I sat, sopping wet, on the edge of the fountain next to Frank with two very amused policemen standing in front of us. Before gallantly helping me out of the water, Frank had pulled me close and whispered in my ear, “Let me do the talking,” and I was happy to oblige — mostly. He was effortlessly charming the pair of bobbies, neatly working in that he was a very respectable professor who would never truly do anything so shocking, you see, it was just the romance of the moment had made him lose his head a bit, that was all. This, of course, turned the bobbies’ attention to me, and I was sure I looked more like a drowned sewer rat than any reasonably conceivable objet d'affection.
“You said she’s not a whore, but what proof do we have?” one of the policemen practically leered, looking me over with a stern eye.
My head shot up, and I glared at him with the steeliest gaze I could muster. “I beg your pardon?”
“Yes, I believe you owe an apology to the lady,” Frank said, as angrily as he could be while still maintaining a veneer of obsequiousness. “She is the niece and ward of one of the most preeminent archaeologists in the empire, who is about to be honored by the king, and you will show her due respect.”
Our show of defiance seemed to cow the officer a bit, who then conceded, “My apologies, miss, it’s just usually when we’re pulling a bird off someone…” He shrugged, indicating this wasn’t going the usual way.
Frank seized the moment. “If you gentlemen would be so kind as to assist us in finding a cab, we would be most grateful,” he said in his most authoritative, professorial manner. This seemed to sway the one officer, but the other — the one who hadn’t called me a whore — held up his hand to keep us from getting up and scampering off.
“Well, there’s still the matter of you two engaging in indecent conduct where anyone could see,” he said slowly. “I’m sure we can come to some sort of arrangement.”
I sniffed suspiciously. I had watched Uncle Lamb pay countless bribes to slimy government officials who cared more about their pockets than the law she he could to smooth the way for his work — and I smelled a snake. I hopped to my feet, and stared him straight in the eye. “In that case, you’re going to need to take me to the gaol.” I held my hands out in front of me, awaiting handcuffs. I saw Frank’s soul leave his body. “I’d be delighted to make the acquaintance of your sergeant.”
The copper was taken aback, but soon regained his gusto. “I’m sure he’d be pleased to make yours as well, lady, when he’s signing the charge sheet that reads prostitution and indecent exposure.”
“You have no evidence,” I sneered straight into his face.
“I’ve enough to charge you, even if they won’t stick, and it could be hours before you even get a telephone call.” The officer was looking smug and I was ready to smack him. I drew my hand back and just as my arm started to move, Frank grabbed it in motion, stopping me. I groaned in frustration, but he was directing his attention back to the bobbie.
“You are right, sir. I’m sure we can come to some accomodation,” Frank said smoothly.
In the end, it took about 20 pounds and Frank’s very fine watch to convince the police officers not to arrest me. I sullenly fussed with my damp stockings, angrily deciding to forgo them entirely, and then strapped my shoes on my bare feet as Frank bade the coppers a polite farewell. He turned back to me, almost reproachful, but then seemed to think better of scolding me and came over to dress himself. He sat next to me as he put on his own shoes, and nudged my shoulder with his. I looked at him, expecting to see anger, but found an amused tenderness in his eyes that made me respond in kind.
“I’d expect this to happen in India, not London,” I said softly.
“Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” he quoted.
“Oh?” I said. He shrugged, and I kissed him — gently, to apologize. His lips were warm and comforting, like arriving in a familiar place I’d never been but always wanted to go. “Take me home?”
We finally found a taxi cab near St. James’ Palace, and I directed the driver to my flat in Belgravia as Frank climbed in beside me. “Belgravia? You couldn’t possibly be so posh,” he teased, his arm sliding behind my back and leg pressed into mine.
“I’m not, I assure you. Neither is Uncle Lamb,” I chuckled. “But you’ll have to see for yourself.”
His arm tightened on my back, pulling my body closer to his, and Frank boldly stroked my naked thigh, fingertips brushing under my skirt. My breath quickened, and I suddenly felt as if all the blood had drained from my head. The cab smelled richly of human bodies, but I was focused on the smell of Frank’s almost antiseptically clean skin; the fountain we’d been swimming in had been chlorinated. He nibbled on my ear and whispered, “How quiet can you be?” I didn’t answer in words, but glanced significantly at the cabbie — who had clearly chauffeured amorous couples before and was pointedly keeping his eyes on the road — and then bit my lip and nodded, assenting to whatever Frank was asking.
His hand, strong and sure, raced up my thigh to my hip, and then took a turn between my legs. I felt my pulse race again as Frank’s fingers quickly navigated my knickers and began to tease me. I exhaled sharply as the cab turned, the force shifting my hips into Frank’s hand in a delightful way. I looked out the window as we passed Eaton Square Gardens, trying to stay calm as my body electrified, and vaguely registered that we were very close to our destination. The cab was as hot as it still was outside, and my own temperature was rising fast; despite my dress still being damp, I was breaking out all over in a sheen of desire-induced sweat. My leg stiffened in a vain attempt to keep my hips still as Frank buried his face in my neck and I wanted…
The taxi cab stopped and I suddenly came into myself again. Frank took my hand and practically pulled my breathless body out of the vehicle, and I stumbled onto the sidewalk heaving as he paid the cabbie. The neat row of white townhouses, so elegant and yet so foreign to me, seemed an admonition to my disheveled and wanton state. I fumbled for the house key I wore on a long chain tucked into my dress, and pulled it out. Frank, solid and steady, walked me to the door, his hand on my elbow. I leaned into him, finding my proverbial sealegs. “You’re coming up?” I asked, inclining my head suggestively towards to door.
Inside, the chase was on. I nearly ran through the foyer and up the stairs to my bedroom, Frank hot on my heels. I heard him chasing me around the corner, laughing, and I stepped to the side of the door, hiding in plain sight. He stood in the middle of my childhood room looking bewildered, and I took the chance to study him. The fountain had washed the pomade out of his dark hair, and it floated in wisps under his hat. It was boyishly charming, and the look of mischief in his eyes and flush on his cheeks as he slowly turned and spotted me completed the picture. I grinned at him, and he smiled as he came and pinned me properly to the wall.
His kiss was hot and urgent, and I again found myself melting into him. With no dance hall patrons to offend, I stood on my tiptoes to align our hips, and then brought my leg up around his body as we explored with our hands — he took a moment to undo the top buttons of my dress and then grabbed onto my arse and hoisted me up against the wall. I wrapped both legs around him and moaned when he finally came in contact with my core, his lips lavishing my breasts.
I had my hands around his back, under his jacket and vest, desperately trying to pull his shirt from his trousers. His mouth wandered back up my neck to my ear and then he was kissing me again, hard and fierce. Just when I thought I was going to burst into flame, Frank adjusted his grip on my bum and carried me over to the bed, sitting down hard with me on top of him.
I rose on my knees and looked down at him — remarkably, was was more disheveled now than he had been all night. He was working on more of the buttons on my dress, and I flung off his hat (which was hilariously still on his head) and started in on his tie and vest. With enough of my chest exposed, he pulled down ruthlessly on my brassiere and sucked hard on the nipple; it took everything in me not to scream out in pleasure. He had his hands inside my knickers, working to pull them off when…
“Shit. Damn, damn, dammit.” I muttered.
But I was extracting his hands from under my dress and climbing off him. “Just, um, wait. Won’t be a moment,” I said apologetically, frantically looking around the darkened room for my luggage. Had Firouz unpacked it? I hadn’t asked him to do so, but I hadn’t asked him not to either. If he had found what I was looking for, well, that would be awkward in the least. I was cursing under my breath — it wasn’t on the desk, or piled neatly by the chair, and I was opening and closing dresser drawers, looking to see if my clothes had been replaced.
“Is there something I could assist you in finding?” Frank asked, a little breathlessly, and with just a tinge of impatience.
But, I had flung open my closet door, and found my two suitcases on a luggage stand. “Oh, just my diaphragm.” I was digging in the smaller of the two, and found the case in a hidden pocket I had industrially, if clumsily, sewn into the lining.
“Where would a gently-reared girl like yourself get one of those?”
I stiffened a bit, but answered matter-of-factly. “Amsterdam.”
“You seem a bit young to often have need of it.”
“And you seem a bit old to be making passes at young ladies in the Reading Room of the British Museum,” I snapped. I took a deep breath, and turned around to face him, the offending object in hand. “I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve done this,” I said, trying for a conciliatory tone. “Don’t think it’s mine, either.”
He looked thoroughly chastened. “Of course I don’t, Claire.” He reached out a hand, and I went to him, only a little reluctantly. I stood between his legs, and he pressed his face into my chest, arms around my back, and gently kissed one breast in apology. My desire sparked, and I pulled his face to mine, kissing him in soft forgiveness. I stepped away again, headed towards the door to the W.C. “I’ll be right back.”
When I returned (diaphragm in proper position), Frank had taken off his tie, vest and jacket, and again stacked them neatly folded with his retrieved hat on top on my desk chair. He leaned against the desk, slowly unbuttoning his shirt, watching me. I knew I looked a fright — my hair was flying in every direction and my dress was open past the waist, hanging off my shoulder. I shimmied, just enough to let it fall, and Frank swallowed hard. I kicked off my shoes, noticing that he had already done the same. “You’re beautiful,” he said, sincerely, and I flushed.
I tilted my head in question, and that’s all it took. He tackled me to the bed. We landed with a crash but it didn’t matter. His weight pushed me into the soft quilt and his hands were on my breasts, caressing the nipples through the brassier, the touch sending sparks through my whole body. The fire was back, and I hitched a leg up, bringing our hips together as he moved his pelvis against mine. I had his shirt off, and then the undershirt, while he fussed with the clasp on my brassier. He reached down and behind me, up my skirt until he had a good hold on my knickers, this time pulling them off completely. I had my hands inside his trousers, where he was hard and warm, and when I grasped him fully he breathed in harshly as if in pain, but moved against me. His fingers reciprocated on my bare, sensitive flesh, and I couldn’t wait anymore. “Please,” I moaned in his ear.
He was off me only moments — long enough to tear off his trousers and to shimmy me out of the remains of my clothes — when he finally lay fully on top of me, opening my thighs and pushing himself into me. We both shuddered, and I was already so close from a whole night of wanting his hands on me that the sensation almost pushed me over the abyss. Frank’s mouth was buried against my neck, and his rhythm, slow at first, was picking up as I urged him on, needing more. The scrape of my breasts against his chest was sending sparks up and down my body, and my lips tingled, longing to be kissed again. I wanted everything at once — his kiss, his hands, his cock — and my hips jerked in frustration at being forced to stay on a precipice I couldn’t quite fall over.
I tilted my pelvis and suddenly — finally — felt the catch my body had been longing for. “Oh, oh, like that,” I breathed. Frank then reached under my back and grasped my shoulder, holding me to him, and used his other hand to tease my nipple, which at my squeal became a hard pinch. I slid one hand low on his back and caressed between his bum and used the other hand to pull his face to mine. I kissed him hard as I careened toward orgasm, my body trembling as intense pleasure radiated from my center to all my extremities.
Frank, compelled by the wave of my own climax, jerked hard into me once, twice, and again, and then collapsed as the wave took him. I ran a soothing hand down his back and he placed a soft kiss on my clavicle that was so pleasurable I nearly wept. He pulled one of my legs over his hip and rolled us to the side; remaining connected from pelvis to chest. He stroked my side, the side of my breast, my arm, and then my face as I slowly came back into my body; every caress was a balm on my hypersensitive nerve endings, which were still going off like firecrackers.
Frank pulled me close to him and whispered, “How can it be that I’ve known you for so short a time and I already can’t imagine life without you?”
I didn’t have an answer, but I kissed him, and let the world fall away.
Wrapped in a silk dressing gown I’d retrieved from my luggage, I stumbled down the hall. It was scandalously early — only the first rays of dawn light were peeking into the windows. I slipped through the kitchen door, and was startled to be greeted by Firouz, who was already making tea. It didn’t escape my notice that he had set out two teacups on a tray — one for me, and the second for my heretofore unseen lover. “Good morning,” I said sheepishly.
“Quite.“ I hesitated. “Sorry if we disturbed you.”
“It’s not the first time. Although it used to be nightmares about mummies and big holes under puddles of water,” Firouz said rather pointedly, sipping his own tea. I shuddered, recalling my childhood fear of puddles.
“Uncle Lamb isn’t home yet?”
“No, but if you’re looking to evacuate your gentleman caller before he arrives, I suggest you do it quickly.” I glanced at the kitchen clock; it was just before 6 a.m., which was about when Uncle Lamb’s overnight work sessions came to an end.
“He’ll probably find out eventually anyways,” I reasoned.
“Really? He never discovered your affair with Helmut, or the one with John, or the one before that — what was his name? The one with the eyes that looked like goggles?”
“Charlie,” I said, laughing a bit. I looked seriously at Firouz, who had been my teacher for as long as I could remember. “What if I want to tell him?”
He studied me seriously, as if looking at me in a new light. “Are you sure, Claire? Your uncle wants you to find your own way, but you know you can always stay with us.” I expected the ball of ice to return to my stomach, as it had every time the prospect of my future came up in conversation. University, work, marriage — I knew things couldn’t remain as they had been. But as my thoughts drifted to Frank, asleep in my bed upstairs, my insides warmed. It felt right, in a way nothing had felt right before.
I put my hand over his, in silent thanks, and then picked up the prepared tea tray. “Thank you, Firouz,” I said, and left the kitchen to awaken my lover.
Frank, who I had woken with a kiss, gratefully accepted the cup of tea, and was being rather gracious about being kicked out of bed at such an absurd hour. I sat on the bed holding my own teacup, replaying our lovemaking in reverse as he dressed. I was blushing as he straightened his hair, remembering how it felt to caress the silky strands with tingling fingertips.
“You look like you’re far away,” he said to me, tying his tie in a fastidious knot.
“Not far at all,” I said, smilingly, “only a little bit in the past.” I raised my eyebrows suggestively, and he laughed.
“Wish I was there now.”
“Me too.” I scooted off the bed and stood before him, fiddling with the fit of his vest and then with the tilt of his hat. “You look very proper. Not debauched at all.”
He gave me a long once over. I was flushed, barely clad in my dressing gown, and I knew from a glimpse in the mirror the fair skin of my neck was marked and my hair was a positive bird’s nest. “I can’t say the same for you, but I’m sure you clean up well,” he teased. But then he turned serious. “I don’t want to leave you.”
“I don’t want you to go,” I said, regretfully. “But it’s better for Uncle Lamb’s sensibilities this way. He’ll be pleased when you call this afternoon to ask if I want to go to the cinema with you.”
“Is that so? And what will your answer be?”
“Is there a new John Wayne playing?” I quipped.
He laughed, and kissed me, with all the promise of new beginnings.
Do you have a list of people you want to kill? If so, who is on it and why? (All the characters!)
(( Love this, though I did an actual grandma-style “oh my!” out loud when I read the question. “Goodness gracious!” Have a few, if not all! ))
Jovan, amused: “I can’t say I’ve never seen a list like that. One idiot who tried to hire the Falcons years ago brought us a list of to-kill on a tavern napkin, like a list to take to the grocery. We didn’t take the job, but I imagine someone did. Someone as desperate as he was.”
Nora, startled. “People make lists?”
Randall shoots the questioner a sidelong glance. His eyes are narrowed, but that’s because one’s swollen shut with a mottled purple-black bruise that tightens up his whole forehead. He turns back to the sawdust-filled punching bag with no answer given.
Polly, weary: “Doll, that list only ever had one name, and he’s gone. And he knows what he did.”
Efren, distant: “It would involve exhuming my own father, finding someone to resurrect him, and killing him again. A short list, one name, but I can’t say I don’t dream of it now and again. For hurting her, that’s why. It’s warranted.”
Ourida, pleasant: “Yes. Both for opposing my return to Vabbi, and - when I do return to the Necropolis, there are people near death who have been chosen for a life unending. If any are still alive when I arrive, I would be honored to help them into eternity.”
i’m watching this is us and this character randall was asked about his birth father who recently passed and this woman was like “your father, was he a… fancy man??” and randall was like “i mean i don’t think… oh, you mean gay!! no, bi” and the woman thought he was saying goodbye and smiled and went “bye!!!” and closed the door on him and i swear a bitter bisexual wrote that scene i feel it in my bones