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“It’s only three months.”

Only.

Alex huffed, kicking off his shoes, uncaring how one went flying across the living room rug. There was no ‘Only’ about three months. Three months meant almost one hundred days spent cooped up in a hotel room or in a smelly office with people that weren’t Aaron Burr. Someone loud, or too quiet. Nosy or completely unsociable. Alex didn’t know what he feared more.

Not that Aaron was his favorite or anything, no, not even particularly easy to work with half the time– too busy quietly agreeing with things and then going behind Alex’s back to do them however he planned in the first place. But at least he was the devil that Alex knew.

Three months. Almost 100 days without getting to curl up in bed next to Eliza. Without getting to eat the delicious meals she would make for dinner or listen to her tease him for burning popcorn again.

“Alexander Hamilton.” Alex froze, fingers still clutching the edge of his jacket from where he was about to drop it on the couch. “Is that how we put away our clothes?”

Normally that tone would bring him to his knees. Today it just made him look to the side. “No.”

“No?” Eliza raised an eyebrow, clearly waiting for Alex to give in. To fold his jacket or get up and pick up his shoes and Alex-

Alex wanted to but he didn’t. Wanted to slip down into that familiar place. Wanted to ask how to earn her forgiveness but it felt a little too much like a reminder of what else he wouldn’t be getting for those three months. Something he hadn’t gone without since they said ‘I do.’

A hand settled on Alex’s shoulder. “Do you really want to have a sore bottom on the plane tomorrow? Is that really how you want to start your trip?”

“No.” Heavy, Eliza’s hand was heavy where it sat and despite himself, Alex leaned into it. Leaned into her side when she joined him on the couch. “That’s the problem. I don’t want to go at all.”

“I know baby, but Washington hand selected you for this.”  Yes, but– Eliza cut him off before he could even try to argue, “And I’m so proud of you. So many people wanted to be in your shoes, and it was my husband who did it. Who impressed Washington enough to get the job.”

If they wanted the position so bad, they could have it. Could have the raise that came with it too.

Except this job had been a blessing for them both. Allowed Alex to work from home on days that Eliza wasn’t feeling her best, gave him more flexibility, more paid time off, and even better health insurance.

In exchange, Alex needed to do this. Needed to travel occasionally (twice a year tops, Washington had reassured him.) to new locations to help them through the startup process. At the time, Alex had agreed eagerly, just excited about the other prospects- but at the moment…

Alex didn’t protest as Eliza guided him, didn’t stop moving until he was laying down with his feet over the arm of the couch and his head in her lap. Familiar fingers worked their way through Alex’s hair, tugging out knots as they went. “I’ll miss you too. I’ll miss you even more if you don’t spend our last night together throwing a tantrum.”

Eliza shrugged at Alex’s quiet, ‘That’s not fair’, “I thought you liked it when I wasn’t fair to you. I thought you wanted me to be strict and demand what I want. Or do I have another Husband of mine in mind?”

Double not fair. “I do want that-” And then, before Eliza could take it as a win- “And I’m upset because I can’t have it when things like this happen.”

“Who says?” Eliza tugged on his hair as she spoke. “Or do you plan on disobeying me just because I’m too far away to punish you immediately.”

Alex shifted, ignoring the twinge in his scalp as he twisted to look at her. “It’s not like we can-”

“Play? Maybe not like we usually do, but we can adapt. We have before.”

Before they were married. Before they were 24/7. Before submitting to Eliza had come to feel like a security blanket, as natural as brushing his teeth in the morning and curling up with a blanket at night.

“I don’t see how. This isn’t just a weekend, I’ll be gone for three months.”

Eliza hummed, running her thumb over his bottom lip. “Three long months. Long enough for you to learn something new for me? To work hard at impressing me?”

New? New as next step in something they’d already been working on or new as in new to them? Because Alex wasn’t sure how he felt about trying out something like rope on himself. What if he couldn’t get the knots right? Would he need to keep scissors near himself if something got stuck? That seemed like its own form of dangerous--

The thumb on his mouth tapped, dragging Alex’s attention back to her.

“What did you have in mind, Miss?”

Obediently Alex suckled on her thumb, unsure if she was debating herself or just trying to build the suspense. Which, as anxiety-inducing as waiting was, also had his cock squirming, eager and willing even if Alex himself might have reservations.

“How about this, I’ll give you a choice. Either you can train that pretty little throat of yours to take my strap-on without gagging or–” Eliza withdrew her hand, pausing to rub the saliva on his cheek– “You stretch your ass for me every day. I want to be able to fit two hands in that greedy hole of yours. You’ll have to get creative, of course, since you can already take my strap-on, but you can do that for me, can’t you, baby?”

Alex swallowed, nodding awkwardly. So long as Eliza kept talking to him like that, he could do anything. Maybe he would even do both.


Screen Alex barely reached two inches, so small that Eliza’s thumb completely covered him when she wasn’t careful. Which, if she was being honest, was becoming harder and harder as she watched him.

“Go ahead, baby.” States away, Alex shimmied his hips, and even though she couldn’t actually see it, she could picture the way his asshole must be clenching around her strap-on. Here in their bed, Eliza took it as an excuse to slide two fingers into herself. “Aren’t you so pretty when you take me in. So pretty biting on your bottom lip as you try to adjust.”

Always so pretty for her. Always so eager to please. Always so needy.  

Shit, Eliza loved her husband. Loved him like this. Loved him trying and failing to be domestic, all aprons and panicked calls about accidentally putting dawn in the dishwasher… again. Loved him in a suit and tie, looking every bit as competent as she knew he was.

Loved the little breathy moans he made as he ground onto the pillow she’d had him put the strap-on on. Desperate baby having already taken it all.

Loved the way he whined when she pointed that out. How his hips jerked, fruitlessly searching for friction for his leaking cock while Eliza described how her fingers felt. As she told him how she couldn’t wait for it to be his tongue again.

Trying to keep her phone so that she could see it was pointless, so Eliza let it sit on her chest instead. Closed her eyes and imagined him there between her legs, imagined it was his fingers, his mouth, trying so hard to get her off. To earn the privilege of his own orgasm.

The fantasy shifted, Alex on his hands and knees just like he had been two weeks ago, shaking with the effort to stay still. Alex’s cock rutting into the pillow when she finally allowed it, finally allowed him to move, each jerk pushing her fingers further and further and further inside of him. How he’d whined when she’d twisted her thumb in there as well, stretching him wide. The way he’d come, spasming around Eliza’s wrist.

Eliza shuddered.

Collapsed.

Rolled onto her side, doing her best to prop the phone up so that she wouldn’t have to hold it. Didn’t even bother to hide the way she licked her lips at the sight of him, still fucking himself on her cock. “Oh baby, look at you go. Why don’t you wrap your hand around your cock, sweetie? You deserve it.”

It didn’t take long, one, two, not even three strokes and Alex sobbed, adding to the wet spot in the middle of the bed.

If she were there, Eliza would fetch a rag, a drink, maybe even some snacks. She would be able to take care of Alex the way that he deserved to be taken care of.

Distance meant she smiled instead, reaching out to stroke the edge of her screen with one finger. “Up, up. I’d give you a bath if I could, but the baby wipes I packed in your bag are going to have to do tonight.”

Even the small screen wasn’t enough to hide the pout of Alex’s face when he got up to fetch them and Eliza shook her head fondly. Fought her own urge to sleep until Alex had returned, blankets pulled up to his chin.

“You did such a good job for me, baby. So proud of you.” On the screen, Alex wiggled, like a pup wagging his tail. “Can’t wait to see what you get up to tomorrow. Remember to send me lots of pics, okay?”


[From: Chef Boyardee

Sounds rough, bud. How you coping?]

Alex shrugged, aware he must look ridiculous to the other patrons of the grocery store but unable to find it in him to care. Eleven hours he’d been at work. Six of which had been on the phone with this that and the other technical support team, trying to figure out why some of the machines weren’t booting up like they were supposed to.

And now? And now it was too late to order take-out from any of the ‘healthier’ places. Eliza probably wouldn’t punish him for grabbing a burger at the drive through, at least, not while he was still up here, but that didn’t mean he wanted week one of the trip to involve him sending apologies.

Thus the grocery store trip.

[From: Chef Boyardee

The freezer section ain’t as bad as it used to be. Grab something there?]

What was the point of having a chef-friend if he only told Alex to go to the pre-made meals? Still. Maybe Alex could put a couple in his cart for nights like this and also get the fresher stuff that would make Eliza proud. He could do that, right? With or without Hercules’ help, he could still make a salad or something.

[From: Chef Boyardee

Also, ignoring my question, that’s cold.]

Did Hercules want Alex to cry in the middle of the frozen dinner section? Because trying to get him to talk about how he was ‘coping’ was a good way to accomplish that. Except ignoring a text like that from a friend wouldn’t make Eliza proud of him. Would get him a lecture about actually trying with the whole emotional labor thing.

So Alex tapped out a response. A short one, but one at least edging toward honesty. That he wasn’t having a good time so far, that work had been rough today and yeah, he did miss Eliza. Especially how easy she made life. Would Hercules mind easing some of that burden by answering the original text and giving Alex some tips on easy to prepare healthy foods?

[From: Chef Boyardee

I’ll help ya out if you promise not to be such a stranger. If you had let me know beforehand, we could have gotten drinks last week]

The following texts sent Alex all around the store. Filled his cart with olive oil, potatoes, squash, and beans. Carrots and rice. A bag of apples and a jar of peanut butter. Alex chewed on his lip as he looked over the produce, trying to remember some of the things that Eliza had made in the past.

Found himself staring at a cucumber instead, mentally comparing it to the size of the dildo back in the hotel room. It was bigger, right? It had to be. He’d need to use a condom on it, but Eliza had said he needed to get creative… That would count, wouldn’t it? And if he chickened out, it would go great with the salad. No need to feel bad about having been wasteful.

Into the cart it went, and to the checkout Alex went before he could find an excuse to put it back or worse, flee the grocery store without anything.

Back at the hotel, Alex took a picture of everything laid out on the counter. It wasn’t… perfect. Already he knew that he’d be going back in a few days, if for nothing else, milk and eggs. But he was proud of it. Proud of himself for trying to stay on track with the whole ‘healthy eating thing’.

Hopefully, Eliza and Hercules would be too.

And hopefully, Eliza would be excited about the cucumber. It was too late to do a full session, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t test it out and send her some teaser pics for tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Most days Eliza’s didn’t start until after 10 AM. Early mornings were for sleeping, for yoga, for leisurely breakfasts. For rolling over into the lingering warmth on Alex’s side as she tried to pull herself into the waking world.

There’d been no lingering warmth this morning and the unnatural stillness of the house had lulled her into a false sense of security, made her think it was far earlier than it was. There’d been no lights to cue her. And at some point she must have turned the alarm off without thinking about it.

Just another thing on the growing list of excuses that she definitely wasn’t going to make to her client for being late.

Gracelessly Eliza shoved the rest of one of Alex's eggos into her mouth, washing it back with a glass of day-old water as she tossed the breakfast plate into the sink. Frowned slightly when it clattered against the small pile building up.

“Alex--” Dishes.

Except there was no Alex listening to hear her fuss. No Alex sleepily watching her from the kitchen table, grumbling that Saturday mornings were meant for sleeping in. No Alex to clean the dishes after she cooked for them, either.

Eliza cringed at the reminder and then swore when she noticed the time.

Tonight. Tonight she would do them.

Right now she needed to get to the cottage.

The beat-up red pick up sitting in the driveway confirmed her fear, though at least her client had been nice enough to wait inside it rather than stand around at the door. There was only so much embarrassment that she could handle and being watched as she opened the door might have pushed her over the edge. He was even kind enough to give her a moment once she got inside, enabling Eliza to turn on the lights and get out the music before knocking.

If Eliza looked a little worse for wear when she opened the door, John Laurens was polite enough not to mention it. “Good morning, Miss Hamilton.”

“I’ve told you before, Eliza will do.”

John’s sheepish grin, coupled with the little half-shrug of his shoulders only reaffirmed Eliza’s belief that she’d be reminding him of that forever. “Alright, were you able to get any practice in this week?”

The nice thing about John was that he tended to answer the question honestly. Children quoted whatever number their parents told them they should be playing, especially if said parents were in the room, and adults didn’t want to admit that they hadn’t done as they were told. As if Eliza was going to lecture them or rap their knuckles with a ruler for failing to follow through.

“A little.” John rolled his shoulders before taking his seat at the piano. “Frances likes to listen while she does her math.”

Or she just liked feeling even. Like it was only fair that her father worked on his homework too. Eliza couldn’t help but feel fond of the girl, heaven knew it couldn’t be easy being a child of divorce, but she was clearly holding her own.

“She’s been dancing at that little place on Main Street,” John said during one of the breaks. “There’s a sign up on the board, looking for parents to help with the piano but I don’t think I’m there yet.”

No, not yet. “Soon. If you keep on practicing, there won’t be a song that you can’t conquer. And just think how nice it will be to be up there, supporting your little one as she dances.”

That was the sort of motivation that most of her students would never know. John didn’t care about how good it was for his mind, didn’t want to woo anyone with his music or show off. The only thing the carpenter wanted was another chance to bond with a daughter he never felt he could get enough time with.

“Alright,” Eliza shuffled through her papers before settling on one of the easier intermediates to give him. “Try this one out this week, and let me know if there are any runs you struggle with, okay? I want to see how you handle having to practice on your own before being shown the proper technique.”

John nodded, tucking the piece of music under his arm without looking at it. “Might be a few weeks till I see you. It’s painting season. Hold my spot?”

For anyone else, Eliza wouldn’t. There were no guarantees, not when an open spot meant less money in the bank or passing up potential students. Not to mention how often people failed to let her know they were done. Too awkward, or potentially still lying to themselves that next week would be the week that they’d get their act together. All valid reasons that Eliza only booked two weeks out at a time.

But for John? For Frances?

For them, Eliza could wait a few weeks to see if John was coming back.

And maybe, maybe if John didn’t come back, Eliza could stop by the dance studio to see how Frances was holding up. He’d said they needed help with the piano, hadn’t he? Maybe Eliza could use that as an excuse to visit. After all, it wasn’t like she would have anything better to do with her time.

Normally this would be the part where she went home. Nudged Alex out of bed if he’d crawled back under the covers, or spend the morning curled up next to him on the couch. But there was no Alex waiting for her at home. Last weekend they’d skyped, watched the latest episode of that cooking show he loved so much before Alex stretched himself across the bed, showing off his new moves.

Eliza couldn’t even do that today. Alex had texted last night, apologizing for having to work over the weekend. Something about meeting with one of the developer teams, something that couldn’t happen before due to all the schedules clashing. How he would text when he had a free minute, already filled with apologies about there not being enough time.

Idly she ran over a few scales, hands moving up and down the keys the way John’s had just hours ago. It wasn’t worth the energy to pull out one of her newer scores, but that didn’t mean Eliza couldn’t practice those that were more familiar.


[From: Best of Wives

Does it feel good, baby?]

Alex flushed, walking as quickly as he could toward his office. He doubted anyone would try and read over his shoulder, but if there was ever a conversation he didn’t want his co-workers to see, it was this one.

[From: Best of Wives

Don’t forget to lube up during lunch. Want to make sure you stay nice and wet for me.
Maybe if you’re good I’ll send you some pretty pictures tonight.]

Instinctively Alex squeezed around the plug, fingers clenched on the table to keep himself upright. It was… It wasn’t too big, that was the wrong word, especially when he knew he’d taken larger during a scene. But it was large enough that he’d had to spend 30 minutes this morning just stretching himself open to take it. 30 minutes listening to the sounds of Eliza making breakfast, casually encouraging him to fuck himself slower or harder.

It was too big to be forgotten, demanded careful consideration every time Alex had to change positions. Made him grateful for the casual dress code at the new office, for the too large hoodie that kept anyone from seeing anything they weren’t supposed to.

Eliza had forbidden him to come until nightfall. Apparently, she’d read somewhere that it might make him tense up, and Alex didn’t want that, did he?

[From: Best of Wives

Of course, you’ll need to send me some in return. Think you can do that?]

Technically it was thirty minutes to when Alex usually took his lunch, but considering Eliza seemed determined to kill him--

Well, the team could survive without him for a little bit. A quickly dashed note letting anyone who tried to find him know where he was and Alex shoved his phone in his pocket and threw his bag over his shoulder.

There’d be more photos later. Better ones with nice lighting and room for him to stretch, but right now-- right now he was going to take some in the bathroom. If Eliza was going to tease him during work, it was only fair that he returned the favor.

First came the picture of his mouth, bottom lip pink and slightly swollen from how he’d been chewing on it. Then just the tip of his cock pulled to peak out of his jeans. Next was the plug, dripping with the lube from his bag.

What Alex really wanted to do was take a picture of it going in, but unless he suddenly gained another set of arms or became a lot more flexible, the final shot of the curved base tucked into place would have to do.

Actually, that was an idea.

Once he was settled, gingerly, in the breakroom, Alex texted Eliza again.

[From: Best of Wives

You just want to see my ass in yoga pants.]

Alex didn’t need to suggest stretching together to get that, but he definitely wouldn’t complain about getting a view.

[From: Best of Wives

Off to work. Can’t wait to see what you work yourself up to later, baby.]

Unable to help himself, Alex stroked the screen with his thumb before finally tucking the phone away so that he could eat and get back to work. If all went well, he might actually be able to get out of the office before seven.

Alex didn’t look up at the door opening. It wasn’t as if he’d actually made any friends at the office so far. He spoke as much as he needed to, especially with the supervisors, but otherwise kept to his task. It was better that way. Meant more time that he could spend talking to Eliza or doing things for her.

Unfortunately, the rather tall French man who worked in marketing didn’t seem to understand Alex’s plan to keep social and work lives separate. Didn't even bother to ask before pulling up the chair across from Alex. “Permission to speak, ah, freely?”

Alex tensed. Freely? On one hand, they weren’t in the army, so it wasn’t as if he needed permission to speak at all– on the other, what might he need to say that would make him ask first? Not that Alex could actually say no, not without coming off as weird.

The man, Gil, if Alex remembered correctly, smiled at Alex’s brief nod, pausing to pull his hair up into a ponytail before speaking. “I do not mean to be insensitive, but your lunch… it is rather sad, no? And you have been eating it every day this week. Is something the matter?”

Of all the things that Gil might have said, a commentary on Alex’s lunch wasn’t what he was expecting. “Is there something wrong with my salad?”

“I would not call that a salad, my friend. But the fact that you have called it that explains much,” Gil reached over, patting the top of Alex’s hand. “You are dieting? There is still a world of food to explore without such a sacrifice.”

Maybe it was a bit of a sad salad. Even Hercules had made a comment about the fact that Alex’s pre-made mix was with iceberg lettuce. Apparently it wasn’t bad enough to let it go to waste, but Alex needed to find something a bit darker at the store next time.

And he’d tried to follow to Hercules’ suggestions in regards to toppings, but the boiled eggs wound up as breakfast and the tomatoes had been too soft. Which left… well…

The cucumber, the one he’d unsuccessfully tried to use as a sex toy. Alex had washed it, chopped off the first bit to throw in the trash. It’d seemed wasteful to just toss the whole thing, especially when he hadn’t had time to do any of the roasting or grilling that he’d hoped to do.

It’d seemed like a great idea at the time, but of course, he hadn’t planned on being interrogated over what it meant.

“There is no need to look so glum,” Gil’s voice broke through Alex’s internal spiral, “There is no shame in trying to better oneself.”

Whatever else the man might have said was lost when Alex’s phone buzzed, giving him the perfect excuse to exit stage left without appearing like an asshole.

Chapter Text

“Aww, you’ve only been away two weeks and already there are pretty men bringing you lunch, should I be worried?”

On the other side of the line, Alex groaned. “No. And he’s not pretty, he’s just--”

“Has the body of a greek god? The face of an angel?” Okay, maybe those hadn’t been the exact terms that Alex used when explaining who this Gil character was, but close enough. “It’s okay, baby. I know who I married. You can want to show your appreciation in all sorts of ways, and I won’t blame you a single bit.”

“You’re horrible.”

Eliza laughed, pulling the blanket around her tighter. “If you were here, I’d pull you over my knee for such cheek.”

“We could--”

Try. Eliza closed her eyes, searching for the words to explain why she had no problem bossing him around while he was gone but couldn’t bring herself to do any sort of punishments. Not yet. Not without being able to see Alex’s face. Not without knowing what kind of emotional crash might come with it.

Considering these trips were inevitable, maybe when Alex came back they’d experiment. Self-punishment might even be a good answer for the days that Eliza was too out of it to handle things properly. And it wasn’t like Eliza could deny what a pretty sight it would be, Alex bent over the end of the bed, using the wooden hairbrush to turn his cheeks pink. Or maybe kneeling with his legs spread wide, welts dancing after the ruler she’d sent him to fetch.

Another time. “Why don’t you tell me how you’re going to thank Gil instead?”

“I don’t see why I have to thank him at all.” Petulance, absolute petulance. “I didn’t ask him to bring me lunch. He’s the nosy one who has decided that my food is a travesty.”

Alex’s coworker almost definitely had good intentions, but Eliza knew the gesture probably stung. The first week there he’d been so determined to do well and Gil had highlighted how hard he was struggling with his goal to stay healthy.

Understanding where Alex’s upset came from didn’t mean that it was okay for him to behave this way, though. “Does my baby need some corner time? Or maybe some lines while he rethinks his tone?”

Eliza could almost hear Alex’s spine straightening. “No, ma’am.”

“Gil sounds like a lovely fellow, who is trying pretty hard to be nice to you. Don’t you think that deserves some acknowledgment?” A beat. “Don’t you like to be shown appreciation when you do nice things?”

“Yes, ma’am.” Alex spoke again after a moment, “What would you like me to do, ma’am?”

That was the question, wasn’t it? “I want my darling husband to show me how good he can be. It’s what, Tuesday? If you can come up with, and act on, a thank you for Gil by Friday, then I’ll send you a nice present for the weekend. Okay?”

Maybe even something that would be fun for the both of them.

“Is there anything else I can do, ma’am?”

Eliza sighed. “I really would like you to make an eff-”

An effort. Alex cut her off with a cough. “No, ma’am. I meant now. Is there anything I can do for you now?”

Oh. “Is my pretty boy eager to please?”

That little ‘uh huh’ was precious, especially when Alex continued, “I know it’s late and you’re probably in bed, Ma’am- but--”

“Shh, it’s okay. Is all your work done? Is there anything you need to put away?” Eliza clicked the speaker button on her phone, listening to the shuffling as Alex set into motion. “Good boy. Now, have you eaten dinner and brushed your teeth? What about showering?”

“All clean, ma’am.”

It was tempting to ask what he’d had for dinner or check in to see that he’d packed a lunch for the next day, but Eliza didn’t want to miss this chance. “Excellent. What time do you have to go in tomorrow?”

7 AM. Meaning it was too late to do anything too intense. “I know you picked your ass, but do you want to fuck that pretty mouth of yours for me, baby? I want to listen to you make music for me.”

“Should I get your strap-on, Ma’am?”

Eliza shook her head before realizing he wouldn’t be able to see her. “No need this time. You can use your fingers. And once you get them nice and wet, you can play with yourself too.”


Something nice. Something to show his appreciation.

Something that, despite Eliza’s teasing, wasn’t actually meant to include being on his knees beneath Gil’s desk.

And yet-

And yet, here Alex was.

“There.” Alex stretched when he finally crawled out, trying to be careful not to jolt his plug too much. If Alex’d realized what his afternoon would entail, maybe he would have left it out after lunch. “That should have your system back up and running.”

“That is very kind of you, monsieur Alex--” Gil flashed a radiant smile -- “However, the day grows late. Would you like to retire to dinner with me?”

“I really--” Shouldn’t. Except Eliza wanted Alex to play nice. Wanted Alex to stop shutting himself off to his coworkers, and Alex– Alex wanted to make Eliza happy. And not just because she was bribing him. “Should finish up a report before I go. If you’re alright with waiting…”

Twenty minutes later found Alex in a sleek black car, one with a name Alex couldn’t pronounce, much less remember. Gil had murmured something about it being one of the few things he brought from home-

Home being France.

“How long have you been in the states?”

Gil shrugged, spreading a cloth napkin over his lap. “I try not to think of such things. Only of when I can return. Or of when my love might be able to come to me.”

One month. Alex had been away from home for a month, was staring down the barrel of two more…

Alex’s attitude seemed petty when Gil confirmed that it would be several months until his wife would be able to come see him. Gil who only got a week or two at a time with his wife, no matter which country they were in, before being whisked away. A back and forth that they’d apparently since Gil started under Washington at 19.

If Alex remembered correctly, the man was only a year or two younger than him, which meant he’d been doing it for at least four years.

Four, maybe even five. And here Alex was complaining about three months. “How do you do it?”

“It is not easy, but we do as we must to build the future we want-” Gil paused to address the waiter before returning his focus to Alex– “We are both accustomed to a certain status in life, my love and I– and one day soon, we will be able to enjoy it together. Until then, we work.”

While a sweet sentiment, it didn’t exactly answer Alex’s question. “But how do you make it work? I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin, and it’s only been a month since you know…. Since I’ve seen her.”

Gil quirked an eyebrow, and Alex shrunk into his seat at the accompanying grin. “We have our ways of being close and our lovers.”

“That wasn’t-” What Alex had meant. At all.

But Gil wasn’t listening to him, face suddenly serious. “It is fine. We are unconventional, at least by your American standards. I hope you are not judgemental?”

“No– I– No.” Alex groaned. “I mean, perhaps things I didn’t plan on knowing about my coworkers but– no judgment.”

And then, because Gil didn’t look like he believed him. “Eliza? My wife? She’s poly. We had talked at one point about trying to be open– but then life happened and–”

Telling Gil that appeared to be Alex’s next mistake. Not because Gil was upset with him, or didn’t trust him when he said it– but because there was no way he was going to be able to shut the man up now.


Eliza flopped across the bed, staring up at her sister’s image. “It’s not that I can’t live without him, it’s just-”

“Everything reminds you of how far away he is,” Angelica teased. “Have you started using his shampoo yet? Or spraying your pillow with his cologne?”

Why were older sisters the worst? And why did that actually sound like a good idea?

If not for Eliza herself, then maybe that could be part of her gift to Alex for being a good boy and making friends with his coworkers. She could ship him one of her shirts, well soaked in her perfume- or maybe even a pair of her panties if he kept up his good behavior.

That was a thought for another time. “It isn’t that bad sometimes? But I never realized just how much time I have on my hands. There’s half the laundry to do, half the food to prepare. Not to mention that my Saturday client has canceled on me again.”

“You could always come do my laundry if you’re that bored.” Angelica’s image flickered for a moment before a pile of clothes appeared. “I’ve honestly been thinking about just throwing it away and starting a new.”

While Angelica certainly had the money to do that, she also had the money to hire someone to do laundry for her if she wanted to go that route. “Sure, I’ll be right over.”

“Can I pretend that I didn’t hear the dripping sarcasm?” When Angelica reappeared, she was still laughing. “Fine. I’ll get around to it eventually. What are you going to do about Saturday? I noticed the again there. I’m sure you could find another client, some mom with a kid who is already booked every other day of the week.”

Eliza could. There had been others, after all, who asked if she did weekend appointments. Offered to double her rate if she considered it. But booking them after John would have meant taking more time away from home and she and Alex already had so little-

And booking during John’s time…

“I’m not ready to give up on them just yet.”

“Must be a really special kid. It isn’t like you to get so attached.”

There was no confidentiality clause in piano tutoring, though it was in good form to keep people’s personal lives out of her mouth. So Eliza didn’t correct her sister. Just nodded, because well, it was true enough- wasn’t it?

Maybe- Maybe Eliza would swing by the ballet to see how Frances was doing at least. Hadn’t John mentioned something about them needing a pianist? It would be an excuse to get her in the door, and maybe, maybe it could help fill the hours.

Angelica’s voice broke through her thoughts, “I’m going to let you go. It’s time for me to get dinner ready and for you to text Alex about how much you miss his attempts at cooking.”

“Ha ha, very funny,” Eliza murmured to the freshly black screen. “We all know Alex only attempts to cook on special occasions.”

Or when he thought the fire department needed a good laugh, Peggy would have joked.

Eliza fiddled with her phone. Peggy would probably be home by now, though it certainly wasn’t dinner time for her. Eliza could call. Could text her. Talk about work, about how the adoption process was going, about if they’d found a new house yet. Could find a new distraction for another hour or two, ignore her own need for food. Or nibble on some toast while they chatted. Pass the time until Alex was available to voice. If he was able to at all. His work schedule was all over the place at the moment.

A knock on the door kept her from giving in to temptation.

“Can I-” Eliza blinked, trying to process the sight in front of her- “Hercules?”

“In the flesh.” Hercules shifted the tray in his hands, plastic bag biting into his wrist where it hung. “I come bearing gifts.”

Gifts. Eliza tilted her head. “Did Alex send you?”

“Not quite.”

If not Alex- Eliza couldn’t think of anyone else they knew in common. Angelica certainly wouldn’t know him. Or the Madison’s. And he certainly didn’t strike Eliza as someone who could play the piano. Which didn’t necessarily mean that Hercules didn’t know one of her clients- but even if he did, how would they know she knew him?

“‘Liza, Darling, if you don’t mind showing me the kitchen? So that I might put this all down?” Hercules paused, then made as if to look over her shoulder, “unless of course there’s someone here? I’m happy to just leave this with you if so.”

Eliza flushed, stepping out of Hercules’ way. “Of course, sorry. Just a little caught off guard.”

“Knew it was a bit of a risk just showing up.” The tray went into the fridge, but the bag he put on the counter next to the stove. “Alex has been blowing up my phone and I figured if he’s struggling that much, well-”

“It’s worse for him.” Eliza ran a hand through her hair as she watched him work. “I’m fine. Your kindness is-”

“Unwanted?” Eliza could almost feel the raised eyebrow. “Or wait, you wouldn’t say it all plain like that. Appreciated but unnecessary? Considerate but undesired?”

That wasn’t fair. “I’m capable of making my own dinner, I’m not Alex, Hercules.”

“Have you? Made dinner, that is?” Hercules didn’t even turn around, too busy setting up a pot on the stove. “You’re welcome to tell me to fuck off, of course. But otherwise, go ahead, sit down. Enjoy the free food when it’s finished.”

Maybe it was childish, but Eliza propped herself up against the counter. “When did you get to be so bossy?”

“Eh, six or seven years ago- give or take.” Hercules flashed her a grin. “Used to pretend that I was working on recipes. ‘Bout the only time your dear husband ate during exam time.”

Eliza could picture that. “I guess I should be grateful he’s had such a good friend. We wouldn’t want him to have starved before he even met me.”

It was easy sliding into banter, rather than focusing on her own anxiety. Easier still pull out the wine and insist that Hercules share a drink with her after dinner. And if one drink became two? Alex couldn’t exactly fault her for finding his friend such wonderful company.


“Well, isn’t that a pretty new toy,” Eliza’s voice teased. “Was that a gift? Perhaps from a certain dashing coworker?”

It was cruel to expect him to talk in this state, but Alex had no doubt she expected an answer. “Bought it yesterday. Thought you’d like it, Miss.”

The glass that had been cool to the touch when he bought it was now warm and slick, the little bumps along the sides too small to provide grip for him to hold onto. What they failed to provide in traction, they did give in texture, making Alex whine every time he thrust it in and out of his sensitive hole.

“I do rather like those noises. Does it feel good? Stretching you open?” Alex nodded into his pillow even as he pulled it out once more. “I want you to stop right there, baby. Close your eyes and think of me standing there behind you, holding onto the end. Moving it in a circle rather than fucking deeper into that greedy ass of yours.”

Alex moaned as he obeyed, doing his best despite the awkward angle to twist the dildo that way. To stretch himself out further, well aware that he had to be quite the sight. All sweat-slicked skin, cheek smushed against the pillow as he tried to hold his weight on one shoulder, the white sheets of his hotel bed tangled around his ankles from where he’d kicked them down earlier.

“I can’t see it, but I bet your cock is leaking. Is your cock leaking, baby? Tell me what a mess you’re making and I might fuck you in earnest.”

Alex flushed as he did what he was told. Told her how hard he was, about the puddle he was making on the bed because he’d forgotten to lay down a towel.

“Poor thing, going to have to change the sheets before you go to sleep, aren’t you?” There was a sound, probably Eliza getting more comfortable on her end, and boy could Alex imagine that. Picture her legs spreading, fingers dipping down to play with her clit as she watched Alex humiliate himself for her. “Go on then, you’ve made enough of a mess, might as well make it worse by humping the bed.”

Between the sounds of Eliza fingering herself, the slick slide of the sheets beneath his hips and the glass cock fucking against his prostate with every few thrusts, it didn’t take long for Alex to be reduced to babbling.

Far too close to the edge for what Eliza said next to be fair. “Now that’s enough. On your back, hands on the headboard.”

On the headboard. Away from his cock, which jerked against his stomach in frustration.

“Good boy. My very good boy,” Eliza purred. “We wouldn’t want to undo all your hard work, would we? If you came, you’d just tighten up all over again and we don’t want that, do we?”

Instinctually, Alex clenched around the glass still inside him. Couldn’t stop himself from whining at the sensation. It was an act that drew Eliza’s attention to the fact that it was still there, and gingerly her removed it at her command, taking deep breaths to calm down even as he watched her work herself to orgasm on the screen.

The sight of Eliza sucking her own juices off of her fingers was almost enough to send him over the edge, touch or no touch.

Later, once the sheets were changed and he’d managed to drag on a pair of sweatpants, Alex shot her a text. Stared down at the screen when her response finally came through.

[From: Best of Wives

Do you need to safeword?]

Safewords were for when it was too much. When he was overwhelmed. When he couldn’t handle what was happening. It didn’t seem appropriate to use it just because Eliza had implied he wouldn’t get to come for the rest of his trip.

[From: Best of Wives

Good. I like the idea of you being on edge all the time. All horny and needy for me. Body ready at the lightest of breezes.]

[From: Best of Wives

And once you’ve come home? And shown me what a good boy you’ve been, shown me what a good job you’ve done taking care of my holes for me? You’re going to come so many times you might even cry. ]

Horrible. Absolutely horrible. Alex’s absolutely horrible wife.

Who he loved beyond compare for that quality.