the museum sends me. In the next five months, I have to be in Greece again, Australia and Egypt. I might have to speak at a conference in London. We’re together when we can be, but we’re not making a big deal of it.” She tries to squelch down the gnawing feeling that meeting his mother was a big deal. Maybe if she keeps shoving that aside, the thought will go away. “I’m just enjoying life, right now. I’m happy. You’ll see when you get here for Christmas.”

Moving the conversation away from her relationship with Tom, she tries to refocus her mother. “I can’t wait to take you to all my favorite places, and introduce you to my friends, Henrí and his family, and Lucía. You’re gonna love it so much, you’ll wanna move here!” She digs her hand back in the box, looking for the Christmas ornament Tom bought her in Munich years ago. “So if you wanna keep talking nonsense, I’m going to hang up. Or you can tell me more of the things you wanna see when you’re here or the neighborhood gossip from back home? Oh! Did I tell you I’m wearing the Christmas sweater you sent? It’s so soft, I love it!”

Twenty minutes later, the phone call is over. Thalia rolls over onto her knees, placing her hands on the couch and pushes herself up. The couch cushions separate and a piece of paper draws her eye. She pulls it from its wedged spot, laughing at the childish scrawl. “I think you’re beautiful. You’re my warrior princess. Always, Tom.”

Dropping it in the glass dish on the table, it lands with the pile of other secret notes she’s been finding around the house. Some feature words of encouragement and wishes for a good day, others spout Shakespeare quotes or random facts he knows and wants to share.

Lifting the box from the floor to the coffee table, she leans over to better dig through it. The wrapped ornament she was looking for is nestled in the corner, next to some popsicle stick tree ornaments she and Avery made together. Carefully unwrapping the ornament from Tom, she decides both have an equal place on the Christmas tree this year. Both have made her the woman she is today…

She admires the individuality of the hand blown glass ornament he’d bought at the Christkindlmarkt the year they’d spent the holiday together in Germany. It had been too painful to look at after he left her in Paris, so it had been hidden in the bottom of the box. The Christmas box that went from Paris, to the US and survived the fire, and followed her to Madrid. Holding it up to the light of the setting sun coming through the window, the colors dance and swirl, making her feel warm and happy.

Turning up the volume on the Christmas music playing from her tablet, she places the conversation with Stacey out of her mind. Stacey, who always worried about her, always pushed her to find a man to take care of her. “That’s her life. Not mine. I can take care of myself.”

Realizing she’d spoken aloud, she shakes her head. With her free hand, she loops the ribbon from the handmade child’s ornament over one finger and an angel ornament her father had given her over another. Thalia carries them to the tree, adding the last additions to the tiny little tree on the table top window. Tapping the bottom of a Disney ornament Chris had gifted her on a trip, she watches it spin, laughing when it bumps the hotdog one she and Tom bought their first Christmas together, when he’d surprised her in Chicago, to commemorate their feast at Portillo’s. Always a battle between those two. She laughs out loud, stepping back to admire the tree. Tilting her head to the little display of colorful ornaments collected over the years from her travels, something feels like it’s missing.

With a sigh, she reaches for her phone and snaps a quick picture. Attaching it to a message, she sends Tom a little note: Something’s missing from my tree! Bring your tartan wool scarf this weekend. It would make the perfect wrap around the base. Found another little note… Thank you!

When she re-reads the message, it gives her pause. These notes he’s left for her. The messages they send each other. How things automatically remind her of Tom or how he will sometimes give her impulsive calls just to share a tidbit of new knowledge–this isn’t what two people in a casual affair would do.

Deep down she knows that there’s nothing ‘casual’ about her feelings for him. Never was, never will be. The thought is scary…and yet it doesn’t terrify her as much as it would have some years ago.

Click ahead to Chapter 34: A Better Man

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

 

Ready?

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Ready?

Being Thalia

Chapter 32

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 1212

Summary: Thalia and Tom get ready for another big step.

Previous Chapter, Served Hot

 She sits on the edge of his bed, her head in her hands. The front door clicks shut, and she hears him bounding up the stairs.

“Thalia, are you ready to go?” he shouts, the sound echoing off the walls.

Lifting her head when the bedroom door fully opens, Thalia offers Tom a weak smile. “Help?”

She watches the realization hit him, and he tries to hide a small smile. “Darling, I’m just taking you to meet my mum, not the Queen.” He takes two long strides to cross the room, falling at her knees. Tom grasps her hands in his, bending down even more to look up into her face. “She’s going to love you. You have nothing to worry about.”

Thalia lets out a shaky breath. “That’s easy for you to say. You’re so blinded by love, Tom, you’d let me leave here in this t-shirt and those holey jeans.” She tilts her head to the side, indicating her second favorite fashion accessory, laying beside her on the bed.

“Put on your boots with it, I don’t care,” Tom says. He rises from the floor, his knees popping and creaking. “Turn sideways, love.” He taps her hip, then runs his fingers through her hair, careful not to tug or pull. “It’s a beautiful day, sunny. Mother will want to sit in the sunroom and have tea. She’ll want to impress you, so she’ll use the fine china, with little flowers. Not the simple white tea set for everyday use.” Her breathing slows as he eases her tension, twisting a curl loosely around his fingers. “She’ll pull out photo albums, and do her best to embarrass me. She’s probably told my sister I’m bringing a girl home, so Emma will stop by, unannounced with a pie or cake, with the excuse to Mum that she just wanted to try out a new recipe.”

He continues to play with her hair, his fingers massaging her scalp as he arranges it into one fist, smoothing out the bumps. She sighs deeply, her eyes closed, enjoying her pampering. “If she brings my nephew too, we’ll probably move into the den, where Mom keeps his toys. And they’ll ask you questions about your life, and your job, and they’ll want to make sure your intentions with me are pure.”

She pulls the elastic from her wrist and hands it up to him. “Then you’ll want to shower again, because the smell of sex rolls off you.”

Tom titters with laughter and brushes his covered bulge against her arm, twisting her tresses and wrapping the band around her thick hair. “I’ll assure them your intentions are nothing but sexual greed, you only want me for my cock, my money, maybe also my brain.”

Thalia pushes away when he thrusts into her face. “Rude! I obviously want you for the size of your library!” She laughs.

He puts his hands on her shoulders, turning her to face him again, a wide grin lighting up his face. “There, finished. How can you have so much hair, even after cutting and donating it?”

“I don’t know,” she shakes her head, rising to kiss his cheek. “Thank you.” She cups her hand over the bun, tucking in a few stray curls. She bends, reaching for a black polka dotted blouse, laid out on his bed. “What about this? It kinda coordinates with your dark sweater.” Realizing she’s being ridiculous, worrying about matching, she silently scolds herself. “With my black pants and the pink sweater? The London air is colder than I expected.”

“It’s nearly winter,” he fusses, tugging down on his old, standard wool coat.

She rolls her eyes, reaching down for her heels. “I can be ready in about ten minutes, is that okay?”

He nods. “The car is packed, I’ve already taken my stuff down. What else do you need for an overnight bag?”

She points to the satchel on the bed. “Stuff in whatever you want me to wear for tomorrow, when we meet your dad. You said it was a lazy drive back here, with some stops along the way? Things you wanted to show me?”

He nods, reaching for her jeans. “My old stomping grounds. Might do a little walking.” He looks around. “Where are your tennis shoes?”

Entering the bathroom, she flicks on the light. “Still down by the back door, I think.” She nervously chews her lip. “Tom, does your mom know about us? How we met?”

He nods, worrying his own lip. “I’d mentioned weeks ago, after leaving my… former situation, that I’d hoped to fix my wrongs. She’s asked a few questions, especially with me being gone so much lately, and I’ve told her bits and pieces-”

“Does she know I was your student?”

He nods.

Thalia thumps her head against the door jamb. “Oh, God, Tom, what she must think of me!”

Tom drops to the bed, rubbing out the wrinkles on his forehead. “No, actually, she was ready to turn me over to the authorities. To hear her rant and rave, you’d have thought I’d told her I’d had an affair with an underage high schooler, not a grad student in her mid-20s.”

Thalia smiles. “I was young and naïve.”

“You were wearing a mini-skirt in the library-“

Thalia folds her arms over her chest, challenging him. “Are you saying my choice in clothing made you feel like you needed to come on to me? That, as a man, you couldn’t control yourself?”

Tom bows his head. “Bullocks, that sounds bad doesn’t it?” His soothing laughter, the familiar ‘eheheh’ sound, echoes around the sparse room. He slides off the bed, landing on his knees again. Raising his hands to plead, he crawls towards her. “Dearest Thalia, any man, regardless of your clothing choices, would be powerless to resist you. You have the body of a goddess, your voice is sin, your smile warmth on a cold day-“

She throws her head back on a guffaw. “Get up, you fool, before you damage your knees. And don’t you dare wax poetic like that in front of your mother or sister.” She reaches for the door, readying to close it. “They’ll have you committed.”

“Nah.” He wrinkles his nose on a grin, then groans as he gets up. “They had a dozen chances throughout my life to do that. They’ll just roll their eyes, and once they give it time to sink in, they’ll know I’m truly in love.”

Moving closer, Tom wraps his long fingers around her neck and tilts her head up, his eyes awash with meaning and his expression growing solemn. “I mean it, you know. Sure, I’m being a bit over-dramatic and probably soppier than any man should be, but I’m being completely honest. There’s so much about you that I admire, Thalia, so many reasons why I love you.”

Feeling her throat close up, Thalia swallows thickly. “I know. And I feel the same.”

His smile is brilliant, like sunshine in human form. He dips down for a quick kiss that she can feel everywhere, then gives one ass cheek a light swat. “Off you go then, I’ve got this.”

Thalia can’t hide her smile as she closes the door, some of her worries fading away.

 Click here to read Chapter 33, Over Her Head. Only a few chapters remaining.

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

Served Hot

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Served Hot

Being Thalia

Chapter 31

By devikafernando and avenger-nerd-mom

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

WARNING: HEAT ALERT!! HOT HOT HOT

Word Count: 2117

Summary: Thalia and Tom enjoy early morning treats.

Previous Chapter, All Tied Up

November 2021

Thalia wakes up to warmth and instinctively snuggles close before opening her eyes. But wait, there’s nobody to cuddle with–the warmth comes from sunshine streaming through a window. She blinks to clear her sight and looks around, momentarily disoriented. Then it all comes back: she’s in Tom’s apartment. Back in England after years, and so much has changed.

Thalia sits up, tugging the sheet around her as she’s slept naked in Tom’s strong arms. He brought her here yesterday because today they’ll take another major step forward. It’s time to meet his parents.

Her hands grip the sheet tighter, twisting it in a bout of anxiety. She spoke to his mother, Diana, several days ago because Tom wanted her properly introduced. That resulted in an invitation by the well-spoken, surprisingly kind woman on the phone. So here they are, ready to face the family. She shouldn’t be so nervous. If this woman raised a person as amazing as Tom, and if his stories about Diana Hiddleston are anything to go by, she must be lovely to meet. Patting her plump thigh, Thalia certainly isn’t ashamed about herself or about their relationship…but it’s bound to be weird at first. How much does his mom know, and how happy is she about it?

Deciding that worrying won’t get her anywhere, Thalia gets out of bed. She needs coffee, pronto. A side of Tom wouldn’t hurt either, if he’s back from his diabolical early-morning run. She shrugs into the oversized T-shirt and panties that should have been–and were, for a few minutes before Tom practically devoured her–her sleeping clothes. Her cheeks heat at the memory of how he claimed he wanted to christen every room and every surface of the apartment with her, starting in the bathroom and the bedroom.

Trying hopelessly to untangle her curls with her fingers, she decides that looking presentable will just have to wait until after the coffee. Tugging the hem of the t-shirt down, Thalia walks down the stairs, following her nose. God, that smell is heavenly, a mix of eggs and bacon and coffee. Her stomach gives an audible rumble–but it isn’t the scent of breakfast food that has her mouth watering a moment later when she steps into the kitchen. It’s the sight of the man doing the cooking.

Hot damn, it should be illegal to look so sexy at this time of the day, doing something so mundane. Hoping she isn’t actually drooling, Thalia feasts her eyes on Tom standing at the counter, tapping his foot while he chops some fruit. He’s dressed in black jeans and a white button-down shirt with its sleeves rolled up. A black apron tied at the back makes the outfit complete and gives her all sorts of dirty ravish-the-cook fantasies she didn’t even know she harbored. The jeans are pulled tight around his delectable ass and she battles the urge to just walk over, sink to her knees and bite one of those perfect butt cheeks.

Her blush intensifies, and Tom notices her presence right at that instant.

“Hey.” His whole face lights up, at least as brightly as the sunlight through the kitchen window that gives his hair a ginger tinge. He quirks his left eyebrow, pausing to read her shirt. Wiping his hands on the apron, he grins. “Good morning, beautiful. Did the smells lure you down at last?”

With a nod and a muttered ‘good morning,’ she tries to slink past him towards the coffee machine. She should’ve remembered the goddamn wingspan on this man. With one long arm darting out, he intercepts her path and hauls her close so he can press a quick but possessive kiss to her pouting mouth. Then he nuzzles her hair and inhales before giving her a playful shove.

“You get your caffeine fix, then sit down and wait.” Tom wags an admonishing finger when she frowns, ready to protest. “Nuh-uh. You don’t get to lift a finger because I’ve decided your first morning in my apartment warrants something special. So let me pamper you and treat you to the magic of a full English breakfast, served hot.”

Definitely ‘served hot,’ Thalia thinks to herself as she grabs a mug. Looking over her shoulder at him, her insides warm before even having the heated beverage. Damn, he’s so hot. She turns to the coffee pot and fills it with the scalding brown, aromatic liquid. All too happy to watch Tom putter about, looking so at home in the kitchen and somehow moving with graceful purpose despite those long limbs, she plunks herself down on one of the bar stools. “Do you always fix coffee, or is this just for me?” she asks before blowing her lips over the top of the steaming cup.

Tom momentarily loses his focus when the T-shirt rides up to reveal most of her thighs alongside a peek of panties. His tongue flicks out to lick his lips but then he gives himself a shake and averts his eyes. “For you, darling. Everything is for you. Always.”

Grinning, Thalia sips her coffee and watches on as her personal chef for the day puts his finishing touches to the meal. She can see fried eggs- sunny side up-, crisp bacon dripping with fat, sausages, something that looks suspiciously like baked beans and grilled tomatoes. And are those pancakes? Tom darts around to get the toast on plates, then arranges the just-cut fruits–strawberries and green apple and banana–artfully on a separate plate. It’s colorful and fragrant and she wants to bask in it all, in this sense of domestic bliss she could really get used to.

Feeling herself get wet at the surprising eroticism of Tom as a too-sexy-to-be-real houseman, Thalia presses her thighs together, wiggling precariously on the barstool. She watches his peachy bum as he bends to retrieve a bottle of orange juice from the fridge, then has to stifle a moan at the way his back muscles entice her when he stretches a bit to get glasses out of the top pantry cupboard. Suddenly, she’s ravenous–but not for food. Tom has barely set the glasses down on the counter to pour them some cold juice before she’s up from the stool. Crossing over to him, Thalia makes up her mind.

“Tom?”

“Hm, love?” He half-turns–and freezes when she pulls her T-shirt off without further ado, leaving her only in her panties. She sees his hand shake as he sets the bottle down with a clink and turns fully.

“What are you doing?”

“Showing my gratitude for breakfast,” she says with a saucy smile, tossing her hair and making Tom blink.

“B-but we haven’t even eaten it yet.” Thalia can see how much effort it takes him to maintain eye contact, his gaze slipping lower to her naked breasts for a fraction of a second.

“Doesn’t matter. I’ve decided I don’t want breakfast now,” she waves his protest aside and steps close enough to fumble with the apron’s tie at the back, making sure her boobs brush all over his torso as she slides her arms around him.

“You don’t?” He sounds so confused, like a flummoxed school boy totally out of his depth, and she wants to laugh, but she’s too turned on to appreciate the humor of the situation.

“I don’t,” she affirms. “I want you instead.”

When she lets her hand wander down to squeeze an ass cheek, Tom groans. And he doesn’t stop her when she finally unties the apron and tosses it on the counter. She slides her hands around his slim hips to the front and makes him hiss when she drags her blunt nails down his crotch. Something twitches with interest beneath her touch, hardening. Thalia glances up at him and makes a show of licking her lips.

“So hungry,” she whispers seductively, which only makes him groan even louder. Staring down at her, his mouth parted, Tom watches as she runs her palm up and down, applying more and more pressure and friction. At a particularly firm squeeze, he hisses and closes his eyes for a moment. A ‘please’ slips from him.

“Please stop or please go on?” she asks, fluttering her lashes at him when he seeks her gaze. His pupils are blown and his breath is coming faster, and seeing him so at her mercy makes her slicker between her legs.

“Please, Thalia, go on.” It’s a husky plea that does things to her.

In the power of the moment, she doesn’t miss his address of her given name, rather than one of his titles, nicknames, for her. Gathering a heady sense of authority from Tom’s willingness to bend to her needs, Thalia leans up to peck him on the lips, denying him a real kiss. Determined, she slides lower until she’s kneeling on the tiles, their coolness such a contrast to how hot she feels. Deftly, she unhooks Tom’s black belt and then unzips him, careful of his erection. Hooking her fingers into the waistband, she pulls both the jeans and the boxers–which he’s probably only wearing because he’s planning a family visit–down his thighs, trapping them around his knees. Tom automatically tries to widen his stance, licking his lips again at the sight of her kneeling.

Thalia runs the tip of her nose over the hardening length, inhales the scent of clean male musk and Tom’s soap. She nuzzles, runs gentle lips over him as his foreskin slowly pulls back to reveal more. When she laps at the first bead of precum offered to her, Tom’s groan is even more heartfelt and rough. She glimpses him bracing himself on the counter behind him, knuckles white as he grips the edge. This new sign of him surrendering to the moment, to the pleasure she can bring him, spurs her on and also makes her wetter.

Emboldened, Thalia gives him one firm stroke, then anchors her hands on his thighs, thrilled at the quivering, tensed muscles beneath her fingers. They’ve done quite some catching up in the past few weeks but it’s been a long time since she’s done this. She’s almost forgotten what a heady sense of power it gives her, and how beautiful Tom’s cock is up close. Taking her time, she licks and caresses him with her lips, gives him a suckle or a fimer suck off and on. The intention is to please him, but it gives her pleasure in return as she rediscovers this treat. Every so often, she’ll scrape her teeth gently along his length, dip her tongue into the slit or glide her mouth lower to his balls. But she takes her time, drinking in his hisses and gasps, the occasional growly moan, bitten-off curse, pleading use of her name. And he doesn’t remove his hands from the counter to steer her or direct the pace, just holds on and attempts to keep his eyes open so he can watch her kneel for him.

At last, when she’s so aroused she has an idea how on edge Tom must be, Thalia sucks him off in earnest. She lowers her mouth to take as much of him inside as she can, hollows her cheeks and sets a rhythm that has Tom whimpering. God, how she wants to move one hand between her thighs and rub herself to completion while she makes him come. But this is for him, a thank you in many ways. And so Thalia flattens her tongue against the vein running along the underside of Tom’s cock and dips her head that tiny bit further until her gag reflex kicks in. And then she moans around Tom’s rigid length, and the vibrations set him off.

Thalia feels his release hit the back of her throat, and she swallows and swallows as Tom’s body jerks, half-twists to the side while his hands fist in her hair at the last moment. She holds still until he’s finished, gives him some tender, cleaning kitten licks before shuffling back a bit. There’s barely time to take a breath before Tom has hauled her to her feet and crushed her to him, panting into her hair and swaying side to side with her a bit. He loosens his hold to peer at her, brow raised as if to silently ask what’s gotten into her.

With a naughty grin, she gives him a wink. “Well, you said you wanna christen every room in the apartment. Looks like you can put a check mark behind the kitchen.”

After a peck on his cheek, she wriggles out of his embrace, puts her T-shirt back on and saunters to the dining table.

“Now, weren’t you about to serve me breakfast?”

Click here to Chapter 32, Ready?

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

All Tied Up

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All Tied Up

Being Thalia

Chapter 30

By avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 1105

Summary: Thalia finds another- very sexy- way to cling to her independence.

Previous Chapter, Déjà Vu

Thalia can barely unlock the door, with Tom’s hands fumbling under her dress, his crotch nestled up against her backside. “Can you wait two more minutes? There are cameras in the hallways,” she hisses quietly. Not that she really wants him to stop, but she’d rather not get busted for inappropriate behavior at work. Shaking her head slightly, the irony is not lost on her.

She’s at her place of business, getting ready to fuck the man she used to work for- her college professor- in her office.

Guess the tables have turned.

He looks up and down the long hallway. Burrowing his face in the crook of her neck, he nips his teeth at her exposed shoulder. “And no lights. No one will know I’m trying to get your knickers down before we’re even through the door.”

Distracted, she drops the key. “Shit,” she mumbles.

Tom bends to retrieve it, his other hand sliding up her thick thigh as she grabs the key from him, finally opening the door. Holding tightly to the door knob, she wags her finger at him. “My desk is all laid out for next week’s budget meetings.” Dropping her hands to his solid chest, she runs her hands up his tight form before slowly undoing his tie. “Don’t even think of clearing it off in a mad dash.”

tie by painfulbliss

He solemnly crosses his finger over her chest, his fingertips dragging over the top of her exposed cleavage. Thalia holds her breath, feeling her skin rise in goosebumps at his slightest touch.

“I promise. I’m thinking of fucking you right off, against the wall, love. I can’t even wait ten seconds to cross the room to the desk.”

A rush of heat slams between her legs, his words, his hands, his mouth, causing her to melt down quickly. He pushes her through the door, banging it against the wall. Something in the dark room crashes to the floor. Moonlight casts shadows around them, but she can’t tell what’s broken – not that she gives a shit at the moment. She hastily kicks the door closed with her foot, pulling at the buckle of his dress pants.

Unbuttoning his pants, her shawl falls down her arm. Hit with sudden inspiration, a sinful thought fills her mind. Lifting her head, she keeps her face firm. “No.”

Surprised, Tom chuckles, “No?”

Air is sucked from his lungs as Thalia moves quickly, tugging his pants down and forcing him to sit on a nearby chair.

“You said I’d get my turn.” Flicking her wrap over her arm, she hitches her dress up, planting herself on his lap. Wet and ready, her slick panties caress over his exposed hardness while she pushes his shoulders back, his arms over the top of the chair. Staring into his eyes, she holds back a devious grin. Leaning forward, trapping the lace shawl between them, she brushes her chest against his, whispering in his ear, “It seems like it’s a perfect time for me to tie you up.”

Licking his ear lobe, she grinds down on him, reaching around his shoulders and tying the wrap behind him.

Nuzzling his nose in her hair, growing harder against her heat, Tom pleads, “Fuck me.”

Instinctively, Thalia wants to obey. He’s using that deep, growly voice that promises the wickedest things imaginable, the words sounding even dirtier in his posh accent. But no-

She’s doing this her way.

“That’s the plan.” Lifting from him, her mouth crashes into his. She scrambles to move her skirt out of the way, drawing her underwear to the side and sinking down onto his stiff, thick cock. “Oh, sweetness,” she mutters, pulling off his lip.

Their kisses chase one after the other, Tom pinned to the chair under her weight as she pushes down on him, grinding closer to their release. His arms useless, Thalia plants her feet firmly on the floor. Laying her hands on his shoulders she pulls off him, before slowly impaling herself again. A moan escapes her lips, while he holds his breath tightly. Sounds from the party filter through the building, hiding their groans and whimpers from the intoxicated revelers. With a quick boost up, Thalia repeats the motions, bringing Tom right to the edge. His long legs tighten under hers, his breath quickens in his chest as his eyes dilate, turning black with lust.

“Kiss me while I pour into you, Mistress. Take me as yours,” he pants, barely able to hold back.

“Uh, uh.” She shakes her head ‘no.’ Thalia rises again, leaving his tip barely in, swaying her hips side to side, before sheathing him once again. The force rocks the chair, but the two stay balanced. She can feel the strength rising up from his feet, an unstoppable force. Her mouth hovers above his, breathing in his air, brushing her nose against his, inhaling his scent, before hungrily claiming his mouth.   

So connected, her velvet walls grip him tightly, each surging pulse of his release filling her as her own orgasm crests. Yanking his hair, she tilts Tom’s head back, latching her lips over the exposed area of skin, under his earlobe. The scruff on his jawline scratches her cheek as she bites and marks him, staining his skin with her lipstick. He gives a full-body shiver, his head dropping even further back in surrender. She slumps against him, equally sated.

It takes him a while to lift up his face and blink at her.

“Oh, Jesus.” His breath is hot against her skin. “Am I still alive? Did you kill us? What a way to die!” He chuckles. “Now, give me your mouth, love.”

“Not because you tell me to-” She meets his need, her lips parting, accepting his tongue to tangle with hers. Breathy, she finishes her sentence, “Because I want to.”

“Giving yourself to me makes you no less independent, darling.” He cocks his eyebrow, a challenge in his eyes. “No more so than being tied to this chair makes me unable to move my arms. I’m trapped here because you wish it so.” To prove it, he twists his torso and gives a yank with his arms, freeing himself.

Kissing the tip of his nose, she rises off him, her wobbly legs making her collapse to the floor. “Are you saying I need to work on my knots?”

“I’m saying everything I do is for you, your wishes, needs and desires.” Sliding off the chair and landing next to her, Tom hands her shawl back. Pulling his shirt down, covering himself, he wraps his arm over her shoulder. “We can learn together, Thalia.”

Click here for Chapter 31, Served Hot

Image found on Pinterest

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

Déjà Vu

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Déjà Vu

Being Thalia

Chapter 29

By avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 2396

Summary: Tom and Thalia re-live a night from their past, and make it better.

Previous Chapter, Surrender

November 2021

Standing in front of the glowing dome, Tom pats down the front of his formal tux. A member of the serving staff greets him. “Señor, ¿tiene Ud. la invitación?

He smiles, thankful he’s been brushing up on his language studies. For such a multicultural city, Madrid holds strong to pride in its language. “Soy un amigo de Thalia Bareo.” He pats his pockets. “No tengo una invitación.”

¿Sr. Iddleston?” He nods, still unaccustomed to the swallowing of the H sound when his name is spoken in Spanish, and the server smiles. “Come this way,” she says, speaking in quiet, broken English. “She said to show you inside.”

Tom follows the older woman, looking up to admire the lights and floral displays. Inside the building, she reaches for the coat, draped over his arm. She points to the coat closet and leaves his side, returning to her job.

Tom watches as other couples and patrons fill in, wondering where his lovely woman could be. She’d left her flat in a rush this morning, slinging a large bag over her shoulder, a garment bag hanging from a finger she held high up over her shoulder. “There was a problem with the food order, and I’ve got to go see if I can fix it.” Her smile was wide and inviting. “I can’t serve food truck tapas to the wealthiest in town if we want the additional money for the Gaudí exhibit.”

He’d lifted from the bed, and offered to tag along. “No, you stay. You’ve got the book query to finish by next weekend. I have so many things to do, and you don’t speak enough Spanish to really help.”

“Are you saying I’d be in the way?” he asked, fluffing out his hair.

“Yes.” Thalia threw a kiss over her shoulder, smiling warmly. “I have a hair and makeup appointment this afternoon, photos for the museum, and I’ll see you at the hall a las ocho.”

She’d been out the door before he’d been able to reply. After her exit, he’d lazed in bed a bit longer, answering some emails on his phone and dashing out a few more sentences to his literary agent. His tummy rumbled and he finally dressed and ventured out onto the streets. He proudly dangled her house key from his finger, flipping it around in his hand as he walked through the neighborhood. He stopped to admire the crafts and wares of the vendors setting up for the afternoon. Purchasing a small wooden painted postcard of the park where they’d walked the night before, he happily sighed, tucking it in his back pocket. Continuing his excursion, he smiled at shopkeepers, setting out café tables for the day. But few were ready to serve breakfast, as the locals rarely eat as early he does.

Turning the corner on the next block, the smell of fresh baked bread greeted his nose. A portly man called out a greeting and beckoned for him to cross. Watching for traffic, Tom jogged across the street.

¡Bienvenido! Ven aquí, ven aquí. ¿Americano?

Tom shook his head, searching for the word he lacked. Seeing the banners across the front of the little café, he pointed to the Union Flag. The man nodded, and ushered him to a little table with a chess set. The man barked out some orders to a young woman behind the counter and sat down with Tom. He reached forward and moved one of the white pawns into play. Tom counteracted the move. The two shared a game and a traditional breakfast of toast, smeared with crushed tomatoes and olive oil. With an eye on the time, Tom finished the game, allowing the man to win, but promised to return. He left a hefty tip, and took a business card with him so he’d be able to find the place another day.

If asked, he’d hate to admit to Thalia he’d spent the remainder of his day studying chess moves on his computer and talking on the phone with his sister. She’d questioned him about his absence and he’d vaguely replied that he was researching for a new book.

“Really? The Clarke’s heard from Sabrina you might have a new woman already. Is that true, little Tommy boy?”

Tom wanted to keep his secret awhile longer, and dishing details to his sister was as good as taking out an ad in the Daily Mail. The whole county would know before the postman arrived the next day. “Believe me, sweetest Sis, when there’s news to tell, you’ll be the first to know.” He’d shaken his head vehemently, knowing that was the biggest lie he’d told in recent times.

“Tom!” His head snaps around, seeking out the lovely woman addressing him. “There you are!”

For a split second, he worries Thalia’s going to rush across the room, despite her high heels, and tackle him. She moves forward and stops, tilting her head. Even from a distance, without his glasses, he sees her mouth form the word ‘fuck’ as she mentally undresses him from his fitted designer tux.

He blushes, bowing his head. He allows her eyes their fill, before rising tall to gaze upon her again. The plunging neckline and revealing slit up the thigh of her tight black dress leaves little to the imagination. Before the night is over, he fears he’ll be fighting off competitors, other men, vying for her attentions.

Crossing the room to join him, two staffers stop her with questions and she waves them away. A third person detains her and she listens intently to the inquiry as she continues moving towards Tom. The intruder sees where Thalia’s true attention lies and slowly steps away.

“Hey, handsome. You clean up nice, despite the shaggy hair.” She steps closer and smooths out an unseen wrinkle on the satiny lapel. “You know if you ever pull that mess into a man bun, I’m chopping it off?”

“So you’ve said,” he chuckles. His eyes dart to the side. “You’re working. Am I allowed to touch you?”

She grabs his hands, placing them on her rounded hips. “I’m officially off the clock. Well, except for my speech.” She lists her head to the right in thought. “And when I have to get up and introduce the director of the board.”

“You look stunning. So much more confident than the last time we attended a ball together. You already were a gorgeous girl. Now you’ve become a beautiful woman, Thalia. On the inside and out.” Tom gazes into her eyes, wanting to remember every detail of the moment. He can feel his thoughts written on his face, his eyebrows lifting of their own accord, expressing unspoken love and adoration for this amazing creature. He takes in her freckles and the little scar on her lip from coaching Little League, and the faint scar across her left cheek. The last one still sends an ice-cold shiver down his spine because it reminds him how she was attacked years ago. He wants to kiss her full, pouty lips but doesn’t want to smudge her makeup before the event begins. Her eyes watch his, the corner of her mouth twitching into a small smile. His gaze drops lower, her pulse fluttering at her pulse point, just below her ear where he loves so much to nibble and bite.

Her dress reveals her alluring cleavage, the start of her flowered tat peaking above the cut of the expensive fabric. He wants to get lost there for days, to bury himself between her ample bosom and suffocate, dying a happy man-

“Did I ever tell you I can read your thoughts, Thomas?”

He licks his lip, looking up at the dancing whimsy in her eyes. “Do tell, Mistress, what do they say?”

“You’re thinking, ‘How long do I have to look at her face before I look at her boobs? Was that it, was that long enough? Shit, I have a little smirk cuz I wanna look at boobs. Ok. There. I looked at her face long enough, now my eyes can slowly look down… BOOBS. Dammit. I’m not smirking now. Lust is written all over my face. I can’t help it. I should look back up, but no. Boobs!’”

Tom throws his head back, releasing his robust, gut busting laughter. To hold it in would cause him pain. “Oh, sweet Thalia, you are a treat. A devil in a party dress, that’s what you are! How did I ever let you slip from my grasp?”

“You were young and foolish. I’d like to think you’ve grown wiser-”

“You are a saucy little thing tonight! How about a swing around the dance floor as punishment?”

She lifts her eyebrows and signals a staff member nearby. As Tom leads her to the dance floor, one hand rests possessively on her lower back, the other still holding hers tightly.  He chuckles ‘eheheh’ when the band changes their tune, seamlessly switching over to the song he and Thalia had danced to at the Alumni Gala over six years before. “You are a delight, darling! You never forget anything, do you?”

She smiles, twirling in his grasp to face him. “There are things about that night I wish I could forget. I was horrible, wretched, Tom.” She places her hand in his raised one as he gracefully wraps the other around her waist, holding her close. “To more than one person, including myself-”

“-Thalia,” he interrupts another stream of her self-flagellation for her wanton youth. “Have you forgiven me for being cold and aloof?” She raises her sculpted eyebrow in a silent question. “I’ve forgiven you, long ago for anything I unknowingly pushed you to do.” He inhales deeply. “And if you aimed that winning smile of yours at… at Evans,” he pushes on, swallowing hard, “He’d have been a fool and blind not to have fallen in love with you as well. I’ve made peace with it all, love. As I’ve said, it all brought me back to you. I think we’re meant to be exactly where we are now. ‘The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.’ And I believe-”

“-Tom, do you have a Shakespeare quote for every occasion? Do you have like a dusty old file cabinet up in your brain, each drawer and file labeled? Do you just think, ‘I need a quote about love and life and the passage of time!’ And it just pops in your head?’” she asks, incredulously.

He shakes his head in laughter, a loose curl falling across his forehead. “Well, darling, you know them too, it would seem.”

She blushes at his compliment to her intellect. “I recognize them, but I don’t know that I could randomly quote them.” She squints, her eyes flashing and filling his heart with a longed for warmth. “We need to get you on a trivia show, you could win us millions.”

“No, love, then we’d be famous, and people would stop us on the street, asking about our dog and wanting autographs-”

“What dog?”

He spins her gracefully, light as a feather. “I think we need a dog, someone to snuggle at our feet at night.”

“We?”

He pulls her closer. “Yes, we. We are a we now.”

She squeezes his hand. “What if I want a cat?”

He whispers in her ear, “I already have all the pussy I need.”

He can feel the heat rise off her, not needing to lean back to see that she’s blushing.

“What if I only want to share my bed with one animal? I don’t need a dog at my feet to keep me warm. I have you.”

She pushes closer, her voice like velvet to his ears. His heart wells with pride, heated by her spirit. One song blends with the next, and the next. He keeps her in his arms most of the night, until the dinner is served. Tom enjoys the conversation of the guests they’re seated with, discussing local politics and theatre. His eyes stay locked on her as she moves about the room, speaking in Spanish and French with the patrons, sharing knowledge of artifacts on display, depositing their personal donations into a leather pouch she carries under her arm.

Seated in the corner, tired of the fanfare, and frankly, his mind worn out from keeping track of the Spanish conversations, Tom sits alone, his fingers tracing the rim of his glass. A model-looking waif sits down next to him, trying to stir him, and he simply shakes his head. The woman takes the hint, scattering away quickly when Thalia, with her steely, dark eyes focused on her, moves towards the table.

Gripping the back of the chair across from him, she leans forward. “Wanna get outta here? I pawned the intro of the director off onto another colleague. I’m officially done for the night.”

“Stay just like that, darling. Don’t move.” Thalia tilts her head, keeping her stance, smirking when he lifts his phone to take her photo, her cleavage nearly falling out of her dress. “That’s the reason,” he points, “you’ve collected so many thousands in euros tonight. That one man, the German one, he nearly propped up his wallet on your breasts to write his check.”

“It’s just like when I was bartending. They can look. That doesn’t mean they can touch. Although it was the asshole from Poland who got his hand slapped,” Thalia says, reaching for his arm when he stands and offers it to her.

“Was that the scuffle with the guards earlier?” He takes her lace shawl from the back of the chair, wrapping it around her shoulders.

She nods, bending to kick off her heels, instantly 2 inches shorter. Tom swoops down to pick them up in his large hand, brushing against her exposed calf. Before reaching full height, he can hear her sudden intake of breath, and he instantly hardens, having been on his best behavior all night.

“Thalia, what’s the fastest way home from here?”

Her laughter rings around the room, drawing attention to them and their escape. The dark haired goddess waves goodbye to her secretary.

Cheeks flushing, with a devilish gleam dancing in her eyes, Thalia quietly informs him, “My office is up the stairs?”

He stops mid-stride, frozen, then throws his head back with laughter as well.

Click here for Chapter 30, All Tied Up

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

Surrender

ch 28 Surrender april 10 2019

Surrender

Being Thalia

Chapter 28

By devikafernando and avenger-nerd-mom

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Images found on Pinterest

Word Count: 2875

Summary: Surprises aren’t over for Thalia yet, as Tom takes their relationship another step further.

Previous Chapter, Not Yet

Tom blinks his eyes open, needing a moment to orient himself. He’s lying on his back next to Thalia, an arm flung out across her heaving body, his barely opened pants digging into him uncomfortably. With a contented sigh, he shifts so he can glance at his lady love, all sprawled out and covered in a fine sheen on sweat that makes her curvy limbs glow in the combination of illumination and moonlight. He wants to lick her skin, sink his teeth into the plump flesh and claim what’s finally his again. But first, breathing properly would be nice.

“Need a moment,” comes Thalia’s murmur as she cracks open a lid to squint at him.

“Yup, me too,” he admits, groaning a bit when his body wakes back to life and he wishes he was ten years younger. Resigned, he half-climbs over her to stand and wriggle out of his rumpled clothes.

One-eyed, she watches him, a hand idly stroking her belly in a move she likely isn’t aware of. Looking for a place to set down his clothes, Tom discovers a wooden rack to one wall. His gaze lands on her pretty scarf, the one he gifted her as a thanks for the tour at the museum, two months ago. He runs his fingers over the soft fabric, inhaling her scent. Rustling alerts him to Thalia stretching languidly and sitting up to fluff at her tangled curls. She’s the embodiment of a thoroughly fucked woman, and somehow that only serves to arouse him anew.

“God, it’s a miracle I can move,” she mumbles. “I feel as if all my limbs have liquefied. As if I’m floating. Right now, you could probably make me do anything and I’d just mindlessly comply.”

Tom’s brows shoot up at that admission, and suddenly he has an idea.

“Is that so?” Making his decision, he grabs the scarf, running it between his hands and waiting until Thalia’s eyes pick up the motion.

“Mhm.”

“Well, then I intend to take full advantage of that. Who knows when I’ll ever have you so pliant again?”

She chuckles, mumbling in a half-daze, “That’s probably true.”

He steps close, runs his free hand down her neck, shoulder and arm, tangles his fingers with hers. She lets him, as malleable as she just claimed. With a secretive grin, Tom sits next to her and drops a kiss to her clavicle. Then he pulls at their linked fingers and moves her arm behind her back, changing his position so he’s half behind her.

“You are becoming entirely too bratty, Miss Bareo,” he intones in the sternest voice he can manage with half his brain cells still in post-coital bliss. “Mouthing off and disobeying my orders and trying to flip the tables.” He tuts, using her moment of surprise to drop the scarf onto the bed and grab her other hand. Once he’s moved that arm behind her back too, he shackles both wrists in his large hand, squeezing firm enough to make her jerk.

“Tom? What are you on about?” Her voice sounds less hazy now.

Leaning forward, he buries his face in her hair and inhales, flooding himself with the mingled fragrances of her shampoo, vestiges of salt water from a dip in the ocean, arousal and her own unique smell. Then he kisses her shoulder, drags his teeth across the skin.

“I’m going to do what I should’ve done some time ago. Reacquaint you with how lovely it can be to submit to me, surrender control.”

He grasps the scarf again, loops it suggestively over her wrist without actually tying her yet. Thalia stiffens, attempts to turn her head and get a good look at him through her riotous curls.

“Tom, I’m not the girl I used to be. I’m not at your beck and call anymore, or at anyone else’s. True submission…it just doesn’t come that easy to me now.”

“I know.” He soothes her with another kiss, a nuzzle, caressing her with the fabric before looping it around her wrists once more, still not pulling tight. “But I also know that you’re no ordinary woman. You’re not black or white, good or bad, sub or domme. Like me, you are all of that and more, can be anything and anyone you want when it comes to such matters. And darling,” he adds, his voice now a purr of dirty promise, “I’m your lover, your man. I deserve the chance to cater to your every need. And I can sense that deep down, this IS what you need. Let go, for tonight. Let me care for you this way and gift me with your trust.”

He can feel some of the stiffness melt out of her, then hears her long exhale, almost a sigh of surrender. “We’ll give it a try,” she says at last, and he smiles widely against her damp skin. Kissing her again, he opens his mouth and sucks to mark her. He can feel her squirm but she doesn’t move away.

Slowly, he tightens the loops, then uses the scarf to thoroughly bind her hands. Slipping a finger beneath the fabric, he checks to make sure her circulation isn’t cut off. Then he rubs his hands up and down her arms, satisfaction making him hum low in his throat when it raises goose bumps.

His gaze lands on the mirror opposite the bed and he has another idea when a memory resurfaces. Using his strength to his advantage, he moves Thalia up onto her knees so she’s now positioned with her body facing the rectangle of reflective glass.

“Stay like this. Don’t move.” He uses his dominant voice, pleased when she doesn’t sass him.

Although he doesn’t want to leave the tied, tempting woman in the bed, he makes himself get up and pad across the room. Hitting all the light switches, he watches as everything becomes more visible and hears her gasp when she sees herself in the mirror. It is indeed a sight worth of gasps, and he can feel himself harden. With her arms tied, her bountiful breasts are pushed up and out, begging to be loved by him.

“I’d love to blindfold you, make your submission complete,” he says as he walks back and clambers onto the mattress. “But not this time. Tonight, you’ll watch. And you’ll see how stunning you are when you let yourself go.”

When her breath hitches, but he doesn’t get a ‘yes’ for an answer, he leans in closer, embracing her. Skin to skin, simply breathing together for a few moments. He slides one hand higher and rests it on her breastbone, he can feel her heart beat faster.

“Thalia, giving in now, to me, like this, doesn’t mean you’re taking a step back. I know you’ve earned your freedom and the right to be your own boss. I know how strong you are–how could I not? And I admire that strength, that stubborn streak, that oh-so sexy sass. You’re way too intelligent and self-aware to think that submitting is a sign of weakness. So why the hesitation?”

He feels her collect herself, her fingers unclenching so that they brush against his stomach.

“I don’t know. You’re right. It’s just…I haven’t done this in quite a while. My body hasn’t forgotten how much I loved this. If you touched me, you’d find me wet. But…it’s my head that doesn’t want to catch up.”

Tom grasps her chin and turns her head, meeting her gaze. “Then let me silence those voices in your head. Hand it all over. I know what to do with it, with you. I can make it so you don’t have to think, to decide, to control. You think too much. Let me take care of you, do this for you.”

After a few seconds, she nods. “Yes. Please.”

It’s all the permission he needs. Sealing the deal with a kiss that starts out gentle and loving only to morph into fiercely possessive heat, he changes position.

“Watch. Watch and relax, let me take care of you.”

Making sure that she won’t lose her balance in her tied state, he spreads her thighs, shifts her up some so that she can dig her fingers into a pillow if she wants to. Then he stretches out on his stomach in front of her, sending a smoldering glance up.

“You can be as loud as you want. No one can hear us here. But you don’t get to say what I do. Let go, and keep watching.”

Not waiting for a reaction because he expects her to obey his command, Tom dips his head. He strokes his mouth over every inch of her inner thigh, using his teeth and tongue and lips to seduce her right out of her skin. Then he repeats the same on her other thigh, before he finally gives her an open-mouthed kiss on her glistening pussy. Thalia moans, and he snaps his eyes up to make sure she’s still looking. She is, and it doesn’t surprise him. He remembers how years ago, they discussed kinks and she showed such an interest in people who have a fetish for sex in front of a mirror.

Giving it his all, Tom shifts his weight onto one elbow so he can use his other hand. He slides a finger inside as he continues to lick and suck on her swollen clit, and Thalia’s moans turn into something more animalistic, uninhibited. Her body half bows back, her fingers clawing at the pillow as she struggles to keep her balance, as she battles with the need to tug his head closer. When she comes at last, it’s on a wordless scream that will haunt his memories. He continues to lap up her offering, then scrambles to his knees to wipe her juices off his mouth and beard. With a hand at the nape of her neck, he brings her in for a kiss and breathes with her, for her.

“Was that so difficult?” he asks softly after he’s broken the kiss, doing his best to ignore his rock-hard cock wanting attention. Thalia shakes her head, hair flying everywhere. With a satisfied smirk, Tom brushes his nose against hers. “Good. And remember, we have a deal: you can make me submit some day in the future.”

Before she can react to that, he rises and sits down behind her to untie her. With soothing rubs, he helps her get feeling back into her arms, then kisses each of her fingertips.

“Do you think you can put weight on your arms or do you need some more time?” he asks, care taking over for a moment so that he doesn’t just order her.

“Yes.”

“Perfect. On your hands and knees, Miss Bareo. I’m not nearly done with you yet and you’ve got some more watching to do.” The commanding tone is back and she reacts on instinct even though he bets her body is now even more languid than after the first orgasm.

“Fuck, how I love this view,” he mutters to himself when she gets into position. Raising his arm, he lets his palm smack into one glorious ass cheek, watching it jiggle as she sucks in her breath on a hiss. Tom spanks the other cheek too before palming the globes and stroking away the sting. On an impulse, he leans down and runs his tongue down between the rounded cheeks, remembering something else she’s told him. When he circles her most secret place, Thalia curses a blue streak, pushing back at him.

“Stay still,” he snaps, and to her credit, she freezes immediately after clenching her hands in the sheets.

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“Good girl.” As a reward, he gives her another thorough, probing lick that has her whimpering. “Oh, the things I could do to you…” He sighs out, longing. Then he glides his fingers through her slick folds and strokes his cock. Once, twice…he can’t stand more or he’ll explode too soon.

“I’m going to take you now,” he whispers harshly, emphasizing the promise with a nip to the nape of her neck that sends a shiver down her spine. “And if you move even once to control the speed or depth, I swear I’ll stop. I’ll just get myself off and make you watch instead. Understood?”

“Yes-yes-yes.” It’s a breathless litany, a tad too impatient to sound actually submissive. But it’ll have to do because if he can’t bury himself inside his love right this very moment, he’ll surely die.

And so he grabs her hips and angles himself just so, thrusting home with one drawn-out stroke that has both of them groaning in unison. Once he’s nestled so deep he doesn’t know where she ends and he begins, Tom slips a hand up and over her back. He presses down firmly enough for Thalia to get the signal to lower her torso until she’s barely leaning on her elbows. Then he wraps his hand around her throat, finger by finger so she’s hyper-aware of it. Will she let him get this far? Even with her past and with so much time between her last submission? Tom waits with bated breath, not moving inside her even though it’s torture. He doesn’t squeeze, simply keeps his fingers loosely collared around her neck until she’s taken two shaky breaths and remains perfectly still.

“Thalia, oh Thalia. My love. My perfect one. So strong. So fucking strong.” With a reverent whisper, he removes his hand. Bracing it beside her shoulder on the bed, he pulls almost all the way out of her before beginning to thrust in earnest. His body is half folded across hers as he sets up a punishing pace because he knows he won’t last long.

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When she flutters and clenches around him, her voice rising, Tom slows for a moment. He loops an arm around her upper body and tugs her up so she’s all but sitting on his lap, on her knees in front of him.

“Look,” he gasps out, then grinds his teeth against his impending climax. “Look how well I can take care of you when you let me.” Sliding his hand down, he molds one of her bouncing boobs and pinches the peaked nipple between his fingers as her pussy clenches and grips him like a vice. “Now don’t you dare take your eyes off us.”

He sneaks his other hand from her ample waist between her legs, watching her as she in turn watches him in the mirror while he circles her clit and fucks into her from behind. And then his orgasm hits him so hard he sees only blinding white. This time, he’s the one screaming, and then he can feel Thalia come right with him with a choked sound that’s almost a sob.

Limp in his arms, he topples her over, landing on his back. Still hard, he thrusts into her again, from below. She whimpers, the sound slightly painful. Rolling Thalia to her side, he slides from her warmth, already wanting to go again. The sheen of sweat on her shoulder calls to him and he rolls closer, flicking his tongue over her warm, soft skin.

She grabs his hand, tucking it between her breasts, more sweat between the sweet valley. She wiggles her legs, getting comfortable, hitting against his solid thighs. He slides his leg between hers and pulls her close. Tom swears he can hear her purr, but he bites back the laughter that wells up deep in his chest.

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“Permission to speak, Sir?”

Even without seeing her face, he can hear the mirth, the pleasure in her voice.

“Granted,” he replies, trying to keep serious.

Extracting herself from his grasp, she rolls over, tangled in the sheets, to face him.

Her eyes search his face, her hand caressing his scruffy cheek. “I’m not an innocent girl anymore, I don’t know that I ever was-” She lays a finger across his lips when he begins to protest. “I’m hard-headed, hard to handle, and full of fire. You’ve always known that… Only two people I’ve loved ever knew how to deal with me. Three, I guess. Dad, too. He encouraged me to sass back.” She chuckles. “Didn’t want me to be weak, like his sisters. Wanted me to be strong enough, so I wouldn’t end up like my mother.”

Thalia reaches for his hand on her hip and brings it to her lips, kissing it tenderly. “It’s difficult for me to let my mind go, to let someone else be in control. But you’ve always known that too.” She lowers their hands, pressing them against his chest, feeling his heartbeat. “It’s not weakness, I have to keep telling myself that. It’s trust. Trust that I know you’ll always care for me. Strength. Strength to know when I need to let go and let someone else take care of me.”

“Oh, sweet Thalia,” Tom sighs, reaching to wipe the tears falling from her eyes. “You’re so strong. You always have been, but you don’t have to be strong all the time. Lean on me. Lean on me, love.”

Click here to read Chapter 29, Déjà Vu

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

Growing Up

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Growing Up

Being Thalia

Chapter 26

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

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

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

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

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

Word Count: 2779

Summary: Thanks to the influence of a young friend, Thalia comes to the realization she’s grown up.

Previous Chapter, Another Step Forward

October 2021

Thalia stares at the open journal in front of her. She absently flips back to the beginning and reads through the book, skimming quickly. She smiles as a weight lifts from her shoulders, realizing she’s made more progress than she thought. She shakes her hair back and whispers, “Doc was fuckin’ right. Who’d have guessed?”

A dark haired girl with braces and a wiry preteen frame plops down on the couch next to her. “You’re talking to yourself again. You do that a lot. Sure you’re not going crazy, living all alone in Madrid?”

Thalia rolls over onto her hip, pushing against Avery’s shoulder, and reaches her hand into the bag of potato chips. Pulling out a few, she rights her body into a more comfortable position. “Whatdya mean I talk to myself?”

“The last three nights, while you were fixin’ dinner, I could hear you in the kitchen, talking to yourself.” The girl claims, munching down on a handful of chips. “It’s very distracting to my homework process.”

Thalia scoffs. “From what I’ve seen, your homework process is hanging over the end of the bed, typing in numbers on your calculator while you Snapchat with Charlotte.”

“It works. I have straight As this term,” Avery brags, picking at a chip stuck in the purple bracket on her teeth. “Are you-” she sighs. “Are you talking to that guy?”

Thalia slowly chews the chip in her mouth. Due to the time differences, she and Tom have been on the phone in the evenings while she prepares their dinners. She didn’t think Avery would be able to hear over the TV and the music the pre-teen constantly plays. Placing her hand over her mouth, she talks while still eating. “What guy?”

Avery peers down in the bag, shaking the chips. “I heard Mom talking about how you got back together with some guy from your past. I guess Dad told her.” She shrugs. “I’m not a baby anymore, Lia. Hell, Dad just got remarried to the baby mama. I know you’re not getting back together. If you’re dating someone, you can tell me.”

Thalia straightens up a little more, and sends a stern look to the young lady. “Avery, don’t curse. It’s really crass when kids your age do it. I don’t like it. It doesn’t make you more grown up or tough.” Avery blushes and shakes her hair from behind her ears, whispering her apology and hiding from her role model. Thalia pats her leg. “It’s okay, I don’t think less of you, I just. I just hate to think of you doing that.” She reaches up and scratches under her hairline. “I have had a few dates with someone I once knew, that I actually met here at the University.” Seeing the young girl’s eyes grow wide, Thalia adds, “Someone I met before I knew your dad.”

Avery nods. “Cool. Where he and Dad friends, like he and Hems are now?”

Thalia chuckles. “No. No, your father and this man were not friends.” She pulls her smile over her teeth, remembering how the two men definitely were not friends. Yet when she needed them most, coming out the hospital years before, they both pretended to tolerate the other. “But they reluctantly agreed on some things.” She smiles big. “One of them being that I’m pretty incredible, and irreplaceable.”

Avery laughs. “It’s true. No one can replace you.” She huffs. “I can’t believe he married the baby mama.” She screws up her face, looking angry. “I blame you. If you hadn’t left, he wouldn’t have been at the grocery store alone, and bumped into her.”

Thalia squeezes Avery’s knee. “Come on, ‘Ry. You gotta quit calling Karen ‘the baby mama.’ It’s not right, and it’s not fair.”

“I’m almost twelve. I’m supposed to be hateful and dramatic. I’m not stupid. They got married because they had a baby. I mean, I love Liam. I’m making a scrapbook for him for Christmas. I’m working on it at school, so Dad doesn’t know. But I don’t have to like her.” She sticks out her tongue, gagging at the thought. “She’s not you.”

Thalia chews the inside of her lip, not knowing what to say. Her young charge continues her rambles.

“Did you leave because of me?”

“What?!” Thalia jumps forward, grabbing the young girl’s shoulder, tears springing to her eyes. “Oh, Avery, honey. I’m so sorry. If that’s what you’ve thought all this time, I am so, so sorry.”

Avery’s lip quivers as she falls into Thalia’s embrace. “I just really miss you.” Her chest rattles as she takes in a deep breath, letting out a sob. She sniffles, and coughs to clear her throat. “I thought you didn’t want me, or that I was too much work. You left twice.”

Through tears, Thalia holds her closer, wrapping her hand in the young girl’s hair. She breathes out slowly, then inhales the sweet, innocent smell of baby powder. “Oh, shit. I messed up, didn’t I? Oh, Avery. Me leaving was because I wasn’t grown up enough to know what I wanted or needed.” Her throat clicks and she pulls back, tilting the girl’s head up to look into her eyes. “Leaving you was so hard. Why do you think I still call and write you? I love you, honey. So much.”

Avery licks a tear from her lip. “Lia, you shouldn’t curse.” She laughs and her eyes glisten with tears. She sucks in her lips, smacking them when she releases the pressure. “You promise?”

“Avery, I didn’t realize till this very moment you thought that.” She clears her throat and looks up at the ceiling, trying to mask her fear of the pain she’s brought to this child. “My own mom left me when I was little. I’m sorry, I’m sorry I did that to you, made you feel like you weren’t important or special to me. I should have realized it sooner.”

With her own tears still falling, Avery climbs into Thalia’s lap, wrapping her arms around her plump confidant. “I didn’t mean to make you cry. Don’t worry. I’m not messed up. You’re not the reason Mom thinks I need therapy.” Her laugh comes out like a snort and the breath tickles Thalia’s cheek. “All the girls in my class go. She wants to keep up with the Jones’.” She pokes Thalia’s shoulder. “Thalia, you are the best thing. Like, don’t get mad I say this, but you’re like a kick ass role model I have to look up to, and that’s pretty amazing.” She settles in Thalia’s lap as the older woman rocks her back and forth. Like she did when she was younger, she weaves her fingers in Thalia’s curls. “I don’t know if Dad loves Karen, but I know he was happy with you. I remember crawling in bed on Sunday mornings and we would all read, and then Dad would make amazing pancakes.”

“Don’t forget the vanilla,” they chime at the same time. Thalia kisses the top of Avery’s head.

“I remember studying for spelling tests together, and how terrified I was when I had to rush you to the emergency room when your appendix burst.”

“You were scared?” For affect, she scratches the scar on her belly. “Thalia, you’re never scared of anything. That’s why you’re gonna be a great mom. You’re always so calm and collected.”

Her tears beginning to dry, she laughs. “Glad you think so, I was a jumbled mess. Always afraid I was doing it wrong, that your mom would yell at me, say horrible things about me.”

“Oh she did. Still does. Hates your natural curls and the fact you can eat half a cheesecake and still look amazing,” Avery admits, smiling up at her dearest friend. “But never anything really mean.”

“Your mom, she always made me so nervous. And I was always envious of how professional she dressed. I kinda copied her look a bit, adapted it for me, with things I could find at the market in Madrid. When she brings you for Spring Break, I’ll take you there.”

“See. She likes you. My friends still can’t believe I get to go to Europe for break, and stay with my dad’s ex-girlfriend.” Avery giggles. She leans back and screws up her face in thought. “So you like shopping now? Can we skip school tomorrow, and you take me shopping for a dress? The first school dance is in a few weeks.”

“We can’t skip school for a shopping day-”

“Please? You’re only in town a few more days, and I have to go back to Mom’s. I’m really glad she and Dad both agreed I could stay with you a few days, so you didn’t have to be alone in this rental.”

Thalia looks around the clear open space. The modern furniture lacks warmth and comfort, but having Avery here with her made the time fly. Avery’s stepfather picks her up in the mornings and gets her to school on time, so Thalia can head to campus to cover Chris’s classes and lead a few seminars. She’s enjoyed getting in the carpool lane at the Middle School to pick up Avery after volleyball practice. “I’m glad you’ve been here too. I’ll tell you what- let’s call your mom and have permission for me to pick you up early. I don’t wanna step on her toes if she already has plans to get you a dress.”

“She wants to get me something pink and girly, and won’t let me wear my cowboy boots.”

“I don’t know why you think that’s a fashion statement.” Thalia grins, kicking up her legs, revealing her yoga pants tucked into her boots. She leans forward for her phone, unceremoniously dumping the young girl on the floor. They both laugh and scramble for the phone. She opens her contacts to dial Maura when it rings, Tom’s face flashing on the screen.

“Ooow, it’s your new boyfriend.” Avery giggles, jumping up from the floor, rubbing her bruised bottom.

Thalia rolls her eyes and answers the phone. “Hey, hang on just a second-” “Go get started on your work. We’re going out for Chinese in a bit with Hems and Jane, but I wanna see your Spanish homework first.”

Sí, Señorita Bonita,” Avery calls over her shoulder as she leaves the room.

“Hello, darling,” Tom purrs. “Is that your new nickname? Miss Pretty? I totally agree, it suits you.”

Thalia laughs. “That kid I swear, she’s-”

“What’s wrong? You sound like you’ve been crying?”

She scoffs. “How the hell can you hear that on a transatlantic call? You have like the ears of a bat. Bats hear everything, right?”

“Something like that, love. I actually don’t know much about bats.”

“Oh, well! Something you don’t know? I’m shocked, Professor Hiddleston-”

“Thalia.” His voice scolds. “I asked you a question. Quit deflecting. You’ve been crying. Is everything okay?”

She sighs, snuggling back into the couch, pulling a pillow into her lap. “‘Ry and I just had an emotional heart to heart, that’s all.” She looks at her discarded journal resting beside her on the couch. “She came in as I was looking over my therapy journal. I’ve really come a long way in a short time, Tom. I was just realizing I really like who I am now, how everyone I’ve met along the way has helped me become the person I am. Even the bad people,” she says, running her fingers over the slight scar on her cheek. She inhales deeply. “It’s like I’m finally becoming Thalia, who I’m supposed to be.” She pauses, hit with sharp pang of emptiness, missing him. “When can I see you again? Can you be in Madrid when I get back?”

She hears him shuffling some papers. “I think I can arrange that for you, darling. I’ll have to juggle a few things. In a hurry to see me, are you?”

“Yes, you know I am. But it’s not because I need you. I mean, you know that right?” She runs her hand over her head, pushing away the wrinkled brow from her deep thoughts. “The person I am now doesn’t need you. But I want you. And it’s my choice. I think that’s really important… Growth.” She tilts her head, hearing and believing her own words. “I choose you.”

“Thalia, that’s so wonderful to hear you say that.” His pleasure practically crackles over the phone line. “When you left me alone in London ten days ago, I never would have thought this trip would be so therapeutic for you. I’m glad-”

“It’s closure, Tom. I’m not going to deny the things I’ve done in the past. I was awful to you, and other people who are important to me. I’m also not going to deny how I’ve felt the last several days. You, and Chris… Walking around campus, you’re both around every corner. And it was nice getting to see him, have dinner with him a few days before the wedding. We won’t get chances like that very often.” She sighs. “You’ll have to understand, to trust me, he and I have a special bond. And nothing’s gonna change that, and you can’t try to take those things from me-”

“I promise, I won’t,” he barely whispers.

She swallows. “Being with Avery has been great. She’s such a neat kid. I can’t wait for you to meet her. Did I tell you? Her mom and I sat together at her volleyball game last night. She has a conference in Madrid in the Spring, wants to bring Avery with her so we can spend time together.”

Tom’s throat makes a clicking noise. “That sounds, interesting.”

Thalia verbally swallows again. Her voice drops. “She thinks I’d make a good mom. Tom, I don’t know how to be a mother. My own left me, and when I was younger, I didn’t let Stacey do ‘mom’ things I should have let her do.” She worries her free hand inside the pocket of her college hoodie, playing with a paper straw wrapper she shoved there earlier. She heavily breathes, almost panting. “Tom, I’ve had the same vision. Only it’s a little boy, with dark curly hair, and his father’s clipped British chirp.” She audibly exhales. “Maybe I’m less selfish now. Maybe Madrid is good for me, because I can still travel to so many places easily by train, still get to archaeology sites just hours from the city.” She shrugs. She can feel his anticipation palpitating over the phone. “If I had the right man, if he understood me, understood I don’t need a child to feel complete. And it was a choice, not just an ‘oops, forgot my pill’ kind of thing… Maybe I could be a mom.”

He coughs. She can almost picture him nervously running his hands through his unkempt hair. “Well then, I’m not sorry at all you went to the States, maybe that’s something-”

La tarea está terminada.” Avery announces with a flourish, waving the papers in Thalia’s face.

Thalia grabs them and shows Avery her irritation. Tom’s lulling voice grabs her attention again. “I guess I better let you go eat. What’s a ‘Hems?’”

Thalia laughs, looking over the school work. “Hems is the nickname for a friend of mine, we were both teaching here. His name’s Hemsworth, but-”

“Chris? Norse Mythology? Blonde and bigger than a house? I know him! We worked together in Sydney for a few weeks, on a project. Great fellow. He’s like my brother from another mother.”

“Oh, God. Tom. Please, please don’t ever say that again.” She cringes. “That actually hurts my ears.” She shakes her head with exasperation at the young lady in front of her, wearing leggings under a long skirt, with cowboy boots and her father’s old leather jacket. She gives the free-spirited girl a thumbs up. “I’m being summoned for dinner.” She moves her mouth away from the phone, asking Avery, “Do I need to change?”

Avery looks her over. “Everyone falls in love with you, but Hems has Jane, and Dad’s married now, and I guess your new man doesn’t want someone sweeping you away so, I suppose you can go looking like an overgrown sorority girl. Your messy bun is lopsided.” The girl grabs the truck keys from the ledge and runs out the door.

Tom laughs. “Full of spunk, not your influence at all, I suppose? Go. Tell Hemsworth I said hello and I’d love to see him again some time.”

“I love you, Tom.”

It’s getting easier and easier for her to say.

“I love you too, darling.”

Click to Chapter 27, Not Yet

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

Paris

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Educating Thalia

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

Chapter 44

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: 1966

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, angst, relationship issues

Summary:  Tom meets Thalia in Paris for a holiday, bringing news from the States.

Click here to read the intro for Educating Thalia

From the table on the veranda, Tom looks through the house and watches Thalia at the front door of the little cottage, speaking broken French to the delivery boy.  He smiles at the way she shifts her weight,  her hands pushing her hair back from her face.  He’s memorizing every moment, burning the images into his brain, knowing he’ll need them for the cold, lonely nights to come.

Pivoting on her heels as she closes the entry, she sees him through the doorway and her eyes light up.  Resting the bag of food in one hand, she asks, “More tea?”

“No, darling, I’m fine.  Come out here; it’s beautiful.”  The sweep of his arm indicates the view over the valley below, but his eyes remain on her full figure.  Just a few weeks apart, and she’s changed, even more womanly than before, but something is different.  He hasn’t been able to put his finger on it…  “Stop where you are,” he commands.  She quirks her eyebrow and freezes mid step, one foot balanced in front of the other.  “Set the bag down, darling; I’m not hungry yet anyway.  Take off your robe.”

“A different hunger, then?” She teases, placing the bag on the coffee table, and she seductively unties the silk cover, letting it drop from her shoulders.  She closes her eyes and sucks in her breath, as his eyes wash over her, taking in the faint bruises still on her ribcage.

Tom turns his head, squinting, finally seeing the difference.  “Thalia, have you lost weight?”  He motions her forward and pats his thigh, inviting her to sit there.

Resting on his offered leg, she swings her legs over his lap and he cradles his arms around her.  “Well, not on purpose,” she pouts.  “I’m not fond of the French food,” she explains.  “Seriously, all I eat is salad, bread and cheese.  I love the carbs, but I guess with all the walking around the city…  I hate it.  Send me to Rome!  Fatten me up,” the dark haired beauty jokes.

Tom inhales the scent of her hair, a lump catching in his throat.  “Italy it is, then, my love; let’s put it on the calendar.”

She tugs at the button on his shirt, her fingers creeping between the fabric and caressing the curls on his chest.  She sighs deeply.  “That sounds wonderful, Tom.”  Her tone is sad as she pulls away, sliding off his lap and into her own chair next to him.  He wonders if he’ll ever see Rome through her eyes…  Looking down at the papers and books in front of him, she asks, “What’s all this?”

Tom purses his lips and nods.  He pauses, looking down at the vineyards, taking in the view and judging his words wisely.  “It’s a syllabus for next fall; working out some new things.”

Perched on the edge of her seat, in her silk bra and panties, she looks over the books carefully, lifting one thick volume and admiring it.  “Tom?  These aren’t for classes you teach… are you… Are you offering a new elective?”

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He runs his hand thoughtfully over his mouth, back and forth, pushing against his lips.  The scruff on his chin is raw against his fingertips.  “They are.  They’re for classes I’ll be teaching at another university, Thalia…”

Hugging the book to her chest, her jaw drops.  “What?”  she whispers.  “You’re leaving?  You can’t leave…  Did they…”  Thalia shakes her head.  “Did someone find out about us?  Did you get fired because of me?  Because if you did–”

Tom scoots his chair closer to hers, trapping her anxiously wiggling legs between his.  Pulling the book from her, his fingers graze her skin and the heat is felt in his touch.  “No, no darling.  Nothing like that.  If anyone knows, nothing has been said to me.”  Taking her hands in his, he holds them tight and runs his thumbs over the back of her hand.   Tears fill his eyes and he chokes on his words.  “I can’t… I can’t go back to a place you’re not.”  He sucks in a deep breath, his tears falling.  He looks up to her tear streaked face and tentatively smiles when she bites her lip to hold back a sob.  He raises her hands to his lips and kisses them tenderly, dropping one of her hands to free his.

Tom rests his large palm against her face, his thumb caressing over the scar on her cheek.  He smiles through the tears.  “I couldn’t… I couldn’t be happy there anymore without you, my Warrior Princess.”  He sighs.  “Oh, how you lived up to that name.”  Her free hand runs over his thigh, squeezing it tightly as her chocolate brown eyes rapidly read his face.  “You fought so hard, darling; you’ve worked so hard, and I’m so proud of you.  I loved you.”  He inhales shakily, his voice rough when he repeats his words. “I love you and I never said it.  I should have, a thousand times over, loud enough so you could hear it… But instead I pushed you away.  I thought I was too old for you; too set in my ways–”

“Oh, Tom,” she sighs, coughing back the tears.  “I–”

“No, no; don’t.”  His fingertip presses her lips closed.  “I know.  I always knew…  I knew you loved me too, yet I did nothing to change my behaviors, and I’ll live with that regret the rest of my life, Thalia.”  Her gasping cries fill the space between them.  He wants nothing more than to hold her close but he knows for the sanity of them both he needs to keep his resolve.  He came to Paris to tell her he loves her, and he did.  But now it’s time to let her go…  “I had the wild orchid I always searched for and didn’t know what to do with it when I found it.”  He chuckles, pulling back and wiping his nose on the back of his wrist.

The spell broken, she shoves her wild hair back and ties it loosely before reaching for a napkin on the table.  Wiping her tear stained cheeks, she holds the wadded tissue to her mouth.  “Tom… Tom, you’re too important to me to just let go; I don’t know if I can go on alone.  I don’t know if I want to…”

“But you should, darling, and you can.  And maybe…  Maybe you’ll choose someone else.”  He stands from his chair and walks to the railing.  If she chooses him, his competition, he doesn’t want to know.  He’d run to the ends of the Earth to hide from that pain.  Turning back to her, his eyes glimpse into the other open doorway, the jumbled sheets and silk tie hanging from the edge of the bed, her favorite boots haphazard on the floor…  He sucks in a sharp breath, clenching his fists at his sides.  He pulls himself together and he smiles bravely.  “And maybe I’m deluding myself, thinking we were friends before, and we can be friends again.  I feel like in our line of work, we’ll cross paths soon enough.  I already saw your name listed for the return trip to Stratford Upon Avon next Spring.  My new school is taking students as well; that’s one of the reasons why they hired me when I approached them. They know my work in the field…  Work I couldn’t have accomplished without you, Thalia.  I feel like you’ve made me the man I am today.”

Shaking off her sadness, obviously still stunned, Thalia stands from her chair, rising tall. Following his lead, as she always has, he thinks to himself…  Her words are quiet and filled with sorrow.  “Well, I know for damn sure I wouldn’t be the person I am now without your influence during the last year.”  Sucking in a deep breath, she walks back into the cottage and bends to pick up her robe.  Sliding the delicate fabric back over her skin, she looks to him.  “Okay, then… As they say, ‘We’ll always have Paris…’”  Her voice is shaky, but she continues.  “And, well, your new school will be lucky to have you, and as your friend, I’d be happy to give guest lectures on various topics.”  She knots the belt and walks back onto the veranda, leaning against the rail next to Tom.

For quite some time, they stand in silent next to one another.  The breeze catches the sleeve of her robe and the fine silk brushes against his arm.  The smell of her is so close to him, it wraps around him and becomes part of his memory.  From the corner of his eye, he can see her tears still silently fall and her chest heaves.  Tenderly, he places his arm around her and holds her close.  The Latina beauty melts into him and is so right in his arms.  He prays for a different outcome some day, but knows in his heart this isn’t what either of them need right now.  They both still have some growing up to do.

When her cries subside, her body warms again and she chuckles quietly.

“What’s so funny?” he asks, kissing the top of her head and stepping back to look down at her.

“Well, Sir, could you define ‘friend’ for me?”  Her eyes dance and he knows her teasing tone.  Sassy.  Thalia.  “Do you mean the ‘let’s get a coffee and catch up’ kind, or the ‘Hey, I just happen to be in your city and wondered if your bed was available’ kind?”

Tom’s ‘eh, eh, eh’ laughter bounces off the walls of the patio and birds startle and fly from the trees.  His amusement echoes hers.  “Oh, my darling, you are a wild child!”  With a slight push, he turns her around and points her towards the bedroom.  “Go get dressed, and let’s finish our sightseeing list for today.  We’ll just take it one day at a time, and learn a new way to be with one another.”

Thalia nods.  “Yes, Sir, what would you like me to wear?”

She laughs and runs away when he swats her rounded ass.  Out of his reach, she turns and sticks out her tongue.  “I’ll be a bit.  Gotta wash my hair; make a few calls for work.  You get some more planning done,” she orders.

All thoughts of getting any work accomplished have escaped him.  He knows she has reports to write for her office as well, so they’ll have to settle down again later in the evening.  Sighing, he cleans up his papers and shoves things back in his leather satchel.  His eyes rest on his glasses, folded on top of the copy of ‘Hamlet’ she’d lovingly held.

He whispers aloud, “Oh my dearest Thalia… ‘Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.’”

His eyes fill with tears again and he chuckles quietly.  The words of the Bard always provide him comfort somehow…  Sucking in a deep breath, he pushes forward.  He only has two more days in Paris before meeting with his sister in London for a short visit before going back to the States to restart his life yet again.

Tom feels like he’s always running from something, but maybe now Thalia has shown him a greater purpose, something to run towards; to not be scared of the next time he sees it.  Picking up the spectacles, memories of their love and lovemaking dance through his thoughts.  He wonders for the hundredth time if he did indeed take advantage of a student, purely for his own whim and fantasy.  Walking into the little cottage he rented outside the city, he turns on the kettle and prepares to make a fresh cup of tea.  He decides it doesn’t really matter how it happened – he’s simply glad it did.

Click here to read Chapter 45 Mended

Author’s Note:  There are only two remaining chapters of Educating Thalia

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