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Abi and Mike

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“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” — Henry Miller

 

Chapter One ~ Spotlight

 

A:  Everything’s crossed for you… X   Abi stared at the ‘X’. Fuck! Why did she put a kiss..? Shit, shit, shit!

A:  ^ That’s me crossing everything by the way… Are you nervous?   She bit her fingernail, hoping she'd covered up her faux pas.

M: Ha ha. Everything? ;) I’ll be glad when it’s over tbh. We’re stuck in bloody traffic and I’m sweating like a cornered nun in this limo!

A: *snorts* You have such a way with words Fassbender! Ooh limo… fancy schmancy! Say hi to your mum from me. I bet she’s excited?

M: Mum says hi back. She says she feels sick with nerves… Are you staying up to watch?

A: Aw, bless her. I guess it’s not every day you get to walk your son up the red carpet at the Oscars! She must be so proud… :) 

A: As for watching, I’m gonna try my best to stay up but I’m in work at 8am and it doesn’t kick off here until 1.30am :( Hey! If you get the chance, can you maybe ask them to announce your category  first? ;) Pretty please? With a cherry on top. 

M:  I don’t think it works that way, soz… :( You did set it to record though didn’t you? Fuck, I sound so vain! It's Just that, if by some weird fluke I DO manage to win I’m probably gonna need to watch it when I finally fly back (‘cos I intend on getting well and truly bladdered either way!) ;)

A: I would expect nothing less!

M: What’s that supposed to mean?

M: Abi..?

M: Oh wait. We’re here. Got to go… See you on the other side! ;)

A: Sorry, was just getting the popcorn ready… And nothing. I just meant that the Killarney boy I grew up with certainly knew how to party! Anyway, you deserve this Michael. I hope you win. Break a leg!

A: Well not actually break a leg… You know what I mean!

A: You do, don’t you?

A: Michael?

A: Shit. If you trip on the red carpet I’ll never forgive myself… DO. NOT. TRIP. (But have a great time!)

 

Abi deliberated adding a kiss this time for real but chickened out at the last minute and pressed send. Sighing to herself she threw her mobile down in frustration on the couch and flicked on the TV, searching for the live feed. E! was most definitely not her usual cup of tea, far too sycophantic for her liking. But she had to admit that when it came to the Red Carpet they did at least seem to know what they were doing. The alternative coverage was Sky Movies and that was just plain painful.

She watched with baited breathe, searching for a glimpse of her childhood friend. The camera shot to Benedict Cumberbatch, who she knew Michael was friendly with and whom he’d worked with on 12 Years a Slave. He seemed to be having an absolute blast. She laughed as he photobombed U2, just imagining how the Irish press would no doubt grumble about that tomorrow, and then she was back to searching for Michael. Image after image of Hollywood’s A list filled her screen, interspersed with 360 glam-cam shots of gorgeous actors and actresses in their designer suits and dresses along with mani-cams of glamorous nails and jewellery that no doubt cost more than she could hope to make in a lifetime. It seemed there was a special camera set-up for pretty much every conceivable close up angle.

Whatever would be next? The super-duper-close-up-ass-shot-cam? The side-boob-cam? Abi groaned. She wasn’t sure how much more of this shit she could honestly take. She pulled the throw that hung across the back of the couch over herself and snuggled under it, inadvertently inhaling a whiff of Michael’s aftershave which still lingered. She let out a dreamy sigh as she cuddled it close to her face, her breathing starting to slow.

But just as she felt her eyelids beginning to droop there he was! She’d recognise that red bearded jawline anywhere.

Finally!

She sat up and watched as he climbed out of the limo, straightening his suit and grabbing his mum’s hand who gave his a quick squeeze of reassurance.

Wow! He’d cut the beard back a little since the last time she’d seen him.

Not that she’d actually seen him in person. Despite him being in London, for the first time in what seemed like forever, she’d had to settle for watching out for a glance of him on the Red Carpet show for the BAFTA’s a few weeks earlier. Then, when she hadn’t seen him she’d sagged back on the couch wondering where the hell he was, only letting her relief show when he finally showed up inside the auditorium.

But that was just like the Michael she knew. He really wasn't interested in all the fame. And he’d told her several times he wasn’t bothered about winning any of these awards, although she secretly thought he must care, even just a little bit. How could he not? He was finally being recognised by his peers. Surely that was huge for him?

As for having to settle for seeing him on screen? Well… she might just have wished for him to come back to the flat after the BAFTA's. She might even have hoped he’d have come ‘home’ before the ceremony and stayed all weekend. But no, apparently he’d booked into a suite at the Grosvenor House Hotel along with his family and then was back filming in Scotland the following day. He’d sent her a grumbling text the day after, complaining about having to work with a hangover and desperately craving a full Irish breakfast, in reply to the one she’d sent him stating he’d been robbed at the BAFTA’s. She’d teased him and he’d finally cheered up a bit after she promised that the next time he was in town she’d cook him one.

Abi sighed as she realised she couldn’t remember the last time she’d even been in the same room as him.

Actually that wasn’t altogether true… She knew exactly the date, time and place she last saw him.

It was three days before Christmas. He’d flown back from New Zealand and stayed over at the flat for the night before travelling on to Ireland the following day to see his folks. He’d tried to persuade Abi to come back to Ireland with him but she had insisted she couldn’t. It was true that she was working all over Christmas - she’d gladly taken the extra shifts so that her co-workers could spend time with their families. She simply couldn’t face returning to Ireland just yet.

It was too soon.

Here in London she was confident, holding down a part time job in the kitsch little coffee shop around the corner while she studied towards a diploma in hospitality. Back in Ireland she was still timid Abi.

Victim.

In such a small community everybody knew everybody's business.

Here, in this sprawling metropolis she was a nobody. Nobody knew her past. Michael had been right. She had finally found herself.  

But she couldn’t help the nagging doubts when Michael had stayed away after the BAFTA’s. She knew she was being stupid. They were just friends after all. Why should he feel obligated to come see her when he was in London?

Well… there was the small fact of this – she looked around at the compact lounge – being his flat.

Had she maybe outstayed her welcome?

Was he avoiding her?

He did, after all, end up sleeping on the couch whenever he did stay, despite her protestations that it should be her that did so whenever he was home. But he’d insisted that it was only fair. He’d been the one who persuaded her to move over here, so he had no right to make her up sticks every time he dropped in. He’d laughed as he’d counted the number of days he’d actually slept in the flat over the past twelve months then, as if to explain why he didn’t feel any possessiveness towards what was essentially still his bed.

But Abi’s deeply buried insecurities and self-doubt still nagged at her. Why the hell did he even want to keep in contact with her? The worlds they moved in couldn’t be any more different. While Michael was meeting celebrities and travelling from glamorous location to location, Abi plodded on at the café and college, the furthest she’d ever travelled being across the Irish Sea when she’d fled her old life.

But tonight she was not going to think about that. She was here to support her friend. Ah, there he was again. And boy did he scrub up well! She bit her lip as she watched him walking down the carpet, escorting Adele who looked incredible. It was always surreal watching him at these events - not that she would ever admit to him that she watched him under normal circumstances… This. Well... This and the BAFTA's were one-offs.

Honest.  

She’d feigned indignation when Michael had originally asked if she’d watch. He knew she hated all this fame stuff. It bothered her when they were papped together. Not that it happened very often of course. But on the rare occasion that Michael was actually in London he would drag her out to some of his favourite pubs and a couple of restaurants. Yet despite them being off the beaten celebrity track, somehow the paps always seemed to find out. It left Abi feeling exposed, vulnerable even, especially when the gossip columns got wind of it and started speculating about their relationship. Abi was nothing special. And the comments she’d stupidly read had knocked her sideways. She knew she was no supermodel. She wasn’t even catalogue model for Christ sake. But honestly – and she knew she shouldn’t let it get to her, because these people didn’t know her or that there was nothing going on between her and Michael – well, it bloody hurt. She’d never understood why so-called fans felt the need to be so disrespectful to women they saw with their crushes.

Still, tonight was not the night to dwell on that either. She couldn’t be prouder of Michael as she watched on. It was both exciting and sobering to see him in such a glitzy environment.

This wasn’t the Mike she knew. This was suave, sophisticated, movie star Michael. The man who could eye fuck women (and men) into submission from a mile away. This was not - she told herself - the boy she grew up with, who she’d had a crush on ever since they’d moved from Devon to Killarney when she was eight. Her father had started working alongside Michael’s dad Josef in the Fassbender’s restaurant. He was sous chef and Michael and Abi had often found themselves thrown together as the two youngest children amongst the staff at parties. They'd both stood out with their slightly unusual accents and Michael had always looked out for her at school as well, practically a big brother to her. He was three years older than her and she’d been smitten ever since he’d helped her carry her history project one particularly snowy morning.

As Michael stopped and did the obligatory camera poses, grinning widely, his eyes twinkling, she couldn’t help the butterflies in her chest as she stared at him.

But no! She told herself. This was not dorky Mike who used to drag his electric guitar from pub to pub in the pouring rain hoping to play a gig with his best mate, nor was it the Mike who she fondly remembered spotting running across the field to unlock the church at the last minute because he always overslept. And it was certainly not the same Mike who last summer had insisted she stay at his flat while she got back on her feet.

No. this was ambitious Michael. The man she’d looked up to as he went off into the big, wide world while she stayed at home in Ireland and stupidly fell for the first man to actually show her any real attention. The man who would come to beat her to within an inch of her life and leave her an emotional and physical wreck, so much so, that despite him finally being convicted, she was physically unable to even walk down the street in the quiet village in which Connor and she had resided, much less set foot in the house they’d once shared. The memories and flashbacks of the abuse she’d endured were ingrained in the fibre of the entire village and it was simply too painful to bear.

*

It had been pure freakish coincidence that Michael had had a rare week off after wrapping his latest X-Men movie and had paid a surprise visit to his parents, arriving on the same afternoon that Adele had invited Abi and her mum around for tea. It had only been a few weeks since the court case had finally come to a close and Abi was still coming to terms with her new life. Living with her parents again at the age of thirty three was not easy. She felt like she was constantly under scrutiny. They didn’t mean to be so overbearing – she knew that they were just worried about her – but it was driving her bat-shit crazy already.

Abi had been taken aback to see Michael come through the door. It had honestly felt like the rug had been pulled out from under her. For a few minutes she’d actually been lost for words, just staring. After all, he was a bona fide movie star now. And Jesus! He was even more handsome than she remembered. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t find him attractive. But she’d tried to push away all her adolescent feelings for him as they’d sat chatting.

She’d been surprised at just how down to earth he still was and they’d all had a grand time, catching up, laughing and joking as they’d recalled silly stories from when they were young. But eventually, after the others had all skirted around the elephant in the room for long enough, her mum had accidentally let slip about the court case and the assault. Michael’s face had fallen and he’d listened wordlessly as Abi had recited the abridged version of events, almost robotically. Sometimes, as she spoke of what she’d been through it almost seemed like an out of body experience, like she was discussing the plot of a novel, not her own sad life. She’d tried to lighten the mood soon after and they’d continued to chat but Michael had been almost silent, just watching and listening, occasionally nodding along, seemingly in deep thought. Abi had put it down to jetlag finally catching up on him, after all he had just flown over from Montreal. She had never flown herself but had heard it was exhausting. And Michael looked tired. Tired but still hot…

She’d sighed to herself. Would she ever be over this childish infatuation? It was pathetic. Especially now.

When it had been time to go Michael had pulled her to one side, asking if she was really okay. She’d lied and said she was getting there. But she knew he didn’t believe her. He’d always been able to read her like a book. That is, except for the story she’d kept most deeply buried inside her heart. Abi had been in love with Michael almost since the day they had first met twenty four years ago and of course Michael didn’t have a clue. She’d long ago accepted that she would always be like his little sister. After all, they’d really only been thrown together through their father’s friendship.

So it came as quite a shock when he'd offered up his home as respite.

She’d refused of course. She was a total mess. Having lived under Connor’s oppressive influence for nearly fourteen years she no longer knew who she even was. In fact, the more she’d thought about it, the more she’d realised she wasn’t sure she’d ever known.

And she hadn’t seen Michael in… What was it? Fifteen, possibly sixteen years?

She was immediately suspicious. Why would this man, this successful man, want to turn his home over to her? Abi conveniently forgot their shared childhood as she contemplated Michael’s possible motives. It was true that she was incredibly suspicious of men in general still, her recent past still casting a dark shadow over her trust. Yet as soon as she even allowed her mind to wander to that dark place with Michael she felt guilt seep into her.

This was Michael… Mike.

Still, Michael had left a week later and she’d thought no more of it, until a package had arrived via Adele. Inside was a set of keys with a telephone number written on the key fob, a calendar with Michael’s schedule for the next six months, a prospectus and enrolment forms for the college nearest to his flat along with a list of local employers who were willing to offer her an interview. Abi had gasped as she’d read the handwritten letter which had accompanied the items:

Hey Abi!

I hope you are doing okay… it was so great to see you again.

Look, I know we spoke about this briefly when I was over in Ireland and you said no. I respect that but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I left. I can’t even begin to imagine how you get over this, how you even get out of bed each day, but just look at you! You’re already doing it. You are one hell of a strong woman, just like you were a strong kid – If you ever tell the newspapers about our legendary arm wrestling matches I will sue! ;) Anyway, I admire that strength in you greatly and I still think it might actually be the best thing for you to get away for a while, even if just for a couple of weeks? Maybe even just a holiday? Come over to London. Do some sightseeing. If you’re worried about me being in your way you really don’t need to be. As you can see from my schedule I’ll be lucky to see London for more than a few days until the end of the year *sighs* so you’d have my lovely (well sparse and a bit cold in winter if I’m being totally honest) little (actually REALLY little – tiny in fact – London prices y’know…) flat practically all to yourself for at least the next few months should you choose to stay longer. I own it now so you wouldn’t have to pay any rent. And the bills are already paid up for the next twelve months, so if you’re worried about the money side of it, don’t. Please. If I’m honest, you’d actually be doing me a favour. Consider it house sitting?

If I’m speaking out of turn just tell me to shut up, give my mum the keys back (because stupidly I just realised they are the only spare set I own and you know me, I’m always losing things – like keys! Father McGuire knows this only too well…) and we’ll pretend this never happened.

However, if, as I do, you think it might actually be a good idea (I do have them sometimes you know!), who knows… maybe even an adventure, let me know and I’ll make sure I leave everything clean and tidy for you before I fly out to Colorado.

I took the liberty of picking up some college stuff (you mum might have mentioned to mine that you were thinking about going back to study something – again, ignore these if she misunderstood). Oh, and those job interviews are solid, trust me. One of the perks of my job I guess!

Anyway, got to go. I have a ton of washing still to do from Canada and if I don’t make a start today I’m gonna have to go commando tomorrow! Ah the joys of being a jobbing actor!

Ring me or text me if you do decide to come over and I’ll give you the full address and directions. I might even be able to arrange for someone to pick you up from the airport/train station if that helps?

Right. I’m going. Take care

Michael

P.s. Ignore my washing comment. I found a pair of boxers!

PPS. Why am I telling you this? I’m sorry… I promise I am sane really.

PPPS. Shit. Abi I’m sorry.  I hope I’m not freaking you out… If I am, I’m sorry (again) but like I said, don’t worry. You’ll barely have to see me ;)

*

Abi couldn’t help but smile at the memory. She’d left Ireland six days later and never looked back. As she once again contemplated this bizarre turn of events the titles for the Red Carpet show scrolled on her TV and she quickly flicked over to the live telecast.

She was set up with a bottle of wine and enough popcorn to feed a small army. Her nerves jangled and she could only imagine how Michael must be feeling right about now. As the proceedings unfolded she found herself willing them to pick the pace up a little so she might just get to see the Best Supporting Actor category.

 

Three and a half hours later, no Oscar for Michael but one for the screenplay, one for Lupita and one for Best Movie and Abi was pissed.

And pissed off.

No offence to Jared Leto. He seemed like a nice enough guy. And he was good in that movie. But her Mike… nope Abi, she’d reminded her drunken self… not her Mike, but the Mike she knew… well, he was so far away from the Epps character that he bloody well deserved an Oscar for that alone!

“Surely?” she’d muttered to the empty room.

Add to that the fact that she loved him… No! Loved his performance.

Right.

Yes. It was only his acting she loved and she was pissed off he hadn’t been recognised for that.

Keep telling yourself that love!

“It’s not fair. Actually, it’s a fucking joke!” she’d hissed at the TV, before kicking the couch in frustration and realising too late that she was only wearing bed socks.

“Ow… fuck, fuck, fuck!” the jolt of pain through her toe sobered her up just enough that she slumped back down on the couch and stared at the clock on the sideboard.

Shit! Was that the time?

She had to up for work in two hours.

Abi dragged her sorry ass down the hallway to the bedroom and slumped on the bed. As she stared at the ceiling she realised her being here was literally becoming mental torture.

Everything here reminded Abi of him.

That in itself shouldn’t have been so surprising. It was his damn flat for goodness sake! All the furniture, however sparse, had been picked out by him. The shower rack still held his half used bottles of shower wash and shampoo. On the side of the sink lay his shaving foam and a forlorn looking toothbrush sat impatiently waiting for its master’s return.

Damn it, even the towels smelled of Michael. Or did Michael smell of the towels. Which in turn smelled of the laundry detergent that he insisted on using?

Fuck! When had she started to become so totally consumed by this man?

Sighing to herself, Abi closed her eyes and tried to get some rest, knowing that his total consumption of her had happened a long, long time ago.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Two ~ Dream a little dream

 

On the other side of the Atlantic, Michael was having a blast. Despite not winning he was feeling no pain. His mum had returned to the hotel and now he was out partying with Ben and Chiwetel, having sunk several neat Jameson’s.

He still couldn’t quite believe it. Him. The kid from Killarney, here in LA at an Oscars after party! At the thought of Killarney his mind briefly flashed to an image of Abi, wondering if she’d managed to stay awake until the end of the award show. He felt guilty if she had. He’d had a feeling he wasn’t going to win, given the way the award season had unfolded up to this point so he wasn’t really disappointed. It wasn’t as if he needed to validate his work with awards anyway.

But Abi’s enthusiasm since he’d been nominated had buoyed him on somewhat and he’d found himself sort of hoping he could pull something out of the bag just so she could be proud of him. 

He glanced at his phone and saw, amongst the many other text messages of support, the ones she'd sent earlier and grinned. She always made him laugh. He quickly fired a reply off to her, apologising for not winning and jokingly teasing her that she had better not have fallen asleep.

She replied almost instantly with a message so full of profanity that it made him spit out his mouthful of whiskey as he snorted with laughter.

Jesus she was taking it worse than him!

He did his best to pacify her, sensing she might have had a little bit more to drink than just the one glass of wine she’d said she would be toasting in his honour. She really was a lightweight and he felt a bit guilty as he looked at his watch, his own drunken brain trying to do the math as he realised it must be after 6am in the UK. With this in mind he told her to get some sleep and said he’d be in touch later in the week to sort arrangements to stay over when he wrapped Macbeth filming later that month.

Returning to his friends he spent the rest of the night on the dance floor and drinking.

 

Michael didn’t remember how or when he finally made it back to his hotel suite. He woke, still fully dressed, laid out prone on the fine Egyptian cotton sheets and groaned. There was a dull ache in his back from the position he’d obviously passed out in. Stretching like a cat he finally dragged himself up into a sitting position on the edge of the bed. He rubbed his eyes and dragged his hand down over his beard, stroking it absentmindedly. His brain was still fuzzy and as he squinted his eyes open, he could just make out the time on the alarm clock.

6:48am.

He groaned again.

Fuck! He had to be back at the airport for his flight to Scotland in nine hours? Fuck!

Glancing around at the empty bedroom he sighed to himself and set about pulling off his shoes and socks. With another weary groan he yanked off his bow tie which had been dangling loosely around his neck and unbuttoned his shirt. He had no idea where his jacket was, and at that exact moment in time he honestly couldn’t give two shits. He needed more sleep. Feeling for his phone in the pocket of his dress trousers, Michael sighed with relief as his fingers connected with the cold metal casing and he pulled it out, quickly setting the alarm. He unbuttoned and slipped his trousers down his muscular thighs, leaving them exactly where they fell. Then he climbed under the covers and closed his eyes, finally allowing all the memories of his first ever Oscars to wash over him as he fell into a fitful sleep…

 

“Michael! Michael!”

“Michael! Over here!!”

“Michael! I love you!”

“Marry me Michael!!”

“Michael…”

All those women – and some men – calling out his name! He couldn’t deny it was an ego trip. Knowing they would do anything, literally anything to be with him. And by be with him he meant in whatever dirty, perverted fantasy he could possibly dream up. They’d do it willingly, just to be with him! Not that he had ever crossed that line. It was a matter of record that he had succumbed to some of his co-stars, he couldn’t – and wouldn’t – deny that.

But fans?

Never.

It wasn’t easy though. At every event they were laid out for him like a smörgåsbord of delights. All ages. All races. Some petite, some tall. Slim girls, more voluptuous women, all with something to offer him.

Themselves.

And by God did some of them try! Not enough was an autograph or a selfie. Phone numbers, hotel room keys, even the occasional naked picture were thrust in his direction. All blatant attempts to get his attention.

He tried to imagine what they did once they got back to those rooms. Did they touch themselves with the hand he’d inadvertently brushed against as he took their iPhone’s from them for their selfie? Did they use the fingers they surreptitiously trailed along his arm as he passed to part their sopping folds? Did they imagine those same fingers were his cock, driving into them as they cried out a litany of worship? Or, did they go home to their husbands, boyfriends – girlfriends - and pretend it was him who made them come?

Subconsciously his hand wandered down under the elastic of his boxers, pushing them down. He palmed his growing erection as he imagined all those faceless women touching themselves, because of him. Him, the Killarney boy who his teachers had said would amount to nothing. Letting out a hiss as his cock pulsed insistently, he wrapped his hands around the head and tugged gently.

Fuck! It had been a while since he’d been with anyone.

He needed this. Jesus, he needed this so much.

He tried to focus in on one of the faces from last night’s crowd. God, so many beautiful women to choose from. So much adoration. Their giggles, their blushes as he approached each and every one of them reminding him…

And then there she was.

Chestnut curls, framing a heart shaped face with delicate features aside from those eyes. Wide eyes, wary and yet so warm and captivating. Hidden beneath long dark lashes which she couldn’t help but bat whenever he’d glanced at her. Soft pink lips. So inviting.

He gave his cock a long stroke then rubbed his thumb over the tip, pulling back the foreskin just enough to elicit a low growl as he imagined those plump rosy pink lips wrapped around his cock, sucking its head after lapping up the beads of pre-cum that now glistened in the dim early morning light. Michael spat into his other hand and wrapped his wet fist around his thick shaft, slowly sliding down to the base. He briefly wondered how much of him she would be able to take into that pretty little mouth and squeezed steadily.

He’d always considered himself to be average length. Well the press tour of Shame had well and truly shattered that illusion. The memory halted him momentarily as he couldn’t help but shudder at the barrage of cock jokes he’d had to endure as a result.

But then her face came back to him, like a beacon in the night. He relaxed into a slow, rhythmic motion as he stroked from base to tip, his wet fingers mimicking her hot mouth, the drag and pull of each movement becoming her lips as she pulled him closer and closer to his release. He envisaged her kneeling at his feet as he thrust into her welcoming mouth but it wasn’t enough. She’d been in his mind all the way through the award ceremony and now he wanted to be buried inside her. He could only dream about what delights lay hidden under those slim jeans she wore, and he imagined sliding them down her narrow hips before spreading her wide, revelling in the sight of her open and ready for him. For me! He growled. He would plunge into her hot, moist pussy in one hard thrust. Her lips, still glistening with his pre-cum, would part, gasping out her petition as he drove into her silken depths. “ Oh Michael! Yes… Fuck me… yes… Fuck me harder…do it!

“Oh… God! Yes! Yes!... Yes…!”

Ever the gentleman he would oblige her, tending to the growing ache in her pussy as her walls began to squeeze him tighter, his fist doing the same around his shaft.

He was so close. 

As she came undone her walls would pulsate around his thick cock, milking him until he simply could not hold back any longer. He would clench his fists in those curls of hers and throw his head back. 

“Fuck yes… yes! Take it… take it all baby… you know you want it…Jesus… Yes! Fuck… Abi!”

 

Michael gasped as he finally succumbed to the sensation, coming violently. He trembled as the hot, sticky fluid coated his hands and belly. His body was drenched in sweat and he panted for air. He was vaguely aware of his hand still wrapped around his cock, and then, like a sledgehammer, there it was. The sudden realisation of who he had been thinking of as he’d performed such an intimate act.

Abi.

He knew this was probably something he should analyse in more detail but exhausted and finally sated his mind switched off almost instantaneously and he finally succumbed to a deep, satisfying sleep.

 

Later that day, Michael - having waved goodbye to his mum who was going to stay with his sister for a few days - was being driven to the airport. Yet something was nagging in the back of his mind. He’d woken stuck to the bed sheets and was embarrassed to realise he must have had a wet dream.

Jesus! How old was he again?!

He had little to no memory of the night before, other than he hadn’t won and that he’d gone out partying afterwards.

He watched LA pass by as he let his mind wander. He knew there was something important. Something he needed to do. Or say. Or… shit something. He’d be buggered if he knew what it was though and with a sigh he settled back in his seat and closed his eyes preparing himself for yet another Transatlantic flight.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Three ~ Ghost

 

The letter was waiting for Abi when she returned from college.

It was late Tuesday evening, just over a week since the Oscars had taken place and she was in good spirits. Michael had nearly finished filming Macbeth in Scotland. He’d mentioned in passing that, all being well, he might be home for a visit later that week.

Abi grinned at the thought. Dropping her bags at the door as she usually did she grabbed the pile of post from the floor and absentmindedly sifted through it. It was rare for there to be anything addressed to her anyway, but one of the things she’d agreed with Michael was to keep an eye out for any bills or other important looking letters and let him know if any such mail arrived.

As usual, most of it was for him. There was one large thick envelope which looked like it might be important so she made a mental note to text him later and see what he wanted her to do with it. Usually Michael would ask her to open it for him but occasionally his agent would pick stuff up, especially when a script accidentally got sent to his home address while he was away filming.

She placed the large brown envelope on the top of the other post he had been accumulating and flicked through the other three letters. Two were junk mail addressed to The Householder so she put them to one side to bin later and then glanced at the final letter, realising it was addressed to her. 

At the sight of the post-mark she did a double-take and paled instantly. Grabbing onto the sideboard for support before her legs gave way, she tried to regulate her sudden rapid breathing.

In black ink were three words she’d hoped she would never see.

Court of Appeals.

It was like a kick in the gut.

This could not be happening.

Her lawyer had told her there was no way he’d be able to appeal. The case had been so cut and dry, the evidence apparently so overwhelmingly clear. It had taken the jury less than two hours to return the guilty verdict.

How then? How could he have been granted an appeal?

Abi’s hands trembled as she carried the letter into the kitchen. She couldn’t bring herself to even open it. Instead she opened the fridge and cursed as she realised she didn’t even have any alcohol in the flat to give her some Dutch courage.

Ring. Ring.

For a moment Abi didn’t even process the sound of her mobile phone ringing. She was almost in a trance, having a staring competition with the letter, daring it to be true. She knew she was being stupid. Not opening it wasn’t going to make things any better. Who knew, it might even be a case that he’d already tried to appeal and it had been rejected.

But what if it hadn’t been rejected? What if..?

Her mobile stopped ringing only for the house phone to now start.

With a dejected sigh she abandoned the letter and walked quickly into the lounge, her heart pounding as she grabbed the phone from its cradle. Staring back at the kitchen doorway, the letter clearly still in her sight line, she shuddered and turned away, slumping down on to the couch.

“H…hello?” Her voice was barely a whisper.

“Abi...? Abi, is that you?” The distinctively deep voice of Michael sounded puzzled, seemingly unsure that he'd come through to the right number.

“Yep” her voice broke as she tried to sound a little more confident, not really in the mood for some long-winded conversation. 

“Abi. What is it? You sound funny. You okay love?”

Under normal circumstances Abi’s heart would have sped up at that little term of endearment from Michael. But not today. Today she just wanted to get off the phone and cry. Her lip began to tremble as she tried to speak.

On the other end of the phone Michael waited for some response but was met only with silence.

“Abi… what’s going on?” his voice now had a slight edge of concern to it as he repeated “Are you okay?”

She bit back the tears and opened her mouth to tell him she was fine but her voice betrayed her and a loud sob escaped her lips.

“Abi… seriously. What is it? Talk to me love. You’re starting to scare me now…”

“I… I can’t… he can’t… they can’t... they can’t Michael!

“Abi love, you’re not making any sense. What is it? What’s happened? Talk to me. Please, Abi? Who can’t?”

“He… he has an appeal…” she finally whispered, her voice breaking as she realised she didn’t even know if that was actually true. In a daze she stood, cradling the phone to her ear as she walked back into the kitchen and stood over the crisp white envelope. How could something so innocuous looking be so potentially devastating?

He?  What appeal?” Michael questioned as he tried to fathom what she was saying. He’d just come off a ten hour shoot in sub-zero conditions and his brain was slow to process her words. 

She let out another sob and the penny dropped. Michael’s jaw set as he gripped the telephone receiver tighter and he desperately tried to regulate his own breathing. The last thing she needed now was to hear an angry voice, even if it wasn’t directed at her.

“Abi… is this ‘he’ who I think it is? How do you know? What are his grounds? When is the appeal?”

Abi trailed a shaky finger over the envelope and sniffed as Michael bombarded her with questions she couldn’t even answer.

“I… I don’t know. I can’t… I haven’t even opened the letter…”

“Okay… do you want me to stay on the line while you do it? You'll drive yourself crazy if you don't at least find out what's inside. But I can’t help feeling you shouldn’t be doing this alone love... Fuck, if I was closer I’d come back but I’m filming again in less than an hour for a night shoot. Maybe I should ring your mum?”

“Could… could you just talk to me while I open it?” Abi whispered hoarsely.

“Of course I can love. Where are you now? It might be best if you sit down. Hell, it might even be a good idea to get a drink as well… Have you got one? … Abi?” he realised he was rambling and that she had gone completely silent again.

“What am I going to do if he wins though? Oh God. What if they release him?!” Abi blurted out.

“Abi! Listen to me. You don’t even know what’s in that envelope yet. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. If we come to it…” Michael sighed, trying to get his own nerves under control.

Fuck! Why was it that whenever she needed him he couldn’t be there?

Perhaps more crucially, why did that bother him so much?

“No…”

“No? No what love?” Michael frowned on the other end of the receiver. She wasn’t making any sense right now.

“No” she whispered again and Michael had to turn up the volume on the hotel telephone to hear better “I haven’t got a drink. Typical! Today of all days and there’s nothing in”

“Right! Well that’s not strictly true…” Michael let out a low chuckle before realising that this was probably not the best time to be patting himself on the back for stashing away a bottle of 18 year old Limited Reserve Jameson’s on one of the top shelves in the kitchen cupboard.

On telling her this, Abi shook her head before realising he couldn’t see her face. “No, Michael… I can’t. Surely you’re saving that for something special?”

“Not really. And to be honest you sound like you need it a damn sight more than me right now. It’s at the back of the cupboard above the fridge. You’ll probably have to climb up on a chair to get it though, short-arse! I had to stretch myself…” he grinned then, hoping his light-hearted teasing would at least break a little of the tension.

Abi instinctively pouted.

“Hey!”

“Sorry… have you found it?”

“Give me a minute… I… erm… just need to grab a chair” she mumbled reluctantly.

Michael stifled a chuckle.

“I heard that…”

“Sorry! You got it?” he smiled to himself, imagining her clambering to get it, probably on her tip toes. He was embarrassed to feel his cock stir at the thought of her perched on the work top - her calf muscles stretching deliciously and her ass pushed out as she leant forward - and berated himself.

What the fuck?!

Christ. What’s wrong with you man?!

Striving to refocus he tried to remember why he’d even put it up there. He’d pushed it right to the very back of the cupboard almost a year ago. It had been a birthday present and in all honesty he had been intending on saving it for when he had some time off filming and could kick back at home, but his schedule had been relentless of late. Not that he would have it any other way. In the interim he’d had a cleaning company in and he was convinced little things were going missing. He didn’t want to risk them nicking his whiskey so he’d hid it away.

On the other end of the line, Abi had found the whiskey, climbed down and was now pouring herself a decent shot. A generous shot. She didn’t bother with ice. She didn’t want it watered down.

She stared despondently at the source of her anxiety and grabbed the glass, taking it and the letter back into the lounge. She took a long sip and focused on the burn as the alcohol slipped down her throat.

“Right. You ready?” Michael’s calm voice came down the telephone line, breaking her contemplation.

“Yeah” she whispered again, not particularly convincingly, although at least her voice sounded a little stronger now.

“Okay, just remember that whatever it says you have people who are going to be there for you this time Abi, yeah..? None of us are going to let any harm come to you ever again…” Michael trailed off, unsure how to convince her she was not alone.

His words probably sounded hollow to her. After all, what even was he to her? He’d not been around for years and where was he now? Hundreds of miles away while she was alone, in London – away from her family – at his suggestion. He held his breath, praying that whatever was inside that envelope was just a formality and that it was good news.

Abi took a deep breath and tried to sound confident.

“Right… here goes…”

She tore open the envelope, pulling out the crisp white sheet of paper and unfolding it. Immediately her eyes began to scan across the page as she tried to speed read the letter, her hands shaking as she finally saw the confirmation of what she had feared the most.

Michael listened with bated breath. There was an audible gasp on the other end of the line swiftly followed by the sound of a glass shattering.

He knew immediately it was not good news.

“No…no…no…” she whimpered.

“Abi… Abi love? Tell me exactly what it says… read it to me if you can…” Michael tried to soothe her down the telephone line.

Fuck! She should have someone there with her now. Why wasn’t she warned by someone before the letter arrived?

Fuck!

“Abi… you still there love?” 

He honestly didn’t think he’d ever felt more helpless than at that very moment.

“Dear… Dear Miss O’Leary” she begun shakily “I am writing to inform you that a petition for appeal has been received pertaining to case number HG02186472 on the basis of new evidence at the bequest of the applicant…”

Abi paused, just seeing his name on paper sent a shudder down her spine.

“What else does it say?” Michael coaxed gently.

“Mr… C..C…Connor Foley. This petition has been granted and a court date will be set in due course….”

Abi’s voice trailed off as she begun to sob loudly now.

New evidence? From the little Michael had been told it had seemed pretty cut and dry to him. Sometimes the justice system truly sucked!

“Okay… Abi. Here’s what we’re going to do…Abi? You there love?”

“Y…yeah” her voice was once again barely a whisper as she sniffled back tears.

“Good. Right love. Firstly. We will sort this, right?

When there was no response he repeated himself.

“Right? No matter what it takes. No matter the cost. Between us all we will make sure you get the best lawyer we can find. The court isn’t stupid. They’re probably just following procedure. But if - and this is a huge ‘if’ Abi so please don’t start worrying about this… - if he was to get out we will make sure that tosser doesn’t get within a hundred fucking miles of you Abi. You understand me? He ain’t fucking getting anywhere near you girl. Okay?”

“B…but… what the hell could the new evidence be?”

“I have no idea. I guess your lawyer will have received the same letter though? Maybe he or she can shed some light on it for you?” Michael suggested.

Abi sighed, wracking her brain for any weaknesses in the case. It didn’t make any sense. She needed to know what it was but there would be no way of even finding out tonight. She stared at the clock and felt the tears start to fall again. It was nearly eight o’clock. She hated feeling useless. She’d have to ring her lawyer first thing and get all the details. If she was being honest, she was a bit shocked that Maggie hadn’t contacted her herself.

It didn’t look like she’d be getting any sleep tonight that was for sure.

She heard a distant ringing and Michael’s own deep sigh on the other end of the phone and it brought her back to the here and now. She stared at the shards of glass scattered across the floor and cursed. Still, at least she hadn’t waste any of the whiskey…

“Abi… shit I’m so sorry. That’s my call back to set. We have a short night scene to film. I’m going to have to go love…” his voice trailed off.

He cursed the timing of the letter. He was due home in two days. Michael had actually called her to make arrangements for his return - he was going to be back for a couple of weeks this time and the last thing he wanted was for her to feel uncomfortable. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d had to insist she carry on sleeping in his room when he was home. He was comfortable enough on the couch anyway. It pulled out into a pretty decent sofa bed and he could sleep on a clothes line anyway.

“Oh Michael, I’m so sorry for holding you up! You go… I’ve got to clean up this glass anyway”

“Okay, you go clean it up yeah? But be careful, I know from experience those tiny little shards get everywhere on that wooden floor, even in the grooves” he sighed, remembering a time a few years back when one of the little bastards had become embedded right in his big toe.

Shaking his head at the memory he continued “Then. And this I want you to promise me okay Abi? Fix yourself another drink… another large one, or two, okay? Then, I don’t know… What do you usually do to relax? Have a soak in the bath? Chill out with some music? Read a book? Meditate?” he realised he knew hardly anything about what Abi did to unwind these days. He was pretty sure she didn’t still play 'rings' though...

“I might watch one of your movies tonight then…”

Michael chuckled, but when she didn’t make any attempt to laugh back he wondered whether she really did mean it.

Suddenly a little flustered he hastily said his goodbye.

“Right. Well... erm, I'd better be off then. I’m not certain what time I’ll be back from filming but Justin did say the scene shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours at absolute most. I can give you a bell later if you want?” he realised he still had to discuss his travel plans but now did not seem like the time. Maybe they’d chat later, otherwise he’d give her a ring tomorrow or something.

“That’s okay. You get off. I’m going to clear this mess up, then take your advice. A good soak in the bath, followed by a stiff drink and a movie I think! Thank you again for being there. I really mean it Mike…” she broke off as tears of gratitude now started to form, sniffling and doing her best to stop them.

“Right…” Michael said rather reluctantly “Well, I’ll give you a ring tomorrow then love and see how you’ve gone on. Take it easy”

Abi set the phone back into the charging cradle and tip toed into the kitchen, collecting the necessary cleaning tools, then started the arduous task of clearing up the glass. Michael was right. It really had spread as far as she could see.

Oh well, at least it would give her something to focus on for a little while...

With that thought she set about the task with relish.

 ***

In the Scottish Highlands Michael held the receiver in his hand as he paced back and forth. He’d tried to be strong for Abi but he was furious. It was true he didn’t know all the ins and outs of the trial as he'd not wanted to invade her privacy – he decided he would get up to speed before he went to sleep that night – but he felt sickened that a person who had clearly terrorised someone as sweet as Abi could have any chance of an appeal.

“This is some fucking bullshit!” he muttered to himself, tossing the phone on the bed angrily and heading towards the door. He needed to get his head into the right mind-set - they were filming the soliloquy from Act 1, Scene 3 tonight out on the battlefield - otherwise they’d be out there all night and that was the last thing he needed right now.

 

Ninety minutes later Michael wearily dragged himself back into the room and threw himself down on the bed. Thankfully the shoot had been mercifully short, only taking a couple of takes.

But every part of him ached and he could barely feel his fingers or toes. He grabbed the room service menu from the bedside table, intending to order something before  he took a quick shower and his eye caught sight of the empty telephone cradle. Puzzled he looked around, searching for the handset before finally finding it where he’d thrown it earlier. He picked a few items off the menu and went to dial reception but was surprised to see the light still flashing.

Perplexed, he held the phone to his ear and listened.

Chapter Text

Chapter Four ~ Call me (maybe)

 

Michael listened at the earpiece. There was a faint crackle and then something else...

What was that?

He frowned to himself.

He knew what he thought it sounded like... But no. It couldn't be.

Could it?

Michael sat transfixed, the phone glued to his ear.

"Oh yeah..." another breathy moan.

"Mmm... yeah. That feels so good!" A whimper now.

Jesus! He was right…

That was…

Abi!

His stomach twisted into a tight knot as he listened out for the confirmation of who was there with her. Who it was that was compelling her to make those exquisite noises?

Lucky bastard.

Oh..?

Where had that come from?

Wait. Were they still in his flat? Fuck! Were they doing it in his bed?

Michael’s jaw set as he listened, torn between yelling down the phone, hanging up or staying on the line, torturing himself as he waited for that final evidence. It suddenly felt like he was waiting for bad news, already knowing he’d missed his chance. His chance?  When had his feelings changed from friendship to this? What even was this? As he thought it he had to hold back a sarcastic laugh. Because he knew exactly what he was feeling right at that moment.

Jealousy.

Raging, green eyed monster jealousy…

*

He’d always had a soft spot for Abi. Even as kids. He’d known she’d had a crush on him when they were at school and if he was being totally honest he might have encouraged it to some extent. Spending so much time at the restaurant, he’d struggled with friendships outside of school. But Abi was always there. Always happy to see him, always a smile just for him. It felt good. Reassuringly good. A constant. They’d spent most evenings there, either helping out in the kitchen or watching TV together. And in turn he’d protected her from a couple of bullies in the year above who liked to torment her on the way home for whatever reason some kids just got their perverse kicks that way. That made him feel even better. But he’d never looked at her in anything more than a brotherly way until that day he’d returned home and found her sat with their respective mums, drinking tea and laughing.

He’d tried not to stare back at her wide eyes, an intriguing hazel colour, as she caught his glance. The way her tongue trailed slowly across her plump pink lips and her hands trembled as she rose to greet him. He wasn’t stupid. He was used to this kind of reaction from fans. But it had felt different somehow with Abi. He’d brushed it off as being down to having not seen her for so long and had instinctively pulled her into a hug, feeling her heartbeat, pounding through her chest against his own. In hindsight he’d attributed that to the ordeal she’d eventually told him about. He assumed she was still wary around men in general and had tried not to read anything into the way she’d blushed and occasionally glanced at him when she thought he wasn’t looking.

But he had been looking.

A lot.  

She intrigued him. She was still slight, if anything she’d lost weight over the years. He worried that might have been down to the stress she’d endured. But her hair remained exactly as he remembered it, long chestnut curls which framed her delicate features perfectly. He could still see the sweet little girl that he had been so fond of and yet at the same time, he could also see this beautiful woman, hidden under a veil of fear and anxiety. That fear he saw flash across her eyes only the once as she otherwise stoically described her ordeal, making him clench his fists tightly. He’d wanted to punch something.

No. Not something.

He'd wanted to get his hands on the low life that had made Abi’s life hell and pummel him into the ground.

He wasn’t stupid. He could read between the lines and knew for everything she'd said, there was a world of unspoken pain. For some unfathomable reason he’d also felt guilt. He’d always been around to protect her when they were young but when she’d needed him most he hadn’t been there. He knew it was stupid and irrational. After all it wasn’t like they’d even been in contact over the last god knows how many years. But as she’d made her way to leave he couldn’t help himself.

He’d blurted out his offer for her to come to London. She’d honestly looked at him like he was crazy. He wasn’t altogether sure she was wrong. But to her credit she’d recovered quickly and smiled gratefully before declining politely.

They’d seen each other a few more times in passing before he’d flown back to London, and while he’d respected her decision he couldn’t help but feel like his offer might actually have turned out to be good for her. He’d witnessed the way she and her mum seemed to rub each up the wrong way quite frequently. And Abi seemed to be in a constant state of flux. When he’d arrived back home he’d immediately dropped his bags and headed down the road to the local college. On the way back he’d called into his favourite café, the local pub and even the gym. They all knew him well, and without going into too much detail with them he’d called in a few favours, offering to pose for some photos in each establishment if they could find something for her. He even offered to pay her wages, but as luck would have it the café was expanding and was on the look-out for two new waitresses. He’d asked them to keep one spot open for a week and they’d agreed. Then he’d returned to the flat, wrote the letter before he changed his mind, and headed down to the post office.  

When the phone call had come it had taken every ounce of restraint not to whoop down the phone. Instead he’d tried to sound casual. Like it was no big deal. Almost a business transaction. He’d explained that there was a job waiting for her if she could make arrangements to be there within the week. He also reminded her that he would be leaving tomorrow so she needn’t worry about him being in the way…

*

He’d been so concerned about giving her space. He’d wanted her to have the opportunity to find her confidence in herself again.

But now look what had happened… the first sign of stress and she’d gone out and found someone?

Really?

Even as he thought it, it sounded strange. It just didn't sit with the perception he had of her.

His hand clenched the phone tighter, his knuckles white as he fought to keep his breathing quiet. Why was he even still torturing himself like this anyway? Abi was single. Free to date whoever she wanted. Free to sleep with whoever she wanted.

Yet he couldn’t seem to put the phone down. Instead he stalked across to the mini bar and quietly opened it, fixing himself a neat whiskey and then headed back over to the bed. Collapsing back onto it he stared at the ceiling gloomily as he continued to listen. He could still hear her breathing, more rapidly now.

But still there was no other voice.

Michael turned the volume up on the phone as high as it would go.

Hang on a minute…Was that the sound of the TV in the background?

Right!

She'd joked about watching a movie, hadn't she?

Thinking back he gasped as he remembered her exact words.

“I might watch one of your movies tonight then…”

Oh fuck, oh fuck… Oh fuck... No!

She wasn't. Was she?

"Oh God... Mike... baby!"

It was all the confirmation he needed. He lay there, feeling the blood rush to his growing cock as Abi’s breathing grew heavier, her panting louder, interlaced with the odd whimper or sigh. Each and every one made him ache to be there. To watch her, doing whatever the hell she was doing. Was she using her fingers? Or something else. Jesus he wished it was his tongue.

Or his cock.

“Oh fuck…” he hissed into the phone and then froze. Time stood still as he listened, his hand now firmly covering the mouthpiece, panic beginning to wash over him. He could feel his palms beginning to sweat as he tried to make out the other sounds in the room.

Abi was still whimpering.

Thank God.

And then he heard it. Down the telephone line he heard the echoing sound of a familiar voice, in a familiar accent.

And he gasped. And then he blushed.

He actually blushed.

The voice he heard on the other end of the line, punctuated by Abi’s rapidly panting breathes was that of his own.

“You want me to touch you where?”

“I want you to touch me down there”

“You do?”

“I really do.”

“Say it more sexy.”

“I want you to touch me…” Michael nearly came in his pants as he realised Abi was now reciting his co-stars lines.

Fuck! How many times had she watched this - she seemed to know the exact phrasing and timing of each sentencebut more importantly, how many times had she done this?

He couldn’t stop himself. He put the phone on loud speaker, making sure to press the mute button this time and quickly unzipped his jeans, shoving them down along with his boxers, and grabbed his now throbbing cock in his shaking hand. Stroking it slowly he listened as she continued to cry out, her voice becoming louder now, more assertive, more insistent as a string of obscenities now poured out of her mouth. With every moan and curse Michael’s pace increased until he was tugging fiercely at his swollen shaft, grunting and hissing in time with Abi’s whimpers and sighs until he could barely hold on.

“Oh fuck… yes… yes… right there… oh Mike… Mike…” she screamed followed by a barely audible whisper “Michael…

“Abi… Jesus!” Michael roared, unable to hold back any longer, spurting frantically, thick ropes coating his hand and belly as he gasped for air. On the other end of the line he could hear Abi’s own laboured gasps for breath and he imagined the pair of them lay together on his bed, coming down from their highs, him holding her tightly, bathed in sweat as he nuzzled into her hair.

He’d never felt closer and yet so far away from someone at the same time.

Deep down he knew he should have felt guilty. Clearly he hadn’t meant to leave the phone still connected. Yet, while there was something deeply uncomfortable about the idea of eavesdropping on her as she engaged in such an intimate act, he had got such a thrill out of hearing his own name on her lips as she pleasured herself that he felt somehow validated in doing so. And in her time of need she'd turned to him for comfort.

It made his next decision very easy.

 

 Sorry... I had to!

Chapter Text

Chapter Five ~ Alive

 

Abi dropped her gym bag at the door and yawned.

It had been one seriously long day. After last night’s traumatic discovery she’d telephoned the law firm who had dealt with her case as soon as they’d opened. Unfortunately, Maggie was on holiday for three weeks somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean - which explained why she hadn’t contacted her about the appeal. The firm were still waiting for full details themselves but had explained that the earliest date for a hearing was some five months away and that they would be in contact as soon as they had the full appeal information. It hadn’t been the news she’d hoped for but she’d tried her best not to dwell too heavily on it. Over the years she’d come to expect that anything involving Connor would be like this. Difficult. Hurtful and ultimately emotionally draining.

She’d had to go straight into college afterwards. Exams were looming and she couldn’t afford to miss any time right now. Her sleep schedule had been all over the place even before this latest development - a result of longer working hours but also the now omnipresent dreams about a certain German-Irish actor-slash-friend-slash-landlord-slash-life ruiner. Abi had resorted to taking up spinning lessons after work twice weekly, in the desperate hope that at least a couple of times each week she would fall asleep as a result of a different kind of insistent ache between her thighs.

It had not helped.

So she had added a couple of boxing classes to her weekly schedule. If nothing else it at least let her work out some of her pent up frustration.

It did not, however, help with the insistent ache.

It was after one such gruelling boxing class – where she had let off some steam and might just have pretended the punch bag was Connor’s smug face - that she’d returned home, her aching limbs crying out to be massaged back to life. Immediately, her traitorous brain had been filled with an image of Michael’s lithe fingers and she'd imagined them kneading at her tight muscles while he whispered sweet nothings in her ear.

“Fuck! Just stop it already Abs!” she yelled to herself in frustration. This was the last thing she needed right now. What she needed was a long, hot shower, maybe a glass or two of wine (she’d stocked up on her way home after last night) and a movie.

But definitely not a movie with Michael in it…

She blushed as she remembered succumbing to her most primal instincts while watching The Counsellor . After she’d finished talking to Michael she’d done exactly as he’d suggested. She’d drank two more large whiskeys, cried again, spoken to her mum, cried some more, poured herself another whiskey and then collapsed onto the couch, pulling the throw that still smelled of Michael close to her face and breathing him in. For some reason it always calmed her and her heart ached as she wondered how her life might have turned out differently if only he’d stayed in Ireland and reciprocated her feelings.

She couldn’t blame him for leaving of course. It wasn’t as if there had been anything between them. And look at him now. She’d always known he’d make it. She’d seen just how mesmerising his performance was in his stage adaptation of Reservoir Dogs, and had been blown away by his brooding intensity. So it had been no great shock when his name started appearing in big movies. Over the years she’d followed his career avidly. Well, as avidly as one could while being manipulated by a controlling, violent partner who watched your every move. She’d shuddered even under the warmth of the Michael scented blanket as Connor’s tormenting face flashed before her eyes and it was then that she’d known the only way she would get the image of his face out of her mind tonight was if she were to replace it with someone else’s.

Abi had set up The Counsellor and fixed herself another shot of whiskey. She was feeling no pain by this point, and as she'd started to watch the opening sequence her hand had instinctively slid between her thighs. The line between real and fiction blurred as she stroked herself, inhaling Michael’s scent as she watched ‘movie star’ Michael in bed, imagining it was her lay under him as he coaxed her to cry out her lust filled demands. It was not the first time she’d watched the movie but that night she had watched it with a new perspective, wondering what it must be like to have such an attentive lover and had willingly complied, adding her own gasps and groans as she’d hurtled towards an earth shattering climax which left her dazed and exhausted. Abi had fallen asleep soon after, still cocooned under the comforting warmth of Michael’s blanket and for the briefest moment when she had woken, she had honestly believed he was there with her, holding her tightly to his chest.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be and as she’d finally opened her eyes, instead of finding herself staring into Michael’s sparkling blue eyes, she’d found herself staring at the bright blue TV standby screen. And then everything came crashing back to her, her hungover head pounded as the light burned into her retinas and the tears started afresh.

With a heavy heart she’d reluctantly dragged herself off to the shower, preparing herself to face another day where Connor was able to infiltrate her psyche, dictate her happiness (or rather lack of it). As she turned on the shower she wondered if she would ever truly be free of him and her stomach somersaulted, causing her to bend over the toilet and vomit.

When there was nothing left in her stomach she wearily stepped into the shower, allowing the scolding hot water to pound her skin, turning it a vivid pink.

In a trance she’d dressed and readied herself to speak to Maggie. And then, once that was over she’d headed off to college, then finally the gym. But at the back of her mind, throughout the day, there had been another niggling fear.

Michael.

He had told her he would call her in the morning but she hadn’t heard from him. She assumed he was working but she also managed to concoct a scenario in her mind with Michael realising what a nightmare she was to have around. Maybe he was beginning to distance himself from her and her problems? Not for the first time she realised she was doing him a huge disservice thinking of him so harshly, but even Michael had his limits. The last thing he needed was some psycho ex-convict on his doorstep attracting unwanted publicity. Michael was due back either tomorrow or Thursday and she’d probably be given the ultimatum then.

Time to move on Abs, she sighed wearily to herself.

Pushing open the bedroom door, she discarded her sweaty work out gear on the floor and stepped naked into the en-suite bathroom, turning the shower on. As she waited for the water to heat up, she couldn’t avoid catching a glimpse of her reflection in the floor to ceiling mirror and did a double take. She didn’t often look at herself naked, after all she knew what she’d see. However her eyes had fixed on her arms and she was pleasantly surprised to see what looked like definition in her biceps for the first time in her life. Taking a closer look, she flexed first her left and then her right and was delighted to note a definite muscle forming there. It was strange and yet empowering to see herself that way. She’d always been a meek mouse, skinny and weak, partly because of her naturally petite physique, but more so perhaps because of circumstances. Because for some reason she always seemed to attract bullies. Firstly at school, then Connor.

At the thought of him she shuddered, looking away before her eyes could fall to the long scar which spread across her abdomen. Chastising herself for allowing him back into her brain, even for a second, she quickly grabbed her phone and pulled up what she'd labelled her 'motivational' playlist. Turning the music up full blast she pulled back the door to the shower and stepped inside, turning the temperature up even higher so that it relaxed her tense muscles. She quickly washed her hair and then just stood for a few minutes, allowing the hot water to pound her aching limbs as she sang along to the music. Feeling more like herself, she squeezed a generous dollop of shower gel into her hand, sighing blissfully as she massaged its fragrant blend of jasmine, neroli and sandalwood over her thighs and down her legs, all the while humming to herself. She breathed in the scent, it was one of her favourites, not least because Michael had bought her a huge gift basket of the expensive products for Christmas.

*

She’d forced herself not to read anything into that at the time. It wasn’t like he’d given it to her in person or anything. Chances are he probably got it as a freebie from some hotel she’d rationalised, somewhat unfairly perhaps. It wasn’t like there was even a card with it. It did cross her mind that maybe he’d bought it for one of those glamorous women she often saw him with in the newspapers. It just seemed like such an extravagant gift to give to her. He’d hidden it behind the couch when he’d stayed overnight en-route to Ireland. The first she’d known about it was on Christmas morning – well, Christmas lunch time seeing as she’d decided to stay in bed all day after working late on Christmas Eve. She’d finally switched on her phone to three missed calls from her mum, a couple of text messages wishing her a happy Christmas from her colleagues and one of her classmates at college, and an answerphone message from Michael.

He’d left a message wishing her a merry Christmas, (with an emphasis on the merry he’d joked) and told her to look behind the couch. Still a little sleepy, Abi had trudged down the hallway to the lounge and clambered over the back of the couch, her short legs dangling precariously in the air as she noticed the enormous basket and wondered what the hell was going on.

Inside were huge bottles of shower gel, body lotion, body scrub, bubble bath, candles and a fluffy white bathrobe. She’d felt terrible at the thought of the bottle of Jameson’s she’d handed him as he’d left, having no clue what to buy the man who seemed to have everything he could possibly wish for, but feeling she had to at least acknowledge how much he’d done for her, whether he realised it or not.  She had also sent him a card and within this she had written a quote which she thought perfectly summed up her gratitude:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

She’d thought it pretty much summed up everything Michael had done for her. She felt alive for the first time in years, and while there were days when she still struggled with her demons, she finally felt like she truly belonged somewhere and had a plan for her future.

Abi had rung Michael back and thanked him profusely for his gift, but insisting it was too much to which he’d eventually had to just tell her to stop. And then he’d been called to Christmas lunch and she’d wished him and his family a merry Christmas before putting the phone down and looking glumly around at the distinctly unfestive flat. She hadn’t even bothered with a tree, unsure of whether Michael had one packed away somewhere.

In fact the only way anyone would have known it was Christmas day was if they switched on the TV and saw the Christmas advertisements.

*

Abi sighed at the memory and felt a stubborn tear trickle down her cheek before the salty trail was washed away by the water from the shower. Despite the lovely gift from Michael, and the money her parents had sent her so that she could treat herself to something in the January sales, Abi had felt miserable all Christmas day, wishing she had gone back to Ireland after all. At least she would have seen a bit more of Michael that way...

With a huff she wiped away the tears and focused once again on the music playing loudly in the bathroom. What’s done, is done. If the past few years had taught her anything it was that there was no point looking backwards.

Right! Like Connor was going to let her forget him so fucking easily…

She clenched her fists in a show of resilience, remembering how she’d imagined the punch bag in the gym was his face, and made a vow to not let him win ever again. With a renewed determination she squeezed a second handful of shower gel into her palm and started to massage it up her arms - the dull ache a welcome reminder of her burgeoning strength – then moving to her small breasts and down across her abdomen, carefully stroking the silvery white scar absentmindedly as she sang aloud to the song which was now playing. Somehow, given her now determined mind-set the words had never seemed more apt:

"You took it all, but I'm still breathing

You took it all, but I’m still breathing

I have made every single mistake
That you could ever possibly make
I took and I took and I took what you gave
But you never noticed that I was in pain
I knew what I wanted; I went out and got it
Did all the things that you said that I wouldn't
I told you that I would never be forgotten
And all in spite of you

And I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm still breathing
I'm alive …"

***

Michael dropped his luggage at the door, not immediately noticing the discarded gym bag. He could hear music coming down the hallway so he knew Abi was already home.

He called out her name, feeling a peculiar flutter of nerves in his stomach. He’d left as soon as filming ended, not even bothering with the wrap party, instead changing his schedule to come home a day early.

But now what?

It had all seemed blindingly clear to him last night as he had found himself having to listen helplessly as Abi had broken down on the telephone. She was alone and he had wanted to be there for her, yet he was stuck in the middle of nowhere. He had formulated a plan on his way to film the night scene and had spoken to Justin to see if there was any way they could start an hour or two earlier in the morning. And that was even before he’d returned to his room and heard her inadvertent declaration. That had only fuelled his need to get home sooner.

But stood here now, in the cold light of day, hearing her voice - her wonderfully out of tune and yet still somehow sexy voice – as she sang along with abandon to a song he wasn’t familiar with, he was suddenly wracked with doubt. What exactly was he expecting to happen here? Was he here just to comfort her? Or was he intending to just throw himself at her like some horny teenager who had discovered he might be guaranteed a lay? And if he did - and the even bigger 'if' - if she allowed him to, was he just taking advantage of her emotional state? Was she even in the right frame of mind to rationally answer that herself?

Maybe he should go. Get a hotel room for the night before she even realised he was here.

And then what?

She needed him. Didn’t she?

More surprisingly perhaps, he needed her.

With his mind made up Michael strode purposefully down the hallway and stopped dead at the open door to the bedroom.

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Six ~ Crossed Wires

 

Michael stood for a moment, at a total loss for words. He watched as Abi danced her way out of the bathroom singing along to ‘Break my Stride’ .

He couldn’t help but to grin to himself. Jesus this woman had some seriously eclectic taste in music!

But then, as he truly took stock of the view he gulped. Abi was in a world of her own as she sang and danced along to the music. She was wrapped only in a towel which barely grazed her knee, her glistening skin pink and still damp from the shower. Her hair was wrapped in another towel and with those crazy curls that she so often hid behind out of the way he was able to see just how truly beautiful she was.

“Abi…” Michael repeated her name quietly, reverently, almost as if finally seeing her for the first time.

Clearly she had not heard him call her name as he'd entered the flat, nor the sound of his key in the door, as she jumped like a startled rabbit and screamed, her hands immediately clinging tightly to the towel wrapped precariously around her otherwise naked body.

“Jesus!”

“Shit… sorry Abi! I did shout you when I came in…” Michael floundered.

For a moment they both just stood staring at one another. Abi’s heart hammered in her chest, both from the shock but also from seeing Michael, right in front of her, in the flesh and looking even more handsome, if that was humanly possible, than the last time she’d seen him. As usual her body betrayed her and she felt her nipples tighten in the cooler air of the bedroom as she suddenly became hyper aware of her state of undress and shivered.

Michael, meanwhile, tried desperately not to stare at her tantalisingly bare skin, instead training his eyes on her own as he watched a whole host of emotions pass through them. The predominant one seemed to be one of uncomfortableness and he realised his eyes might just have wandered down to her chest, where he’d noticed the outline of a nipple under the well washed towel.

Gulping back a groan he held his hands up and muttered a garbled apology before closing the bedroom door and heading straight to the kitchen.

Biting his lip, he prayed Abi hadn’t drunk all the Jameson’s because he needed a stiff drink more than anything right now.

***

Abi stood dumbfounded, still clutching the towel. She couldn’t decide if the goosebumps which now covered her were her skins reaction to the cold air or Michael’s sudden presence.

What the hell was he even doing here already? And why hadn’t he called first?

He’d always paid her that courtesy in the past.

It all seemed a bit… odd.

Shit!

What if he really couldn’t take anymore of her complicated crap and wanted to extricate himself from it as soon as possible before the appeal? If the press got wind of all this, he might somehow be dragged into the circus freak show that was Connor-fucking-Foley…

But where would she even go? Would he at least let her stay and finish up her first year in London? Maybe she could transfer somewhere else for the second year…

Fuck!

She grabbed the first set of clean underwear her shaking hands found in the dresser and slipped them on in a daze. Then she pulled on a pair of yoga pants and a vest top, and finally, noticing her favourite hoodie dangling over the bedpost, she grabbed that and pulled it on too.

Instantly she felt a tiny bit better, almost dressed for battle as she stood in her familiar uniform. Towel drying her hair, she pulled the untamed mess back off her face and secured it with a bobble.

With a heavy heart she turned the door knob and headed out to face her fate.

***

Michael found the half empty bottle of whiskey and couldn’t resist a raised eyebrow and a low chuckle.

“Good on you girl!” he muttered to the empty room before grabbing the tumbler she must have used last night from the drainer and pouring himself a shot. He winced as the alcohol hit the back of his throat, swallowing the glass’s contents in one mouthful, then rinsed it out and placed it back on the drainer.

Then he made his way into the lounge and plonked himself down on the couch, leaning his head back as he tried to get his body to relax for the first time since last night. Even during filming that morning he’d been on edge. Justin had loved it apparently. He’d told him whatever he seemed to have on his mind was only adding to the angst-ridden Macbeth and to use it. Even Marion had commented on how tormented he'd looked.

He'd frowned. It was not like him to let personal feelings show in his performance and he’d felt guilty for not committing his mind fully to the job. But when he’d seen the rushes, he'd understood what Justin had been talking about and was shocked to see the almost haunted look in his eyes.

As if on cue, he heard the source of his anguish open the bedroom door, her feet moving silently across the wooden floor into the lounge.

Michael lifted his head just in time to see her sit down tentatively in the armchair across from him. Her cheeks were still flushed and she seemed nervous.

Shit. This was not how he’d expected this to play out at all.

Well, what exactly were you expecting? Hey Mike?

“Abi… fuck! I’m really sorry I surprised you like that” he babbled “I should have called first but I came home as soon as I finished filming and by the time I realised I hadn’t even called you I was in the air and... well, I guess I just figured I may as well just wait”

“Michael…” Abi started to speak but he cut her off.

“And fuck. I swear I wasn’t perving on you or anything… I called out when I came in. You just mustn’t have heard me over the music and the sound of the shower…” Michael licked his lips as his treacherous mind imagined her in the shower and he had to look away.

“Michael…” she tried again.

“Anyway. The long and the short of it is, I was worried about you and came straight home.”

“Michael…” Abi started to speak again but then stopped as she processed Michael’s words “You… you were worried about me?” she gasped.

“Christ! Of course I was worried Abi!” Michael frowned, his forehead clenching as he rubbed his hands over his freshly shaven jaw, contemplating how to explain himself without dragging up the appeal in too much detail “You got some seriously shit news yesterday and you were here alone after I basically persuaded you to move over here! Jesus Abi! The fucking least I could do was try to get back here as soon as possible. It wasn’t that difficult. We only had a couple of scenes left to shoot so I just asked if we could start a bit earlier this morning…”

Michael’s voice trailed off again as he realised Abi was staring, open-mouthed at him.

“You… you did that?  You did all that… for me?” her mind was whirring, telling her not to read anything into it. It was good old, trustworthy Mike. Her knight in shining armour.

Her big brother…

“I’d do anything for you Abi…”

The words had escaped Michael’s lips before he was able to realise their potential implication and sat heavily in the air as they each pondered their meaning.

Abi’s heart pounded in her chest. Even though she knew deep down he’d meant the words in a platonic way she couldn’t help but blush and became a little flustered, suddenly intensely interested in the drawstrings on her hoodie.

Michael, meanwhile realised – perhaps, truthfully for the first time – just how accurate his statement was. He’d hoped, somehow, for some reciprocation from Abi but she just sat there, looking nervous as she played with her hoodie.

Realising he had to get some self-control back before he turned into some fawning, love-sick fool and freaked her out completely, he tried to lighten the mood.

“Anyway… interesting choice of tunes earlier…” he smirked and Abi’s cheeks darkened to a deep crimson as she realised he’d heard her caterwauling.

“Oh God Michael… I can’t believe you heard me singing!”

“What? It’s not like I haven’t heard you before Abs! And you have such a pretty little voice… All the cats outside think so anyway!” he winked before collapsing into a fit of laughter.

Abi grabbed the cushion alongside her and threw it at him. Michael just managed to duck, but his whole body literally shook with laughter as he finally allowed himself to truly relax.

Abi couldn’t help it. She started laughing too, remembering just how loudly she had been singing. She knew she couldn’t sing. Christ, everyone from Killarney knew it. Father McQuire had actually suggested she mime when she’d been made to attend choir practice while at school!

And just like that, the tension between them had disappeared. At least for the time being.

Michael’s eyes twinkled wickedly as he grinned that huge grin at her. Abi was clutching her sides, still gasping for air as he apologised again for not calling.

She smiled back at him and told him not to be daft. It was his flat and he could come home whenever the hell he wanted.

They both slumped back in their seats then and a comfortable silence descended upon them. Michael was desperate to know how Abi had got on with the lawyer but she looked so happy right at that moment he couldn’t bring himself to ask.

Plenty of time for that, he thought to himself.

In the meantime it felt good to see her smile, especially knowing he’d played a small part in it.

The sound of his stomach growling loudly reminded him he hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

Abi heard it too and laughed again.

“I guess that answers my next question…” she grinned “Okay, so as I wasn’t expecting you there’s bugger all in except some questionable eggs. So how about we order something, my treat as a thank you for last night…” Abi’s voice trailed off as the subject they’d both been steadfastly avoiding inadvertently reared its ugly head.

“Sounds like a plan, except I’ll pay. My apology for nearly giving you a heart attack earlier!” Michael was quick to try to steer the conversation into safer waters.

“How about we just go halves and you stop apologising?” Abi raised an eyebrow warningly and Michael relaxed again.

“Deal!" 

"So, any preference?”

“Pizza… I’ve been craving pizza from that place down the road for months” Michael’s eyes lit up at the thought and Abi couldn’t help but laugh at how enthusiastic he was.

“Pizza it is!” she grinned and grabbed the phone.

Just over an hour later they were both stuffed, sat on the couch with the empty pizza boxes strewn on the floor around their feet. Michael was gripping his stomach while Abi moaned that she thought hers was about to burst.

While they’d waited for the pizza to be delivered Michael had finally plucked up the courage to ask what she'd found out from her lawyer. From what Abi had told him it seemed that they were no closer to finding out what the hell was going on and he found himself tensing up at the realisation that this was not going to go away any time soon.

Well this time he would be around as much as she needed - and would let - him, he decided.

As he sat now, his belly full with pizza with Abi sat alongside him he knew this was where he wanted to be. He had no clue how to broach the subject with her though. It was one thing knowing she had once had a crush on him. Honestly, he was almost certain she knew he knew. Half of Killarney knew for God’s sake! That wasn’t the problem.

The problem was, how did he make her see his own feelings had changed? Or that they were real, not just coming from a place of pity. And even more importantly, that he didn’t just see her as an easy option, knowing she would probably do anything for him.

Then there was the matter of what he’d heard last night. It was true it had been the final nudge he’d needed to realise his own feelings, and had maybe even helped spur him into action. But it still felt wrong somehow, almost as if he had spied on her. It didn’t sit well with him to keep that from her, yet the thought of telling her filled him with dread.

What if she was disgusted with him - thought he really was some kind of pervert - especially after seeing him staring at her when she’d come out of the shower earlier. Not to mention just how mortified she would probably be that he knew what she’d done.

“Michael… you okay?” Abi’s voice interrupted his thoughts and his head shot up and looked at her guiltily. It would appear she had said something else but he had no clue what it was.

He sighed as it dawned on him that unless one of them took the plunge they could carry on like this indefinitely. And seeing as it was only him who was privy to all the information, he knew he would have to step up to the plate.

“Yeah. Abi…” Michael dragged his hand through his hair and sighed “listen. I need to talk to you about something…”

Abi’s heart began to pound in her chest for the third time that evening. Here it comes, she thought gloomily. He’s lulled me into relaxing and now he’s gonna tell me he needs me out of the flat. She bit her lip, waiting for the inevitable.

Michael opened his mouth to continue but was interrupted by the sound of a phone ringing, startling him into silence.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven – T-T-Tequila

 

“For fucks sake!” Michael yelled angrily, slamming his mobile phone down hard on the coffee table.

"W…what's the matter?"

Abi had watched Michael’s face fall and his body visibly tense as he spoke on the phone. She had tried her best not to eavesdrop, exiting the room under the excuse of using the bathroom, but from Michael’s resigned voice and his angry demeanour when she’d returned, she knew whatever it was, it wasn’t good news.

She slunk back into the armchair opposite him and waited for him to speak, instinctively shying away from him. She pulled her knees up and hugged them protectively.

"I came all the way home, finally hoping to spend a couple of weeks chilling out here and now they're telling me they need me back in Scotland in six days for two bloody reshoots - something about the lighting being off!" he practically growled, venting his anger.

"But that's crap!" Abi frowned as the words came out of her mouth, realising how angry and disappointed she sounded. She knew it was selfish of her. Mike was her friend. That was all. And it was him who was continually hauling his ass all over the world. Not her. As a friend she realised what she should be doing was cheering him up, not wallowing in her own pathetic self-pity.

“Shit! Justin’s gonna go ape when he finds out I shaved the bloody beard off as well!” he muttered to himself as he stroked his smooth chin, realising he was going to have to start growing it back and pray for a miracle in the meantime.

“Right… could the make-up department not help you with that somehow?” Abi tried to be helpful.

“I guess…” Michael pondered this for a moment before continuing “to be honest, it grows pretty quickly, but it all depends on continuity so I’d better email them to prepare them for the worst…” his voice trailed off then, seemingly deep in thought.

Abi sat, unsure what to say. Michael had been about to talk to her about something seemingly important before they had been interrupted but she was in no hurry to strike that conversation back up, fearing the worst. Instead, she played with the strings of her hoodie again, it was her go-to stress reliever, a coping mechanism when she started to tense up.

Michael watched her for a moment and his heart sunk. He’d been about to try to open up to her about how he felt. Now she seemed to have withdrawn from him completely, sat once again across from him on the armchair instead of alongside him on the couch. He immediately felt guilt as he realised how angry he must have sounded and watching her fiddle about with that damn hoodie again, it occurred to him that he might have scared her.

He opened his mouth to apologise and at the same time an idea suddenly came to him of how to get things back on track. They’d both had a stressful couple of days but Abi had told him over their pizzas that she was now off for three days. This really was his chance.

But first...

“Abi, I’m so sorry about that. I hope I didn’t freak you out? I was just a bit frustrated” he raised an eyebrow pensively “I’m sorry, you don’t need me doing that shit…” he repeated, suddenly remembering he still needed to get a handle on exactly what had happened to Abi - maybe more so than ever now if he intended on pursuing something further with her. The last thing he wanted was to do anything that reminded her of that dickhead.

“Its fine” was all she said, her voice almost resigned to being around that kind of behaviour.

Michael winced.

"No it's not..." he muttered and they sat in silence for maybe a minute or two, but which seemed much longer until Michael suddenly jumped up.

"Ah… fuck it!" he wandered off into the kitchen.

Abi knitted her eyebrows together and watching him leave the room, trying her best not to stare at his arse in those slim jeans he liked to wear so much. She wondered what he was doing. She could hear the sounds of the kitchen cupboard doors being opened and closed, then Michael’s footsteps on the wooden floor, before he paused in the hallway and fumbled around in his discarded luggage.

As he returned to the doorway of the lounge he called out "up for a drink?"

"I guess so… what did you have in mind?"

She looked up in time to see Michael holding up a fancy looking bottle and grinning mischievously.

"T-T-Tequila... it makes me happy!" Michael sang out, clinking the two shot glasses between his long fingers in one hand while hugging the bottle he held in his other as he wiggled his hips, dancing towards her.

Abi laughed, relief washing over as she saw that his angry demeanour seemed to have completely dissipated.

Why did he have to be so bloody distractingly sexy?

Wait. No!

Silly… she meant distractingly silly.

Yeah okay…

"I brought this all the way back from ‘Me-hi-co’" he laughed in a ludicrously bad Mexican accent"I spent a couple of days there after filming Frank. It’s the good stuff. Not that cheap, watered down crap they sell over here!" 

"Tequila? Really?" Abi raised her eyebrows.

This was a bad idea. A bad… bad idea.

Tequila did things to her. Bad things. Loosened her lips...

Made her horny as hell.

This was dangerous territory. Especially when she was around Michael.

"C'mon! You’ve had a stressful couple of days, I’ve just found out I’m gonna have to cut my first holiday in over a year short…” Michael sighed as his words sunk in “so… let’s get pissed and de-stress together! I can tell you all about my supposedly glamourous lifestyle and you can tell me all about what's going on with you at the moment” Michael pleaded, setting his lips into a pout which Abi couldn’t help but stare at for a moment too long before swiftly looking away.

“Go on girl…” he coaxed, sensing Abi’s resistance faltering “I haven't a clue what’s going on with ‘Abi’ right now, other than that stuff we decided we weren’t going to mention…” He paused as he digested this thought and when he spoke again it was almost a whisper “I guess i'm a pretty shit friend…" he mused.

"You are kidding me right now, aren't you Fassbender?!" Abi stared, wide eyed "Michael. If it wasn't for you i'd still be in Ireland. Still hiding. Or even worse..." her voice trailed off as she allowed herself a moment to remember just how bad it had been back there and how her life might have been had she not left when she did.

"Still... It's been an age since you and I have been in the same room. Chewed the fat... y'know?" Michael, sensing that ever present undercurrent of emotion when Abi mentioned her former life, soldiered on.

Abi sighed. How could she turn him down? After everything he’d done for her. Not to mention the fact that he was staring at her, a hopeful look in those beautiful blue eyes as he seemingly willed her to agree.

"Okay… okay! But if we’re doing this we’re doing it right! You sort out the salt. I'll nip to the corner shop and grab us a couple of limes"

“Ooh I like it when you’re bossy!” Michael grinned, winking at her.

Abi blushed furiously and began fiddling with those hoodie strings again. Sensing her slipping away from him once again he tried a different tack “Y’know you don’t really need all that stuff with this Abs?" he held up the bottle "this isn’t lighter fluid, its 100% Agave!”

Michael quirked his eyebrow and Abi paused, no idea what the hell that actually meant and whether he was being serious or not. She was hardly a tequila connoisseur.

“Ah screw it. If the lady wants limes…” Michael’s face broke out into a grin and Abi took that as his assent. 

The late night shop was just at the end of the road and she was back in less than five minutes, grasping two limes in one hand and a huge bar of chocolate in the other.

Michael tried not to stare at the way she somehow managed to cradle the two large limes in her small hand, swallowing hard as a much less innocent image popped into his head. Quickly refocusing, he raised an eyebrow at the family size bar of Galaxy she held in her other hand and smirked “feeling peckish?”

“Not at the mo, but tequila tends to give me the munchies” she lied. Abi wasn’t about to tell him the real reason she’d bought such a huge bar.

The only thing which was going to get her through this evening once she started drinking with Michael was chocolate… and lots of it!

 

"So…” Michael drawled “while I was in New Mexico I learnt this little trick..."

"Oh yeah? What was that then?" Abi was feeling pleasantly buzzed from the two shots she’d already consumed. Michael was right. This tequila was smooth, not like the rocket fuel she’d previously tried. She felt a little giggly, but otherwise she was pretty lucid as she licked a stray grain of salt from her upper lip while she waited for him to explain.

Michael followed the trail of her tongue along her pink lip with his eyes and gulped. He wondered if she realised just how sexy she looked when she did that. He also wondered what that same tongue would feel like trailing down his…

Focus!

He felt his cock protesting against the confines of his jeans in response and took a deep breath before continuing.

Here goes nothing, he thought.

"Well. Apparently, you're supposed to lick the salt off your drinking companion’s skin, not your own, while they hold the lime..." he quirked an eyebrow and grinned mischievously at her, waiting for her reaction.

Abi raised her own eyebrows, her pulse quickening as she tried to comprehend where Michael was going with this.

Was… was Michael flirting with her?

No! He could have any woman in the world! Why the hell would he be flirting with you Abi?

Get.

A.

Grip!

Really?” she knew she must have sounded dubious but she couldn’t help it. Her overtired mind and slightly numbed senses were beginning to make her doubt her own mind.

She searched his eyes, but they were impenetrable. Steely blue orbs bore into hers and she found herself having to look away.

She had no idea what kind of game he was playing. Was he merely teasing her, or was this an innocent request to do it ‘properly’? It could easily be the latter. There was a part of Michael which was obsessed with stuff like that and it could well be rearing its head now. He always called it his ‘German side’, much to everyone’s amusement (except Josef’s of course). But it wasn’t like Abi was well travelled or anything. How the hell did she know anything about the correct way to drink tequila?

Sensing her uncomfortableness he broke into a warm smile.

"Hey you don’t have to do it, but I promise I don’t bite… unless you want me to, that is!” he winked at her teasingly then and Abi’s mouth gaped open. Sensing he might be coming on a little too strong he instead appealed to her competitive side, hoping that hadn’t been lost over the years “plus there are bonus points for invention!"

"What the hell?!"

"What's the matter O’Leary? Chick... chick... chicken?!" Michael laughed before flailing his arms around, clucking and squawking loudly.

Jesus that man knew exactly what buttons to press to get his own way.

"Alright... alright!" Abi groaned as she found herself clenching her thighs together at the very thought of Michael biting her anywhere. Realising he was deadly serious about the salt though, she decided that it might actually be more obvious if she declined. Then he'd probably want to know why, and that was a whole can of worms she was in no rational state of mind to get into with him right now...

Besides, he was baiting her now. She was all in.

"Okay..."

"Okay?"

"Well they do say you should try everything once..." she tried to sound confident, despite her stomach practically doing somersaults.

Michael raised his own eyebrows at this but Abi missed the gesture, too wrapped up on trying to focus her breathing as she watched him hold out the salt shaker.

"Indeed they do… You might want to move over here, it'll be a lot easier if we're at least sat near each another" he suggested, and as Abi moved onto the couch alongside him, Michael grinned and presented his outstretched hand for Abi to trail a thin line of salt across.

"Ladies first..."

Abi deliberated for a moment, weighing up where best to place it, deciding to stay away from his fingers - for obvious reasons, and his wrist – well, because if she felt his pulse under her tongue in her present state she wasn’t sure what she’d do!

Deciding the back of his hand was probably her safest bet, she trailed the salt rather unsteadily (shaky hands, okay?) along his skin. Michael’s eyes never left hers as he watched her bend her head, point her tongue into a ‘v’ and finally lower it, slowly licking up the salt whilst inadvertently trailing her tongue along the prominent vein which ran almost the entire length of his hand. His skin felt warm under her sensitive tongue and the same warmth began to creep slowly down deep in her belly.

Abi felt her cheeks flush as she finished licking up the salt and her eyes connected once more with Michael’s.

He was giving her a strange look and she briefly wondered if she’d done something wrong. But then he silently held out the shot glass and she took it gratefully from him – if for no other reason than her throat was suddenly as dry as a desert.

She tipped the contents into her mouth and swallowed with a slight wince as the alcohol hit the back of her throat. She hesitated for the merest moment as Michael waited, his eyes still fixed on her with a curious expression as he held the lime wedge much closer to himself than the shot glass had been, forcing her in turn to slide closer. Abi opened her mouth, wrapping her lips warily around the tart fruit, doing her best not to become transfixed by the proximity of Michael’s long fingers to her lips, and sucked. The juice sprayed out over Michael’s index finger and thumb and as she pulled away and licked the excess from her lips with a slight shudder, she could have sworn she saw Michael do the same as he watched her before licking the juice in turn from his own fingers.

“And now it’s my turn …” Michael spoke low, the words loaded with intent as he waited for Abi to present her hand.

When she did so it visibly shook and Michael raised an eye brow and smiled reassuringly at her.

“Abs… relax! I promised I wouldn’t bite, didn’t I?” he winked and Abi tried her best to calm down and focus on breathing, desperately trying not to think about the fact that Michael’s mouth would soon be touching her skin.

Suddenly the salt shaker appeared and Michael took her hand, turning it over so that it was facing palm side up, slowly rubbing his thumb across the entire surface as if memorising it. Abi's feeble attempts to control her breathing were failing miserably as his slightly rough digits swept across her skin, each movement sending a rush of endorphins throughout her and fighting with her tense body. Finally, after what seemed like an hour of torment but which couldn't have been more than a minute, he trailed a line of salt along the length of her upturned index finger and licked his lips slowly, his eyes fixed on her own as he appeared to stare into her very soul.

Once again it was Abi’s turn to shudder. There was surely no mistaking the look he was giving her now, was there?

He looked like he wanted to devour her…

Before she had time to process this bizarre turn of events Michael had bent his head towards her hand, but instead of licking the salt he instead enveloped her entire index finger and slowly, languorously, sucked each and every grain away.

She couldn’t help herself. She let out a small gasp followed by a louder whimper as he sucked, rolling his tongue around as he lapped up all the salt crystals. When he finally reached her finger tip his tongue swirled indulgently before he finally released it with a pop and grabbed the shot of alcohol, downing it quickly, his eyes never leaving her own.

Abi's mouth hung open in a daze and when Michael raised his eyebrows expectantly and murmured “lime?” huskily, she barely even registered he’d spoken.

He let out a low chuckle, but inside he was ecstatic. She hadn’t shied away. She hadn’t stopped him, and judging by the noises she was making she seemed to be enjoying it just as much as he was.

Realising Abi was still just staring at him he grabbed the lime wedge himself and sucked it, before tossing it with the other discarded pieces.

For a moment they both sat in silence, a strangely charged undercurrent now lingering in the air as both realised something had irreversibly changed in their dynamic.

Abi, suddenly in unfamiliar territory - yet filled with Dutch courage - was now looking at Michael with an almost challenging stare, and he in turn was fighting not to just grab her and cover those plump pink lips with his own and devour her. The small taste of her he’d just had only inflamed his craving for more.

Surprisingly then, It was Abi who could not take the silence any longer. Maybe she was misreading the signals. Maybe it was the alcohol fogging hers and Michael’s minds. But either way Michael was looking at her like he literally wanted to consume her right at that moment.

She’d be an absolute fool to ignore that, right?

“So…” she spoke, her voice not sounding anywhere near as confident as she would have liked.

“So…” Michael’s mouth curved into a mischievous grin and he quirked his eyebrow. He had set the wheels in motion, but he would play by Abi’s rules. It was up to her now how things progressed.

“So…” she repeated “how did I do?”

Her question took Michael somewhat by surprise and he looked at her closely. Her cheeks were flushed and she had a somewhat dreamy smile plastered across her pretty face.

“I’d say you are definitely a quick learner… but there’s always room for improvement” Michael winked at her and this time she bit her lip, not even bothering to hide her arousal.

“Right…” she smiled coquettishly “well then, let's up the anti here..."

Michael looked confused for a moment as she knelt up on the couch alongside him and turned so that she was facing his shoulder. He didn’t say a word, instead just sat, waiting with baited breath to see where she was going with this. Abi leant towards him, her lips almost touching his ear and whispered in what she hoped was a seductive voice “Is it me or is it a little hot in here?”

Before he could answer, much less process her words, she had leant back and unzipped her hoodie, sliding it off her bare shoulders and dropping it onto the floor. Now clad in only her simple black vest top and yoga pants he couldn’t help but admire her figure, from the curves of her small breasts down to her slim waist and fuller hips.

In fact, so caught up was Michael in checking her out, he had missed the fact that Abi was now brandishing the salt and another shot of tequila.

“Would you mind holding this Michael?” she held out the shot glass and then moved even closer towards him, her eyes staring at his strong jaw line with intent as she licked her lips. Before she talked herself out of it she put her hand to his cheek and gently pushed his head sideways so that it exposed the entire left side of Michael's jaw. He made a noise somewhere between a sigh and a slight growl but made no movement to stop her and she trailed a long line of salt from just below his ear down towards his chin.

Slowly, Abi leant forward again, hyper aware of the sound of her own heartbeat as it pounded deafeningly loudly in her chest. Narrowing the gap between herself and Michael she got a strong waft of his aftershave, its spicy scent combining with the hint of alcohol on his breath as he exhaled raggedly.

It was almost intoxicating in itself. Her eyes were drawn to his strong jaw, the line of salt glistening as it began to melt with the heat from his skin. Up close she was able to see the fine hairs on his closely shaven cheek and her heart rate increased exponentially.

With a deep breath she opened her mouth and pointed her tongue, slowly flattening it against his hard jaw and licked.

As soon as her wet tongue connected with his jaw, Michael let out an unmistakable growl. Her tongue felt like fire on his cooler skin but the burn was so good. Blood flooded straight to his cock in response and as she slowly started her ascent towards his ear he visibly shivered under her touch. He tried to hold the shot glass steady but the hairs at the back of his neck were standing on end as he trembled and his hand began to shake with the intense sensation. He knew where the salt ended, but when she reached the end of the trail she didn’t stop. Instead her tongue continued languidly up until it very gently lapped at his ear lobe. He damn near lost the shot glass right then but she suddenly pulled away and sat waiting, her lips now parted expectantly as she watched him raise the glass.

As the glass was almost level with her hands she moved to take it from him but he shook his head.

“No!” Michael’s voice was gruff now and Abi clenched her thighs instinctively. Michael noticed and grinned wickedly.

Using his index finger, Michael tipped Abi’s chin up a little and with his other hand he lifted the shot glass to her parted lips, urging them open further so that he could pour the cool liquid into her waiting mouth.

With her throat in this position Michael was able to watch as she swallowed the tequila and he couldn't help but to imagine what she would look like swallowing something else he could give her. His cock throbbed insistently in response and he wriggled uncomfortably before realising she still needed a lime wedge. Quickly stretching forward he grabbed one and smirked as he brought the wedge up to his mouth and held it outwards between his teeth in challenge.

Abi hesitated for the merest moment before leaning back in towards him and biting into the fruit.

The pair faced each other, eye to eye. Their noses brushed alongside one another’s and the surrounding air was charged with electricity as every neurone seemed to be firing between them, connecting an invisible circuit.

Their lips were millimetres apart, but at no point did their mouths actually touch. Instead they simply breathed one another in, both daring the other to back down - to stop this silly game before it went too far.

Abi slowly, languorously sucked at the the bitter juice and pulled away, leaving Michael with the parched remains and a devilish look on his face.

“So that’s how we’re playing, is it..?” he growled, spitting out the lime.

This time there could be no mistaking what he wanted.

He unceremoniously pulled Abi onto his lap, her legs straddling his muscular thighs so she was facing him. He held her waist, his long fingers gently but securely anchoring her. 

Abi was breathing heavily now, biting her lip as she waited to see what he would do next. She’d made her feelings as clear as she knew how to with such limited experience. Deep down she knew this was either going to be the worst decision she had ever made - and the end of a beautiful friendship - or the start of everything she had ever dreamed of with Michael.

She just prayed it was the latter…

As Michael continued to stare at her, his eyes now dark and betraying his lust, she could feel just how much he wanted her. It was impossible to miss the outline of his cock through the snug denim fabric between her thighs. Her eyes widened and her lips parted as she tried not to obviously lick her lips as it pressed insistently against her mound. But her body betrayed her and she wriggled slightly, her cotton clad pussy rubbing against his thick length.

Michael hissed, his hands tightening on her waist as he involuntarily bucked up in response, causing Abi to let out a low moan.

Then his large hands slid down from her waist towards her ass and squeezed. Michael maintained eye contact, waiting for any hint that Abi was uncomfortable with where this was now clearly heading.

When no sign came he beamed with relief and a burgeoning sense of excitement. It was now obvious that she wanted him and he hoped it was just as clear to her that he felt the same.

Thankfully, it seemed they were finally on the same page.

"Just exactly how drunk are you right now?" he murmured hesitantly. There was no way he would take advantage of her. The only reason he'd suggested the tequila in the first place was to take the edge off, and it had done it's job well. But if she was drunk he would wait, and hope that she still felt the same when she was sober.

"Meh... drunk enough to tell you I want you..." she whispered, her hand shooting up to her mouth in shock as she realised what she’d just said.

Bloody tequila! It was like a fucking truth serum!

"But...?" Michael growled at her response, but tried to remain calm as he noted her embarrassment at her own confession.

"No buts. Well. Yeah, I want your butt... among other things!" she snorted with laughter at her own joke and Michael couldn’t help but throw his own head back and laugh out loud at that.

“All in good time love...  all in good time!" he winked mischievously "But you still owe me one more shot of tequila first... and I know exactly  what i want to lick that salt off..."  

 

To be continued...

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter Eight ~  Truth and Honesty

 

A low moan escaped Abi’s mouth as she shivered involuntarily and raised her eyebrows inquisitively at Michael’s loaded response.

Clearly it was game on. The question was, could she honestly do this?

At that very thought her eyes quickly darted away from his and she started to worry her lip, unable to stop the doubts from circling her mind like vultures.

She knew it was stupid of her to even be hesitating right now – she was the one who had given such an explicit response, however accidentally. And - she reminded herself - let’s not forget the fact that she was so close to finally getting what she’d long dreamed of.

But the simple fact was… she was scared.

No. more than that. She was petrified. What if’s filled her whirring brain.

What if he just wanted a quick fuck?

What if she was a disappointment? She had only been with one other man after all and that had been an unmitigated disaster…

What if he wanted her to do something he’d done? Could she? Would she?

What if she couldn’t ‘perform’? It was one thing taking care of herself. It was quite another allowing someone else to be intimate with her. She had no idea if she was physically even capable since he...

“Abi…” Michael whispered gruffly, his deep voice thick with desire.

What if… What if… What if…

“Abi?” he repeated, louder this time and she jumped and looked back up at him, her eyes darting around his face, unable to fix directly on him.

“Love… what is it?” Michael’s hands had released her bum and moved quickly up to her face, cupping her cheeks and gently stroking his rough thumbs along her soft skin “Are we going too fast? Is that it? Tell me… please. If this is too much for you we can slow down, or stop. Is that what you want? Should I stop?”

“You want to stop?” Abi frowned. She was a mess of contradictions right now. Her body was driving at breakneck speed, searching for more but her mind was putting up so many stop signs even she was getting confused.

“Hell no!” Michael groaned as she leant back a little to get a better look at his face, unintentionally grinding her ass against his engorged shaft in the process.

“Abi, baby… I honestly don’t think I could want you any more than I do right now” he licked his lips and his eyes darted down to where her crotch met his throbbing cock through their respective clothing and then looked back up with a quirked eyebrow.

Surely she had to feel that too?!

He sighed deeply before continuing “But I won’t do anything you are not one hundred per cent certain you want to do love… I can wait” his voice had an edge of desperation to it but he breathed through his treacherous desires and emphasised his willingness to go at her speed. Whatever that might be.

“I… I want…” Abi hesitated, trying to express herself coherently. She sighed then, closed her eyes and tried to take a deep breath as tears began to well up in her eyes.

Michael continued stroking her cheeks, willing her to continue, a dawning realisation that before they were to go any further he needed to know what that bastard had done to her. This sudden awareness knocked the air out of his lungs and he let out a resigned sigh, feeling his erection leave him as tears began to fall down her cheeks, soaking his thumbs.

“Baby…” he murmured, moving to wipe away the tears with both his large hands, only for more to follow.

He felt helpless. What had started out as a fun evening had somehow quickly descended into a nightmare. He berated himself, knowing Abi was not someone he could just fuck about with – even though he honestly had not intended on doing that.

But that must surely be how she was seeing this, judging by her tears. Fuck! It was all a huge mess. And he was the fucking epicentre.

Abi was shaking. What the fuck was wrong with her? Why couldn’t she just hold it together for ten minutes or so?  She’d had Michael right where she’d dreamed of for so long and just look at her! She’d totally fucked it up. She was sobbing, her face no doubt puffy, tear-stained and blotchy red.

Oh great fucking work O’Leary! You’ve really outdone yourself this time woman! You’ll be lucky if Michael will even talk to you again, let alone anything else. What was it Connor always said? No man likes a snivelling, emotional wreck of a woman.

Well Michael had somehow ended up with snivelling, emotional, confused, cock-teasing basket-case Abi…

Way to fucking go!

Abi!” Michael’s now authoritative tone penetrated her remonstrations as she finally looked him in the eye, albeit fleetingly.

“Sweetheart, will you please look at me?” his voice, now having got her attention softening to a deep murmur “I want to talk to you. And then… I hope you will talk to me. If you can that is. This is not a demand Abi. I would never demand anything of you other than your honesty. Just know that I want to be here, with you… now. Like this, in whatever way this…” he paused, waving his arms around the still air before moving them back so that one rested lightly on her hip and the other returned to her cheek “…is. I’m not going anywhere love… okay?” and, as if to punctuate his point, Michael leant forward and kissed her gently, first on the tip of her upturned nose and then on her forehead before pulling back and once again searching her hesitant eyes.

Abi nodded slowly, not trusting her voice.

Having now had at least a non-verbal confirmation, Michael soldiered on “Abi… I have a confession to make. I have known for a long time that you had feelings for me. I realise that probably sounds pretty damn conceited of me but please… bear with me on this. I’ve always found it flattering. You were one of, if not my best mate growing up. We shared so many happy childhood memories together. But you were so much younger than me, or so it seemed at the time, that I never once looked at you like anything more than my little sister…”

Michael released the hand he’d had anchored on her hip and slowly rubbed it over his jaw, trying to find the words to explain how he felt now.

“But believe me now Abi, when I say this. The last thing I am thinking of you as now is my sister. Not simply because I’m certain what I want to do with you is most definitely not something anyone should be doing with their sister – although that is a big reason!” he couldn’t help the slow grin from spreading across his lips at the thought “But because I think about you all the time. All the fucking time! You consume me Abs. I feel guilty that I wasn’t there to protect you back in Ireland. But you have my word - if you will have me - that I will never let anything bad happen to you again. Ever!”

He returned his hand to her waist and emphasised the point with a squeeze of her hip as he stared longingly into her eyes.

Abi felt at that moment like he was touching her soul.

And yet there was still a hesitancy in his voice as he opened his mouth once more.

“However” he stuttered, not wanting to force his hand but knowing he simply had to address them going to that dark place before either of them could finally bask in the sunlight together “I… I’m scared Abi. You’ve been through so damn much, but I know there is so much you haven’t told me, probably anyone. And I get that, I honestly do. I can’t even begin to imagine how painful the memories must be for you love. But I need to understand what we’re dealing with here… and by ‘with’ I don’t mean you my gorgeous girl… I mean what he did to you. Because God forbid I was ever to do anything that might trigger a memory. I honestly don’t think I could live with myself if I ever did that to you… What’s that saying? Forewarned is forearmed?

Abi watched Michael fight and struggle with himself as he tried to explain his own thoughts and fears and she got it. She totally got it.

The question remained, was she willing to go to the deepest, darkest recesses of her memories and share all the heinous things that man did to her? And if she did, would Michael ever be able to look at her in the same way?

But what was the alternative?

Let that fucker win and stay silent? Push Michael away? Her head swam with the possible consequences of either action as she tried to weigh up what to do.

Michael waited for her to speak. When she extricated herself from him and stood he thought that was her answer and exhaled a low sigh. He’d fucked up, again. He shouldn’t have pushed her.

He opened his mouth to apologise but Abi silenced him with a single finger pressed to his lips.

“Sshhh Michael… Please” she urged, her voice shaking with emotion “You’re right. You really should know what you’re dealing with…”

“What we’re dealing with Abi…” he emphasised “I meant what I said. I want you. All of you. I swear no matter what you tell me that won’t change”

“You can’t possibly know that…” Abi sniffed, feeling the tears starting to well back up “you might never want to even look at me again”

“That would never happen” Michael sighed emphatically.

“But… but how can you say that?” she knew she was poking the snake, but she couldn’t seem to stop herself. Better to get out now than to face the pain of rejection later.

“Abi. I’m obviously doing a pretty shit job of explaining myself right now aren’t I?” he huffed, running his hands through his hair and leaning forward so that his head was mere millimetres from her waist as she stood over him in turmoil.

“I want you to tell me, if you can, because I am certain there is nothing that can stop me from feeling anything but what I already feel for you Abs, okay? And then once you tell me, well then I can make sure I never do anything that might even possibly freak you out. Like earlier, when I got angry about the reshoot”

With a sigh, Abi opened her mouth and spoke “Okay… But I can’t look at you when I tell you…” and with that she walked over to the dining table and sat heavily into the seat nearest the wall, facing away from Michael.

“It all started about three years after you left for England…”

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Nine ~ Show Me Love

Take pride in your pain; you are stronger than those who have none ~ Lois Lowry.

*

“A couple out sightseeing found me on the side of the road and drove me to the nearest hospital” Abi recalled in as detached a voice as she could muster but as she continued her voice finally broke and the tears fell anew “I was haemorrhaging and… I… I… lost her… She… L… Lucy… was stillborn…

Abi sobbed, her voice little more than a whisper.

Michael sucked in a stuttering breathe as he tried to even begin to imagine how long it must have took Abi to make it to the roadside in her desperate condition - finally escaping, only to lose her baby. 

“Sadistic fuck!”

It was the first words that he had uttered since Abi had started to speak and they made her jump. She gasped, wiping at the tears that had stained her cheeks and turned towards the voice.

Michael was sat forward on the edge of the couch, his head in his hands and his knuckles white as he gripped fiercely at tufts of his hair.

“I… I’m not done…” Abi whispered, her voice fraught with emotion as she took in his demeanour.

Michael must have sensed a change in the cadence of her voice and looked up. When he saw that she was now facing him he immediately stood and took a hesitant step towards her before stopping.

Abi…” his voice was low, pleading.

“Don’t! Please…” she whispered again “I can’t bear to see you look at me like that”

“Like… like what love?” Michael’s brows drew into sharp lines as he stared down at her, confusion clearly painted across his face.

“With pity… and… anddisgust…” Abi’s face crumpled as the tears started afresh.

She turned back away from Michael and pulled her hands over her head as she leant over the dining table trying to block everything out.

Michael watched helplessly as her shoulders began to shake again and his own tears finally began to fall freely. He had been trying desperately to be strong for her as she’d recounted her devastating story, not thinking he had any right to cry when she herself was being so courageous but once he started, he couldn’t seem to stop. He was crying for her, with her. Because of her.

“Abi please… the last thing I feel for you right now is disgust!” he sniffed, his voice barely even recognisable as his own. He wasn’t altogether sure what it was he was feeling but disgust it definitely was not. Not for Abi at least. He forced himself not to think about that other person right at that moment. He was already struggling to tamp down his rage at what she had endured at that monster’s hands, it would not help anyone for her to see him explode.

No.

He needed to be strong for Abi. He needed to sacrifice his own emotions for hers. He would not let her see him angry. She deserved so much more than that from him.

She deserved the world.

“Abi… you are remarkable. Have you any clue how humbled I am that you were even able to share this tragedy with me… You are courageous, honest and smart, and frankly the most beautiful person I have ever met inside and out. But… I can’t bear to see you sat all the way over there in absolute turmoil while I’m all the way over here. I will respect anything you ask me to do love… I won’t touch you if you don’t want me to, I won’t even look at you if that’s how you want it… but please, let me at least sit with you… please?” his voice trailed off beseechingly.

Abi let out another shaky sob and dragged her fingers through her curls. She had long since pulled out the bobble from her hair and the untamed mess had fallen across her face, becoming dampened with her tears. She tightened her grip and clenched her fists until the roots of her hairs were taut and her eyes watered from the pain. Rocking back and forth on the hard wooden chair she felt its sharp edges dig into her thighs.

But the pain was cathartic. While she breathed and focused on this pain, the pain in her heart lessoned infinitesimally and she was able to begin to focus on the distant sound of Michael’s breathing. She heard his sniffs and they anchored her back to reality. She looked up through bleary eyes, bloodshot from so many fallen tears and realised the sniffing sounds were those of Michael trying to stifle his own crying.

Ghost-like, Abi rose from the chair and slowly walked over to the couch where Michael had slumped back down. She hesitated for a second, watching in grotesque fascination as the man who usually exuded such joy had all but disappeared before her very eyes, only to be replaced by his shadow.

Finally, and with much trepidation, she sat down at the other end of the couch. She felt like she was in a weird dream. In just over an hour they’d gone from lasciviously licking one another’s skin to barely being able to look at one another. She knew it was her fault. She’d fucked it up again.

She should never have told him.

There was no way Michael would ever want to be involved with her now… She was damaged beyond repair. He was an A list actor, under constant scrutiny. This - no – she was the last thing he needed in his life. She was a liability.

Michael felt the air move and the slightest depression of the couch and glanced up towards the table where Abi had been sitting for the last hour or so. When he saw that she was no longer there he immediately looked to his right and on seeing Abi sat at the far end of the couch he reached out his hand to her.

She hesitated for a second before shakily taking his hand, unable to meet his eyes for fear of what she’d see there.

The one thing she still couldn’t deal with was pity…

 He enveloped her hand but didn’t move. He knew it had taken everything she had to tell him her story and possibly even more still to let him touch her.

“I…I’m sorry Michael…” Abi breathed slowly, fighting away the pain as she gave Michael his out “I know I went too far tonight… I led you on and look what happened? You ended up in the middle of this shit storm! I… I should probably just go. You must be wondering how the hell you managed to get yourself involved in this much crap when you’ve only just got home and probably just wanted to have a bit of fun!”

“Abi… please don’t put words into my mouth!” Michael begged, his own tears starting again. But these were not tears of anger or frustration. These were tears of love. Of longing. And of compassion.

He had to make her see. Make her understand that he wasn’t about to go anywhere. And neither was she!

Abi saw the tears falling again and took her hand away from Michael’s, covering her own face in dismay “Oh God… I’m so sorry Michael… I’m so sorry. I’m such a fucking mess!”

Michael turned to face her. “Don't you ever apologise to me for anything Abi... you hear me?!” His voice had begun to rise and he had to check himself “Fuck. Sorry…” he rubbed his jaw and gritted his teeth before slowly exhaling “Shit! I sound just like that bastard I bet...”

Abi’s head shot up in shock and she shook it vehemently “No Michael, stop it! You could never sound like him…”

“But I'm already  telling you what to do and what not to do!” he sighed.

“The difference... Michael. Is that you care. You’re not telling me to bend to your twisted rules…” Abi sighed “you’re telling me to be proud of myself… to love myself… right?”

“Yes, but…”

“No buts…”

“That’s not what you said before…” Michael suddenly recalled “What was it you said? ‘I want your butt... among other things…’?”

For a moment there was a tense silence as Michael bit his tongue, mentally cursing himself for turning what had been a brutally honest revelation of Abi’s life into something altogether more crass. He felt like a total dick for trivialising their serious conversation by quoting the loaded remark that Abi had clearly only said in the heat of the moment. 

Abi remained silent, but her shoulders began to shake and Michael groaned at his stupidity. As he turned towards her to apologise for making her cry yet again, he watched dumbstruck as she suddenly threw her head back and laughed out loud.

“Well played Fassbender! Well played…” she finally gasped out and Michael couldn’t help but laugh too, watching in awe as her tear-stained cheeks blushed bright red and thanking the heavens that the tension in the room had dissipated even a tiny bit.

Slowly the laughter fizzled out, only to be left with an overwhelming sense of melancholy. They sat in silence for some time, neither one seemingly knowing how to navigate the way back to their earlier companionship.

“There was always an ulterior motive… always an agenda with ‘him’. Even when he seemed to be happy he was usually plotting some...” Abi suddenly blurted, shivering at the memory.

“There will never be an ulterior agenda with me Abi…” Michael interjected then paused and corrected himself “Well, that is unless making you feel like the most precious thing to me on this earth is an agenda? Because if that’s the case, then yes love… I’m afraid that will always be my agenda!”

Abi watched Michael as he spoke, transfixed by his impassioned declaration, the serious set of his jaw and the way his icy blue eyes seemed to stare into her very soul.

And she knew.

She knew she could trust him.

She heard herself speak, barely more than a whisper as she shifted towards him on the couch.

Show me…

 

 

Chapter Text

Chapter Ten ~ Healing Hands

 

The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering ~ Ben Okri

*

Show me…

Michael watched as Abi, clearly mustering all her courage, slid alongside him on the couch.

Wordlessly he stood, extending his hand down to her in invitation. As she shakily placed her small hand in his much larger one he gently pulled her upwards towards him, enveloping her within his arms.

Abi let out a little gasp and Michael hesitated. But as she slowly relaxed and pressed her cheek against his solid chest he tightened his hold. She revelled in his warmth, inhaling a ragged breath as she took in that deliciously spicy scent she usually found comfort in on his blanket. This time, however, it was coming directly from its source and it was almost overwhelming.

For his part, Michael leant his head down and nuzzled into Abi’s hair, breathing her in. The scent that greeted him confirmed he was exactly where he wanted to be. He stroked one hand lightly up and down her spine and she shivered. The same hand then slid around to gently lift Abi’s chin up so that he could clearly see her face when she answered the question he desperately needed to ask.

“What exactly do you want me to show you?” he breathed, trying to remain focused in spite of himself. He saw his own desire mirrored in Abi’s eyes but also nerves and despite his growing hunger for her he was determined not to spook her again “How far do you want me to go love? I’m yours whatever you want from me but I need to know. I don’t want to hurt you” he paused for a moment as he contemplated what he’d just said and seeing the anxiety still in her eyes felt the need to correct himself “No. Abi, What I meant to say - and this I promise you - I won’t hurt you.”

Abi let out the breath she hadn’t even realised she’d been holding in and with it a soft moan as an ache began to grow right at her very core at his heartfelt declaration combined with the way he was looking at her. She knew then what she wanted more than anything right at that moment.

Only one question remained. Did she have the nerve to ask for it?

“I…I…” she bit her bottom lip, trying to summon the courage to bring voice to her deepest desires but no words were forthcoming.

Sensing her uncomfortableness, Michael moved his hand from under her chin, caressing her jawline with his lithe fingers as he tracked every inch of her fine features. She instinctively leant into his touch and her bottom lip was freed as a slow gasp escaped her open mouth.

“Oh… God…”

Tell me loveMichael urged “Do you want me to kiss you? Or touch you? Do you want me to make love to you?  Or, do you want me to just hold you? Whatever you want I’ll do it Abi. Anything. I just want to be close to you”

Abi’s heart was racing as she took another shaky breath and willed the words from her mouth.

 “I… I want… I want you to touch me…” she finally whispered, unable to meet Michael’s eyes.

Had she done so, she would surely have seen a myriad of emotions cross Michael’s face. The heady mixture of desire that was surging throughout his body was tinged with shock at hearing her use the very words he’d overheard her use the other night. He hesitated for a moment, wondering if she really wanted him, or some fantasy movie version of him, but quickly shook off his own insecurity when she suddenly spoke again.

“…and I… I want to touch you…”

Michael gasped at her admission and, unable to hold back any longer, he lifted her up. His hands cupped her bum as he started to carry her towards the bedroom and instinctively Abi wrapped her legs around his waist.

He groaned as she pressed herself tightly to him, her core rubbing against his thickening length as she clung to him like a monkey. He slid one hand up to her lower back and gently laid her down on the bed beneath him, running his other hand slowly up her side, as if memorising every dip and curve of her petite frame. Carefully he disentangled her legs from around his back and stood back up, admiring the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed raggedly below him.

He needed a moment to collect himself. He needed to take things slowly.

He needed to show some restraint.

Oh fuck… he needed to touch her again…

He climbed onto the bed, lying alongside her on his side. She turned to face him and he propped himself up by one elbow as he looked hungrily from her eyes to her lips and back again, seeking permission to kiss her. Abi gave a slight nod and he licked his lips before shifting himself closer so that his mouth was hovering just out of her reach as he breathed her in. As their hot breath mingled Abi let out a tiny whimper of frustration. Michael eliminated the gap, very lightly pressing his lips to Abi’s and revelling in their softness.

And then he kissed her.

It was a kiss unlike any Michael had ever experienced before and with a tenderness he hadn’t known he was even capable of.

Abi let out a breathy moan as Michael’s lips finally touched hers. A surge of pleasure engulfed her as she melted into the kiss, rejoicing in the warmth and pressure as he teased her lips gently apart and darted his tongue along her lower one before deepening the kiss. As he did so Abi’s hands tingled to life, having lain motionless in her nervousness up until this point. She slid one up over the sinewy muscle of Michael’s bicep, her small gasp of delight at the feel of his skin being swallowed by his mouth as he continued to caress her lips. Finally reaching his broad shoulder she pulled him closer, suddenly craving contact with his body against her own.

Michael shuffled closer still, pressing his chest against her own as he groaned into her mouth, seeking out her tongue and flicking his own along its tip in a playful dance. Abi began to respond, opening wider as she tried to catch him but he continued to tease her, licking and nipping at her lips and tongue until they were both panting.

“Please!” Abi pulled away, looking longingly into Michael’s crystalline eyes.

He moved back slightly, taking in her flushed appearance and breathlessness and questioned huskily “Tell me what you want me to do baby…”

Abi looked pleadingly at him, biting her lip again as she fought the demons in her head. Summoning all her courage she tugged at Michael’s T-shirt, thankful when she saw realisation dawn on his face and he took over. Michael sat up and quickly discarded his T-shirt, tossing it behind him onto the floor and when he looked back down Abi had rolled onto her back and was fidgeting nervously with the hemline of her own vest.

Michael crawled over her so that he was straddling her lower thighs, making certain not to crowd her as he sat back on his haunches and waited for further permission. Abi looked up at him, drinking in the sight of his naked chest as he in turn watched in curiosity as her fingers continued to fiddle hesitantly with her vest.

She knew they were at an impasse. Unless she overcame her demons she would never get what she craved most – intimacy with Michael. She desperately wanted to feel the weight of him, feel the heat from his gloriously muscled torso pressed against her own naked skin. At this realisation she took a deep gulp of breath and looked up into Michael’s eyes for any sign that he was not in complete control of himself. Seeing only adoration mixed with his obvious desire she immediately felt a pang of regret for even doubting him but it was a habit she was, as yet unable to break. In a silent bid to apologise for her misgivings she released her fingers from the fabric of her vest and reached out towards his own which had been resting on his knees.

Michael watched as her fingers entwined with his own, and she smiled encouragingly. She pulled him towards her so that he now knelt, straddling her waist and rested their still entwined fingers back at the hem of her top. Michael swallowed at the comprehension that Abi wanted him to undress her, and he felt his cock thicken at the possibility of what might be to come.

Abi released his fingers and waited, urging him with her eyes.

Michael ran his fingers along the hem lightly, before gripping either side. He delicately helped her remove it, moving especially slow so as not to spook her in any way. As he reached her head Abi wriggled free and immediately covered her waist with her hands. Michael threw the vest to the floor and stared back down at her in reverence.

She was so beautiful.

And so delicate.

At that realisation he felt anger threaten to consume him as he imagined this tiny creature being abused so viciously by that sorry excuse for a man. He closed his eyes and willed that thought away.

He was here now. Never again would any man lay a finger on her but him. And never in any way but reverence. 

When he opened his eyes again she was just as beautiful. His fingers were itching to touch her and as he looked into Abi’s eyes he could see she wanted it too. He drew his fingers to her cheeks, cupping them both as he leant over and kissed her. What started as a gentle kiss this time soon became something more as Abi buried her hands in his hair, pulling him closer.

The exquisite sounds she made only urged him on, and he began to kiss down her body, starting at the pulse point on her neck which made her moan in delight. It was such an unexpected sound given her near silence up until that point that hearing it only made him greedy to hear it again. He peppered her neck and décolleté with more kisses, her moans becoming louder with each one and making him ache for her.  He wanted more than anything to bring her pleasure, to make her understand that what she had experienced before had been nothing at all like lovemaking.

When he reached her chest he brought his mouth over the intricate lace of her strapless bra, glancing up at her face for any sign that he should stop. What he saw in her eyes nearly made him come in his jeans.

Abi was staring down at him, through hooded eyes which betrayed her lust as Michael’s lips hovered just above her pebbled nipple. She watched in dumbstruck awe as the bud strained against its lacy confines, seemingly rising and tightening as if desperate to connect with his mouth. She began to pant and in a voice she barely recognised as her own she heard the words “Take it off!

Michael didn’t need to be asked twice.

Without moving his mouth even an inch he reached one hand around to Abi’s back and expertly unclasped the bra, tossing it aside. Immediately his hot mouth descended onto that ripe nipple as he suckled gently and Abi bucked underneath him in shocked pleasure. His hand cupped her other breast, rolling its taut bud between his fingers as he delighted in the heavenly noises she was making below him.

When he switched his mouth to her other breast and began laving the pebbled skin of her areola Abi felt a flood of moisture spread between her thighs and released an almost feral groan.

Michael’s cock throbbed painfully hearing the sounds emanating from Abi’s kiss bruised lips as he continued to worship her breasts. Finally his tongue began its descent again, kissing and licking every tantalising inch of her exposed skin in a display of adoration.

Abi moaned and writhed as she felt Michael’s talented lips and tongue trail down over her exposed skin. So this was what it felt like to be worshipped.

She had all but forgotten about her scar, failing to hide it as she held him tightly to her. But as he ran his tongue down past her stomach, which heaved with each deep breath she took, she suddenly remembered and gripped his hair, stopping him from going any further.

Michael yelped in surprise and locked eyes with hers, panicking that he had somehow overstepped some invisible line. Abi’s eyes still betrayed her lust, that much at least was evident. But she was again biting her lip and this time Michael sensed it was less from desire than nervousness. Her eyes flicked from his down towards her tummy and instinctively his followed suit.

As he noticed the long thin scar for the first time a tight knot gripped his stomach at the realisation of what it represented. For Abi it must be a constant reminder of not only her grave loss, but of the abhorrent violence she had once suffered on a daily basis. Yet to Michael - whilst it was obviously tinged with sadness at the loss of a child, even one fathered by such a monster – it was a testament to her bravery and ultimately, her survival.

He looked back up at her, his eyes shining with unshed tears of pride and love as she continued to worry her lip. Gently prising her hands away from his head and settling them either side of her hips he squeezed them reassuringly as he lowered his mouth once more.

Michael hummed. “This… this here love…” he gently placed a feather light kiss against the silvery scar “this shows me how strong you are.” Then he moved his lips further along the scar and placed another gentle kiss there, “how incredibly brave you are” another kiss, “how much you fought to survive” and one final kiss “and this makes me determined not to allow anything or anyone to even come close to hurting you ever again. Do you understand me?”

Abi sobbed quietly as Michael continued to worship her, relief flooding from her that he hadn’t been turned off by the sight of her or the memory of anything she had told him earlier. She let out a deep breath, and with a stuttering whisper finally found her voice “thank you.”

Michael lifted his head and on seeing her tears leant across and wiped them away before speaking.

“No! Thank you Abi” he whispered reverently. “Thank you for choosing me.”

When she smiled weakly back up at him he sensed that perhaps this was as far as they should take things this evening. Abi suddenly seemed exhausted. “It’s getting late love. Maybe we should call it a night and get some sleep?”

Abi’s heart sunk as she realised her tears had been misconstrued. She didn’t know exactly how far she wanted to take things but she knew she didn’t want Michael to leave her.

“No!” she gasped out “please don’t go!”

“Wait… what?” Michael moved back up towards Abi’s head, doing his best not to get distracted by her breasts as they pointed up at him, begging for his attention. That familiar ache returned to his cock and he willed it away as he concentrated on what Abi was saying, or rather what she was not saying right at that moment.

She was staring up at him, a look of desperation pouring from her watery hazel eyes as she wordlessly pleaded with him not to leave her. It almost broke his heart to think she thought he was just going to abandon her and he knew he had to make her understand.

“Abs… I’m not going anywhere you don’t want me to go love. If you’ll have me, I’m yours tonight and every night from this day forward, whether that’s just to cuddle, or… erm… more…” Michael grinned and licked his lips before continuing “It’s just that you looked tired, and it’s been a long, emotional night so I thought you might want to rest.”

He leant down and kissed her softly on the lips before pulling back in order to gauge her response to what he said next.

“Let me make this absolutely crystal clear so we are both on exactly the same page once and for all love. I want you... I desperately want to make love to you Abi” he watched as her breath hitched “I want to show you how wonderful it can feel when you’re with someone who truly cares for you” Abi gulped, but Michael hadn’t finished “and I want to show you how it feels to be worshipped like the wonderful treasure you are. But I also can - and will - wait until you are one hundred per cent sure!”

Abi’s chest was pounding as Michael revealed his wants and desires and it was as if a light bulb was suddenly switched on in her brain. She realised she wanted exactly the same thing, right there, right then. She knew if there was any chance of it happening tonight she had to make him understand that she truly wanted it just as much and that she wasn’t too emotional, nor too bloody tired!

Michael’s words had stoked a fire inside her and only his body could extinguish the flames.

“Make love to me… please” she gasped desperately, her breathless voice somehow managing to also sound commanding.

Michael hesitated for perhaps a millisecond before his lips crashed against hers and this time there was nothing gentle about the kiss they shared. Abi poured every moment she’d yearned for Michael over the past twenty odd years into that kiss and Michael responded in kind.

When they finally came up for air, both were panting heavily.

Michael suddenly growled, pulling away from her and off the bed, then stalked across towards the bathroom. Abi cried out at the loss, but when Michael turned back and winked at her, chuckling “condoms love!” she couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. She listened as he hunted around in what she assumed must be the cupboard under the sink. He kept all his own toiletries under there while he was away and she had no idea what was in there, not wanting to repay his kindness by snooping.

Finally he reappeared triumphantly brandishing a box and it was as he made his way back over towards the bed that Abi noticed the large bulge pressing insistently against his jeans. She gulped at the sight. Michael noticed and followed her gaze down to his crotch before grinning sheepishly back at her.

“I guess there’s no point trying to hide what you do to me now, is there love?” Michael finally chuckled, placing the box of condoms on the bedside table and unbuttoning his jeans. He quickly shrugged out of them and gazed down at Abi’s trembling form. He couldn’t help but gasp at her beauty.

Abi watched as Michael undressed down to his boxers and it was evident just by the tenting in them that he was much bigger than Connor. She worried her lip but forced herself not to think about that… monster. Michael was not like him. Michael would make sure she was safe, that she was comfortable and perhaps even more importantly, he would make sure she was ready.

Sensing her nervousness rising again Michael quickly climbed back onto the bed and kissed her, soothing away some of her anxiety. As their lips melded together he stroked one hand up over her jaw and through the glossy waves of her hair. His other hand caressed each and every contour of her body until he reached the waistband of her yoga pants. Reluctantly breaking away from her kiss he sought permission to remove the final barrier and she nodded her assent.

Michael gently gripped the fabric and pulled, taking her underwear along with it. When she was finally bare he knelt over her, basking in her glorious nakedness. Abi wriggled uncomfortably under his keen stare and he quickly straddled her, just as he had done earlier, not wanting her to feel uncomfortable because of his indulgence. He kissed her briefly before trailing his tongue once again down her body, retracing his earlier route.

He stopped just before he reached her mound, licking a pathway in turn to each of her hips and back again. Abi felt goosebumps explode on her skin and she gasped as he lifted up one of her legs and ran his tongue along her inner thigh, alternating between licking and kissing the sensitive flesh, before applying the same attention to her other thigh.

Oh… God!” she cried out, feeling another rush of moisture flood to her centre.

Michael could smell her arousal and he ached to taste her but he diligently continued to work his tongue along every inch of her thighs before finally succumbing. By this point Abi was moaning and writhing underneath him and he could feel the pre-cum seeping through the thin fabric of his boxers as his cock begged to be released from its confinement. Wanting to be ready when the moment finally came he quickly slipped them off, watching Abi’s mouth hang open as her eyes fell to his engorged cock and took in its substantial length.

Abi, still gasping for breath couldn’t believe her eyes. Sure, she’d seen that movie. Hadn’t everybody? And she’d been around Michael and his tight trousers long enough to understand that he was larger than average, but that still didn’t prepare her for the behemoth he was sporting. A tiny voice inside her head warned her that he could do some serious damage but she tried her best to push it away, knowing that if there was anyone she trusted with that thing, it was Michael.

Michael stared at Abi through hooded eyes as he gave his throbbing cock a gentle stroke, smiling at her and whispering words of reassurance.

“Relax girl… I’m going to take good care of you… I promise I won’t hurt you”

And then he bent back down between Abi’s legs, spreading her thighs gently and placed his mouth on her mound. Abi cried out in surprise and Michael made a soothing “sshhh” sound directly against her entrance. Her hands flew towards his head and he hesitated, waiting to see if she pulled him away. But as the heat of his ragged breathing permeated her sensitive opening, she tightened her grip on his hair and bucked up against his eager lips.

Michael began to run his tongue slowly up and down her entrance, teasing her folds apart as he slowly lapped at her juices. She moaned in delight and Michael savoured every lick and every single drop of her delectable nectar as he tasted her. Abi instinctively widened her legs, and he swirled his tongue around her throbbing little pearl, kissing and suckling it until she was driven to distraction. She cried out once more, the sensation so overwhelming good that her hips bucked up to meet his mouth. She released his hair, her hands moving to clutch desperately at her breasts, tugging wantonly at her taut nipples for some kind of release.

Oh… God! Mike…!

Michael glanced up and growled as he watched transfixed as she squeezed and groped her pert breasts.

Christ Abi!” he hissed and slid two lithe fingers up and down her folds, soaking them in her essence before slowly inching one inside of her. Abi instinctively clenched against the intrusion but with Michael’s praise and encouragement she began to relax and as he slowly, delicately began to push into her she cried out his name like a mantra.

Michael… oh fuck! Mike… yes… Oh God... Michael!

He didn’t want to push things too quickly but when her hands returned to his head and she tugged gently at his hair begging for more, he relented. He slid a second finger inside and curled both upward, finding that secret place that would surely make her tremble. His name came in a litany of repeated gasps as she rode his fingers. He felt her start to tighten as he increased the pressure of his movements and she came in waves around him, hoarsely whimpering her release. Her sounds and her touch set his body on fire and his cock ached to feel what his fingers had already experienced.

Abi was awash with a pleasure she had never known possible and yet she was already craving more. All memories of what she’d once tried to tell herself was gentle lovemaking were turned on their head by the sensations she was now experiencing. This was unlike anything she had ever felt before and Michael had yet to even penetrate her. She was suddenly desperate to feel all of him inside her, to join with him so that they became one.

She sensed he wanted the same, feeling his throbbing desire against her quivering thigh as he slowly made his way back up from between her legs and kissed her. She could taste herself on his lips and it only made her want him more. His kiss was so sweet yet it barely belied his passion and her heart pounded in her chest as she responded in kind, urging him on.

He leant across to the bedside table and grabbed a condom, making quick work of rolling it onto his weeping cock. When he was ready and positioned at her entrance he rubbed his tip gently over her sensitive flesh as he watched her react to him.

Abi bit her lip as he bent over and entered her slowly, expecting it to hurt. But as he slowly, carefully, stretched her she delighted in every single inch until she was completely filled. Michael waited for her to adjust, before releasing a deep groan of pleasure as he began to slide his full length in and out of her. He was moving torturously slowly and Abi felt every movement magnified as all the blood in her body seemed to rush to her core. She wrapped her legs around him, unconsciously urging him further into her as she began to move her hips in time with his gentle thrusts. Each time he buried himself he hit that already sensitive spot, making Abi whimper. The friction of skin on skin as he grinded down onto her was like nothing she’d ever felt and she never wanted it to stop.

Michael brought his face down next to hers and whispered huskily into her ear with each snap of his hips.

“Can you feel how much I want you?”

Thrust.

“Can you feel how much I care for you?”

Thrust

Can you feel how much I love you?” 

Abi’s eyes sprang open at his admission and she stared up into his adoring eyes, seeing only truth as he nodded, reaffirming his declaration. His words set her on fire and she moaned, clutching desperately for him as he pulled back and thrust into her. She met his every movement and when he leant back down and kissed her deeply, their bodies seemed to become one as he moved her ever closer to the edge.

Michael shifted on the bed, kneeling back on his haunches and spreading Abi’s thighs wider as he plunged into her to the hilt. She threw her head back against the pillow as he gently gripped her hips and rocked back and forth, savouring the sensation of being stoked so carefully. Her body began to arch up in response and Michael quickened his pace, yet still maintaining complete control. He stared down with wonder in his eyes as the friction from his pelvic bone against Abi’s already sensitive clit helped work her towards another climax, and when she came again he held her hips, thrusting into her as her walls clenched hot and tight around him.

Her wanton cries combined with Michael’s gasps and groans to create a chorus of pleasure.

Abi could sense that Michael was close and what she wanted more than anything was for him to feel as good as he had made her feel. He had been so damn patient, so attentive, yet he still seemed somehow to be holding back.

“Michael” she gasped “you can go harder if that’s what you need. I... I promise you, I won’t break

He stared down at her hesitantly, scared to hurt her but she urged him on again and her coaxing words finally began to embolden him.

That’s it… Yes! Right there Mike. Oh yes! You feel soo damn good! I can feel every inch of you… and… and how much you want me… and… how much you care… Oh God Mike, I can feel how much you love me… and I love you too!”

Michael moaned his delight at her words and pulled himself upright, holding her thighs wide as he set about a vigorous pace while Abi continued to clench around his aching cock. 

Oh fuck Abi! I’m so close baby… Oh Jesus fucking Christ!

He grabbed onto her hips, thrusting erratically, once, twice then one final time as he finally came hard inside her. He never once took his eyes off her, staring deep into her very soul as he moaned her name softly as he felt each and every spurt leave his shaking body.

“Abi… my love” he finally gasped out as he collapsed on top of her, careful not to crush her whilst rejoicing in the feel of her heaving breasts against his sweat slickened chest. He rolled them both onto their sides and rested his forehead against hers, panting and fighting to get some much needed oxygen into his lungs as Abi did the same.

Abi recovered before Michael and she sought out his lips, kissing him as if her life depended on it. He was shocked at the raw passion emanating from her and he responded in kind. There was an addictive hunger in her feverish caress and he never wanted her to stop.

For the first time in many, many years he knew exactly what the word home meant.

It meant being right here.

With Abi.

The woman he loved.

 ~*~

To Be Continued...