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Calendar Boys

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2017!

Yes!

Happy New Year and thank fuck 2016 is finally over!

Millicent Grantham leapt out of bed and danced around the compact attic room to the strains of Green Day, doing her best not to stub her toe on the wrought iron single bed as her eyes briefly fell to the sorry looking calendar hanging on the wall next to her cramped wardrobe.

“And you can fuck right off with 2016 too!” She muttered, wagging her finger at the personalised calendar he’d bought her…

Nope. New Year… New Millie.

Millie ripped the tattered calendar down and attempted to tear through it, wincing as the cheap paper sliced through her thumb.

Fuck! One day in and she’d already injured herself!

It wasn’t a sign… It was not a fucking sign! She muttered to herself as she threw the calendar on the floor and stamped angrily on it as she made her way down the attic stairs to the bathroom, almost tripping over a pile of discarded clothes strewn across the landing.

With a growl and a roll of her eyes Millie kicked irritably at the painfully retro jeans, the miniscule cami top that she could tell just by a mere glance wouldn’t cover her left boob - and Jesus! Was that a training bra?! She wouldn’t even be able to cover her left nipple in that thing – launching them up into the air and across the landing so that they hit the closed door across from the bathroom with a loud thump.

She could feel her heckles beginning to rise and fought back the anger. She was not going there. Not today.

Today was a new day.

Even better, the start of a new year. She’d made a pile of resolutions last night as she’d nursed her mug of hot chocolate in bed while watching the fireworks on telly, the most important one being not to let anything – and more importantly, anyone - get her down this year. This was going to be her year.

After last year she deserved it…

You see, Millicent Grantham was not your average, settled thirty year old.

All of her thirty year old friends had their shit together. They’d all settled down and were living the dream suburban lifestyle she herself had once dreamt of. They all had good jobs. Some, like her best friend Clare, a surgeon, had great jobs.

Millie on the other hand wasn’t quite so well put together.

And she definitely didn't have her shit together. Not even close.

She was, in short, a walking, talking – and boy, did she talk way too much for most people’s liking - disaster area.

The problem was 2016. Last year had not only been traumatic for the world. It had been Millie's annus horribilis.

Leading up to 2016 she’d stupidly thought she might actually be on her way to finally having her shit together. But then 2016 had come along and well and truly kicked that illusion in the cojones.

2016 had marked the year she’d lost her job as a market researcher. It was also the year she’d lost her fiancé. And this time not just down the video game aisle at Sainsbury's.

But worse than either of those things, 2016 was the year Millie had turned thirty. She shuddered even now at the memory.

She’d gotten over losing her job pretty quickly. It wasn’t as if she'd enjoyed it anyway. It had been pretty crap and she’d been even crapper at it.

Mark, her fiancé?

He’d been just as crap.

Not to her sister Sophie though… On the contrary, Mark and Sophie had always got on like a house on fire. The night Millie had found Mark doing that thing he’d always refused to do to her - and yet so enthusiastically - to Sophie, had been the night she’d wished she hadn’t given up smoking for her 2016 resolution. At least then, Millie would have still had her lighter and could have used it to literally set their house on fucking fire…

She might also not still be two stone overweight. Fucking Haribo’s!

And yet, the loss of her job, her long-term boyfriend - and consequently the house they’d shared – along with the weight gain from giving up smoking and sub-par sex, while low blows from 2016, were nothing compared to the pain that had crippled her body that crisp December morning when she'd woken up to the realisation that she was now thirty.

Thirty.

And fucked.

And not in the way she’d have liked to have been fucked on her birthday. No. Millie was totally alone.

Again.

Melancholy had well and truly set in that day. You see, Millie had once had a plan, but 2016 had well and truly fucked with that plan.

Thirty years on this God forsaken planet and what exactly did she have to show for it?

A failed nine year relationship. A flat-share with two hipsters who made her feel even older and out of touch, one of which was her younger – and infuriatingly more successful - brother Steven. A junior researcher’s job – yes, you read that right… a junior at thirty years of age – which she’d only got because of her brother, at the independent radio station he co-managed. And the prospect of, well… not much else really.

No.

2016 had been shit.

But 2017?

Millie had made up her mind. This was going to be her year.

No more wallowing about getting older. No more pandering to her parents who wanted her to make up with her sister and Mark, who incidentally were now expecting their first child together.

Fuckers!

No more putting up with shit from anybody in fact.

This was her time to finally shine. She could feel it in her bones. Or maybe that was just arthritis setting in.

But either way Millie realised she had to at least try to believe it.

No-one else was going to do it for her.

And so, having wrapped a Shakespearean insult plaster around the paper cut – because of course her brother was far too cool to just buy regular Elastoplast – then taking care of the necessary morning, well… late morning - it was New Year’s Day after all! - ablutions, Millie stepped back out onto the landing.

Clearly the thump on the door had woken her brother and his latest conquest, judging by the noises which were now permeating throughout the quiet flat and torturing her eardrums.

She needed to get out of this place. Hearing her younger brother getting laid was not how she intended to start 2017!

Especially seeing as she couldn’t remember the last time she’d made noises like those herself… If ever.

Ugh. No!

She shuddered, reminding herself again that it was her brother behind that door and climbed the stairs with her hands over her ears, wishing away the sound of wanton moans.

Slamming her door shut, Millie slumped down on the edge of her bed and stared at her uninspiring wardrobe. There was no need to open the door, quite simply because there was no door to open. Her brother and Niall, the third resident of 36b, had hung a rail in the widest recess of the roof beams, in effect creating her wardrobe when she’d arrived on their doorstep, tearful and homeless.   

For all she might grumble about Steven - and for that matter, Niall - Millie loved them both dearly for what they’d done for her in the four months since she’d left Mark. Niall also worked at the radio station and had actually been the one to persuade Steven to take her on. Her brother had been reluctant, not wanting to be seen to show any sign of nepotism towards the staff he employed, but Niall had argued her cause and Steven had finally acquiesced, though he’d been keen to ensure that she wasn’t given any special treatment, hence her junior position.

But, it was a job, Millie reminded herself. And actually, it was a job she had quickly discovered she enjoyed. Moreover, it was a job she was beginning to become good at. So good in fact that Steven had even hinted that if she carried on the way she was going, she might be in line for a pay-rise soon.

And when she got that pay-rise the first thing she was going to do was buy some new clothes. Everything in her wardrobe reminded her of 2016 and her past life. Ninety per cent of it she could no longer fit in anyway.

With a sigh and a shake of her head reminding herself not to go there today, Millie rifled through the cramped hangers and found the only decent day dress that still fit her comfortably, pulled on a pair of thick woollen tights and strapped the girls in, after yet another struggle with her only remaining semi decent bra.

Hmm. Maybe a new bra should be first on that list of new clothes

Smoothing the moss green jersey dress down over her hips she quickly brushed her dark auburn hair and pulled on her well-worn leather boots before traipsing down the two flights of stairs to the coat stand behind the front door. A quick glance out of the lounge window revealed that the weather forecasters had actually got something right for once as a thin blanket of frozen snow covered the deserted road.

But it didn’t deter Millie.

Her second resolution had been to lose the weight she’d piled on through comfort eating. That meant exercise, because Millie drew the line at giving up cake! So if she was the only idiot traipsing up the high street in the snow on New Year’s Day, so be it. Besides, she’d lived there for close to four months now, it was about time she got to finally know the area.

She grabbed her padded parka, hat and gloves and headed out to face the first day of 2017, praying that there would be somewhere open for her to get a hot drink, and yes, maybe even a slice of cake seeing as it was already well past elevenses.

After a few close calls on some particularly slippery patches, Millie finally got into a rhythm. She was surprised to find herself smiling as she hummed along to tunes only she could hear, and her pace increased.

Before she knew it, she found herself at the furthest end of the high street, her cheeks tinted rosy from the cold air and exertion. She’d never walked this far from the flat before and she looked around in search of somewhere to stop for a hot drink and a rest.

Unsurprisingly everywhere appeared closed. Millie scolded herself as she stared through the shutters of artsy little coffee shops and bakeries, reminding herself again that it was New Year’s Day and that anyone with a life would surely still be sleeping off last night’s revelry.

She was just about to turn back when she noticed a hand chalked sign sitting enticingly on the corner up ahead with an arrow pointing left. The chalk looked undisturbed by the snow, making her wonder if it was freshly written, but from where she stood she couldn’t make out what it said, or even what kind of establishment it might be.

With nothing to lose she trudged further up the street, a strange excitement starting to bubble up in her growling belly as she was finally able to read the three simple words which made her day.

 

 

We are open!

Following the sign, Millie made her way along the small pathway, and carefully up the slippery steps of what was a bookstore-cum-coffee shop.

Perfect! She’d grab a coffee and a bite to eat, then have a mooch around the bookstore. Hopefully by the time she returned to the flat Steven would be up and dressed.

Ooh, she might even try to talk to him about that pay-rise… Nothing like taking the bull by the horns herself right? 2017 was going to be her bitch and she was going to own it!

Besides, her squashed boobs needed that pay-rise!

With a chuckle, Millie kicked the snow off her boots on the brickwork before pushing the heavy door open.

The warm air hit her immediately and was swiftly followed by the scent of cinnamon and coffee. She licked her lips and stepped inside, taking in the quirky interior. It was a strangely eclectic mix of antique leather armchairs and sofas juxtaposed with sleek modern shelving lined with thousands of books from floor to ceiling.

Millie immediately fell in love with the place. For maybe a minute or two she simply stood staring, her cheeks flushed and her eyes darting around the long, yet somehow still cosy space, before a woman who looked to be in her late fifties, holding a stack of books, caught her attention.    

“Happy New Year! And a warm welcome to ‘Bound To Please’. Feel free to browse, if there’s anything in particular you’re looking for just let me know.”

“What? Oh, erm, yes… Happy New Year” Millie smiled and tried to stop staring, without much success. As her eyes flitted around the room she noticed more and more peculiar things about the place.

On the only wall not filled with books there were hundreds of photographs and paintings of famous couples, old and new, ranging from heads of state to actors and actresses, interspersed with whimsical landscapes from around the globe as well as from fiction.

Immediately Millie sensed that this was a place she would now be frequenting as often as possible. It was also the moment that she realised the woman was still watching her curiously and she turned back to her in apology “Sorry. I was miles away there for a minute… You have a lovely place, I was actually surprised to even find somewhere open today.”

“Oh we open every day. There are so many days in the year now when everything closes up. And there are so many people out there just looking for some company…” The woman paused and looked at Millie for a moment, a knowing smile forming on her lips “Or who just need to get out of the house for a while, y’know?”

Millie raised her eyebrows but nodded, feeling her already warm cheeks starting to burn.

Was she that transparent?

The sad reality was that of course she was! What ‘normal’ woman her age was likely to be wandering the streets of London alone on New Year’s Day?

“There’s a coat rack over in the corner lovie if you want to make yourself more comfortable…I’ve got the heating on high so you won’t be cold, and you’ll feel the benefit more when you go back outside…”

Millie laughed then. This woman sounded just like her mother!

“Okay, thank you. Erm, it said on the sign that you serve coffee?”

“Yes, we have a little coffee shop through the back there, but you’re more than welcome to bring anything through into here if you want to browse the books.”

Millie turned her head and followed the storekeeper’s pointed finger, noticing for the first time a small archway with a beaded curtain.

“Oh excellent! Well. I’ll have a drink first then take a look around if that’s okay?”

“Not a problem, just give me a shout if you need anything love”

“Thanks… ”

Millie hastily unzipped her coat and hung it on the coat rack. She couldn’t believe she’d stumbled across such a lovely little place. Way to go already 2017!

An hour later, she was munching her way through her second slice of apple cake, and sipping on her third cinnamon latte when she heard the faint sound of the doorbell ringing, announcing another customer.

For some reason the sound made her smile, realising that perhaps she wasn’t the only lonely person wandering the streets that day. Returning to her cup, she drained the remaining coffee before swallowing the last forkful of cake with a low moan of pleasure.

It was, without question, the best apple cake she’d ever tasted and Millie decided that after she’d had a good look around the store she would take a few slices home. It couldn’t hurt to soften Steven up with a slice or two before she started negotiating her pay-rise after all…

With that thought she settled her bill and paid a visit to the restroom. Making her way back through the archway into the main bookstore she caught sight of the back of a head leant over a laptop in the corner of the coffee shop.

Hmm. People must come here for free Wi-Fi, she mused.

Millie lost track of how long she perused the bookshelves. She was astounded by the sheer volume of second-hand and special edition books, interspersed with pop culture and new editions of popular mainstream fiction, spanning every conceivable genre.

Somewhat worryingly, she’d also mentally spent any potential pay-rise three times over with a wish-list of rare copies and she quickly realised that if she was going to continue visiting, she would definitely need to exercise a huge amount of willpower.

Finally, Millie decided on a second hand copy of The Drowned World. She had just placed the book on the cash desk in the corner, when a small rack of calendars caught her eye.

“Oh… can I just leave that there a second? I just noticed you have calendars and I need a new one” she smiled at the older woman, who urged her on “Oh but I also wanted to take away two slices of the apple cake… damn it!”

Millie looked between the coffee shop and the calendars, trying to decide which was more important.

“You go look at the calendars, I’ll bag you up two slices of the cake. You can pay for everything together here sweetheart. Its fine” the storekeeper smiled warmly and Millie thanked her as she made her way over to the rack.

She flicked through the small selection, her eyes falling to one in particular.

No. She couldn’t…

She was a grown up for Christ sake! Thirty year olds don’t hang calendars of crushes up on their bedroom walls… do they?

Millie took a deep breath and pushed it aside, continuing to search for something more appropriate, yet that same damn calendar seemed to be everywhere. It kept appearing, teasing her. Tempting her.

Taunting her even…

For a brief second she considered throwing caution to the wind and buying it, but found her cheeks starting to burn just at the thought. What if anyone saw it? She’d be so embarrassed! Would they think she was just some stupid fangirl?

And then a realisation hit her.

One of her New Year’s resolutions had been to not give a flying fuck what anybody else thought!

So what if she had a Tom Hiddleston calendar on her wall?

It was her wall. Well… her temporary wall. Just like it was her life. And it was just a bloody calendar after all… people had them with all sorts of things they enjoyed. Cats, dogs, football teams, movies, TV shows… It wasn’t like she was pinning the real man to her bedroom wall, was it!

Fuck! Now that would be a fantastic way to start 2017…!

Millie bit her lip, trying to push that delicious thought away as her hand trailed back to the calendar and she pulled it out, admiring the image on the front. He – sorry - the calendar was very tempting. Licking her lips she turned the calendar over and her heart began to race.

Oh dear God! It was almost as if the manufacturer of the calendar had tapped into her brain! The twelve smaller photographs signalled what she could look forward to each month if she succumbed and bought it. Inside that cellophane package were eleven images of him in his various roles – each of which were Millie’s particular favourites - and one final image as himself.

She licked her lips again as her fingers tightened around the calendar.

It seemed she’d made her decision.

Millie slowly made her way back over to the cash desk, her cheeks once again blooming with colour as she fought to appear completely nonchalant, like it was the most natural thing in the world to be buying a calendar like this at her age, instead of one of those family planner types all her friends had, with columns full of reminders for their husbands work commitments and each of their perfect children’s daily activities.

Finally reaching the counter, Millie surreptitiously slid it down under the book she’d selected, praying it would somehow disguise it, but of course the well-worn paperback did little to hide the evidence of her crush.

“Ah excellent choice!”

The storekeeper came back behind the counter with her bagged up apple cake, and started to ring her purchases through with a knowing grin on her face. Desperate to avoid any discussion, Millie excused herself to get her coat so she could make as quick a getaway as possible.

If the storekeeper noticed her peculiar behaviour, she was kind enough not to draw any attention to it, and when Millie returned she’d already wrapped and bagged the book along with the cake, and placed a ‘sold’ label on the calendar, covering most of the man’s smiling face.

“I’m so sorry love, we don’t have any bags big enough for the calendar. Will it be okay like this?” the lady offered apologetically and Millie mumbled “yeah, it’s fine. Thank you.”

Inside though, she was already regretting her decision. Now she would have to walk all the way back home with the evidence of her aged fangirling on full show!

Oh fuck it! She finally decided as she paid. The streets were probably still deserted anyway.

Having thanked the lady again, Millie pulled on her hat as she made her way across towards the door, and was just working her gloves on when she heard a deep male voice breaking through the silence behind her.

“Wait… sorry… give me a minute man. The signal’s always terrible in here…”

Millie turned, just in time to watch aghast, as a tall, slim and extremely handsome man – a man whom she instantly recognised - ducked under the low archway, phone in one hand as he looked apologetically across at the lady behind the cash desk, who waved him on with a look of familiarity.

Oh you have got to be fucking kidding!

Millie fought to clamp her gaping mouth shut and hastily backed out of the book shop, one glove still in hand, as she clutched her calendar under the other arm and prayed to the heavens that the same man who adorned its front cover hadn’t just seen it.

While she'd have loved nothing more than to have conversed with the man under different circumstances, her current status screamed crazy stalker fangirl, regardless of her innocence.

Unfortunately for Millie, on stepping backwards she failed to remember the two steps, and her foot slipped in the now melting snow.

She stumbled, feeling herself falling backwards with a heavy thud...

And that was when her world turned pitch black.

 

To be continued...

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Millie groaned and attempted to sit up, but a large hand rested gently on her shoulder and an elegantly calm voice soothed her.

“Ah ah… I would take it very slowly Fräulein Grantham” the voice cautioned “You had a ghastly fall and bumped your head rather hard. We were all very concerned for a while but thankfully you're awake now. The doctor thought it prudent that you remain here for the time being given the severe weather warning. How are you feeling? Is there anything I can possibly get for you? Perhaps a cup of tea?” 

The deep, masculine voice effused concern close by, but she couldn't make out its owners’ face in the darkened room.

“Or would you prefer coffee?” 

The voice was, however, strangely familiar as it casually continued in a barely audible whisper.

“Or perhaps... me?”

What?!

Now that got her attention! Sitting bolt upright with a low groan as her head instantly began to spin, the covers fell away and Millie was surprised to feel a cold draft sweep up her arms and settle on her breasts. Immediately both of her hands flew to her chest and she puffed out a sigh of relief, discovering that at least her body was covered. Her relief was short-lived however as she felt along the fabric, making out what appeared to be some sort of vast cotton nightshirt with billowing sleeves, a garment she knew for certain she did not own.

Perhaps even more concerning, she slowly began to realise, was that she wasn’t altogether sure she recognised the bed, much less the room. While she couldn’t see for certain, something felt very off. The sheets felt different. Softer against her skin than her own. The mattress plusher and wider than the thin single one she usually slept on. And the room? Well, even though she couldn’t see it, she could smell it. And it smelt different.

Good different. But different all the same. Or was that his scent?

And who was he? She was almost certain she’d heard the voice before, but where, and when? And why was he here with her now?

She wracked her fuzzy brain. The last thing she remembered was entering the bookstore. But this stranger told her she’d bumped her head. When had that happened? It must have been one hell of a blow, she thought, wincing as one hand gingerly stroked the large bump, unequivocally proving that she had indeed hit it on something, and she again tried to make some sense of her surroundings in what little light there was. Sadly she couldn’t make out a damn thing.

She was clearly hearing things though. Maybe it was the bump to the head. That must be it. Men never propositioned her, even when she was looking her best. Why would they suddenly start now?

There was only one explanation. It had to be a dream.

Again Millie tried to move from the bed, only for the warm hand to tighten on her shoulder. She knew she should have been afraid. She was in a strange room with a strange man after all.

“Shush. Keep calm. I promise you're safe now... you mustn't exert yourself just yet.” the voice cajoled, without the faintest suggestion that what it had proposed only moments earlier was anything remotely out of the ordinary. Or indeed that it had even been said at all.

Maybe she had misheard. Millie took a deep breath and tried to calm the rising panic and disorientation. It was just a dream. Just a dream. Just a dre-

“After all. We have plenty of time for that... later.”

Okay, now she had definitely heard that seductive purr this time… Hadn’t she? What the ever-loving fuck was going on?!

Millie tried to scramble once more to the edge of the bed, only to find herself being gently pushed back against the cool pillows. It took very little effort from the man and yet again his voice rose through the darkness.

“I really must insist you take it easy Fräulein Grantham. Perhaps I should arrange that tea for you now while we await the return of the doctor. Would you care for some milk with it? Sugar?”

Okay. This was definitely not right! Why the hell did he keep calling her Fräulein? She wasn’t German! Fuck! What if she’d been kidnapped? She’d heard stories about this happening on the news from time to time. Women shipped off to some God forsaken brothel in remote areas of Europe. Surely they could do better than an overweight thirty year old though? Millie realised her gallows humour was truly setting in and she chuckled wryly despite herself. Her ex hadn’t wanted what she’d offered for free. She doubted very much that anyone would be eager to pay for her!

Which just left one other reason. This must be the stranger's bedroom. She wasn’t entirely sure how she felt about that realisation. At least he sounded pleasant enough. And, oh shit. She still hadn’t answered him…

In fact, she realised, she hadn’t said a damn word. Could she even speak? Instinctively her hands rose to her mouth and she relaxed a little, realising she hadn’t been gagged in anyway.

Surely if he meant her any harm he would have restrained her? And she doubted he’d have been offering her a cup of tea! But why was she there? What was he thinking of doing to her? Rather surprisingly, Millie found the overwhelming feeling rushing through her body was now not one of fear. 

She couldn't explain why but what she truly felt was a peculiar sense of excitement... anticipation even. After all, she had declared that she was going to break out of her mundane existence in 2017. Well here she was. Lying in a stranger’s bed... What could be more risky than that?

Meaningless sex with a stranger maybe? 

To hell with it. If he was even half as sexy as his voice she just might seriously consider it. If he offered it of course.

Jesus! That must have been one seriously hard bump to the head!

Deciding she needed answers before she got carried away with her irrationally horny brain, Millie pushed herself back up onto her elbows and squinted, trying to get a clearer visual image of the stranger she was already inexplicably considering sleeping with.

“Who… who are you? Where am I?” Millie fought to hide her conflicted emotions, attempting instead to sound calm and nonchalant. Even as she opened her mouth she knew she’d already failed. Her voice was scratchy from lack of use and she detected a distinct tremor.

“Tea first. And then we will talk if you so wish.” The disembodied voice calmly insisted.

“Okay” Millie sighed in defeat “but coffee… I hate tea!”

“Ehehehe. Coffee it is then. How do you take it?”

Pausing as she considered her options, knowing she needed to keep her wits about her, Millie finally decided “White. None of that decaffeinated crap though. And make it strong and sweet please.” Bizarrely she found herself giggling. Yeah. She really was still delirious from the bump

“Coming right up… In the meantime, rest.

There was a dominant air to the stranger’s voice now and she shivered involuntarily. She’d definitely heard that voice before. But where? Whose was it? Damn it! If she could only see his face.

Millie lay perfectly still in the bed, listening carefully for clues as the man finally released her shoulder and moved across the room. She found herself having to stifle an overwhelming sense of disappointment at the loss of contact. But before she was able to think any more on what the hell that meant there was a flick of a switch, swiftly followed by the far corner of the room being illuminated in a soft glow.

Millie immediately sucked in a breath and whistled.

She’d been right. This was most definitely not her bedroom. The room was far more opulent. Everything about it screamed expensive, from the antique wood panelling on the walls, to the heavily embroidered drapes.  

Her eyes widened as they finally fell on the silhouette of a tall, slim man dressed in a dark, well-tailored suit, his back to her as he set about preparing what she assumed must be her coffee.

Okay, so there was tea and coffee making facilities in the room? Another quick glance around told her it was far too luxurious to be a bedsit. So, a hotel room then?

Millie’s eyes fell once more on her captor/saviour/whatever the hell he was. She found herself watching his movements as he darted around, placing a cup and saucer and a tall coffee pot on a tray, along with a bowl of sugar and a small jug, all the while exuding an air of practiced grace.

Despite the frankly bizarre situation unfolding right before her eyes Millie found herself relaxing as she watched him, allowing her eyes to rake over his tall frame, from his broad shoulders down to his tapered waist and the… oh fuck… delicious arse squeezed into those tight trousers. Reluctantly tearing her eyes away from that biteable asset Millie gasped as she stared at the longest pair of legs she’d ever seen on a man.

“Jesus! Are your parents giants?” the question slipped out before she could stop it, and that was when the man turned, fixing her with a look of perplexity.

“Oh… my… God!” Millie gasped, her mouth hanging open as she stared up as the man approached her, tea tray in hand.

“You’re... You're Tom Hiddleston!”

The man looked down at her gaping mouth with a confused air.

“Pardon me? Perhaps that knock to the head affected you more than we originally thought?” his forehead creased in concern as he reached the bedside table and set the tray down, taking a moment to extend his hand as he continued.

“I’m afraid you must have me confused with someone else. My name’s Pine. I'm the night manager...”

Millie gasped. Audibly.

Pine raised a solitary eyebrow in question.

“The... the night manager? You mean like in the book? And the TV show? This is some kind of wind-up, isn’t it? Who put you up to this? Was it Steven? Or Niall? It was that idiot Niall wasn’t it!” even as she spoke she knew she was rambling, but she couldn’t seem to stop.

The slow blink, followed by a completely blank look set off the panic that she’d so far been managing to somehow tamp down, and ignoring his immediate attempt to pacify her as she moved, Millie clambered towards the edge of the bed, peering around in search of hidden cameras. 

Meanwhile, 'Pine' was still watching her closely, the only outward sign of his perplexed mind being the unwavering raised eyebrow.

This had to be a set up… she was going to kill her brother! She knew she shouldn’t have mentioned how much she’d loved the TV show. But how? How had he arranged all this? How on earth had he managed to persuade Tom Hiddleston to go along with this?! And what in the fucking hell even was ‘this’…

“Fräulein…”

“And why do you keep calling me that! My name is Millie! Millie Grantham… Miss Grantham if you really must insist on the formality. Not Fräulein! I’m English. To the core… just as you are Mr Pine!”

Millie blushed then, realising she’d just quoted Jonathan Pine. To Jonathan Pine. Okay, this was getting far too fucking weird. Suddenly desperate to stop this, this… whatever the hell this was, Millie attempted to stand, only for an overwhelming rush of nausea to hit her as her limbs seemed to give way beneath her.

Pine was there quicker than a flash, scooping up her lifeless body before she collapsed, and lying her back down onto the soft covers of the bed.

The last thing she heard before the world went black again was a frustrated sigh followed by Pine’s soothing voice “I really do think it best that you take it easy for a few more days... Miss Grantham. Doctor Förstner is on her way.”

When next Millie woke the room was still dark, but daylight was filtering through a crack in the heavy curtains.

“Good afternoon Miss Grantham. And how are we feeling today?”

Millie rubbed at her eyes and pushed herself up on her elbows. The dull ache in her head seemed to have subsided and she breathed a sigh of relief “Good. Better. Much better.”

“Excellent! Shall we try that coffee again?”

Millie smacked her dry lips together and nodded “Yes please. Erm… may I use your bathroom Mr Pine?”

He furrowed his brow for a moment in contemplation before seemingly coming to his senses.

“Yes… yes, my upmost apologies Miss Grantham. You must be desperate. Here. Let me show you the way. We don’t want any more accidents now, do we?”

Unsure exactly what sort of accidents Pine was referring to, Millie felt her cheeks glow red and she looked away, praying she hadn’t embarrassed herself any more than she already knew of. She still had no idea what the hell was going on, whether this was indeed fact, fiction or some elaborate hoax, but regardless of the reality, Millie had decided the second that she’d opened her eyes to this same room that she was going to just go along with it. Because whatever the hell this was, it was a damn sight better than her real life. In this life every whim appeared to be catered to, and by Jonathan Pine no less!

“Erm thank you” she shifted to the edge of the bed just as Pine arrived on the same side, extending his arm in invitation and linking it carefully around her waist as he guided her over towards the bathroom.

Millie tried her hardest not to think about the fact that she was touching him. Regardless of whether he really was Pine, or Tom Hiddleston playing Pine, she could feel his body heat as he pressed his arm to her back. And it was lovely. She felt safe.

“There you are. Will you be okay if I leave you?” he looked like he was fighting some internal battle and Millie sensed that he was worried about her falling again.

“I’ll be fine. I’m a girl. We get to sit down to do our business” she attempted to joke but all she managed to achieve was to make the situation even more awkward as Pine suddenly looked away and started reeling off the amenities in the room.

“Would you like to freshen up? Perhaps take a bath? I would probably suggest leaving the shower until you’re feeling a little stronger. There are plenty of towels over there and there’s a bathrobe hung on the back of the door for guest’s use. And of course the toiletries are all complementary…”

Millie found she was tempted by the ornate freestanding bath tub. But what a weird set up. She realised even though she had decided to go along with this, she needed some serious answers. But they would have to wait until after she’d had a pee. And bathed.

So she simply nodded, and thanked Pine for his hospitality, waiting for him to - seemingly reluctantly - withdraw from the room, mumbling something about shouting him when she was almost finished so he could have her coffee ready.

Finally alone, Millie settled down on the toilet and relieved herself, before filling the tub until it was almost full to the brim with bubbles.

She sank down into it, a low moan of pleasure escaping her parted lips as the hot soapy water soothed her aching limbs. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back, conscious of avoiding any pressure on the bump which now only hurt when touched. She had no idea how long she’d laid there, but a low rap on the door made her jump and she looked around wildly, realising she must have drifted off momentarily.

“Everything okay?” Pine’s voice betrayed his concern and Millie looked down. The water was still warm and she was completely covered by the bubbles so she threw caution to the wind.

“Come and see for yourself!”

There was a deep cough, and she had to stifle a giggle as he muttered “I’m not sure that’s appropriate Miss Grantham”

“Oh for the love of God will you please stop calling me that!” she grumbled, losing patience with the man’s incessant politeness. “It’s Millie. Please Mr Pine. I want to ask you a few questions if I may? There are still a lot of things that I just don’t understand.”  

“My apologies if I’ve offended you in any way. I always endeavour to keep things professional. But if you insist... Millie....”

The door opened slowly and Millie found her cheeks colouring despite herself. She liked the way her name had rolled off Pine’s tongue. Ugh. His tongue... She’d like to roll about naked on that same tongue... She bet he knew what to do with it!

Stop it!

Now was definitely not the time to be thinking about things like that. Not when she was lying naked in a bath while he… fuck. Did he just lick his lips?!

“...It would be my pleasure” Pine finished his sentence, completely oblivious to the debauched thoughts now pervading Millie's mind. Oh no Mr Pine.... I assure you, the pleasure would be all mine...

“I must, of course repay the courtesy. Please call me Jonathan.”

Instinctively he offered his hand in greeting and this time Millie took it, barely stifling a gasp as a surge of electricity passed through his fingertips and downwards, passing throughout her naked body and causing her nipples to harden.

Jonathan let out a soft gasp and Millie caught his eyes flicking down towards the bubbles, her own eyes following in a sudden panic, unsure whether she was relieved or not that she appeared to still be completely covered. Jonathan instantly checked himself, pulling his hand away almost as if he'd been burned.

“I... erm... I’m terribly sorry. I really must get down to the front desk. My shift is due to start soon.”

He moved swiftly back over towards the door, his back to Millie.

“But... but you said we would talk!” Millie could hear the desperation in her voice and yet could not control it as she continued on “I... need to know where I really am? Is this a dream? Where am I Jonathan? Please... tell me!”

With a deep sigh, his shoulders sagging, Pine turned back towards the bath, his eyes this time trained on the tiles above Millie’s head.

“Miss Grantham... Millie. According to our records, you checked in early yesterday. New Year's Day. I can only tell you that it was my colleague Fräulein Vipp who checked you in. I’m afraid I can’t ask her anything else as she’s now on holiday for the week. However, it was I who found you lying unconscious on the ground outside late yesterday afternoon on my way in to work.  It appears that you must have slipped on a stretch of black ice which I had warned Herr Strippli needed clearing that very morning.”

Jonathan paused to rub his eyes, momentarily glancing down at her apologetically before returning his gaze respectfully to the tiles. “I... I examined you and assessed that you had suffered a concussion. We have an on call doctor and with, ahem… with my background she was happy for me to monitor you. And so I carried you to your room and made you as comfortable as possible, given that you were chilled to the bone and soaked from the melted snow.”

A slight blush crept over his cheeks again as Millie’s mouth fell open but he continued “Please rest assured that nothing improper occurred. Fräulein Vipp was the one to change you into the nightgown you were just wearing, before she left. As a five star hotel we always keep a collection of sundries in case of guests requiring them. Of course they are not to everyone’s taste but we had no other option as I was unable to locate your luggage…”

Now it was Jonathan’s turn to look puzzled and quite frankly Millie had no plausible answer to offer him. So she simply shrugged her shoulders apologetically. “I’m sorry. I don’t even remember getting here, let alone what happened to any luggage? Looking at this place I have no idea how I could even afford to stay here. Besides, the last thing I remember was being in a book store in London!”

“Well you are most certainly not in London. Welcome to Zermatt! And as for your stay, given the circumstances of your injuries your entire stay will, of course… be complementary.”

Millie swallowed a gulp as realisation dawned on her. Zermatt? This must be the hotel that Richard Roper had visited. Oh fuck! Trust her to get herself stuck in some weird alternative universe with a hot actor who had no idea he was even acting, and a megalomaniac arms dealer!

Suddenly her idea of an exciting 2017 didn’t sound quite such a great idea. Just then there was a loud knock at the door and Jonathan excused himself to answer it.

She heard a low murmur of conversation before he returned with a lady who looked to be in her late fifties, and once again remarkably familiar.

“My apologies for the intrusion. My name is Doctor Förstner. I just popped in to check on the patient, but by the sounds of what Herr Pine has told me you’re feeling much better?”

“Erm… well, kind of. I’m still confused about how on earth I got here…” Millie sighed, looking from the doctor to Jonathan and back again.

“Okay, well how about we let you finish your bath, then you and I have a chat and we’ll see if we can work that out?” Doctor Förstner suggested with a kind smile. Millie nodded and looked towards Jonathan. She wanted him to stay. She couldn’t explain why, but she felt safer when he was around.

Alas that opportunity was taken away when he looked down at his watch and cursed. “I am so terribly sorry ladies, but you must excuse me. My shift started five minutes ago. Millie I will leave you in Doctor Förstner’s capable hands. If you need anything though, and I mean anything, please do not hesitate to ring reception and I will personally attend to it for you. Fräulein Vipp left a small selection of clothing in the wardrobe which she assured me should fit you. And my goodness! You must be starving? How remiss of me not to have offered you anything sooner” Jonathan was rambling again and Millie couldn’t help but to giggle as he turned to the doctor and asked whether it was safe for Millie to eat.

“Oh absolutely. She needs to. But maybe restrict it to light meals for now? We’ll start her back off slowly…”

“I am here you know!” Millie found herself muttering and they both looked apologetically at her before Jonathan finally excused himself for good, but not without one more furtive glance towards the bath tub.

And so, that was how Millie came to find herself in this weird limbo between worlds. Doctor Förstner was unable to offer any more answers than Jonathan had. She knew deep down that she was living in a fiction, but she simply couldn’t fathom how to find her way out. With every day that passed, she found herself steadily losing grip on reality, and by the second half of January, having been there for well over three weeks, she had begun to face the real possibility that she may have to stop believing it was all just a dream, and instead admit this as her reality - however implausible that still seemed.

It didn’t help at all that her fondness of Pine grew with every passing day. And she felt almost certain that her feelings were mutually reciprocated by the frustratingly reserved man. Not that he ever communicated that in so many words of course.

And there in lay her next biggest problem.

While the days flew by, she craved any hint of deeper feelings from him. At first she had sat alone in her room, impatiently waiting for his daily visits. Initially he would appear after his shift ended with a tray of breakfast and she would insist that he stay and eat with her. But, as she grew stronger, she ventured downstairs, swimming during the day, while in the evenings she would sit in her borrowed robe, silently reading in the foyer lounge and surreptitiously watching him as he worked. Each night she would wait impatiently in front of the roaring fire for the hotel to finally fall silent. Only then did he let down his guard and openly converse with her. Otherwise Pine was the consummate front of house professional.

It was at the very end of January, on one of those late evenings when Herr Strippli and Fraulein Vipp had finally left for the evening and the hotel was otherwise deserted - Millie now the sole guest in residence for reasons she had yet to fathom - that Pine broke with this tradition and joined her on the other end of the plush sofa with two tumblers of whiskey.

Millie raised an eyebrow. Pine never drank alcohol on duty. Even when they were alone. Something was amiss.

Taking an uneasy sip from the offered glass, Millie allowed the amber liquid to slip down her throat, relishing the warmth until it began to spread back up across her cheeks as she realised Jonathan was watching her curiously over the rim of his own glass, his eyes flitting from her whiskey moistened lips to her eyes and back again. 

“So…” Pine swallowed a contemplative sip of his whiskey and ran his tongue languidly along his lower lip as he continued to watch her.

Millie found herself wriggling in her seat and had to stave off the overwhelming urge to clamp her thighs together as his eyes seemed to bore into her.

This was not the calm, collected, and reserved Pine that she knew.

Something was definitely wrong.

“So…” she raised an eyebrow quizzically “What’s going on Jonathan?”

“Always so direct! You know me so well…” he sighed before continuing “I… well. I have news. That is to say I shall not be here after tomorrow evening. I’m… I’m leaving…”

His words hung heavy in the air yet Millie swallowed the urge to tell him she’d already suspected as much. It served no purpose to get into that debate again. Millie had inadvertently slipped on a couple of occasions, accidentally revealing snippets of information about him that Jonathan had most certainly not told her himself. Those slips had led to some awkward moments for sure. There was definitely a downside to having watched that damn TV series so many times!

Besides. She was weary of talking. And that was clearly all Jonathan was really interested in doing with her. Millie sadly realised that she was desperately homesick for her own pathetic little bed, in her own pathetic little attic room. And she wanted her pathetically mundane little life back.

At least there she could truly look at Jonathan guilt free. A slow trickle of tears inexplicably began to run down her cheeks and she attempted to stifle a sob. Oh great! Way to truly kill the mood.

Pine raised his eyes from her lips and frowned.

He knew it had been wrong of him to keep her here. His history with women was far from great after all. But the truth was, he had grown attached. He hadn’t meant to, but it had been comforting to have someone to talk to. It certainly didn’t hurt that she was so pleasing to the eye. But she was also warm, and quite often hilarious. He hadn’t laughed so much in a long, long time. But now he had to leave. And he couldn’t take her with him. Not where he was going. It would be far too dangerous.

But he also knew he couldn’t leave her here either. She had a home. Another life back in London. 

London.

The last place he could go according to Burr. No. He was headed to Devon once he’d done the deed here. But he couldn’t deal with the thought of Millie thinking badly of him. He needed her to believe he was a good man. He couldn’t bear for her to think he’d lied to her. And she would if she stayed behind.

So he’d arranged a flight for her in the morning. He knew it was the right thing to do. But fuck doing the right thing sometimes. He wanted her.

More than that. He craved her touch.

Jonathan took a much longer drag of whiskey this time, savouring the burn, before setting the empty glass down on the coffee table with another sigh. He raised his forefinger and grazed it absentmindedly along the outline of his lips as he contemplated how to tell her. And whether she would even care.

Millie watched, unable to draw her eyes away from the bulging veins on his hand as his lithe digit taunted her. She licked her lips, not even bothering to hide the desire in her eyes as she imagined instead that it was the tip of her tongue in place of his finger, slowly lapping away the tension from those thin lips before trailing along each and every delicious vein on those dexterous hands.

As the pair sat in silent deliberation, each one watching the other closely, a heavy air of need slowly pervaded them both and the tension became palpable.  

It was Millie who finally broke the silence.

“Then please… Jonathan. If this is our last night together. Please… kiss me?” she could hear the hopeful desperation in her voice but she no longer cared.

“I... are you sure? I can't commit to anything Millie… You deserve better than what I can off-”

“I don't care!” Millie cut him off impatiently. Even as she said the words aloud she knew they weren’t true. She did care. Maybe too much. But she still wanted him. So she slid closer on the sofa, watching his eyes for any sign of resistance. All she saw was sadness. And longing.

But definitely no resistance.

Realising she had absolutely nothing to lose, Millie Grantham did something then she had never done before. She made the first move.

Climbing up onto her knees, absentmindedly pushing the copious scatter cushions aside, she climbed across his splayed thighs and straddled his lap. Jonathan watched her silently, the usually unflappable night manager finding himself having to suck in a breath.

“What about-”

Whatever he was about to say was cut off by the pressure of Millie’s lips as she tentatively kissed him.

Their first kiss was chaste. Nothing more than the faintest caress of lips. But as Millie attempted to pull back, Jonathan’s hand rose, cupping the back of her neck and keeping her close enough that their breathe mingled as they gauged the other’s intentions.

And then Jonathan’s lips were back on hers, more forceful this time as he pulled her against his hard body and swallowed each of her moans as he slowly plundered her mouth with his talented tongue.

“Please…” Millie gasped as they finally broke free for air. She needed him and it was now clear from the hard bulge beneath her bum that he wanted her just as much.

Jonathan considered his options. He was on duty. He had always been trained never to leave his post. But the hotel was empty. He’d seen to that personally, wanting to ensure he left nothing to chance when he left. But he hadn’t bargained on Millie. He licked his lips, eager for more of her sweet kisses but aware of how if he continued he would not be able to stop.

She deserved so much better than a public foyer. She deserved so much better than him if he was being completely honest. He quickly pushed aside that troublesome thought as he bowed his head, the sight of her creamy cleavage peeking through the dishevelled robe making up his mind. Ever since the day she’d laid in the bathtub he’d wanted her in the worst way, the sight of her ripe nipples rising up and peeking through the bubbles haunting his dreams.

“Stand up…” he spoke authoritatively and Millie’s face fell.

Fuck! Stupid woman! How could she have read this so wrong? She was sure he’d felt the same as her…

Tears once again filled her eyes and she stumbled back, wringing her hands together in embarrassment, unable to even look as Jonathan stood silently to his full height and hastily stepped away towards the reception desk.

Millie’s lip quivered and she turned to flee, fighting back the tears as she headed for the stairs. She had only got as far as the central landing when a large hand on her shoulder stopped her.

“Millie… I…”

“Don’t… please… its fine..." she lied "I get it. I know I’m not your type okay…”

She shrugged his hand away and started to climb the remaining stairs, desperately trying to hold it together just that little bit longer.

“Pardon?! Millie…!” Jonathan’s voice rose in confusion and her steps faltered momentarily before she continued on.

“Fräulein Grantham I simply must insist you stop and allow me to explain!”

Ugh. Low blow Pine!

Turning on her heel Millie looked down to where Jonathan was stood on the landing, his fists clenched. For a few seconds they both stood there, staring each other out, almost daring the other to back down.

Pine broke the tense silence first. “Millie... I had to switch over the switchboard to central reservations and lock up so we wouldn’t be disturbed!”

Millie gasped, her eyes widening in comprehension as his long legs made fast work of the distance between them and scooped her up into his arms, carrying her with purpose towards her room.

Millie squealed with delight, wrapping her arms around his neck and nuzzling into his chest as she muttered an apology.

“Sshhh… you can make it up to me in a minute” he purred as they finally reached her door. Millie scrambled around in the pocket of her robe, locating her key card and handing it to Jonathan.

Once inside he dropped her unceremoniously on the bed then shrugged off his jacket and pulled impatiently at his tie while simultaneously toeing off his shoes. The speed with which he disrobed left Millie in no doubt that Jonathan wanted her just as much as she wanted him and she watched avidly as he unbuttoned his waistcoat, then shirt from her front row seat at the foot of the bed.

As his hand fell to the buckle of his belt Millie reached out and pulled him closer, whispering “You have no idea how long I’ve dreamt of doing this…” before pushing his hands away and pulling at the leather herself. Jonathan watched her silently through hooded eyes as one small hand unfastened his zip, the other teasing him by cupping his thick length through the fabric of his trousers.

“Millie…” he hissed, his voice tight with anticipation as she slowly drew down his zip then wrapped her hands around his waist, sinking them down over his ass while pushing down his trousers and boxers in one swift movement.

This time it was Millie’s turn to gulp as she found herself almost nose to crotch with the biggest cock she had ever encountered in her, albeit, limited experience. Sensing her shock, Jonathan cupped her face, running his thumbs soothingly over her cheeks as he tilted her head up.

“Do you still doubt my attraction?”

They both looked down and Millie couldn’t help but to smirk as she licked her lips, his glorious dick twitching as if in affirmation. Unable to stop herself, Millie leant forward and experimentally lapped at the solitary bead of precum glistening at the tip. Jonathan groaned, his hands tightening infinitesimally around her cheeks as her eyes darted back up to his in silent appraisal. Satisfied with the desire she saw reflected back, she widened her lips and rolled her tongue around his thick cockhead before sinking lower down his shaft and hollowing her mouth as she began to suck.

Jonathan instinctively bucked and began to apologise, only to be silenced by Millie’s mouth as she again withdrew, this time lapping and sucking with a renewed purpose as Jonathan groaned.

Millie was far too dressed for his liking and despite the exquisite heat of her mouth around his cock he reluctantly pushed her away, his hands immediately falling to the belt of her robe. He had always wondered what she might wear underneath the omnipresent oversized hotel robe, so when he peeled it away, only to discover her in little more than a pair of simple cotton panties and a vest top that struggled to contain her ample breasts he growled and licked his lips.

Millie’s hands immediately flew to her belly, where the frankly pathetic excuse for a vest had ridden up, exposing the rounded flesh of a year of over indulgence. Tutting, Jonathan batted them away as he lowered his face to hers and kissed her passionately, pressing his naked body against her as he literally took her breathe away.

Millie’s hands wandered to his back, trailing her fingers over the taut sinuous muscles there, her mind delirious as it finally dawned on her that she was half naked on a bed with Jonathan fucking Pine!

She moaned as his lips left hers, only to trace a path down her neck and to the swell of her breasts, where he pulled away, much to her vocalised disappointment.

“Fuck… do you have any idea how much I’ve wanted to touch you like this?” Jonathan growled as his dexterous fingers plucked at her nipples through the thin cotton vest.

“And to do this?” he tugged eagerly at the fabric, releasing Millie’s generous breasts to his lustful gaze and discarding the garment before leaning back down and wrapping his lips around one pebbled nipple, an eager hand ensuring the other breast was not left wanting for attention.

Millie’s moan was guttural and it only served to inflame Jonathan’s ardour as he enthusiastically licked, sucked and nipped at each breast in turn, always ensuring the other was never left unattended.

Underneath him, Millie writhed and groaned, feeling the sizeable weight of Jonathan’s desire on her trembling thigh as her hands ran up and down his back before settling in his short cropped hair. After one particularly hard tug resulted in a sharp nip to her heaving breast she managed to gasp out “Fuck! Please… Jonathan…” her hips bucking in silent invitation.

Grudgingly he pulled back, having wanted to savour every delicate morsel of her delicious flesh. But clearly Millie had other, more pressing needs and if there was one thing you could always rely on Pine for, it was to ensure his guests were never left wanting for anything.

With this in mind he quickly slipped back off the bed, much to Millie’s protests. She leant up on her elbows in much the same way as she had that very first day in Zermatt, only this time, instead of watching the suited Pine make coffee, she got to watch Jonathan’s gloriously naked ass as he padded over towards the bathroom.

Throwing all modesty aside she hastily slipped off her already wet panties and tossed them on the floor, just in time for Jonathan to reappear, a box of condoms in hand and a heavy cock swaying with arousal as his eyes fell to her now parted thighs.

As Jonathan grew closer, Millie desperately tamped down her feelings of inadequacy. The man before her was simply beautiful. There was no other way to describe him. His physique looked like it had been carved out of fine marble, not a single inch of excess fat to be seen.  

And yet, she needn't have worried, for the approaching Pine was thinking exactly the same about Millie. To him she was like a Rubenesque work of art, her lush curves and heavy breasts everything he truly desired in a woman. Detecting a flicker of doubt in her eyes he quickly told her as much as he climbed back on the bed, looking down at her glistening centre.

“You are so… so… beautiful Millie...”

“Jonathan…” she whimpered in response, the rest of her words disappearing as his head dropped to her parted thighs, his hands gently pushing them further apart.

Millie’s eyes widened in surprise but before she could formulate any more words her body bucked in response to what might possibly be the most exquisite sensation she had ever experienced in her entire thirty years. For the very first time ever in her life, a man’s lips descended on her already sensitive bud and slowly began to suck.

“Oooh… fuck!” was the completely unladylike response, swiftly followed by a barrage of incoherent grunts and moans as finally, Millicent Grantham understood what she had been missing out on for so many years.

This was love making. This was not the ‘fuck by numbers’ her relationship with Mark had always been. Jonathan Pine was making love to every single inch of her body. He was worshipping her, revelling in every inch of thigh, every curve of her hips and her less than toned belly.

Just as she thought it could get no better than this, his tongue slipped between his lips and flattened against her dripping centre, lapping at her dew as it slowly trailed up and down before curling and plunging deep inside her. Immediately Millie bucked and moaned gutturally, her fingers tugging at Jonathan’s now sweat soaked hair and delighting in the soft curls between her fingers.

She could feel the world around her beginning to blur and an overwhelming sense of emotions hit her as her thighs trembled in time with the thrust of his talented tongue.

“Oh… oh God…. Jonath…. Oh fuck…. yes… yes… oh…fuck yes!!!” her gasps and moans were music to Jonathan’s ears and he lapped harder, thrust deeper until he felt her thighs squeezing his head and she exploded into his greedy mouth, her sweet nectar doing little to quench his thirst for her body.

Licking at the mingled perspiration and musk on his upper lip Jonathan reluctantly pulled away, much to Millie’s disappointed whimper, only to reach for the box of condoms, impatiently ripping at the foil and making quick work of sheathing his weeping erection. As he did so, he took a moment to watch Millie as she came back to him from whatever far away land she had momentarily slipped into.

A tiny shiver ran throughout his body and settled in his heart at the realisation that he might never see her again after tonight but he chose to push it deep down, instead concentrating on how truly beautiful she looked as she lay completely open and ready for him, her breasts rising and falling as she fought to regulate her still erratic breathing.

Their eyes connected and she nodded, the only encouragement Pine needed to settle back between Millie’s thighs. Languorously he stroked his cock along her slit, slicking the tip with her natural lubricant before slowly breeching her tight hole and basking in her indulgent moans of encouragement as he gradually began to fill her.

Millie gasped at the initial intrusion. She had always known he would be big, even before she’d seen the unedited evidence for herself. But her imagination had never prepared her for just how big, and she had to stifle a gasp as he finally bottomed out.

Fuck!

It was pleasure just on the right side of pain. Millie had to take a deep breath and centre herself before she began to move her own hips experimentally. This time it was Jonathan’s turn to groan and it was music to her ears. Slowly they began the smooth slip slide of lovers perfectly attuned to their own body’s wants and needs. As Jonathan’s thrusts began to gain momentum, Millie’s intimate muscles massaged his length and soon they were both close to falling apart.

Jonathan hooked one arm underneath Millie’s mass of auburn hair and kissed her feverishly as he continued to thrust, only pausing when she finally gasped “harder… please!” with such a pitifully needy voice that to ignore it would have been tantamount to torture.

Leaning back on his haunches, and pulling her thighs up to meet him, Jonathan began to thrust, hard and deep, keeping her splayed wide as he stared down through lust-filled eyes as her tits bounced with each and every stroke.

Christ! He was close!

“Fuck… yes! Touch yourself Millie… please!” he gasped as he thrust even harder, his eyes momentarily dropping to where they were so intimately connected and growling as he watched her slippery pussy swallow his cock again and again. When he looked back up he was greeted with the wanton sight of Millie pawing at her breasts with one hand as her other slipped down between her thighs and started to rub at her engorged clit. Her eyes were heavy with lust as she bit back her moans and watched him fucking her into oblivion.

Millie could feel her eyes starting to glaze over as an all-consuming heat began to rise up through her belly, but she fought it as best she could. If this was to be her only night with Jonathan she was going to make damn certain she never missed a single moment of it. And so she fought to keep her eyes on his, the connection between them almost incandescent as they finally reached their peaks.

Jonathan toppled first, the deep grunt he released after managing to gasp out “come!” set Millie off as her trembling walls continued to milk every last drop of his desire.

“Oh yes! Jonathan…. Yes!” she wailed as she finally collapsed back onto the pillows, the delicious weight of Jonathan pressing down alongside her making her sigh contentedly.

She had never felt this satisfied before in her life and already she felt sleep beginning to overwhelm her. Fighting back a yawn, she kissed Jonathan slowly, sensuously and leant her head on his sweat slicked and still heaving chest.

“Thank you…” she managed to whisper just before sleep finally took her.

“The pleasure was all mine Millie…” Jonathan’s distant whisper hung heavy in the still air.

 

“Sis! Please…Wake up!”

Millie groaned and ignored the incessant noise which seemed to be all around her, barely opening her eyes enough to just make out the date on the alarm clock beside her.

01/02/17

Go away..... I was right in the middle of a wonderful dream!

 

~ To be continued ~

Chapter Text

Millie smacked her lips together and yawned loudly. After a languorously satisfying stretch she hopefully blinked her eyes open, only to yet again find herself disappointed.

Still her own bed.

Still her cramped little attic space.

Still not wrapped in Jonathan Pine’s long, muscular arms. So it really had been just a dream…

The most real, most vivid, most wonderful dream she’d ever had. But still – sadly - just a dream.

Her eyes flicked over to the calendar with a sigh. The similarities of the man now adorning it were plain to see. The same bone structure. The same piercing blue eyes staring back at her. But where Pine had cut a debonair figure in his sharply tailored suit and perfectly coiffed hair, this man was the complete opposite. This man had traded suits for cosy knitwear, and the mass of unruly blond curls which sat like a halo atop his achingly earnest face had yet to be tamed, making her fingers twitch. She yearned to run her hands through them. Tug them.

With a groan, Millie looked away. Sadly, this incarnation was not the sort to jump into bed with any old woman. Not, of course that Pine had proved to be either. He’d waited until their last night together. She sighed again, thinking of all the time they’d wasted, even if it had only really been dreamtime.

Still, there was an intriguing innocence to the man now adorning her calendar that the world weary Pine had long since lost.

Millie shook her head in irritation. Why was she even attempting this amateur psychoanalysis? The calendar was no more than an inanimate object. Jonathan had merely been a dream. A wildly realistic fantasy, borne from a bump on the head and her desperate need to change her life and seek out new adventures. She dismissed the fact that she could remember little to nothing of what she had actually been up to for an entire month. Whatever it was (and she could hazard a guess at mountains of monotonous research followed by evenings hidden away in her brother’s cramped attic room watching boring telly) it was definitely nowhere near as interesting, nor as fulfilling – she unconsciously clenched her thighs – as being sequestered in the Swiss Alps with the dashing Mr Pine.

But having returned – albeit reluctantly - to her piffling little bedroom in London, only to find her calendar already flipped to February and a new face peering back at her, Millie had momentarily wondered if this one might now start appearing in her dreams. That first frosty February night she’d bathed and washed her hair, slipping on her least embarrassing pyjamas in her desire to look in somewhat better shape than how she had greeted Jonathan. It was far too cold to think about draping herself in flimsy lingerie, but she had gone as far as to spritz herself with her favourite, and most expensive, perfume.

Just in case, she’d told herself. Just in case she found herself once more in an all-encompassing dream. Because it could happen.

Couldn’t it?

And then she’d slipped into her bed and waited. And waited, before finally dozing off in the small hours. But nothing had happened that night. He hadn’t come to her. And Millie couldn’t help herself. She’d cried into her pillow the following morning.

She knew, even as the first tears started to slip down her round cheeks that she was being utterly ridiculous. But she couldn’t find it in herself to stop them. Much less to actually care. Being rejected in her dreams somehow seemed even worse than in real life!

By the end of February she had, almost, forgotten about her vivid dreams, for she was now one hundred percent certain that they had been just that.      

And so, on a wild and windy Tuesday evening she’d once again wearily climbed the narrow staircase to her bedroom, half asleep. It had been a long day. She was already beginning to unbutton her blouse as she reached her doorway but a loud bang followed by a hiss of pain close by stopped her in her tracks.

Looking around the small attic landing in confusion, for the first time, Millie noticed a door across from her own bedroom. 

Evidently she was seeing things now!

Scrubbing her hands across her weary face she blinked and looked again.

The door was still there.

And there was definitely something – or rather, someone - behind it!

Ignoring all her instincts to run back downstairs, Millie gingerly took a single step forward, and listened. Clearly she should have been afraid. Doors didn’t just magically materialise in a house unless there was some malevolent force at play. Part of her wished she’d watched more horror movies so she knew what to expect, while another part – the albeit small, but sensible part of her brain – told herself that thinking about any kind of horror movie was the absolute last thing she should be thinking about when there could potentially be some crazed psychopath lurking behind a door which, for all she knew, led to the fucking underworld!

Shaking her head at her own outlandish imagination, her fingers tentatively touched the door knob, half expecting it to be as hot as Satan’s pit. She was relieved to find it cool to the touch and remarkably not giving off any sinister vibes. Not that she really knew what would be classed as a sinister vibe for a doorknob. Honestly? After she’d satisfied her curiosity she was going to have to sit down and give herself a good talking to. Her head was all over the place at the moment!

It was just as Millie was mentally castigating herself that the doorknob started to move slowly under her trembling fingertips.

“Jesus… Fucking… Christ!” she screamed and leapt back, her hand instinctively fumbling around inside her handbag in search of something – anything - to protect herself with. Being as this was a trendy, affluent and decidedly quiet suburb of London on a rainy evening in late February, all Millie found in her handbag were her purse and Oyster card, a pair of damp gloves, half a packet of Murray Mints and a tampon. Her wild eyes stared at the door in resignation as it slowly creaked open, before she suddenly remembered her door keys were in her coat pocket.

Quicker than you could say ‘wax on, wax off’, she had the pointed end of her front door key positioned between her knuckles and was stood in what she considered to be a pretty decent attempt at the crane stance a la the Karate Kid. Of course, in hindsight she would remind herself that her only knowledge of karate was from watching Ralph Macchio attempt it in the aforementioned movie when she was a child, and that this was, perhaps, not her best self-defence strategy.

“Oh God! Rose? Is that-”

For the third time in as many months, Millie Grantham’s mouth hung open as a strikingly familiar tall man unfurled himself from under the doorway and stood upright to his imposing height. In doing so he narrowly avoided hitting his head on the eaves, though he did a respectable job of dusting them as he shuffled awkwardly from foot to foot and looked down at her in bewilderment.

“You’re not Rose…” he voiced accusingly before tempering his expression into one of apologetic amusement as he looked Millie over.  

It was only then that Millie realised she was still wobbling precariously on one short leg, her arms aloft like a zombie from the Thriller video - her face no doubt equally as frightening - as she stared wide-eyed back up at him.

Muttering an apology as she lowered her foot firmly back to the floor, Millie noticed a rosy pink flush start to colour the man’s cheeks. Trying to push away her own embarrassment at the circumstances of their meeting, she dropped her keys back in her pocket and was just about to introduce herself properly when she realised why his face was suddenly so red.

His eyes had wandered down as he’d been looking her over, and in doing so they had settled on her chest. Her half-naked chest, she noticed as her own eyes followed his to where her half-unbuttoned blouse lay gaping open, her ample breasts fighting hard against the constraints of her - still - too small bra.

“Oh shit!” she started to fumble at her buttons before glancing back up to where those two bright blue eyes were still locked onto boob watch.

“Hey! Do you mind?!”

“Oh…Um… I am so sorry…!” the man looked aghast, though judging by the way he’d licked his lips it probably had more to do with him getting caught than any real sense of impropriety. But, to his credit, he did immediately train his eyes above Millie’s head, focusing instead on her bedroom door as he waited for her to be presentable.

As Millie fiddled with her buttons she tried to make sense of this new development. Was she sleepwalking now? Fuck! Had she fallen asleep on the stairs, maybe? Before realising she didn’t even care. He was back!  

“So…” Millie took a deep breath to calm her nerves as she finished buttoning back up. “You’re Edward. Right? Edward Knighton?”

“Guilty as charged. And you are?”

“I’m Millie. Millie Grantham”

“Ah, right. Well, pleased to meet you Millie. Sorry if I scared you. Are you the cook now?”

Millie snorted. “What? Me? Nooooo!”

Edward looked at her in confusion then and she rolled her eyes. Oh here we go again.

“I don’t. Cook, that is. Not unless you want to die anyway…” She attempted a mischievous wink but judging by the way Edward’s eyebrows shot perilously close to the ceiling she clearly hadn’t hit the right mark.

Instead Edward started rambling, his eyes flitting between her and the door behind her nervously.

“But you were going into what used to be Rose’s room, right?” he frowned “I’m sorry. I just assumed. You must forgive me. I only returned from Africa a few hours ago and my mind is still adjusting to being back in England. I wasn’t even sure if the house would be available at such short notice. Or if any staff would be here out of season?”

Oh. Right. So she was getting post-Africa Edward? Well this should be interesting… She only had the scraps of information from that disastrous farewell holiday he’d been made to endure just under a year ago in the movie. Her heart had broken for him when she’d watched it. But she’d also wanted to give him a good slap at times and tell him to man up. She’d even cheered when Christopher had told him to toughen up.

Well, that is, until he’d run back to the cottage and buried his head in his pillow and cried.

Suddenly Millie wasn’t altogether sure interacting with Edward, dream or no dream, was such a good idea. He was an emotional man, and she herself was a complete mess of emotions right now. Nothing good could come from two miserable sods spending time together.

“I… I suppose I should let you get some sleep then?” Millie mumbled, conflicted as to whether she truly wanted him to leave but already feeling like an imposition in his world. For all she had wanted to be transported back to Pine or to another of the faces in her calendar, she hadn’t really thought about what she would actually do if it did indeed happen again. Was it still just a dream though? Because this time she was almost certain she was still in her own house. Well, Steven’s house.

Edward continued to shift awkwardly from foot to foot, his golden halo of curls now polishing the low ceiling as he observed Millie’s face. The woman looked troubled. And if there was one thing that Edward could not bear, it was to see someone upset or uncomfortable. He knew only too well how that felt after all.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have come back here?” he sighed “You clearly weren’t expecting me. I… I just needed a day or two before I faced London again.”

Millie’s frown deepened as she looked around the small landing. Edward definitely seemed to think he was in the cottage from the movie. But this definitely looked like Steven’s house.

“I’m sorry? Where exactly do you think you are?” Millie questioned, trying to see behind Edward into the room he’d just stepped out of. If she could just get a quick glimpse inside she would know for certain. After all, she’d spent an extraordinary amount of time watching - and rewatching - Edward get into his PJ’s…

Millie’s cheeks burned at that thought and she forced it away as she looked up expectantly. Edward blinked and ran his hands through his curls and then down over his thick navy jersey covered chest as he looked earnestly down at her with a concerned frown.

“I’m at the cottage in Tresco. Right?” He waved his arm around as if to convince her.

And quite possibly himself.

For the first time Millie heard uncertainty in his voice and her heart started to beat a little faster. This was worrying. Shouldn’t he be the one telling her where they were? Shouldn’t he be the one making her feeling settled? That was what Jonathan had done.

As odd things went - and Millie reminded herself that she’d seen quite a few odd things recently - this was decidedly odd.

Trying to tamp down her anxiety, Millie slipped under Edward’s flailing arm and stopped dead in her tracks.

The door was gone!

Oh would you come the fuck on?! What the hell kind of shit was this?

She kicked the wall where the door had opened only minutes earlier. Edward turned in shock as she started pounding her fists against it, muttering a cornucopia of profanity as she searched for any sign that the door had in fact ever been there.

“Millie? What are you doing… are you alright?”

“It… it’s gone! You…?” she hissed, stabbing a finger into Edward’s chest “How? I don’t understand… It was just there!” Millie groaned before sighing in resignation and slumping to her knees, rubbing her eyes again and inspecting the wall closely for any secret openings.

She heard an uncomfortable cough close by and out of the corner of her eye glimpsed Edward kneeling down alongside her, also staring at the wall in confusion.

His long, slim fingers reached out and gently stroked the dark scuff mark that Millie’s boot had made on the paintwork before sliding over her shaking hand and gently stroking it.

“I don’t know what on earth just happened, but I do know that you need to calm down. Come…”

Millie’s breath caught and her eyes widened at hearing the same one word command that Pine had gasped out right before he’d come inside her the night they’d slept together, and in the same ridiculously deep, cultured voice. Alas she quickly had to school her expression as she noticed that Edward was now standing, the large hand - which had only moments earlier been soothing her - now outstretched in offering, but without any semblance of sexual connotation.

With a small moan of resignation, she took it, unable to stop herself from marvelling at how tiny her own hand looked in comparison. If Edward noticed, he didn’t say anything, just silently helping her up.

They both stood there awkwardly for a minute before Millie, unable to bear the silence any longer and still desperate to get out of her work clothes, looked hastily towards her own bedroom door and exhaled a sigh of relief.

At least her room was still there.

“Erm. If you give me a minute to get changed you can come in here and wait…” her voice trailed off as she tried to verbalise what exactly he was going to have to wait for. With her befuddled brain offering nothing she simply shrugged her shoulders and moved towards her door, before glancing back to make sure he was still there.

“I’ll be as quick as I can” she reassured.

Edward smiled nervously and nodded, and as Millie turned to close the door behind her she paused, watching as he turned his back to her and again inspected the wall that she had gone full Jackie Chan on earlier.

Something inside her told her not to close the door fully, fearful that he would disappear if she did. Instead she closed it just enough for modesty. Quickly stripping off her blouse and work trousers, Millie slipped on her most demure pyjamas and brushed through her mess of auburn hair, doing her best to try and tie it neatly back and examining her flushed face in the mirror.

Yikes! She looked rough!

Grumbling to herself about needing to wash her hair, she made her way – all of three steps – back over to the door and opened it, leaning against it as she ushered Edward inside.  

He hesitated for the briefest of seconds before smiling gratefully, his smile widening as he looked around the cluttered space.   

“Hey. I like what you’ve done with the room!”

“What?”

“Well. Erm… Sorry… It’s just that these rooms have always been so bland. Yours is the mirror image of mine and, well… when I was last here I very briefly saw Rose’s…”

His voice trailed off and Millie wasn’t certain, but she thought she detected a hint of something akin to guilt.

Hmm. Maybe the virtuous Edward wasn’t quite as innocent as he seemed… Millie found herself smirking at that thought, but tempered it when Edward’s face started to redden again.

Remembering her manners she urged him to sit down. Of course, this being her tiny attic room, the choice was either the bed or the floor and she honestly doubted there was room on the floor for the man’s ridiculously long legs so she ushered him to sit on one end of the bed as she plonked herself down on the other.

“I have a girlfriend!” he blurted out and Millie snorted with laughter as his face reddened even more before he contritely started to apologise “Oh God, I’m sorry! I wasn’t trying to suggest… well…” he paused to clear his throat and shrugged his shoulders before continuing “at least I think I still have one…”

“I’m sure you do… and don’t worry. I wasn’t trying to seduce you.”

This time Edward laughed, a low, deep throaty laugh that made Millie squirm, both from the realisation of what she’d said and the way his laugh resonated throughout her entire body.

“Well, that’s good to know. I guess…” he winked at her and nodded slowly.

Millie licked her lips and tried to ground herself. She thought she was doing a half-decent job until he surprised her with his next question.

“It’s so strange. I feel like you know me from somewhere else. Are you sure we’ve never met before?”

“Oh… erm, no. I mean. Maybe…” Millie lied. Now she had gotten over her initial panic, she rather liked the idea of getting to know Edward better, and she was desperate to hear about his adventures in Africa, so she quickly came up with her own cover story.

“I’m an old friend of Cynthia’s.”

Edward narrowed his eyes almost imperceptibly before checking himself and nodding slowly.

“Right. Well, possibly then…I never could keep track of my sister’s friends…” he paused, seemingly choosing his next words carefully “Have you seen her recently? I… Is she well?”

Millie heard the sadness in his voice even over the tamped down irritation.

Shit! Maybe she should have said it was his mum she knew. But she couldn’t remember her name and at least Cynthia was closer in age, even if she was a complete bitch! Realising she needed to change the subject and quick, Millie blustered “Erm no. We kind of lost track of one another…”

Edward chuckled sadly at that. Clearly her answer resonated with him for some reason.  

“So anyway... How was Africa?”

“Oh, Africa was amazing. I really felt like I was making a difference, you know?”

Millie watched as Edward’s eyes lit up then and she found herself mesmerised as he told her stories, his eyes sparkling as he talked of the people he’d met and the things he’d learnt. It was clear to see that he held fond memories of his trip and she asked him what his plans were now he was back in England.

“Well… I erm… I didn’t really leave things too well with Chlo, sorry, Chloe’s my erm… my girlfriend. We argued before I left about her not being able to come here to the cottage. The truth is, I still love her but I also want to go back to do more work in Africa. But I missed her terribly…” he trailed off sadly.

“Do you think she’d go with you this time?”

“I honestly don’t know. Maybe? We wrote to one another all the time. But it’s not that simple… We’re not married you see. I’d hardly be a great advocate for chasteness, would I? And I’m not a hypocrite.”

“Right... well, is that not an option? Getting married, I mean?” Millie found herself blurting it out before suddenly checking herself. “Shit. I am so sorry! That’s really none of my business!”

They sat in awkward silence, each growing more uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation. Desperately trying to think of something to ease the tension Millie finally glanced up at Edward and smiled shyly.

“Tell her what you told me. Tell her about how much it means to you, and how much she means to you… I guarantee, no-one will be able to resist you if speak from your heart.” Millie blushed then and started to fumble with her fingers, avoiding his gaze.

A few more moments of uncomfortable silence followed before Edward finally spoke again.

“So…Um. Is there someone special in your life right now Millie?”

“Me?! No!” Millie snorted with sad laughter until she saw the look of contrition in Edward’s solemn face and forced a stoic smile back onto her lips.

“It’s, well… It’s… complicated. I recently… erm, well I sort of broke up with someone…”

“Ah, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. It would never have worked.” She sighed before realising she had caught herself referring to a man from her dreams – rather than her ex-fiancé - as someone significant in her life. Millie quickly checked herself, wanting to steer the conversation away from him. “And the one before him was a dick!” she suddenly blurted out.

Well. So much for that!

Edward’s eyebrow rose and he seemed somewhat flustered “Then I’m sorry for that…”

Millie rolled her eyes, not unkindly and cursed her own faux-pas. Hadn’t one of her resolutions been not to think about that idiot again? “Seriously, you have no reason to apologise…” she sighed again and muttered to herself “It’s not like he ever did…”  

Edward heard Millie’s mumbled words but judging by the sadness in her eyes he felt certain she didn’t want to pursue this line of questioning. Instead he steered it back to safer waters, talking once more of his time in Africa, and recounting some of the folk stories which the villagers had shared with him. Millie was fascinated, relaxing back against her pillows as he spoke animatedly about his favourite tale, that of ‘The Fire on The Hill’. She was struck by the romanticism both of the man and his mother and couldn’t help but to wish someone – anyone - cared for her enough to go to such extreme lengths.

Feeling the tell-tale itch of approaching tears she coughed deeply and tried to focus on something all-together more practical. As if sensing her discomfort, Millie’s stomach grumbled and she turned to Edward, asking if he was hungry.

“Oh, erm yes now you come to mention it…” his voice trailed off as he deliberated his next words “I didn’t want to ask if there was any food, given that I’d already been overly presumptuous about you being the cook…”

Millie laughed and Edward’s face relaxed into an apologetic smile “Sorry again about that!”

“Seriously. Stop apologising! It was just a miscommunication, that’s all.” She shook her head as she excused herself to nip downstairs to grab them something to eat. When Edward offered to assist, Millie hastily stopped him, not wanting him to leave her room in case he actually disappeared completely, or perhaps worse, went downstairs and bumped into Steven or Niall. 

That was one conversation she did not want to be having. 

Glancing over at the still door-less wall, Millie frowned and listened. The flat was eerily quiet. She glanced at her watch. It was almost 10pm! No wonder she was hungry. But where were her flatmates? As she descended the stairs, her heart rate inexplicably increased. Just why she was so nervous now was beyond her. Maybe it was because, while she was in her perfect little fantasy-daydream-whatever-the-hell bubble, her mundane existence ceased to exist. 

She was simply Millie the intriguing stranger to Edward, and before him, Pine. She could be whoever she wanted to be. Do whatever she wanted. Be as outrageous, as cheeky, as silly, and even sexy if she wanted to be. The worst that could happen was that she’d wake up. Right? 

But would leaving Edward in her room or him having to make small talk to her brother break their somnolent bond? She wasn’t overly keen on finding out just yet. She was enjoying his company too much.

Casting that niggling doubt aside, Millie made her way quickly into the darkened kitchen and flicked on the light. On the worktop lay boxes of discarded take away food, and Millie frowned at the sight of it. 

It wasn’t like Steven or Niall to order food without her. Nor was it usual for them to just leave stuff lying around. They were far too anally retentive to not package everything away neatly and refrigerate immediately. Leaving stuff lying around was much more her style. 

Wandering back out into the hall, Millie noticed that neither of their coats were hung up either. They must have gone out again. 

Trying to shake off the nagging sense that something was not quite right, Millie reminded herself ‘you snooze, you lose’. Well, except in her case. When she snoozed, hot men apparently now visited her and she found trays of her favourite Indian dishes waiting for her! Telling herself that she would order Steven and Niall some fresh takeaway – in the unlikely event that this wasn’t a dream - when they returned, Millie quickly reheated the food, surprised to find them completely untouched and trying not to think about how many calories she was going to have to work off at the gym the following day. She’d been pretty good with her diet so far. Deciding in for a penny, in for a pound, she grabbed a 6-pack of Steven’s pretentious beers from the fridge and slowly climbed the stairs, balancing everything precariously on a tray.

It was as she pushed the door open with her bum and turned to find Edward stooping over her bedside table, looking at the book lying there, that Millie suddenly remembered the calendar. 

Oh fuck! What if Edward had seen himself on the wall?!

She coughed loudly to get his attention, and Edward turned, his gentle smile breaking into a toothy grin as his eyes fell onto the containers of food. Immediately coming to grab the loaded tray from her, Millie stopped Edward, instead navigating him to sit back down on her bed. His back was thankfully to the calendar and she asked him to start serving himself as she quickly grabbed her bathrobe and hooked it over the nail holding up her calendar, at the same time obscuring Edward's printed face. She could only pray he hadn’t already noticed it. If he had, he didn’t say a word.

Her heart rate finally beginning to settle, she climbed up alongside Edward on the bed and set about piling food onto her own plate. As they ate in companionable silence, Millie contemplated why Edward had appeared in her life. She thought she’d figured out the reason for her dreams involving these men. Certainly with Pine there had been a deeply, sexual attraction. But Edward? Though she’d always had a soft spot for the man, and he was very clearly attractive - in a sweet, almost innocent way - his earnestness when talking about his girlfriend was simply too much for Millie to even contemplate the possibility of anything happening between them. 

And strangely enough, once that realisation had subconsciously been made, Millie was able to completely relax and simply enjoy his company. Edward was surprisingly witty, which was something that had definitely not come across much on screen. She reminded herself that having the unbearably shrewish Celia as a sister and a mother seemingly on the verge of divorce – and quite likely a nervous breakdown - would do that to you.

Perhaps more surprising, he also had a bit of a potty mouth on him by the time he'd finished his third beer. Millie was beginning to get the feeling that he didn't usually drink much. Which was great news for her because she had never been able to hold her drink either.

“You know what? I can’t even work out why I came back here! My send-off was fucking atrocious! All Celia did was bitch or cry and my mum spent half the time painting with Christopher, and the rest of it screaming down the phone at my dickhead father… Rose really was the only sane person there!”

“You really liked her…” It wasn’t a question and Millie realised her tone implied she already knew the answer.

“Nothing happened!” he blustered “I had a girlfriend. I have Chloe… Rose was just… well, normal!”

“I’m sorry… I wasn’t trying to suggest-”

“No. I’m sorry. I’m taking my frustrations out on you when really it should be Celia. I think the reason I connected so well with Rose was that she tolerated me. It’s not always easy for me to open up to people, but we could talk, y’know? I was missing Chlo. Badly. And Africa was looming. I just wanted to have a fun last few days with my family but they were all just so caught up in their own shit that they didn’t stop to think about that. Frankly it was exhausting to be honest! Rose was a welcome distraction. Just like…”

Edward trailed off, biting his lip as he glanced at Millie and then down at his fidgeting hands.

“What? Just like what?” she probed.

Edward sighed, his eyes flicking back to Millie’s, this time not looking away “Just like you…”

For a moment they both sat in silence, Millie unsure quite how to respond to that. Was he propositioning her? She hoped not. The last thing she needed right now was to be someone else’s regret. She had enough of those to deal with herself. And she knew exactly how it felt to be the spurned lover.

“I don’t think-”

“I’m sorry…” Edward cut her off, yawning as he scrubbed his palm across his sleepy eyes. “I’m tired. You’re lovely. Really lovely Millie. And in another world, who knows? But I love Chlo…”

“Then you need to stop hiding away here and go tell her that!” Millie smiled, the relief evident on her flushed face as she leant forward and tentatively stroked Edward’s still fidgeting hands, stilling them.

A pang of sadness unexpectedly shot through her body - feeling the same striation of veins below the soft pads of her fingers that she’d felt on Jonathan’s hands - and jolting her back to the reality of the situation she was in. Wordlessly she pulled her hand away and stood, moving swiftly to the attic door and peering out onto the darkened landing.

Her shoulders sagged as she squinted at the wall, still nothing to indicate that the door Edward had appeared from had ever been there. It was still silent down below. Suddenly Millie felt exhausted. She’d had enough of whatever the hell this was. She just wanted to go to bed and actually sleep.

But there was the dilemma. Where was Edward supposed to go? There was no door back to his room. Closing her eyes and pinching her nose, Millie tried to think of a solution. But all she could think of was sleep. She blinked her eyes open again but the wall was still there and in resignation she closed her own door, resting her forehead against it as she exhaled a deep sigh.

Finally turning back towards her bed, Millie stopped mid-step as she watched Edward’s eyelids droop just before his lanky, yet considerable, frame sagged, his mop of curls pressing against the edge of her pillow.

Her heart clenched. He really was frustratingly adorable!

Moving a step closer she contemplated leaving him alone to sleep in her bed, instead taking herself off to sleep on the sofa, but the truth was, she couldn’t be bothered. She was just too tired to care about decency any longer. She knew she wasn’t going to try anything with him. If this ‘meeting’ had done any good, it was that it had shown her the reality of one of her crushes. Edward Knighton might well be another incarnation of Tom Hiddleston, but she felt more sisterly towards him than anything remotely sexual. The spark she’d shared with Jonathan simply hadn’t been there with Edward. Whether that was because subconsciously she herself had drawn a line because he had a girlfriend she wasn’t certain. She had enjoyed her time with him but now she just wished he would go.

She needed sleep.

With a nervous sigh, she shifted the short distance to her bed and pulled back the duvet. Edward was lay on top of it, his back pressed against the wall so Millie slipped underneath the duvet and nestled into the warmth.

A long arm stretched across her, causing her heart to race as she pondered how the hell she kept getting herself into these awkward situations. But as Edward flicked off the bedside lamp and settled his head back down against the pillow, his arm draping casually over her covered midriff, he whispered “Good night Millie” and she tried to calm her breathing. 

She wasn’t certain how long she lay there, scared to move as her heart continued to pound in her chest. But at some point she must have drifted off, the gentle snore of Edward behind her combining with the warmth of the duvet and his comfortingly innocent embrace, finally lulling her asleep.

*

When she woke the following morning to the sound of her shrill alarm clock, her bed was empty. This time she wasn’t sure what she felt. Sadness fought with relief that Edward wasn’t there. It was just another dream!

Just like Jonathan.

With a sigh she stumbled sleepily towards the door, intent on heading to the bathroom. In her sleepy state her foot hit the discarded tray of empty plates from the night before and she stopped.

There were two plates.

Rubbing her eyes, Millie looked again. Still two plates. Plus two sets of used cutlery. And five empty beer bottles!

Now she knew she hadn’t just dreamt it. There was no way she would even be upright now if she’d drank five bottles of beer herself. She wasn’t a drinker at all. And her head felt fine. Well. There was a dull headache but that seemed to be omnipresent anyway. Her stupid life seemed to be one constant headache after all!

But no, this was evidence! Surely? Of what, she couldn’t say. But something…

Her gut twisted as she tried to make some sort of rational sense of whatever the fuck was really going on, and for some inexplicable reason her eyes flicked back to the calendar on the wall. It was still covered from the night before and she mentally castigated herself.

She was just being ridiculous. There had to be a logical reason for this. There just had to be. Maybe Steven had eaten with her? Yes. That had to be it. It had to have been his dinner she’d stolen anyway… Right?

With a frustrated shrug she lifted the tray and set it on top of the bed, intending to clear it away after she’d had a shower. But as she turned back towards the door she again stopped in her tracks as her eyes fell to the bedside table.

Beside the alarm clock, on top of her book – the same book Edward had been looking at last night - lay a scrap of paper with a hastily scrawled note:

Thank you Millie. I know what I have to do now. Love & best wishes, Edward x

 

Chapter Text

Millie was startled awake by the clattering of what sounded like chairs, followed by terrified screams somewhere behind her. She tried to lift her head but everything was foggy. Her vision was blurred and her arm was trapped beneath her – no, it was stuck to something…

She fought down the wave of panic that was rapidly beginning to rise in her chest and listened instead. Absolutely nothing was making any sense.

Now Millie Grantham had been prone to saying that a lot over the past few months. Her mundane little life had most definitely taken on a nonsensical air recently: waking up in Switzerland; doors materialising as if by magic - and disappearing just as unexpectedly - in her brother’s home; not to mention two deliciously handsome incarnations of a certain favoured actor coming - no pun intended! - albeit briefly, into her life.

For a second she again rued not at least trying to kiss Edward, before shooing that troublesome thought away, along with the accompanying guilty pang of shame. She’d done the right thing damn it! Besides, she had more pressing matters to attend to right now.

Like why the hell the lively voices all around her literally made no sense…

Another loud smash, followed by a whoop of cheers and the resumption of low, sultry music– 

Wait. Now that she could understand. It was the unmistakable sound of the Doobie Brothers. Somehow buoyed by the familiarity of at least one thing she actually recognised, Millie forced herself to concentrate on trying to move. Her head was still throbbing painfully. She squeezed her eyes shut and blinked them open again, only to realise it was her surroundings that were hazy, not her eyes. The room was bathed in a reddish neon glow, the air thick with cigarette smoke, and as she inhaled deeply, she recognised the sickly-sweet scent of something else. Tamping down the nausea, she yanked at her arm, soon realising the reason for its immobility. Her skin, surprisingly pale even by her own standards, was glued to a filthy, sticky mess of spilt liquid. Lowering her nose closer, the overwhelming scent of stale alcohol mixed with the fog of tobacco and marijuana, causing Millie to gag.

It was as she was doing her best to swallow back the rising vomit, and inspecting what she could only assume was the end of a bar counter – though she could see no bar staff, or even optics in her periphery – that a leering voice at her side startled her back upright.

“Chào phụ nữ tuyệt đẹp!”

Millie looked into the eyes of a dark haired man, his locks greasy and unkempt, his mouth turning up at the corners into a knowing smirk as she visibly recoiled from his attention and whispered “I’m sorry?”

“Ah… American? No… English…” he chuckled to himself, his eyes betraying his own intoxicated state as he continued to speak in heavily accented and broken English. “Nice… lady… you want? I show you good time?”

Millie shuddered involuntarily as he licked his lips, his eyes settling on her breasts. She followed his gaze, only to look down in dismay as she discovered she was wearing an old V-neck Loki T shirt that she recognised as one of her sleep shirts. It was most definitely too tight for her to be parading around in public in and did little to hide the fact that her breasts were heaving. Apparently she’d considered it a good idea to team the faded shirt with a pair of soft cotton grey shorts which barely covered her dignity, along with her flip flops, and she subconsciously tugged at the hem of the shirt in an attempt to cover herself from the stranger’s continuing leer. Three thoughts crossed her mind at that exact moment: where the fucking hell was she and why was she in her sleepwear?; how the bloody hell had she gotten there this time?; and perhaps most importantly, what the ever loving fuck was she going to do?

Suddenly spurred into action by the movement of the man’s hand reaching out towards her waist, Millie ripped her arm free of the bar with a loud wince of pain, and stumbled backwards off the stool she had been perched on. She wobbled unsteadily on her feet, making her wonder if she too was drunk, her eyes darting frantically around, trying to locate the nearest exit. But the room, wherever this was, was wide and dark, and fuck…!

“Ồ, bạn chỉ là một trêu đùa, đúng chứ?”

Millie had no idea what language the man was speaking to her in, much less what he was actually saying, but it didn’t take a genius to understand that whatever it was, it wasn’t a compliment. His voice had risen and he was practically sneering at her with barely contained rage.

She continued to back slowly away, keeping one eye firmly on the advancing man while the other desperately searched for somewhere to escape.

Again the man lurched towards her, and this time he was faster than her, grabbing roughly at her arms and sneering vindictively down at her. Instinct took over, and before she could contemplate the possible repercussions, Millie swiftly thrust her knee up and hit him square in the balls.

Time seemed to stand still for a moment as a look of incredulity flashed over both perpetrator and victim, neither one quite believing the force with which Millie had hit him.

“Ngươi đan ba bẩn thỉu!!” the man groaned out in a high-pitched whine and released her arms to cup his bruised testicles.

Millie took her chance and turned, ready to run, only to slam hard into a solid chest.

“You really shouldn’t be walking around here alone in your state.” The deep voice rumbling through his chest into her own sounded strangely familiar, and she tried to calm the rising panic long enough to open her eyes. But no sooner had she heard the voice, its owner seemed to have vanished - along with her assailant - once more into the haze of smoke and iniquity, and she found herself alone, grappling against the sticky bar as she again tried to focus.

Her already racing heart felt like it was about to explode out of her chest when yet another man approached her, ogling her drunkenly. Though she spoke no word of whatever language he was leering at her in, she instinctively knew he wasn’t just asking her for directions and the hairs on the back of her neck prickled uneasily.

There was no use denying it. She was petrified. She had to get out of there.

But then what? Where would she go?

No, better to stay where there was at least one person who could speak English.

Wait.

Yes! That man had spoken perfect English. Maybe he could help her? Maybe he would know how she could get home. Home. She had never wanted her cramped little attic space and her shitty job as badly as she did at that very moment.

Trying to push back the inevitable tears that were starting to rear their ugly heads, Millie took a deep breath – immediately regretting it as her lungs were filled with another vile concoction of foul air – and swiped her sticky hand across her eyes, wiping what traitorous tears had already fallen away.

She had to focus. This was no time for tears. She was a big girl! A fucking grown-up for goodness sake! With her back against the bar – and she was now almost certain it was a bar – she gave the drunken man her most intimidating glare, surprised to watch him suddenly back away. She allowed herself a brief second of smugness at that, before she squinted, and resumed surveying her surroundings. The dark, murky room appeared to be a labyrinth of nooks and crannies, filled with people sat drinking at tables, and interspersed with podiums where exotic looking women writhed along to the background music and half-heartedly slapped away the advances of ogling men. On the far wall she could just make out what appeared to be a table full of flickering candles, which, along with the red neon and a few random table lamps, appeared to be the only lighting in the vast area.

Sighing to herself, Millie realised the lack of lighting was probably going to be as much a hindrance as a help to her escape, and she once again looked around for the source of that cultured English voice.

The only voices she could hear where in whatever this unknown tongue was. As she regulated her breathing, she listened, finding herself able to appreciate the strangely melodic lilt of the accents around her. Whatever language they spoke, it sounded beautiful now that it wasn’t being used unpleasantly towards her.

But her moment of peaceful reflection was broken when another shriek, followed by a cacophony of noise, rose to her right.

She had no idea why she felt compelled to follow the noise, but follow it she did, scooting along the deserted bar and turning the corner, only to find herself looking into the eyes of the same man who had tried to attack her earlier. This time, however, there was no hint of malevolence in the man’s eyes, only stone-cold fear, as he was hoisted up and pinned to the wall by his neck, his legs dangling as the large hand of a much taller man effectively stripped away his veneer of arrogance.

Millie couldn’t take her eyes off the spectacle. The taller man had his back to her, but even in her confused and frightened state she was able to appreciate the broad line of his shoulders, the way his muscled back flexed under the tight blue shirt and tapered down to a narrow – but certainly not skinny – waist. His legs - ridiculously long - reminded her of someone she could really do with seeing right about now. Alas, this scene was not one she was familiar with from any of his movies, so Millie had to resign herself to the fact that this time she appeared to be on her own.

Unconsciously licking her lips as she trailed her eyes quickly back up his muscular thighs, lingering momentarily over his deliciously rounded ass, Millie quirked her eyebrow as he bent forward, pressing his shadowed face into his victims and snarling something she could not understand.

The frightened man shook his head rapidly and muttered something in response. Whatever it was seemingly satisfying the taller man, as he released his grip, effectively dropping the cowering man like a dead weight onto the grubby floor. Millie watched as he scuttled away, followed by a few other onlookers, her eyes then falling to the clenched fists of the tall man still with his back to her.

He paused, mid clench, seemingly sensing he was being watched, before ushering a waitress with a tray of drinks over to him. Throwing back a shot of whatever she had on her tray, he reached for her hip and Millie sighed.

Men! They were all the bloody same really!

Quite why she was cursing this man out, she had no idea. He had clearly frightened the creep who had tried to attack her out of the bar. She probably owed him a ‘thank you’ at the very least for that, seeing as the English guy had apparently scarpered.

It was as she was contemplating this that the man lifted a walkie-talkie to his mouth, forcing Millie to castigate herself. She glanced around in search of another waitress, and noticed one clearing a table of glasses behind her, a walkie-talkie also attached to a belt around her hip. So that’s what he was reaching for! Quite why she felt so relieved at this revelation, she couldn’t quite say, but suddenly the unobtrusive music was cut as he opened a door and disappeared behind it. A low, electrical screech was followed by a deep voice issuing what could only be described as a command, judging by the way the entire population of the bar rose - en masse - hastily finishing off their drinks before starting to file towards what she could only assume was the exit in a remarkably civilised manner.

Millie stood for a moment watching them, unsure whether to follow or not. She had no idea what they had been told, though it had clearly been worded strongly enough to make everyone immediately jump to attention. But the truth was, even though the bar was now practically deserted, she was scared to leave for fear of what would await her outside. She felt a tentative sense of safety inside those strange walls.

So instead she lingered, hiding in the shadows behind a beaded curtain, keeping her eyes low as she avoided the waitresses going about their business clearing up the place before they too left. She had no idea how long she hid for, but eventually the place was silent, the candles extinguished, table lamps switched off and only the soft glow of the neon lights overhead lighting the vast space.

Finally, cramp set in and Millie was forced to move, her still somewhat intoxicated and perplexed brain urging her to find somewhere more comfortable to sleep whatever the hell this was off.

Which was how she came to slam into a hard muscular chest for the second time that evening.

Immediately panic once again set in and her first instinct was to make a joke.

“We really have to stop meeting like-”

Her words were cut off as the man took a step backwards and stared down at her curiously. Millie’s eyes raked slowly up the hulking figure in front of her, before finally returning his stare. She self-consciously wiped at her mouth, convinced she must be visibly drooling.

“Oh! It’s you!”

Dear God in heaven. He really was a sight for sore eyes.

The man stood before her was distinctly familiar, and yet somehow supersized. She’d always been extremely appreciative of a certain Mr Hiddleston’s rangy physique, but this man was like a hunk of prime beef and she was suddenly ravenous. Sadly, as he eyed her suspiciously, she couldn’t help but to imagine what he must think when he looked down at her. If he was steak, she was surely chopped liver.

She tried her best to shrug off her self-deprecating thoughts. She had more pressing matters to attend to. Like finding out where the fuck she was. And running her fingers through his bearded jawline-

Stop it woman! Concentrate!

She tried to give off the air of casual nonchalance as she questioned “Um…Hi… Do you know where am I?” but it was clear she wasn’t fooling either of them as the man quirked one of those deadly eyebrows in bemusement.

“The Hòa Bình bar.”

“No. I mean where... as in where in the world am I, 'cos this sure as hell doesn't look like Camden to me?!”

That deadly eyebrow almost reached his hairline as he contemplated Millie’s question before finally shaking his head and tutting. He actually fucking tutted at her!

“Bloody hell, you must be drunk not to even know where in the world you are!” The man stared intently down at Millie, before huffing and shaking his head again as he finally answered her question “You’re in Saigon, Miss…?”

“Saigon? But that… that’s Vietnam?! But... but... how? I mean... what? How the hell? Actually, no. You know what? I don't even want to know to be honest!”

The man shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes before turning back towards a pool table she hadn’t noticed before, grabbing and pocketing a wad of notes which appeared to have been forgotten in the earlier exodus.

“And it’s Millie…” her voice trailed off as she realised he probably wasn’t even listening any longer. Still, she trailed along slowly behind him, something telling her she should know this man but struggling through her alcohol fuelled confusion.  

“Wait... hang on a minute. What year is it?”

Even as the words escaped her mouth she regretted them. The man turned back to her, his brow furrowed as he let out a deep sigh.

“What did you take? LSD? Marijuana? Heroin?”

“What?!” Millie was outraged “Nothing! I'm not some bloody junkie!”

“Right...” The man frowned, and though he clearly thought he'd gotten away with it, Millie distinctly caught him looking down at her bare arms, presumably for track marks.

“Satisfied?” She snarled, thrusting her arms towards him so he could get a better look.

His eyebrow rose again, this time in challenge. But what he said next truly shocked her.

“Not even close. Maybe I should strip search you? Just to be sure…”

“Wh... what...?!” Millie was indignant with rage - not to mention an unwelcome wave of desire - as she gasped out “I'll have you know-”

“Ehehehe. Keep your knickers on darling. You're not really my type.” 

“Oh...”

Millie felt the irrational sting of rejection in the pit of her stomach and before she was able to temper her look of mortification back to something resembling indignation, traitorous tears began to trickle down her flushed cheeks. She gulped and was about to turn away when a warm hand on her forearm halted her.

“Hey, look I'm sorry. That was harsh. It’s just been a very long, very frustrating day, and I had to close the bar early on account of your little friend.”

“He’s not my friend!”

“Right… Whatever. And as for you, I just meant it in the sense of you being way too chatty for my liking. And high as a fucking kite. There's absolutely nothing wrong with your body...” he abruptly trailed off. Millie couldn’t be certain, but she thought she caught him licking his lips as his eyes lingered appreciatively over her cleavage. 

Jesus! What was it with these men and tits?

“So, anyway. Where are you staying? Maybe it would be best if I escort you home?” 

“I... have no idea. I don't know how I got here?”

“Okay... well who did you come with? Seriously, this is no place for a woman to be wandering around on her own late at night. Surely you saw that on your way here?”

“I... I don't think I came with anybody. Would you believe me if I told you I don't even know where I am? And I don’t know anyone…”

The man watched her visibly deflate before him, seemingly losing what fight had been left in her. Damn it. He never could say no to a damsel in distress.

Wiping his hand on his dark denim clad thigh, he offered it in greeting “Well you know me now. The name’s Conrad, James Conrad.”

Millie did a double take.

What?! This bearded, brusque man candy was ‘Captain’ James Conrad?! Where was the lovely tight blue t-shirt and the smooth jawline that she could have sworn was on her calendar? Damn it! She knew she should have watched the latest trailers! Oh fuck! But why was she meeting him in Vietnam? Why not on Skull- Oh wait. Actually, Saigon sounded like a much safer venue now she came to think about it!

She must have been pulling some peculiar faces, because Conrad’s still outstretched hand faltered and he sighed loudly enough to pull her out of her internal diatribe.  

“Don't worry darling. I already said you weren't my type. And you're still not…” he held his hand up to silence Millie’s fresh huff of protest “Though seeing as you can at least keep that pretty mouth closed occasionally, I will let you sleep on the couch until you work off whatever concoction of drugs and alcohol you've got running through your veins. God only knows, I can’t in all good conscience let you go back out there alone in your state.”

Millie’s shoulders sagged in relief, no longer having the energy to fight. The truth was, she could well have taken something. After all, this was another damn dream. Wasn’t it? The fact that she was stood in some dive bar in Vietnam attested to that. And to be honest, though she wasn’t entirely sure what to make of Conrad in person, he was at least decent enough not to throw her out on the street.

That had to count for something, surely.

“Let me just lock up” He passed her, his long legs eating up the distance to the door in no time and bolting it closed, before flicking off the red neon lighting. The room was cast into an eerie darkness, the canopy of lamps above the pool table barely offering any light.

“When was the last time you ate?” Conrad’s crystal clear voice close by her ear made her jump and her hands flew up to protect herself, only managing to flail against hard muscle.

“Sssshusshh. It’s okay. It’s just me…” he soothed, and before she could process what was happening, his large hand had enveloped hers and was leading her towards what she hoped was somewhere better lit.

Her heartbeat lowered only slightly when they reached another doorway, and Conrad opened it, escorting her upstairs to a compact but surprisingly well-appointed studio flat. In one corner was a simple but fully functioning kitchenette, along with a small table and two chairs, and in the opposite corner was a relatively comfortable looking couch and portable TV. There was a door off to the side which Millie assumed was a bathroom, but the most imposing feature in the bijou space was a decidedly oversized bed.

Millie tried not to focus on that, turning her back to it as if it wasn’t the biggest damn elephant in the room.

Because the truth was, her lascivious mind was already thinking up all sorts of lewd scenarios involving that very bed and the man in front of her.

The man in front of her who was now watching her in barely contained amusement as her cheeks burned bright red.

“So, you didn’t answer my question. Have you eaten today?”

Millie shrugged, his question throwing her off-kilter, her mind doing somersaults as she tried to get it to think straight. What was wrong with her? She remembered eating with Edward… But then, nothing? If she was being totally honest, she couldn’t remember when Edward had visited her. Had that been last night? Or last week? Or was it last month?

“I… I don’t know?” she sighed in embarrassment “What date is it?”

Conrad frowned, his brow furrowing deeply as he took in her erratic behaviour. She was worrying him. All his instincts were warning him not to get too involved. He didn’t need complications in his life. It was that very reason why he’d never bothered returning to England from the war. Civilians just didn’t get it. Though a soldier might leave the war, war never really left the soldier. Even though he’d been decommissioned, he’d struggled to fit back into ‘normal’ society. So, instead, he’d sunk his money into this dive bar on the wrong side of the Sông Sài Gòn. It suited him well. He’d fallen in love with Vietnam on his last tour with the Aussies. He had a quiet life all things considered, just enough tussles with drunken clientele to stop him going stir crazy, and enough booze to block out the nightmares of combat. There were women too, lots of beautiful women. But he never partook in anything with them. Like he’d said, he didn’t need the complication.

Which was why he had surprised himself by speaking to this – what was her name again? Mollie? Marie? No… Millie woman. He knew he was asking for trouble inviting her up here. No woman ever stepped foot in his home.

And yet here she was. Looking confused, exhausted, and though he hated to admit it, downright endearing in her comic book T shirt and tiny shorts – shorts which clung to every delicious curve. Shaking his head of such troublesome thoughts, he strode over to the kitchenette and filled the kettle.

“Make yourself at home” he absentmindedly waved his arm around, before turning back to the kitchenette with a sigh.

Millie looked around, wondering what she should do. Maybe she should help him like he’d helped her? But as she watched the rugged looking man shift seamlessly into domesticity, slipping an apron around his trim waist and pottering around the little kitchenette, she realised he needed no help – or should that be hindrance? – from her. So instead, she sank down onto the low couch and tried to get herself into something resembling a sensible headspace.

After all, what could be more normal than to be sat in a flat in Saigon watching former SAS Captain James Conrad - he of the bulging biceps and delectable arse - heating something delicious smelling on the stove and chopping garnishes as if he was Nigella bloody Lawson?!

She had to force back a smirk at that. As mad dreams went, this one was definitely battling for first place right now! For a second she imagined him wearing nothing BUT the apron and barely stifled a moan. But a shooting pain in her head brought her back to her current predicament and Millie realised she truly must be very drunk, or dreaming, or quite possibly both – could you even get drunk in your dreams? – so she figured it might be an idea to drink some water. Perhaps a strong cup of black coffee and a couple of paracetamol wouldn’t go amiss either. She went to stand back up, wearily dragging her tired body not altogether steadily into an almost upright position.

Conrad turned with two steaming bowls and a faint smile just as Millie wobbled and collapsed back onto the couch with a low exhale of “ugh”.

And then the world went black.

 

Everything around her was dulled, the sounds, the smells, even the touches.

Wait…

Someone was touching her. Her left arm was being rubbed soothingly whilst something cool was being pressed to her feverishly hot forehead.

Millie took in a stuttering gulp of air and thought she heard what sounded like a sigh of relief, followed by a deep, resonant voice shushing her attempts to speak. Her eyes still closed, she tried to concentrate on the comforting sound of the person’s breathing, attempting to match hers to it. As she did so, her nostrils were filled with a citrusy scent that she found vaguely familiar. Forcing one eye open, she was met with the concerned frown of Conrad.

Wait. Was this still the same dream? Or was this a new one? What was happening to her? Damn it! Why hadn't she paid more attention to Inception?!

Fear gripped Millie, her heart rate starting to speed up again and she fought against the hand soothing her – Conrad’s hand. She shivered involuntarily. Something wasn’t right here. She was so far away from home. And she felt like crap. Why had she blacked out? Had she blacked out? As the questions continued to tumble through her mind she started to panic, her breathing coming in short ragged gulps of air.

“Millie… calm down! Please! Sshhh…” Conrad urged, his resonant voice low but commanding, his grip on her arm tightening just enough to let her know he had no intention of letting her move.

She sagged in defeat, tears starting to trickle down her flushed cheeks again as she sighed and closed her eyes once more. Why was everything so fucking complicated? Why couldn’t she just have a nice, normal dream about a hot man where they met and just got down to business?

Why couldn’t he have just fucked her on the pool table and been done with it?!   

“Because, Millie… whatever else you might think of me, I am a gentleman. I don’t take advantage of people and I certainly don’t go around fucking women who are obviously delirious!” Conrad’s hurt voice broke through her musings and she groaned. Shit! Was he a mind reader too now, or did she just say that out loud?

“You said it aloud darling” his voice was softer now, but there was still an edge to it as his hand relaxed around her arm and he removed the cold compress from her forehead. Millie immediately tried to stand again, desperate to escape her own mortification at having inadvertently revealed her inner thoughts, but heard him tutting again. She couldn’t even bring herself to open her eyes as she sank back down. She could just imagine the look of disgust and disappointment. Conrad must think her such a tart! An ungrateful, delusional tart at that, seeing as he’d clearly told her twice already that he wasn’t interested. Honestly this would be a pretty fucking awesome time to wake up from her shitty dream so she could at least exit with a tiny shred of dignity.

Millie groaned as it occurred to her that her dignity had long since evaporated and decided it was about time she owned her shit. So what if she had made a total ass of herself – again – in front of a man?

She would be gone tomorrow. Or the next. Screw it!

Doing her best to try to control the feverish red flush to her cheeks, Millie forced herself to open her eyes. She had been expecting to see an angry faced Conrad, but instead she found him stood once more in the kitchenette, ladling two fresh bowls of whatever it was he’d been carrying when she’d collapsed.

“I’m sor-”

“It’s fine.” Conrad cut her off jadedly as he carried two steaming bowls of Pho to the small table “You really need to eat something though. Can you walk or do you need a hand?”

Millie pushed herself back upright in reply and Conrad nodded slowly, though he never took his eyes off her as she took the few short steps to the table. Once she’d sat he joined her, wrapping his ludicrously long legs around the legs of the small table as he attempted to get comfortable opposite her.

For a moment Millie found herself musing as to why such a tall man would buy such a small table set, but quickly thought better of it when she remembered her earlier slip. What if he really could read minds? She didn’t want to offend him any more than she had already. She needed somewhere to sleep after all!.  

So instead, she set about tasting the heavenly beef noodle broth and trying her damnedest not to think about the fact she could feel Conrad's knee pressing against her own under the table, his body heat permeating her skin and causing a frisson of electricity to pulse throughout her body. Millie couldn’t help but to moan in between spoonfuls of the delicious concoction – not altogether sure whether it was his touch or his cooking that was causing them - before finally remembering her manners.

“This is delicious Conrad! Did you make it all by yourself?” she questioned innocently, having just swallowed a succulent slither of beef, swiftly following it with another mouthful of broth soaked noodles, which she stuffed greedily into her mouth.

“Yep. It’s all my own work. In all honesty I usually just set it simmering in the afternoon and it’s ready to go by the time I finish in the bar. There’s more waiting than any real skill” he replied nonchalantly, but his eyes flashed with a mixture of amusement and something else Millie couldn’t quite put her finger on. It suddenly dawned on her that she was asking too many questions, and probably also making a bit of a pig of herself as she slurped yet another mouthful between her lips, but the minute he’d set the bowl in front of her, she’d realised she was ravenous.

Conrad had finished his bowl and was watching her, his eyes falling to her lips as he murmured “And it’s James. Please…”

Something seemed to change between them in that moment. Conrad’s - James’s - eyes softened as Millie whispered “James…” almost in worship as she drained her bowl and licked her lips “that was… mouth-wateringly good. Thank you.”

Conrad nodded, pursing his thin lips together and rose, reaching across as if to collect Millie’s bowl, before his large hand instead started to rise seemingly of its own volition towards her chin, only for the rough pad of his thumb to graze across her soft skin, narrowly missing her plump bottom lip as he swiped away an errant drip of broth.

Millie stifled the gasp fighting to escape her lips but was powerless to silence the next one as he proceeded to suck the pho anointed thumb into his mouth and lick it clean.

She knew she was staring when he released it with an audible pop and licked his lips, a low groan mirroring her own as he eyed her lips and mumbled “Mmm… mouth-wateringly good!” before quickly grabbing the two bowls and making his way back to the kitchenette.

Millie sat in stunned silence staring at his back. She couldn’t work out what the hell his deal was. He seemed to keep blowing hot and cold with her, almost as if he was fighting some internal conflict. Yet he’d made himself crystal clear to her already that he wasn’t interested in that way, so why was he acting so weird around her all of a sudden? Her head started to hurt again and she realised she still needed some water and painkillers, so she collected the empty garnish dishes and followed Conrad to the sink.

“Do… do you have any paracetamol?”

“What? Oh right, sorry no. There’s aspirin in the bathroom…” he turned from washing the dishes to tilt his head towards the door she had noticed earlier “It’s in the cabinet. Help yourself.”

“Thanks” Millie made her way across the room, only stopping as she heard James’s voice again.

“Oh but don’t drink the tap water. There’s some boiled, cooled water in the fridge. I’ll pour a glass out for you”

“Ah okay… yes. Thank you.”

Closing the door behind her, Millie flicked the light switch and leant against the wall as she tried to breath slowly.

Did she just imagine that glint in his eye? She was exhausted, confused – quite possibly high - and most definitely out of sorts. She must have. Pushing the thought away she used the toilet, washed her hands and face and retrieved the solitary medicine bottle from the mirrored cabinet, relieved to find that the label was printed in English. But her relief soon turned back to panic, her eyes bulging when she saw the date on the label.

‘Use By 01-12-74’.

Noooooooo!!!!

Millie gripped the ceramic basin, her head starting to spin again as she tried to get her brain around the fact that she was in Vietnam. In Saigon. In the fucking Seventies! The early Seventies... When there was probably still a fucking war going on! What was it they said in A Nightmare on Elm Street? ‘If you die in a dream…’

Ohshitohshitohshit! Maybe Skull Island wasn’t such a bad idea after all… at least she’d get to see King Kong before she died!

A low rap on the door made her already frazzled body jump “Millie? You okay in there?”

Taking a gulp of air and trying her best not to totally freak the hell out, she tried to reply, but all that came out was another strangled moan of panic as her body slumped to the ground.

“Millie…?” Conrad heard a crash and cursed. He knew he shouldn’t have left her alone after her earlier behaviour “Shit, Millie, I’m coming in, okay?” When there was no answer he pushed the door open and rushed to her crumpled body, checking her pulse and breathing. Relieved that the noise seemed to have had more to do with the upended toiletry bottles at the side of the sink rather than any serious injury to Millie – and thankful that the dirty towels he’d haphazardly thrown on the floor earlier that day appeared to have cushioned her fall - he scooped her and the aspirin bottle up and carried her out and over to his bed.

Screw his earlier words. She was always going to end up sleeping in his bed. But he would be taking the couch.

She stirred momentarily in his arms and moaned. Conrad dipped his head to soothe her, surreptitiously breathing in the sweet scent of rose as his nose brushed her hair. With a sigh he placed her down gently on the large but rickety old bed, before uncapping the pill bottle and retrieving two aspirin. He’d already placed a glass of ice cold water by the side of his bed before he’d checked on her, so he gently rubbed Millie’s arm to rouse her enough to take a sip and the tablets.

Her lip trembled as she tried to sit up and he took pity on her, one long arm reaching around to support her back as she tilted her head and swallowed the pills with a gulp of water. As she lay back down, curling into herself, he took a moment to gaze down at her as she drifted off to sleep.

Conrad sighed. She was a pretty little thing. And he hadn’t been lying earlier, she really did taste mouth-watering. Even better than his pho, and that was saying something! If he’d been less of a gentleman he might have licked the pho directly off her chin. Or better still, her lips. But he’d resisted. She’d been throwing off strange vibes from the moment he’d set eyes on her. There was a mystery surrounding this woman and God only knows he’d had enough of those to last him a lifetime. He hadn’t been completely honest with her either of course. But she’d clearly needed his help and he didn’t think telling her he was a hired mercenary would be the best way to calm her down.  

Besides, this was his bar. He hadn’t lied about that.

With a sigh, he gave his bed one last look of longing before stripping off his shirt and jeans and stretching out on the old couch, tugging a ratty army blanket haphazardly over him and succumbing to sleep, doing his best to push those old nightmares of war out of his head.

*

Millie woke with a start.

For a brief moment her head spun as she warily looked around, light filtering through worn curtains she didn’t recognise. The sound of water running alerted her to the fact that she was not alone, and then the previous night seemed to come crashing back in vivid Technicolor as she realised where, and with whom, she was staying.

Conrad.

James…

Millie sighed dreamily for a second, stretching her limbs, relieved to find them surprisingly revitalised. Her head no longer hurt, other than the vague hum of what she assumed must be the remnants of a hangover, and she allowed herself a small smile.

There were, after all, worse ways to wake than with the promise of getting an eyeful of a certain ex SAS officer.

Speaking of which, the door next to the bed – wait. Hang on a second. Why was she in his bed?! – opened and out came the man himself.

Millie surreptitiously watched as he sauntered over to a closet she hadn’t noticed, the same jeans he’d worn the night before hanging low on his trim hips. His muscled back was gloriously bare and as he pulled a clean shirt from the closet and turned towards where she lay, now openly staring, she had to gulp back a groan as her eyes drifted south, down his golden tanned chest to where a sparse strip of sun bleached hair disappeared below the waistband – the fucking unbuttoned waistband – of his jeans.

“Feeling better then?”

Conrad’s amused voice broke the silence and Millie tried to drag her eyes away from the obvious bulge in his jeans as he approached the bed, fastening the bare minimum of buttons needed to keep the dark blue cotton together over his chest.

“Uhm… yeah. I’m sorry. About last night…”

“It’s fine” he cut her off “You definitely look a lot better this morning.”

Conrad smiled at her then, his eyes dancing with something Millie wasn’t willing to put a label on right at that moment. There was a whole chunk of the previous night she had no memory of. Hell, there was a whole chunk of how she’d ended up in a dive bar in Vietnam that she had no memory of either! She just prayed that something hadn’t happened between her and Conrad last night and she’d bloody well missed it! As if reading her thoughts, he spoke again.

“Don’t worry. I slept on the couch. As I told you last night, I don’t take advantage of unconscious women.”

“Right… erm, well thanks again. For the food that is. And for letting me stay here last night. I should probably let you get back to whatever you have planned today. I’ll… erm… If I can just maybe take a quick shower? I’ll be out of your hair then…” she rambled, quickly unfolding herself from the sheets, an awkward feeling twisting in her gut as she stood, trying to pretend she knew where - and indeed, why - she was staying in Vietnam.

“Millie. Calm down. You told me last night you were unsure why you were here. I’m assuming nothing’s changed overnight?” When Millie shook her head sadly, he continued “Listen, I wasn’t joking. It isn’t safe to be wandering around alone outside at the moment. The war has only just ended. The country is still in upheaval. Emotions are heightened. You can stay here as long as you need to, okay?”

Millie nodded slowly, relief washing over her as he continued “How about you stay up here and rest today while I’m in the bar, then if you still can’t remember, tomorrow we’ll look at contacting the Embassy, yeah? I’m guessing you don’t have your passport on you, judging by the way you were dressed when I found you?”

Conrad surveyed her tight T shirt and shorts then, his eyes narrowing as he seemingly considered his next words.

“Is Loki popular back in England these days?”

When Millie snorted with laughter, only able to nod her head as she choked back her giggles, he tilted his head to the side and watched her, a smile tugging at his lips despite his continuing concern for her erratic mood swings.  

“I’ll take that as a yes.” he finally chuckled along with her, enjoying the unexpected companionship more than he cared to admit. Licking his lips, for the briefest moment he allowed himself to consider what it might be like to cross those self-imposed boundaries and kiss the still giggling woman before him. Christ it had been such a long time since he’d felt the heat of a soft body against his own…

“Erm… can I still take a shower?”

Millie’s hesitant voice broke through Conrad’s distracted musings and he blinked twice, before coming back to his senses.

“Right. Yes, absolutely. I left some clean towels out for you actually. Do you… I, erm… I mean, do you need anything clean to wear? I can wash your clothes through for you in the meanti-”

“No!” Millie gasped out in mortification, cutting him off. There was no way in hell she was going to let Conrad handle her undies unless he was stripping them off her writhing body! “No” she repeated, trying to calm the anxiety in her voice “I mean, I can take care of that. Thank you though…”

“Yes. Sorry. Okay, well I’ve left cereal and fruit out for you on the counter. There’s plenty of water and juice in the fridge. I’ll leave you to it then.”

And with that Conrad strutted back across to the couch and retrieved his leather belt, starting to weave it hastily through the belt hooks of his jeans.

Millie sighed as she realised he was finishing getting ready to go out. Once again she was going to be alone. Nerves began to rise in her belly as she approached the bathroom, and on impulse she turned back to Conrad, only to catch him staring at her arse.

Well. That was interesting…

“Are you going to be gone long?” Dear God! The neediness in her voice was downright embarrassing!

“Erm… well…” Conrad looked at her peculiarly then, his cheeks flushed as he glanced down at his watch and then back at her “I have to call at the store to pick up a few things, and then it will be time to open the bar.”

“Oh…” Millie tried not to sound disappointed, but then she processed his words.

“Wait? What time is it?”

“Just after three in the afternoon. You must have been exhausted.”

“Shit! I haven’t slept that long in… I can’t even remember!” Millie gasped, surveying the still closed curtains.

“Don’t worry yourself, you must have needed it. Like I said, take it easy today. There’s another batch of pho simmering on the stove for later, but in the meantime, help yourself to anything else in the fridge if you get hungry. How about I close up a little earlier tonight and we shoot a couple of games of pool or something?” he smiled cautiously before frowning as if in thought “Can you play?”

“Maybe…” Millie winked teasingly then, suddenly feeling excited about the prospect of getting out of this room and having some fun with Conrad. The truth was, she had always considered herself to be an accomplished pool player. She used to beat her brother when they were younger, pulling out seemingly impossible shots which she was always at a loss to explain.

But Conrad didn’t need to know that…

“Great. Well, I’ll give you a shout when I’m closing up and you can come down and have a drink. Just the one mind, I don’t want you delirious tonight!” and with a cheeky quirk of his eyebrow, and a salute he left her standing, mouth agape as he closed the door behind him.

What… the… fuck?!

Did Conrad just proposition her? Or had she just completely misconstrued his words? It sounded… It sounded like he was inferring as much, given that one thing Millie did remember vividly about the night before was that he’d said he didn’t fuck delirious women…

Well Captain my Captain! You want me coherent? Your wish is my command!

Millie giggled as she made her way into the bathroom and turned on the shower. The water was neither hot nor cold, but it was refreshing and she took the time to rinse away all traces of grime along with her self-doubt.

She’d caught Conrad eying her suspiciously more than once now. Was it really so ridiculous to assume he might actually find her attractive? The man was surrounded by sultry, petite beauties. No. He was probably just being nice. Still, it would do no harm to be prepared, she mused as she rinsed through her knickers and T shirt in the small sink and hung them over the shower rail to dry off.

She felt somewhat scandalous wandering around Conrad’s home in just her bra and grey sleep shorts, but by the time she had finished eating, and had cleared away her dishes, her washing was almost dry. It was a small positive of the otherwise oppressive heat.

Quickly redressing, and trying her best to not think about the fact that she was still walking around in pyjamas outside her home, Millie flicked on the TV. The grainy picture was in black and white and she suddenly missed HD TV sorely. It would also have been a damn sight better if she at least understood the language. Giving it up as a lost cause, she switched the TV back off and looked again around the room, searching for something to entertain herself. She noticed a line of books neatly stacked in piles under the bed, but she wasn’t sure Conrad would appreciate her rooting through his property.           

Conrad.

She wondered what time it was. Maybe she could slip downstairs and hide out until closing time like she had last night. Walking over to the window Millie looked outside. The street below was bustling with activity, lit by garish neon lights. But it was dark at least. She probably wouldn’t have to wait too long for him.

With the decision made, Millie crept downstairs and peeked through the door. The scene was much like the night before. The bar was filled with smoke and music and animated voices. Widening the gap, she spotted a deserted nook secreted by the same beaded curtains she’d hidden behind the night before. There were no tables nearby so, gathering her nerve she darted quickly over to it, hiding in the shadows as she searched for any sign of Conrad. She had no idea how long she sat there, Conrad nowhere to be seen. However, when a fight broke out over by the pool table she finally spotted him, watching in amazement as he took out two men almost simultaneously with a single pool cue.

She was not one for violence, but she simply could not ignore the slickness between her thighs as she watched Conrad effortlessly swing the cue, the tendons in his arm and sweat slicked throat bulging as his limbs glided through the smoky air.

Moments later he had watched the two men lope off with their tails between their legs before settling down to talk to two American men who Millie distinctly recognised from the movie, and her heart started to race.

This was it! This was where he was going to leave her, just as Jonathan had done so. At that realisation Millie made a decision. Come hell or high water she was going to get Conrad naked before the night was through!

She watched as he took the pile of money offered with a condescending smirk, wondering if she should warn him not to go to Skull Island. She hadn’t seen the movie yet so she had no clue whether he lived or died, but she was deeply torn. She wasn’t sure whether she could live with herself if something happened to him and she didn’t say something, yet paradoxically, she had to remind herself that Conrad was just a character from a movie!

A three dimensional, walking, talking breathing character in her eyes. Her knight in shining armour. A red blooded, virile specimen of masculinity. But, also just a movie character.

She forced herself to repeat those words as he rose from the table and made his way towards the office, just as he had done the night before, addressing the bar in what she now understood to be Vietnamese.

Just like the previous night the patrons finished their drinks and rose, making their way to the exit. Clearly he had them well trained...

“You can come out now!”

Conrad’s smirk in her direction made her blush as she realised she’d been rumbled long ago.

“Sorry. I got bored. I-”

“It’s fine. How are you feeling now?” she watched as he muttered something to one of the waitresses clearing a table before sauntering over to help Millie up from her hiding place.

“Great actually. That sleep really did me the world of good I think. Problem is, now I’m wide awake…”

“Is that so?”

“Yup. Though a little stiff and aching…”

She could have sworn Conrad bit his lip and she had to stifle a smirk. Her plan might just work.

“Yeah. I think I need to stretch my limbs out. Maybe get my heart rate going a little…”

“What exactly did you have in mind?” Conrad smiled down at her enigmatically as he passed her a glass of what she quickly discovered was whiskey. They wandered in the direction of the pool table, and Conrad held a hand up momentarily as Millie opened her mouth to answer, instead issuing orders in Vietnamese to the remainder of the staff. A couple eyed Millie curiously before collecting their things and leaving. Conrad darted quickly over to lock up behind them and douse the candles and neon lighting, just as he had done the previous evening, before jogging back to where Millie was now leaning against the pool table.

“Sorry about that. Now where were we? Ah yes…” his tongue darted between his lips momentarily before he quirked an eyebrow “You had an idea to get your heart rate going I believe…?”

Millie gathered her nerve and blurted out her idea, hoping she came across more seductive than desperate.

“I thought we could maybe play those games of pool you mentioned earlier? After all, I know my way around a cue and a set of balls, darling” she teased, enjoying the raised brow of Conrad as she impulsively grabbed the chalk cube and slowly rubbed the tip of an abandoned cue.

Conrad had to stifle a growl and decided there and then that two could play this game.

“Well if that’s the case let’s up the stakes, shall we, darling…?” Conrad rose - in more ways than one - to her bait. “Have you ever played strip pool before?”

It was Millie’s eyebrows turn to shoot up as she shook her head, her cheeks blushing crimson as Conrad outlined the game, his cock already twitching underneath the tight denim. She licked her lips as she tried to concentrate on his words. For every miss, that person had to remove an item of their clothing. For every ball potted, the other player had to remove an item.

Seemed simple enough.

Considering just how often she used to thrash her brother, she should have been a hell of a lot more confident than she felt as Conrad pulled a coin from his pocket and asked her to call it in order to see who would break.

Millie won the toss but elected to pass the honours, so it was left to Conrad. He smirked, potting two balls right from the break.

Fuck.

Millie sighed and looked down at her meagre outfit, mentally counting the pieces available. Petulantly she toyed with her faux diamond stud earrings and placed them on the edge of the table.

“1... 2...” Conrad shook his head at her audacity but said nothing, turning back to the table and immediately potting a third ball.

Millie groaned. Conrad's eyes were looking at her barely contained breasts again with a smirk and she huffed, looking down to the same spot before the glint of her hummingbird pendant caught her eye and she winked back at him mischievously. 

If he was perturbed by her stretching of the rules, he said nothing. Instead he allowed her to continue as her hands moved to her chain, unclasping it from around her neck and laying it out into his now outstretched palm.

“That’s 3…”

Her voice was broken by a gasp as their fingers touched. A surge of energy seemed to course through Millie’s veins and she visibly trembled before backing away. Conrad smirked but said nothing, turning back towards the table and subsequently missing an easy pot.

Millie allowed herself a brief moment of satisfaction that even the seemingly unrufflable Conrad might have felt the same jolt through his body as she had, only to be silenced as he tugged on the leather belt of his jeans and dropped it to the floor with a flourish and a quirk of his eyebrow as he nodded towards the pool table.

“Your shot dear.”

Taking a quick slug of whiskey, she licked her lips and positioned her cue, bending her hips and swaying her bottom slightly as she drew back the cue to take the shot. A deep, sonorous groan distracted her just as cue tip met cue ball and her shot veered wide.

Slamming the cue down angrily, Millie turned towards the source of the distraction, intent on complaining, but the sight of Conrad lazily rubbing at his clothed crotch silenced her immediately.

For a moment neither spoke as Millie fought to take her eyes off the prominent bulge in his jeans, while Conrad had clearly decided diversion was the better tactic. Just as she was beginning to gather her wits, he gruffly declared “I believe that would be another miss unfortunately. I’m afraid I must insist on you removing an actual item of clothing this time though. Did I mention? Shoes don’t count…”

“No… you didn’t!” Millie hissed in response, staring him right back as he smirked and licked his lips.

“Ah well, to be clear. Shoes. And socks don’t count. So… which will it be darling?” Conrad took a sip of his own whiskey and eyed her intently.

Sod this! Millie decided. In for a penny…

Taking a gulp of air, she looked down at her outfit. Top or bottom? Boobs or bum? If the poor woman had been strategic, or even thinking straight by this point, she quite probably would have taken off her top. Especially given the way Conrad had clearly taken more than a passing interest in her breasts since they’d met. Hell, she might well have swung the game back in her favour if she’d just used her brain.

Sadly, Millie was thinking of what remained of her modesty, praying she would be able to at least cover her bum with the T shirt if she took the - already short - shorts off.

Having made her choice, she curled her thumbs under the waistband, impressed to see that Conrad was still watching her intently. Buoyed on by the way he was eagerly waiting, she made a meal of sliding the soft cotton slowly down her less than perfect thighs, relieved when he didn’t visibly balk at the lumps and bumps she was undoubtedly revealing.

The sound of Conrad clearing his throat as he seemingly came back to the realisation that it was once again his turn, forced Millie to face the fact that neither one of them were unaffected by the game. She started to talk, becoming more and more loquacious as Conrad circled the table for some time, prowling around it like he was stalking a predator as he searched for the best angle.

He paused as he finally settled on a shot, looking back over his shoulder briefly to growl “silence!” at her. Millie clamped her mouth – and her thighs – together instantly. Naturally he potted the ball and she groaned. Her idea to get Conrad naked wasn’t going quite as she’d hoped… In fact, if she didn’t know any better, she might just think she’d been hustled, especially seeing as it was her who would soon be almost naked!

It was as she was contemplating this that the sound of Conrad again clearing his throat brought her back to the task in hand. Realising there was nowhere else to hide, she wrapped her fingers around the hem of her Loki T shirt and pulled it off, her eyes not daring to look up from the floor.

She heard Conrad move to the table, and was shocked to hear him growl in frustration as he missed an easy pot, and she glanced up hopefully, only for him to drape his watch alongside her necklace and earrings on the edge of the table, his eyes flicking back over to her barely covered body and openly staring.

Millie’s cheeks burned as she quickly grabbed her cue, desperately trying to gather her wits and turn the game around, but she could feel his eyes still burning into her skin and her attempt was way off target, causing her to simultaneously – and prematurely - pot the black and launch the white ball off the table.

“Looks like I won...” Conrad straightened his back, a smug smile twisting at his lips as he turned towards her and took in her semi naked state, muttering “In more ways than one..." as his eyes now shamelessly raked over her curves. 

Millie clasped her hands to her cotton covered breasts and squirmed under his lascivious gaze.

The air thrummed with electricity as they stood warily, weighing each other up. The realisation that the seductive sound of Barry White was playing around them suddenly flicked a switch somewhere inside Millie, and she drew in a deep breath and bent over, making a show of wiggling her barely clad arse as she retrieved the white ball from the floor. Maybe it was the little nip of alcohol she’d had earlier. Maybe it was because she knew enough from Conrad's visitors that he had to be leaving soon. Or maybe it was simply because she was now desperate to ride that man like a fucking Harley. Whatever her rationale, as she slowly stood back upright she rubbed the ball slowly between her small hands, a smirk tugging at her lips as she heard a stifled groan behind her.

She was far from a natural tease, but seeing as pretty much everything Conrad did felt like he was teasing her in the most excruciatingly intimate way possible, Millie felt a surge of self validation and shimmied her hips around to face him, her hand outstretched. 

She tried to keep her face a picture of innocence, batting her eyelashes softly as she waited for him to take the ball from her. But as Conrad stared down at her, his lascivious gaze burning through the mismatched scraps of underwear covering her body, there was absolutely no innocence reflected back at her.

“Y know, nobody likes a tease...” he growled predatorily. 

“Maybe I’m not trying to tease...”

The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. Conrad growled again, this time much louder, and in no more than two strides, his ridiculously long legs had reached her, forcing her back against the pool table. 

Millie squeaked as he pressed his hard, muscular torso against her much softer, rounded breasts and dropped the ball behind her on the table. 

She could feel the heat of his skin through his sweat dampened shirt, and she could smell him. An intoxicating scent of ozone and sweat mingled with the remnants of some musky aroma.

And sin.

But not only could she smell him. Oh God. She could feel him. Pressing up against her belly. She bit down hard on her bottom lip as he lowered his head to hers and licked his lips, both intuitively knowing this was no longer about forfeits for losing a silly game of pool.

“I really should punish you for teasing me.” he growled.

Millie couldn’t help it. She whimpered. It was not the whimper of a frightened young woman though. This was the whimper of a woman desperate for some kind of release. 

Conrad sensed it, his borderline forceful demeanour wavering just long enough to get her consent. 

“Do you want me to take away your ache?”

“Oh God, yes!!” she gasped out.

“Do you promise to do whatever I tell you to do?”

“Depends. You're not going to tie me up or anything weird are you?” 

Conrad quirked an eyebrow at that and chuckled. 

“Well no. I hadn't planned on it, but if you want me to? I’m a dab hand at knots-”

“No!

“Okay then. Do you trust me?” 

“I... I don't know how to answer that...”

He bent his head to her ear as he ground his crotch against her and purred “Trust me Millie. I can make you feel very, very good.” 

Millie couldn’t help but to wriggle, her breath coming in short gasps as she tried to stop thinking and just do.

“I have absolutely no doubt about that…” she finally managed.

Conrad pulled back to look her in the eye once more, cupping her cheek with his big warm hand and idly rubbing the outline of her lips with the calloused pad of his thumb. Millie moaned, her lips parting involuntarily and sucking his thumb into her hot mouth. She started to suck it with vigour and this time it was Conrad’s turn to gasp out a moan.

“Oh Darling, you’re good with your mouth” he groaned as she began to lap the pad of his thumb.

And in that moment something shifted.

Millie pulled her head back, releasing Conrad’s thumb with an audible pop just as he’d done the night before. She splayed her small hands against his solid chest and pushed him hard. He didn’t budge an inch but confusion swept over his face. Had he read this wrong?

As if in answer, Millie’s hands stroked down his torso, feeling every sinuous muscle twitching under her trembling fingers through the soft cotton of his sweat infused shirt. When she reached the waistband of his jeans, she began to tug impatiently.

Conrad promptly caught on, taking a generous step backwards and allowing Millie more room. She took full advantage, quickly slipping down to her knees, oblivious to the dirt and detritus of the bar’s grubby floor in her anticipation of finally being able to touch him.

Conrad watched silently as Millie fumbled first with the fastening, and then his zipper, before sliding her hands around to his hips and impatiently tugging the dark denim down over the rounded globes of his arse.

What struck her first was the hardness of his cock.

Literally.

In the face.

“Shit! Sorry, are you okay?” he bent forward to check, almost poking her in the eye with the damn thing.

“You really are a tracker, aren’t you? That thing is like a heat seeking missile!”

Oh. My. God! Had she really said that out loud?!

Conrad burst into laughter and Millie couldn’t help but to giggle along with him. Slowly the laughter fizzled out as Conrad absentmindedly started to stroke his thick shaft, causing Millie to lick her lips hungrily.

Having recovered from the shock of being smacked in the face by quite possibly the biggest cock she had ever seen – was it bigger than Jonathan’s? Was that even possible given that they were actually the same man? They were, weren’t they? No, stop it! Concentrate woman! – Millie reached her hand up and gently covered Conrad’s, signalling for him to let her take over.

Her action garnered no protest from him and he let go, marvelling at the size difference as Millie struggled to contain his girth between her much shorter curled fingers. However, that was soon forgotten as she began to pump him experimentally, getting a feel for the weight of him and how he liked to be touched.

Just as she began to settle into a rhythm so exquisite that he began to panic he might end up shooting his load prematurely – though the thought of spattering thick ropes of cum across those divine breasts of hers wasn’t exactly off-putting – Millie stopped, eliciting an embarrassingly needy sigh from his lips.

But he needn’t have concerned himself, as seconds later she trailed her tongue down the underside of his cock, tracing a thick vein leading into the dense thatch of hair at its base and back again, before lowering her plump lips to his leaking cockhead and darting her tongue out to lap at the pre-cum, finally pausing, seemingly to savour the taste.

When she opened her mouth wider and suddenly swallowed half his length in one swift movement, Conrad’s fists instinctively flew to her humidity dampened hair, though he wasn’t altogether sure whether he was trying to anchor her there or make her stop.

The truth was, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been with a woman. Certainly not since he’d been in Vietnam. Not that he hadn’t been sorely tempted. There were no shortage of beauties here. But he’d been in a bad place when he’d arrived, and he didn’t want to subject anyone else to his ire. Now that he had the bar, well, he liked to keep business separate from pleasure.

Which was why he was still trying to fathom out how he’d ended up half naked with a gorgeous - but decidedly complicated - woman’s lips wrapped around his cock!

Millie moaned around Conrad’s cock as his fingers fisted desperately at her mass of auburn locks, each tug tinged with more than a hint of pain, but doing nothing to dampen her craving for more.

In truth, that fine line between pleasure and pain excited her. And as she started to move her puckered lips slowly up and down Conrad’s length, she felt a perverse sense of pride that such a perfect specimen of masculinity found her attractive.

As she glanced up to look at him, she was struck by the beauty of the angles of his face, the way his elegant neck was extended as his mouth hung open in a wanton display of pleasure. Though she was desperate for him to fuck her, she was also eager to make him come undone completely at her bidding. And so, she set about doing exactly that.

Millie took a deep breath in through her nose and extended her neck, sliding her lips further and further down his length until her nose was tickled by his hairy base. Above her, Conrad cursed out a loud “Fuck!” his hands tightening in her hair, and stinging her scalp. But Millie merely swallowed around his cockhead and groaned again, inhaling his musky scent as she nuzzled her nose into his curls.  

“Stop!” he grunted abruptly, releasing her hair and pushing Millie back just enough for his cock – almost purple with need – to slip out of her wet mouth, before hooking his hands under her armpits and pulling her back upright. She was still trying to get her bearings when she felt herself being hoisted up onto the edge of the pool table.

“Did you know trackers also work off scent...” he groaned, leaning over her and licking his lips wolfishly. Millie was unable to formulate any kind of response, her need to touch him, taste him, still bypassing any sense of banal civility.

Conrad didn’t seem to notice as he ploughed on. “I can smell you. But in order to fully identify you, I would need to get a closer look. May I?”

“Mmm hmm” 

Millie was quite proud of herself for getting out any semblance of a coherent response. So when Conrad tutted and purred in her ear “No Millie. I need you to verbalise your permission” she couldn’t help but to groan loudly before forcing out a hissed “yes...!”

Conrad pressed his lips to her ear, his hot breath and the scruff of his beard tickling her delicate skin as he murmured “Good girl.” 

She shivered, but no sooner was he touching her - albeit indirectly - he was gone again, pulling away to observe her. The seconds felt like hours as he surveyed her body like a map, one of those frustrating eyebrows quirking as he caught her pressing her thighs together.

Yet again he tutted, one long finger finally tracing up her left thigh and lightly caressing her clothed mound, sucking in a breath as he felt her moist heat.

“Well, well, well… On first inspection everything seems to be as hoped. But I need to take some samples...”

Ignoring Millie’s groan at the cheesiness of his sex talk, Conrad winked as he began to stroke the same teasing digit along the elastic of her knickers causing her to unconsciously open her thighs.

“Look at that, such a good girl, opening up for me to survey my bounty…” Conrad groaned, his restraint finally breaking at the sight of the obvious wet patch on her knickers.

The finger that had so tenderly teased her suddenly tugged at the cotton covering her mound, pushing it aside and gently tracing her seam, already soaked with her juices. They both groaned at the contact, but as Conrad leisurely slid that same solitary digit inside her wet heat, Millie had to bite back a growl, already desperately wanting more.   

Conrad must have sensed this, because his smirk grew. He indolently moved his finger, enjoying the way her walls were already beginning to clutch around him. But before she grew too close to any kind of release he withdrew, lifting his juice slicked digit to his lips and suckling it to their collected groans, eye fucking Millie all the while. 

“Oh yes. Delicious!” he finally verbalised, his already deep voice now husky and thick with lust “But did you know? They always recommend drinking from the source, that way-”

“Fuck! Shut up James and just lick me will you?!”

Conrad groaned at hearing her use his given name and had her thighs pinned against the edge of the pool table in seconds, his eyes blown wide as he was distracted by the sight of Millie's heaving breasts.

“Fuck. You really are as gorgeous as I imagined!” He growled, his mouth descending on the ripe fleshy mounds spilling out of her ill-fitting bra. Millie arched into his assault, pushing them against the surprisingly soft scruffy beard as her brain almost exploded at the realisation that Conrad truly had been thinking about her.

Then it was Millie's turn to groan as Conrad's teeth tugged at the cotton and revealed a taut, pebbled pink nipple which he immediately sucked into his hot mouth.

Again Conrad growled, this time around her bud and Millie had an overwhelming urge to give him more access. As he continued to suck, she fumbled with the clasp of her bra, finally releasing her ample breasts with a heavy bounce.

Conrad pulled away, tugging the nipple between his teeth and eliciting a hiss from Millie as he reluctantly released it, only to feast his eyes on her deliciously ripe - and now gloriously unrestricted - breasts. 

Momentarily dazed, he missed Millie's subtle shift closer, only to be surprised as her hands tugged at his already straining shirt buttons, easily separating them.

“Off!” she commanded with more confidence than she truly felt and he quirked an eyebrow, wondering how she had suddenly gotten the upper hand again considering she had lost the game. But he complied. After all, He wanted nothing more than to press his chest against hers, feel her soft, pillowy flesh against his own sculpted torso.

Licking his lips at the thought, Conrad quickly shucked off his shirt and pushed his jeans down the rest of the way, before toeing them and his shoes off for good measure. 

This time it was Millie who raised her eyebrow. 

Jesus! No offence to Jonathan but Conrad's body was ripped! She could feel her already damp crotch soak through as she stared lustily at him, her eyes unable to stop staring at his cock, purple with need and glistening with precum in the low, sultry lighting. 

Again she licked her lips and something shifted inside her. Whether it was because she'd already been in this kind of weird situation once before, or whether it was because of the lascivious glint in Conrad's eyes as he gently palmed his cock, she would never know. But one thing she knew with absolute certainty. One way or another she was getting fucked tonight. 

With that in mind, Millie lifted her bum from the edge of the pool table and wiggled her sodden knickers down, trying her best to appear wanton and sexy, rather than vaguely desperate as she finally splayed her thighs invitingly.

She needn't have worried. Conrad growled and grabbed the scrap of cotton from her ankles, throwing it on top of his discarded jeans.

She sat on the edge for a second before deciding to lie back, feeling a little vulnerable but trying to disguise it behind a low, husky chuckle as she pushed aside the remaining balls and briefly wondered how the hell she came to be spread out naked on a pool table in Vietnam with an equally naked Captain James Conrad looming over her. 

But one quick glance at Conrad’s face told her this was no laughing matter. Her pussy throbbed at the sight of him darting his tongue between his lips hungrily, his pupils blown wide as she presented herself to him like a veritable buffet.

Millie’s already puffy lower lips glistened under the gentle glint of the lighting canopy overhead. But his admiration was cut short as she whimpered needily. Keen to hear her whimpering for an entirely different reason, he wasted no further time and crouched down, dragging his wide tongue over Millie's swollen lips.

Immediately she arched her back, pressing her sweet cunt against his mouth and releasing a guttural moan that told of so much pent up desire that Conrad found himself reciprocating, his groans reverberating throughout her body as he licked and sucked until she was a writhing wanton mess underneath him. 

Millie thought she might just have died and gone to heaven, so celestial was the assault on her senses. She'd thought nothing could ever come close to that oral experience in Zermatt, Pine having laid his talented lips on her dripping pussy for the very first time in her life.

She knew it was wrong to compare lovers. But she was also wrong to think nothing could ever top Pine's endeavours. While Pine would always hold a special place in her heart as her first, Conrad would be memorable for a completely different sensation he was able to invoke. He had all the skills of Jonathan, but he also had the delightfully tortuous addition of facial hair, hair so soft that Millie could have sworn he must condition it daily. It added an extra sensory dimension as it brushed tortuously across her sensitive clit and inner thighs each time he pressed his hungry lips to her cunt. And when he finally rewarded her guttural moans by teasing her little bud out from its hood and greedily sucking it between his teeth - the aforementioned hair rubbing deliciously against her throbbing mound - it was all Millie could do not to pass out from the exquisite pleasure.

Conrad groaned at the repeated use of his given name as he lapped and sucked and nibbled. It sounded incredible. He had been called Conrad by everyone around him for so long that he’d almost forgotten what his name sounded like from someone else’s lips, but Millie's repeated breathy moans of 'James' were like an elixir to him. And dear God could she moan so prettily. Needing to hear more he sucked faster, nibbled harder, and, as he felt the first contractions of her cunt around his tongue, lapped at her exquisite and gushing nectar like a man possessed, her sweet honey a balm to his loneliness as it anointed his tongue. 

Millie rolled her hips, giving her body over to Conrad’s talented tongue as he continued to languidly lap at her aching pussy even after she’d come. But just as she felt that tell-tale tightening in her belly once more, his magic tongue was gone.

She cried out at the lack of friction and the cruel manner in which he’d abruptly ceased his ministrations. But just as quickly she quietened as he stood back up, his height momentarily intimidating before he leant over her still prone body, his cum soaked beard grazing her aching nipple as he reached out behind her and picked up his discarded pool cue. Straightening back upright, he stroked it obscenely as he appeared to be contemplating something.

“Do you still trust me darling?” he finally purred, his voice maintaining the same husky cadence as he leered at her flushed body.

“Erm...” Millie's momentarily angry frustration dissipated, only to be replaced by panic as her eyes widened in shock as she stared at the pool cue “That depends? You're not going to shove that thing somewhere are you?!”

“Ehehehe no... not this thing Millie. You have my word on that! But I am going to ask you to hold on to it... tightly so I can shove this somewhere...”

Not that he had needed to illustrate his point, Conrad still stroked his cock as he waited for Millie’s response, but when she merely raised an eyebrow dubiously he chuckled lightly. 

“I promise you'll like what I have in mind” he mollified “But if you don't you can tell me to stop at any time and I will do so immediately.” 

“Ooh, so you're kinky!”

“Let's just say I've seen a lot of things.”

“Where? On the Internet?” Millie blurted out without thinking, only to be met with a confused look from Conrad.

“The inter what?”

“Oh never mind! Are you going to keep talking or are you going to fuck me already?”

“Ehehehe… trust me darling. If I do my job right you will be well and truly fucked! Here now…” Conrad passed the pool cue to her as he instructed “hold the cue in both hands. That's right. Up above your head. Mmm. Beautiful.” 

From her splayed out, prostrate position Millie could just make out Conrad's eyes gazing appreciatively over her naked form as he tapped a solitary finger along his lower lip as if in contemplation.

“Hmm. There's something missing.” Conrad mused, his continuing gaze darkening infinitesimally as he surveyed her prone body.

“Ah yes... Can you shuffle up just a little further on the table sweetheart?” 

Millie's heart thumped in her chest as she blindly did his bidding, confused, nervous yet turned on in equal measures. The worn blue baize rubbed against her bare bum as she wriggled along it and she tried not to think about what other fluids might have already been lurking on it. 

“A bit more. Stop! Yes... perfect.” Conrad licked his lips again and before Millie could figure out what he had in mind he was up on the pool table, crawling over her naked form.

“Now then. Let's just stretch your arms up a little further” he purred “Perfect. Hold that cue right there...” 

Millie's knuckles grazed the cushioned edge of the pool table and she realised the tip and end of the cue were now anchored at opposite pockets, wedging her in place.

“Beautiful. Just beautiful!” he purred again, perusing his work.

“What... what was missing?” Millie stuttered, feeling the need to fill the silence as Conrad ogled her with a predatory gaze.

“Why... me of course! I wanted you spread out like the delectable feast that you are.” 

“Oh!” was all Millie was able to gasp out. Not that it mattered, as Conrad’s next words pretty much short-circuited her brain. “And, of course… I wanted you at the best angle to fuck you in!”

All she could come up with to that was a moan so low and desperately needy that she wasn’t altogether sure it had even passed her lips. Time seemed to stand still as Conrad loomed over her, one hand fisting his thick cock as his other held a small foil wrapper between his teeth and tore it open.

Thank God one of them still had enough sense to think about protection!

Millie tilted her head up, admiring the practiced way in which he sheathed his cock, unconsciously wriggling her bum impatiently. Conrad noticed, biting his bottom lip as her movements made her breasts jiggle in a most distracting fashion. Momentarily diverted from his focus, he bent forward just enough to nip at each ripe nipple in greeting before positioning himself between Millie’s thighs, brushing his blunt cockhead painfully slowly up and down her dripping seam, and coating the tip with her natural lubrication.

“Are you ready?” he inhaled. Millie only managed to whine a breathy “please!” in response, tightening her grip on the wooden cue as Conrad finally breached her folds, working his fat cock slowly inside her tight tunnel. The stretch was exquisite, and when he finally pressed against her cervix Millie gasped wantonly, feeling completely stuffed. For several moments neither moved, their bodies becoming intimately acquainted with the other.

“Christ! You’re tight…” Conrad finally managed to ground out, his face betraying his floundering restraint as he shook with the effort of remaining still inside Millie’s already pulsing channel.

“I… fuck… can I…?” he was rapidly losing control, so when Millie wrapped one thick thigh around his, digging her heel into his ripe ass cheek and squeezed her cunt, growling “Fuck me James!” he needed no further invitation.

Conrad growled, withdrawing his cock to the tip and immediately snapping his hips as he plunged back into Millie’s slippery heat. Both cried out in wanton pleasure and he repeated the manoeuvre, his eyes flicking between her bouncing tits and her panting mouth as he set about a gruelling rhythm that had her on the edge almost instantaneously.

“James… Yes…!” she screamed over and over, her husky voice breaking each time he slammed back inside her, her walls clutching his cock like a vice. Fighting the same need he’d been hiding since the first time she’d bumped into him – literally – in the bar the night before, Conrad slowed his pace, wanting to draw out both their pleasure. Millie however, wasn’t overly impressed with this switch in pace and she immediately told him as much.

“Damn it! I was close to coming” she hissed, only to be met with a low grunt as Conrad rose up onto his knees, taking her thighs up with him so her back arched up and her bottom was no longer in contact with the baize.

“Shusshhh…” he mollified, tapping her calves “wrap those legs around me and hold on tight to me and the cue, okay?”

Millie needed no further incentive and complied, digging both heels in as he began to buck his hips and stoke her desperate need once more. Her pussy was hot and slippery now and his movements much more fluid at the elevated angle, though still frustratingly measured. Combined with the stretch of her aching arm muscles still clutching the pool cue above her head, Millie felt like she was being tormented and she could feel waves of frantic desperation starting to overwhelm her senses as Conrad again slowed his already languid pace.

When he yet again stilled inside her and let his eyes wander over her sweat slicked, overheated body he growled “so fucking beautiful…” before withdrawing completely, much to Millie’s complete misery. Before she could even open her mouth to protest, he was releasing her thighs from around his hips and pressing his own sweat soaked torso to hers, his tongue separating her plush lips and kissing her with a ferocity that made her already throbbing pussy clench in desperate abandonment.

It was only then that either of them realised this was their first kiss. Spurred on by that revelation, each fought for dominance as teeth and lips tugged at the other, their taunting dance only heightening their ardour for the other.

Finally breaking free to catch his breath, Conrad watched Millie lick her lips, a sultry smirk on her face as she tasted her own arousal and groaned. His hands stroked down her flank, caressing her curves as their breathing slowly became more bearable and he reached between his thighs, ready to begin again, when she winced underneath him, one arm twitching visibly.

“Ow… ow… ow… cramp! Fuck!” Millie wailed and Conrad immediately helped her release her arms, rubbing the circulation back into the afflicted limb, their bodies still tangled on the table.

“Better?” he murmured when she began to relax next to him and she nodded, though her eyes quickly wandered back down towards his cock.

“James?” she whispered, a sudden shyness making her voice all the more endearing.

“Yeah?”

“Please fuck me again… please!”

“Your wish is my command. Are you okay to put pressure on your arm now?”

“I’ll do anything if you’ll just make me cum…” she groaned, stretching her body and rolling over onto her belly, presenting her ass.

“Please” she repeated “Fuck me hard!”

Conrad didn’t need asking twice, kneeling up behind her and stroking the ripe globes before eagerly thrusting his cock back between her folds. Millie screamed in pleasure as he began to pound in to her tormented pussy, this time hitting her G-spot repeatedly and feeling her body shake with the effort of holding back.

“Don’t… don’t hold it back sweet girl. Give me your release darling… come for me!” he grunted with the effort of holding back his own, his sweat laced forehead dripping onto her arched back as her cunt began to clench around him, their skin slapping obscenely and mingling with the grunts and gasps of two lovers close to their peak.

“Ooooooh…. Fuck!” Millie wailed as he leant over her, his fingers interlacing with hers as his lithe body pressed against her own, his mouth at the sensitive juncture of her neck as he began to murmur sweet flattery, juxtaposed with filthy suggestions of other ways they could use the pool cue. It was as he suggested hooking Millie’s arms behind her back and through the pool cue while he fucked her from behind that the dam broke and she finally contorted in exquisite bliss around his cock, their symbiotic release washing over them both in decadent waves.

“Christ… Millie…!”

“Oh James…. Yes!”

The pair collapsed in a heap, their breathes ragged, their skin sticking to each other and soaking the baize below them. Aware of his weight on top of her, Conrad quickly rolled them both onto their sides, spooning Millie as they continued to recover from their energetic lovemaking.

Millie could feel herself beginning to drift off, only to be urged back to wakefulness as Conrad reluctantly withdrew from her spent pussy and clambered off the table, disposing of the condom and gathering their clothes into a pile.

“We should go get in bed don’t you think? I don’t think the cleaning lady would be too impressed to find us like this in the morning…” he murmured, his voice tired but hesitant as if he was suddenly unsure of himself.

“Mmm yeah. Sounds perfect...” Millie rallied, trying her best to keep her legs from giving way beneath her as she cautiously climbed down. Noting her exhaustion, Conrad scooped her up, piling their discarded clothes atop her belly, and carried her through the bar and up into his flat where he plonked her down on the bed before lying down alongside her, one hand caressing her soft curves in cautious contemplation.  

“Millie?”

She stifled a yawn and murmured “Mmm?”

“I just realised something.” When she didn’t question him, Conrad continued “I never told you I was a tracker… How did you know that?”

Shit!

Millie let out a fake mellow snore in response. Behind her she felt his soft beard tickle her shoulder as he gently kissed her and whispered “Sweet dreams”, before pulling the sheets over them both and cuddling into her back.  

Tomorrow. She would think of some way to explain it tomorrow. And maybe take him up on some of his other suggestions for the pool cue while she was at it.

If she was still there…

 

Chapter Text

 

“Any idea who James is?”

“James?” Niall shrugged his shoulders and looked across the minimalist dining table questioningly at his flatmate “No. Why? Should I?”

“Oh nothing. It’s just… Well, I thought I heard Millie cry out ‘James’ a couple of nights ago” he sighed, stirring his coffee distractedly.

Niall frowned. He was worried about his friend. He was worried about both of his friends if he was being totally honest. This whole situation with Millie was taking a toll on Steven for certain. It was also causing more and more of a rift within their family, and Steven was having to play mediator.

“Probably just heard it wrong mate...” Steven muttered under his breath, standing abruptly. “You coming?” he signalled towards the door.

“Be there in a minute. I just need to make a quick phone call…”

*

Millie was oblivious to all of this, wrapped up as she was in the pillowy softness of her warm duvet. It was the weekend and by God she was going to make the most of it.  

After all, if she could just drift back off to sleep again...

She had taken to listening to his voice at night, downloading every source she could find, from audio books to Shakespearean Sonnets. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the healthiest move, but when had she ever paid that much heed anyway? She was well aware that her casual fangirl affection for the man and the characters he portrayed on screen was starting to get seriously out of hand, quite probably bordering on obsessive. But as the rain battered against the tiny windows of her attic room yet again - April showers my arse - she couldn't bring herself to care. After all, it was pretty hard not to become obsessed with a man who – albeit unbeknownst to himself – had made her feel more alive in four short months than she had ever felt in any of her previous crappy relationships.

Snuggling deeper still, she closed her eyes, allowing the rhythmic pitter patter to lull her once more into somnolence... 

*

A warm gust of air against her cheek, followed by something rough and wet stroking - no... licking! - her face startled Millie back to consciousness. Rubbing her eyes and blinking, she almost jumped out of her skin when her gaze landed on the source of the licking.

The majestic creature staring down at her with more than a hint of curiosity whinnied, another gust of hot air grazing her cheek. Though grey skinned, it's coat was a startling alabaster, smooth and gleaming as sunlight poured through a small window overhead.

Millie was no equine expert, but she could spot class a mile off. This was no ordinary horse. It was huge, sturdy, and with a distinctly noble air. In fact, she found herself doing a double take, just in case it was some mythical unicorn, given that some seriously strange things had been happening to her in recent months. As it was, there was no spiralling horn. Inexplicably relieved – though in hindsight that might simply have been due to the fact that she possessed the kind of luck that would likely have found her impaled on the aforementioned horn – and noting that the distinctly unruffled horse appeared to be no threat to her immediate safety, Millie took a moment to survey her surroundings.

Okay. So… she was in a barn, wait, no… stables perhaps? She truly knew very little about horses and in all honesty had never even stepped inside a stable before, having lived in the city her entire life. But she was lay upon a thick covering of hay and there was a horse still staring at her so…She put two and two together and hoped for the best.

Unsure of whether the horse would startle if she made any sudden movements, Millie very slowly inched away, her back hitting a cold stone wall as she cautiously rose to her feet. As she did so her other senses started to come to life. The air was heavy with the scents of hay, manure, and was that… leather? She listened carefully, but no other sound greeted her than the steady nicker of the horse as it continued to eye her inquisitively. She wondered why she could hear no other horses. Weren’t stables usually built for multiple steeds?

Having woken in strange situations on no less than three previous occasions – the most recent having been genuinely terrifying at first - Millie suddenly realised something had shifted inside her. The fear, at least for the most part, simply wasn’t there. Instead, in its place was a heightened sense of curiosity mixed with a healthy dose of exhilaration. There was a horse still staring at her, and she was more than likely in a stable. That surely could mean only one thing?

She was about to meet Captain James Nicholls! And - if she was a very, very lucky girl - her imagination might just conjure up Major Jamie Stewart as well! A frisson of excitement rippled throughout her body at the thought of what she could do with not just one but two dashing men in uniform, and she allowed herself to daydream for a moment. She’d pushed so many boundaries already, would she – could she – really do something like that? Her hesitance lasted for a mere millisecond before she realised the likelihood of ever being in a situation again where she could have not only Tom Hiddleston - but also Benedict Cumberbatch - doing unimaginably naughty things to her was slim to none.

Oh hell, of course she bloody well would! The realisation caused her to smirk to herself.

Buoyed on by this titillating thought, and having no cause for alarm from her stablemate, Millie grew bolder still. She reached out to the horse, her hand shaking slightly as it lazily sniffed her fingers. Growing braver, she shuffled closer, gently scratching its neck to a chorus of whinnying approval. She slowly ran her fingers through the tips of its silky mane, not tall enough to reach its head. The horse didn’t seem to care and nuzzled against the crook of her neck enthusiastically.

“My lady, whatever are you doing in here with my noble steed?!” the deep, authoritative voice behind the large beast startled her and she immediately backed away, the fickle horse already turning away towards its master, in doing so obstructing Millie’s view.

She moved a little to her right, partly to avoid the excited flick of the horses’ tail whipping at her, but mostly to get a better look at the owner of the horse. She was almost certain it was her ‘date’, having heard the cultured inflection in his voice. However, her mouth hung open as she finally set eyes on the man in question.     

Henry V sauntered over, one elegantly regal eyebrow quirked in amusement. 

Of course! Joey the horse wasn’t even white. Stupid girl! See, this is what happens when you pay more attention to the pretty looking man than the story!

Blindsided, and feeling more than a little foolish, Millie immediately went on the defensive.

“I was only stroking him…” she grumbled, and then, as an afterthought muttered “Your grace” remembering that, given the dashing auburn locks and glorious beard he was sporting, she was speaking to the King of England. Fuck! Not for the first time Millie wondered how the hell she got herself into these situations.

Clearly affronted, Henry stuck out his chin defiantly, narrowing his eyes as he fixed her with a bemused glare. 

“Well aren’t you an impudent wench?!”

Millie blustered out a “charming!” before she could stop herself, her cheeks blooming with colour as the King-of-fucking-England-no-less proceeded to look her up and down, his eyes flashing cobalt with what she could only assume was anger.

Damn it! This was not how she had wanted this to go! Her mouth was going to get her into serious trouble one of these days, and she suddenly realised it might well be this one, given that the man in front of her had access to The Tower of London!

But still. He’d just called her a wench! That was just plain rude! She might not be a lady – Millie glanced down at her attire, realising for the first time that she was still dressed in her white cotton nightdress that barely grazed her knees and sighed – no, she was definitely not a lady. Not in the eyes of the man still staring at her at least. Her appearance was most likely scandalous for his era in fact. But she was a good girl, providing you discounted her recent sleep-induced shenanigans of course!

Hearing herself described as a wench by a man who used to frequent low end ale houses and brothels lit the touch paper, and Millie saw red. As such, she was helpless to stop what came out of her mouth next.

“Me? A wench?! Sir.... Sire...” Millie gave an over the top curtsy “That’s bloody rich coming from… from... a pompous ex lothario!” 

Her voice shook, and as she watched on, Henry’s eyebrows almost touched his hairline – ugh, his beautiful auburn hair that she’d probably just lost the chance to ever run her fingers through. Despite her anger, Millie’s shoulders slumped at the realisation.

Meanwhile, Henry blustered. No one spoke to him like that! No one! Not these days anyway... and certainly not since his father. He had no idea what ‘lothario’ meant but it clearly wasn’t a compliment given the venom in her voice! As for pompous? He was known as a just and fair king to his subjects. Her vernacular was unusual, but she was clearly speaking English, which made him her king, and as such one of his subjects. Why, he had a good mind to put her over his knee!

His cock twitched at the mere thought. It had been such a long time since he’d had any kind of sport. He took his responsibilities as king seriously – something his father would have been proud of - but sadly that left little time for any real amusement other than sneaking off, as he’d intended to do today, to ride his magnificent horse. As he watched the woman visibly shrink before his eyes after her outburst, he realised just how desperate he was for some fun now. If he could teach her a lesson in humility at the same time? Well, all the better!

Millie watched the imposing man inhale deeply, his chest puffing up and stretching the oxblood leather across his torso in the most distracting way. Dear God! Millie noted, unable to hide the tiniest hint of a grin, it seemed that no matter when or where in time they met, this distracting man’s buttons always strained to contain him!

Her grin didn’t last long though. Henry led the horse out of the stable stall before turning back and stalking over to her. He grabbed her by the waist, a gasp of shock escaping her lips as she was suddenly manhandled across the stable towards a stack of hay bales in the corner. Before she could protest, Henry had plonked himself down on one, flipping her and positioning her over his obscenely spread thighs, her arse up in the air.

Oh fuck! He wouldn’t! Would he…?

Gasping for breath and still trying to recover from the sudden shock, Millie’s unspoken question was answered almost immediately as she felt the soft cotton of her nightdress being slid up the backs of her bare thighs.

Immediately she protested, crying out as she tried to wriggle away, only to be stilled by a gauntleted hand pressing down across her bottom and firmly gripping her fleshy thigh.

“Shhuusshhh…” he cajoled in a deceptively calm voice “Be still wench. I cannot, as King of England, in all good conscience allow you to speak to me in such a disrespectful manner without there being consequences, my dear…” he paused, and Millie heard him inhale deeply, his voice softening as he murmured “My apologies, I know not even your name?”

Millie was startled by the juxtaposition she found herself in. Here she was, laid over a Shakespearean version of a medieval King of England’s knee, him most likely about to spank her like a child for her impertinence, yet he was apologising to her for not asking her name first!

“I… it… It’s Millie…” she gasped out, her brain growing more than a little distracted as his other leather gloved hand slowly stroked up her thigh and over her cotton clad bottom.

“Millie…” he whispered as if committing it to memory “Now you will take your punishment like the good little wench you are, fair Millie!” Henry’s hand stilled and Millie wriggled again. Despite her unexpectedly growing arousal, she refused to show her hand, his repeated affront bringing out her indignation once more.

“I am not a bloody wench!” she hissed, her hands fumbling at his leather clad thighs irritatedly as she tried to escape.

Henry sighed, his grip tightening on her hip, almost to the point of pain “I really wouldn't keep this remonstrating up. You don't want me to have to get the riding crop now, do you?

Millie gasped. He wouldn't! Would he? She shuddered as a squeeze of her ass and a “tsk tsk” told her yes, he most certainly would.

“S... sorry” she finally managed to whisper penitently.

“Good girl. Now shhhush... settle down!” Henry paused, before purring “The sooner we start, the sooner it will be over and you will remember the correct protocol for addressing your king!”

Despite her best efforts, the deeply melodious lilt of his voice was seriously beginning to affect her, every word having a Pavlovian effect on her body. Just the mere sound of his low rasp made her cunt clench.

Henry's still gloved hand began to circle her clothed bottom languidly, leading her into a false sense of security. Just as her heart rate began to settle he suddenly dragged the cotton down, in doing so exposing her rounded cheeks, causing goosebumps to prickle in protest at the cool air.

A low groan of approval fell unchecked from Henry's lips at Millie's responding gasp, and before she had managed to gather enough brain cells to a) protest further or b) think on how much more painful this was now going to be, his hand struck the first blow with a resounding slap.

“Ow… fuck!” Millie spat out and once again tried to squirm free as she protested “I hardly think being the king gives you the right to molest me! Even if you did have a reputation for being a tart when you were just a prince, Hal-”

Millie's indignant diatribe was cut off by another slap, this one hard enough to momentarily take her breath away.

“Tsk. Enough!” he roared before his voice deepened to a low growl “Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough!. You move again, I will tie those pretty little hands together with Eros’s reins and hook you up to the rafters! You speak again - other than to thank me after each reminder of the correct manners and etiquette for your king - and I will attach Eros’s bridle to your impertinent lips and gag you! Have I made myself clear?”

Millie had never felt more terrified, more furious - or more turned on - in her entire life! She contemplated whether to reply, fearful of Henry's threat, but ultimately bit her tongue and simply nodded her head, bracing herself for the next blow. Internally however, she was screaming, warring with herself for her submission. If she was being completely truthful with herself she’d have had to admit that her pussy had ached at the thought of him restraining her. But now was not the time to be thinking about what the Hell that meant.

“Excellent. Then we shall begin once more...”

Henry’s voice drew her out of her contemplation. She silently balked at his smug tone, but didn't dare question his words. Seemingly satisfied with Millie's silence, the next two slaps - one to each buttock - came in quick succession and were relatively gentle.

After each one, Henry soothed the skin with the palm of his glove, the butter soft leather being both a curse and a sensual balm to her stinging skin. And after each one he prompted her “What do you say?”

“Th…thank you...” Millie whispered, her voice beginning to tremble.

“Good girl.”

Another smack, this one harder, connected with her left buttock and Millie winced, biting back another retort. The truth was, she just wanted this humiliation to be over and done with. So instead of fighting against her instincts to scream and shout at him, she dug her fingers into the soft leather enrobing his thigh and braced herself for the next impact.

Seemingly satisfied with her acquiescence, Henry continued with fervour, varying the position and intensity of each blow to her now heated ass. The still air was punctuated only by the whoosh of Henry’s hand, the stuttering moans of thanks from Millie’s lips, and an occasional whinny from the horse sequestered outside of the stall.

Millie’s tears started to fall freely, forming a damp spot on Henry's thigh, in doing so permeating the well-worn leather and heightening both its scent and that of the virile man underneath it.

Just when she thought she could not bear another slap, Henry stopped.

The silence in the stable was disconcerting. Millie tried to regulate her ragged breathing, not wanting to allow Henry the satisfaction of hearing just how he had affected her.

As it was, Henry was the first to reveal his hand, as she heard the creak of leather, before one of his gauntlets fell to the hay strewn floor at his feet.

She stared down at it, trying to gather her wits in the heightened air, only to gasp as a solitary finger trailed over the crest of her reddened arse, down between her slightly parted thighs – Wait! When had that happened? - and finally stroked along her crease, pausing momentarily when he reached her slick pussy lips.

“Oh dear, oh dear. Whatever do we have here?” he murmured teasingly.

No sooner had he spoken, his finger was gone, instead trailing down the length of one of her parted thighs. Millie shuddered as the touch both tickled and aroused, her thighs unconsciously parting more. She stifled a moan as he trailed the finger back up, not daring to do anything that might incite him to reprimand her again.

Or worse… stop.

When that distracting digit finally reached the apex of her thighs once more, Millie held her breath. Languidly, he traced the length of her seam, running his roughened fingertip through the copious slick as he purred “My oh my…. Your delicious little quim is sodden!”

Millie tried to mentally will him to relieve the ache that had accumulated there. But his touch was slow, and desperately unfulfilling. As Henry finally withdrew his finger, he was unable to disguise his delight in her moan of disapproval.

“Oh sweet Millie… just look at what obeying your king does to you!” Henry positioned his arousal soaked finger where Millie could see it, and she blushed furiously as he continued “See how my finger glistens. Is this all for your king?”

Millie groaned at his words, but something wanton also stirred deep inside her and she extended her neck, darting out her tongue to lap at Henry’s outstretched fingertip.

Henry growled, his eyes dilating as he watched this intriguing creature drag his finger between her plump pink lips, seemingly savouring the taste of her own arousal. He’d never seen anything quite like it before. And something primal inside him ached to see more.

But it was only when he groaned, that assertive voice now gravelly with heated desire that Millie realised he too was affected by this dangerous game. Wriggling once more under his possessive hand still resting at the small of her back, she suddenly realised just how affected, when a prominent leather clad bulge pressed against her belly.

Well that can't be comfortable! Millie thought, having spent an inordinate amount of time surveying the aforementioned leather breeches the man below her was wearing when she'd originally watched The Hollow Crown on television. As far as she was aware, he hadn't been sporting a sizable erection at the time those scenes were shot. Now however…

Using all her newly acquired confidence, Millie took the opportunity while he was distracted still, his finger having returned to play with her juices. She would show Henry just how truly repentant she was for her earlier impertinence. 

The first Henry knew of Millie’s intent was when a knee collided with his crotch as she attempted to slip down to the floor between his spread thighs. He winced slightly, and Millie opened her mouth to apologise. Before the words were even able to leave her lips, Henry’s shock manifested itself in his hand releasing her back to cup himself protectively and subsequently allowing Millie to slither down in a tangled heap between his feet.

Flustered and fearful of more castigation, Millie gasped out an apology fit for a king.

“Your grace! I beg your pardon! It was not my intention to cause damage to the crown jewels!”

“Millie, whatever is the matter with you? The crown jewels are kept safely locked away in The Tower! My cock on the other hand…” he grumbled, openly palming the aforementioned appendage through his breeches.

Licking her lips, relief and arousal flooded her body as she straightened herself up onto her knees and placed a small hand on each of Henry’s muscular thighs.

He looked down at her with a keen sense of inquisitiveness, watching silently as her palms stroked slowly up the straining leather to where his own hand had stilled. Millie glanced up, her eyes silently seeking permission. With a slight tilt of his jaw, Henry assented and she could no longer hide her grin as he moved his hand aside.

Now, having no prior experience with medieval clothing, Millie took a moment and simply stared at the hardened leather encasing Henry’s bits. The protective codpiece had likely spared Henry any real damage, however it was clear from the way it bulged obscenely that there was definitely something going on underneath. But how the hell did one get access? As if noting her confusion, Henry tugged at his belt, freeing it from around his waist and unfastened the bottom two buttons on his leather tunic.

Millie gasped at the sight of his bare belly underneath, his happy trail tantalisingly disappearing underneath a laced panel. She squeezed her thighs together as her small but nifty fingers made fast work of freeing Henry from his leather clad discomfort.

Millie’s groan rippled through the fraught energy in the stable, presented with a thatch of auburn curls and no undergarments. In turn, Henry’s groan joined hers as she tugged at the tight leather, silently urging him to lift himself, her eyes dark and almost feral in their obvious need to see him naked.

Henry obliged, his own eyes heavy with desire as he watched this wanton creature, unlike any woman he’d met before, single-mindedly focused on stripping him bare. As she tugged his breeches further down his long legs, she paused to attend to his boots, and as she did so he unfastened the remaining buttons on his tunic. The hay scratched at his bare ass but he could not have cared less as he stared down at her ample breasts, the angle as she finally freed his breeches from his ankles allowing him a most inviting view.

Tossing his breeches aside, Millie looked up, only to be presented with the sight of Henry leering down her nightdress. Smirking to herself, realising that she had now finally got the upper hand, she licked her lips and straightened herself, pushing out her breasts and watching with satisfaction as Henry’s mouth dropped open. She was braless, and her dusky nipples tightened against the brush of fabric, standing out prominently against the thin white cotton.

Henry growled “Off!” and she quirked an eyebrow, ignoring him for a moment as she finally allowed her eyes to fall to his naked, majestic cock for the first time. The sight that greeted her made her moan and lick her lips once more, but she quickly stifled her obvious desire to address Henry.

Now it was her time to play!

“Your grace… I do believe you were raised to have manners…” she murmured, her fingers ghosting over his hip bones, sending a shudder throughout his body.

“Millie-” he warned, but his next words were cut off by a groan as she leant her head forward, licking a wet trail up his left thigh, her hair tickling his bare skin in its wake. Again Henry shuddered, biting down on his tongue as he watched her, scared to speak in case it broke her spell on his body. As she reached the apex of his thighs he braced himself, but instead of taking him between her sensuous lips, she gently sucked a testicle into her mouth, nuzzling her nose into the dense thatch of auburn curls.

Henry gasped at the exotic sensation, it was unlike anything he’d experienced before. One hand instinctively threaded through her unruly hair and kneaded her scalp appreciatively, urging her to continue as the air came alive with his enthusiastic groans. When her lips released him, he sighed with disappointment, only to be rewarded with them repeating the dizzying assault on his other testicle. Her fingers trailed featherlight circles on his thighs as she sucked, and taunted him with her tongue before finally releasing him with an audible pop.

Breathless, Henry stared down at her, his eyes cobalt - which she now realised was a sign of desire. Buoyed on by his approval she surrendered to his earlier request and pulled at her nightdress, tugging it up over her head and tossing it behind her.

“By God!” Henry growled, looking down at her with a quirked eyebrow. He couldn’t help but to replay her earlier words in his head. ‘Even if you had a reputation for being a tart when you were just a prince…’

Just how did this infuriating woman know about his philandering ways of old? He wasn’t that boy anymore. He hadn’t been for a long time. He’d had to grow up, and grow up he had. He’d assumed the rumours about him had died away with the demise of his father. Yet this perplexing woman had spoken of them as if they were still the latest gossip! He looked her over again. No. She most definitely was not one of the tavern whores he was acquainted with in his youth. He’d have remembered this one. He’d never seen this voluptuous beauty before. In fact, it was as if she'd appeared out of thin air only minutes prior. 

In a fit of impulsivity, he leant forward and kissed her. It was soft, sensuous and left them both a little befuddled when they eventually broke away for air.

“Forgive my impatience. I have longed to taste your sweet lips since the moment my eyes fell on you.”

“Well, aren’t you the charmer!” Millie blushed, shifting back on her knees and wincing as she remembered her reddened ass.  

“There's witchcraft in your lips, fair Mill-”

“Oh my God! Do you use that line on all your women?!” Millie interrupted, giggling.

When Henry glared at her, she began to panic. Oh fuck! What if he really did think she was a witch?! Yeah, it would be just her luck to get burnt at the stake - wait did they do that here? Damn it! She knew she should have paid better attention in history class when she was at school!

“There aren’t any other women!” he protested indignantly, leaning back once more and pouting.

Aware that she’d offended him yet again, Millie quickly went into damage control. Before Henry had the opportunity to protest – not that she really thought he would – she leant her head forward and trailed her tongue along the prominent vein on the underside of his cock, smirking against his frenulum at the gasp her action caused.

“If not witchcraft, then you are indeed the sweetest angel to have ever fallen to earth!” he groaned, all earlier indignation long forgotten as she lapped and sucked at his straining length.

Giddy with endorphins and Henry’s over the top praise, Millie had an idea. She had never tried it before, but as she glanced up at Henry’s panting face, his cheeks pink, she noted that his eyes had once more settled on her breasts.

And in that instant her decision was made.

“Lie down” she commanded, and while Henry quirked an eyebrow once more at her impertinence, he said nothing, merely slipping to the floor and tugging at his thick shaft as he waited for her next move.

Millie licked her lips and eyed him for a moment, wondering if she was really going to do this. It was definitely a risk doing anything new with an unknown bedfellow, and given the power the man lying expectantly alongside her held, she might seriously find herself locked up in The Tower for real if he wasn’t impressed. But still, if she’d learnt anything over the last few months, it was that she was far more willing to push her boundaries and try new things than she’d ever had the opportunity to do so in the past. Well here was another prime opportunity!

Casting aside any further doubts, Millie straddled Henry’s calves, leaning forward and pressing her ripe breasts to his firm thighs, glancing up hesitantly. Henry was watching her with baited breath, his hand having dispensed with his cock as he instead let it settle in the hay at his side. His eyes were dark, intense, but there was no anger in them and Millie batted her eyelashes in her best attempt at being flirtatious before slowly snaking her way further up his ridiculously long limbs.

As she moved, her nipples dragged along the soft hairs on Henry’s thighs, causing them to peak and her to gasp out a small moan. The sensation was heightened further when she reached the top of his thighs, her breasts providing the perfect pillows to engulf his cock. Henry growled at the sight of his red, leaking cockhead peeking out from between her ample cleavage and reached out to her. Momentarily lost in her own desire, Millie continued up his body in pursuit of his hands. The need growing inside her belly for his touch felt like he was the Siren pulling her in from shore, and she felt sure she would crash at any moment.   

Exquisitely sweet heat caressed her body through Henry's fingertips as he pulled her up so that their lips met once more, his elegant fingers stroking down Millie's spine, skimming over the cleft of her generous bottom and delighting in the heat radiating from her cheeks – the heat that he’d been responsible for. Her body ached to be touched more intimately. Yet as he continued to pepper her lips, her neck, her décolleté with heated kisses, she hesitated. Her history of prophylactics wasn't exactly comprehensive but she had a pretty good idea that Henry didn't have a condom hidden anywhere inside his snug leather breeches. 

But she wanted him. Should she risk it? It wasn’t as if the opportunity to be fucked by a 15th Century king came around every day now, was it?! 

She forced herself to think clearly. Dream Henry or real Henry, she was not going to risk getting pregnant! She really would be fucked trying to explain that one to people! 

“Stop!”

Henry pulled away from her breast where his mouth had somehow ended up, his teeth reluctantly releasing her nipple with a wet pop.

“What troubles you fair Millie?”

“We can't do... erm... I don't want to lead you on...” she blushed, stumbling over her words and feeling stupid even as she said them, given that it was her own actions that had incited this situation in the first place “That's to say...” as he began to tenderly stroke her breast again. 

Frantically she finally blurted it out, though not quite in the way she’d intended. “I'm not having sex with you!”

Henry merely chuckled “Well naturally. We are not joined in wedlock! As I am no longer the young ‘lothario’ you accused me of earlier.” He raised a brow expectantly, hoping he’d understood it’s meaning before qualifying his words “Yes… I do believe I now have a good enough grasp of what that meant” he winked at her mortified face before continuing “As the Monarch, I must abstain from any form of philandering which may have cause for procreation. So, it really is quite simple. I cannot bed you dear Millie, however much I desire that right now.” 

“We're not in a bed though!” she blurted, not knowing why she was even arguing.

“Indeed... but that does not mean I cannot still enjoy other sins of the flesh... And what delightfully sinful things I could do to your bountiful flesh.” As if in affirmation, he squeezed her thighs.

“Are you saying I'm fat?!” Millie blurted in protest.

“Pardon? No! You are most pleasing. In fact, you have the most delightfully comely hips I have ever been fortunate enough to feast my eyes on! You could birth many children!” his big hands slid up from her thighs and gave them the same appreciative squeeze.

Sighing, Millie bit back another retort, realising that was as good a compliment as she was ever likely to get from a man born in an age where childbearing hips were favoured. She would just have to settle for what she could get. As such, she tried to get back on track, pressing her breasts back down against Henry’s hard chest and slowly making her way down his body again.

It was the insistent prod of his cock against her soaked folds as she wriggled back down that gave her the idea. Manoeuvring so that his cockhead was position at her entrance, she locked eyes with him and whispered, “Trust me…”

Henry tensed, wondering what in God’s name had gotten into the girl. Hadn’t they just spoken of thi-

“Aaaaah” he groaned, his thick shaft stretching her slick walls as it slipped inside her welcoming heat. Before he could truly process what she was doing, she had sat up, still impaled on his hot length, and had slowly began to bounce. His eyes flicked from her bouncing breasts, to where his cock was growing slick with her juices and back again, mesmerised. Just as he finally started to come to his senses, wondering if this was some elaborate entrapment from some temptress, she stilled, pressing his cock deep into her clenching channel and slowly rotated her hips. He wondered momentarily how much trouble it would really cause if he did sire an illegitimate heir, but no sooner had he made begun mentally making plans to keep them well looked after, she was gone, withdrawing from his aching manhood and forcing a frustrated growl from his lips.

Before he could protest at her incessant teasing, he found his cock once more enrobed between her soft breasts as she again straddled his knees, and when she started to slowly move her hips it began to dawn on him what she was doing. His cock, slippery wet with her copious arousal, now began to slip and slide easily between her pillowy softness as she squeezed her breasts tighter, the delicious friction causing him to buck wildly beneath her.

“Godddd….” Henry groaned as her pace increased, watching with ravenous eyes as her tongue lapped at the precum on his now angry purple tip each time his cockhead appeared. He never wanted it to end and yet at exactly the same time he desperately needed to come like never before.

Millie sensed his discomfort, catching a glimpse of his hands, balled into tight fists of hay, while his hips were beginning to thrust harder and harder. Licking her lips in preparation, she released her breasts to a tortured moan of displeasure, only for it to turn into a deep grunt of relief seconds later as Henry pulsed, once, twice and a third time inside her greedy mouth.

Doing her best to accept all that he gave her, Millie swallowed as much as possible, only a small trickle escaping her lips and trickling down her chin.

Henry gasped for air, his cock twitching with exquisite aftershocks as Millie finally pulled away and watched him curiously. She was about to wipe her lips against the back of her hand, when she found herself being pushed back into the hay. With a small hiss of pain as it scratched at her inflamed skin on her bottom, Millie instinctively rolled onto her side.

Henry immediately pressed himself to her back, his warm breath caressing her skin, his whiskers tickling as he nuzzled at her neck.

“You, my fair Millie are certainly no angel! You are a vixen…” he purred in her ear, one large hand - still shaking from his climax - smoothing over her warm belly and tugging at a pert nipple, delighting in the low moan that escaped her lips.

“Now you’ve had your fun, it’s time for me to drink my fill from your sweet cup”

Millie found herself being rolled onto her back, this time her poor bottom cushioned by her discarded nightdress and the soft, supple leather of Henry’s tunic.

Instinctively her thighs fell open, and Henry’s gaze immediately fell to her centre.

“Oh my sweet little Millie” he groaned, crawling between her thighs to get a better view. “Look how pink and ripe your quim is! Such a delightful sight for your king!”

She mewled wantonly at his words, his warm breath ghosting over her wet lower lips and causing her to unconsciously arch her back, in doing so presenting herself even more.

“Dear God! You are indeed a vixen…” Henry growled and, unable to hold back any longer, pressed his lips to her wet heat in a chaste kiss. Inhaling her essence his growl turned almost feral as his thick tongue darted out and began lapping softly at her folds.

“Fuuuuck!” Millie screamed, bucking her hips and in doing so pressing herself harder against his oral muscle. Henry smirked, the movement causing his soft whiskers to brush tantalisingly close to her most intimate parts and eliciting another moan of pleasure.

Henry’s right hand slid up to cup one of her bountiful breasts, delighting in the lewd moan that again passed her lips, while his other held her thigh open so he could get a better angle as he descended once more to her dripping cunt.

Stoking her passion with still languid licks, occasionally he would punctuate his slow caress with a nip at her clit, now eagerly peeking out from its hood. Millie lost count of how many times he teased her this way, keeping her tantalisingly close, but never dwelling long enough in any one spot to offer her any real relief. Switching hands, he continued his assault on her senses, again teasing her nipple as his right hand slowly began to pluck at her clit. And all the while his tongue continued to lap in the most infuriating rhythm, never once pressing past her opening.

Finally Millie broke, howling in frustration “P…please…Aahhh… God, please!” as she writhed underneath him.

Henry pulled away, eliciting an even louder moan of displeasure. “Please… what?” he murmured, knowing damn well what she wanted – No, what she needed from him! - as she caught sight of his beard, now soaked with her juices, his lips red and glistening as he smirked knowingly.

“Fuck me!” Millie gasped in frustration “Fuck me please Henry! With your tongue… your fingers… fuck… fuck me with your dick if you want! I don’t care. Just make me come… please…” she was almost in tears as she ran out of steam and Henry was loath to make her wait any longer.

But when she then repeated herself, whimpering “Please… My king!” in a pitifully soft voice he groaned and knew he would do anything to make her say those words again.

Parting her folds with his fingers, Henry pressed his lips to her clit and darted his tongue up and down her entrance before settling back against her sensitive nub. Millie began to moan but her voice was silenced as a hand left her folds and two long fingers thrust deep inside her already clenching channel, pumping back and forth and massaging her hot, slick walls.

“Yes!” Millie wailed, bucking her hips to meet each deep thrust. But when Henry scissored his fingers inside her, stretching her as his thumb took over from his tongue, Millie knew she was done for. Slipping a third finger deep inside, he hooked all three and began to tap against her sensitive bundle of nerves, the rough pad of his thumb continuing to circle her swollen clit as he brought her closer and closer to her release.

Henry sat back on his haunches, revelling in watching this mysterious woman - so different from any woman he’d ever encountered before – take her pleasure so uninhibitedly. As she grew closer and closer, he licked his lips, ready to pounce when she came, not willing to waste one single drop of her sweet nectar.    

“Yes… yes! Take your pleasure from me sweet girl!” he purred, coaxing her ever nearer.

Sweet girl? Conrad had used those very same words…

For the briefest moment, Millie came back to reality and something inside her stomach twisted, not from the exquisite pleasure she was experiencing, but from a memory. A moment in time she would never have the opportunity to revisit.

But no sooner had the memory appeared, it was lost once more as Henry thrust harder inside her and she came undone, the world - and her memories - turning blindingly white as his talented lips descending on her fluttering folds as he slowly, methodically, licked every inch of her clean.

Millie gasped, a string of murmured expletives and several more exaltations for her king falling from her lips before she grew slack jawed.

Reluctantly Henry pulled his mouth away, licking her spilled essence from his pink lips then pausing to place a gentle kiss on each of Millie's hips, his eyes closing in reverence. 

Millie - finally beginning to come back to her senses - watched on, fascinated by the way his long lashes brushed against his pink cheeks, her fingers twitching to touch him again.

She wondered if this was it. Would he simply dress and leave for his planned ride now? It was still daylight outside, unlike in the other dreams she’d had and she was suddenly unsure of what to do next. Self-doubt at her continuing – albeit dreamlike – promiscuity washed over her and she gulped back a tear.

But as Henry settled back down alongside her, giving her a languid, arousal scented kiss and tugging a horse blanket she had not noticed earlier over them both, she knew she was being foolish. If anything, she was the heartbreaker, given that she was the one who always disappeared the following day. She wasn’t sure what to think about that troubling thought right then, and as Henry turned them so he was able to spoon with her she tried to push it to the back of her mind and just enjoy whatever time remained with her Shakespearean king.

With that in mind, she closed her eyes and snuggled closer, quietly whispering that she struggled to sleep alone and in silence.

Henry raised an eyebrow but did not question her. After the relief and pleasure she’d just afforded him, he wanted to thank her. He had been brooding on his position as the monarch for some time. There were rumbling of conflict ahead and he was nervous. This intriguing woman would surely not reveal his fears, his thoughts to anyone who might use them against him. And so, with a soft kiss to the shell of her ear, his lips turning up into a soft grin at the hay tangled in her messy hair, he whispered:

Upon the king! let us our lives, our souls,

Our debts, our careful wives,

Our children and our sins lay on the king!

We must bear all. O hard condition,

Twin-born with greatness, subject to the breath

Of every fool, whose sense no more can feel

But his own wringing! What infinite heart's-ease

Must kings neglect, that private men enjoy!

And what have kings, that privates have not too,

Save ceremony, save general ceremony?

And what art thou, thou idle ceremony?

What kind of god art thou, that suffer'st more

Of mortal griefs than do thy worshippers?

What are thy rents? what are thy comings in?

O ceremony, show me but thy worth!

What is thy soul of adoration?

Art thou aught else but place, degree and form,

Creating awe and fear in other men?

Wherein thou art less happy being fear'd

Than they in fearing.

What drink'st thou oft, instead of homage sweet,

But poison'd flattery? O, be sick, great greatness,

And bid thy ceremony give thee cure!

Think'st thou the fiery fever will go out

With titles blown from adulation?

Will it give place to flexure and low bending?

Canst thou, when thou command'st the beggar's knee,

Command the health of it? No, thou proud dream,

That play'st so subtly with a king's repose;

I am a king that find thee, and I know

'Tis not the balm, the sceptre and the ball,

The sword, the mace, the crown imperial,

The intertissued robe of gold and pearl,

The farced title running 'fore the king,

The throne he sits on, nor the tide of pomp

That beats upon the high shore of this world,

No, not all these, thrice-gorgeous ceremony,

Not all these, laid in bed majestical,

Can sleep so soundly as the wretched slave,

Who with a body fill'd and vacant mind

Gets him to rest, cramm'd with distressful bread;

Never sees horrid night, the child of hell,

But, like a lackey, from the rise to set

Sweats in the eye of Phoebus and all night

Sleeps in Elysium; next day after dawn,

Doth rise and help Hyperion to his horse,

And follows so the ever-running year,

With profitable labour, to his grave:

And, but for ceremony, such a wretch,

Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,

Had the fore-hand and vantage of a king.

The slave, a member of the country's peace,

Enjoys it; but in gross brain little wots

What watch the king keeps to maintain the peace,

Whose hours the peasant best advantages.

 

As he finished his lament, Henry sighed blessed relief in hearing the gentle snore alongside him, realising this was the burden he must carry alone. Nuzzling closer, his body, and now his mind sated – albeit temporarily – he too drifted off to sleep.

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

Hey everyone!

Firstly, apologies to anyone who got their hopes up and expected a new chapter today...

I just felt I owed you all an explanation as to why I haven't updated in so long. My writing muses are basically being very elusive at the moment regarding poor Millie's story, and sadly, i'm not one of those writers who can just sit down and write in order. I can only write when i'm feeling inspired, and i've been struggling for quite a few months to really get what I want to write down on 'paper'. It's all in my head. I know exactly what is going to happen. I'm not struggling for plot, or scenarios, or which order Millie will meet characters. However, in hindsight, I think I vastly underestimated just how hard it was going to be to switch character every month, and because i'm fastidious - to a fault - I quite simply cannot bring myself to post anything which i'm less than happy with, and which might be perceived as OOC (even though i'm sure there are already tons of OOC moments!)

In the meantime, I have been writing a LOT of other stuff. I have part one of a Jag!Tom trilogy almost finished, tons of new Tom and Grace stories in progress, and a new RPF which i'm super excited about. But i've been holding back from posting any of it so I don't end up in this kind of situation again. Because, frankly? I hate keeping people waiting, and as a reader of fan fiction myself, I know just how bloody frustrating it can be. 

That being said, please believe me when I say I swear I haven't forgotten about this story. I am still writing - however painfully slow it may be going - and have every intention of finishing Millie's tale. She's very dear to my heart, as are all of my OFC's, however it is desperately clear that I am not going to get this finished this year, as was my original plan.

So, given that I do have several later chapters practically finished, I have now given myself until December 2018 to finish this story. I hope you will all hang around, as there is definitely a lot of fun still to come, and quite a few surprises too. 

IN THE MEANTIME, THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO HAS READ, LEFT KUDOS AND/OR COMMENTED. AND HAS SAT SO PATIENTLY WAITING FOR MY PAINFULLY SLOW UPDATES. 

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate, and hopefully a fan fiction packed 2018! <3