Phryne slipped inside the room and shut the door, tucking her lockpick back into its hiding place. Sunshine cascaded through the tall, narrow windows, warming the cold stone of the room where Jack was seated at a dressing table, reading a book in the light.
Phryne leaned back against the door, ostentatiously admiring the lines of Jack’s tuxedo. Perhaps Dot’s decision to ignore Phryne’s advice to elope had a bright side after all.
Jack half-turned in his seat and raised an eyebrow. "Isn’t this bad luck?"
"Don't be silly, Jack: you're not the groom, and I am certainly not the blushing bride," Phryne said.
"Ah," Jack said solemnly. “My mistake. You would never blush.”
“However,” Phryne said, ignoring this diversion, “As we are both vital members of the wedding party, I feel an obligation to...keep in contact.” Jack’s jacket was draped on the chair behind him and his cuffs were left undone, folded up to expose the smooth muscle above his wrists. He made her feel positively Victorian some days; the smallest glimpse of skin could drive her mad, even now that she’d seen every inch of him.
After a moment of consideration, Phryne re-locked the door behind her.
Jack’s eyebrows lifted, but after a moment, a small smile curled his mouth.
She prowled closer, pretending to look around the room. "I did pass the groom pacing in the garden. What on earth is Hugh doing with that many notecards? Surely he can practice his toast after the main event."
Jack shook his head and turned back towards the mirror. "I believe those are his lines for the main event. I tried to tell him the priest will prompt him, but he seems convinced he'll spontaneously lose the ability to hear."
"Poor Hugh," said Phryne, trying not to laugh. “Although, it’s his own fault for insisting on a big wedding. I imagine elopement looks much more appealing by now.” She leaned over Jack's shoulder, toying with the slight crookedness of his bowtie as an excuse to get closer. The familiar, lovely scent of his cologne and pomade washed over her, and she breathed deeper.
Jack turned his head and took a breath as if to speak. She tilted her face inquiringly, but he only smiled faintly and pressed a kiss against her lips, gentle and sweet.
“Hmm,” he murmured, lips brushing against hers. “Dot’s mother kicked you out again, didn’t she.”
Phryne huffed and leaned back. “I made a perfectly reasonable suggestion about Dot’s neckline, and the woman completely overreacted.”
“I’ve no doubt you were as careful and restrained as always."
Phryne grinned. "Well, of course. Why do you think I came to see you? I can't keep that sort of thing up all day."
“Ah, I see. And now your plan is…?”
“Oh, the usual,” Phryne said, moving around the side of the chair, her hand trailing along the nape of Jack’s neck. “I was thinking I’d kick up my heels, for a start.” Without further warning, she hiked up her dress enough to swing around and straddle his thighs.
The dressing table pressed uncomfortably into her back, but it was worth it for the brief, startled widening of Jack’s eyes. His arm came up and tucked between her and the hard edge, and she couldn’t resist a fond grin.
Jack smiled back. His face was open and bright in a way she rarely saw — although she was doing her best to change that — and she was simply helpless not to reward him with a kiss.
His hand slid along her thigh, under the rucked-up hem of her dress — and halted at the knife tucked into her garter. Oops.
“Really, Phryne? At a wedding?” She could feel him smirking against her lips.
“It’s useful for other things,” she protested.
“Such as fending off overprotective mothers?”
“Perhaps I should try that. Nothing else has worked,” Phryne grumbled. “The horrible things she’s telling Dot about married life...! You’d think she didn’t want grandchildren.”
“Now there’s a form of family planning the church overlooked,” Jack said, the pads of his fingers tracing the lace border of her stockings.
“There are much more enjoyable ways to avoid having children,” Phryne purred as she inched closer.
Jack moved his hand with her, keeping it just on the edge of touching skin. She pouted at him and he smirked. “I wouldn’t want to muss your outfit,” he said.
“Don’t be absurd, Jack, there are plenty of ways to avoid that, too,” she said, and kissed him again. Phryne curled her fingers into the fine hairs at the nape of his neck, keeping his mouth just where she wanted it as she considered her argument. She smiled, and a brisk sweep of her fingers made sudden disarray of his hair at the back.
Jack pulled away, but Phryne cut off his protest with another kiss, smoothing her hand down over his hair in a single motion that set it back to rights.
“See? I’m sure we can make ourselves presentable again,” she persuaded.
Jack looked at her a moment, eyes heavy-lidded, then signed his agreement with a deep kiss.
Phryne delighted in the warm triumph of it, sliding her tongue against his as his fingers trailed up the strap of her garter. She moved her other hand to his chest, resting her palm on the warm fabric over his heart, and felt his left arm tighten around her back, hand pressed at the base of her spine.
His right hand followed the line of her garter— over the tap pants, damn him — curved up over her hip, gripped a moment, and then he slid his palm across her stomach. One firm sweep all the way across, palming the waistband of her tap pants as he slid his fingers just under the hem of her camisole.
Jack didn’t move for a long breath, for two. She bit pointedly at his lip, impatient for more.
His hand retraced its path halfway, leaving his palm squarely centered on her low belly. Then he simply pressed in, just so, his hands firm against her back and front.
His touch, so careful and sure, centered her awareness there between his hands, like an anchor to the rest of sensation — her hands on skin and fabric; a shiver of breath and an open-mouthed kiss in the hollow of her throat; fine wool against her thighs — all spilled warm and heavy over her.
Phryne closed her eyes, dropping her head back. She’d felt the first curl of arousal at their first kiss, but this simple touch sent it roaring through her. Phryne shivered.
Jack soothed and fired her up further by starting a gentle, rhythmic brush of his thumb — up over the waistband onto skin, and down, so close to where she wanted it, before moving away again.
Phryne needed more, and moved to take it, tilting her pelvis up against his palm as his thumb made its downward sweep. He cooperated this time, and his thumb slipped easily over the silk and along the seam between her legs.
“God,” she moaned, and Jack’s hand halted once more, teasingly.
“Phryne, we’re in church,” he admonished. He utterly failed to hide the amusement in his voice, though she noted with satisfaction that he was slightly breathless. Then he bit her lip, a careful return of the exact pressure she used on him before, and her breath hitched.
“You are impossible,” she said, grinding down against Jack’s thumb until he laughed and kissed her and started to move again.
He kept his thumb pressed where it was, but rotated his hand to cup his fingers between her legs. The fabric was wet through now, and rubbed slick against her as Jack traced his fingers up and down the seam. Phryne sunk their mouths together in an equally wet kiss, feeling her heart pound in her throat.
She moaned again as Jack’s fingers curved up, pressing the silk to her, then into her as his fingertips dipped inside. Her nails dug into the skin above his collar as she imagined what it would be like if he kept going, if the silk wasn’t already pulled taut, halting his hand. Oh, that was a thought to remember for later.
“Jack,” Phryne said, and he heard the urgent note in her voice.
Kind man that he was, Jack didn’t tease further. He moved his hand to slide inside the leg of her tap pants, pushing aside the silk and plunging one long, lovely finger inside her.
Phryne thrust down, and he immediately gave her a second, and matched her with an upward push of his own. His fingers pressed hard inside her, and the heel of his palm ground into her clit in a sharp burst of sensation. She spread her thighs further apart and captured his mouth, slanting into the kiss with a twist that opened her mouth wide.
Jack’s fingers curled, seeking out and finding a golden spot inside her. Phryne broke out of the kiss to pant against his mouth. He moved with deliberation, dragging his fingertips firmly across it as he pulled out slightly and sank back in. The short, close movement let Phryne ride her clit on the heel of his palm — those lovely, strong hands of his, square wrists and elegant long fingers — and she clenched down around his thrusting fingers as the feeling drove her higher.
Phryne met Jack's eyes and cupped her hand over his cheek, stroking a thumb over his cheekbone. He turned and kissed the underside of her wrist, sucking gently at the delicate skin there, and she tipped over into le petit mort with a gasp.
She melted into him after the waves of pleasure passed, pressing her cheek to his and wrapping her arms around his broad shoulders. After a moment of rest, she kissed her way back to his mouth and did her best to convey appreciation, shuddering as he slid his fingers away.
Jack pulled out his handkerchief and wiped his fingers, looking quite pleased with himself — then fumbled and dropped the cloth when Phryne reached down and palmed him through his trousers.
“Of all the days to wear a cummerbund instead of a waistcoat,” she complained when her questing fingers encountered the silk band covering the top of Jack’s fly.
“My sincerest apologies,” Jack said hoarsely, his voice catching as she pushed the band of cloth up and began unbuttoning him. He was already fully hard, and felt almost as good in her hand as he felt inside of her.
Phryne stroked him a few times — quick and a touch rough, the way he liked it — until a bead of come welled at the tip.
Then she stopped.
Jack groaned in protest, and Phryne caught his eye and smirked. “I wouldn’t want to mess up your outfit,” she said.
Breathlessly, Jack asked, “Would you like me to beg?”
“I do like the way you say ‘please’,” she said, alight with anticipation.
Jack leaned forward and kissed her, dirty and determined, making a helpless noise deep in his throat when her hand tightened unconsciously. “Please,” he begged, his voice gone gravelly, “Phryne, please,” and she sucked in a ragged breath, because the bolt of arousal was just as good as it was every time.
“Since you asked so nicely,” Phryne said, a touch more unevenly than she’d intended, slithered to her knees in the narrow space between table and chair, and took Jack into her mouth.
He made a shocked sound, and his hands brushed her hair, her shoulders — Phryne could practically hear Jack telling himself not to muss her — before gripping her arms, just this side of too tight.
Phryne fluttered her tongue and sucked harder, because she loved this part: loved making Jack lose control and fuck her mouth, loved him knowing she could take whatever he threw at her, loved that they were partners now in this, too. She loved the salty taste of him, the scent of sweat and sex drowning out the smell of soap and wool, the heavy weight on her tongue, the rumble of his voice gasping Phryne, Phryne even though she’d told him he didn’t have to warn her. She loved—
His release filled her mouth, salty-sweet, and she swallowed.
Phryne pulled back carefully, mindful of her promise to leave Jack presentable. She plucked up the dropped handkerchief, then took a moment to admire the view: Jack above her, eyes closed, catching his breath.
She stroked one hand over his thigh, and his eyes opened. Jack just looked at her for a moment, intense and serious like he did. Then he smiled, and reached out to curve his hand over her hair.
Phryne smiled back, then turned her attention to neatening and fastening him up, folding the now much-abused handkerchief to bury in her clutch.
Jack offered Phryne a hand up, then took the liberty of brushing off and straightening her stockings, which she thoroughly enjoyed. Phryne returned the favor, running her hands over his shoulders and tie, until he stood. She switched to tweaking the cummerbund as Jack unrolled his shirtsleeves.
“Would you mind?” Jack said, holding cufflinks out to her.
Phryne laughed, and stole a kiss before taking the cufflinks from his palm. “I do like the way you think. Sadly, there’s only half an hour till the ceremony,” she said, doing up Jack’s cuffs. “Any other brilliant ideas, Inspector?”
“Gin rummy, Miss Fisher?” he suggested, and she narrowed her eyes at him.
A sudden thumping rush of footsteps in the hallway startled them out of their conversation. Phryne’s hand went to her garter, and Jack’s to his jacket — apparently she wasn’t the only one who’d brought a weapon to the wedding, the hypocrite.
Down the hall, a woman screamed, “Father Grogan!”, and Phryne faintly recognized the voice of one of Dot’s sisters.
“Someone call a doctor!” Another voice cried, and this time there was no mistaking Mrs. Williams. “Father Grogan’s been stabbed!”
Jack looked at Phryne. “That could work.”
Phryne thumped her head down on Jack’s shoulder and groaned. “I knew I should have convinced Dot to elope.”