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Tell Me What You Like

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“Do you have a charger, for my phone?” she asked the uncomprehending boy behind the bar. “A charger? My battery…”

A man in a light suit on the other side of the bar turned towards her.

“If it’s important, you can use mine.”

Her face lit up as she recognized that voice, which she’d spent a year dreaming about. On her entire, long trip from Spain, she’d never really believed that she would find him, and yet here he was. Exactly where he’d once promised to take her.

She couldn’t stop smiling as she rounded the bar, and as he stood up to meet her, his face reflected the same smile back at her. They stopped a few feet from each other. What did you say to someone you never thought you’d see again? He was the first to find his voice again.

“You found me”, he smiled.

“I’m sorry it took so long”, she said. “I’d put the cards away when you left… they were too painful to look at.”

“I knew you’d come eventually”, he said, taking a step closer.

“Have you been waiting for me here all year?” she asked, incredulously.

“Every day”, he nodded.

She didn’t know what to say to that. They stood looking at each other, suddenly a little awkward. A year was a long time, and the last time they’d seen each other she’d been chained up.

He cleared his throat. “Would you like to see my house? It’s only a short walk down the beach.”

“Yes”, she said, “I’d love that.”

They started walking side by side, and she suddenly realized that she didn’t know this man… at all. She’d come all this way to meet a complete stranger. Sergio, she had to keep reminding herself, his name is Sergio. She wondered how much of Sergio was Salva, and how much of the Professor was Sergio. It was hard to reconcile the two in her head: sweet, shy, gentle Salva on the one hand, and on the other hand the dangerous, confident mastermind the Professor, who had asked her things like what she was wearing and if she’d ever faked an orgasm. Which of these two men was walking next to her?

He glanced sideways at her, and his eyes were full of joy and kindness. Salva, she decided. He must have shown his true self while he was Salva with me. He can’t have acted the entire time. This was the man she’d fallen in love with.

They reached his house, which was built right on a quiet spot of the beach, and she loved it immediately. It was full of wood and open spaces, nothing ostentatious about it that screamed ‘I’m rich!’. He waited for her in the middle of the living room as she looked around, looking at her like he couldn’t get enough of her. She joined him and smiled.

“It’s a lovely house.”

“Are you staying at a hotel?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’ll go and pick up my stuff later.”

He waved a dismissive hand. “I’ll send someone to do that.” Then he hesitated. “I’ll… uhm… show you the guest bedroom.”

She stared at him. “I flew halfway across the world for you and you’re going to put me in the guest bedroom?!”

He turned red. “I didn’t want to presume. It’s been a year, I thought you might need some time to get to know me again.”

In response, she slowly wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed a soft kiss against his lips, tentative, tender. They broke apart and looked at each other for a long moment, then he suddenly swept her into his arms and kissed her fiercely, one hand in her hair, the other on her back, pressing her close to him. She opened her mouth and his tongue flicked over her lips, testing, tasting, and then he kissed her more deeply. She felt a fierce joy as the fire between them kindled again to a full blaze, taking her breath away, and she realized with a surge of relief that the mysterious force that had drawn them to each other in the first place was still there.

The rest of the world fell away and everything felt exactly right as he kissed her ever more passionately, and she felt a sudden overwhelming desire for him. When she bit his lower lip, he groaned and lifted her off the ground. She wrapped her legs around his waist as he carried her to the bedroom (not the guest bedroom), stumbling a bit because they were unable to stop kissing.

They fell onto the bed together, and as he shrugged out of his jacket, she began unbuttoning his shirt. She couldn’t believe how badly she wanted him, she thought, as her fingers trembled with eagerness as she undid his pants. For a year she’d been having dreams about him, very explicit dreams that made her wake up aching and frustrated, and now he was actually here. When they’d somehow both gotten rid of their pants, she pushed him down among the pillows and sat astride him, bending low to keep kissing him, her breasts pressed against his chest, her stomach against his. He wrapped his arms around her as she guided him inside her, and when she sank down on him, they both stopped breathing at the same moment, just for a second, at the inexpressible delight of their oneness.

She sat up and braced herself with her hands on his chest to increase the tempo, and he bucked his hips to take her deeper, making her moan. His hands were on her hips now, gripping her tightly, guiding her movements. She moved a hand to put her fingers on the sensitive spot between her legs, but he brushed her hand away and put his thumb there, drawing tight circles. She threw her head back at the immediate effect of his touch, her breathing coming fast now, and she was moaning with every thrust as she felt the tension inside her begin to build. She rode him harder, until he was showing signs of breaking soon. Their eyes met, and she whispered a soft ‘yes’, to which he responded by closing his eyes and gripping her hips even more tightly, and when she felt him shudder underneath her, she released her own carefully pent-up energy so they came together, trembling and gasping.

She collapsed on top of him, both breathing hard. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close as he whispered in her ear.

“I’ve dreamt of this moment every night for a year now, and yet it still managed to be better than I could possibly have imagined.”

As their breathing slowed, she slid off him to lie against his side, her head in the hollow of his shoulder, one arm draped across his chest. He suddenly turned to her with an alarmed look.

“We didn’t use a condom.”

“Don’t worry”, she reassured him. “I’m on birth control.”

He gave her a delighted grin. “You came prepared.”

“Well”, she replied, flashing him a wicked look. “You may not have wanted to ‘presume’ anything, but I came here with the express purpose of fucking you into oblivion.”

His grin became even wider. “I can get on board with that.” His tone became more tender as he kissed the top of her head. “I’ve missed you.”

She looked up at him and kissed him on the lips. “I’ve missed you too.”

He got out of bed for a moment to open a window, and a delicious sea breeze entered to cool them. When he turned around again, he saw that she was just pulling a sheet around her naked body. He held up a hand.

“Don’t. Please. I want to look at you.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, keeping the sheet firmly in place. “You’ve seen me naked.”

“Only in the heat of the moment”, he said, and she realized that it was true. She remembered their first time, on the couch in his fake workplace, hot and sweet, and when it was over, they’d pulled a blanket over themselves against the chill. She remembered their second time, in the bedroom of her house, quiet ecstasy in the dark so as not to disturb Paula or her mother. With a shock, she realized that this had only been their third time together.

He got back onto the bed with her, and she reluctantly surrendered her sheet to him. She was usually fairly comfortable with her body, but she wasn’t twenty anymore, and his scrutinizing gaze roaming all over her skin as she lay defenseless beside him made her stomach flutter. He took his time, drinking her in.

“You’re beautiful”, he said simply, and she smiled at him. He lay down beside her. “I want to know every inch of you.”

He kissed her forehead, brushing a lock of hair behind her ear.

“Do you dye your hair?”

“Yes”, she said. “I got my first grey hairs about a year ago. I blame you entirely.”

He grinned. “And I claim them proudly.”

He kissed the tip of her nose. “I like your nose stud.”

“Really?” she said. “I’ve been thinking lately that I might be getting too old for it. Maybe I should take it out.”

“Don’t”, he said. “It suits you.”

He ran his fingers over her jawline and down her neck, pressing a kiss to the hollow below her throat. He began to systematically explore her body, running his lips over her shoulder and down her arm, kissing the palm of her hand and every fingertip. He kissed his way down between her breasts, then traced a careful finger over the stretch marks on her stomach. She suddenly felt self-conscious.

“Well”, she said apologetically, “That’s what happens when you have a baby.”

“You’re beautiful”, he repeated simply, then covered her stomach with kisses.

He pressed another kiss to the curls between her legs, then traced his mouth down the inside of her thighs. She giggled slightly as his beard tickled her.

He looked up in delight. “You’re ticklish.”

“A bit”, she admitted.

“That’s good to know”, he murmured as he continued his exploration below her knees. “How did you get this scar?”

She knew he meant the small sickle-shaped scar under her right kneecap. “I fell off my bike when I was seven. I had to get three stitches.”

He kissed it. “And this one?” he pointed to a white line on the inside of her left ankle.

“At the police academy. I tripped over barbed wire.”

He kissed that one, too.

“Turn around.”

She felt a little foolish, but did as he asked. He brushed her hair away and kissed the back of her neck, then trailed little kisses all down her spine. When he got to the bottom, he suddenly looked up in surprise. A small lotus flower opened up at the base of her spine.

“You have a tattoo!”

She grimaced. “From when I was young and stupid.”

“I like it”, he whispered, brushing it with his lips. “Very sexy.”

He ran his hand over her buttocks and down her legs, hesitated for a moment, then tickled the soles of her feet. Her whole body jerked as she twisted away from him.

“Alright”, she laughed. “That’s enough.”

He chuckled and pulled her in for a kiss, then leaned down on one elbow and looked up at her expectantly.

“Tell me about your likes and dislikes.”

“What, like my favorite food and stuff?”

He raised an eyebrow. “You know what I mean. What do you like or dislike in bed?”

She suddenly had a flashback of an altered voice in her ear, saying: Tell me about your first time. Maybe there was a bit of the Professor in him after all.

“Wouldn’t you rather just find out about my likes and dislikes as we go along?”

He considered this. “I’d rather get this straight from the start. Unless you’d prefer to have mediocre sex for a few weeks while I figure things out.”

She threw him a sensual look. “I think it’s been pretty great so far.”

“I don’t want ‘pretty great’”, he said. “I want amazing. I want earth-shattering. I want you to come so hard you forget your own name.”

She swallowed hard and felt a tingle between her legs. This was definitely the Professor speaking.

“Alright”, she conceded. “What do you want to know?”

“A lot”, he said eagerly. “Can I get my notebook?”

“For God’s sake Sergio”, she said, half amused, half annoyed. “You’re not in school!”

He ran his fingers through his hair with an embarrassed laugh, and suddenly she saw Salva again. It’s like he’s two different people, she thought. She couldn’t figure him out. She rather liked that.

“Okay”, he said, an attentive look on his face. “Do you have any particular dislikes I should be aware of?”

She considered this for a moment, then suddenly remembered how she had hated her ex-husband’s tendency to put his tongue in her ears. She’d been too polite to say anything the first few times they slept together, and after that it had seemed impossible to bring it up: hey, you remember that thing I’ve been pretending to enjoy for the past few weeks… well actually I hate it. She wasn’t going to make the same mistake with Sergio.

“Don’t stick your tongue in my ear”, she said decisively.

He raised an eyebrow. “I wasn’t going to, but alright, noted.” He leaned in close to her and nuzzled her ear. “But what if I do this?” He nibbled her earlobe, and she felt an unexpected stab of pleasure shoot through her.

“Yes”, she murmured. “I like that. Do it again.”

He obliged her, then moved down to kiss her neck. “How about this?”

She sighed in enjoyment and tilted her head to give him better access. “That’s my weak spot”, she admitted. “If you want to turn me on, that’s the way to go.”

He glanced up at her in delight. “That is very useful information, Inspectora, thank you. I’ll be sure to abuse it at every available opportunity.”

She laughed, then felt her arousal begin to stir as he continued kissing the side of her neck.

“Alright, stop it”, she smiled. “You’re getting me all frisky again.”

He didn’t stop. “Is that a bad thing?”

“I suppose not”, she said, leaning her head back so he could kiss her throat. “But I thought you were learning about my likes and dislikes?”

He looked up. “That’s true. A good student shouldn’t allow himself to get distracted.”

He nuzzled her one last time, then moved down to her chest.

“How sensitive are your nipples, on a scale from not-at-all to don’t-touch-them?”

“Medium, I think.”

He closed his mouth over one of her nipples, and it hardened immediately. She gasped as he sucked.

“Like this?”

“Harder”, she breathed, while a little fire started between her legs. “A little more… Oh! Yes, just like that.”

Just when the pleasure reached its peak, he stopped, and she sighed in disappointment.

“Good to know”, he said, seeming to make a mental note.

He moved further down her body, and she held up a warning finger.

“If you start testing things out down there, you’d better finish what you start.”

He hesitated. “I have a confession to make. I’ve never done that before.”

“You’ve never done what before?” she asked, confused.

He colored. “Cunnilingus.”

She stared at him. “You’re telling me you’ve never gone down on a woman before?”

He shook his head.

“Why the hell not?”

“I’ve never had the opportunity.”

A suspicion dawned on her. “Sergio… how many women have you been with before me?”

He colored even deeper. “I’d prefer not to say. It’s rather embarrassing.”

She felt suddenly alarmed. “Don’t tell me you were a virgin before we met?!”

“No! No”, he hastened to say. “But I haven’t had that much experience.”

“All right”, she said slowly. “I’ll guide you through it.”

He nodded eagerly. “I know the theory,” he said, “but please tell me if I do something you don’t like.”

She spread her legs and he lay down between her thighs. The apprehension she felt vanished immediately as he pressed his mouth against her and began exploring her with his tongue. She murmured her approval. He moved upwards slightly and she uttered a soft ‘yes’ when he found the center of her pleasure. He started drawing slow circles around it, and she shuddered.

“It’s more sensitive on the right side… your left”, she whispered, then gasped as he moved his tongue and began stroking up and down. “Yes… yes, there exactly.” She gripped the sheets as he continued, and when he entered her, first with one and then with two fingers, she sighed in pleasure at the added sensation. Suddenly he removed his mouth, seeming focused on his touch, feeling around inside her.

“Are you looking for something?” she asked him, rather impatiently.

“Your G-spot”, he murmured, intent on his task.

“Don’t waste your time”, she said gently. “My ex-husband always said the female G-spot is a myth.”

He snorted. “Just because he couldn’t find it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” His face lost its look of concentration as he softly breathed “Ah!”. The next moment, he pressed upwards, and a startled cry escaped her lips. He pressed again, and she gripped the sheet convulsively with another involuntary moan.

“What the… how are you doing that?”

In response, he pressed his mouth to her again, and she was rendered helpless by the combined sensations. She tried biting her lip in an attempt to stay quiet, but she found it impossible not to cry out as he pressed harder against her, picking up a smooth rhythm with his fingers and tongue. Before she really knew what was happening, her body started trembling and she had only a second to draw in a breath before the most exquisite orgasm of her life crashed over her. He kept going, and wave after wave of pleasure rolled through her body, shaking her to her core. Eventually he eased up, and the sensation faded gradually, sending occasional shuddering aftershocks through her.

She pressed her hands to her face and laughed giddily.

“What the fuck, Sergio. Are you kidding me?  I thought I was supposed to teach you.”

She glanced at him, sitting up with a self-satisfied smile on his face.

“I told you I was familiar with the theory.” He came to lie beside her and stroked her stomach. “Not bad for a first try, right?”

“Yeah”, she agreed weakly. “Not bad…”

He kept caressing her as she recovered, and she started feeling that he was looking much too smug. She decided to throw him off-balance.

“To get back to my earlier question”, she started mischievously. “I still want to know how many women you’ve been with.”

He gave her a pained look. “Do I really need to answer that?”

“No”, she said, “but I’m really curious.”

“First tell me how many men you’ve been with”, he countered.

“Six”, she said promptly. “Not including you.”

He nodded. “That’s a good number. Experienced but not slutty.”

“Now you tell me your number.”

He sighed deeply. “Three.”

She raised her eyebrows. “That’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“You misunderstand me”, he corrected her. “Not three women. Three times.”

She stared at him. “Are you telling me that, before we met, you’d only had sex three times in your life?”

He nodded.

“With how many women?”

“Just the one.”

She quickly closed her mouth and tried to think of something to say that wasn’t deeply insensitive.

“Was she a girlfriend?”

“I wouldn’t call her that”, he said honestly. “I mostly initiated the relationship because I was curious about sex. The experience was rather disappointing, and when it didn’t get any better with subsequent tries, I ended it. I found the whole thing rather unstimulating. In fact, for years I suspected that I was asexual. Now I realize I’m probably demisexual.”

“What does that mean?”

“That I only enjoy sex with someone I have an emotional connection with. And that’s never happened before… until I met you. I can perform without being in love, but the experience is rather lackluster. Not like with you.” He nuzzled her neck. “With you there are fireworks.”

She smiled. “But how the hell are you so good if you’ve had so little experience?”

He blushed. “I’ve read a lot. I’ve always been interested in the subject as an intellectual pursuit.”

“How sexy.”

“I think so!” he laughed. “Nothing sexier than some hardcore stimulation of the intellect. So I’ve read a lot of books on the subject.”

She gave him a sly look. “And watched a lot of porn?”

He wrinkled his nose. “Pornography is boring. You turn on your computer and there it is. There’s no challenge. Now…” he turned to her, cupping a breast, gently grazing her nipple, “finding out how you work, what gives you pleasure, that’s a challenge. And finding out how to make you happy for the rest of my days… well, that may just be the biggest challenge of my life.”

She was rendered speechless for a moment. “You mean… you want me to come and live with you… here?”

He gave her a surprised look. “Didn’t I make that clear from the moment I gave you those postcards?”

Her heart was beating fast, but she wanted to make sure. “You do realize that I would have to bring my mother and my daughter.”

“Raquel”, he said earnestly. “I bought a house with four bedrooms. Who do you think the other ones are for? My invisible friends?”

Her throat felt suddenly tight. She realized that she hadn’t allowed herself to believe before.

He looked down at her uncertainly. “I mean… if you want to.”

She hugged him so fiercely he pretended to beg for mercy until she released him again.

“I suppose this attempt to choke me means yes?”

“Yes”, she breathed. “I know it’s crazy but… yes.”

They simply held each other for several long moments. Raquel felt like she should do something to thank him. Then the perfect idea entered her head.

She gave him a sly look. “Sergio… if you’d never done… that with a woman, am I correct to assume that nobody has ever done it to you?”

He swallowed hard, coloring again. “You are correct.”

“Oh,” she smiled. “Then I’ve got a treat for you. You’re not the only one with skills in that area, my friend.”

She got onto her knees and he protested weakly.

“Really… Don’t feel obligated…”

She kissed his mouth closed. “Don’t talk. Just enjoy.”

He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and was soon lost from the world.

 

 

Chapter Text

She looked at him as he was stretched out on the bed, and decided that she wanted to know every inch of him, too. She kissed his cheek and scratched her fingers through his beard.

“Do you ever shave this off?”

“No”, he said. “I look about fifteen years old without a beard.”

She laughed at that mental image.

“But if you think it’s too scratchy, I’ll shave it off for you. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

She shook her head. “No, don’t shave it, I like it.”

She looked into his eyes. “I still can’t decide if I like you better with or without glasses.”

He pushed them up his nose with that characteristic gesture of his. “Unlike my beard, I do really need my glasses. I’ve tried lenses, but I can’t bear them, so I’m afraid my glasses and I are a package deal.”

“That’s alright. They make you look very smart.”

“I am very smart.”

“Not to mention extremely humble”, she laughed and he grinned in embarrassment. Then she nuzzled his ear. “Alright. Now it’s your turn to tell me what you like and what you don’t like.”

“Honestly, I don’t really know. We’ll just have to try things out and see.”

“Okay”, she said. “I can work with that.”

She bit his earlobe, tugging softly, and he smiled. “Yes. I like that.”

“Good”, she said. “Now, I don’t like this next thing myself, but maybe you do.” She blew softly into his ear, then inserted just the tip of her tongue. He shivered.

“Oh, I feel that all down my spine. It’s a weird feeling, but I definitely don’t dislike it.”

“Noted.”

She started to kiss his neck, smiling at the way the hairs of his beard tickled her lips.

“That’s nice”, he said, “but I think the beard absorbs a lot of the sensation.”

She moved down a bit, to where the hairs became sparser. Suddenly she flashed him a wicked smile, pressed her lips to a soft bit of exposed skin, and sucked.

“Hey!” he said. “That feels weird! What are you doing?”

She kept on for several more seconds, then released him to see a red spot begin to bloom on his throat. “There”, she said in satisfaction. “Your first hickey.”

He sat up and rubbed his neck in consternation. “You mean that’s going to leave a mark?”

She nuzzled his cheek. “Now everyone will know that you’re mine.”

“Why don’t you just hang a sign around my neck that says ‘Raquel’s’”, he grumbled in mock annoyance.

“It’ll only last a few days”, she soothed him, then pushed him back into the pillows. “Now, where were we?”

She kissed his chest and his shoulders, running her fingers down the muscles of his arms.

“Can I ask you a question? How does a nerdy intellectual like you have such a nice chest and arms?”

Mens sana in corpore sano”, he quoted. “A healthy mind in a healthy body. I take care of my body because I value my mind. I work out, I do some boxing.”

“You’re the whole package, aren’t you?” she quipped, then let her eyes roam over him. “You know, you are actually very handsome. How come the girls haven’t been falling at your feet your entire life?”

He gave her a wry smile. “You mean after I’d attracted them with my sparkling personality and my Casanova-like seduction technique?”

She smiled at him. “It worked on me.”

“That was a fluke. I still don’t know how it happened.”

She moved up to face him, and kissed him tenderly on the lips. He pulled her into his arms, and for several long moments they were completely wrapped up in each other. When she finally pulled away from him, she was slightly breathless.

“Let’s continue the experiment, shall we, before we get completely distracted?”

He nodded, not taking his eyes from her face, and she blushed slightly from the intensity of his gaze. To recover her composure, she began kissing his chest again.

“Let’s see how you like this”, she said, before flicking her tongue over one of his nipples. He twitched and shuddered.

“No, I don’t think I like that at all.”

She nodded. “For some men that produces an unpleasant sensation. It’s perfectly okay. I’ll avoid the area.”

She ran her fingers down his arms again and picked up one of his hands. “You know, you have really nice hands. Strong but sensitive. Women like that.” She pressed a kiss to his palm, then did the same to his other hand.

“Alright, now turn around.”

He glanced down. “Aren’t you forgetting something rather essential?”

She flashed him a grin. “We’ll save that for last. But I promise I will spend some extra time there.”

He turned onto his stomach without further complaint, and she ran an appreciative hand over the muscles of his shoulders. Under her touch, he sighed and relaxed.

“Do you like massages?” she asked.

“Hate them”, he replied. “The very idea of a stranger touching my body…” he shuddered, then his voice became softer. “But I love it when you do it.”

She took her time running her hands over his shoulders and back, getting lower and lower. When she was almost to his buttocks, a mischievous gleam appeared in her eye, and she bent forward.

He yelped and twisted his head around. “Hey! You bit me!”

She grinned. “Only a little.”

“Well I don’t like that at all”, he said huffily, but she could see that his eyes were dancing with laughter.

She ran her hands down his legs to his feet, but there was no fun in it because he wasn’t ticklish at all.

“Alright mister”, she said. “Turn back around and let’s see what else you like.”

He turned onto his back, and she noticed anticipation in every line of his body. She smiled to herself. She was going to enjoy this. She was good at it and she knew it.

He made another half-hearted attempt to dissuade her. “Raquel, you really don’t have to feel obligated to do this…”, he began, but she shushed him.

“I like doing it.”

“It just doesn’t feel very feminist”, he mumbled, and she threw back her head and laughed.

“You could also look at it from another perspective”, she smiled. “There’s nothing more empowering than having a man by his balls. Literally.”

He suddenly looked a little alarmed, and she hastened to reassure him.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be very careful. You can tell me at any time if something feels uncomfortable or painful.”

“Alright”, he said, apprehension and anticipation both equally present in his face. She felt like she should put him at his ease first. She reached down a hand and traced one finger down the length of him. He was already hard.

“You know”, she said. “You really have the most perfect dick.”

He flinched at the word. She knew that he didn’t like vulgar language, but they needed some way of talking about their body parts, and she felt that ‘penis’ was too clinical. He’d get used to the word in time, if she introduced it gradually.

“Really?” he asked her.

“Yes”, she said. “Just above average in length and girth. Not too big, not too small. Perfect.”

She meant what she said. She loved that he gave her something to work with, without running the risk of jaw cramps later on.

“I thought women always wanted men with big…” he swallowed, “… dicks.”

She shook her head. “Not at all. Too small isn’t ideal of course, but too big isn’t either. Average is just fine.” She hesitated, wondering if she should tell him. “My second boyfriend was really big, and it was awful. Since then I’ve never wished for above-average endowments again.”

“Why was it awful?”

She hesitated again, trying to suppress bad memories. “I suppose it wouldn’t have been as bad if he’d been careful with me”, she said slowly. “But he wasn’t always gentle when I asked him to be, or he wouldn’t wait until I was ready. Then it would hurt. Sometimes a lot. He wasn’t very nice about it afterwards, either.”

He quietly looked at her for a long moment. Then he said: “Raquel, forgive me for saying this, as it is none of my business, but you’ve had some pretty shitty boyfriends.”

She gave him a sad smile. “I suppose I have. The worst thing is that I stayed with him for nearly two years.”

“Why?”

She grimaced. “I was in a pretty bad place back then, personally.” She continued more softly. “I suppose… on some level… I felt like I just didn’t deserve any better.”

He sat up and stroked her cheek. “But you did… you do.”

She raised her chin in quiet defiance. “I know that now. But it took me a lot of time and a terrible divorce before I could allow myself to believe that.”

He gave her the softest look. “Raquel”, he breathed, taking her into his arms. “You deserve all the best things in the world.”

She buried her face against his neck so he wouldn’t see the tears in her eyes, and he gently stroked her back. After several long minutes, she regained control of herself, and pulled back from him with a quirked smile.

“Anyway, I think that we can safely say that my taste in men is questionable at best. I mean, look at my current boyfriend: a notorious criminal.”

He grinned at her. “I prefer the term ‘gentleman thief’, myself.”

“Well”, she smiled at him. “If the gentleman would be so good as to lie down and relax, I’ll see what I can do for him.”

He let himself fall among the pillows and gazed at her expectantly. “Okay. Now what?”

“First things first”, she said. “What kind of pressure do you like down there? Hard, soft?”

He hesitated “I’m not entirely sure.”

She frowned at him. “You have masturbated, right?”

“Only for tension relief”, he admitted. “I suppose a medium kind of pressure?”

She nodded. “I’ll start off soft and you can tell me what you like. Now spread your legs so I can sit between them.” She always preferred this to working from the side.

He did as she asked, a big smile on his face, and she couldn’t help but smile, too. This was going to be good.

She settled herself between his legs, but instead of touching him immediately, she let her fingers flutter down over his stomach several times, every time stopping just an inch short of the dark curls between his legs. Almost immediately, he became hard again. Then she lowered her hands to his knees, and with her fingernails drew slow paths up his inner thighs, making him shiver. Next, she bent down and kissed him everywhere but there: on his lower stomach, his inner thighs, the soft skin at the crease of his legs. He wriggled slightly with impatience, but she didn’t stop until he was rock hard.

Then she used the tip of her tongue to draw a path up his length, from the very bottom to the top, and she heard him inhale sharply. She did it again, but this time she used the flat of her tongue, using broad strokes up and down. He groaned. She decided not to tease him any longer. Wrapping her hand around his length, she closed her wet mouth over the head and sucked. He sighed out a long “ohhhhh”, and she felt him relax further under her hands. She began moving up and down, using both her hand and her mouth so he was always completely covered, keeping the suction light at first, then increasing it gradually. Soon his fingers were in her hair, and he was moaning her name.

“Raquel”, he breathed, his voice husky. “That feels so good.”

She tried not to smile. These were only the basics. She had a few more tricks up her sleeve.

She pulled back a little and started swirling her tongue around the head, running it around the little ridge underneath, and flicking it over his frenulum. His fingers churned in her hair, and his breathing became more frantic.

“Oh god, I don’t know what you’re doing, but don’t stop!”

Next, she tried out her signature move. Making a ring of her thumb and forefinger, she placed it around him, just under the head, and tightened it.

“How does this pressure feel?” she asked him softly.

“Amazing”, he breathed back.

She placed her mouth over him, right behind the ring made by her fingers, then started moving downwards slowly, creating a delicious contrast between the tightness of her fingers and the softness of her mouth. It usually drove men crazy. She wasn’t disappointed this time, either. He groaned loudly and gripped the sheets with both hands.

“Oh, Raquel, what are you doing to me?”

When she got all the way down, she moved up and did it again, and again. Suddenly he couldn’t take it anymore.

“Stop! Please stop for a moment. I’m going to… and I don’t want it to be over yet.”

She smiled a satisfied smile as she sat back for a moment and observed him. His eyes were closed and he was fighting to keep his breath under control. When he’d taken three deep breaths, he looked up at her and his eyes were shining.

“Alright,” he breathed. “Please go on.”

She changed tactics now, placing her hand underneath him to very gently cup his balls in her hand. He tensed.

“Careful”, he said, an anxious edge to his voice. “That’s very sensitive.”

She nodded. She’d never met a man who wasn’t a bit nervous when she first handled his business. “Of course I’ll be careful. Trust me.”

He closed his eyes and relaxed again. She bent down and licked, and he sighed in enjoyment. Taking that as a good sign, she started massaging him ever so gently, and after only a few seconds he was groaning again, his eyes tightly closed and an expression of ecstasy on his face.

And now for the moment suprême, she thought, and closed her mouth over him again, moving up and down rhythmically as she kept massaging him. When he responded with an “oh yes” and accelerated breathing, she started moving faster and sucking harder, and soon he was moaning with every stroke, his hips rocking in time with her rhythm. When she could see that he wouldn’t last much longer, she suddenly felt a tap on her head. She looked up in surprise. His face was flushed and his eyes were dazed when he said:

“I understand that it’s the proper thing to do to let a lady know if you’re going to… so she can stop if she wants to.”

He looked at her with such desperate longing that she smiled. “Don’t worry. I’m not going to stop.”

She resumed what she’d been doing, and he fell back among the pillows with a whispered “oh god!”. She quickened her pace and soon he tensed, his whole body rigid for a moment, then he cried out as the orgasm washed over him, making him shudder all over.

When it was done, he lay panting for a moment while she discreetly plucked a tissue off the night stand. When he turned to her, his eyes were radiant.

“Oh my god, Raquel”, he said, his voice strained. “I have no words. Nothing could have prepared me for this. Nothing I’ve ever felt could possibly compare.”

She felt rather smug as she lay down next to him and he kissed her. “Thank you”, he said earnestly, and she laughed.

“Why are you thanking me? You did the same for me just half an hour ago.”

“That’s not the same”, he protested. “I loved doing that.”

“And I loved doing this”, she replied, and he looked down at her.

“Really?”

“Really”, she nodded.

“Then you’ll do it again?” he asked hopefully, making her laugh again.

“Don’t you need some time to recover?”

“I don’t mean right now”, he hastened to add. “Just… someday.”

“Of course I’ll do it again”, she said, and he sighed.

“Then you’re an absolute goddess and I will worship you until the day I die.”

As she lay in his arms and he slowly stroked her shoulder, still with a blissful expression on his face, she wondered at the effect her actions had had on him. She flattered herself that she was pretty good, but she wasn’t that good. She’d expected some level of enthusiasm, sure, but not offers of undying devotion. Then it dawned on her what a lonely life he must have led. His mother and father had both died when he was quite young, and he’d never had girlfriends or children to cuddle with, to snuggle up against on the sofa with a movie. Had he even touched another human being in the year that he’d been here? Her heart suddenly bled for him as she realized how starved for affection he must have been, probably without even realizing it. She hugged him closer, and he kissed the top of her head.

They stayed in bed all afternoon. Sergio only got up once to get her some water and fruit, but apart from that they couldn’t keep their hands off each other, constantly touching, caressing, kissing. As the sky outside their window began to turn violet and pink, she turned to him.

“Shall we go out and look for something to eat?”

He pulled her closer against him and nuzzled her neck. “I don’t want to get out of bed.”

“We have to eat sometime!”

“But there’s still so much I don’t know about you. Like… who was your first love? How was your first time? What’s your favorite position?”

She gave him a tantalizing smile. “The night’s still young. If we eat quickly, we can discuss positions at length after dinner.”

He grinned at her. “That sounds like a decent proposal.”

“Actually”, she said, her fingers caressing the back of his neck for a moment, “It’s a thoroughly indecent proposal.” She quickly stepped out of bed. “Are you coming?”

He looked at her with serious eyes. “My love”, he said. “I’d follow you anywhere.”

Chapter Text

They left the house hand in hand, talking and laughing, a little giddy at being out together.

“There’s a small local restaurant nearby”, he said. “It’s nothing fancy, but the food is great.”

“Sounds good”, she said. “Lead the way.”

In front of the restaurant she stopped him and pulled him in for a kiss, but he gently pushed her away.

“Better not do that. They’re not very tolerant of public displays of affection here. In fact, let’s not go in holding hands, either.”

She reluctantly let go of his hand and followed him inside. The owner greeted Sergio with enthusiasm, and it was clear that he was a regular customer. They were ushered to a table for two by the window, and since Raquel couldn’t read the menu, Sergio ordered for them both. As they waited for their food to arrive, they longingly stared across the table at each other.

“I hate that I can’t touch you”, she complained.

“We have to be respectful of other people’s customs”, he replied, but she read just as much frustration in his eyes.

Raquel glanced around. The other tables were filled with locals – there didn’t seem to be another tourist in sight.

“Do you think any of them speak Spanish?” she asked.

He shook his head. “Not likely.”

“Well then”, she said, leaning back, her tone perfectly conversational. “Let me tell you what I plan to do with you when we get home. I’m going to take off all your clothes. Then I’m going to make you watch while I undress. And then I plan to fuck you in every possible position all through the night. Does that sound like something you’d be open to?”

He’d turned bright red, but he was grinning broadly. Glancing quickly at the people around them, none of whom were paying them the least attention, he replied in an equally neutral tone of voice: “That sounds like a very agreeable way to pass the time.”

“Good”, she said, giving him her most innocent smile. Under the table, she kicked off her sandal and ran her foot up the inside of his leg. He bit his lip.

“Raquel”, he said. “You drive me crazy.” He leaned closer to her over the table, an embarrassed look on his face. “I’ve never felt anything like this before. I want to do all kinds of things to you, like… like cover your body in whipped cream and then lick it off.”

She flashed him a tantalizing smile. “I’m available for all kinds of experimentation.”

He fell quiet for a while, thoughtful. When he looked up at her again, his expression was serious.

“You know, I never thought I was that kind of man.”

She took a sip of her water. “What kind?”

He lowered his voice with a guilty look. “A pervert.”

She choked over her drink. “Oh honey, no. I think the word you’re looking for is ‘normal’.”

He looked relieved. “Really?”

She nodded, and a surprised look appeared on his face.

“Huh. I never thought I was that, either.”

She observed him for a moment, then gave him a sly look. “Do you feel less special now? Did you used to feel just a little superior over other men, those base creatures driven by bodily lusts, while you lived for the purely intellectual?”

He blushed, and she knew she’d struck a nerve. But he was defiant, too:

“That purely intellectual lifestyle did help me pull off the biggest heist in history.”

She nodded. “The achievement of a lifetime. And now you can start thinking with your penis like everyone else.”

They were both laughing as the food arrived. Raquel barely tasted it as she kept shooting glances at him over the table, and she didn’t think his mind was on the food, either. The looks he was giving her made her feel very hot indeed, despite the air conditioning of the restaurant, and the moment she finished her last bite, he was ordering the bill and they were ready to go home.

The moment they closed the front door behind them, they were in each other’s arms and kissing fiercely. She pressed her body against his and felt him, hard, against her hip.

“Bedroom”, he murmured against her mouth, but it took them a while to get there, as she kept pushing him up against every wall they passed. When they finally reached the right room, Raquel kept her promise and undressed him with nimble fingers, then pushed him down on the edge of the bed to watch. She undressed for him slowly, fully comfortable with him now, as he watched her with hungry eyes. When she was naked, she pushed him down onto the bed and climbed on top of him, already reaching for him with her hand, but he suddenly grabbed her wrist and held her off.

“No, Raquel, wait”, he said, a little breathless. “Let’s talk first.”

“Seriously?” she said. “You want to talk? Now?”

“You may be able to do it ten times in a row, but I only have one shot and when that’s gone I’m done for a while. I want to make it count.”

“Alright”, she said impatiently, sitting down next to him. “What do you want to do?”

He colored slightly. “I would love to try some new positions”, he said. “I’d ask you what your favorite position is, but…”, he grinned, “I think I can guess it, since you were on top all three times that we’ve done it so far.”

She suddenly realized that was true. “I’m sorry”, she said. “I guess I was just taking charge because I felt subconsciously that you didn’t have that much experience.”

His smile widened. “Oh, I’m not complaining at all. It would just be nice to do something different for a change. I only ever did missionary before, and I thought that was pretty boring, but maybe you have some suggestions…?”

His words trailed away as she looked at him with shining eyes.

“If you think missionary is boring, you haven’t done it right”, she said. She lay down on her back and stuffed a pillow under her head. “Alright”, she said, trying to be patient with his inexperience. She held out her arms to him. “Come here.”

He came to lie on top of her, and she kissed him tenderly.

“The great advantage of missionary”, she said, “is intimacy. We’re very close together, and you can kiss me and look into my eyes as you take me. That can be a real bonding experience. What makes it good for me is that I like to feel your weight on top of me. It’s just a really nice feeling.”

She reached between them and guided him to the right place. When he sank into her, they both sighed with pleasure. He began moving in a slow rhythm, and she twined her fingers through his hair as he kissed her deeply.

“The downside of this position is that I’m not likely to orgasm like this”, she whispered against his mouth, “because it doesn’t provide much clitoral stimulation.”

“Then why are we doing it?” he asked her earnestly.

“Because it can be really hot, too”, she replied, then wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him in deeper. He groaned.

“Now go faster”, she whispered, and he upped the tempo, as she lifted her hips and met his every thrust. His breathing quickened, and she used her fingernails to draw paths of delicious fire down his back.

“Oh, Raquel”, he moaned. “Fuck, that feels good.”

She raised an eyebrow. If she got him swearing, she must be doing something right. But she wasn’t done yet.

“Ease off for a moment”, she said, slightly out of breath herself. “Lift yourself a bit, create some space between us.”

He did as she asked, and she lowered both hands between them. This needed some careful maneuvering, but she knew what she was doing. With one hand, she reached back and gently cupped his balls. He shivered. Then, she made a ring of her thumb and forefinger as she’d done before, and placed it around his dick, making it tight.

“Now push”, she whispered. He plunged back inside her, and a deep groan escaped his lips. He managed only three thrusts before he grabbed her wrists and dragged her hands away.

“Stop”, he panted, “I can’t take this, it’s too good. I don’t want to come yet.”

He flopped onto his back beside her and rubbed his face with his hands as she looked at him with a satisfied smile.

“So…”, she inquired. “Boring?”

“God no”, he breathed. “The things you do… oh, you’re amazing.”

Her smile broadened. She knew he didn’t have anything to compare this with, but it was hard not to feel flattered, all the same. She waited until he was breathing evenly again, then sat up.

“Alright, ready for the next one?”

He nodded eagerly, and she got onto her hands and knees.

“Actually,” she said, “this is my favorite.”

“Really?” he asked, getting behind her. “Why?”

“First of all: easy access.” She took his hand and guided it around her hip, placing his fingers on the right spot. He cottoned on quickly and cupped a breast with his other hand, pinching her nipple and making her squirm.

“I see.”

“The second reason”, she said, her voice quivering slightly with trying to stay focused as he manipulated her with his fingers. “Is that it just feels amazing inside me.”

He withdrew one hand to guide himself inside her, and when he thrust in, she tilted her hips in such a way that he pushed hard against her G-spot. She moaned and needed some time to collect her thoughts before she could continue.

“The third reason”, she panted, “is that we can go hard. Put your hands on my hips and try it.”

He gripped her hips firmly and pushed in deeply, taking her harder than he had before. A small cry escaped her lips at every thrust, and when she felt his fingers creep back around her hip and settle on just the right spot, she hung her head and trembled. Just a few more seconds and she…

He suddenly stopped, and she gave a plaintive cry as he withdrew from her.

“I don’t like this, Raquel”, he said quietly. “I mean, it feels really good, but I want to be closer to you.”

She took a few shuddering breaths until the feeling inside her began to fade. Patience, she reminded herself. They had all night and his stamina was clearly good.

“Spoon me, then”, she said, lying down on her side, and he came to lie close behind her. “No, put your arm underneath my head, otherwise it’ll be in the way… yes, like that.”

He nuzzled her ear and rumbled his approval. “I see the advantages.” He curled the arm underneath her head until he could caress a nipple, while his other hand moved between her legs, making her shiver. “I still have all the access, but I’m much closer to you.” He entered her again, and began taking her with slow, deliberate strokes. She melted against him and sighed with pure pleasure. After a few minutes, though, he stopped again.

“I like this a lot”, he whispered. “But now I desperately want to kiss you again.”

She grumbled. “We can change one more time, but then you’re really going to have to let me come, or I’m going to get very cranky.”

He chuckled in her ear and released her. She thought for a moment.

“Alright, this one’s a little more advanced. Sit up.”

He did as she said, and she climbed into his lap, facing him. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her softly on the lips. “This is so amazing”, he whispered, and she felt her impatience melt away. After all, they only got one first time for each of these.

She lifted her hips and lowered herself down onto him, and he nuzzled her neck as they rocked together.

“Can you come like this?” he whispered.

“It’s going to take a little dexterity on your part”, she admitted. “Slide your hand between us. You should be able to reach it with your thumb.”

He did as she instructed, and almost immediately she felt her orgasm begin to build again. She gasped and buried her face against his shoulder, gripping him tightly. He nudged her cheek with his nose.

“Raquel… please don’t hide. I want to see your face.”

She looked up at him. “I don’t know, Sergio… that’s a very intimate moment.”

“Please”, he begged her. He twitched his thumb and she moaned, her eyes closing involuntarily. She wasn’t sure she’d be able to let go sufficiently with his eyes on her, but he felt so very good inside her, and his thumb was stroking her on the right side, just as she had taught him that afternoon. He kissed her neck, and she lost it. Arching her back, she began to tense, and she felt his mouth leave her throat so he could watch her face, but she was past caring now. She felt the tension build in the very center of her, and then a tingling started that spread all through her legs and stomach. She gasped for breath, and a moment later the wave of her orgasm swept through her, and she moaned his name as he kept rocking inside her. The feeling lingered for a few delicious seconds, then it started to fade and she collapsed against his chest, breathing heavily. His arms tightened around her, and she felt him tense, too, as he picked up the pace just a little bit, then he buried his face in her hair as his release came with a long, deep groan.

They tumbled down onto the mattress together, she on top of him, his arms still tight around her. For a moment, all they could do was catch their breath, but then he tilted her chin up so he could kiss her.

“That was incredibly hot”, he whispered, and she hid her face against his chest, with an embarrassed grin. “No, really”, he continued, trying to get her to look up at him again. “It was amazing. You know, you scrunch up your nose right before, your eyes close so tight, a frown between your eyebrows… and then suddenly it happens and your entire face just… opens again and lights up so beautifully. It was just a privilege to watch… thank you.”

She glanced up at him, still a little red in the face, and he pressed a soft kiss against her lips. She began to roll away from him, but he pulled her back.

“Where are you going?”

She laughed. “To the bathroom. Can I?”

“Alright”, he said, reluctantly letting her go. “But come back soon.”

When she got back, he was lying on his back, staring pensively at the ceiling. He opened his arms to her, and she snuggled against his side. His voice was serious when he spoke again.

“What’s happening to me, Raquel? I’ve never felt this way before. I can’t keep my hands off you, and I can’t bear to be apart from you for even a second. What have you done to me?”

She smiled, stroking his chest.

“You’re in love for the first time”, she said. “It can be a little overwhelming. Most people experience this when they are sixteen or seventeen. I can’t imagine what it must be like at forty.”

He shifted so he could look at her. His eyes were wistful. “I can’t help but feel a little sad that this isn’t as special for you as it is for me.”

She reached up and stroked his cheek. “Darling, it is special for me. Every time you fall in love, it feels fresh and new again. And I don’t think I’ve ever been this deeply in love before.”

He sighed. “Still. This has been the most amazing day of my life, but it can’t have been even a fraction as good for you.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, genuinely confused.

“You’ve had so much experience in bed”, he said. “And I’m only beginning to learn. I can’t possibly measure up against what you’re used to.”

She snuggled closer against him. “Honestly, you have nothing to worry about. Today was magical for me, too.”

He smiled. “It’s very kind of you to try and make me feel better.”

She propped herself up on an elbow and looked at him earnestly.

“Listen to me. Sure, I’ve had some great sex in my life, but nothing that compares to this. I feel so strongly drawn to you, every time you touch me it just feels… electric. You are so gentle, and caring, and generous. And I feel like you really see me, like you’re not just interested in what my body can offer you, but like you’re interested in me. In what I feel, in what I want. In my experience, men often reduce sex to the physical, to the raw pleasures two bodies can offer each other, but you add so many layers to that. It’s not just physical with you, but emotional, intellectual, spiritual. It’s personal. You don’t know how rare that is. So many men make you feel like an object in bed, but with you I am a person. And I know that you’re still learning, but Sergio…”, she looked him straight in the eye, “this is the best I’ve ever had.”

He looked at her and asked: “Do you really mean that?”

She nodded. “We connect.”

He pulled her down on top of him again and kissed her deeply. “I’m so glad you feel it too.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Raquel stretched luxuriously on the bed, then wrinkled her nose.

“I’m all sticky. I think I’ll take a shower.”

She rolled out of bed and started walking towards the door of the bathroom. About halfway across the room she stopped and looked over her shoulder at him.

“Care to join me?”

His face lit up. “Can I?”

She smiled. “Come on.”

He scrambled out of bed, took off his glasses, and then took her hand as she led him into the bathroom. He had a large walk-in shower of rough natural stone that easily accommodated both of them, with a fancy-looking shower apparatus with lots of knobs and two different shower heads: a big one that was attached to the wall, and a smaller one that looked detachable.

“How does this work?” she asked him, and he turned on the big shower head so the water came down on them like rain. She sighed in contentment as the cool water washed over her body and her hair. She lifted her face and just stood there for a moment, basking in the happiness she felt. The feeling only increased when he closed his arms around her, and she turned to face him, their skin slippery to the touch, and pressed her wet lips against his.

He kissed her back slowly as the water cascaded down on them both. She marveled at how she just couldn’t get enough of him, of his hands on her body, his skin against hers, his mouth on her mouth. After another long, slow kiss, she gently pushed him away.

“Let’s get clean”, she said, picking up a bottle of body wash from the shower floor. She poured a generous amount into her hands and started lathering his shoulders. He closed his eyes and sighed.

“I just love it when you touch me.”

She was enjoying it too, running her hands all over him, over the muscles of his arms and chest, then all down his back. When her soapy hands reached his inner thighs, she felt him stir again against her hand. She looked up at him in surprise.

“Already? How old are you, forty? Don’t you need some time to recover?”

He took her into his arms again and rubbed his soapy body against her.

“It’s you”, he murmured against her lips. “I can’t get enough of you.”

He picked up the bottle of soap and turned to her. “My turn.”

She hummed with pleasure as his hands moved all over her body, not missing an inch. He lathered her shoulders and arms, then ran his hands down her back, cupping her buttocks for a moment before moving back up. Standing close behind her, he stroked her stomach with his soapy hands, then let them roam over, between and under her breasts. He spent some time on her nipples, massaging them gently and eliciting a new twinge of excitement between her legs. She couldn’t believe she was ready to go again so soon, either, but when he moved his hands over her hips, she couldn’t deny that she wanted him again.

When he moved his hands to her inner thighs, though, she stopped him with a gentle touch.

“Not there”, she whispered. “It shouldn’t be washed with soap, only water.”

He nodded and silently knelt down before her, running tender hands all down her legs. She put out a hand to steady herself against the wall as he lifted first one foot and then the other, until she was entirely clean. She stood under the stream of water and let the soap wash off her. He was still kneeling in front of her.

“Spread you legs a little”, he murmured, and when she did, he pressed his mouth against her. She gasped, then pushed his head away, laughing.

“Watch out, you could drown like that!”

He looked up at her with a grin. “What a way to die!”

“I’d rather keep you alive, thank you very much”, she said, pulling him up. She hesitated. “Do you want me to shave down there?” she asked him.

He frowned at her. “Why?”

“A lot of men prefer it that way.”

His frown grew deeper. “Please don’t. I’d rather you didn’t look like a pre-pubescent girl.”

She sighed in relief. “Thank god. It itches like mad when it grows back.”

“Then why would you do it?”

“To please you.”

He kissed her. “You already please me perfectly well.”

They stood face to face for a moment when a sudden gleam appeared in his eyes, and he gave her such a look that she felt a tremor deep inside her. She suddenly realized that Sergio had disappeared, and that she was looking at the Professor again, a fact that made her apprehensive and excited at the same time. The sudden switch threw her off-balance, and she wondered if she would ever get a grip on this dual personality of his, but right now she was ready for whatever he had planned for her.

He detached the second shower head, and started fiddling with it.

“You know, this has a massage setting.”

Her eyes lit up. “I’ve never tried that before. I don’t have a detachable shower at home.”

He turned a knob, and a sudden jet of water shot from the head. She took an alarmed step back.

“That’s not coming anywhere near me.”

He gave her a reassuring smile. “I can reduce the pressure.”

He turned the knob again, and the intensity of the jet reduced significantly. He moved close to her and used his body to press her against the wall.

“Spread your legs”, he whispered in her ear. She obeyed him with some apprehension, but the moment the water touched her, she let out a loud gasp and clutched his shoulders for support.

He smiled. “Nice?” he asked her, moving the jet slightly up and down.

She didn’t think she’d be able to speak, so she just nodded. The sensation was exquisite, the most stimulating thing she’d ever felt. In fact, she could feel the tension inside her begin to build with astonishing rapidity: it had taken mere seconds. She placed one hand on his wrist to shift him just a little, and immediately gasped again, her fingers digging into his shoulder.

“Looks like this was a good idea”, he murmured smugly, as she started shaking and moaning, feeling like she’d lost all control of her body. He twitched the jet a few times, and suddenly it felt like a little explosion was going off between her legs. Only his body pressing her against the wall was keeping her upright now as she cried out and clutched at him.

As suddenly as it had started, the feeling was gone again, and the pressure of the water became immediately unbearable. She quickly pushed his hand away and leaned back against the wall, her breath coming in short bursts. He turned off the water for the second shower head and put it away, then turned to kiss her, Sergio again.

“Are you okay?” he whispered, and she smiled at him.

“More than okay”, she answered him. “That was… quite something.”

He smiled with genuine pleasure, and she suddenly noticed he was completely hard again.

“Come here”, she murmured, pulling him closer and lifting one leg to wrap around his hips. The roughness of the stone under their feet kept them from slipping as he entered her and started taking her up against the wall.

“Oh, Raquel”, he whispered in her ear, while the water pattered down on them and added a pleasantly cool sensation to the experience. He was taking his time with her, slow, languorous strokes combining with deep kisses and hands that moved all down her body. Suddenly he stopped.

“I can’t touch you like this”, he said. “Turn around.”

“I don’t think I can come again so fast”, she warned him, but he nuzzled her neck.

“Let me try”, he murmured. “Please. I’ll be gentle.”

She allowed him to turn her around and press her against the wall again. He was taller than she was, so she had to stand on her toes and tilt her hips to give him access, but when he entered her again, she sighed with pleasure. The rough stone of the wall rubbed against her nipples with every thrust, providing an unexpected source of stimulation that made her arousal increase again. She moaned.

His hand crept around her hip to reach between her legs, and the water running everywhere reduced the usual friction so that his touch was unexpectedly bearable. His fingers were feather-light where she was most sensitive, and a delicious thrum of tension started up again as he took her deeper. Behind her, his breathing accelerated, and she could suddenly feel him tense; a sharp cry escaped his lips as he thrust hard into her one, two, three more times, then shuddered and became still. She felt a surge of disappointment as he withdrew from her, but he kept his body pressed close against hers, and after only a few seconds, his fingers resumed their work, and she sighed softly with contentment. He allowed her plenty of time to get there, patiently circling and stroking in a quiet rhythm that was getting her closer by the second. His mouth was against her neck, pressing slow kisses to the wet skin, and finally she felt she was ready, her fingers scrabbling against the wall for something to hold on to, but there was nothing, until she felt him take hold of her wrist with his one free hand, and entwine his fingers with hers. She leaned her forehead against the wall as she trembled and shook, a firm grip on his hand, short, whispered moans escaping from her lips.

When she was finished, she leaned back against him for a moment as he held her tight, then she turned in his arms to kiss him deeply.

“That was amazing”, she whispered, and he gave her a sweet smile in return.

He led her out of the shower and wrapped her in a soft white towel, carefully rubbing her dry. She went through to the bedroom as he dried himself quickly, and let herself fall onto the bed with a deep sigh of contentment. He lay himself down next to her a moment later, and she could feel his gaze on her. She opened her eyes and looked at him.

“What?”

He’d put his glasses back on. “Can I ask you some questions?”

“What kind of questions?”

“Just things I’m curious about”, he said, and she felt the presence of the Professor again.

“Alright”, she said, turning on her side to face him. “Ask away.”

He pushed his glasses up his nose, and she felt his full attention on her. “Tell me about your first time.”

She laughed. “You already asked me that question, remember? I told you, it was in a tent, and it was over really quickly.”

“That’s the what and where of it”, he said. “I want to know more.”

She smiled. “Like what?”

“How old were you?”

“Sixteen.”

“Were you in love with this boy?”

“What do you think, that I fucked some random guy during a music festival somewhere? Yes, I was in love with him. He was my first real boyfriend.”

“Was it good?”

She laughed. “Not for me.”

“Did you regret it afterwards?”

She gave that some careful thought. “No. It might have been nicer with someone a little more experienced, but he was sweet, and I cared for him. I didn’t regret it. I don’t.”

He nodded. “I’m glad.”

“Anything else you want to know?”

He considered her for a moment. “Do you like morning sex?”

She grimaced. “The only thing I like inside me in the mornings is coffee.”

He grinned. “Too bad.”

She rolled her eyes. “Men and their morning erections. The bane of my life.”

He laughed, then his eyes grew serious again. “Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do in bed that you’ve never done before?”

She hesitated, and he perked up. “Is there?”

She squirmed uncomfortably. “Isn’t it a bit early to talk about fantasies already? I mean, we’re only getting to know each other.”

He nodded at her. “Of course, if you’d rather not tell me, I understand.” He flashed her a smile. “I’m just desperately curious.”

“Oh, all right”, she relented. “I’ve always had this fantasy of being tied up”, she admitted, a little embarrassed. “I’ve never done it before.”

Just like that, the Professor was gone and he was Sergio again. “Raquel”, he said softly. “I don’t know if I can do that.”

She stroked his cheek. “Don’t worry about it, darling. It’s only a fantasy, and it’s not something I would want to do straight away anyway. Why don’t we get to know each other for a while before we bring this up again?”

He nodded and turned his face to kiss her hand. She let him, then tapped him lightly on the chest. “Now I get to ask you a question”, she said. “It’s only fair.”

“Okay…”, he said slowly. “What do you want to know?”

She thought for a moment, then asked: “Most men fantasize about having a threesome someday. What about you?”

He snorted. “Raquel, until I met you, I never even fantasized about having sex with one woman, let alone two.” His eyes met hers with a soft gaze. “I can’t imagine having anyone else in this bed with us. This is something… just for you and me.”

She smiled and kissed him. When they broke apart, he cleared his throat and pushed his glasses up his nose. “My turn.”

There’s the Professor again, she thought, fascinated by the changes in him. “Go ahead.”

He paused, then said: “Tell me something you’ve never told anyone else before.”

She was quiet for a long time, weighing her answer. She’d carried this secret with her for her entire life… but suddenly she knew that she was ready to give it up to him. She took a deep breath. “I’m bisexual.”

That took him by surprise. “Really?” he asked.

“Really.”

“And you’ve never told anyone?”

“Not a soul.”

“Why not?”

“I didn’t want people to look at me differently if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. I always thought I’d tell everyone if I ever got a girlfriend, but I never did.”

“You were never with a girl?”

She noticed that he asked the question out of sheer, innocent curiosity, and not with the same lecherous look that men usually got when they imagined two women together. Which was the entire reason why she’d never told her ex-husband.

She shook her head. “Never.”

“But you’ve been in love with women?”

She sighed. “Yes. All of them straight.”

He seemed genuinely fascinated. “When did you find out?”

“When I was fifteen and had a terrible crush on my math teacher.” She felt a dreamy kind of nostalgia thinking about it. “She was young, such a kind person, and so beautiful, with glossy black hair and the softest-looking lips. I used to dream about those lips.”

He was quiet, listening intently, and she continued. “It took me months to admit to myself that I was in love with her. At first I kept telling myself that I just admired her, like a mentor. But when she changed schools and I cried for weeks because I’d never see her again, I couldn’t fool myself any longer.”

“What do you like about women?”

She raised an eyebrow. “What do you like about women?”

He shook his head. “I don’t like ‘women’. I only like you.”

“You mean you don’t even look at other women? Like when we went to dinner earlier, and the woman sitting at the table next to us was movie-star level gorgeous?”

He looked at her with complete innocence. “What woman?”

Wow, she thought. There are some definite advantages to having a demisexual boyfriend. Then she thought for a moment, trying to answer his earlier question.

“What I like about women is that they’re soft, and strong at the same time. I love when they support each other. In the sexist world we live in, women often feel an automatic kind of sisterhood. And they’re beautiful. Almost every woman has something about her that makes her beautiful.”

He nodded. “And what do you like about men?”

She gave him a sober look. “Honestly, Sergio, if you’d have asked me that question a year ago, I would have said ‘nothing’. I would have said: ‘All men are assholes. All men are selfish, sexist pigs.’ But now I can’t say that anymore, because now I have you.”

He gave her a soft smile, but let her talk.

“I never thought I’d be here again. After my divorce, I thought I was done with men. For one thing, I couldn’t imagine ever trusting someone again. But I trust you.” She suddenly laughed and punched him on the chest. “Which is a goddamn miracle seeing how you completely screwed me over when we first met.”

He shot her a contrite look. “I’m still really sorry about that. I promise I’ll never lie to you again.”

She smiled at him. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

His face remained entirely serious. “I won’t. I’ll never lie to you again.”

She grinned. “Don’t say that. When I get really old and wrinkly, you will be obliged by the boyfriend code of conduct to tell me that I’m still beautiful.”

He kissed her. “You’ll never not be beautiful to me.”

She pushed him away, laughing. “Alright, that’s enough flattery for one night. You sound like a teenager in love.”

He grinned back at her. “I feel like a teenager in love. I never got to say any of these cheesy things before. Like how your eyes are like pools I could drown in, or how your lips are red like cherries…”

She couldn’t stop laughing. “You can’t say stuff like that anymore! We’re forty! There’s a time and place for sickly sweet bullshit like that, and that time is when you’re fourteen, and the place is behind the gym building of the school.”

“Too bad”, he sighed. “I feel like I could have been a great romantic poet if I’d known you at fourteen.”

She looked at him, still smiling. “You know, I never would have suspected you had a romantic streak in you.”

He raised an eyebrow at her. “Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have me all figured out, Inspectora.”

No, she thought. I don’t have you figured out at all. She wondered if she ever would. She realized she didn’t care. She trusted him, enigma that he was, and that was the most important thing to her.

She rolled closer to him so he could take her in his arms, and he kissed the top of her head.

“You know…” he said, “I still have a few more questions to ask you…”

“No”, she said firmly. “I’ve had enough for tonight. You can ask me what food is the most erotic to me tomorrow.”

He quirked an eyebrow. “You have varying erotic associations with different foods? Now that’s an interesting topic to explore…”

She nudged him hard in the ribs and he smiled and shut up. Through the window, the first light of dawn was creeping over the horizon.

“How about we try to get some sleep?” she asked him.

He sighed. “I suppose this night had to end sometime.”

She looked up at him with a smile. “It was pretty amazing, wasn’t it?”

“The best”, he whispered.

“But you know what’s even better?”

“What?”

“There’s a whole new day tomorrow, and I don’t have any plans at all. Do you?”

He nuzzled her neck, trailing a hand down her back to cup a buttock.

“I’ll probably be able to think up something we can do…”

She slapped his hand away and curled up more closely to him. “Goodnight, Sergio.”

“Goodnight, mi amor.”

 

 

Chapter Text

Raquel woke up because the sun was shining too brightly through the thin white curtains. She opened one eye and squinted, disoriented. It took her a while to remember where she was and why she was feeling so happy, and – she shifted her hips and winced – a little sore. Then Sergio turned around behind her and draped a sleepy arm over her waist, and the previous day came back to her in one glorious burst. She smiled ecstatically and cuddled closer to his warmth.

“Raquel?” he whispered.

“Yes, darling?”

“I dreamed of you.” His voice was a soft murmur in her ear. “Usually when I wake up you’re gone. But you’re still here.”

She stroked his arm. “I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere.”

He hugged her tighter and buried his face in her hair, and soon they were asleep again.

When she next woke, the sun had shifted and Sergio was caressing her shoulder. She hummed in contentment and turned onto her stomach so he could stroke her back, which he obligingly did. Still half-asleep, she enjoyed the soft feel of his fingers going up and down, up and down with absolute tenderness. After a while, she turned back onto her side so he could stroke her arm and side. This was heaven, she thought. This exact moment.

He moved his hand to her stomach and pressed a kiss to her hair. Then he started kissing her shoulder, his hands wandering down to her hips, and when she shifted a little closer to him, she felt him hard against her back.

“I know you said you didn’t like morning sex”, he murmured, and she heard a smile in his voice. “But technically it’s afternoon.”

She suppressed a smile and buried her face in the pillow. “I’m still sleeping”, she grumbled, her voice muffled, and she heard him chuckle. She was delighted when his hands didn’t stop their caresses, making their way across her hips and thighs, stomach and arms, carefully avoiding her sensitive spots, waking her body up gently. After a while, he became a little bolder, his fingers fluttering over the inside of her thighs, and she automatically opened her legs a little, but he didn’t take advantage – yet. He cupped a breast, avoiding her nipple, which hardened anyway, then his hand moved up to brush her hair away from her neck.

I shouldn’t have told him my weak spot, she thought, not very regretfully, when he moved to kiss her neck, starting with the merest brush of his lips against her skin. Despite the fact that her body was still heavy with sleep, a deep, slow tingle started between her legs, and she sighed, leaning into him. Encouraged, he pressed more slow kisses to her neck as his hand slid downward, this time lightly grazing a nipple with his thumb. When she didn’t protest, he did it again – just the merest stroke against the very tip, and a shiver ran through her. He brushed her other nipple, and she shivered again.

Pushing his advantage, his hand ran down her stomach and disappeared between her legs, at first just stroking the sensitive skin of her inner thighs, lingering there with infinite patience as her body woke up a bit more with every caress. When he finally moved his hand there, his touch was teasingly light, just a fleeting stroke and then he was gone again. A deep hum of desire was starting up in her lower belly, and she opened her legs a little more, encouraging him to explore further, and he dipped in a careful finger, just for a moment. She knew she was wet, and she smiled at his sound of satisfaction. Still, he didn’t make any further moves yet, even when she pressed her hips back against him invitingly. He just kept up his gentle stroking, touching her everywhere except the very spot where she wanted him. Finally, her patience ran out, and she took hold of his wrist and pressed his hand firmly against her.

“Oh, are you awake now?” he whispered teasingly in her ear.

“If you absolutely can’t keep your hands to yourself, I may as well wake up”, she grumbled back.

“You’re right,” he said, drawing little circles with his forefinger. “I really can’t keep my hands off of you.”

She was squirming slightly now, and he moved to enter her with one finger, then two. When she let out a small involuntary gasp, he quickly retreated.

“Are you sore?” he asked, his voice full of concern.

“Just a little sensitive”, she reassured him. “How often did we do it yesterday?”

“I lost count”, he said.

She smiled. “Liar.”

“Alright, four.”

“That’s quite a lot after a whole year of inactivity. I’m just a little rusty.”

“Let’s see if I can help with that”, he murmured, then started stroking her in earnest. There was no teasing anymore – he knew exactly where to go to make her moan with pleasure. Yet he kept his touch light, building her arousal gradually, drawing it out until she was gasping for him.

“Sergio, please, I want you.”

He guided himself to her opening and entered her slowly. She was so wet by now that it didn’t hurt at all, and she pushed her hips backwards to take him deeper. Holding her tight in his arms, he began to move inside her, and she shuddered in delight, moving in time with his rhythm. He set a slow pace this morning, taking his time with her, and they rocked together for a long time before his hand descended between her legs again and his fingers resumed their stroking. She sighed and put her hand on top of his, guiding his movements and pressure, until she moaned with delight and trembled in his arms as her orgasm shook her. He held her tight until the aftershocks subsided, then he resumed his slow movements for a few more strokes, when he buried his face in her hair and whispered her name as he shuddered his release.

They remained wrapped up in each other for a long time, their limbs heavy with sleepy delight, their fingers entwined. Finally she rolled away from him because her arm was getting numb, and he seemed to come out of a doze with a start. She looked at him.

“Coffee now?” she said hopefully, and he smiled.

“Sure”, he said. “You stay right here and I’ll make you some.”

She stretched herself luxuriously in the empty bed, yawned, then stared dreamily at the sunlight playing on the ceiling until he came back with a steaming mug of coffee. She accepted it eagerly and sat up, blowing on the hot black liquid to cool it faster. He lay down on his stomach next to her, stroking her leg.

“You didn’t mind, did you?”

“Mind what?”

“Sex before coffee.”

“No,” she smiled. “I didn’t mind.”

“I wasn’t too persistent?”

“Believe me,” she said. “If you get too persistent, I’ll let you know.”

“I just couldn’t help myself. You were right there and you looked so beautiful…”

She took a sip of the coffee and it scalded her tongue, so she put the cup on the nightstand to give it a bit more time to cool. When she looked at him, she saw him push his glasses up his nose, and she could feel another question coming. She sighed patiently.

“What?”

“You remember our conversations during the heist?”

“Word for word.”

“I once asked you if you’d ever faked an orgasm. Do you remember?”

She shot him a wry smile. “Vividly. That was a really fun thing to admit to in front of all my co-workers.”

He grinned a little embarrassedly. “I’m sorry.”

“And now you want to know more?”

“Yes please.”

“If you want to know how often I’ve faked an orgasm, I can’t help you. I haven’t kept count.”

“Did you do it often?”

“Once in a while.”

“With your ex-husband?”

“With every guy I’ve ever slept with.”

That seemed to surprise him. “But why? Why would you fake pleasure if you haven’t received it? Then you get this smug guy thinking he did a good job, but you don’t get anything out of it, right?”

She sighed. “Sometimes it’s just easier. There are days when you know that it’s just not going to happen.”

“Why?”

She frowned. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m tired or distracted. Maybe I’m just having sex to please my partner, but I’m not that into it. Then it can be impossible to orgasm, and faking it is a good way to get him to stop trying without hurting his feelings.”

He frowned. “You make us men sound like children.”

She laughed. “Sometimes you are! A lot of men’s egos can’t take it if you say ‘darling, you’re doing everything right, but it’s just not going to happen tonight’.”

He nodded. “Any other reason why you might fake it?”

She thought for a moment. “If they get too impatient. That’s the worst, if you’re trying to relax and you can feel that they just want to get it over with. Then you sometimes just… get it over with.”

He looked up at her. “Will you promise never to fake an orgasm with me?”

She hesitated. “I don’t know, Sergio. There may come a point when you’re trying really hard and it’s just not working and I don’t want to disappoint you.”

He gazed at her earnestly. “But if you don’t promise never to fake it, how can I know if you’re satisfied or not? Any and every orgasm you say you have could be fake.”

She leaned forward and kissed him reassuringly. “They won’t all be fake.”

“But how would I know? I suppose you’re pretty convincing?”

She shrugged. “I’ve never had any suspicious questions afterwards.”

“Well then. And more importantly: if you don’t tell me that something’s not working, how can I work to improve?”

She sighed. “Sometimes it’s really no one’s fault that it’s not working. Look, in my experience, male stimulation is mostly physical and visual. But female stimulation is physical and mental. If I’m not excited in my mind, then nothing you do to my body will help.”

“And how do I get you mentally excited?” he said, looking like he wanted desperately to take notes.

She smiled. “All kinds of things. By showing me that you really want me, for example. By showing me that you care about me. By saying sweet or sexy things to me. I can also create my own mental picture that might excite me.”

His curiosity was piqued. “What kind of mental picture?”

“Oh, I don’t know”, she said, checking to see if her coffee was cool enough yet. “I could imagine what I want you to do to me. It could be a fantasy. A different setting or a different person.”

“You’d fantasize about another man when you’re with me?” he asked, sounding hurt.

“Not usually”, she said, giving him a reassuring pat on the shoulder. “Definitely not in the beginning. But it might happen at some point, and it’s perfectly harmless.”

He seemed to sink into thought for a while, and she took the opportunity to savor her coffee. Nothing better than that first cup in the morning, and a bit of peace and quiet. It didn’t last very long.

“I’d still like it if you promised me never to fake it.”

“Look”, she said. “If you don’t get impatient with me, and promise to accept it when I say it’s just not happening, then I don’t have to fake it. Does that sound like a compromise you can live with?”

He nodded. “That seems reasonable.”

“Good”, she said, putting the empty coffee cup back on the night stand and moving to the side of the bed. He caught her wrist just as she was about to get up.

“Hey”, he said. “Where are you going?”

“I’m getting up?” she said uncertainly.

“No, you’re not”, he said, pulling her back into bed with him, and she laughed when he pulled her close and nuzzled her neck. “You’re staying right here with me. I don’t want to leave this bed today.”

“But I need to get to my hotel to get my stuff! I need clean clothes.”

“If you stay in bed, you don’t need clothes”, he reasoned.

“But I want my other stuff”, she said.

“I have stuff here.”

“My birth control is in my suitcase.”

“Okay”, he conceded. “I’ll send someone to pick up your things.”

He arranged for an errand boy to fetch her stuff, then went to the kitchen to get her some breakfast. In the meantime, she brushed her teeth, pulled on one of his shirts and went into the living room.

“Can I look around the house a little?” she asked him at the kitchen door. “I didn’t see much yesterday.”

“Of course”, he said. “It’s your house too now.”

She felt a little ball of happiness fill in her stomach at his words, then turned around to investigate. She picked up little statuettes that he had collected and admired the art on the walls. Then she went into another room, which she assumed was his study. It was full of books, and she ran her fingers idly over the spines before turning her attention to his desk. It was covered with neat stacks of paper, all carefully labeled. She threw a careless glance over the stacks when suddenly something caught her attention. It was a thick yellow folder, and it had her name on the cover. She frowned and pulled it towards her.

When she flipped it open, her eyes widened. She was looking at a picture of herself, walking along the street to her house, clearly taken about nine months ago. She moved the picture aside and saw another one, this time of her sitting on a park bench with Paula – six months ago, she estimated. She moved that one aside, too, and saw another picture, and another, and another. At that moment, Sergio came in bearing a plate of fruit, and as she looked up at him, the smile faded from his face.

“What the fuck is this?”

He put the plate down carefully, and raised his hands. “Now, Raquel, don’t be upset. When I left last year, I… I paid someone to keep an eye on you.”

“You had me followed?” she said, aghast.

“Just to make sure you were okay!” he hastened to say. “When I left, I had no idea how all of it would impact you. I was afraid that you would be blamed and fired or… or sent to prison. I had to know you were okay.”

She hesitated. “I’m not sure if that’s creepy or romantic.”

“Let’s go with romantic”, he said quickly, and moved to close the folder, but she snatched it away from him.

“But these pictures were taken only about a month ago.”

“I wanted to see you”, he whispered. “I missed you so terribly.”

Suddenly her throat was tight. A year’s worth of frustration and sadness rose up inside of her.

“I missed you too, but I had no way of knowing where you were or how you were doing or… or if you were even still thinking of me.”

He opened his mouth to interrupt her, but she just kept going.

“A year, Sergio! Why did you make me wait a year, thinking I would never see you again?”

He gave her a pained look. “I wanted to contact you, Raquel, of course I did! But they were monitoring all of your communications, I couldn’t take that risk, I couldn’t endanger you! I really thought you were going to figure out the cards sooner. I should have known that you might have put them out of sight.”

“What if I’d never figured them out?” she said, tears coming to her eyes. “Would you just have given up on me?”

“Of course not! I was going to give you eighteen months, and then I would have found another way, Raquel, I would have.”

The tears were falling down her cheeks now, and he looked at her in consternation.

“It was just so hard”, she said, trying to keep her voice steady. “Everything was chaos after you were gone – the interrogations and the official hearings and the backlash in the media until I had to quit my job, and you left me. My life was falling apart and you left me.”

He stared at her in horror. “Raquel”, he whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

He moved to hold her, but she pushed him away, still crying. “And now I’m here and we lost so much time and I don’t even know you!”

This time she allowed him to take her into his arms and hug her as she sobbed on his chest. “But you do know me, Raquel”, he said softly. “Maybe… maybe not in the conventional way, but we know each other, don’t we? We just do. I feel it, like I’ve known you for a lifetime. For a thousand lifetimes. I know you feel it too.”

He stroked her hair as her sobs subsided. “Don’t you?”

She wiped her cheeks and slowly nodded. “Yes. I feel it too.”

He kissed the top of her head. “I am so, so sorry. I’ve been an abominable boyfriend so far.”

“The worst”, she sniffed, and he nodded.

“The absolute worst. But if you let me, Raquel, I will make it up to you. I will dedicate my life to making it up to you.”

She sighed and rested her head against his chest as he held her. Then she righted herself, squared her shoulders and looked at him. “I’m sorry for making a scene.”

He shook his head. “I deserved it.”

“I’ll put this back”, she said, picking up the folder, but something inside caught her eye. It was the name of her daughter. She put the file down again and thumbed through it. Towards the back of the folder, there was all manner of paperwork with the names of her daughter and mother: visa applications, false passports, an informational brochure for a nearby international school, contact information for a live-in nurse, and much more. She looked up at him.

“What is all this?”

He ran his fingers through his hair. “I just wanted to be prepared for when you got here”, he said shyly. “So you could bring Paula and Mariví over here whenever you wanted.”

She gazed at him in wonder. “You really did plan our lives together, didn’t you?”

“Of course”, he said, surprised.

She went to him and kissed him. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Just say you’ll stay with me.”

In response, she kissed him deeper, and he wrapped his arms around her and lifted her off the floor. As he carried her to the bedroom, he whispered:

“I really would like some verbal confirmation.”

“Yes”, she whispered back. “Of course I’ll stay with you.”

“That’s all I ask”, he said, before he lowered her onto the bed and covered her with kisses.

 

 

Chapter Text

“We have to leave the house today.”

“Why?”

“Because we’ve spent the last 48 hours in this bed, Sergio, and we have to get out of it sometime!”

“Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere! I’ve never been on the Philippines, I want to take a look around.”

“It’s not that spectacular. Just beaches, markets, temples,…” he pulled her closer and nuzzled her neck. “Nothing quite as interesting as what I have right here…”

She laughed, but wouldn’t be swayed. “You may be a lone wolf, but I want to see other people.”

“Why? Other people are boring.”

“Other people are interesting.” She nudged him. “Come on.”

He gave her a sly look. “Do you really want to get out of bed?”

She hesitated, then reluctantly admitted: “No. But we’re responsible adults, Sergio, we have to get up and do things!”

“Alright”, he sighed, getting out of bed. “What do responsible adults do in the morning?”

“Shower”, she said. “And make breakfast.”

“Well, I already showered while you were still sleeping, so I’m one step ahead of you.”

“Then you can make breakfast while I wash my hair.”

“I don’t think there’s any food left in the house.”

“Then you can go out and get some. I’ll shower and change the sheets, and then we can make breakfast together.”

“What do you want from the market?”

She thought about it for a moment. “Why don’t you get us some fruit and eggs, and some vegetables. I can make a great omelet.”

He tilted his head at her. “You cook?”

“Of course. Why does that surprise you?”

“I don’t know”, he said. “A feminist like you, with a high-powered job…”

“Being a feminist doesn’t mean that my daughter doesn’t need to eat.”

“Well, you’re on holiday here, so if you want, I can make the breakfast.”

She raised her eyebrows. “You cook?”

He bristled. “I’m not a chef, but I have kept myself alive for forty years, thank you very much. I think eggs are not beyond my culinary powers.”

“Alright”, she said, giving him a quick kiss. “Me, shower. You, market.”

When he came home half an hour later with several bags, she was drying her hair, wearing a loose skirt and a white top. He kissed the damp skin of her neck, then started chopping vegetables. She sat on the edge of the table and unpacked the things he had brought.

“This fruit looks amazing”, she said, smelling a mango.

“Yes, the fruit is really good here”, he said, mixing the vegetables with the eggs in a bowl, then putting the mixture in a pan and lighting the stove.

She was peeling the mango and had taken a bite. “Oh my god, this is so good, you have to taste it!”

She held the mango out to him and he took a bite, too. “This one really is delicious.” He took the fruit from her and bit into it again. It was so ripe that the juice ran over his hand and down his wrist.

“Oh”, he said, putting the fruit down and looking around. “Towel.”

She got off the edge of the table and took his hand with a playful look. “Let me.”

She licked the juice off his wrist, then slowly ran her tongue over his palm and each of his fingers. He stared at her, biting his lip, and when she sucked his thumb, he shuddered. They looked into each other’s eyes for a second, then he grabbed her face and kissed her hard -- her mouth opened and the kiss deepened. She grabbed his hair with one hand while her other hand snuck under his shirt, then moved down to stroke him through his pants.

He was the first to smell the burning. Gently pushing her away from him, he turned around quickly and took the pan off the stove, but it was already too late. The omelet was burnt a crisp black around the edges.

“Well”, he said regretfully. “Looks like I can cook, and you can cook, but we can’t cook.”

She laughed. “There’s still plenty of eggs and vegetables left over, let’s just start again.” She pulled the chopping board towards her. “And maybe if you can keep your hands off me for just five minutes, we can actually have breakfast.”

“Me?!” he said indignantly. “This was entirely your fault! What am I supposed to do if you start licking my fingers?”

“Have some self-control”, she said with dignity.

“Oh, that’s rich”, he snorted. “Your hand was practically down my pants.”

She chose to ignore that, and a few minutes later they were both eating omelet, grinning across the table at each other like idiots.

“By the way”, he said, “I wanted to ask you: how long are you staying here? I assume you have a return ticket.”

“It's an open ticket”, she said. “I can fly back whenever I want. I didn’t know how much time it would take me to find you.”

He smiled broadly. “Then you can stay for a while. I’m glad. Who’s taking care of Paula and your mother?”

“My sister.”

He frowned. “I thought your sister was dating your ex-husband?”

She gave him a happy smile. “Not anymore. She was smart enough to get out the first time he got aggressive.”

He nodded. “Good for her.”

They cleared the table and washed the dishes.

“There’s a nice little temple in the village”, he said. “We can walk there or take a taxi.”

“Let’s walk”, she said. “I need the exercise after spending two full days in bed.”

He grinned at her. “I don’t think we lacked ‘exercise’, exactly, but the fresh air will be nice.”

They left the house and walked some way down the beach, hand in hand, carrying their shoes, their feet in the water. After a while he pointed to a road that started at the edge of the sand.

“It’s that way to the village. I’ve said it before, but we really need to be careful about the local customs here. They’re not very tolerant about public displays of affection, so no kissing, no hugging, no hand-holding, and no… inappropriate touching.”

He gave her a meaningful look, and she showed him her most innocent face. “Who, me? Never!”

He chuckled. They put on their shoes and continued down the road, keeping a careful distance from each other. There was so much to see, and Raquel felt like she didn’t have enough eyes to take it all in. The village was charming, with lots of flowers and children playing with dogs in the street. When they reached the market, she was almost overwhelmed with the sights and smells and noise of it all. Passing a fruit seller, she nudged Sergio and pointed at a pile of mangoes on display.

“Oh god”, he grinned. “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look at a mango in an innocent way again.”

As they walked along slowly, Raquel quickly realized how difficult it was not to touch him. Without thinking, she kept reaching out to take his hand, or touch his arm, or pull him in for a kiss. Every time, she reminded herself just in time not to, and she could see that he was having the same trouble from the way he was constantly making and aborting movements in her direction. The further they walked, the more she began to notice an almost palpable tension between them, until the air between them felt so electric that she was half surprised she couldn’t see sparks flying.

They reached the temple, which was very nice indeed on the top of a little hill, and Sergio let Raquel go first up the narrow stone stairs. As she climbed up, she could feel his eyes on her, and by the time she was at the top, she was out of breath from more than just the climb. They stared longingly at each other for a moment, but kissing in front of a temple was definitely not a good idea, so she sighed and stepped into the cool interior. While the room was beautiful, she had trouble keeping her mind on the decorations. She hadn’t expected that it would be this hard not to touch him. For god’s sake, she shook herself mentally. Get a grip.

After the temple he took her to a nice park, where they walked for a while in the bright sun, at first talking about this and that, but the conversation gradually slowed and stopped as the space between them became filled with frustration and unfulfilled desire. Neither of them wanted to be the first to suggest they go back to the house, though, so when he suggested lunch at a nearby restaurant, she agreed without any sign of protest.

He led her to a pleasant, modern building with a nice stretch of garden out back where tables were spread out in the shade of big, branching trees.

“This is a nice place”, he said, sitting down. “Good food and very clean.”

She sat down across from him and wondered if she could eat. Whenever she looked at him, her stomach seemed full of butterflies. As they gazed at each other hungrily, the silence between them stretched longer and longer, until they both jumped at the sudden appearance of a waiter.

“Good afternoon”, the oblivious young man smiled at them, speaking in English. “Here are your menus. Can I get you started with some water?”

“Yes, please”, they both replied, and he disappeared again. They browsed through their menus and ordered their food when the waiter brought them their drinks.

The food was good, but the silence was becoming uncomfortable. Finally, she broke it.

“This is ridiculous. We have to be able to talk to each other at other times than right after sex. Ask me one of your questions that are way too personal.”

He smiled, put down his fork and looked at her for a long while. Then he said:

“What was your impression of me when you first met me?”

She considered this. “I’m afraid I don’t remember my exact first thoughts. I was under a lot of stress, and frustrated that my battery had died. I wasn’t focusing on anything else, but I think my impression of you was that you seemed very polite and kind. I remember vaguely thinking that you were rather handsome. How about you? What did you think when you met me? You must have a much clearer memory than I do, because you knew who I was.”

“I’d seen pictures of you before”, he admitted. “I’d assumed that you would be our negotiator, so I researched you beforehand, to find out what kind of person you were.”

“And what my weak spots were”, she added.

He grimaced embarrassedly. “That too.”

She nodded. “Go on.”

“So I already knew that you were beautiful, but I hadn’t expected to feel as attracted to you as I did, right from the start. I had come to that café in the hopes that I could get some information out of you, that I could make you trust me. What I hadn’t expected was that I would feel so much empathy for you right from the start. You looked so stressed, so tired. I hadn’t expected to feel guilty.”

“When did you fall in love with me?” she asked.

“I think it was that first night, when we went on our date and you pointed that gun at me under the table. I had a perfect back-up plan for just such a situation, so I wasn’t nervous at all. All I could think was how badass you were, and how great your instincts were not to trust me.”

She smiled wryly. “Well, my instincts seriously abandoned me later that evening.”

“That’s when I really knew I was in trouble. After we’d slept together and I realized that I didn’t want you to leave. There was so much else going on, but all I wanted was to lie there with you. I think that was the moment I fell in love with you.”

She gave him a soft smile, and he asked: “What about you?”

“I fell in love with you when I came home so stressed and sad, and you were waiting there for me with flowers.”

He tried not to show guilt on his face as he remembered the reason why he had been at her house in the first place. A sinking feeling appeared in the pit of his stomach as he realized that he would have to keep that a secret from her for the rest of his life.

She continued: “And I knew it for sure the next morning, when I woke up and you looked so serious. I asked you what was wrong, and you said that you were afraid that it had been the best night of your life. Do you remember?”

He smiled. “Yes, I remember. I really meant it, too.”

They looked at each other longingly, the desire to kiss almost overwhelming. She abruptly stood up.

“I’m going to the bathroom. Be right back.”

She entered the air conditioned interior of the building and followed the sign to the bathrooms. Once there, she leaned on the sink, then gave herself a stern look in the mirror. Pull yourself together! You should be able not to touch him for a few hours! She turned on the tap and let the cool water run over her hands and wrists while she took a few deep breaths. It didn’t help much. She was almost trembling with the need to touch him. She’d never felt a hunger like this.

She went outside again, and the moment she saw him, she felt a swooping sensation in her stomach. This is ridiculous, she told herself. It’s like I’m sixteen again. Sixteen, and in love for the first time. She sat down and smiled at him, and he smiled back at her.

“I’m so glad you’re here with me”, he said.

He stretched his hand across the table, and brushed his fingers against hers -- just the merest instant. It was unbearable. She snapped. Leaning across the table, she kept her voice casual as she said:

“I’m going to need to see you in the bathroom. Immediately.”

He looked at her, flustered. “Really? Here? Can’t we just go home?”

“No”, she said. “I want you right here, right now. No argument.”

“But what if we’re discovered?”

“They have a separate handicap stall we can use. Plenty of privacy.”

He grinned at her. “I feel like I’m having a déjà-vu. You’re not going to pull your gun on me this time, are you?”

“Not unless you’re not in that bathroom in five minutes”, she said sweetly, then walked away from him.

He stayed behind for a few moments, a little fidgety, and left enough money on the table to clear the bill, so the waiter wouldn’t think they’d left without paying. Then he got up and followed her inside.

She was waiting for him impatiently as he pushed open the door and slipped inside, looking around anxiously before he locked it.

“God, this makes me nervous”, he said, but when she pushed him hard against the wall and pressed her lips against his, her returned her kiss with just as much enthusiasm.

She couldn’t get enough of him. Her hands were in his hair, then on his back, then under his shirt. She kissed his mouth, his cheeks, his throat.

“Oh god”, he mumbled, as she was kissing him all over, “I’ve pulled off the biggest heist in history, and yet, somehow, keeping my hands off you for four hours is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

“Less talking”, she said, taking him by the shoulders and turning them around so she was the one against the wall now. She unbuttoned his pants as he moved her skirt up around her hips and pulled down her underwear. She kicked it off, then lifted her leg and hooked it around his hip, where he caught it with one hand. By the time he pressed her against the wall, she was trembling with longing, and when he finally entered her, she let out a loud gasp, which he quickly covered with a kiss. They set a fast pace, and he was pushing in and out of her hard as she steadied herself with one hand on his shoulder and the other gripping his hair. They were both flushed and breathing fast, kissing deeply. Then he groaned.

“Raquel”, he whispered. “I can’t take this much longer.”

“Don’t you dare stop”, she threatened, tightening her grip on his shoulder. “Don’t you dare.”

He held on for a few more strokes, then he gasped and pushed in deeply, shuddering, with a last few thrusts. When it was over, he stood for a moment leaning against her, breathing hard, his head on her shoulder. She leaned her head back against the tiles and sighed with satisfaction.

“God, I needed that.”

He withdrew from her and gave her an apologetic look.

“I’m sorry… I was too fast.”

She put her hand on his cheek and kissed him. “Don’t worry, darling. You were perfect.”

“But you didn’t… did you?”

“No. Does it matter?”

“Well, this must be a little frustrating for you.” He moved his hand between her legs, but she pushed it away gently.

“That’s not necessary. This wasn’t about that. I just wanted to be close to you, to hold you, to feel you inside me. That was more than enough.”

“I’ll make it up to you tonight”, he said, but she stopped him with a hand on his chest.

“You can’t think like that. It’s not a competition, you can’t start keeping score.”

“But…”

“Sergio”, she said sternly. “We talked about this only yesterday. You promised you wouldn’t take it personally if I didn’t orgasm every time you did. We had an agreement.”

“But…”

She gave him a dangerous look. “If you don’t let this go immediately, I’m going to fake one of my orgasms this week and you’ll never know which.”

He grinned at her. “Oh, you’ve got me there. That would drive me crazy.”

“I know”, she smiled. “So drop it, okay?”

He kissed her. “Yes, my queen.”

They made themselves decent again and left the restaurant as discreetly as they could. Raquel noticed that a few of the waiters were giving them funny looks, and she made a mental note not to come back to this particular restaurant for a while.

They spent the afternoon wandering around the village and talking, and Raquel was glad to see that the tension of the morning had worn off a bit. She still wished she could hold his hand, but there was much less urgency behind it. Nevertheless, by the time they had had dinner in a beach-front restaurant, they were both ready to head back and enjoy the comfort of their bed again. They took a taxi home, and Sergio broke every unspoken rule by spending the entire ride with his hand under her skirt, stroking her knee and the inside of her thighs, making her half-mad with longing again.

The taxi driver didn’t understand why he got such a big tip, but they were too eager to wait for change as they got out of the car and into the house. They were both laughing as they fell onto the bed and into each other’s arms.

“What a day”, he sighed, as she stroked his cheek. “I never thought I could desire someone this much.”

He kissed her throat and moved down to her chest, nipping at her nipples through her top. Then he lifted the top to kiss her stomach as she giggled. When he pushed up her skirt and helped her wriggle out of her underwear again, she opened her legs eagerly, but when he bent down and pressed his mouth against her, she sat up suddenly and scooted away from him.

“What are you doing?” she asked him suspiciously.

He raised an eyebrow. “I thought that was fairly obvious.”

“You’re trying to even the score, aren’t you”, she said, narrowing her eyes at him.

“I’m honestly not!” he said, with such an open expression that she began to doubt. “I just really, really want to do this.” He bent down again, slowly. “Please”, he whispered, pressing a kiss to her inner thigh, weakening her resolve. “Can I?” he said, following the words with another kiss, slightly higher up. “I so want to taste you.” His tongue flicked over her, once, and she fell back into the pillows, helpless.

“I’ll take that as a yes”, he murmured, settling himself more comfortably between her legs.

He took his time exploring her, alternating between quick, light licks and broad, slow strokes. She stretched herself and relaxed, sighing with pleasure. He pushed in two fingers, palm up, feeling around for a moment, and she tensed, only to gasp sharply as he found the right spot and pressed upwards.

“That feels so good”, she breathed, and he moved around a little, making her squirm.

“You don’t mind, do you?” he teased her, his fingers still inside her. “I could stop if you wanted. If you feel like we’re ‘evening the score’ too much.”

“If only you would use your mouth for other things than talking”, she grumbled, and he grinned in delight before obediently pressing his mouth to her and using his tongue where she wanted it. She moaned.

He struck up a rhythm, slow at first, then faster, the way she liked it. She reached up one hand to grip the edge of her pillow, her other hand tangling in the sheets.

“Just like that,” she whispered, every muscle tense. “Oh god, just like that.”

When the tingling started, she arched her back and moaned again, and suddenly she was lost to the world as the feeling overcame her and rendered her breathless for several long seconds. When she could breathe again, she relaxed back onto the bed as the fire inside her became a warm glow that stretched to every limb.

He stopped and moved up to take her into his arms. She buried her face against his chest with a murmured ‘oh!’, and he kissed her hair.

“My beautiful darling”, he said softly. “I don’t care about any stupid score. All I care about is this, making you happy.”

She hugged him tighter in reply, and he kissed her hair again, his throat suddenly tight.

“I don’t know why you’re with me, Raquel. You’re much too good for me.”

She looked up at him and opened her mouth to protest, but he cut her off.

“It’s true. I’m awkward and weird, not to mention a criminal, while you are magnificent. But you make me a better man. I like the man I am with you.”

“I like him too”, she whispered, pulling down his head so she could kiss him. “In fact, I like him very much.”

He gave her a sad smile, and she continued, her hand on his cheek. “I wouldn’t want to change a thing about you. You’re smart and caring and kind, and I love that. Also, you’re really rich”, she joked, and they both laughed.

“Seriously”, she said. “I came halfway across the world, not knowing what I would find, and I don’t regret it one bit.”

“I don’t want to let you go”, he said, his arm tightening around her waist.

“Then don’t”, she said simply, nestling closer to him.

A few minutes later, she was asleep in his arms.

 

 

Chapter Text

“You just can’t be very comfortable”, she said, raising her sunglasses and looking up at him.

They were on the beach, Raquel sprawled out on a towel in her bathing suit, reveling in the warmth of the sun on her skin. Sergio was sitting upright on his own towel, fully dressed, wearing a hat but no sunglasses, squinting at the white pages of the book he was reading. The only concession he had made to the location was to take off his shoes and placing them neatly beside his towel.

“I’m fine”, he said, not looking up from his book.

“Why don’t you at least take off your shirt?”

“I don’t want to get sunburned.”

“Then put on sun screen.”

He wrinkled his nose. “I don’t like sun screen. It’s sticky and it smells, and the sand sticks to it.”

“And why aren’t you wearing sunglasses?”

“They don’t fit over my actual glasses.”

“You’ve been here a year, why haven’t you gotten tinted glasses to go out with?”

He shook his head. “I don’t like the way they make everything look darker.”

She considered him for a moment, then ‘accidentally’ pushed some sand on his towel. He carefully brushed it off again.

She cleared her throat. “Sergio, forgive me for saying this, but you don’t seem much of a beach person.”

“What gave it away?”

She smiled. “You don’t have to sit here if you hate it.”

“You said you wanted a day at the beach.”

“Not if it makes you uncomfortable.”

He looked at her. “Raquel, most things make me uncomfortable. If I only ever stayed in my comfort zone, I would never leave the house.”

“We can go back inside if you want.”

“You don’t have to spend your holiday inside just because I have some sensory issues.”

“Alright… if you’re sure.”

He gave her a soft smile. “I’ll be fine.”

She started applying sun screen. “Can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“If you don’t like the beach, why did you come and live here? Why not go and live on a mountaintop somewhere? That seems more your style.”

“I like the sound of the waves”, he said. “And the openness of the view. Besides, I promised you a beach, so here we are.”

She stopped and looked at him. “You came here because you promised me a beach?”

He smiled again. “It was the card we chose, remember?”

She was touched. “Of course I remember. But I can live somewhere else if you want. It doesn’t have to be here.”

He shook his head. “On the whole I like it here. I don’t want to leave.”

She held out the bottle of sun screen to him. “Could you rub this on my back?”

He hesitated, and she quickly recanted. “Right, sticky, I forgot.”

“No, it’s alright”, he said, seeming to steel himself and taking the bottle from her. “For you, I don’t mind.”

“That’s very sweet of you”, she smiled, then shivered as the cold liquid touched the sensitive skin between her shoulder blades. Then she shivered again. She liked to feel his hands on her.

He took his time, making sure he didn’t miss an inch. When he was done, she turned around to give him a kiss of thanks. He was rubbing his hands together rather thoughtfully.

“Do you want to go into the house and wash your hands?” she asked him, and a look of relief appeared in his eyes.

“Yes. I’ll be right back.”

She flopped down onto her stomach, and watched his retreating back as he went back into the house. Sure, he was a little weird, but she loved him and she didn’t want him to be unhappy. When he came back, she had a suggestion ready.

“Why don’t we go out onto the water this afternoon? Maybe we can rent a boat?”

His face cleared. “Actually, I’ve been learning how to handle a boat. I can’t sail one, but I can take out one that’s motorized.”

“That’s settled then”, she said. “Can you arrange one for this afternoon?”

“Easily”, he said, then sauntered away.

Raquel smiled to herself and stretched luxuriously, burying her toes in the warm sand.

He steered the little yacht competently out of the marina, and soon they were on the open water. Raquel was sitting on the deck, her legs dangling over the side, enjoying the lovely blue hues of the water as it passed beneath them. The sea was smooth as a blanket, and he took them to a lovely spot where the water was clear as glass, and little schools of fish could be seen darting to and fro among the coral reefs. While Sergio dropped the anchor, Raquel went down into the interior of the boat to change into her bathing suit. They were anchored in sight of other boats, but far enough to give them a sense of privacy.

“You should put on sun screen before you go swimming”, he admonished her. “The water will amplify the power of the sun.”

She blew him a kiss. “Don’t worry so much”, she said, then took a running leap and jumped overboard, coming down into the cool waters with a splash. She laughed and turned around to see him standing on the deck, smiling down at her.

“Come on!” she said. “Change into your swimming trunks and join me, the water’s amazing!”

He ran his hand through his hair. “I don’t have any swimming trunks.”

She stared at him. “You mean… you’ve been here for a year and you’ve never gone swimming?”

He shook his head.

“Then just take off your clothes and swim without a bathing suit!”

He looked around, flustered. “There’s people on other boats.”

“They’re too far away, they can’t see you.”

He backed away from the railing. “No, I don’t think so, Raquel. Someone might come sailing past. Besides, I’m not so sure I like swimming.”

She shrugged and flipped in the water, turning to float on her back. “Suit yourself. You don’t know what you’re missing.”

He settled himself in a patch of shade and seemed perfectly happy just to watch her swim. When she got tired, she swam to the little ladder on the side of the boat and climbed back on board. As she passed him, she pressed a wet kiss to his lips.

“You taste salty”, he smiled, then yelped as she deposited herself in his lap, still streaming water. “Hey, you’re all wet!”

She kissed him again. “It’s warm, you’ll be dry again in no time.”

He put his arms around her and pulled her closer. “Well, now the damage is already done…” He ran his tongue lightly over her lips, licking the salt off them, and she smiled. When he leaned in for a deeper kiss, she leaned back slightly and teased him for a while, brushing her lips against his and then pulling away again, until he twined his fingers in her hair and pressed his mouth hard against hers.

She surrendered to his kisses then, and began unbuttoning his now-damp shirt. He shrugged out of it and ran his fingers down the wet skin of her back, his mouth at her throat. She leaned her head back and enjoyed the combined sensation of his kisses and caresses, shivering slightly as a light wind blew over them and caused her nipples to harden. He noticed, and ran his thumb over them.

“You look very sexy”, he murmured, “but this bathing suit sure doesn’t allow for easy access.”

“Then maybe we should take it off”, she smiled.

“But not here”, he said, eyeing a passing speedboat that was making their boat rock.

“Is there a bed down there?” she asked.

“Two berths, both fairly narrow I’m afraid. This isn’t really a sleep-over kind of boat.”

She kissed him. “We’ll make it work.”

She took his hand and led him down the stairs into the interior of the boat. He stood behind her as he slowly peeled off her bathing suit, then turned her around so he could warm her nipples with his mouth. She sighed and gripped his hair.

“Why don’t you choose a berth?” he whispered, and she spread a large towel over one of the leather-covered bunks before lying down. He took off the rest of his clothes and joined her. The berth was just broad enough to accommodate both of them, but it was a tight squeeze. They didn’t mind, pressing close together as they kissed. Outside, the sound of another passing speedboat broke the quiet.

Raquel leaned into him, her hand running down his stomach, and then a wave rocked the boat and suddenly he was gone. She opened her eyes in surprise.

“Sergio?”

“Ouch”, she heard from the floor.

She looked over the edge of the bunk and pressed her hands over her mouth, trying not to laugh.

“Did you hurt yourself?”

“Only my dignity”, he groaned, and she couldn’t help it – she fell back laughing.

“Oh”, he said, “you think that’s funny?”

He got to his knees and pressed his mouth to her sensitive sides, tickling her with his beard.

“Don’t!” she squealed, trying to scramble away from him, but there was no room.

“You’re at my mercy now”, he said, pressing tickling kisses to her stomach until she was helpless with laughter.

“Stop!” she begged, gasping for breath. “I’m sorry I laughed, I’m sorry!”

“That’s better”, he grumbled, climbing back onto the bed and lying down on top of her, taking her in his arms. “There. Now if the boat rocks, we both fall.”

She pressed her hips against him. “How about we make the boat rock?”

“In a moment”, he said, smiling. “I just want to test something.”

He carefully made his way down her body, covering her with kisses along the way. Then he spread her legs and pressed his mouth against her, making her gasp. He spent a few long moments there, and she shivered in delight, spreading her legs a little further to give him better access. Then he resurfaced.

“As I suspected”, he said. “You taste salty down there, too.”

He made his way back up and covered her body with his. She moved her hips to signal her eagerness, but he didn’t immediately take action. Instead, he looked into her eyes, and she felt his mood shift.

“Are you still laughing?” he asked in a low voice.

“No”, she whispered.

“Not so funny now, is it?”

She kept her eyes on his as she shook her head, lying perfectly still beneath him.

His lips started tracing her jaw, and she closed her eyes.

“What shall I do with you now?” he murmured against her skin.

“Fuck me”, she breathed.

He bit her earlobe, and she gasped. “I’m sorry”, he whispered in her ear. “I didn’t quite catch that. What do you want me to do?”

“Fuck me”, she said, a little louder now.

He moved down a hand and guided himself to the right place. When he pressed into her slowly, she let out a low moan and arched her back. He kept his mouth at her ear.

“Like this?”

“Yes”, she whispered, her hands on his back, gripping him tight.

He moved inside her, a short, sharp thrust, and she gasped.

“Like this?” he asked again.

“Yes”, she breathed, “yes, just like that.”

He struck up a slow rhythm, taking her at a leisurely pace, but pushing in deep every time. She closed her eyes tight and bit her lip with the pleasure of it, her fingernails digging into his back. That only seemed to encourage him, because he bit her earlobe again and started moving a little faster, still taking her deep with every thrust. After a while, he pushed himself up on his elbows and created a little space between them.

“Touch yourself”, he said, a little out of breath. “I can’t reach there.”

She moved a hand between them and quickly had herself gasping, touching exactly the right spot as he kept pushing in and out of her. He increased the pace as she started trembling, and she gripped the edge of the towel underneath them with her free hand as the feeling rushed through her, making her moan. As the aftershocks subsided, he stopped moving for a moment to let her catch her breath, then he brought his body back down on hers and kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his hips, and pulled him even deeper as he started thrusting again, faster now. Soon they were both breathing hard, moving with perfect synchronicity as she lifted her hips every time he pushed, and it only took a few more strokes before he groaned, tensed, then shuddered his release.

She kept herself wrapped around him as he lay on top of her, both out of breath. Then he shifted.

“I must be getting too heavy”, he whispered.

“No”, she said, keeping him right where he was. “I love to feel your weight on me.”

They stayed like that for several more minutes while he kissed her mouth and cheeks. Then she reluctantly let him go.

As they started dressing again, she kept half an eye on him. He dressed methodically, then took the towel off the berth, folded it neatly, and put it back inside her bag. When he saw her looking, he gave her a soft smile.

“Ready to go back to harbor?”

She nodded, and when he climbed the ladder back to the deck, she wondered how such a gentle, mild-mannered man could be so good in bed.

After dinner that night, she came to him with a sheepish expression on her face.

“I’ve got a sunburn”, she admitted. “Do you have anything to soothe it?”

He silently went to get a bottle of aloe vera gel, sat her down, and carefully started spreading the gel over her red shoulders.

“Aren’t you going to tell me ‘I told you so’?” she asked him.

“I think the sunburn is doing that for me”, he replied.

They went to sit out on the porch to try and catch a non-existent breeze. It was a sweltering night – the disappearance of the sun behind the horizon had barely lowered the temperature. She was restless and kept changing positions.

“It’s a full moon”, she pointed out idly. “Doesn’t the sea look nice in the moonlight?”

He nodded, looking at her rather than the sea. “Lovely.”

She got up. “You know what? I think I’ll go for another swim. It’s such a hot night.”

He looked at her in alarm. “At night? It’s not safe to go into the ocean at night.”

“Nonsense”, she said. “I can see perfectly well.”

“Raquel, it’s dangerous! There could be an undertow, or sea creatures, or…”

She laughed. “The sea is like a pool here. Perfectly calm, and nothing but sand for miles around.”

She took off her top and let it fall at her feet. His eyebrows rose.

“Aren’t you going to go in and change into your bathing suit?”

She turned shining eyes on him. “No. I don’t think I’ll go get my bathing suit this time.”

“Raquel!” he said, shocked, as she stepped out of her loose pants. “That’s illegal here!”

“There’s no one around”, she replied, deftly taking off her underwear and throwing it on the ground. “Nobody will see.”

She stepped off the porch and grinned at him over her shoulder, before setting off at a brisk pace towards the sea, which wasn’t that far away. He got up and followed her urgently.

“I’m serious!” he shouted after her. “These public indecency laws are really strict! You could get arrested!”

She only laughed and dived into the waves. He stood at the edge of the water, not sure what to do.

“Come on!” she shouted back at him. “For once in your life enjoy yourself a little!”

He hesitated, looking around nervously. There really was nobody on the beach. He began to unbutton his shirt and put it down on the sand. His pants followed. Then he started wading into the water. She swam towards him.

“You can’t go swimming in your underwear”, she said, grinning. “Take it off!”

“No”, he said firmly. “If you’re going to jail for public nudity, you’re not dragging me down with you.”

She laughed and took his hand, pulling him down into the water with her. It really did feel nice. They swam a short distance, then he stopped.

“Just a little further?” she wheedled, but he shook his head.

“I want to keep firm ground under my feet. Especially at night.”

She was shorter than he was, so she couldn’t reach the ground. She wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed herself suggestively against him.

“I’ve never had sex in the ocean before”, she whispered in his ear.

“Smart”, he said drily. “It’s not a very good idea.”

She looked at him, a little taken aback. “Why not?”

“The water washes away your natural lubrication, which means that it can chafe when I enter you, leading to irritation and micro-abrasions, which can lead to infection or…”

She pushed his head under water. When he came up sputtering, she kissed his streaming face.

“Don’t you ever just live a little?”

He coughed. “Not usually, no.” He kissed her back. “Not until I met you.”

She put her arms around his neck again, wrapped her legs around his waist, and wiped the hair out of his eyes. When she kissed him again, she felt him stir between her legs. She gave him a calculating look.

“Do men run risks of… what was it, irritation and micro-abrasions in the water?”

“Not really”, he answered.

She smiled. “Good.”

She unwrapped her legs from around his waist and reached a hand down into his underwear. He shivered when she wrapped her fingers around him.

“God, your hand feels so warm compared to the water.”

Keeping one arm around his shoulders to stay afloat, she started stroking him while she nibbled his ear. He shivered again and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer to him.

“That feels nice”, he whispered, then closed his eyes. “Really nice.”

She deftly manipulated him until he was breathing fast, but she felt there was something holding him back.

“There’s no one here”, she murmured, keeping up her stroking. “Just relax.”

He opened his eyes for a moment and looked at her, then pulled her in for a kiss. As their tongues touched, she could feel him tense, and his arms tightened around her waist as he let go.

They kept kissing for a while afterwards, then he noticed that she started shivering.

“You’re cold”, he said. “Let’s get back to shore.”

Her teeth were chattering by the time they stepped out of the water, so he picked his shirt off of the sand and wrapped her in it. She shot him a grateful look, then they hurried home to take a warm shower.

Half an hour later they were both in bed, lying naked on top of the sheets because of the heat. She noticed that he was unusually quiet.

“Are you alright?” she asked him, putting a light hand on his arm.

He gave her a rather absent look and smiled. “I’m just processing.”

“Processing what?”

“The events of the day.”

She felt a little guilty. “Did I push you too far out of your comfort zone?”

“No”, he said, gathering her in his arms. “Well, maybe just a little.” He was silent for a while and she let him gather his thoughts. Then he said, “Raquel. These last days with you have been the best days of my life, and I wouldn’t have missed them for the world. But it’s been rather a wild ride for me. Having you here, making love with you at all hours of the day and night… It’s rather a shock to my system, I’m afraid. You know, I’m not usually comfortable with my body. In fact, up until now, my body and I kept rather a polite distance from each other.”

She laughed. “How can you keep a polite distance from your body?”

“You know”, he said, “like a neighbor you don’t really know that well. You respect each other’s boundaries and try not to antagonize each other. I kept it fed and rested and healthy, and in return, it took me where I wanted to go.”

“That’s such a weird way to look at it”, she said. “Your body’s just… a part of you, isn’t it?”

“I’m feeling that now for the first time, and it’s all rather overwhelming. And then there’s the other stuff. Having sex in restaurant restrooms, and skinny-dipping in the ocean at night, and…”

“You didn’t like it?” she asked anxiously, and he shook his head.

“I loved it, Raquel. I loved every minute. But it’s all a bit… much.”

“I know what you need”, she said decisively. “You need a day to yourself, to decompress. Tomorrow you can stay here and do what you usually do, and I’ll go shopping and swimming and whatever else I feel like doing.”

He shot her a grateful look. “You wouldn’t mind?”

She pressed a soft kiss against his lips. “Of course not. I just came bursting into your life and you need time to get used to that. I can go my own way for a day.”

He hugged her tight. “Just don’t go too far. I don’t want to not see you all day.”

“I’ll drop in every now and then, and we can have lunch together.”

He kissed the top of her head. “Sounds perfect. Thank you so much.”

“What for?”

“For understanding. For not getting upset.”

She stroked his chest. “Of course.”

She stayed awake for a little while after he fell asleep, just cuddling close to him and enjoying the feel of his body next to hers. She mused that she would have to be a little more mindful of his boundaries, which she’d been crossing left and right without much thought. Again, she was struck by the contradictions in him. It would take some time before she really understood him – if she ever fully could. But right now, she reflected, she was just glad to be near him, to have the chance to get to know him better.

As he turned onto his side and spooned her, she fitted her body to his and sighed happily. She’d never slept so well as when she was in his arms.

 

Chapter Text

They both stood looking at it. Sergio had his arms crossed and eyebrows raised, while Raquel was running an embarrassed hand through her hair.

“I told you”, he said.

“I really didn’t think it would…”

“I told you.”

“It looked so sturdy.”

“Raquel, I told you the bed would break.”

She bit her lip. “It was creaking a lot.”

“And I told you to stop, but did you? No, you didn’t. Miss Murillo doesn’t care about my furniture.”

She shot him a guilty look, but there was laughter in his eyes.

“Well”, she said. “I guess we know what I’ll be doing today. Buying you a new bed.”

“Buying us a new bed”, he corrected her. “It will be yours, too.”

“Where did you get this one?”

“In a big store in the nearest town. You can take a taxi there.”

They got dressed, then had breakfast together. He kept looking at her.

“It will be weird without you here.”

“It will be good for you. Get some peace and quiet.”

He nodded reluctantly, and she leaned across the table to kiss him.

“What will you be doing today?” she asked.

“I’ll do some paperwork”, he said. “And get some reading done.”

She nodded, then handed him her phone. “Put your number in there, in case I need to call you.”

When she got up and started putting her things in her purse, he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Don’t go”, he murmured in her ear.

She smiled, and turned her head to kiss him. “Nonsense. I’ll be back before you know it. It’s perfectly healthy to spend some time apart.”

He hugged her tighter and started kissing her neck. She sighed, leaned against him and reached a hand back to twine her fingers into his hair. Then she shook herself.

“No!” she said firmly, pushing his head away. “Stop that. You know it’s my weak spot.”

He nuzzled her ear. “But I like your weak spot. I like all your spots.”

She found herself laughing as she squirmed out of his grip. “Let me go! We have to be strong!”

He squared his shoulders. “Strong. Okay. I can do that.”

She gave him one last, lingering kiss. “See you tonight.”

“I can’t wait”, he whispered, and then she was out the door.

She struck up a fast pace as she walked away from the house, refusing to look back. Don’t be stupid, she told herself. It’s only a few hours. She entered the village, and though there were people all around her, the world felt strangely empty without him at her side. Trying to shake off a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, she joined a group of people waiting for the bus.

When the bus came, she was lucky to get one of the last seats. She tried to focus on the view out of the window, but after only a few minutes, her fingers started to itch. She crossed her arms and gave herself a stern talking-to, but to no avail. She took out her phone and texted him.

10.34 <<im on the bus>>

She waited tensely for a reply. Maybe he’d put his phone away to focus on his work. It only took a few seconds, however, for her phone to vibrate with his response.

10.34 <<Why haven’t you taken a taxi?>>

She smiled.

10.35 <<this is much more fun. i like to see the locals>>

10.36 <<Your spelling is abominable.>>

10.36 <<who cares abt spelling>>

10.37 <<I do. Good grammar and spelling are very sexy.>>

10.37 <<of course u think that :p>>

10.37 <<What does that mean: ‘:p’?>>

10.38 <<im sticking my tongue out to you>>

10.38 <<Why?>>

10.39 <<im just teasing you :)>>

10.39 <<That was a smile?>>

10.39 <<yes :)>>

10.40 <<I think I get it :)>>

10.40 <<very good! the bus is fun>>

She sent him a selfie.

10.41 <<Where did you get a chicken?!>>

10.41 <<the woman next to me>>

10.42 <<Sounds like a colorful experience.>>

10.42 <<yes :)>>

There was a pause of a few minutes, during which she handed the chicken back to the confused woman next to her and thanked her. Then her phone buzzed again.

10.45 <<I miss you already>>

She smiled at her screen, then replied:

10.45 <<ive only been gone 20 minutes>>

10.46 <<Still.>>

10.46 <<are u getting some work done?>>

10.47 <<Not really. I’m texting with you.>>

10.47 <<well then lets agree not to text again for at least an hour>>

10.48 <<Alright. Agreed.>>

She put her phone into her bag and settled for looking out of the window. The woman with the chicken got off, and a young man came to sit next to her. He tried to strike up a conversation, but his English was so poor that she couldn’t understand him. She smiled and shrugged her shoulders, and he left her alone. A big grin spread across her face as she felt her phone vibrate again inside her bag.

11.01 <<This is a long hour.>>

11.01 <<u didnt last very long :p>>

11.02 <<If you’re so fond of sticking out your tongue, maybe we can find an application for it later tonight.>>

11.02 <<haha its a deal ;)>>

11.03 <<Now I really can’t focus anymore. How is the bus ride?>>

11.03 <<i think a guy just tried to hit on me>>

11.04 <<Was he harassing you?>>

11.05 <<no no. i couldnt understand him anyway, so he gave up>>

11.05 <<Alright. Be careful out there. And take a taxi when you come back.>>

11.06 <<we’ll see :)>>

The bus drove into town, and she got off at what she thought was the right stop. She used Google Maps to navigate her way through the busy streets to the store Sergio had sent her to. It was modern and clean and offered a lot of choice. She strolled through the rows of beds, until she found the model he had now. She sent him a picture.

11.42 <<should i just get the same one?>>

He replied almost immediately.

11.42 <<Don’t you think that one will break as well?>>

11.43 <<we could be more careful>>

11.43 <<As if.>>

11.43 <<really!>>

11.44 <<Know yourself, Inspectora, and get us a sturdier model.>>

11.44 <<if you say so, professor :)>>

She looked around, hesitating. She could hardly start jumping on the beds to test the sturdiness of the frame. She found a sales assistant and addressed him in English.

“What is your strongest bed?”

He gave her a confused look. “Our strongest bed?”

“My husband”, she improvised. “He’s rather heavy.”

“Oh”, the sales assistant said, then led her to a sturdy-looking wooden construction. “This one is very strong, I think.”

She gripped the frame and shook it experimentally. It didn’t even wobble. “I’ll take it. When can you deliver it?”

“Tomorrow”, he said, then took down the address.

She left the store and looked for a place to have lunch. As she sat alone at a small table in a flower-filled little courtyard, she stared longingly at her phone, then smiled as the screen lit up.

12.28 <<What are you doing?>>

12.28 <<having lunch. what are u doing?>>

12.29 <<Thinking about you.>>

12.29 <<keep ur mind on ur books>>

12.29 <<Really, Raquel, the spelling.>>

12.30 <<dont be so uptight>>

12.30 <<It hurts my eyes.>>

12.30 <<then stop texting me>>

Her phone stayed quiet for a minute, as she waited to see what he would do. The screen lit up again and she smiled triumphantly.

12.32 <<I don’t think I can.>>

12.32 <<have some self control>>

12.33 <<Says the woman who broke the bed.>>

12.33 << :) touche>>

12.33 <<What are you going to do after lunch?>>

12.34 <<walk around town a bit>>

12.34 <<Enjoy yourself. I’ll just sit here and be lonely.>>

She laughed. Then replied:

12.35 <<ill keep you updated>>

12.35 <<Thank you.>>

She paid and got up, then started strolling around the town. She went into an antique shop to look around, then entered a shop that sold brightly colored children’s toys, where she bought something to take home for Paula. She was just beginning to think about getting the bus back home, when she came across a cute boutique that was selling swim wear and lingerie. She smiled, then sent Sergio a picture of the storefront.

15.03 <<what do you think? should I go in?>>

The reply was almost instant.

15.03 <<Yes, please.>>

She opened the door and looked around. A tiny, smiling lady came from the back and said something unintelligible.

“Sorry”, she said in English. “I don’t understand.”

The woman smiled and switched languages. “Can I help you?”

She blushed a bit. “I’m looking for something to surprise my boyfriend.”

The woman winked at her. “I know just what you mean. I have some things in the back you might like.”

As the woman disappeared, her phone buzzed again.

15.12 <<Pictures?>>

She smiled to herself.

15.12 <<no way. youll have to wait until tonight>>

15.13 <<I can’t. Take pity on me.>>

She grinned.

15.13 <<no mercy ;)>>

She spent the next half hour trying on different sets of lingerie, and ended up buying a few different things. Every few minutes, he kept begging for pictures, but she didn’t reply. When she left the store, she read his latest text.

15.52 <<You have no heart!>>

15.56 <<u have no patience>>

The next text took some time to arrive. She giggled when she saw it.

16.01 <<I am slain by a fair cruel maid.

                My shroud of white, stuck all with yew

                Oh, prepare it!>>

16.01 <<are you seriously texting me shakespeare?>>

16.02 <<You recognize it?>>

16.02 <<educated guess. youre so pretentious>>

16.03 <<Most women would say that sending them Shakespeare is romantic.>>

16.03 <<then send this to your other girlfriends>>

She walked to the bus stop and sat down to wait.

16.25 <<waiting for the bus>>

16.25 <<I wish you would take a taxi.>>

Then, a minute later:

16.26 <<I can’t wait for you to come home.>>

16.26 <<sounds like u have plans ;)>>

16.27 <<Oh, I do.>>

16.27 <<tell me>>

16.27 <<First of all, you can show me your new purchases.>>

16.28 <<ill put on a show for you ;)>>

16.28 <<Oh, my heart!>>

16.28 <<i think you mean a different body part>>

16.29 <<I wanted to keep things polite.>>

16.29 <<why?>>

16.30 <<I’m talking to a lady.>

16.30 <<the lady who broke the bed>>

16.30 <<Fair point.>>

A man came to sit next to her and struck up a conversation. She didn’t really want to talk to him, but she felt obliged to be polite.

“Are you a tourist?” he asked her in English.

“Yes”, she replied.

“Where are you from?”

“Spain.”

“You’re very beautiful.”

She smiled, a little uncomfortable. “Thank you.”

“Are you married?”

“No, but I have a boyfriend. I’m just going home to him.”

“Ah”, the man said, smiling. “Too bad.”

A bus came – not the one she was waiting for – and to her relief, the man got on it and was gone.

She picked up her phone again.

16.42 <<another guy just tried to hit on me>>

16.42 <<Please just take a taxi.>>

The right bus pulled up and she got on it. She was just texting him “I’m already on the bus”, when her battery died. She cursed. She really needed a new phone. The ride back home was uneventful, and she stared out the window the entire time, imagining all the things she was going to do to Sergio when she got back home. She got off with a dreamy smile on her face and walked home.

When she rounded the corner to their street, she realized something was wrong. Sergio was standing in front of their front door, his phone to his ear, distress visible in every line of his body. His back was to her. She quickened her pace.

“What’s wrong?” she called out to him when she was only a few yards away.

He turned around and his face lit up with relief. He ran towards her and pressed her close.

“Oh god”, he whispered. “You’re okay. You’re okay. Are you okay?”

“Yes”, she said, her voice smothered by his arms around her. “Except you’re suffocating me.”

He didn’t loosen his grip. “I thought something terrible had happened to you. God, Raquel, I was going crazy.”

“Please calm down”, she said, pushing against his chest until he let her go. “What are you talking about?”

“You stopped answering me!”

“My phone battery died.”

He rubbed a shaking hand over his eyes. “Oh god. That stupid battery. I am buying you a new phone tomorrow.”

“Calm down”, she said again, rubbing his shoulders. “It’s not a big deal.”

He looked up at her, and she saw real anguish in his eyes. “Not a big deal? Raquel, you stopped answering me right after you said a guy had been hitting on you! I tried calling you, and you didn’t pick up! What was I supposed to think?”

She smiled. “You thought he’d kidnapped me?”

“This isn’t funny!”

“Sergio”, she said. “I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can”, he said, taking her in his arms again. “I just don’t know what I’d do if anything happened to you.”

She hugged him back this time. “It’s alright. Nothing happened. It was just my stupid phone.”

They went inside, and he hugged her again.

“Are you okay now?” she asked him.

“Yes”, he said. “Just let me hold you for a while.”

They stood together for a long time, and when they broke apart, he wiped his eyes.

“Please don’t ever do this to me again.”

“I’ll buy a new phone”, she said. “I promise. But you shouldn’t worry so much.”

“How can I not? I don’t think I could bear it if I lost you, now that I’ve finally found you.”

They sat together on the couch, and she noticed that he was still a little shaky.

“So, your day of rest wasn’t such a success, huh?”

“It was a long day”, he said tiredly. “Please don’t leave me again.”

She hesitated. “You do realize in two weeks I’m going to have to go back to Spain for a while, to arrange everything for the move?”

He grimaced. “Don’t remind me. I’m sure I’ll survive it, but I’m not sure how.”

She kissed him. “We’ll talk. Every day.”

He ran his fingers through her hair. “As long as I know you’re coming back, I’ll be able to bear it.”

They kissed again, then let their foreheads rest together for a long moment, hands held tight. She was the first to break away.

“Why don’t we make some dinner. Have you eaten anything today?”

He thought for a moment. “Not since breakfast.”

She shook her head. “Come on then. You’ll feel better after you’ve eaten.”

While they worked together in the kitchen, she could feel him slowly return back to normal. Over dinner, she told him all about her day, and by the end, he seemed relaxed again. He leaned across the table to kiss her.

“I’m glad you’re back. I missed you.”

“I missed you too”, she smiled. “But I brought you something.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Really? For me?”

She got out her bags and handed him a small package. He opened it and smiled.

“Ah. Swimming trunks.”

She kissed him. “Now next time we go swimming, you don’t have to use your underwear.”

He gave her an expectant look. “Didn’t you… buy something else at that shop?”

She smiled. “Yes. Several things in fact.”

His eyes shone in anticipation.

“Do you want to see them?”

“Yes, please”, he said eagerly.

“Go sit on the couch”, she said, “and I’ll go change.”

When she came out of the bedroom in a set of red lingerie, he nodded his approval.

“Very sexy”, he said. “Very ‘femme fatale’.”

She blew him a kiss, and he stretched out a hand to her.

“Come here.”

“No”, she said, “I have two more to show you.”

“I hope they’re just as nice as this one”, he said, as she disappeared into the bedroom again.

She came out in a black lace set this time, half see-through. He bit his lip.

“I think I like these even better. Can I feel the fabric?”

She snorted. “That’s just an excuse to get your hands on me. You’ll have to wait a little longer. One more thing to show you.”

He shifted with impatience. He didn’t have to wait long, though, before she emerged out of the bedroom once more, this time clad in a black one-piece and thigh-high stockings. He stood up.

“Oh god”, he said, his voice low, “you saved the best for last, I see.”

He walked towards her and made her twirl. He caught her around the waist with her back to him, and nuzzled her neck.

“Let’s take this straight to the bedroom.”

“The bed is broken”, she reminded him.

He groaned, and she turned around.

“We’ll just have to get a little creative”, she said, and pushed him back down onto the couch.

He looked at her with admiring eyes. “You can get as creative as you want”, he said, stretching his hand out to her, and she came to him and sat astride his lap. He ran his hand up her thigh over the stocking and started kissing her neck. She brushed her hair out of the way and tilted her head.

“You”, he murmured between kisses, “are so sexy.”

She sighed and pressed her hips into him, feeling him hard already between her thighs. He moved to kiss her shoulders, then her chest, and nipped her nipples through the fabric while she unbuttoned his shirt. She lightly ran her nails down his bare chest, and he shivered. Their mouths met and they kissed deeply while she gently rocked her hips against him, until they were both breathing rather fast.

“I want you so badly”, he whispered. “It’s a pity, but please take that thing off.”

She stood up and kept her eyes on his as she slowly dropped first one strap off her shoulder and then the other. She pulled it down in one smooth movement and let it drop around her feet. He was biting his lip again as he watched her.

“Keep the stockings on”, he said, and she helped him remove his shirt and unfasten his pants. Then she sat astride him once more, kissed him deeply, then sank down on him with a moan. He held her tight as they rocked together, slowly at first, then picking up the pace. His mouth was against her neck and his hands on her back as she rode him, and she quickly felt herself get ready. It was such bliss to be held close by him. She reached a hand between them and stroked herself, as he bucked his hips and took her deeper. Her other arm was wrapped around his shoulders as she leaned against him and tensed, and when he quickened the pace even more, she started trembling, then bit his shoulder not to cry out. He groaned at that, burying his face in her hair, and they came together, shivering in ecstasy.

She collapsed against his chest, breathing hard, and he held her close, his face still in her hair.

“Raquel”, he whispered. “You’re amazing. I don’t ever want this to stop.”

She looked up and kissed him. “Me neither.”

He gently stroked her back for a while, then she regretfully got off him to sit next to him and lean against his shoulder.

“Now”, she said. “What are we going to do about the bed?”

They ended up taking the frame apart entirely and pushing the broken pieces against the wall to lay the mattress on the floor. They got between the sheets, giggling a bit.

“It feels like camping”, she said. He got up to open all the windows, letting in the breeze and the sound of the waves, adding to the atmosphere. When he got back in, he rolled her onto her back and half-lay on top of her. He caught her face between his hands and gently kissed her lips, then her cheeks, her nose, her closed eyes, her forehead.

“Raquel”, he said, looking into her eyes. “I already knew you were wonderful, but I only realized today how much you mean to me.” He gave her the softest of kisses. “My wild, strong, radiant, bed-breaking queen.”

She smiled up at him. “My brilliant, sweet, worrying genius.”

He laughed and kissed her again. “Don’t ever leave me.”

“I won’t”, she whispered against his lips. “You’re stuck with me forever.”

He took her into his arms, and, wrapped tightly around each other, they drifted off to sleep.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Sergio”, she yawned, “I think I’m going to take a nap.”

He shot her a guilty look. “I’m sorry. I’m afraid it’s my fault you’re tired. I woke you up too early.”

She pressed herself against him for a moment and kissed his cheek. “It’s alright. I don’t mind that you woke me up… and I especially didn’t mind the way you did it.”

He gave her a shy smile. “I was afraid you wouldn’t like it.”

“I liked it very much. But now I’m taking a nap. Wake me if they bring the new bed.”

“When did they say it was going to be delivered?”

“Today.”

“Oh, they always say that. We shouldn’t expect it for a week or so.”

“Hmm,” she grumbled. “A week of sleeping on the floor. I hope my back won’t complain.”

He gave her a kiss. “Have a good nap. I’ll be in my study.”

She gave him a sleepy wave, then trailed off to bed. When she woke up, it was already getting dark outside. She stretched, feeling a little groggy, and only properly woke up after a cold shower. Refreshed, she put on a clean top and a flowing skirt, then wandered through the house to peek in at Sergio’s study. She leaned on the door frame.

“What are you doing?”

He didn’t look up. “Just some paperwork I didn’t get to yesterday.”

She went in and sat down on the edge of his desk, crossing her legs. He glanced sideways at her exposed knee, then refocused on his papers.

“I’m almost done with this”, he said.

“Don’t let me disturb you”, she said, leaning back slightly and running a hand through her still-damp hair.

He shot a long look down her body, then returned his eyes to his papers with stubborn determination.

“That won’t work, Inspectora.”

“What won’t work, Professor?” she asked innocently, re-crossing her legs so her bare foot was now on his knee.

“This”, he said, keeping his head down. “You can’t distract me. I’m immune.”

“Alright”, she said, slowly running her foot up his thigh. “I’m sure you are.”

He pushed her foot off his leg before it reached critical territory. “My mind is a fortress.”

“I don’t doubt it”, she said. “But is the rest of you?”

She reached out a hand and ran her fingers lightly over the back of his neck. He shivered.

“I won’t be swayed.”

She hopped off the desk and stood behind him, running her hands down his chest and stomach.

“Can’t I sway you… just a little?”

He groaned, and she leaned down to kiss his neck. He swiveled his chair, pulled her into his lap, and brought his mouth close to hers.

“You just can’t keep your hands off me, can you?” he murmured.

“I really can’t”, she admitted, trying to kiss him, but he pulled back.

“I’m not going to reward you for this kind of scandalous behavior.”

“I’m sorry”, she said, running a hand through his hair. “Can I make it up to you?”

“You could start by getting off of me”, he grumbled, but when she shifted her hips, she noticed he was hard under her.

“Of course”, she said, sliding off his lap to get to her knees in front of his chair.

He stiffened, his eyes big. “Oh, that’s not fair. You’re playing dirty.”

She reached her hand out to undo his pants. “I’m sorry, do you want me to go?”

He gasped as she drew him out. “No”, he whispered.

“Good”, she said, satisfied, and as she closed her lips around him, he leaned back with a groan.

“Oh god, Raquel.”

He twined his fingers through her hair as she moved up and down his length, and soon he was breathing fast. She kept going, until he suddenly stopped her with a hand on her head.

“Please get up”, he said urgently. “Now.”

She quickly stood up, and he lifted her and placed her on the edge of his desk, spread her legs and pushed her down with a kiss. He disappeared under her skirt for a moment, and she lifted her hips so he could take off her underwear, pressing his mouth to her for an instance in passing. She gasped.

“God I love skirts”, he murmured as he re-emerged, throwing her underwear aside. “Such easy access.”

He stood between her legs and pushed her skirt up over her thighs. She wrapped her legs around him, and moaned as he entered her. He firmly gripped her hips and set a fast pace right from the start, taking her hard. She reached her arms back to grip the edge of the desk, pushing off a pile of folders, papers flying everywhere. He grimaced for a moment, but to his credit, he kept going, and soon the papers were forgotten. She was moaning now every time he pushed in, pulling him in deeper with her legs around him, and when he placed his fingers there, it only took a few seconds before she arched her back and cried out, trembling. He kept going, causing delicious aftershocks to shoot through her, then he tensed and moaned, pushing in a last few times before he collapsed on top of her, shuddering.

They were both breathing hard as she unwrapped her legs from around his waist and he fell back into his chair. She smoothed back her hair and sat up.

“Oh,” she said. “That was good.”

Then she looked around at the mess she had made.

“I’m sorry”, she said.

“That’s alright”, he said, buttoning up his pants again. “My neuroses are not your problem.”

She hopped off the desk. “I’ll help you clean this up.”

“That’s really not necessary”, he said hastily, but she was already gathering up the fallen papers.

She picked up document after document, then she slowed.

“What is all this?”

“It’s nothing”, he said, trying to take the papers from her, but she pulled them out of his reach.

“Why do you have a blueprint…” she looked closer, “of the National Bank of Spain?”

“It’s nothing”, he repeated, but she was looking up at him, her eyes large with disbelief.

“Sergio”, she said, “please don’t tell my you’re planning another heist?”

“Not exactly”, he said, uncomfortable. “It’s just a back-up.”

“A back-up for what?”

“In case I need it.”

“Why would you need it?”

“I don’t know. But I might.”

She got up to face him. “Don’t you have enough money?”

“It’s not about the money”, he answered her. “It’s about the challenge.” He rubbed his hands over his face. “Raquel, you don’t know what it’s like. I spent years planning that heist, years. It was my entire life. I lived and I breathed those plans. And then it was over and it was all just gone, and it left me feeling… empty. So I picked up this plan again that my brother had started working on, just to have something to do. Just to smooth out the kinks, try and figure out if it could work. It’s like… a hobby.”

She looked at him angrily. “A hobby? Sergio, this is incredibly incriminating material to have in the house! Don’t you realize I’m going to bring my family here? My mother, my child? You can’t be playing around like that, you’re not only responsible for yourself anymore!”

He raised his voice in exasperation. “Raquel, don’t you understand? I need this!”

He raised his hand to run it through his hair, and she flinched. She tried to cover it up, but he’d noticed.

“What’s the matter?”

She watched the look in his eyes change from confusion to horror as comprehension dawned on him.

“Oh god”, he whispered, pale. “You thought I was going to hit you!”

“No”, she hastened to say. “Not really. It was a reflex.”

He stared at her, shocked and hurt. Please don’t make this about you, she thought desperately. I can’t comfort you right now. To her relief, she saw him come to the same conclusion. He shook himself, then continued on in a low tone.

“I’m so sorry, Raquel. I had no idea this still ran so deep for you.”

“Neither did I”, she admitted. She was rather taken aback by her own reaction. It brought back a lot of bad feelings she thought she’d left behind.

“Do you want to talk about it?” he asked her softly.

Her immediate instinct was to wave it away, but then she realized they needed to talk this through.

“Yes”, she decided. “I do.”

They went outside and sat down together on the steps of the porch, their feet in the sand. He wasn’t touching her, but she appreciated his nearness.

“I’m sorry for the way I reacted”, she started. “It’s not your fault.”

“Don’t apologize”, he said. “Though I can’t help but wonder why it happened now. You had heated discussions with your male colleagues all the time, didn’t you?”

“It was the context, I think”, she said. “The intimacy, the argument. It was all a little too familiar.”

He waited patiently as she gathered her thoughts.

“People often don’t understand abused women”, she said after a while. “Why don’t you just leave after the first time he hits you?”

He stayed quiet, listening.

“The thing is, it doesn’t start out that way. He doesn’t just hit you one day out of the blue. It starts with little things.”

She sighed, and her eyes had a far-away look as she continued.

“At first he’s so charming. You fall in love, and for years it’s smooth sailing, not a hitch in the road. Then one day he yells at you, really yells, loud enough to wake the baby. You’re a little taken aback, but people get angry sometimes. It happens.”

He nodded.

“Then things get worse, but so gradually you don’t really notice it at first. It’s such a grey area. When do you leave him? The first time he grips your arm so hard during an argument that it leaves a bruise? The first time he pushes you into a table? The first time he grabs your hair?”

She shook her head. “All of these things seem isolated incidents at the time. You tell yourself he didn’t mean to bruise you, push you, hurt you. You hold on to the good times – and there are many good times. He’s so sweet in between, trying to make up for what he did, promising you it will never happen again. But it always does.”

“Forgive me for asking this, Raquel. Please tell me if it’s none of my business, but… was there sexual abuse, too?”

She stared at the ground. “Some people say that there can’t be sexual abuse in a marriage.”

“Those people are wrong”, he said gently. “Was there?”

She gave him an anguished look. “I don’t know. Where’s the line? Is it sexual abuse when you say ‘not tonight’, and he keeps insisting? Is it sexual abuse when you say ‘stop’ and he keeps going? When he’s so rough that you’re left with bruises all over? I don’t know. When is a man just dominant in bed, and when is he abusing you?”

“I don’t know either”, he said. “I think what makes the difference is how you feel about it.”

“In that case”, she whispered, “yes, there was sexual abuse.”

“Raquel”, he said softly. “I want to hold you, but I don’t know if you’d be comfortable with that.”

“Yes please”, she breathed, and leaned against him when he wrapped an arm around her shoulders.

“When did you decide to leave him?” he asked.

“When I started realizing after a while that they weren’t ‘accidents’ anymore. That he wasn’t just losing his temper. He liked hurting me, just a little bit. He liked my bruises. He liked my fear. Once I realized that, I couldn’t stay any longer.”

He kissed the top of her head. “You were very brave.”

“Was I?” she said, wiping away a tear. “It doesn’t feel like it. Is it brave to do something when you have no other choice?”

“Yes”, he said firmly. “It is.”

They sat in silence for a little while. Then he said:

“You know I would never hurt you, right?”

“Yes”, she said automatically, but then she hesitated. He looked at her.

“Raquel”, he said urgently. “You do know that?”

“I do”, she said, then continued reluctantly. “But do you remember that time in your old hide-out, when you made me pass out? That was scary.”

He sighed deeply. “Of course you don’t feel like you can trust me after that. I’m so sorry I did that to you. I felt like I had no choice.”

“What did you do, exactly?” she asked him. “I might feel better about it if I understand it.”

“I induced what’s called a syncope”, he explained. “ I pressed your carotid sinus, which results in immediate impaired blood flow to the brain. This is something that can happen spontaneously, for example if you cough or shave, and it’s not dangerous. The biggest problem is that people who have a syncope usually fall and hit their heads, but I held you to make sure that wouldn’t happen. You were never in any danger.”

She smiled. “And you covered me with a blanket.”

“Peripheral circulation can be reduced. I didn’t want you to wake up cold.”

“You know a lot about it.”

“I spent a lot of time in hospitals. You pick things up.”

They were silent for a moment. Then he turned to her.

“Raquel, can you ever forgive me? I swear I would rather die than hurt you.”

She looked at him for a long time. Then she said: “I trust you. Don’t let me down again.”

“Never”, he breathed, brushing her lips with his. “Never, in all my life.”

She hugged him tight, and he protectively wrapped his arms around her.

“You are so precious to me”, he whispered, and she looked up at him.

“Take me to bed”, she said softly.

“Are you sure?”

She nodded. He picked her up and carefully carried her to their mattress on the floor. They lay on their sides, facing each other, as he stroked her arm.

“Thank you for confiding in me”, he said.

“Thank you for listening.”

“Of course.”

She moved closer to him, and he kissed her, a long, tender, undemanding kiss. When she pressed her body against his, he hesitantly pulled back.

“Raquel… we don’t have to.”

She looked into his eyes. “But I want to. I want to be close to you.”

“We can be close like this.”

She put a hand against his cheek. “Please don’t be afraid to touch me now. Nothing’s changed. I won’t break.”

She sat up and undressed slowly, without any urgency, then helped him undress, too. They lay down again, skin against skin.  He stroked her hair, her shoulder, her arm, her back, while she caressed him, too. Then he rolled her onto her back and started kissing her, first her lips, then her face, then the rest of her body. Goosebumps raised on her skin as he brushed his lips over her stomach, and she touched his shoulder.

“Please come lie on top of me. I want to feel your warmth.”

He did as she asked, covering her body with his, taking care not to let his full weight rest on her. They kissed, long and deeply. Then she whispered:

“I want to be closer to you.”

She opened her legs to him, and he entered her slowly, tenderly. She had one hand in his hair, the other on the back of his neck as she pressed her face against his shoulder, and they remained like that for a long moment without moving, just reveling in their togetherness. He started moving, without any hurry, slow strokes that made her sigh with pleasure. They kept that up for a long time, then they gradually slowed down and came to a natural stopping point. He looked into her eyes.

“Was this what you wanted?”

“Yes”, she whispered. “Perfectly.”

He withdrew from her, rolled her onto her side, and curled his body around hers.

“Don’t you want to keep going?” she asked him.

“No”, he murmured in her ear. “Tonight wasn’t about that.”

She entwined her fingers with his.

“Can we stay like this for a while?”

“Yes”, he said. “For as long as you want. Forever.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

It took them hours to get out of bed that morning. They kept cuddling close to each other, waking up to talk a bit, then falling back asleep, their limbs tangled in various knots. When Raquel finally managed to stay awake long enough to check her watch, she realized that it was past noon and that she really should get up. She untangled herself from him and got out of bed to shower. When she came back, wrapped in a towel and feeling fresh and clean, she bent over their mattress on the floor to kiss him awake.

“Sergio”, she said softly. “Wake up.”

He opened his eyes, then pulled her back down on to the bed with him, hugging her close.

She laughed. “No, you are supposed to get out of bed, not trying to get me in again! It’s past noon!”

“Who cares”, he murmured, maneuvering his hand between the folds of her towel until he reached her skin. He stroked her stomach, and she sighed her surrender and nestled herself a little closer against him.

He seemed to be waking up properly now. “Raquel”, he said softly in her ear. “Are you willing to try an experiment?”

She smiled. “I’m open to all kinds of experimentation.”

“I want to try a new technique.”

“Alright. Which one?”

“Delayed gratification.”

She wrinkled her nose. “That doesn’t sound like something I’d like. I rather prefer my gratification upfront.”

He raised himself on an elbow and looked down on her. “The theory is that I bring you to the point of orgasm several times before actually going through with it. It’s supposed to build up to a stronger orgasm, enhancing your pleasure at the end.”

She gave him a sly look. “Have you been reading things again?”

He blushed, grinned, nodded. “Yes. I’d love to try this one out.”

She considered it. “How many times is ‘several times’?”

“It seems that, for most women, it has the best result after three incomplete runs, with a release at the fourth try.”

She frowned. “That just sounds like I’m going to have to wait three times as long before I can come.”

“But supposedly with a better result. Aren’t you curious?”

She wrapped her arms around his neck. “Hmm… it does sound intriguing…”

He gave her an eager grin. “Now?”

“Alright”, she smiled. “Why not.”

“Good! Now, I’m going to need your cooperation for this. It’s important that you get right up to the point of orgasm, but stop me before your point of no return. If I stop too early, it won’t really work, and if I stop after you’ve already tipped over the edge, you’ll just end up having a very disappointing orgasm. So you have to stop me at the exact moment. I can’t feel that for you.”

She nodded. “Got it.”

She made herself comfortable on her back as he moved down the bed and gently pushed her knees apart so he could lie between her thighs. As always, he gave her plenty of time to warm up by starting with kisses on her inner thighs, inching his way up gradually until she was squirming for contact. When he finally got there, he eased her into things with light licks and kisses, before settling on the one spot and getting to work in earnest. She sighed her pleasure and opened her legs a little wider, tilting her hips for a better angle. The tension inside her built gradually, a languorous, creeping tingle that started deep inside and felt amazing. She hummed with contentment, and he picked up the pace a little. A soft moan escaped her lips as he entered her with two fingers, and she tilted her hips even further as he pressed against her G-spot. The feeling was getting stronger now, making her breathe faster. She knew she should stop him soon, but what he was doing felt so delicious. Just a few more seconds, she thought, arching her back. It felt so good… just a little more and…

He suddenly stopped, withdrawing his fingers, and she let out a plaintive sound.

“Hey!” he said indignantly. “You’re supposed to stop me!”

“I wasn’t there yet”, she lied, but he saw right through her.

“Yes you were”, he said. “I know you well enough to see that.”

She gave him a pleading look. “But it was so good. I don’t want to wait, please just continue, I’m so close.”

He looked at her, stern. “A little self-control is a virtue, Inspectora. We agreed on this experiment, now are you in or out?”

“In”, she sighed, fighting her frustration. She really was curious. “How long do we have to wait now?”

“Until the feeling fades completely.”

She shifted her hips uncomfortably. “Give me a minute.” She took a few deep breaths, then nodded. “Alright, it’s gone. You can start again.”

“And this time you’ll warn me?”

“I will”, she said.

“Really?”

She smiled. “I promise.”

He started again, slowly at first, and it didn’t take very long for the fire inside her to be rekindled. The tension rose faster this time, since she was already sensitive, and she sighed and tangled her fingers into his hair. He picked up the pace, and she knew immediately that it wouldn’t take very long this time – she already had the feeling that a wave was building inside her. She arched her back and waited it out, holding her breath, focused entirely on the sensation. Just before the wave could crest and break, she gave a sharp tug on his hair and gasped: “Stop!”

He withdrew his mouth immediately, leaving her trembling and incredibly frustrated.

“Are you holding up?” he grinned, putting a hand on her thigh.

“Don’t touch me”, she warned him, trying to breathe deeply again, but it was hard to catch her breath. The feeling took a lot longer to disappear this time. Finally she relaxed again, and nodded at him to continue. He couldn’t suppress a smile, and she threw him a filthy look.

“You’re enjoying this way too much.”

His smile widened. “I really am. Now, one more time.”

He lowered his head again, and she braced herself. This time, she felt the feeling start up again the moment his mouth touched her. It was even stronger than before, a sparkling flood of energy quickly building to an almost unbearable pressure. It threatened to overwhelm her so fast that she barely had time to shout: “Stop! Stop now!” before it was too late.

When he hastily withdrew, she curled in on herself, turned her face into her pillow and gave a muffled yell of frustration. Then she turned on him.

“I do not like this at all.”

He seemed torn between amusement and empathy. “Breathe”, he said. “This is the worst of it. Next time I won’t stop.”

“You’d better not”, she said, giving him a dark look, and he grinned.

“You think I’d be that cruel?”

“I wouldn’t put it past you.”

He laughed. “I promise I’ll be good.”

She was trying her hardest to suppress the urge to press her hand between her legs, knowing it would set her off immediately. She tried to relax onto her back again, gritting her teeth until the feeling passed again. Finally she nodded at him.

“Alright, go ahead. And no shenanigans!”

She was trembling with anticipation now, wondering what it would feel like. When he applied his tongue to the right spot for the fourth time and inserted his fingers simultaneously, the pressure was back within an instant, stronger than ever. She gasped out a sharp ‘oh!’ and gripped the sheets just as the wave inside her reached a peak, and then, finally, broke. She arched her back with a cry as the exquisite feeling of it rushed through her body, making her tremble and shake. Instead of fading away after a moment as usual, the sensation just kept on going, making her half rise out of the pillows, wave after wave of delicious fire consuming her. When it finally began to taper off, she pushed gently against his head and he eased off gradually, holding her hips as she shuddered through the occasional aftershock. Her entire body tingled and her breath was coming in sobs.

He moved up, gathered her in his arms, and gently stroked her back while she recovered, still shivering occasionally. Finally she took a deep breath and relaxed against him.

Fuck”, she whispered. “That was intense.”

He smiled broadly. “Was it worth the wait?”

She laughed. “God yes! Though I wouldn’t want to go through all that every time you go down on me. Let’s save this for special occasions.”

He nuzzled her ear. “Anytime you want.”

They shared a hearty brunch, then opened the door to the deliverymen of their new bed. Once it was installed, they spent a lazy afternoon together on the couch on the porch, Sergio reading a book while Raquel dozed with her head on his lap, utterly content. He stroked her arm as she drifted in and out of sleep, soothed by the sound of the waves and the rustle of the wind in the palm trees. She must have fallen into a deeper sleep, because she suddenly woke up when the sun was going down and a mosquito was buzzing next to her ear. She batted it away and sat up, rubbing her face. Sergio was gone, and she could hear him move things around in the kitchen.

She went into the house and leaned against the kitchen doorframe, still a little fuzzy with sleep.

“What smells so good?”

He turned around and quickly steered her back into the living room by her shoulders.

“It’s a surprise”, he said. “Stay out of the kitchen for the next fifteen minutes.”

“Alright”, she smiled, “I’ll go take another shower then, and wake up properly.”

“Don’t put on too many clothes afterwards”, he whispered in her ear, then sent her smiling into the bathroom.

After her shower, she considered what he meant by ‘not too many clothes’. She wasn’t going to walk around the house completely naked all evening. On a whim, she took one of his shirts out of the wardrobe and put it on without anything underneath. It felt nice and comfortable.

“Can I come in yet?” she asked him through the closed kitchen door.

“Yes”, he replied, and she curiously pushed the door open and entered.

The room smelled delicious, but what got her attention was the chair he had placed in the middle of the floor, and the look on his face as he watched her come in. He was most definitely in Professor-mode, and she felt something flutter in her stomach. She never knew what to expect when he was in this mood, which was rather thrilling.

She went up to him and kissed him. “What’s going on?”

His voice was low and warm when he spoke. “Are you up for another little experiment tonight?”

She raised her eyebrows. “You’re very adventurous today.”

He brushed his lips against the skin of her throat. “It’s just a little game. You can say no if you don’t want to.”

She smiled as she tipped her head back. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to want to.”

“Good”, he said, gesturing at the single chair. “Sit.”

She did as he asked, rather tense with excitement. Her eyes grew big when he pulled one of his ties from his pocket.

“The game is this”, he said. “I cooked something for you. I blindfold you, and then you have to taste it and guess the ingredients. If you get one right, you get a kiss. If you get one wrong”, he smiled, “I can open one of your buttons.”

She grinned in delight. “You’re going to blindfold me?”

“If you let me.”

She leaned back in the chair, playfully keeping her eyes on his. “Oh, I’m all yours… Professor.”

His eyes lit up, and she felt a tingle between her legs as he walked towards her and stood behind her. He carefully placed the tie over her eyes and tied it. She felt a delicious thrill as the world went dark, and shivered when his voice sounded close to her ear.

“Not too tight?” he asked softly, and she shook her head.

She heard him walk over to the stove, and return a minute later. She felt his presence in front of her.

“Open your mouth.”

She hesitated only an instant, then obeyed him. He slid a spoon between her lips, and she tasted something sweet – a kind of custard, she thought, delicately spiced and delicious. He withdrew the spoon, leaving a little bit of custard at the corner of her mouth. She licked it away with a flick of her tongue.

“Oh”, he said, his voice soft. “Do that again.”

She smiled and flicked her tongue again, and received an approving kiss.

“So”, he said. “What’s in it?”

“Sugar”, she said, a safe bet, and he kissed her again.

“What else?”

She moved her tongue around her mouth, remembering the taste.

“Cream?”

This time, he kissed her neck, and she caught her breath in surprise.

“What else?”

“Cinnamon?”

“No”, he said, and she felt him open a button on her shirt.

“Eggs,” she said confidently, and he kissed the newly-exposed hollow between her collarbones.

“What else?”

“Let me taste it again.”

The spoon dipped in and out of her mouth again. She hesitated. There was some kind of spice she couldn’t identify.

“Cloves?” she guessed, and he opened another button.

“Vanilla”, she said, a little more certain, and he kissed her chest.

The spice still eluded her.

“Ginger?”

A button.

“Mace?”

Another button. The shirt was hanging halfway open now.

“Oh!” she said. “It’s nutmeg!”

In reply, he put his mouth over one of her nipples and sucked. She hadn’t seen it coming, and gasped and clutched at his hair. She couldn’t speak until he released her.

“I suppose that was the right answer?”

She heard the smile in his voice when he said: “Yes, it was.”

Suddenly, she felt his hands start to undo the rest of her buttons.

“Hey!” she said. “That’s not fair, I guessed all the ingredients.”

She reached up to remove the tie, but he gently pushed her hands away.

“Not yet.”

She felt him gather her up, one arm under her knees, the other around her shoulder, and she was just in time to grasp his shirt before he lifted her up. She squealed, then laughed, wrapping her arms tightly around his neck.

“This is really scary!”

“I won’t drop you”, he assured her.

She felt him move through the house, then she was gently deposited on their new bed. He took the shirt off her, then pushed her down into the pillows. She still couldn’t see a thing. She heard him remove his clothes, then he was silent. She was trembling a little with the excitement of not knowing what was coming.

She felt the mattress dip as he got on and spread her legs with his hands. She tensed in anticipation, but still gasped in surprise when she felt his mouth against her. He only stayed there a moment, testing if she was ready, before moving up to cover her body with his. She blindly reached up and felt for his face, then pulled it down towards hers for a kiss.

She heard him murmur: “I want to look at you”, then felt him carefully remove the blindfold. She blinked a few times against the light, then looked into his smiling eyes.

“Are you okay?” he asked her.

“Yes”, she smiled back.

He kissed her. “Thank you for trusting me.” He pressed himself between her thighs. “Now, do you want to continue?”

She was tempted, but then she had a better idea. She pushed him off her, and he rolled onto his back with a surprised yelp. She sat on top of him, and picked up the tie he had discarded.

She looked at him. "Do you trust me?"

 

To be continued tomorrow, for delayed gratification... ;-)

Chapter Text

She sat on top of him, his tie in her hands.

“You know what I think?” she said, her eyes sparkling. “I think it’s time that I take over. You always need to be in control. You’ve been in charge all day. Time to turn the tables, mister.”

He looked up at her, a little apprehensive. “What did you have in mind?”

“Do you trust me?”

He hesitated. “Yes?”

She raised an eyebrow. “Thank you for that vote of confidence.”

He shook his head and smiled.. “No… I mean, yes, of course I do.”

“Let me tie your hands.”

The apprehension returned to his eyes. “I don’t know, Raquel… I don’t feel very comfortable when I’m not in control of the situation.”

She softened her voice. “That’s why I think this will be good for you. You need to learn to let go a little, relax, trust other people.”

When he still hesitated, she leaned forward and kissed him. “Of course, you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.”

She threw the tie aside, but he retrieved it.

“No”, he said. “There’s a certain appeal to it…” He flashed her a sudden grin. “Alright, let’s do it. I trust you.”

She kissed him again. “Thank you.”

She took the tie from him. “Hold out your hands, wrists together.”

He did so, and she tied him securely. “Not too tight?”

She could see that he was starting to enjoy the situation. “No, that’s quite alright.”

“Now”, she said, pushing her luck. “Can I tie you to the bed?”

“God”, he said, rolling his eyes, “this new bed isn’t going to last long either, is it?”

She laughed, and he shrugged, smiling. “Alright, why not.”

She jumped off the bed and got another tie out of a drawer, then tied it to the one around his wrists, and secured it to one of the bedposts. She stood surveying her work for a moment, and he looked up at her with an anticipating look.

“Okay, now what?”

She flashed him a satisfied look. “I’d like to try something.”

“What?”

She grinned. “Delayed gratification.”

He threw his head back and laughed. “I suppose I deserve that.”

She got onto the bed beside him. “Sure, you laugh now. Let’s see if you’re still laughing after three tries.”

He gave her a smug look. “Do your worst, Inspectora. You’ll find that I’m made of sterner stuff than you.”

“We’ll see about that”, she said coolly, then ran her fingernails up his inner thigh from his knee to his groin. That wiped the smile right off his face. He shivered. She did the same on his other leg, then turned around and ran her nails down over his chest and stomach. By the time she was down by his navel, he was hard. She pushed his legs apart and sat between them, then made him shiver again as she just pressed a soft kiss to the tip of him.

“Don’t tease me”, he breathed, and she flashed him a look.

“Is that your sterner stuff talking?”

He laughed. “You know what I mean.”

“I sure do.”

Very carefully, she ran her fingernails up his shaft, and he shuddered.

“Oh god.”

She did it again, and he shut his eyes tight.

“You’re killing me.”

She smiled. “I haven’t even started.”

She bent forward and flicked her tongue over the head of his dick, making him twitch, then she started at the base and ran her tongue upwards agonizingly slowly. By the time she was at the top, he was squirming.

“Please, Raquel, take pity on me. I never teased you this morning.”

She considered this. “That’s true. Alright. I expect your cooperation for this next part. Say ‘stop’ if you’re getting too close.”

She placed her warm mouth over him, and took him in as deeply as she could. He sighed with bliss, then moaned as she started moving up and down. She curled her thumb and forefinger in a tight ring around him in addition to her mouth, the way he loved it, and cupped his balls and massaged them gently as she kept going. Soon, he was breathing fast, and it didn’t take much longer before he started to tense. A moment later, he said “stop!”, and she halted, looking at him to see how he was taking it.

He swallowed hard, clearly struggling to keep his breathing under control. Then he cleared his throat and said: “I don’t know what you were complaining about. This isn’t so bad.”

She said nothing, just waited until he was breathing normally again, then she resumed her work. She heightened the pressure of her fingers, and he moaned again, moving his hips slightly in time with her rhythm. It took a surprisingly short time before he tensed again, and his voice was a mere whisper when he next said “stop”. She sat up to observe him. His eyes were tightly closed and he was clenching his jaw.

“So”, she said. “How are we feeling?”

He shook his head for a moment, indicating that he couldn’t talk right now. She waited patiently until he opened his eyes again.

“Alright”, he admitted reluctantly. “It’s not as… effortless as I thought it would be.”

She gave him a sweet smile, then set to work for the third time. He was now moaning with every stroke, his breathing uneven and fast, every muscle in his body tense. She kept going, expecting his ‘stop’ any second now, but it didn’t come. When he suddenly held his breath, she quickly sat up, and he groaned in frustration.

“Oh!” she said, scandalized. “You thought you were going to be sneaky, did you?”

“I’m sorry”, he said, “you’re right, this is agony.”

“Good”, she said huffily. “You deserve it.”

He shot her a look full of anguish. “You know, you can be astonishingly cruel.”

She merely smiled at him.

“Now please”, he begged, “please continue.”

She gave his breathing a calculating look. “A few more minutes”, she said, and he squirmed.

“Slow breaths”, she reminded him, laughter in her voice, “remember you’re made of sterner stuff!”

He gave her a dark look, then focused on his breathing.

The moment her mouth touched him again, he tensed and closed his eyes. She was fully prepared to go all the way now, but to her surprise, he called out to her.

“Raquel”, he panted, “please untie me. I want to hold you.”

She immediately leaned over him, and with two expert tugs at the right end of the ties, she undid his bonds and he veered up and closed his arms around her, kissing her hard.

“I want to be inside you”, he whispered against her mouth, and she straddled him, leading him to the right place. When she sank down on him, he buried his face against her shoulder and shuddered. It only took one, two, three strokes before he tensed, then gripped her tight as a sharp cry escaped from his lips. She moved up and down a few more times, then he released her and fell back into the pillows, panting, his hands over his face.

She got off him and stroked his shoulders, kissed his neck and his face, and then snuggled up to him.

“So”, she said, letting her fingers run playfully over his chest. “Was it worth it?”

“I don’t know”, he said, still catching his breath. “I’ll let you know once I’ve processed this.”

“How long will that take?”

“About three to five business days, I’d say.”

She laughed and reached up to kiss his cheek.

“So”, she said. “Today was interesting.”

“It was”, he agreed. “But I think I’m done experimenting for a while.”

“That’s fine”, she said, stroking his arm. Her stomach rumbled.

“Did you actually end up cooking us dinner?” she asked him.

“Only dessert”, he admitted.

She smiled. “Then why don’t we get dressed and go look for something to eat? I’m starving.”

She sat up and he stroked her back rather dreamily.

“You know”, he said, “you make me do things I never thought I’d do.”

“Do you mind?”

“Not at all. This was a fascinating experience.”

She kissed him. “Good. Now get me some food. What shall we have?”

He sighed blissfully as he followed her out of bed. “After tonight, you can have anything you want.”

When they got home from the restaurant, they were both in a happy mood. Sergio warmed up the custard again, and they took the dish and two spoons into bed, giggling.

“Actually”, she said, once they were cozily ensconced between the sheets with their dessert, “I don’t think we need the spoons.”

She dipped one finger in the custard and held it out to him. He smiled in delight and licked it clean. Then he did the same for her. She took his finger into her mouth and sucked it.

“Ohh”, he sighed, closing his eyes, then looked up at her with a look she knew only too well.

She laughed. “Maybe we’d better use the spoons after all. I can see where this is headed, otherwise.”

He looked at her a little wistfully. “Are you sure? I could think of some creative uses for this custard…”

“Haven’t we been creative enough for one day?”

He nuzzled her neck. “I suppose. Let’s just enjoy our dessert.”

They spent a few minutes happily eating, until it was all gone. He put the dish aside and turned to look at her. She could feel one of his questions coming, and she braced herself, smiling inwardly.

“Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever had sex?”

She hadn’t expected that one. She thought for a moment, then felt herself go red as a certain memory surfaced.

He perked up. “Oh, you’re blushing! This is going to be good. Now you have to tell me.”

She shook her head. “It’s really embarrassing!”

“Good!” he grinned. “Let’s hear it!”

She sighed. “It was while I was still in training at the police academy. I was with my last boyfriend before I met my husband. My boyfriend was in training, too. One day we snuck into an interrogation room during our lunch break, and we had sex right on the table.”

“That’s a bold move. What was the embarrassing part?”

She turned even redder. “Well, you know how interrogation rooms have one-way mirrors with rooms behind them so people can stand there and watch?”

“Oh god”, he said, grinning. “Yes, I see where this is going.”

“Yeah… so when we were done, the light suddenly pops on on the other side of the mirror, and about half our class was standing there, cheering.”

She hid her face in her hands. “That was the most embarrassing moment of my life.”

He couldn’t stop laughing.

She gave an embarrassed grin. “The only thing I’m grateful for until this day, is that it happened before everyone had a camera in their cell phone. God, just imagine…” she shuddered.

He kissed her burning cheeks. “I’m sure every boy in that class dreamed about you that night.”

“Oh god, don’t make it worse!” she laughed, giving him a playful punch.

Then she turned to him. “Okay, my turn to ask you something. What are your fantasies?”

“What do you mean? In the bedroom?”

“Yes.”

“I’m not sure. It’s all still so new to me. Just… regular making love with you is like all my fantasies come true.”

She kissed him. “That’s sweet. How about role play?” She grinned. “You’re a bit of an actor.”

He turned a little red. “I don’t know. What kind of thing did you have in mind?”

“Oh, anything’s possible. Some men like teachers, stewardesses, nurses…”

He twitched, and she grinned. “Did I touch upon something there?”

He turned even redder. “When I was in hospital, when I was thirteen, there was the sweetest little nurse. She was always smiling and always had time for me. After that I’ve always had a soft spot for nurses.”

“Good to know”, she smiled. “Maybe I’ll surprise you one day…”

He shivered. “Oh god, just the thought… Okay, maybe I do have some fantasies.”

She stroked his chest. “If anything else comes up… feel free to let me know. Now, how about we get some sleep in our new bed?”

They kissed goodnight, curled up together, and were soon asleep.

Raquel woke up in the middle of the night because she felt like something was missing. She reached out for Sergio, but his side of the bed was empty. She sat up sleepily.

“Sergio?”

He didn’t answer. She got out of bed and wandered through to the living room. She spotted him out beyond the porch, standing in the moonlight, staring at the sea. She went out and hugged him from behind.

“Bad dream?” she asked him, and he nodded.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

He nodded again, and they went to sit on the porch steps.

“I was dreaming about Andrés. He was asking for my help, but I couldn’t move. It was awful.”

“Do you miss him?”

“I do. A lot.”

She hesitated. “I only met him once, but he seemed like… a unique person.”

He gave her a sad smile. “I’m fully aware that my brother was a sociopath. But he loved me, and I loved him. That’s what brothers do. He always looked out for me.”

She wrapped an arm around him and rested her head on his shoulder. He leaned into her embrace.

“I still often wonder if he couldn’t have gotten through that tunnel in time. I think he could have. I think he just didn’t want to. He wanted to die on his own terms, instead of succumbing gradually to his disease.”

She stroked his back, and listened.

“He only had six months or a year left, anyway. I suppose it may seem to you like it doesn’t matter that much that he died when he died, because he was dying anyway. But I would have given anything for those extra six months with him. Anything.”

He took off his glasses and wiped his eyes. “I thought it would get easier with time, but it doesn’t really. You think about it less, but it hurts just as much.”

She kissed his cheek. “I wish I could say something to comfort you, but I’m afraid I can’t.”

“It’s okay”, he said. “It’s enough that you’re here with me.”

They sat together under the stars in silence for a while, sunk in their own thoughts. Then she kissed him again.

“Come back to bed.”

He nodded, and they walked hand in hand back to the bedroom. She was already half asleep again when he kissed her shoulder.

“Thank you for being here”, he whispered. “Andrés was always the only one I could really talk to… until I met you.”

She rolled onto her back to look at him. The first half-light of dawn was creeping through the window, and she could just make out his face. She put her hand against his cheek, and he leaned down to press a soft kiss against her lips.

Chapter Text

Raquel woke up early because she needed to use the bathroom. She sleepily rolled out of Sergio’s arms and walked across the room, shading her eyes from the already-bright sunlight. While she was washing her hands, she felt a familiar ache in her lower back. She did a quick calculation. Yep. Right on time.

She sighed and fell back into bed, nestling herself against Sergio’s back and wrapping her arm around him.

“No sex for the next four days, I’m afraid.”

That woke him up immediately. He turned around.

“What?” he said groggily. “Really? Uhm, next time, can I see the schedule beforehand?”

“Yes”, she said drily. “You can. It’s the same every month.”

He looked at her uncomprehendingly.

“I’m getting my period”, she explained, and comprehension dawned on his face.

“Oh”, he said. “I see.”

She turned onto her side, took his arm and wrapped it around her waist, and was soon back to sleep. She half woke up when she felt Sergio leave the bed, but she was still tired and decided to sleep a little longer.

When she next woke, the rays of the sun had shifted across the room. She turned around and stretched, then saw that her nightstand was full of things she hadn’t put there. She pushed herself up on an elbow and raised her eyebrows. There was a vase full of flowers, a tablet of chocolate, a box of pain killers and a box of multi-vitamins.

“Sergio?” she called out to him, and he came into the room.

“Good morning.”

She looked at him in surprise. “What is all this?”

He colored a little. “I’ve… never had a girlfriend before, so I… I wasn’t sure what I should do for this… event. I went out and got you some things I thought you might need.”

She stared at him. “You got me flowers because I’m on my period?”

He nodded, a little embarrassed. “I’ve read that it can be a difficult time, so I thought they might cheer you up. Did I do something stupid?”

She reached out to take his hand, and pulled him down to sit next to her on the bed.

“No”, she smiled, and sat up to kiss him. “You’re incredibly sweet. What’s the chocolate for?”

He ran his hand through his hair. “Don’t women eat chocolate when they’re menstruating? Is that a stereotype?”

“Yes”, she said, “it’s a stereotype.” She hesitated for a moment. “Which happens to be true in my case. I’ll eat that later, thank you.”

He smiled, and she continued.

“The pain killers I get, that’s very thoughtful of you, but why the multi-vitamin?”

“Women can lose up to 100 milliliters of blood while they are menstruating, which can lead to iron deficiency. Hence the multivitamin.”

She laughed. “Have you been reading up on this?”

He blushed. “Well, yes, I have. I’ve been up for a while, and I wanted to be sufficiently informed so I could know what you’re going through.”

She stroked his hand. “That’s really nice of you.”

He blushed a bit more. “I also went to the store. I didn’t know if you prefer pads or tampons, so I got you both. And I didn’t know what size, so I… kind of got you all of them. They’re in the bathroom when you need them.”

She couldn’t believe it. “You went out and got me tampons?”

“And pads”, he clarified. “Which do you prefer?”

“I usually mix them up”, she said, “depending on the situation. Sergio, this is so sweet of you!”

“Is it?” he asked, embarrassed. “I don’t know, from what I read it sounded like you weren’t going to have a good time for the next few days. I wanted to make it a little easier on you.”

She didn’t know what to say. He continued, still looking a little embarrassed.

“Can I ask you a few questions?”

“Sure”, she said, falling back into the pillows. “Ask away.”

“Does it hurt much?”

“Not right now, but in a few hours I’ll probably have a headache, back pain and cramps. I might get a little moody, too.”

“That’s alright”, he said. “I’d get moody too if I were you. Does it last long?”

“The cramps and the pain usually only affect me on the first day, thank god, but the period itself lasts about four to five days.”

He hesitated. She smiled and patted his hand.

“It’s alright, you can ask me.”

“You said… no sex for the next four days. Why? Would it hurt you?”

“No, but it would make a hell of a mess.”

He reddened. “What if… I wouldn’t mind?”

She raised her eyebrows. He was usually so fastidious. “You wouldn’t mind?”

“Is that bad?”

“Oh, no, of course not. It’s just that most guys think it’s gross.”

“It’s just a little blood”, he shrugged. “You deal with it every month.”

“It would still ruin your sheets. Blood stains are extremely hard to get out. Besides, I don’t usually feel very sexy on days like this.”

He kissed her forehead. “That’s alright. Then we’ll wait a few days.”

She was rather taken aback by the care he was showing her. Of course she knew he was exaggerating – after all, it was just a period – but after 25 years of cramps, aches, mood swings and nobody caring, this was rather nice. None of her previous boyfriends had ever shown the least interest in her period, except to stay away from her when she was moody, and to drop various unsubtle hints about the various ‘jobs’ she could still do for them, which she usually ended up doing.

She decided to try something out. She put her hand on his knee and slowly slid it up his thigh.

“You know”, she said suggestively, “just because we can’t have sex the regular way, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing  I can’t do for you.”

He pushed her hand away. “No way”, he said decisively. “If you’re not having fun, then neither am I. That seems only fair. Besides, what kind of boyfriend would I be if I let you do those things when you’re not feeling well?”

He kissed her on the forehead again.

“No, you stay right here and I’ll go make you breakfast.”

She lay back into the pillows, feeling simultaneously confused, amused, and like she’d just won the boyfriend jackpot. She heard him clatter things around in the kitchen, and waited for him to call her, but he didn’t. Instead, he came in half an hour later, carrying a tray with food. She sat up and laughed.

“Sergio, I’m not sick, I can get out of bed. This really isn’t a big deal.”

“Shh”, he said, putting the tray down on her lap. “Let me spoil you. You’ve done so much for me.”

She looked down. “You made me pancakes?”

“You’re losing blood, you should eat well.”

She laughed. “You act like I’m dying from a war wound.”

He ignored her. “And you should stay hydrated. Drink some water this morning instead of just coffee.”

She looked up, alarmed, and he chuckled. “Yes, yes, don’t worry, I still also made you coffee. I’ll go get it.”

It felt so surreal to sit there in bed with a tray of pancakes in her lap and her boyfriend getting her coffee, all because she was on her period. She considered the situation for a moment. Maybe she could get used to this.

After breakfast, she got up and showered, then they spent the morning out reading on the porch. Sergio remained solicitous throughout the day. He kept asking her how she was feeling. When she told him she had a headache, he brought her a pain killer, then massaged her neck and shoulders. When she complained of cramps, he brought her a hot water bottle. He made her lunch, then he took care of dinner, too.

“Am I correct in assuming that you may not want to go out to dinner tonight?”

“Yes”, she said. “I’d prefer to stay at home and be comfy.”

“Then I’ll go out and get us something. I’m sure afflicting my cooking on you for three meals a day will not make you feel any better.”

After dinner, they had tea at the table out on the porch and looked at the stars. Or rather, Raquel noticed, she was looking at the stars. Sergio was looking at her.

“More questions?” she asked, and he blushed.

“If I may.”

“Still about my period?”

“Yes.”

“It’s really not that interesting.”

“It is to me.”

“What do you want to know?”

“When did it start?”

“When I was twelve.”

“Were you prepared for it to happen?”

She grimaced. “Not as well as I should have been. My mother sat me down when I was eleven and gave me some basic information, but I was still really shocked when it first happened. My mother had told me my period would make me a woman. I didn’t want to be a woman yet, I was still so small. When I found the blood, I was so upset. I cried.”

He gave her a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry.”

She sighed. “I suppose it won’t be much longer before I will have to have that talk with Paula. I hope I can do a better job with it.”

“I’m sure you will.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. You try your best as a parent, but you never know what will end up screwing up your kids.”

He got a sudden anxious look on his face.

“Raquel”, he said hesitantly. “I’ve been thinking and… what if I’m not any good at it?”

“At what?”

“I know I’ll never replace Paula’s father, but I’d be a… parental figure, at least. What if I’m terrible?”

She smiled at him. “You’re not going to be terrible.”

He was getting upset. “You don’t know that. I hardly know how to talk to regular people, let alone children. I have no experience with children. What should I say to her?”

She laughed. “Don’t overthink it. Once she’s here, you’ll figure things out.”

“I’m worried I’ll do a bad job.”

“That’s what being a parent is all about.”

“Doing a bad job?”

“No. Worrying that you will.”

“Really? You worry about that too?”

“Constantly. How about we worry about it together and then do the best we can?”

He nodded, calmer now. “Alright. I think I can do that.”

He leaned across the table and took her hand with a serious expression.

“I want you to know I don’t take this lightly. I never thought I’d have children, but now… Raquel, I’m so happy we will be a family.”

She squeezed his hand and smiled. “Me too.”

Two days later, slightly after noon, Raquel turned the knob of the shower as cold as it would go and let the water patter down on her as she simmered with frustration. Sergio had spent the entire morning kissing and caressing her, and though he’d been careful not to touch her most sensitive spots, she was still about as turned on as she’d ever been in her life. Two more days, she thought, and then I’m going to fuck him for 24 hours straight.

The water, though chilling her skin, was not doing much to cool her off in other ways. She eyed the shower massager. It wasn’t really what she wanted, but it could maybe take the edge off of her frustration and get her through the day. She unhooked the shower head and twisted it to the massage setting, then turned on the water. A loud, hard jet shot out and hit the shower wall, and she quickly turned the knob to dial down the pressure. She was just about to aim it between her legs, when Sergio appeared at the bathroom door, grinning.

“Hey! Did I hear the shower massager? Are you having fun without me?”

She dropped the shower head in surprise and quickly moved to turn off the water as it squirted everywhere. He raised his hands in apology.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you! And I will absolutely give you your privacy if you want to continue. I just thought…” He gave her a shy smile. “Maybe I could be of some assistance? I’ve missed making love to you these past few days.”

She was suddenly shivering in the cold water that was still coming from the overhead shower head, and turned the knob to make it a little warmer.

“You want to be of assistance?”

“If you don’t mind. I had no idea you were having a rough time with this, too. I thought you said you didn’t feel very sexy during your period?”

“Not during the first day, but the other days… I don’t know, it’s probably something hormonal, but I actually always feel at my horniest when I’m on my period. It’s been frustrating me all my life.”

“So…” he said slowly, “You do want to have sex?”

“Yes, but I know we can’t. It’s too messy, Sergio, really.”

“What if we just do it in the shower?”

“You’ll still get blood all over you.”

“I could wash it off immediately.”

“You wouldn’t mind?”

“Not at all.”

“You really want to do this?”

“Yes, please.”

She gripped his shirt and pulled him in with her under the shower.

“Hey!” he yelled. “My clothes!”

She pressed him against the wall and kissed him. He was laughing.

“You really couldn’t have waited two more minutes while I got undressed?”

“No”, she said, unbuttoning his shirt. “I really couldn’t.”

Together, they stripped off his by now soaked clothing, then he pushed her against the wall and pulled up one leg.

“Are you sure?” she asked him one last time. “You don’t have to.”

He grinned. “What would you do if I said ‘no’ now?”

She shuddered. “Probably combust.”

She pulled him in for a kiss, and he guided himself to her and pushed in. She threw her head back and moaned. It was absolute bliss. The stones of the wall were rough against her back as he began moving, but she couldn’t care less. She threw her arms around his neck and pulled him close, burying her face in his shoulder, overwhelmed by the delicious sensations inside her. Everything seemed just a little more sensitive than usual.

He whispered in her ear. “Good?”

She could barely reply. “So good.”

He kept up a steady rhythm for a long time, and she just couldn’t get enough of him. She kissed his neck and shoulders, ran her hands up and down his back and gripped his hair. Every once in a while he asked her: “Enough?” and she would answer: “Just a little longer”. She’d never been more grateful for his stamina than today, but finally he couldn’t take it anymore.

“I’m sorry Raquel”, he said, his voice strained. “I can’t keep going much longer.”

“It’s okay”, she whispered, and held him close as he groaned and pushed in deep once, twice more, then leaned against her, out of breath. She kept kissing his cheeks until he took his weight off of her and stood up straight again. He washed himself clean, then turned his eyes on her with a smile.

“Now, let’s take care of you.”

“Really”, she said, “this was more than enough.”

“Nonsense”, he said, shaking his head. “I have a feeling that it won’t take much time.”

He turned her around so her back was pressed against him, then wrapped one arm firmly around her waist and reached for the second shower head and turned on the water.

“Spread your legs”, he whispered in her ear, and she obeyed him, trembling.

He was right: it didn’t take much time. The moment the jet touched her, her whole body twitched and she gripped his arm. With her other hand, she guided him to the right spot, then closed her eyes and moaned as the orgasm started building immediately. She shook as it rushed through her, her knees so weak she would have fallen if he hadn’t been holding her so tight. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was enough to bring her some much-needed relief, and when it was over she pushed his hand away, gasping.

He turned the water off and replaced the shower head, then held her with both arms as she leaned back against him. He gently nuzzled her ear until she got her composure back, then she turned around and kissed him deeply.

“Thank you.”

He smiled. “This was entirely my pleasure.”

They kissed again, then she sighed.

“I feel so much better now.” She looked at him, hesitant. “Would you mind maybe… doing this again tomorrow?”

He kissed her neck. “Tomorrow… tonight… in an hour… whatever you want.”

She smiled.

When they got out of the shower, she quickly inserted a tampon, then let him wrap her in a big fluffy towel and rub her dry. She sighed happily.

“I feel so spoiled.”

“Good”, he said. “You deserve it.”

She turned around to look at him. “You’re an amazing boyfriend, you know that?”

His eyes lit up. “Really?”

“The best.”

“Well, I have many sins to atone for, so I’m glad you think so.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

They were having a late breakfast after sleeping in as usual, when Sergio spilled some orange juice on his shirt. Instead of swearing like a regular person, he just looked embarrassed and went to the sink to try and wash it out.

Raquel stood up. “Orange juice doesn’t wash out like that. I’ll just get you a clean shirt.”

She went to the bedroom and opened his wardrobe, then ran a thoughtful hand over his shirts.

“Sergio”, she called. “You need some new clothes.”

“What?” He appeared in the door, startled. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”

“They’re completely unsuited to the climate here. All those heavy fabrics and formal things.”

“What should I wear, then?”

“How about something with a short sleeve, for a start? Some light cotton, some linen… Even – dare I say it – some shorts?”

He shuddered. “Please no. I would feel ridiculous.”

“Loose pants then, and some brighter shirts. A few casual things would make you so much more comfortable.”

She turned to him, her eyes shining. “I know! Why don’t I take you out shopping this afternoon?”

He groaned. “Why did I have to spill that orange juice?”

“Come on!” she said, warming to the idea. “We can go into town for lunch, then visit some stores. We’ll be back home for dinner. What do you think?”

He gave her a long-suffering look. “Fine. If you must.”

She patted his shoulder. “Believe me, you’ll feel so much happier in some summer wear.”

They took a taxi into town right before noon, and had lunch at a charming little restaurant near the shopping district. Then she dragged him reluctantly out into the street.

“No big department stores, please”, he begged. “There’s too much choice and too many people, it’s overwhelming.”

“How about there?” she suggested, pointing at a medium-sized store for men’s wear.

“I suppose”, he sighed, then grumbled under his breath: “What have I done to deserve this?”

A little bell on the door tinkled when they entered the store. A man behind the counter looked up and addressed them in English.

“What can I help you with today?”

“We would like some casual wear”, Raquel said. “Shirts, pants, a bit of everything.”

“I’ll get you someone to help you”, the man said, then called to the back of the store: “Rosa, could you come out here, please?”

A smiling girl appeared from behind a curtain and came up to them. She was very pretty.

“Good afternoon”, she said in fluent English. “Just tell me what you’re looking for and I’ll do what I can to help you.”

“Light fabrics”, Raquel said. “Linen pants, cotton shirts, that sort of thing.”

“But no t-shirts”, Sergio hastened to say. “And no shorts.”

The girl nodded. “Of course. I’ll see what I can find.”

“And no Hawaiian prints!” Sergio called after her retreating back.

Raquel browsed idly through the racks as they waited, while Sergio stood with his arms crossed and a resigned expression on his face. Soon the girl returned.

“Let’s start you off with some of our newest items”, she said. “Casual, but still stylish.” She flashed Sergio a coy smile. “You have a classic sort of style, we wouldn’t want to ruin that completely.”

Raquel’s eyebrows went up, but Sergio looked slightly mollified. The girl handed him a few things, and he went into the changing room without further protest. He came out a few minutes later in a long-sleeved shirt without collar.

“That still looks rather warm”, Raquel said, but Sergio was looking approvingly in the mirror.

“I rather like it”, he said, and the girl was quick to agree.

“I like it too”, she smiled. “This is a good model for you, it makes you look very handsome.”

Looking pleased, he disappeared into the changing room again. Raquel shot the girl a meaningful look, but she was busy sorting through a pile of shirts. Next, Sergio came out in a short-sleeved shirt with a rather bright print.

“I’m not so sure about this”, he started, but the girl was on him in a second.

“This color is very fashionable this year”, she said, walking over to him and smoothing out some wrinkles on his shoulders and chest. “I think it’s a size too small, however. You have such nice, broad shoulders. I’ll go get you a bigger one.”

She walked away, and Sergio looked after her with a mild expression on his face.

“What a nice girl.”

Raquel snorted. “Nice?”

He turned to her, surprised. “You don’t think she’s nice?”

“Oh come on, Sergio, she’s flirting with you.”

He perked up. “Really?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “You don’t have to look so pleased about it.”

“Well… it’s just… that never happens to me.”

The girl returned, and Raquel saw to her consternation that Sergio was turning his awkward but adorable charm on her. He took the shirt from her with a smile.

“Thank you”, he said. “You’re very helpful.”

She gave him a radiant smile in return. “Customers like you are a pleasure to work with. I can already see that everything will look good on you.”

Sergio caught Raquel’s eye and gave her a big grin before re-entering the changing room. She glowered after him.

Through the next couple of shirts, Sergio and the girl kept up a constant stream of compliments and playful banter. Finally, she disappeared again to find him a different color of something. Raquel turned to him, hands on her hips.

“Would you stop it?”

He seemed genuinely confused. “Stop what?”

“Being all charming to her.”

“I’m just being friendly.”

“You’re flirting back. Stop it.”

A delighted look appeared on his face. “You’re jealous!”

She crossed her arms defensively. “No, I’m not.”

“Yes you are!” he grinned. “You can’t stand this!”

The girl returned, so all Raquel could do was shoot him a dirty look, which he seemed to take in his stride. Through the next couple of items, the girl seemed to become bolder and bolder, adjusting Sergio’s collar, constantly touching him, and laughing at everything he said. Raquel simmered quietly. Sergio emerged in another shirt.

“This one doesn’t seem to fit right”, he said.

“You’ve buttoned it up wrong”, the girl explained, and then, to Raquel’s astonishment, began to unbutton his shirt and then button it up again the right way. “There. How’s that?”

“Better”, he said, seeming oblivious to Raquel’s outraged looks. “I like the model. Do you have it in any other colors? I might just take a few of these.”

The girl disappeared in the back of the store, and Raquel put a hand on Sergio’s chest and pushed him backwards through the curtain into the changing room.

“Hey!” he exclaimed, startled. “What are you…?”

She shut his mouth with hers, kissing him hard. She slammed him against the wall and deepened the kiss, pressing her body against his. After several long moments, she pulled back, leaving him dazed and a little breathless.

“Hmm…” he said, clearing his throat. “That was… you are… wow.”

“And don’t you forget it”, she said lightly, then whipped through the curtain back into the store.

He stayed behind for several moments to regain his composure, and she smiled in satisfaction. When he came out, however, he looked rather amused, and his attitude towards the girl didn’t change all through the fitting of pants. Raquel’s temper wasn’t great when they finally paid and left the store, but Sergio seemed very chipper.

“I enjoyed that more than I thought I would”, he said happily as they crossed the street.

“I’m sure you did”, she said icily, and he grinned again.

“You were really jealous of her, weren’t you?”

She huffed. “As if.”

“Maybe you should have stood a little closer to me or something”, he said, amused. “Called me ‘darling’ or whatever – made it a little clearer that we were together.”

“It was clear enough that we were together!”

They passed a stationary store, and he held out his arm to stop her.

“Wait a minute, I just need to go in and get something. You can wait out here, I won’t be a minute.”

She waited outside with their bags, still fuming quietly. A little while later, he came out again, wearing a smirk and a sticker on his shirt that said in capital letters: ‘PROPERTY OF RAQUEL MURILLO’.

She punched him on the shoulder.

“Ouch!” he said, in mock surprise. “What now? I thought you’d be pleased! Punching me on the shoulder…”

“Count your blessings”, she grumbled. “I wanted to punch you on the nose.”

“Violence is never the answer”, he said, his voice full of laughter as she ripped off the sticker, crushed it into a little ball and let it bounce off his forehead, then stalked off.

During the taxi ride home, Raquel pointedly ignored him and struck up a conversation with their driver. He sat beside her, quietly smiling. When they got home, he caught her around the waist and pulled her backwards against him.

“Come on”, he said, nuzzling her ear. “Don’t be mad. You know you’re the only woman for me.”

She struggled for a moment, then seemed to relent. She turned in his arms, grabbed him by the tie and pulled him into the bedroom. There, she pushed him onto the bed and began undressing. His eyes widened as her dropping clothes revealed the set of black lacy lingerie that he loved so much.

“I didn’t know you were wearing that”, he said.

“I wanted to reward you for going out shopping”, she said. “But I’ve got the feeling you didn’t mind it that much, after all.”

“Please do keep it on”, he whispered, and she walked towards him and pushed him down into the pillows. Then she began undoing his pants.

“God”, he grinned, as she drew him out. “Women should flirt with me more often if this is the response I get.”

She looked up and narrowed her eyes at him. “Is that really a wise thing to say while I’m holding precious merchandise?”

“No”, he whispered, lying back into the pillows as her mouth closed over him. “I’m sorry. I’ll never look at another woman again. Oh god Raquel!”

She wasn’t playing around this time – no tickling, no teasing – she went straight for him with everything she had, and he was soon gasping under her hands. She handled him expertly, touching, licking and sucking with varying pressure and movements, until he was begging her not to stop. One of his hands was in her hair, the other gripping the sheets so tight his knuckles whitened. He was trying not to lose control, to make it last for as long as he could, but when she cupped his balls and gently squeezed, he couldn’t take it anymore. His hand tightened in her hair as his every muscle tensed, then he let out a hoarse cry and half rose out of the pillows as the feeling rocked him. She kept going until he shuddered and fell back onto the bed, panting, his eyes closed and an expression of bliss on his face.

She delicately spat into a tissue, then observed him with a satisfied expression as he groaned again.

“Raquel”, he whispered, as she came to lie beside him and her head found the hollow of his shoulder. “You absolute goddess. I will never flirt again, I swear. You have my unequivocal and everlasting devotion.”

“That’s what I like to hear”, she smiled, draping her arm over his chest.

That evening, they dressed up and went out to a nice place for dinner. It was a local restaurant with a big garden, where a small live band playing cheerful music added to the atmosphere. The food was good, and they talked and laughed through drinks and dinner, and he only had eyes for her. After the plates were cleared, she started wiggling in her chair, bouncing her foot to the rhythm of the music. Most of the other tables were empty now, with more and more couples stepping onto the dance floor.

She shot him an eager look. “Do you want to dance?”

He grimaced. “You really don’t want to see that.”

“Come on”, she wheedled. “The music is so good!”

“So it is, but I don’t dance. Ever.”

She sat back, disappointed, but perked up when a man from a nearby table approached her and held out a hand.

“Would the beautiful lady care for a dance?” he asked with smooth charm, and her eyes glittered.

“That is”, the man continued politely, with a glance at Sergio, “if the gentleman doesn’t mind.”

“Oh, the gentleman doesn’t mind”, she said decidedly, then firmly took the man’s hand and let herself be swept off to the dance floor.

Sergio watched her go with a pained expression. He really wished that he could tap on the man’s shoulder and take Raquel from him, but he knew he’d only embarrass them both if he tried to dance. He tried to convince himself that he wanted her to have a good time, even if it was with some other man, and he tried not to look too upset as that other man spun her around the dance floor.

The song changed, and was replaced by a much slower tune. Sergio felt something twist in his chest as he saw the man pull Raquel close to him, one hand holding her hand, the other on the small of her back. It was agony to see them turn in slow circles, and his heart started beating painfully hard as he saw the man whisper something in her ear, to which she burst out laughing. It was a relief when the song ended and was followed by a much more upbeat one, but he still didn’t like the way the man was looking at Raquel, or how his arm slid easily around her waist.

It felt like an eternity before the band stopped playing, everyone clapped, and Raquel returned to their table, out of breath and with sparkling eyes.

“Oh, that was so much fun!”

“I’m glad”, he said stiffly, and she glanced at him, then grinned.

“Oh don’t tell me”, she said. “You’re not jealous?”

“Yes”, he said quietly. “I’m afraid I am.”

She seemed taken aback by his honesty. She leaned across the table and put a hand on his.

“It was only dancing”, she said soothingly. “It didn’t mean anything.”

He nodded. “Can we please go home?”

“Of course”, she said gently, then signaled for the bill.

They were quiet on the walk home. When she closed the front door behind him and he still hadn’t uttered a word, she turned to him, her hands on her hips.

“Okay”, she said. “Explain something to me. Why is it okay for you to flirt with a girl, but not for me to dance with a man?”

“It’s not the same thing”, he said softly.

“Really?” she said. “Because from where I’m standing, it looks a hell of a lot similar.”

“I don’t mean to apply a double standard here, Raquel, I’m sorry. Of course you can dance with whomever you want.”

“Then why are you so upset?”

“You were upset, too, earlier.”

“I was a bit annoyed. I didn’t act like a sad puppy.”

He grimaced. “Don’t you see the difference here?”

“No”, she said, “I don’t.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “You’re the only one for me, Raquel. The only woman I’ve ever loved. You’re it. If I lost you, I could never love anyone again, ever.”

He started pacing. “But you could so easily leave me. There are so many men out there with more to offer than I do, and they would all jump at a chance to be with a woman like you. To see you in the arms of another man…” he stopped and swallowed, overcome with emotion, “… it felt unbearable.”

She stared at him in amazement. “Do you really think I’d leave you? After I crossed an ocean to find you?”

“I still dream of the year I spent without you”, he whispered. “Every morning before I open my eyes, I’m afraid you won’t be there when I do.”

She crossed the distance between them and wrapped her arms around him. He hugged her back, tight.

Mi amor”, she whispered. “I’m not going anywhere. You’re the only one for me, too.”

He picked her up and carried her to the bedroom, where he undressed her like she was a precious gift he was unwrapping. She undressed him equally tenderly, then they went to lie on the bed together, skin against skin, and she kissed him, her hand on his cheek. He twined his fingers into her hair and kissed her back, and for several long moments, they sank into those kisses, tasting, exploring. Then he moved his lips along her jaw line to her throat, and gently nipped at the soft skin there. She tilted her head back and sighed.

He covered her throat with kisses, then moved down to her shoulders and all along her collarbone. Next he kissed her chest and her breasts, circling slowly closer to her nipples so that they were already hard when he finally took one in his mouth. He sucked, and she moaned softly, both hands in his hair, keeping him where he was. He took the other nipple between his fingers and manipulated it deftly, and soon she was moving her hips in a way that he couldn’t misunderstand. He dipped a quick finger between her legs to check if she was ready, and she shivered, then he turned her onto her side and lay close behind her, with one arm under her head and the other around her waist. She tilted her hips back and sighed when he entered her, entwining her fingers with his.

He held her tight as he moved inside her, pressing soft kisses to the side of her neck with every thrust. His hand moved up to squeeze a nipple, and when that made her moan, he slid it down her stomach to let it rest between her legs. With two fingers on the right spot, he moved his hand in time with their rhythm, and soon she was gasping, her hand on his to indicate pressure. He drew tight circles until he felt her tense, then he focused exclusively on the one spot, and she started trembling in his arms, whispering his name. As the orgasm rushed through her, she clenched around him deliciously, but he kept a tight rein on himself and kept going until she shivered and lay still. Then he withdrew.

“Why are you stopping?” she whispered.

He didn’t reply, but rolled her onto her back and moved down. He spread her legs and settled himself between them.

“What are you doing?” she smiled. “I just came.”

He was pressing soft kisses to the inside of her thighs, giving her some time to recover. She pushed herself up on an elbow.

“Sergio”, she said gently, “You don’t have to prove anything.”

“Shh”, he said, moving his kisses a little higher up.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to… It’s sensitive now.”

In response, he pressed his mouth to her, and she fell back into the pillows with a sigh. His tongue felt so soft against her sensitive parts, and she had had just enough time to recover to start over. He took his time, letting her arousal build again slowly, exploring her with his tongue all over before settling down to a rhythm. She moved her hips in time with his licks, tilting them for a better angle. It took a while, but she could feel the tension inside her begin to fill her up again, creating an exquisite pressure that just begged to be released. She put a light hand on his head and made him shift over just a fraction of an inch, then gasped loudly as he found just the right spot. The orgasm suddenly rushed over her, making her grip the sheets with both hands and moan. While the sensation was still receding, she gripped his hair and made him look up.

“I want you again”, she whispered urgently, and he moved up quickly to take her in his arms. When he plunged into her once more, she wrapped her legs around him and pulled him in, deeper than before. He groaned. They set a faster pace this time, and she caressed the back of his neck and his shoulders as he pushed in again and again, until he finally gripped her tight, buried his face in her hair, and came with a muffled moan.

They both relaxed, and he looked up to kiss her, then took his weight off her and lay down close beside her. She rolled onto her side and fitted her body to his, moving her arm across his chest until their hands met and their fingers entwined.

“That was amazing”, she purred, nuzzling his shoulder.

They were quiet for a while, then she looked up at him. “Let’s not be jealous anymore, either of us. Let’s just agree that I am yours and you are mine, and there’s nothing that can change that.”

“Agreed”, he said softly, then kissed the top of her head.

They nestled closer together and were soon asleep in each other’s arms. The next morning, for the first time, he wasn’t afraid to open his eyes.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

They had a quiet day together: they spent the morning cuddling and talking in bed, and the afternoon reading – Raquel on a towel on the beach, Sergio on a chair on the porch. In the evening, they made dinner together and ate it outside while the sun was going down, creating a spectacular view. Once it was fully dark, Sergio yawned and stretched, but Raquel took a look at her watch.

“It’s still early”, she said. “Let’s go out and do something.”

He looked up, alarmed. “You don’t want to go out dancing again, do you?”

“No”, she smiled. “But I would like some music. Don’t you know a place where we can just have a glass of wine and a bit of live music?”

“There’s a bar downtown with a piano player. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard it’s good.”

“Sounds perfect! Give me half an hour to get ready, and let’s go.”

She put on her nicest dress and applied some make-up, which she usually didn’t bother with when it was just the two of them. He whistled when she came out of the bathroom, then caught her around the waist and nuzzled her neck.

“Are you sure you want to go out? I can think of several other things I’d like to do instead…”

She laughed and pushed him away. “The night is still young. There’s plenty of time for all that.”

They took a taxi into town and easily found the bar. It was full but not crowded, with low lighting and a very decent selection of wines, according to Sergio. They both ordered a glass of red and sat down at the last available table, close to the piano.

The piano player was good – he knew how to play the room with well-known songs and he had a nice voice. They talked a little during the breaks between songs, and Raquel ordered a second glass of wine while Sergio was still only halfway through his first. When she ordered a third glass half an hour later, she noticed that his glass was empty, yet he hadn’t ordered anything when she did.

“Don’t you want another glass of wine?”

“No thank you, I’m good for now.”

“But you’ve only had one glass.”

“I usually only have one glass. I don’t like my mind to feel fuzzy.”

“But we’re taking a taxi home later”, she reminded him.

“I can have another glass in two hours, if we’re still here then.”

She laughed. “In two hours?”

“Yes, then the alcohol level in my blood will be sufficiently low again for it not to affect me too much.”

“Why don’t you try a second glass, just this once?” she wheedled.

“I’d rather not.”

“Just to see what happens! Come on, take a risk, live a little.”

He smiled at her. “I’m living quite enough right now, thank you.”

She rolled her eyes at him in mock annoyance. “You’re always so uptight. Why don’t you relax a little? Have a little fun?”

“Raquel”, he said quietly, “that’s just not me.”

“But you’re missing out on so much! Why do you always have to be so careful? What are you afraid of?”

“I don’t like to embarrass myself”, he murmured, his eyes on the table.

She went on, oblivious. “That’s just a recipe for a boring life. Have you never just wanted to let loose for a bit? Have you ever, in your entire life, done anything spontaneous?”

He gave her a long, silent look, and she suddenly realized she’d hurt him. She opened her mouth to apologize, but he abruptly stood up and walked away from the table. For a moment, she was afraid he was going to walk straight out of the bar, but he went up to the piano player, who was taking a break, and spoke to him for a moment, then passed him a banknote.

She raised her eyebrows. She hadn’t expected him to request a song. Her eyebrows rose even further, though, when the piano player got up and Sergio took his seat. At the first sound of his fingers on the keys, the bar quieted and everyone listened. Raquel held her breath. What was he doing? Then she recognized the song. It was Billy Joel.

“She can kill with a smile,
She can wound with her eyes”

He sang softly, his eyes on the keys.

“She can ruin your faith with her casual lies.
And she only reveals what she wants you to see.
She hides like a child,
But she’s always a woman to me.”

She felt her heart beating rather fast. The song went on relentlessly.

“She can lead you to love
She can take you or leave you.
She can ask for the truth
But she’ll never believe you.
And she’ll take what you give her as long as it’s free.
Yes, she steals like a thief
But she’s always a woman to me.”

His fingers flew over the keys as the song moved into the refrain.

“Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time.
Oh, and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind.”

He took it back just a little for the next part.

“She will promise you more
Than the Garden of Eden.
Then she’ll carelessly cut you
And laugh while you’re bleedin’
But she’ll bring out the best
And the worst you can be.
Blame it all on yourself
Cause she’s always a woman to me.”

She didn’t know what she was feeling as the refrain came back.

“Oh, she takes care of herself
She can wait if she wants
She’s ahead of her time.
Oh, and she never gives out
And she never gives in
She just changes her mind.”

His voice became very soft for the last part of the song, like he was singing only to himself.

“She is frequently kind
And she’s suddenly cruel.
She can do as she pleases
She’s nobody’s fool.
But she can’t be convicted,
She’s earned her degree.
And the most she will do
Is throw shadows at you,
But she’s always a woman to me.”

He kept his eyes on the piano as the last notes died out and the people in the room applauded. Then he stood up and came back to their table without looking at anyone. She could only stare at him as he sat down, speechless. It took her several minutes to find her voice again.

“Is that how you see me? You think I’m cruel?”

“I think you can be many things. That’s the point of the song. You’re a complex person and that’s what makes you so interesting. And even if you say careless things or… or hurt me, I will always see the woman that you are.”

“I’m sorry I said those things before.”

He looked up at her and smiled, a warm smile. “It’s alright. You didn’t say anything that wasn’t true. Now, bribing a piano player and playing an impromptu song for you, was that spontaneous enough?”

She leaned in and kissed his cheek. “Very spontaneous. I’m proud of you.”

He laughed. “I’ve never played in front of so many people before. My hands were shaking.”

“And yet you didn’t miss a note.”

“It was rather exciting.”

“Good!”

He fell quiet again, and his expression turned serious. “Raquel, I’m sorry I can’t always be the man you want me to be. I do try. But I accept every part of you, and I hope you can do the same for me.”

“I will”, she said earnestly. “I do.”

He squeezed her hand. “Thank you.”

After that, the mood lightened considerably. They talked happily with their heads close together, and after about two hours, he had a second glass of wine and she had a fourth. By then, the mood in the bar was changing. The piano player was playing more and more up-tempo songs, and the atmosphere was getting more lively. A younger crowd was streaming in, and some of the tables were cleared to make room for dancing. Raquel joined the dancers for a while, but she didn’t dance with anyone in particular, and Sergio contentedly sat watching her, smiling. When she dropped back into her chair, a little out of breath, he pulled her close and whispered in her ear:

“I love the way you move.”

She grinned. “I’m having so much fun! You know what this night needs? Some tequila!”

She ordered a shot, and quickly followed it with another. She danced a little more, then drank another shot. He caught her hand as she was passing him on her way back to the bar.

“Aren’t you drinking rather a lot?” he asked her, but she waved him away.

“I can handle my liquor. You should have seen me when I was younger.”

She had a fourth shot at the bar, then left to look for the bathroom. When she came back to their table, she stumbled and landed in his lap, laughing.

He caught her and grinned. “I thought you could handle your liquor?”

“I can!” she said with dignity. “I did that on purpose.”

He gave her an amused look. “I’m sure you did.”

She wrapped an arm around his neck. “I just wanted an excuse to do this.”

She kissed him, then stroked his beard as she looked at him with a sensual gaze. “You’re so handsome.”

Her hand moved over his chest, down his stomach towards his pants. He snatched it away just in time, laughing. Then he got up, pulling her upright with him. “Alright, Miss Tequila, let’s get you home.”

She wrapped both arms around his neck and pressed her body to his. “Yes”, she murmured, “let’s go home immediately.”

He caught her firmly around the waist and started maneuvering her through the crowd. She kept her eyes on him, so he had to take care that she didn’t collide with anyone. Once out on the street, she pushed him against the wall of the bar and kissed him deeply. He allowed it for a moment, then gently pushed her away.

“Not out in public, Raquel, you know that”, he said.

“I can’t help it”, she said. “You’re so sexy.”

He grinned. “And you are so drunk!”

“I’m really not!” she protested.

He looked at her, amused. “Really? Walk in a straight line, I dare you.”

She gave it a try, but the world was rather wobbly without his arm around her waist. He caught her before she could veer into the wall.

“Alright, that nicely proves my point, thank you. Let’s find a taxi.”

As they walked, he held on to her rather firmly, and she kept trying to stop to kiss him. He hailed a passing taxi and managed to get her in. The moment he was in beside her and had given the driver the address, she was all over him.

He pushed her away, laughing. “You get very handsy when you’re drunk, you know that?”

“Do you mind?” she asked, one hand caressing the back of his neck and the other sneaking under his shirt. He pushed it away, smiling.

“I don’t, but the driver might.”

“The driver should keep his eyes on the road”, she said, sliding her hand up his thigh. He patiently pushed it away again.

“Behave yourself, Inspectora!”

“But you make it so hard”, she whispered, her mouth near his ear, and she bit his earlobe. He shivered, then noticed that her hands were approaching inappropriate places again. He grabbed both of her wrists and held them.

“Am I going to have to keep hold of your hands until we get home?” he asked her, trying to sound stern, but unable to keep the laughter from his voice.

She flashed him a saucy look. “That doesn’t sound very practical. Maybe you should find another way of restraining me… how about you use that tie?”

“This tie is staying right where it is.”

“Too bad”, she whispered, then started kissing his neck. He groaned softly, but kept a tight grip on her wrists.

“Can’t you control yourself for five more minutes? We’re almost home.”

“You know?” she murmured in his ear, “I’m in a very good mood right now. If you wanted to try something really kinky tonight, I just might let you.”

He gave her an indignant look. “I’m offended that you think I would take advantage of your impaired judgment.”

Then he snorted. “I’m also amused that you think that, of the two of us, I’m the kinky one.”

The taxi drew up at their door, and he had some trouble getting her out. She leaned against the door, swaying slightly, while he paid the driver, then he helped her over the threshold. She dragged him into the bedroom and they fell together onto the bed. He kissed her for a moment, then hesitantly pulled back.

“Raquel”, he said, sitting up. “I don’t know if this is such a good idea.”

“Why not?” she asked, trying but failing to unbutton his pants. He pushed her hand away again.

“I’m afraid the repetitive motion will make you queasy. I don’t want you to get sick.”

“I won’t”, she said, but he noticed that she was starting to look a little pale. He shook his head.

“It wouldn’t feel right. I’d feel like I was taking advantage of you.”

He got up. “Let’s get you into bed.”

As he helped her out of her dress and underwear, she kept caressing him through his pants. He gritted his teeth.

“Raquel, you’re not making this easy for me.”

“Good”, she whispered in his ear, and he couldn’t help but laugh.

They usually slept naked, but tonight he felt like it might be a good idea to put some fabric between them, so he took out two sets of his pajamas. He put one on himself, then tried to get the second one on her.

“I don’t like this”, she complained, plucking unsuccessfully at the buttons he had just fastened. “I like to feel close to you when we sleep.”

“It’s just for tonight”, he soothed her, then finally got her into the pants.

He made her drink a big glass of water, and by the time he got her into bed and was drawing a blanket over her, she was looking decidedly less enthusiastic.

“Sergio”, she said in a small voice, “I don’t feel so well.”

He gave her a sympathetic look. “I thought you might not.”

He went out and fetched a bucket. “I’ll put this next to the bed in case you need to throw up, okay?”

Then he got into bed with her and carefully wrapped his arms around her. She shifted a little closer to him, then fell asleep almost instantly.

When Raquel woke up the next morning, the sunlight seemed painfully bright even through her closed eyelids. She pulled a pillow over her face and groaned into it. What the hell had she been thinking?

“Good morning”, she heard Sergio’s voice close by. “I put some water and aspirin next to the bed. I thought you might need it.”

“Thank you”, she managed hoarsely, then squinted her eyes open. “God, I don’t remember the last time I was this drunk.”

He was looking at her with amusement. “I must admit it was rather funny.”

“It doesn’t feel so funny now”, she grumbled, rubbing her face. Then she gave him a guilty look. “I’m afraid I gave you rather a hard time last night.”

He grinned. “It’s okay.”

She shook her head. “No, it’s not. I behaved like a teenager, and I’m sorry.”

He kissed her forehead. “Don’t worry. You’re always a woman to me.”

A shower, two aspirin and a piece of plain toast later, she was feeling slightly better. They settled themselves on the couch on the porch, and she spent almost the entire afternoon sleeping with her head in his lap while he sat reading. After she woke up in the early evening and took another shower, she felt almost completely herself again. She helped Sergio prepare dinner, and they talked companionably over their food.

“I suppose you don’t mind staying in tonight?” he asked her, smiling.

“Not at all”, she said, then threw him a calculating look. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course.”

“Have you ever been drunk?”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Or even tipsy?”

“No”, he admitted. “Not even tipsy. I know exactly how much alcohol I can handle before it changes my brain chemistry.”

“Don’t you ever want to try it?”

He raised his eyebrows. “You didn’t exactly make it seem like a very inspiring experience.”

“I don’t mean getting really drunk. I just mean… pleasantly light-headed.”

He frowned, and she hastened to say: “I don’t mean to pressure you. At all. I just thought, with your scientific mind, you’d be a little curious about what would happen.”

“I know what would happen”, he said. “Dehydration, impaired coordination, lowering of inhibitions…”

“I don’t mean what would happen with your body. Aren’t you curious what it would feel like?”

He hesitated. “Yes… I admit I’ve often wondered what it would feel like.”

“Do you want to try it?”

“I don’t like the idea that I would lose control. It makes me anxious.”

“What if we did it in a safe environment? Here, at home, with just me and nobody else. And I would stay completely sober to keep an eye on you.”

“You wouldn’t drink yourself?”

She shuddered. “Believe me, I’m not touching a drop again in a while.”

“Well…” he said, considering it. “It might make for an interesting experiment.”

“And you can stop the moment you start to feel uncomfortable”, she supplied.

“Alright”, he said, giving her a cautious smile. “I think I might like to try it.”

Her face lit up. “Good! Now what should we get you tipsy on for your first time? I feel like this calls for some champagne.”

He shook his head. “I don’t think so. The carbon dioxide of the bubbles makes your blood absorb the alcohol faster, so you’re drunk before you know it. Also, it makes the potential hangover worse. No, if I’m going to get drunk, it will be with a respectable red. I have a beautiful Beaujolais I’ve been saving for a special occasion, why not now?”

He got up and came back with a bottle of red wine and one glass. He poured it about half full and sipped it slowly, savoring it. When the glass was empty, he filled it again, raised it to his lips, then gave Raquel one last doubtful look.

“You won’t let me embarrass myself, will you?”

“No”, she assured him firmly. “I’ll cut you off if I feel like you can’t handle it.”

“Well then…” he raised his glass. “To your health.”

He drank slowly but steadily, and soon the second glass was empty, too. He moved to refill it again, but she stopped his hand.

“Maybe you should wait a bit. You’ve only ever drunk one glass at a time, don’t overdo it.”

“But I don’t feel anything yet.”

“It takes a little time, give it a minute.”

They sat talking as they waited for the alcohol to take effect. At first, he sat rather straight in his chair, tensed as if waiting for the impact, but after a while Raquel noticed that he became more and more relaxed.

“How are you feeling?” she asked him.

“Good”, he said, smiling. “Really good. I like this. Everything feels a little soft around the edges.”

“Just relax into it”, she said. “Don’t try to fight it.”

He sighed contentedly and looked around. “It’s such a nice night. I didn’t notice that before. Can I have another glass?”

“Just half a glass”, she warned him, and he obeyed her, then sipped his drink appreciatively. She sighed in relief. Wine could be an upper or a downer, but it seemed to have a lifting effect on his mood. She sat smiling at him, then she got a sudden idea.

“Hey! You know what this might just be the perfect time for?”

“What?”

“A dance lesson! You’re relaxed, but not unsteady on your feet yet.”

“Okay”, he said, to her surprise. “But I’m warning you, I just can’t dance.”

“I highly doubt that”, she said, pulling out her phone to look for a suitable song. “You can play the piano, so you have rhythm, which means you can dance. Usually you’re just too stiff, that’s your problem. I think it should go fine now.”

“We can plug your phone into the sound system in the living room”, he suggested, so they went inside.

She chose a song and pressed play. “How about we start with some salsa? The basic moves really aren’t that hard.”

As the cheerful music came through the sound system, she placed one of his hands on her waist, took up his other hand, then placed her own hand on his shoulder.

“It’s really easy”, she said, “just back and forth. Move your right leg forward when I move my left leg back, and vice versa.”

They tried it, and he had soon mastered the step. “Good!” she smiled. “Now a little looser in your hips… yes, exactly like that! You’re actually quite good!”

He laughed and made her twirl, then caught her in his arms. “Now play something slower”, he murmured. “I want to hold you. Wait, I know what.”

He picked up her phone and typed something. A familiar melody started up, and she recognized a slower version of Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight.

“Some day when I’m awfully low
When the world is cold
I will feel a glow just thinking of you
And the way you look tonight”

She wrinkled her nose at him. “Oh, I see. You’re a sentimental drunk.”

“I do feel rather sentimental”, he admitted, then held out his hand. “Come on. Dance with me.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and he held her close around her waist while they turned slow circles. He sang softly along with Sinatra.

“Yes, you’re lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft
There is nothing for me but to love you
And the way you look tonight

With each word your tenderness grows
Tearin’ my fear apart
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose
Touches my foolish heart”

He bent his head close to hers and sang the next part softly in her ear.

“Lovely… never, never change
Keep that breathless charm
Won’t you arrange it?
Cause I love you
Just the way you look tonight”

They danced close together during the instrumental break, and he pressed a soft kiss to her lips.

“And that laugh that wrinkles your nose
It touches my foolish heart

Lovely… don’t you ever change
Keep that breathless charm
Won’t you please arrange it?
Cause I love you
Just the way you look tonight

Mm, mm, mm, mm
Just the way you look… tonight”

He unexpectedly dipped her on the last notes, his hands firm on her back, and she clung to him, laughing.

“Well, aren’t you quite the charmer when you’ve had a few!”

He kissed her, then helped her upright again, still keeping her close to him. He nuzzled her neck and murmured: “You do look lovely.”

She smiled. “You’re a little drunk.”

“Maybe I am”, he said, “but that doesn’t make it any less true.”

He took her hand. “Do you want to go sit on the beach and look at the stars?”

“Sure”, she smiled. “Let’s go look at the stars.”

They went outside, and she raised her eyebrows when he sat down onto the sand without a towel or anything. She sat down next to him, and he let himself drop onto his back, his arms outstretched, an expression of utter happiness on his face.

“Isn’t this lovely?”, he sighed.

She tried to keep a straight face, but in the end she burst out laughing. He was just so cute.

“What?” he grinned, then pulled her down on top of him. “What’s so funny?”

“You’re adorable”, she said, kissing him.

He closed his arms around her and kissed her back. “I like this feeling so much. For the first time in my life, I’m not worrying about anything.”

“I’m glad the experiment is such a success.”

He kissed her again, and his hands wandered over her back and buttocks. She pulled back, grinning.

“What are you doing, mister?”

“Being spontaneous”, he murmured, kissing her neck.

“Out here?” she said, astonished. “In the open?”

“There’s no one around”, he whispered. “Come on, under the stars, it’ll be romantic.”

“What about the indecency laws?”

He buried his face in her hair. “Fuck the indecency laws.”

She laughed. “Who are you and what have you done with Sergio?”

His hands were maneuvering her skirt up around her hips, and she felt a twinge of excitement.

“You really want to do this?” she asked him. “What about the sand getting everywhere?”

“It will be alright if you stay on top”, he replied.

She laughed again as she wriggled out of her underwear. “I can’t believe we’re actually doing this.”

“You didn’t think I could surprise you?”

“I actually think it’s the Beaujolais surprising me, but I’m not complaining.”

She undid his pants and pulled him out, and when she lowered herself onto him, he let out a sigh of sheer joy and pulled her down for a kiss. He kept her pressed close to him as she moved her hips, her knees burying in the soft sand on either side of him. A gentle breeze caressed them as they rocked together.

“Raquel”, he whispered in her ear, “You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

She kissed his cheek, then sat up a little straighter as he moved one hand between them and under her skirt. When he placed his thumb on the right spot, she gasped and picked up the pace a little. Her hands were on his chest for support, and she gripped his shirt as the feeling inside her began to build. It was probably the excitement of the situation that made her ready much faster than usual, and it didn’t take long before she shut her eyes tight, then let out one long, soft moan as the sensation rushed through her. She let herself fall onto his chest and he wrapped his arms around her again, giving her a few seconds to recover before he started moving inside her again, rocking his hips to take her deeper. She matched her movements to his, and soon he was trembling, too, then he gripped her tight and came with a deep sigh.

They lay there without moving for a few moments, then she slid off him and let herself fall onto the sand by his side, looking up at the brilliant stars in the sky.

“You should drink more often”, she smiled.

He nodded. “That was amazing.” He rubbed a hand over his face. “Though I suddenly feel rather tired.”

“Ah, yes, it can sometimes hit you like that.” She stood up and held out her hand to him. “Come on, to bed.”

They went inside, carelessly tossed aside their clothes, and tumbled naked into bed. It didn’t take five minutes before he was asleep.

Raquel woke up the next morning because he was shaking her shoulder.

“Raquel”, he said softly. “Wake up. Did we… did we really have sex on the beach last night?”

She opened her eyes, turned around and gave him a slow smile. “We sure did.”

“Oh god”, he moaned. “There’s sand everywhere. This is a nightmare.”

She laughed. “Looks like you’re back to normal, then.”

He grimaced. “I’m going to wash the sand out of my hair, and then I’m going to change the sheets.”

She got out of bed with him and leaned on the doorframe of the bathroom as he turned on the shower.

“So”, she said, “what’s the conclusion of the experiment?”

He stepped under the water and considered for a moment. “On the whole, I’d say it was a positive experience.”

“Would you be willing to try it again sometime?”

He nodded thoughtfully. “I might. But Raquel, you have to promise me something.”

“What?”

He shuddered. “Never let me lie on the beach again without a towel.”

She grinned. “Alright. I promise.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Raquel woke unusually early one morning. She decided to let Sergio sleep, and went out onto the porch with a mug of coffee. It was a gorgeous day, and the sea beckoned her invitingly, calm and blue. She quietly went back into the bedroom and changed into her bathing suit without waking him, then went for a swim. Afterwards, she dozed for a while on the warm sand, waiting for the rays of the sun to dry her. When she came back to the house, she was surprised to see that Sergio still wasn’t up. She went up to the bed and woke him with soft kisses.

“Good morning”, she said gently as he stirred. “Time to get up.”

He groaned and shielded his eyes against the light with his hand. “Raquel”, he whispered. “I don’t feel so great.”

“What’s wrong?” she frowned.

“I don’t know. Everything hurts and I’m hot and cold at the same time.”

She pressed her hand against his forehead. “Oh darling, you have a fever.”

“Oh no”, he sighed. “I hate getting sick. I hope it’s nothing too serious. I think they still have malaria here.”

She looked at him in alarm. “You think it’s malaria?”

“Could be.”

“Does it feel like malaria?”

He couldn’t manage much sarcasm, but there was just the slightest hint as he raised an eyebrow at her. “I don’t know, Raquel. What does malaria feel like?”

“I’ll call a doctor”, she said hurriedly. She got dressed, then took her phone and looked up the nearest doctor who would make house calls. Half an hour later, he was at Sergio’s bedside, examining him, while Raquel hovered rather anxiously at his shoulder. When the doctor was finished, he started writing a prescription and Raquel sat down on the edge of the bed, taking Sergio’s hand.

“Is it malaria?” she asked in English.

“No, Mrs. Marquina, don’t worry”, the doctor replied.

“Oh, I’m not…” she started to say, but Sergio squeezed her hand and smiled at her.

“Don’t correct him”, he whispered in Spanish. “I rather like it.”

She blushed, pleased. The doctor continued on, oblivious.

“It’s just the flu. Bed rest, plenty of fluids, and some medications I’m prescribing, and your husband will be fine again in four to five days.”

She thanked the doctor, paid him and saw him to the door. Then she returned to the bedroom.

“Well”, she said with a sympathetic look, “Looks like I will be taking care of you for a change.”

“I don’t want to get you sick, too”, he said, trying to get out of bed. “I’ll sleep in the guest bedroom for the next few days.”

She pushed him back into the pillows with a gentle hand. “No way. You should be comfortable in your own bed. I don’t easily get sick anyway. Paula and mother are always getting each other sick, but not me. I’m quite strong.”

“Of course you are”, he said, smiling.

She kissed him on the forehead. “Let me make you a cup of tea, and then I’ll go into town to get you your medicine.”

By the time she was back with the tea, he was already asleep again. She smiled, took the cup away again and left him a glass of water instead, then she took a taxi into town. She went to the pharmacy, then visited several other places to arrange some things that might cheer him up once he felt a little better.

When she came back home, he was still sleeping, so she took up a book and sat out on the porch to read. For three days, she took care of him, bringing him tea and water and whatever little food he would eat, talking to him when he felt up to it, and making sure he was comfortable.

“I’m sorry, Raquel”, he said softly as he was sitting in a chair by the bed while she changed the sheets. “You shouldn’t have to do this.”

“Nonsense”, she said briskly. “You would do the same for me.”

By the third day, he managed to sit up in bed for a few hours.

“I’m bored”, he sighed, as she came to check on him.

“Do you want a different book?” she asked, but he shook his head.

“Reading gives me a headache.”

“Do you want me to read to you?”

He gave her an amused look. “You want to read to me from Advanced Principles of Chemical Processes?”

She shuddered. “God no, that sounds terrible. Why would you read something like that?”

“I like to know something about all kinds of topics. You never know when the knowledge might come in handy.”

She shot him a sly look. “Like when you have to pretend to run a cider brewery?”

He grinned. “Exactly.”

Then he shifted against the pillows and sighed. “This takes me right back to my younger days. Sick and bored in bed.”

“Right”, she remembered. “You spent a large portion of your childhood in hospital, didn’t you?”

“Yes”, he said. “It took them years to find out what was wrong with me. I was always in and out of one hospital or another, taking tests, not allowed out of bed, bored to tears. That’s when I started doing origami.”

“I wondered about that”, she said. “When did you start?”

“When I was ten. My father bought me a book about it, and we spent hours figuring out the patterns together.”

“And you never stopped doing it?”

He shook his head. “You get addicted to it after a while. It’s a complex activity, yet it helps you clear your head. Also, it still reminds me of my father.”

She hesitated. “Would you teach me?”

His eyes brightened. “You want to learn?”

“If you feel well enough.”

He sat up a little straighter. “Yes, I do!”

She fetched a tray from the kitchen and some paper from his study, then sat cross-legged next to him on the bed.

“Start with something easy”, she warned him. “I’m not particularly dexterous.”

“How about a simple boat?” he proposed, and she nodded.

They spent the next hour with their heads bent over the tray, folding and re-folding the paper. In the end, she was able to produce a little ship and something that looked like a bird if you squinted a bit.

“It’s more difficult than I thought it would be”, she said.

“There are all kinds of levels of difficulty”, he replied. “Here.”

His hands flew over a new sheet of paper, too quick for her to follow his movements. In no time, he was holding out a delicately folded flower to her. She took it with a smile.

“Thank you”, she said.

“No”, he said earnestly. “Thank you. For showing an interest.”

“Of course”, she said, kissing his cheek. Then she got off the bed. “Alright, I think that was enough excitement for today. Time to get some more rest.”

He obediently lay back down into the pillows and was soon asleep again.

The next morning, he was feeling distinctly better.

“Still a little weak”, he said, “but I don’t really feel sick anymore.”

“Well, don’t overdo it yet”, she warned him. “Stay in bed at least one more day. Do you mind if I go out and run a few errands?”

“Of course not”, he said, then called after her: “But take a taxi! I don’t want you on that bus again!”

She was gone all morning. He took a shower, put on clean pajamas, then read a bit and took a nap. He woke up just in time to hear her come home.

“I’m back!” she called from the kitchen. “Do you want some tea?”

“Yes, please”, he called back.

It seemed to take her rather a long time to make tea. He was absorbed in his book again by the time the bedroom door opened and she came in, carrying a tray with a steaming mug. He looked up, and his jaw dropped. She was wearing a white nurse’s uniform – but not just the regular kind: the skirt was short and tight, the blouse fitted to her waist and unbuttoned sufficiently to show quite a bit of cleavage. A little white cap on her hair completed the effect.

She grinned broadly at the look on his face, put the tray on the bedside table and winked at him.

“Do you like it?”

He snapped his book shut and scrambled to sit up straighter. “It’s… you look… I mean… yes, ma’am.”

To her delight, a fierce blush was spreading all over his face.

“Where did you get this?” he whispered.

“I bribed someone at the local hospital”, she answered. “Then I took it to a tailor to get it altered, because it wasn’t exactly flattering in its original form. I just picked it up.”

She winked at him again, then shook herself and assumed a more formal attitude.

“So, Mr. Marquina, how are we feeling today?”

He went, if possible, even redder. “A bit better”, he whispered.

She bent over him to feel his forehead, revealing a glimpse of the red bra she had on under the blouse. He closed his eyes tight and groaned.

“God, Raquel, I’m still weak. You’re going to kill me.”

“That’s ‘Nurse Murillo’ to you”, she said sternly as she started taking his pulse.

“Yes, Nurse”, he whispered, then rubbed a hand over his eyes. “Oh, I feel thirteen again.”

To his surprise, she took a stethoscope from her tray – another thing she had ‘bought’ at the local hospital.

“Let’s listen to your heart for a moment”, she said, and began to unbutton his shirt. He swallowed hard and tried not to tremble. She pressed the stethoscope against his chest and listened, then she looked up with genuine surprise on her face.

“Your heart is beating really fast.”

“Yes”, he murmured, not able to take his eyes off of her, “I wonder why.”

She straightened. “Now, we can’t have that. You need rest. You shouldn’t get excited in any way. Lie down.”

He obeyed her immediately.

“Have you taken your medication as prescribed?”

“Yes, Nurse.”

“Good. Then I think it’s time for a full-body check.”

She drew back the sheet and he bit his lip as she ran her hands over his arms and shoulders, then down his chest, to come to rest on his stomach. She pressed down gently.

“Does it hurt when I do this?”

“No”, he whispered.

She moved her hand a little lower and pressed again. “And this?”

“No”, he said again.

She lowered her hand some more and he started blushing furiously again as his body automatically responded to her touch. She raised her eyebrows.

“That looks uncomfortable. Would you like some treatment for that?”

He couldn’t possibly get any redder as he mumbled: “I thought I shouldn’t get excited?”

“Oh, this would be purely therapeutic”, she assured him, then reached her hand down his pajama pants and started stroking him. He shut his eyes tight and shuddered. When she gripped him more tightly, he opened his eyes again, but only for a second, like he couldn’t look at her for too long, but couldn’t resist the temptation, either. After a few minutes, she withdrew her hand.

“You know”, she said thoughtfully, “I don’t think this is working. I think we might need to try something stronger.

He stared at her as she reached under her skirt and let her red panties drop to the floor.

“Raquel”, he said hoarsely. “You’re killing me.”

She grinned. “We take good care of our patients in this hospital.”

She pulled down his pajama pants, then hiked up her skirt and sat astride him. He couldn’t look away from her as she lifted her hips, then lowered herself down onto him. He groaned and shuddered, breathing hard.

“Don’t go too fast”, he whispered. “I don’t think I’m going to last very long.”

She nodded. “Slow and steady. We wouldn’t want to exhaust you.”

She started moving her hips, going up and down agonizingly slowly, as he tried to control his breathing.

“How does that feel?” she asked him in a professional tone.

He could barely get a word out. “Amazing.”

“Good! Let’s continue the treatment, then.”

She kept up the slow pace until he felt ready to burst.

“I can’t take this anymore”, he begged. “Please…”

“Anything to make you feel better”, she murmured, then considerably sped up her movements. He gasped and gripped the sheets as he lost control. It only took one, two, three more strokes before he stiffened, then cried out as the orgasm rocked him.

She got off him as he lay back, panting, his hands pressed to his face.

“I came like a teenager”, he groaned.

“Nonsense”, she said briskly, pulling up his pants and lowering her skirt. “I think this was just what the doctor ordered.”

He peered at her between his fingers, and when their eyes met, they suddenly burst out laughing.

“Please take that off”, he pleaded. “I can’t look at you anymore.”

She started to undo the buttons of her blouse, still chuckling. “So. Nice surprise?”

“The best”, he breathed. “I can’t believe you did this.”

“I remembered you saying you had a soft spot for nurses, and when you got sick, that just seemed like the perfect opportunity.”

“I’m just glad you didn’t put on that uniform from the first day I got sick. I might not have survived that.”

She draped the uniform over a chair and started putting on her regular clothes again.

“You rest now”, she said. “I’ll make dinner.”

They spent a nice, relaxed evening together in bed, then went to sleep in each other’s arms. Sergio had the most delicious dreams that night.

When he woke up the following morning, she was just emerging from the shower, still toweling her hair.

“How do you feel?” she asked him.

“Excellent”, he smiled. “I think you cured me.”

“Okay”, she said, nudging the uniform on the chair. “Then I suppose we don’t need this anymore.”

His eyebrows rose. “You know… on second thought… maybe I’m not entirely well yet.”

She winked at him. “How about you take a shower, and then the nurse can take another look at you.”

He hastened out of bed, then showered and brushed his teeth at lightning speed. He smiled broadly as he came out of the bathroom and she was in the uniform again. She held back the sheets for him, and he obediently got back into bed.

“So, Mr. Marquina”, she said, her manner brisk again. “How are we feeling this morning?”

“Much better, Nurse”, he said. “I think I should be able to get out of bed today.”

She frowned at him. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

She walked past him to the nightstand to pick up the thermometer, and as her back was to him, he reached out a hand and ran it over her buttocks.

She turned around in mock outrage. “Mr. Marquina! That is highly inappropriate behavior!”

“I’m sorry, Nurse”, he said, eyes sparkling. “I couldn’t help myself.”

“If you can’t control yourself around me, I’m going to have to get you a different nurse.”

“No, please don’t”, he begged her. “You make me feel so much better.”

“Then will you behave?”

“Yes”, he said contritely. “I will. You’re just so beautiful.”

She suppressed a smile. “You’re much cheekier than you were yesterday.”

“That’s because you healed me”, he said earnestly. “At least, I think I’m almost entirely better.”

She bent over him, tantalizingly close. “Prove it.”

“Well”, he said. “Maybe just one more round of treatment…”

He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her down onto the bed with him, kissing her. She laughed and pretended to push him away.

“Don’t!” she squealed. “This is not proper procedure at all!”

“And yet I can feel it working”, he murmured against her neck, and she surrendered with a smile. His hands were all over her, manipulating her nipples through her blouse, caressing her stomach and her hips. Then he slipped his hand under her skirt and his eyes went wide.

“You’re not wearing any underwear”, he whispered.

She shrugged. “I thought we’d go straight ahead with your… treatment.”

“Oh”, he said, “but this just begs for closer examination.”

He rolled her onto her back and moved down. She chuckled as he pushed her skirt up around her hips and settled himself between her legs.

“All better, then?”

“Miraculously so”, he replied, then gave her one more appreciative look. “God, so hot”, he murmured, then pressed his mouth against her so she gasped. He seemed even more enthusiastic than usual, exploring her all over until she was wet, then slipping in two fingers. She moaned as he pressed upwards, then found the right spot with his tongue. His enthusiasm communicated itself to her, and she let herself relax completely into the feelings he was evoking with a big smile on her face. It only took him a few minutes to get her to the edge, and when she arched her back, he applied a little more pressure and pushed her over it. She gripped the sheets with a cry, then relaxed back onto the bed, trembling.

 He moved up to lie on top of her, and kissed her. When she opened her eyes, he whispered: “Can I?” and when she nodded, he pushed in hard. She pressed her face against his shoulder with a moan, then wrapped her legs around him so he could take her deeper. He lasted only a bit longer than yesterday, holding out for only a minute or two before he came with a shudder and a last few thrusts. He lay motionless for a few seconds, then rolled off her and pushed himself up on an elbow so he could look at her again. She smiled at him as he sighed in deep contentment.

“Wow”, he said. “That really scratched an itch I didn’t even know I had.”

“Was it as good as when you fantasized about it?” she asked him.

“I never even considered it as a real possibility”, he admitted. “But I can’t imagine how it could have been any better.” He ran his hand over her stomach. “Can you keep this uniform?”

“Well, I did bribe someone for it, fair and square, so I don’t have to take it back.”

He sighed in delight. “I hope I don’t only get to see it when I’m sick.”

She grinned. “Whenever you want. But you don’t want to use it too often, or it will start to lose its magic.”

His eyes softened as he looked at her. “I can’t believe you did this for me.”

“I wanted to cheer you up.”

“Well, mission accomplished.”

He lay back onto the bed and watched her as she changed back into her regular clothes. She neatly folded the uniform and put it away in a corner of his wardrobe.

“Now you really need to tell me one of your fantasies, Raquel.”

She flashed him a grin. “I’m already living one of my fantasies… Professor.”

He perked up. “You like teachers?”

She nodded. “Always thought they were very sexy. Something about the authority, I think.”

He looked at her thoughtfully. “Let me think about it for a bit, but… I think I can work with that.”

She winked. “I can’t wait.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Why don’t you have a TV?” she asked him.

The sun was just going down outside. They had had an early dinner, and now she was looking for something to do. She missed being able to just flop down on the couch, turn the TV on and her brain off.

He frowned. “I’ve never seen the appeal.”

“You never watch TV?”

“Not really.”

“Or movies?”

“I prefer books.”

She got an idea. “Are there any movie theaters in town?”

“I’m sure there are. Why?”

“Let’s go see a movie!”

He hesitated. “Alright, if you want to.”

She took out her phone and searched. “There’s a theater that shows movies in English. There’s one starting in an hour, we could easily make that.”

“Fine.”

“Don’t you want to know which movie?”

He shrugged. “It’s all the same to me.”

“Well, it’s a rom com.”

“A what?”

“A romantic comedy.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything in the genre. Might be interesting.”

She shook her head. “Not likely. But it will be some nice light entertainment.”

They took a taxi into town and entered a small, air conditioned movie theater. Raquel bought some popcorn and they went to find seats. There weren’t many other people in the room, and none of them were sitting near them. She sat back contentedly. If the movie wasn’t very interesting, they could always make out.

Sergio, however, seemed rather fascinated, keeping his eyes glued to the screen from the moment the lights dimmed, giving the movie his undivided attention like he did with almost everything. She glanced at him from the corner of her eye and took his hand. He was so cute.

The movie was set in New York. There was a pretty, single female protagonist who worked a lousy job as an assistant to a famous book editor. Her dream, of course, was to be a writer one day. After ten minutes, Sergio bent his head close to hers and whispered:

“Raquel, this isn’t very realistic.”

“What isn’t?”

“Real estate prices in New York are extremely high. How can she afford such a big apartment with such a low-paying job?”

She chuckled. “It’s not supposed to be entirely realistic.”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a fantasy. You’re supposed to suspend your disbelief.”

“Oh. I see.”

He fell quiet and watched, but not for long. The next scene depicted the protagonist writing on her laptop in a cute little café. Sergio bent his head towards her again.

“All those extras in the background are improbably attractive.”

“Yeah”, she whispered back. “Does it matter?”

“Suspension of disbelief again?”

“Yep.”

“Got it.”

She couldn’t help smiling, and it only got better from there. He clearly couldn’t help himself: he kept commenting about everything that happened. At a certain point, a character went into a bathroom for only about thirty seconds. When he came out again, Sergio looked at the screen in horror.

“Wash your hands!”

By then, Raquel was helpless with silent laughter. His reactions were so much funnier than the movie itself. Some people who were sitting a few rows in front of them started turning around with annoyed looks, so she made a half-hearted attempt to shush him, but he seemed oblivious. The love interest turned out to be a scientist, and that really set him off.

“Who ever worked in a lab like that?” he murmured to himself. “That is so unhygienic… That’s not how that works at all.”

She was pressing her hands to her mouth, trying not to laugh out loud. By the time the movie ended, her stomach hurt, and she wiped her eyes as the lights turned back on and the credits rolled.

“Oh”, she gasped, “I haven’t laughed this much in a long time.”

“Yes”, he said mildly. “I rather enjoyed it, too.”

She stared at him. “You did?”

“Sure”, he said, “light entertainment, like you said. I liked that it had a happy ending.”

As they exited the theater, he said: “We should do this again some time.”

She shot him an amused look. “I’m not sure they’d let you back in.”

“What?” he said, genuinely surprised. “Why not?”

“The running commentary, Sergio! You’re supposed to be quiet during a movie!”

“Oh!” He paused. “Was it that bad?”

“Yes”, she laughed. “It was non-stop.”

“I’m sorry if I ruined the movie for you.”

“Oh, don’t worry about me, I had a great time.”

She kissed him on the cheek and he smiled at her. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and she put an arm around his waist, and as they walked along the street together, she couldn’t remember ever feeling happier. She felt the words rise up inside her like champagne bubbles, but she kept them in. This wasn’t the right time.

She kept smiling all through the taxi ride home, holding on to his hand and waiting for the right time to say what she wanted to say. Once they got home, she dragged him into the bedroom and he made love to her with the same passion and attention that he always did, going down on her and making her come twice before she pushed him onto his back and rode him until he was gasping.

Afterwards, she lay with her head in the hollow of his shoulder and they talked for a while with quiet voices, while she felt the words inside her grow more insistent, waiting for an opportunity to escape. When she noticed that he was dozing off, she suddenly realized that she didn’t want to wait any longer. She looked up at him.

“Sergio?”

“Hmm?” he murmured, not opening his eyes.

“I love you.”

He kissed the top of her head and hugged her tight. She got a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach as she realized that he wasn’t going to respond. A moment later, he was asleep, but she lay awake for a long time, staring into the darkness and wondering if she’d horribly misjudged the situation.

The next morning, for the first time, they woke up on opposite sides of the bed.

“Hey”, he murmured sleepily, “why are you so far away? Come here.”

He reached out a hand, but she slipped out of bed before he could touch her. She was cold and distant to him all morning, though he made her breakfast and tried his best to engage her in conversation. Finally, he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her neck, but she pushed him away.

“Not now.”

He took a step back with a hurt expression. “Raquel, I absolutely respect it if you don’t want to have sex, but I can’t help but feel that I did something wrong. Did I?”

“No”, she said shortly.

He sighed. “Come on, we’re both adults here. Please don’t say ‘no’ when you clearly mean ‘yes’. If something’s bothering you, just tell me.”

She crossed her arms. “You did nothing wrong. If you don’t feel it, you don’t.”

He gave her a bewildered look. “If I don’t feel what?”

She swallowed painfully. “Love. You can’t help it if you don’t love me.”

He stared at her. “If I don’t love you?”

“Maybe I said it too soon”, she said, feeling like a hand was gripping inside her chest and squeezing hard. “But it is so strong for me, I thought it would be for you, too.”

He looked at her in consternation. “I don’t understand what’s happening.”

“Maybe I should just leave”, she whispered, blinking back tears.

“Raquel”, he said urgently, panic rising in his eyes. “What on earth are you talking about? Please tell me what I did wrong so I can fix it!”

It was painful to look at him. “I told you I loved you yesterday”, she whispered.

“I know”, he said. “I heard. So why are you talking about leaving now?”

She stared at him. “You didn’t say it back.”

There was confusion in every line of his face. “But… I thought that was implied.”

Implied?”

He looked so lost. “Don’t you know how I feel about you?”

She hesitated. “I… I thought I did. But you’ve never said it outright.”

He stared at her. “I’ve never… Raquel, I tell you I love you every day, you just don’t listen!”

“What?” she said. “When? When I’m asleep?”

He ran a hand through his hair and started pacing. “Raquel, you didn’t know me before we met, of course. You have no idea what I was like. I used to love my solitude more than anything. I once had an apartment for six years, and not a single other soul ever entered it that entire time, not even my brother. I couldn’t bear people in my personal space. And now you’ve been here for weeks, and I haven’t wanted to be apart from you for one minute. Every time we have dinner together, every morning I wake up next to you and every night we spend side by side, I am telling you that I love you.”

She stared at him, silent, and he went on.

“And all the things we’ve done over the past few weeks? The… the skinny-dipping in the ocean, the dancing, playing the piano for you in a crowded bar. Trusting you enough to get drunk for the first time, or… or to let you tie my hands. Raquel”, he said desperately. “I really don’t know how to tell you that I love you any louder.”

She was starting to feel really silly now.

“But if you think those trivial words can convey my feelings for you better than anything else, then fine: I love you, Raquel. Of course I do! I love you more than anything, more than my own life. I love you so much that I…” He was starting to break down. “I just can’t… words aren’t enough…”

She rushed to him and wrapped her arms around him.

“I’m sorry”, she whispered. “I can’t believe how stupid I’ve been.”

He hugged her back, burying his face in her hair. “No”, he said, “I’m sure it’s my fault. You know you’re my first girlfriend, I’m just not aware of all the social conventions. I’m sorry I didn’t say it back. Please say it again.”

“We don’t have to…”

He took her face between his hands. “Raquel… please say it again.”

She looked into his eyes. “I love you.”

“I love  you, too”, he whispered, then gave her the softest kiss.

They stood together for a while, their foreheads touching, holding tight to each other’s hands. Then he took her face between his hands again and slowly kissed her eyes, her nose, her cheeks, and finally her lips. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back, suddenly hungry for him. He responded with equal enthusiasm, lifting her off the ground so she could wrap her legs around his waist.

He carried her to the bedroom, their lips not parting for an instant, and they fell onto the bed together. They undressed each other with eager hands, caressing and kissing each inch of bared skin as soon as it was exposed. Somehow, it felt like their first time again. They were more aware of each other than usual: like each touch was fire, and no amount of kisses could ever be enough. They spent a long time just exploring each other, everything like new again. She ran her hands over his shoulders and arms and chest, then reached downwards to stroke him. He closed his eyes and sighed.

He brushed his lips by her ear, then down her neck to her chest. When he took a nipple in his mouth, she gasped as the sensation shot through her as a sharp tingle between her legs. He started to move even further downwards, but she stopped him.

“Don’t”, she whispered, pulling him up again. “Stay close to me.”

“Are you ready?” he murmured against her mouth, taking her in his arms, putting his weight on top of her the way she liked it.

“Hell yes”, she said. “Please. I can’t wait any longer.”

He reached down a hand to check anyway, and she whimpered as he entered her with one finger. “Don’t tease me”, she said, spreading her legs a bit wider. “I want you inside me, now.”

She twined her fingers in his hair and gripped it sharply as he suddenly entered her. He pushed in deep, then stayed there for a while, just savoring the sensation. As he slowly started moving, she pulled up her knees to take him in deeper and wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him close while he kissed her throat. He suddenly gripped her tight and rolled over so she was on top. She sat up, her hands on his chest for support, and moved her hips in the way that always drove him crazy. When he couldn’t take it anymore, he rose up to take her in his arms again and kissed her deeply.

When he moved a hand between them and placed a finger on the right spot, she moaned as the delicious tension began to build almost immediately. Her arms were around his neck and their foreheads touching as they rocked together. She felt the tension inside her rise and gripped his hair, making him look up.

“Together?” she whispered, and he nodded, reducing the pressure of his finger until his touch was feather-light. She started trembling as they picked up the pace, trying to feel out the wave she knew was coming. Almost… almost… yes.

Now”, she gasped, and he increased the pressure again, pushing her right over the edge with a cry. At the same time, his other arm tightened around her waist and he buried his face against her shoulder as he let go and the sensation rushed through him, too. They remained motionless for several long, breathless seconds, then she leaned heavily against him and he let them tumble backwards into the pillows.

For a few minutes, she stayed on top of him as they both caught their breath, then she slid off and nestled close beside him, her head in the hollow of his shoulder, one arm and leg draped over him. He dreamily stroked her back.

“That was amazing”, she murmured. “You know, you’ve gotten incredibly good in just a few weeks’ time.”

He kissed the top of her head. “That’s because I had you to teach me. And also, we practiced a lot.”

She laughed.

“Remember that first night, in my fake workplace?” he whispered.

“How could I ever forget? On that slippery couch. We almost fell off.”

“I barely knew what I was doing, but somehow you made it easy.”

She kissed his cheek. “You were great. Often, first times are a little awkward, but it wasn’t like that with you at all.”

“No”, he said, “it wasn’t. We were amazingly compatible right from the beginning.”

They were silent for a while, then he hugged her a little tighter.

“I still can’t believe you thought I didn’t love you”, he murmured.

“That’s love”, she sighed. “It can make you unreasonably insecure sometimes.”

“I never doubted that you loved me, and yet you never said it before, either.”

“I guess we just have different love languages”, she mused.

He frowned. “What’s a love language?”

“Different people have different ways of expressing their feelings. People say ‘I love you’ in different ways. For me, the most important expression is verbal. You, on the other hand, express your love by spending time with me. I couldn’t understand you because we were speaking different languages.”

His frown deepened. “Raquel, I can see this becoming a problem in the future. I’m… I’m not the most attentive of men, when it comes to other people’s emotional needs. I might forget to say it when you need to hear it. You’ll need to remind me every once in a while.”

“I will”, she said, but she doubted that she ever would. After all, didn’t “I love you” only have value if it was said spontaneously?

“Can I just say it a few times now, so I have a few in the bank? I love you, Raquel. I love you, I love you, I love you.”

She laughed. “Alright, that should get me through the next couple of days.”

He sighed contentedly. “Good. I want you to be happy.”

She cuddled even closer to him. “I am. I really, really am.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Raquel closed her eyes and let herself float on the gentle waves of the clear, blue water. She loved living by the beach. She loved lying out on the sand with a book, and being able to swim whenever she liked. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so relaxed. Living here would feel like a permanent holiday, and she didn’t think she would ever get tired of it. She sighed with contentment, flipped herself in the water and started swimming back to shore with long, even strokes.

When she walked back to the house, Sergio was waiting for her on the porch, with a big stack of folders on the table in front of him.

“Could you take a look at these?” he asked her.

“What are they?” she said, dripping water everywhere.

“Instructions on how to move your family here without drawing too much attention to yourself.”

“You researched that?”

“Of course. And I’d like you to read through the different stages of the plan to see if everything is clear to you, and if you think it’s workable.”

“Sure”, she said. “Let me just shower and get dressed, and then I’ll give them a read. This is so sweet of you.”

She gave him a salty kiss, then went off to shower and dress. She made herself a cup of coffee, then settled down at the table on the porch to go through the files one by one. As she flipped through them, her eyes widened. The folders contained incredibly detailed information about the things she needed to do, organized neatly, step by step. She couldn’t help but smile. This was all so Sergio. It took her all morning to get through the stack, and by the end, she was thoroughly impressed. His plan was solid, and relatively easy to execute. He hadn’t forgotten a single aspect in all the complex procedure of moving halfway across the world.

She went in to thank him, and found him in the kitchen making lunch. She hugged him from behind and pressed a kiss to his cheek.

“Thank you”, she whispered in his ear. “This is going to make everything so much easier.”

He smiled. “You’re welcome. Was everything clear?”

“Yes, perfectly.”

“Good. Are you hungry?”

“Starving”, she said, then proceeded to set the table while he finished the meal.

They ate together, discussing the plans, and when they were finished, he looked at her with a shy smile.

“Are you in a good mood?”

“Sure”, she said, raising her eyebrows. “Why?”

“I sort of have a surprise for you.”

She smiled. “What kind of surprise?”

He blushed, and she laughed. “Oh, that kind of surprise. Alright, I’m up for anything, what is it?”

“Come and see”, he said, then led her to his study. On the floor in front of his big desk, there was a smaller desk and a chair, the kind you would find in a classroom. Her eyes widened and she turned to him with a big grin.

Really?”

He was still blushing. “If you want to. You were so amazing, dressing up like a nurse for me. The least I can do is return the favor.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and leaned against him suggestively. “Well, Professor, I like this very much.”

He gently pushed her away. “Wait, not yet.”

He led her to the bedroom, and her eyebrows went up when she saw a school uniform, neatly folded on the bed.

Where did you get that?”

He shrugged. “All school children wear uniforms here. There are shops where you can buy them. This should be about your size.”

She grinned. “Oh, I see. You just like uniforms.”

He gave her an embarrassed grin in return. “There’s no reason we can’t both get something out of this.”

“Very true. Okay, get out, let me change.”

He moved towards the door, then hesitated and turned back.

“Raquel”, he said quietly, “I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do this right.”

She frowned. “We don’t have to do it if you don’t really want to. I admit I’d be a little disappointed after this set-up, but I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.”

He shook his head. “I do really want to do it. I’m just not sure if I’ll be able to keep a straight face, or… or stay in character. I don’t want to let you down.”

She kissed his cheek. “I’m sure you’ll be great. You taught a bunch of hardened criminals for months, right? Just imagine you’re back there.”

He squared his shoulders. “You’re right, I can do this. Just give me five minutes, and then come in.”

He went out and closed the door behind him, leaving her to put on the uniform. It consisted of a pleated navy skirt that reached just below her knee, a white short-sleeved shirt and a navy tie. She looked at herself in the mirror, feeling a rush of excitement in her stomach and a tingle between her legs.

She left the bedroom and stood for a moment before the closed door of his study. She took a deep breath and knocked.

“Come in”, she heard him say, and with her heart beating rather fast, she pushed the door open.

Sergio had changed clothes too, now wearing a suit and tie, and she saw instantly that he was in full Professor mode. He was leaning against his desk, an open book in his hands. He didn’t look up as she came in.

“You’re late.”

“I’m sorry”, she said, closing the door behind her.

He looked up sharply and snapped the book closed. “I’m sorry, sir.”

She grinned broadly. “Of course. I’m sorry… sir.”

He tilted his head at her, unsmiling. “You think it’s funny to be late, Miss Murillo?”

She pressed her lips together to suppress her grin.

“No”, she said, and when he raised an eyebrow, she quickly added: “Sir.”

He nodded at the smaller desk and chair. “Sit.”

She obeyed him silently. He put the book aside and, still leaning against his desk, he crossed his arms and gave her a long look.

“So, Miss Murillo, have you done the preparatory reading for this class?”

The morning’s files flashed before her eyes, and she suddenly understood. “Yes, sir, I have.”

“Good. Are you ready to be tested?”

Her eyes sparkled. “I think I am.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You think you are?”

She quickly recanted. “No, sir. I am, I’m ready.”

He asked her a question about one of the documents she’d read, and she was just about to give him the answer, when she changed her mind and said the wrong thing. He frowned, then asked her another question. She answered incorrectly again. After the third wrong answer, he shook his head at her.

“Miss Murillo, did you study at all for this test?”

She leaned forward on her desk, playing with her tie. “I’m sorry, sir. You see, I have a terrible crush on someone, and I just couldn’t focus last night.”

He cleared his throat. “Well, that’s no excuse.”

“I know”, she said repentantly. “I’m really sorry. Sir.”

Just then, her phone buzzed in the pocket of her skirt, and she took it out without thinking. She checked the screen – it was just a notification for the birthday of a friend – then she became aware that he was standing right in front of her, his hand outstretched.

“No phones in class, Miss Murillo, you know that.”

“But sir…”, she protested, but he cut across her, still holding out his hand.

“No exceptions. You can have it back after class.”

She reluctantly handed him her phone and he put it on his desk, then turned back to her, arms crossed.

“Now, I must admit that I’m very disappointed in you, Miss Murillo. I expected you to do better on this test.”

She flashed him a bold look. “Maybe you didn’t explain it properly… sir.”

He gave her a long, calculating look, until she began to feel a little uncomfortable. His voice was soft but dangerous when he said: “Miss Murillo, please stand up.”

She did so, her heart beating in her throat. He started circling her, very slowly.

“Miss Murillo”, he said, still in that same soft voice, “You came in late. You haven’t studied. You take out your phone in class. Now, I can tolerate tardiness. I can tolerate laziness. I can tolerate inattention. But what I will not tolerate, Miss Murillo, is disrespect.”

He was right in front of her now, looking straight into her eyes. “Do I make myself clear?”

She swallowed. “Perfectly… sir.”

“Good”, he murmured. “Sit.”

She sat.

“Now. Time to hand in your homework assignment. Did you bring it?”

She lifted her chin defiantly and looked straight at him. “No.”

He leaned against the desk again and rubbed a tired hand over his eyes.

“Miss Murillo, I don’t know what to do with you anymore. This is the third assignment you’re not handing in. I’m afraid I’m going to have to fail you.”

She widened her eyes. “No, please… I can’t fail this class.”

He crossed his arms. “Then what do you propose?”

She got up slowly. “Look… Professor… there must be something I can do for some extra credit?”

He raised his eyebrows. “Like what?”

She walked up to him, then kneeled down smoothly.

“Like this”, she whispered, unbuttoning his pants.

He was already hard when she drew him out. She looked up at him, stuck out her tongue, then slowly ran it from the base of his dick to the tip, not breaking eye contact. He was the first to look away, and she smiled inwardly as she closed her mouth over him and he groaned. She might be the one on her knees, but she knew she had the upper hand.

He seemed to feel it, too, because after only a few seconds, he suddenly said: “Stop. Get up.”

She looked up, surprised, then got to her feet. He came to stand behind her. He wasn’t rough, but his hands were firm as he pushed her forward against the desk, then she gasped in surprise as he bent her over it, so she was leaning on her elbows. His movements were confident as he smoothly pushed her skirt up over her hips, then pulled down her underwear. Before she really knew what was happening, his hand was between her legs and he was checking to see if she was ready.

She knew she was wet, and heard his murmur of satisfaction as he felt it, too.

“You really want this, don’t you?” he said.

She replied in a whisper: “Yes, sir.”

She gasped loudly as he entered her, pushing in his full length at once. The desk offered some firm resistance, so he could take her hard and he did. Her nails scratched the hard surface of the wood as she looked for something to hold onto, every thrust making her moan. He set a fast pace, gripping her hips tightly and pushing in deep with every stroke. She tilted her hips and bit her lip as he was suddenly pressing hard against her G-spot. To her utter astonishment, she felt her knees begin to tremble as a sharp tingling started up inside her, and as he kept thrusting, she leaned her head down on the desk and let out a broken cry as a sudden, unexpected orgasm overwhelmed her.

The moment he felt her contract around him, his self-restraint broke and he groaned as he started coming, too, pressing himself deep inside her with a last few, hard strokes. He leaned forward on the desk for a few moments, his hands on either side of her, breathing hard, then he withdrew and they both slid down to sit on the ground with their backs against the desk. Raquel let her head lean back against the wood, trying to catch her breath.

He gave her a sideways glance. “Are we back to normal now?”

“Yes”, she whispered. “Oh my god, Sergio. Oh. My. God.”

He turned to her, eyebrows raised in surprise. “You came. I felt it.”

“I know”, she said, eyes closed as she relived it. “I can’t believe it either. I’ve never been able to come without additional stimulation.”

“I couldn’t reach there”, he explained. “The desk was in the way.”

“I know”, she repeated. “But it was just so hot.”

“You once told me female arousal needs to be both physical and mental”, he mused. “I think the mental image may have made up for the lack of physical stimulation.”

“I don’t doubt it”, she said, wondering if she’d ever been this aroused in her life.

“So… teachers, huh?” he grinned. “I know where my fascination for nurses comes from, but why is it teachers for you?”

“I’m not sure”, she admitted. “I admire intelligence and skills. They often have a certain charisma. And something about the authority is just so sexy. I’ve had so many crushes on my teachers.”

“And you never slept with any of them?”

“No”, she said. “I wasn’t confident enough to ever try. Besides, they were usually married.”

“And you’ve never been someone’s mistress?” he asked slyly.

“No”, she said firmly. “I would never do that.”

He nodded, satisfied with her code of honor. She went on a little dreamily.

“It’s a funny thing, to have a crush on a teacher. It makes you work so much harder, trying to please them. I came in at the top of my class in the police academy mostly because I wanted to impress my teachers.”

He gave her an amused smile, then brushed her hand with his fingers. “So… how did I do?”

She turned her head and gave him a radiant smile. “You were amazing. Sexiest teacher I’ve ever had. Full marks.”

He blushed, pleased. “I enjoyed it, too. It was easier than I thought it would be, once I was in character.”

“You have a knack for acting”, she said, smiling. “I like that. Maybe we can use it again sometime.”

His blush deepened. “What did you have in mind?”

“Oh, I don’t know”, she said idly. “But I’m sure I’ll be able to come up with something.”

He shifted closer to her and kissed her. “I don’t know what you’ve done to me, Raquel. You make me do such crazy things. It’s like I don’t recognize myself sometimes.”

She ran her fingers through his hair. “I think this has always been a part of you. It just needed the right circumstances to come out.”

He kissed her again. “I’m so glad I found you.”

She grinned. “I think it was fate. Me with my weakness for teachers, and you… the Professor.”

Then she kissed him back, tenderly. “I’m glad I found you, too.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Raquel was out to the market, and Sergio was at his desk getting some work done. Or, more accurately, he was staring at the screen of his laptop while reliving the blowjob Raquel had given him the night before. That thing she did with her tongue… He felt a shiver run down his spine, then shook himself mentally and refocused on the screen. He opened his browser, then spent another few minutes just staring at it while he fantasized about the things he wanted to do to her when she got home. He sighed. It was no good, he couldn’t stop thinking about her.

When his phone buzzed and her name appeared on the screen, he picked it up with a smile and opened the text.

10.38 <<come to the market, i wanna show you something>>

10.38 <<What?>>

10.39 <<theres this antique stall>>

           <<its got a really pretty vase>>

          << i cant afford it, but im guessing you can ;)>>

          << i think it will look great in our living room>>

He smiled at the ‘our’. He was glad she was starting to feel at home.

10.42 <<I will be right there.>>

Glad for the excuse, he closed his laptop and left the house. The market was only a few minutes away, but when he got there, he could hardly get through the crowd. He took out his phone.

10.52 <<Where are you?>>

She texted back immediately.

10.52 <<about halfway down the street>>

He pushed his way through the throng, but it was hopeless. He couldn’t spot her. He took out his phone again.

10.56 <<What are you wearing?>>

His phone buzzed.

10.56 <<red panties>>

10.57 <<That’s not helpful!!>>

           <<But… really?>>

10.58 <<absolutely>>

10.58 <<We’ll have to discuss that later. Now tell me how I can find you.>>

10.59 <<im wearing a white top>>

He looked around, then spotted a flash of white to his left and headed for it.

She was standing in front of the stall, trying not to get jostled by the crowd, smiling at her phone. Suddenly his voice was in her ear.

“So… red panties, huh?”

She turned with a smile. “Yes.”

He came even closer. “Prove it.”

She glanced around. Nobody was paying them any attention – the owner of the stall was talking to another customer. She slowly hooked her thumb around the waistband of her pants, then pulled it down for just an instant, revealing a scrap of red fabric. He bit his lip and put his arm around her waist.

“How about I get you and those panties home?”

She smoothly turned out of his embrace.

“No touching in public”, she reminded him, grinning. “Besides, I wanted you to take a look at this vase.”

He reluctantly shifted his attention to the thing she was pointing at.

“It’s nice”, he nodded. “I like it. Let’s take it home.”

They walked home together and found a nice spot for the vase next to a window. He wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her hair.

“I’m glad you’re starting to settle in. I can’t wait until you’ll officially move in.”

Her expression was serious as she turned to him.

“About that… can we talk for a moment?”

“Sure”, he said, picking up on her more serious mood.

They went out and sat on the steps of the porch. She gave him a look.

“Sergio, I will need to go back to Spain to arrange things eventually.”

He grimaced. “I know.”

“How long do you think it will take?”

He did a quick calculation. “About six weeks, maybe two months, depending on how fast the bureaucratic aspects are handled.”

“That’s a long time.”

He sighed. “You don’t need to tell me.”

“Sergio, I’m worried about what will happen to you in the meantime.”

“What do you mean?”

She hesitated. “Am I right to think that the past year hasn’t been easy for you?”

He shook his head, sober. “No, it wasn’t.”

“Were you very depressed?”

He gave her a look. “Yes. Yes, I was.”

“I thought so.”

“It was just a combination of things. My brother’s death, leaving you behind, the sudden emptiness after years of planning,… I didn’t deal with it very well. But I’m much better now.”

“Still”, she said, a worried look in her eyes. “I would feel better if you had some company.”

He threw her an amused glance. “I’m an adult, Raquel, I can take care of myself. You don’t have to ask the neighbors to check in on me.”

“That wasn’t what I had in mind.”

“What, then?”

“What if we got a pet?”

He raised his eyebrows. “A pet?”

“Yes”, she said, “something you can take care of during the day, and cuddle with in the evenings. I think it would really help.”

“Alright…” he said doubtfully. “What kind of pet?”

“How about a puppy?”

He hesitated. “Raquel, I need to tell you something and you’re probably not going to like it.”

“What?”

“I don’t like dogs.”

“You don’t like dogs? Who doesn’t like dogs, they’re adorable!”

“Believe me”, he said darkly. “It’s mutual. Dogs don’t like me, either.”

“Why don’t you like them? Did you get bitten as a kid?”

He ran a hand through his hair. “No, that’s not why. They’re just so… present. They’re loud and they smell and they drool and they need constant attention.”

“Okay, a cat then.”

He considered this. “I suppose cats are alright.”

She put a hand on his knee. “I really think you’d be less lonely.”

He took her hand and squeezed it. “It’s sweet of you to worry.”

“Besides, Paula has been asking for a pet for years, but I always said no because I had to work so much. I think it would make the transition easier for her if she had a cat to look forward to.”

That seemed to sway him. “Alright”, he said. “I guess we’re getting a cat then.”

That afternoon, they took a taxi into town to visit the local pound. A storm of barking broke out the minute they stepped through the door, and Sergio flinched. Raquel, on the other hand, went straight over to one of the cages and peered inside.

“Look at this cute little thing!” she said. “Are you sure you don’t want a dog?”

Sergio approached the cage, and the panting, tail-wagging dog instantly started to growl.

“Yeah”, he said drily. “Pretty sure.”

A man came through a door in the back and greeted them with a smile.

“How can I help you?”

“We’re looking for a cat”, Raquel said.

“An adult cat or a kitten?”

“Do you have any kittens?” she asked, thinking a kitten would need more looking after, and would therefore occupy more of Sergio’s attention.

“We have a few litters that are ready to go to a good home”, the man said. “Come along, I’ll show you.”

He led them to a pen where several baskets stood, all full of squirming kittens crawling up and over each other. Raquel considered them for a moment, then picked one at random, a short-hair with thick blue-grey fur and golden-brown eyes. She pushed it firmly into Sergio’s hands.

“What about this one?”

Cradling the tiny thing carefully in his hands, he lifted it to eye level. For several moments, Sergio and the kitten stared at each other, then the little creature let out a tiny ‘mew’ and Raquel saw something inside him melt.

He looked up with a broad smile. “She’s beautiful.”

“Is it a she?” Raquel asked the owner, and he picked up the kitten by the scruff of its neck to examine it.

“Yep”, he said. “It’s a female.”

Sergio was looking on anxiously. “Aren’t you hurting her, holding her like that?”

“Not at all”, the man reassured him. “Mother cats pick up their babies like this all the time.”

He got out travel basket and deftly maneuvered the little cat inside.

“Do we pay you?” Raquel asked.

“We’re a non-profit, but you can leave a donation”, the man said.

Sergio got out his wallet and handed the man such a big donation that his eyes went round.

“Wow, thanks! That’s very generous of you.”

“Not at all”, Sergio murmured, picking up the travel basket with the utmost care.

Outside, they flagged a taxi and asked it to take them to a nearby pet store. When they got there, Raquel briskly picked out the things they’d need: a basket, a litter box, bowls for food and water, some cat toys. Sergio insisted on the most expensive cat food, but she drew the line at a jeweled collar.

“A plain one will do fine”, she said, amused.

They took the cat and their purchases home. The food and water bowls were installed in the kitchen, the litter box on the porch and the basket in the living room. When the kitten was let out of its basket, it strutted around the house for a while, looking very interested and not scared at all. It even played with one of its new toys, before tottering over to its basket and falling asleep instantly.

“We need a name for her”, Raquel said.

He frowned. “I’m really bad at names. You can pick something.”

She considered it for a moment. “How about a city name?”

“I like that”, he smiled.

“What do you think of ‘Boston’?”

He gave her a disdainful look. “That is clearly a name for a boy cat.”

She raised her eyebrows, amused. “Alright. Then how about ‘Paris’?”

He shook his head. “That’s much too big a city for such a little cat.”

“Well, you come up with something then.”

He gave it some thought. “A few years ago, I visited a small town in Belgium which is called ‘Antwerpen’ in Dutch. In Spanish, it’s ‘Amberes’. We could call her ‘Amber’ for short.”

She nodded. “Like the color of her eyes. I like it.”

Sergio gave the cat a tender look.

“I think this was a good idea, Raquel.”

She smiled at him, and he pulled her close and kissed her, then looked at her with a warm expression that elicited an immediate tingle between her legs.

“And speaking of good ideas”, he murmured, wrapping his arms around her waist and nuzzling her neck, “Weren’t you going to show me those red panties you have on?”

She grinned. “If you’re still interested.”

He pulled her even closer, so she could feel him hard against her hip. “Oh, I am.”

They went into the bedroom and closed the door behind them. He immediately started undressing her, taking off her top and pants, then pulling her with him onto the bed. She unbuttoned his shirt as he kissed her deeply, and after he’d shrugged it off, he started kissing her neck, starting near her ear and going lower with every kiss, until he reached her shoulder, her chest, her breasts. He was just about to take off her bra when there was a soft scratching at the door.

He looked up. “Is that Amber?”

“Yes”, she said impatiently. “So?”

The scratching came again, a little more insistent this time.

“I think she wants to come in”, Sergio said.

He moved to get off the bed, but Raquel stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.

“She can’t always get what she wants. Better to teach her that immediately.”

Scratch, scratch, scratch. Sergio gave Raquel a beseeching look.

“She’s probably lonely.”

She rolled her eyes. “Fine, let her in.”

He jumped off the bed and opened the door. Amber came trotting in happily, and settled herself on the rug next to the bed. Sergio stood looking at her with loving eyes until Raquel sat up and cleared her throat.

“Excuse me, we were in the middle of something?”

“Oh, right”, he said, climbing back onto the bed.

She pulled him in for a kiss, and he unhooked her bra. She let the straps slip off her shoulders and threw it off the bed, and he immediately closed his mouth over a nipple and sucked. She closed her eyes and sighed in delight, her hands in his hair. When he moved down to kiss her stomach, she fell back into the pillows with a smile of anticipation. He lowered her panties and threw them aside, and she spread her legs so he could lie between them. The first stroke of his tongue made her moan and tilt her hips. After a few minutes, though, she decided she couldn’t wait anymore.

“Sergio”, she said, and he looked up. “Come up, I want you.”

He moved up to lie on top of her, then glanced sideways and hesitated.

“What’s the matter?” she asked him impatiently.

He sat up on his knees. “I’m not sure I can do this.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

He ran a hand through his hair. “Amber keeps looking at us.”

So?” she snapped. “She doesn’t know what she’s seeing!”

“But she’s so innocent.”

“She’s a cat.”

“I can’t do this when I look at her.”

She gripped his chin and turned his head. “Then don’t look at her. Look at me.”

The warm expression returned to his eyes. “Of course. You’re right.”

He kissed her and pushed her back down into the pillows. “Where were we?”

She spread her legs and was just about to guide him in, when a small ‘mew’ from beside the bed made him hesitate again. She threw her head back with annoyance.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”

He gave her a tortured look. “But Raquel…”

She grabbed his hair. “I swear to god, Sergio, if that cat is the reason I’m not having sex today I am taking it straight back to the pound!”

He grinned. “You’re eager.”

She gave him an outraged look. “You can’t get me all warmed up and then back out at the last minute! That’s just not polite!”

“Maybe if we wait until she goes back to sleep…”

She wriggled out from under him and started to get off the bed. “Alright, back to the pound it is!”

He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her back onto the mattress, laughing. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry!” He held her down and pressed kisses to her face and throat until she relented. “How about I put her in the kitchen and close the door? Then we won’t hear her.”

She nodded grumpily. “Okay, let’s try that.”

He got off the bed and picked up the tiny kitten, pressing a kiss to the silky top of her head.

“Hey!” Raquel said. “You kiss me with that mouth!”

“She’s perfectly clean”, he soothed her, then quickly took the cat through to the kitchen.

When he returned, she was sitting up on the bed and gave him a dirty look. “Now I’m not sure I’m in the mood anymore.”

He went to sit next to her, wrapping an arm around her waist, and kissed her neck.

“I’m sorry”, he whispered between kisses. “Let me make it up to you.”

She hesitated, then tilted her head slightly to give him better access. “I’m listening…”

He pressed his advantage, pushing her gently but firmly back down into the pillows. “From now on, all my attention is on you”, he murmured, then gave her a kiss that took her breath away. He moved down again, nipping at her nipples in passing so she shivered. Spreading her legs with his hands, he went to lie between them and pressed soft kisses to the inside of her thighs.

“I’m sorry for making you wait.” Kiss. “It wasn’t right.” Kiss. “You deserve better.” Kiss.

She was squirming slightly now, wanting him to hurry up. He was very close when he kissed her thigh again.

“Do you think you can forgive me?”

“Yes”, she whispered, and he immediately pressed his mouth against her, making her gasp. Then he pulled back.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes”, she said, smiling, and he pressed his mouth to her again. She was tilting her hips, but he pulled back a second time.

“Really sure?”

“Yes!” she laughed, “Now stop it! I mean, keep going!”

“As my lady commands”, he murmured, then set to work in earnest.

His tongue explored her thoroughly, and she sighed with the pleasure of it, then moaned when he found the right spot. He kept going this time, circling and flicking his tongue until she was breathing hard, then settling on a steady rhythm that was sure to get her there. She gripped the sheets and started trembling. At the exact right time, he entered her with two fingers and pushed upwards, and she immediately arched her back and cried out as the orgasm washed over her. He kept going for a few more seconds, then slowly eased off and stopped. Her limbs relaxed and she lay, panting, on the bed as he moved up to take her in his arms.

“Am I forgiven?”

“Totally”, she said weakly. Then she seemed to come back to her senses, and with one smooth push, she had him on his back. “But I’m not done with you yet.”

“I’m all yours”, he grinned, then bit his lip when her hand closed around him and she guided him inside. When she sank down on him, he groaned, then placed his hands on her hips to help guide her movements. With her hands on his chest for support, she set a fast pace that soon had him gasping. But when he heard her moan, he sharply reined himself in and focused on her.

“Do you want to come again?” he whispered, and she nodded. He gritted his teeth and tried not to lose control at the sight of her putting a hand between her own legs and moving her fingers in time with their rhythm. She soon started trembling a second time, and when he bucked his hips to take her deeper, he felt her contract around him as she gasped. A moment later, she collapsed onto his chest, but she only stayed there for a few seconds before starting to move again, for which he was grateful, as he was about to burst. One, two, three strokes later, he shut his eyes tight and called out her name as the delicious release rushed through him.

She let herself fall onto the bed next to him, and they lay side by side for a few moments, breathing hard. Then, all the way from the kitchen, they heard a faint ‘mew’. Sergio shot her a pleading look, and she waved her hand, much more inclined to be forgiving now.

“Go on, go get her.”

He got up and went to open the kitchen door, and she heard him murmur softly to the kitten as he stroked her. She got up to take a shower, then changed her mind and put on her bathing suit.

“I’m going for a swim!” she called to him in passing, then walked quickly over the hot sand to the water. She spent about fifteen minutes dreamily floating around, gradually cooling off. Then she got out, wrapped herself in the towel she’d brought, and set off back to the house. The sun was just starting to set, coloring the sky a delicate pink.

When she walked into the living room, she stopped and smiled. Sergio, fully dressed again, was lying on the sofa, fast asleep, with the tiny kitten curled up contentedly on his stomach. She quietly went into the bedroom and got out her phone to take a picture of them. Yes, she thought, smiling as she saved the picture. This was definitely a good idea.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Raquel woke up because there was something on her chest. She opened her eyes and looked straight into two amber-colored ones, regarding her attentively. She sighed, scratched the little cat under her chin, then lifted her off the bed and turned to her boyfriend.

“Sergio”, she said sternly, and he stirred.

“Hmm?”

“Did you let Amber into the bedroom even though we agreed she shouldn’t sleep with us?”

That woke him up. He opened his eyes and shot her a guilty look.

“She was mewing in front of the door. Didn’t you hear her? It was keeping me awake. I… I thought it couldn’t hurt, just for one night?”

“But it won’t be just one night. Now she knows she can get her way with you.”

“Have a heart, Raquel. She’s so little and she just wants company.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re going to spoil her rotten.”

He pulled her down on top of him and nuzzled her neck. “But I like spoiling my girls.”

She sat back up, indignant. “You’re grouping me with the cat now?!”

He grinned. “Don’t worry. You’ll always be my number one.”

“I should hope so”, she huffed, then settled herself comfortably in the pillows. “If you like spoiling me so much, then you can make breakfast.”

He laughed, then pressed a kiss to her shoulder and got out of bed. Raquel waited until he was out of the room, then she smiled and lifted Amber back onto the bed and played with her while Sergio made them both breakfast.

It was a rare grey day, with a constant misty drizzle of rain, so they spent a comfortable day inside, talking, reading and cuddling with the cat. By the evening, though, Raquel was rather bored.

“Let’s play a game”, she said after dinner.

“Sure”, he said. “What kind of game?”

She smiled as she got an idea. “How about ‘never have I ever’?”

“What’s that?”

“A really fun drinking game, you’ll love it.”

“You want to play a drinking game with me?”

“I know, I know, you don’t want to get drunk. What if we mixed some water and wine for you?”

He gave her a look of pure horror. “I’m not defiling one of my wines for a drinking game.”

“Fine”, she said, amused. “You can just play with water then, and I’ll play with wine.”

“That seems acceptable”, he nodded. “What are the rules?”

“Each in turn, we say something we’ve never done. For example, you could say ‘never have I ever been drunk’ and then I would have to drink because I have been drunk. If I’ve also never done it, I don’t have to drink.”

His eyes lit up. “So I can ask you any question I want and you have to tell me honestly if you’ve done it or not?”

She grinned. “I thought this would be right up your alley. Yes. But I get to ask you questions, too!”

He frowned. “But there are so many things I’ve never done.”

“Then that will be the challenge for me: trying to guess things you have done.” She grinned. “I’m sure there’s some weird stuff to uncover here.”

They got out two glasses, a bottle of wine and a pitcher of water, and settled themselves on the couch with Amber, nice and cozy while the rain pattered down outside.

“Okay”, Sergio said. “You start.”

She considered him for a moment, then said: “Never have I ever… ignored a red light.”

He shook his head. “I’m a careful driver.”

“Alright, your turn.”

He smiled. “Never have I ever… dyed my hair a crazy color.”

“Oh god”, she said, then sipped her wine. “Purple streaks. When I was fifteen.”

His smile widened. “Are there pictures of that?”

“I’m sure my mother has some somewhere”, she muttered darkly. “My turn again. Never have I ever… sent food back in a restaurant.”

He shook his head again, then said: “Never have I ever… had a one-night stand.”

She drank, and he perked up. “Was it with Angel?”

She looked embarrassed. “Well, I only slept with Angel once, but I don’t count that as a one-night stand, because I already knew him.”

“So there were other one-night stands?”

“Just the one. Nothing much to tell about it. I met a guy in a bar and went home with him. It wasn’t much fun, and I never did it again.”

He nodded, and it was her turn again. She narrowed her eyes at him, thinking carefully. She’d already struck out twice, she wanted him to drink this time. Then she said: “Never have I ever… cut my own hair.”

He grimaced and drank.

“I knew it!” she crowed triumphantly. “But why?”

“I hate hairdressers”, he shuddered. “Other people touching me, having to look at myself in the mirror for an hour, and the small talk… just awful. So, yes, I’ve been known to cut my own hair when it got too long and I was feeling particularly anti-social.”

She laughed. “Okay, your turn again.”

He smiled. “Never have I ever… gone to work without underwear.”

Now it was her turn to grimace and drink, and he grinned. “Really?”

“It was after my one-night stand, actually. I just couldn’t find my panties in the morning.”

He laughed. “Were you wearing pants or a skirt that day?”

“Pants, thankfully. So no one ever knew. Me again: never have I ever… been awake for two days straight.”

He drank. “I get really wrapped up in my projects. Sometimes I forget to eat or sleep.”

She nodded. “I thought you might.”

He cleared his throat. “Never have I ever… looked through someone’s phone without their permission.”

She drank. “I’m not proud of this, but, yes, I’ve looked through Alberto’s phone, when I started suspecting that he was getting rather close with my sister.”

“I’m sorry”, he said, “I shouldn’t have asked that.”

“It’s okay”, she said.

The game went on, Sergio drinking for about half of the questions Raquel asked him, and Raquel drinking for almost every question he asked her. She was going through her glasses of wine rather quickly.

Sergio asked his next question: “Never have I ever… hitchhiked.”

She drank. “When I was eighteen, I hitchhiked with a friend to Lisbon. Best holiday of my life. When we got there, we were so proud. We felt like we were real adults now, like we could do anything.”

He smiled, and she asked her next question: “Never have I ever… been electrocuted.”

He winced, and drank. “I was a curious child. I was shocked once when I was taking apart a radio without unplugging it first. My fingers tingled for hours afterwards. Okay: never have I ever… cheated on a test.”

She drank. “Of course I have. Who hasn’t? Never have I ever… eaten something off of someone else’s body.”

He shook his head and grinned. “No, but I’d really like to change that soon.”

She winked at him. “Anytime.”

They went on, and she was getting quite tipsy.

He asked: “Never have I ever… flirted my way out of a speeding or parking ticket.”

She blushed and drank. “That was before I became a cop myself! I’d just learned to drive and I had parked somewhere I shouldn’t have. The cop who was writing me up took pity on me when I told him I’d only just gotten my license. But… yeah, there may have been some flirting.”

He grinned at her, then she turned to him with a sly expression.

“Never have I ever…” she said, “measured my penis.”

He raised his eyebrows and shook his head.

“Really?” she said suspiciously. “Never?”

“People do that?”

“Well, yeah, every man I’ve ever been with knew his length to the millimeter.”

“Why?”

“So you can look up the average online and compare.”

“Oh”, he said. “I see. I suppose it never mattered that much to me. Me again: never have I ever… eaten food off the floor.”

She drank, and he shuddered.

“Five second rule!” she said. “Alright… never have I ever… been slapped across the face.”

He drank, and her eyes went big.

Really?” she exclaimed. “By whom?”

He stared at her. “By you, you crazy woman. How drunk are you?”

She clapped her hand in front of her mouth. “Oh god, I’d totally forgotten that for a moment. I did slap you, didn’t I?”

“Three times”, he said drily.

“It’s so weird to think back to that time now… it seems like a dream.” Then she turned to him. “I never apologized for doing that.”

“Don’t”, he said lightly. “I entirely deserved it.”

He thought for a moment, then said: “Never have I ever… stolen anything.”

“You can’t use that!” she said. “Because you’ve done it.”

“Alright”, he said, “then I’ll drink. But I still want to know your answer.”

She shook her head.

“What?” he said incredulously. “You’ve never stolen anything? Not even… candy as a child, or… or a grape from the supermarket?”

She shook her head again. “I’ve always had a strongly developed sense of right and wrong, even as a child.”

A rather wolfish grin appeared on his face. “Oh Raquel… I think we need to change that, and soon.”

“What?” she said. “No, I’m not stealing anything!”

“It doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. Just something small. You can’t live with me without ever having stolen something. I can’t have someone so innocent in the house, it just won’t do.”

She was laughing. “You are a terrible influence on me!”

His grin widened. “Does that mean you’ll do it?”

She considered him. “Maybe…”

He shifted closer to her and looked into her eyes appealingly. “Oh, please, Raquel. Let me teach you.”

She hesitated. “I still don’t like the idea of robbing someone.”

“Then we’ll pick a store, and I’ll go in after you and buy the same thing for twice the price.”

She laughed. “Then what’s the point of stealing it?”

His eyes shone. “The experience, Raquel! The thrill of it! Come on… what do you say?”

She relented. “Alright. I suppose it could be rather exciting.”

He kissed her. “You’re amazing. Tomorrow?”

Tomorrow?

“Why wait?”

“I suppose…” she laughed. “Okay, why not. Tomorrow we can go into town and you can teach me how to steal something.”

He kissed her again, and the game was entirely forgotten as they focused only on each other for the rest of the night.

The next morning, however, with her head cleared of alcohol, Raquel was feeling a lot less daring.

“Sergio”, she said over breakfast. “I know I said I’d steal something today, but…”

He looked up. “Don’t tell me you’re chickening out?”

“Well…” she hesitated. “No… but I have to admit the thought makes me really nervous.”

He gave her an amused look. “Now you know how I feel when you make me do stuff like skinny-dipping in the ocean.”

“This is different!” she said. “Stealing is illegal.”

“Skinny-dipping is illegal here, too”, he said drily. “You didn’t seem to care about that.”

She shifted uncomfortably on her chair. “What if I get caught?”

“You won’t”, he assured her. “I’ll help you pick out something incredibly low-risk. And nobody is going to throw you in jail for stealing a piece of candy.”

When she still hesitated, he gave her another amused look. “Come on, Raquel. Live a little.”

She sighed. “Oh, fine. If you’re going to use my own words against me.”

After breakfast, they took a taxi into town and got out in the shopping district. They walked along the streets while he carefully considered every store they passed. Finally  he stopped in front of a stationary store.

“This might work”, he said. “You could go in and just take a paperclip or a stack of post-its. Should be easy. Let me go in and check the lay-out.”

He left her outside the store, her stomach filled with nervous butterflies as she tried not to draw the attention of passers-by. After only five minutes, he was back and took her to around the corner.

“Alright”, he said. “This shouldn’t be a problem. There are no video cameras, there are big displays in the middle of the room that hide you from view, and the owner isn’t very attentive.”

She felt her heart beat in her throat. “Sergio, I don’t know if I can do this.”

“Of course you can”, he said earnestly, taking her by the shoulders. “Raquel, you’ve taken bigger risks than this in your life. You’re a badass. Just take something small, and I’ll go in and pay for it later.”

She swallowed hard. “Any tips before I go in?”

“The key is to look confident. Keep your nerves under control. Don’t dither – in and out. Oh, and actually buy something, too. That will make you look a lot less suspicious.”

He looked into her eyes for a moment, then said softly: “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”

She squared her shoulders. “No, I can do this.”

He smiled. “That’s my girl.”

She took a deep breath, gave him a quick kiss, then disappeared around the corner. She tried to walk at a normal pace as she neared the store. She didn’t hesitate before the door, but walked right in, her heart racing almost painfully. A little bell tinkled as she entered, but the man behind the counter barely glanced up at her before returning his attention to his phone. She looked around at the displays of paper and school supplies. What should she take? She shot the man behind the counter another look, but he was still scrolling on his phone. Then her eyes fell on a certain display and she smiled.

Sergio was waiting around the corner, a little nervous despite everything he’d said to her. This wasn’t exactly his biggest heist ever, but he still couldn’t help but worry a bit. Then she rounded the corner with a big grin, her hair up, and a small bag in her hand.

“Did you do it?” he asked her breathlessly, and she pulled a pencil out of her hair and held it up triumphantly. He swept her into his arms and kissed her. When he pulled back, her eyes were sparkling.

“That was rather exhilarating!”

He grinned. “I’m proud of you.”

“Now go pay the man!”

He went into the store and bought another pencil, paying double for it, refusing change. When he came back to her, she was pacing back and forth.

“I’m all hyper”, she said.

“That’s the adrenaline”, he said. “It will wear off.” He pulled her closer. “Now, let’s get you home for your reward.”

She grinned. “I get a reward?”

“Absolutely”, he murmured in her ear. “I happen to think that criminals are rather sexy.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck without thinking about it, then quickly released him when a passing woman gave them a disapproving look.

“Home”, they both said at the same time, then flagged a taxi. On the ride back, he couldn’t keep his hands off her, and she didn’t much try to stop him.

“God”, he whispered in her ear. “I can’t wait to get you into bed. I’m going to make you come so hard.”

She bit her lip as she felt a sharp tingle between her legs, then she laughed. “Apparently I should have done this much earlier.”

The moment the door of the house closed behind them, he pressed her up against it, kissing her deeply. She responded by unbuttoning his shirt with deft fingers, then they made their way to the bedroom, kissing non-stop and shedding their clothes along the way. Amber was unceremoniously banished to the living room, and they closed the bedroom door firmly behind themselves. Sergio only had eyes for her right now, and Raquel felt a delicious flutter in her lower belly at the look he gave her before pushing her down onto the bed.

She opened her legs and surrendered to him, and he lost no time burying his face between her thighs. She moaned softly as he pushed his tongue inside her, then moved up to where she wanted him the most. The exhilaration of the day and the tension of the long taxi ride home had left her almost breathless with excitement, and she felt an immediate thrum start up inside her as he circled and licked. He brought even more enthusiasm than usual to the task, and she felt her body respond to him involuntarily: her breathing quickened, her face flushed, and her legs began to tremble as he kept going. A minute more, and she was gasping on the bed, her back arched and her hands gripping the sheets. When the exquisite feeling coursed through her, she threw her head back and came with a long, loud cry.

He eased off, veering away from her most sensitive spot, but he didn’t come up and he kept her tingling with quick, soft licks everywhere. She smiled and shivered.

“Again?” she asked, and he nodded.

“As soon as you’re ready.”

She stretched luxuriously. “I like this reward. I think I’ll steal things more often.”

He ran his tongue along her with a slow, broad stroke, and when he reached the top, she twitched and shivered again.

“I think I’m ready.”

“Good”, he murmured, then started again. He took his time now, approaching her more slowly and exploring more thoroughly, yet when he sensed she was ready, he knew exactly where to go to make her moan again. She was more sensitive now, and acutely aware of every stroke of his tongue. She gasped as he entered her with two fingers, adding another delicious sensation to her experience. Quicker than she’d thought it possible, she felt the tension inside her begin to build again, and when he increased the pressure of his fingers, she arched her back, her breathing fast and uneven as he brought her to the edge, kept her teetering there for an instant, then pushed her over. She twined her fingers through his hair and sobbed his name as the wave broke over her once more.

He moved up and held her while she shuddered through the aftershocks, then relaxed against him. The moment she felt him hard against her hip, she felt another twinge between her legs, and realized she wasn’t satisfied yet.

“I want you”, she whispered, and he nodded, then murmured in her ear:

“Get on your knees.”

She smiled as she realized he wasn’t done rewarding her. This was her favorite position, but they didn’t use it often because he complained that it lacked intimacy. He wasn’t complaining now, however, as she scrambled up onto her hands and knees and he took up position behind her. He gripped her firmly by the hips, and she gasped loudly as he entered her. Everything was so sensitive now, and feeling him inside her was just pure bliss. He set a fast pace, taking her deeply, and an involuntary moan escaped from her lips with every thrust. When he reached a hand around her hip and touched her with his fingers, however, she quickly pushed his hand away.

“It’s too sensitive”, she gasped. “Just fuck me.”

He did so, and not until she was thoroughly satisfied did he allow himself to lose control. She felt his hands tighten their grip on her hips, then he gasped and shuddered as the orgasm rocked him. They fell onto the bed together, entirely out of breath, and when her head found the hollow of his shoulder, she could hear his heart beating fast in his chest. He wrapped her into his arms and kissed the top of her head.

“My little thief”, he murmured, and she smiled. A moment later, she sat up and gave him a look.

“What do you think?” she asked him. “Have I earned my city name?”

He grinned in delight. “You know, I really think you have. What do you want it to be?”

“Lisboa”, she said immediately. “After the city where I first felt like I could do anything.” Then she laughed. “Though I never thought I could do this.”

She nestled back into his arms and looked up at him.

“Lisboa”, he smiled, then bent his head to kiss her. “I like it.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

They were walking through the market one morning, discussing what they wanted for breakfast.

“We can’t live on mangoes alone”, she said. “We need other food, too.”

“But they’re so good!”

“They don’t exactly constitute a balanced meal.”

“Soon the mango season will be over, and then you’ll regret not having eaten more of them.”

She shot him an amused look. “You’re going to be the first millionaire to die of malnutrition if you don’t watch out. Buy some vegetables!”

The crowd was dense as they maneuvered their way over to a vegetable stall. The noise of hundreds of men, women, children and dogs mingled with the shouts of the vendors to make a deafening din. Suddenly, Raquel stopped dead and gripped Sergio’s sleeve.

“What?” he asked her.

She looked around. “Something’s wrong.”

“I don’t notice…” he began, just before the crowd was violently parted by three young men, running as hard as they could and pushing people down as they went. They were pursued by four police officers.

Raquel placed her hand on Sergio’s chest and firmly pushed him aside as the men flashed past them. She looked after them until they disappeared in the crowd again, then she started helping up the people who had fallen.

“You okay?” she asked Sergio, who was still looking in the direction the men had disappeared in.

“Yes”, he said. “Thank you for pushing me out of the way. You reacted so much quicker than I did.”

“Old habits”, she said, then turned to the vegetable vendor and ordered what they needed.

On the walk back, she was rather quiet. When they got home, they put away their purchases, then Sergio sat her down on the sofa.

“Do you miss your job?”

She nodded. “Sometimes. Not all of it, obviously, but there are things I miss.”

“Tell me.”

“Honestly, I miss the sense of purpose it gave me. The feeling of doing something worthwhile. I also really miss being in charge of something.”

He nodded, and she continued.

“Not that I would want to go back there. There’s so many other things I don’t miss. The long hours. The stress. The blatant misogyny.” She shook her head. “I don’t regret giving it up. But I liked being Inspectora Murillo.”

He smiled. “I liked you, too, as Inspectora Murillo.”

She looked up. “Really?”

His eyes gleamed. “Yes. I thought you were incredibly sexy when you were doing your job.”

She grinned. “God, you’re such a man sometimes. It wasn’t supposed to be sexy!”

“Oh, but it was.” His eyes got a dreamy look. “Remember the time in Hanoi when you thought I was a journalist, and you slammed me against the counter and checked me for a hidden wire?” He shuddered. “So sexy.”

She gave him an amused look. “Do you have a thing for powerful women?”

“I don’t know”, he said, scooting closer to her so he could put an arm around her shoulders and kiss her neck. “But I sure do have a thing for you.”

She pushed him away, laughing, then gave in and kissed him. His eyes were warm when they broke apart again.

“God, Raquel”, he whispered. “When you take charge of things, you’re just magnificent.”

She blushed, and he kissed her neck again.

“You know”, he murmured in her ear. “If you miss your job so much… maybe you could practice on me sometime?”

She looked at him. “What do you mean?”

He grinned. “Well… if you wanted to arrest me, for example, and interrogate me about my many crimes… I’m sure I wouldn’t resist.”

Her eyes began to sparkle as she started to get where he was going with this. “Like a game?”

He nodded, smiling. “If you’re up for it.”

She grinned. “Oh, I’m up for it if you are. I can interrogate you for a bit if you’d like that.”

His eyes shone, then he held up a warning finger. “But no chaining me to the ceiling this time. A chair will do just fine.”

She laughed. “Deal. But I want to go into town first. I can only properly interrogate you if I’m wearing the right clothes.”

He nodded eagerly. “Yes, please. You look amazing in a suit.”

He waited impatiently for her to get back. When she finally swung the front door shut behind her, carrying several bags, he eagerly went up to her.

“Did you find what you were looking for?”

“Yes”, she smiled, and he grinned.

She put down her bags.

“You know what I learned today?” she asked him.

“What?”

She gave him a self-satisfied look, then drew a pair of handcuffs out of her pocket. “The cops here are as easily bribed as the nurses.”

He stared at her. “You bribed a cop to give you his handcuffs?”

“Yes”, she grinned.

He pushed her against the wall and kissed her.

“God”, he whispered. “Just when I thought you couldn’t get any hotter.”

She laughingly pushed him away. “Not yet! Let me get changed!”

He reluctantly let her go. She went into the bedroom with her bags and emerged a few minutes later in a light blue blouse, a grey blazer and matching skirt, and high-heeled ankle boots. He nodded approvingly, and she winked at him.

“Usually I would wear pants, but I thought a skirt might be more… convenient for this particular interrogation.”

He grinned. “I can’t wait to find out why. Okay, I’m ready, feel free to arrest me any time now.”

She held up a hand. “No, wait a minute. I think we need some decent communication about this one, especially if I’m going to cuff you.”

He nodded soberly. “Alright.”

“First of all: you do want to use the handcuffs? If you’re not comfortable with them, we don’t have to.”

He hesitated for a moment, and she hastened to say: “We can take them off at any time. You just have to say so, and they’re gone.”

He nodded. “Okay, I want to use them.”

She smiled and kissed him. “Next. If you’re talking to me in the game, call me Inspectora. If you want to say something to me out of character, call me Raquel. Then I know it’s not part of the game.”

“Agreed.”

“And finally”, she continued, “if at any point you don’t like what I’m doing, say ‘stop’ and I will stop immediately.”

He nodded, and she looked him in the eye. “I mean it, Sergio. This should only be fun for you, I don’t want you to stay quiet if something doesn’t feel okay.”

He kissed her. “I promise I’ll tell you if I feel uncomfortable.”

“Thank you.” Her smile returned and her eyes began to shine. “Now, how do you want to play this? Should I be a tough cop, or will we be polite to one another?”

He grinned. “Be as tough as you like. You’ll find I’m not easy to break.”

She returned his grin. “Oh, I think you’ll find I have a few tricks up my sleeve.”

He pulled her closer, then murmured in her ear. “Don’t go too easy on me. I like it when you’re a little rough.”

She smiled. “Oh, really?”

“Yes”, he said, then quickly amended: “But only a little! No slapping me across the face this time!”

She laughed. “Okay, I promise.” Then she kissed him softly. “Don’t worry, I won’t hurt you.”

He gave her the most trusting look. “I’m not worried.”

They kissed again, a long, tender kiss. When they broke apart, he nodded.

“Let’s start.”

“How should I arrest you?”

He grinned. “The way you would arrest any dangerous criminal.”

“Okay”, she warned him, “but don’t resist. Otherwise I will end up hurting you.”

“Agreed”, he said, then rolled his shoulders a couple of times. He gave her one last grin. “Let’s go.”

She grabbed his arm, twisted it behind his back, and pushed him face forward up against the wall.

“You are under arrest”, she said. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can be used against you. You have the right to an attorney.”

“What?” he said. “I haven’t done anything wrong!”

“Don’t play dumb with me”, she snapped. “Professor.

She ran her hands all over his body, down his chest and arms, then down his legs, making sure to linger a bit and get a little closer to his private parts than she usually would. Then she took firm hold of the arm he still had behind his back, and steered him into the study. She pushed him down into a chair in front of the desk, then cuffed his hands behind his back.

“Not too tight?” she whispered in his ear, and he shook his head and winked.

She straightened up and walked around the desk, seating herself in his usual chair. She crossed her arms and leaned back.

“So”, she said. “You’re the ‘Professor’ I’ve been talking to all this time.”

He gave her a look, and she realized with a shiver that he was entirely in Professor mode. He sat up a little straighter and smiled. “It’s nice to finally talk face to face to you, Inspectora. But don’t waste your time. I’m not going to talk to you.”

“Oh”, she said silkily, “I think you will. What’s your real name?”

He shook his head, still smiling. Then he leaned forward a bit. “So, Inspectora. While we were talking, did you imagine what I looked like?”

She considered him for a moment, then said: “Yes. What are the names of your associates?”

His gaze on her was intense. “Have you ever dreamed of me?”

She hesitated. “Yes. Was it your plan to rob the Royal Mint?”

“When we were talking, did you ever wish that you were alone in that tent?”

She hesitated again, then said: “Yes.”

He raised an eyebrow. “I see what you’re doing, Inspectora. You think if you cooperate with me, I’ll cooperate with you. But I told you. I’m not talking to you.”

She leaned forward in her chair, placing her elbows on the desk and pressing her fingertips together.

“Look, Professor, we can do this two ways. Either you cooperate, and you get a better deal. Or you don’t, and we’ll find another way to incriminate you. Either way, you’re finished.”

The look he gave her was amused. “Try and look for another way then. You won’t find one.”

She got up, and came around the desk again, to lean against it on his side.

“I’ve been authorized to offer you a deal if you cooperate. Fifteen years. But you should know one thing: we have one of your associates in another room. If they confess first, your deal goes away. So if I were you, I’d start talking.”

He looked up at her, calculating. “Which associate?”

“I’m not obligated to tell you.”

He huffed. “You’re bluffing.”

She brought her face close to his. “Do you want to risk it?”

He rolled his eyes and looked away from her, and she grabbed his hair and turned his head back. For a moment, she saw his eyes flash with admiration, then his mask was back in place.

“I have no patience for men like you”, she snapped. “Thinking you’re smarter than everyone else, sure you can get away with anything. Well, not on my watch.”

He brought his face so close to hers their lips were almost touching. “I’m still not talking. And you can’t make me.”

She suddenly smiled and released him. “Maybe we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot here. My apologies. Maybe we can make a deal.”

He smiled, confident. “What kind of deal?”

She circled behind his chair and ran her hands over his shoulders. “How about I do something for you, and you do something for me?”

He swallowed. “Like what?”

She ran her hands down his chest. “I’m sure we can figure something out.”

His eyes followed her as she circled back around. She squatted down in front of his chair and ran a slow hand up his thigh. “Is there anything you… really want?”

By the time her hand reached his groin, his face was flushed and he was hard. He cleared his throat.

“I think it’s you who wants something. You won’t get me talking this way, Inspectora.”

She smiled and began to unbutton his pants. “Let’s see how well you hold up under questioning.”

As she drew him out, he groaned and gritted his teeth. She ran the very tip of her tongue up his length, barely touching him, and his breathing quickened.

“What’s your name?” she said, but he shook his head.

She brushed the tip of his dick with her lips, the merest touch. He groaned again.

“What’s your name?”

“I want a lawyer”, he breathed. “I’m pretty sure this amounts to torture.”

She flicked her tongue against him, and he gasped.

“Please… I can’t stand it.”

“Then tell me your name.”

“Sergio”, he whispered. “Sergio Marquina.”

She closed her mouth over him and took him in as deep as she could. He threw his head back and moaned. She came back up.

“You see? You do something for me, and I do something for you.”

“Please don’t stop”, he begged her.

“Then answer my questions.”

“What… what do you want to know?”

“Was it your idea to rob the Mint?”

“My father’s.”

“But you’re the brain behind the operation?”

He hesitated, and she flicked her tongue again. He shuddered.

“Yes.”

She took him in again to reward him, and he sighed with pleasure. Then she got up.

“Let’s speed this up a bit.”

She reached under her skirt and kicked off her underwear. For a moment, his eyes were soft with longing.

“Oh, Raquel”, he whispered, before recovering himself.

She smiled and straddled him, reaching down to guide him in. When she sank down on him, he closed his eyes and shivered. She took him in as deep as she could, then remained motionless. She draped her arms around his neck and waited until he opened his eyes again and looked at her. He was breathing hard.

“So this is how it’s going to work”, she said smoothly. “As long as you keep talking, I keep moving. You stop, I stop. Understood?”

“Yes”, he whispered.

“Then tell me everything.”

He began telling her about his preparations for the heist, the years of planning, the recruiting of his team. She slowly started moving her hips, then gradually increased the tempo as he talked. Soon he was gasping, but every time he stopped, she stopped, too. Finally he’d told her almost everything. She stopped and stroked the back of his neck as he tried to catch his breath.

“This has been a most productive session, Mr. Marquina. Just one more question… where is the money now?”

He gave her a desperate look, then firmly shook his head. “No. I can’t tell you that.”

To his surprise, she started riding him again, slowly at first, then faster. She kept a close eye on him as she did so. She knew him so well. The tension in his jaw, the pace of his breathing… Just a few more strokes… He suddenly gasped, and at that exact moment, she stopped moving, keeping him deep inside her. He cried out in frustration.

“Please don’t stop! I’ll tell you anything, just don’t stop!”

“Where is the money, Mr. Marquina?”

“At the Philippine National Bank”, he gasped. “Safe 514. Now please!”

She kissed him. “Thank you.”

The moment she started moving again, he leaned his head against her shoulder and tensed.

“Oh god…” he whispered. “Don’t stop.”

She didn’t, and after only a minute, he gasped and shuddered as the orgasm washed over him. When she stopped moving, he stayed leaning against her for a few moments, then lifted his head and looked into her eyes.

“Raquel…” he breathed. “Wow. That was intense.”

She smiled. “You liked it?”

“God”, he grinned. “You were so sexy.

She got off him and quickly knelt behind his chair to take off the cuffs. Then she sat on his lap and kissed his hands, then rubbed them between her own to get the blood flowing again.

“No pain?” she asked him, and he shook his head.

“Only a little numb. Now let me go so I can hold you.”

He wrapped his arms around her and she leaned against him with her head on his shoulder. He kissed her hair.

“You’re so amazing when you get going. I could watch you all day. I loved doing this with you.”

She sat up and kissed him. “I loved it too.”

He tightened his embrace and kissed her back. Then he grinned.

“So, still missing your job?”

She grinned back. “I think I’m good for a while.”

He nuzzled her neck. “Well… I’m here anytime you want to practice… we wouldn’t want your interrogation skills to get rusty.”

She laughed. “No, we wouldn’t want that.”

They kissed again, then got up to make dinner. In the kitchen, they kept touching and hugging, which made cooking a rather slow process, but they just couldn’t seem to let go of each other. After dinner, they silently decided to go straight to bed, and she sighed in contentment as her head found its familiar place in the hollow of his shoulder. She half-draped herself over him, and he wrapped his arms tightly around her.

“Raquel”, he said softly, “I wanted to tell you… that’s really where the money is. Philippine National Bank, safe 514. I’ll get you a key… in case anything happens to me.”

She looked up at him. “Thank you for trusting me.”

He looked into her eyes. “I do. I really do.”

He gently pressed his lips against hers.

“I love you so much”, he whispered.

She smiled. “I love you, too.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Sergio had gone into town early that morning while she slept in. She was just having breakfast with toast and coffee when she heard a loud rumble outside that stopped in front of their door. A minute later, Sergio came in, smiling.

“Come and see what I bought.”

She followed him outside, and he showed her a brand new motorcycle and two helmets.

“We’ve been taking taxis everywhere”, he said. “I thought it might be nice to have our own means of transportation.”

“That’s great!” she said. “Can we take it out for the day? Maybe do a road trip?”

“Of course. I’ll show you the entire island.”

“Alright”, she smiled. “Show me the entire island.”

She packed a backpack with stuff they might need, then got on the bike behind him.

“We won’t be able to talk while we’re driving, so if you see a place where you want to stop, just tap me three times.”

“Okay”, she said.

“Hold on tight”, he warned her, and she happily wrapped her arms around his waist.

They kicked off. Sergio was a careful driver, but the traffic wasn’t very dense, so they soon left their village behind and took the road to the capital of Puerto Princesa. At first, Raquel enjoyed the ride, looking around at the trees and houses and people that flashed past. After a while, though, her attention shifted to Sergio. She liked having him between her legs, her arms wrapped around him. She let her hand wander over his chest, then down to stroke his stomach through his shirt. From the way he shifted his body, she knew he wasn’t unaffected by her touch. She smiled wickedly inside her helmet, then dipped her hand even lower.

The bike swerved dangerously, then Sergio pulled over to the side of the road and stopped. They both took off their helmets and he turned to her indignantly.

“Do you want to crash and die? Because this is how we crash and die.”

She was grinning at him. “I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.”

“You couldn’t go fifteen minutes without molesting your driver?”

“You’re right between my legs and I had such easy access. What was I supposed to do?”

“Your libido is going to be the death of us”, he grumbled. “If you can’t keep your hands where they’re supposed to be, this is going to be a very short trip.”

“Alright”, she said repentantly. “I’ll be good.”

They took off again, and she refrained from any further explorations down his body, though it took considerable restraint on her part. They made good time down the road, overtaking slower cars and lorries with ease, and soon the suburbs of Puerto Princesa came into view. The traffic became denser as they neared the center of town, and she was careful not to distract him while he was maneuvering through the chaos of cars, other motorcycles, and hundreds of little scooters darting every which way, with very little regard for the laws of traffic.

It was almost noon, and the sun was hot on her back. When a sign by the road caught her eye, she tapped his stomach three times, and he immediately pulled over and stopped.

“Do you want to get off?” he said, taking off his helmet.

“Yes”, she said. “Look!”

She pointed at a small, charming store with a large sign that said ‘Real Italian ice cream’.

“I’m dying for some ice cream, aren’t you?”

“Sure”, he said, and with their helmets under their arms, they entered the store. The couple behind the counter looked up, smiling, as they entered.

“European tourists?” the woman asked them in English, and they nodded.

“We’re from Spain. You are Italian?” Raquel asked.

The couple nodded. “We moved here three years ago. All the ice cream is proper Italian gelato.”

“Wonderful!” Raquel smiled. “I’ll take a cone with vanilla and strawberry.”

“Do you have mango flavor?” Sergio asked. “Then I’ll take one scoop, in a bowl with a spoon.”

At the back of the store, there was a small garden with some tables. They took their ice cream outside and sat down at a table in the shade of a tree.

“I can’t believe you asked for a bowl”, she said, licking her two scoops, which were melting fast in the heat.

He raised an eyebrow. “I’m not a child.”

“Cones are the only fun way to eat ice cream.”

“Cones are messy.”

“Let me taste yours”, she said, and he held out his spoon to her. “Mmm, that’s good. Do you want to taste mine?”

She held out her cone to him, but he shook his head. “I don’t like to mix flavors.”

“How boring”, she said, then booped his nose with her vanilla scoop.

The expression on his face was so surprised, she burst out laughing, then handed him a tissue from her backpack.

“I can’t believe you did that”, he grumbled, cleaning his face. “How old are you? And watch out, your ice cream is melting everywhere.”

She looked down, and quickly started licking again. The ice cream had dripped down her fingers and hand, all the way to her wrist. Once she had her leaking scoops under control, she ran her tongue up her wrist and palm, then licked each of her fingers clean. She looked up to see him staring at her, biting his lip.

“That should be illegal”, he said, his voice a little strained. “You should not be allowed to do that in public.”

She winked at him, then looked straight into his eyes as she started licking her ice cream again. He closed his eyes and shuddered, then focused determinedly on his bowl. When they were both finished, she caught him looking at her longingly as she licked the last crumbs from the corner of her mouth. She grinned.

“Do you want to kiss me?”

He didn’t look away. “I always want to kiss you.”

She gave him a soft smile and brushed his hand with her fingers for a moment. He sighed.

“I guess we should get going again.”

They thanked the Italian couple and went outside. They drove for ten more minutes until they reached the very center of the town, then they parked their bike and went on on foot, strolling through the colorful streets. After a while, they decided to start looking for a restaurant to have lunch. While they were looking at the display menu of a nice-looking little place, a teenage Filipino boy bumped into Raquel, apologized, and started to move off again. In one quick, fluid movement, she grabbed his wrist, twisted his arm behind his back and slammed him face first into the wall of the restaurant.

“What are you doing?” Sergio said, alarmed.

Raquel plucked her wallet out of the boy’s hand.

“Pickpocket”, she said. “Take out your phone, look up where the nearest police station is.”

The boy couldn’t understand their Spanish, but apparently he caught the word ‘policía’, because he started struggling.

“No police, please, no police!”

Sergio shook his head at her. “He’s just a kid.”

“He’s a thief!”

“Raquel, if we take him to a police station, they’re going to want a statement from us. They’ll ask for our passports. Mine is fake, but yours isn’t. Let him go.”

She hesitated, and he went on more urgently. “We can’t draw any attention to ourselves. Let him go!”

She pressed the boy harder into the wall, and said sternly in English: “Don’t let me catch you again!”

Then she let him go. Before he could run off, however, Sergio caught him by the arm and pressed some money into his hand. The boy took one look at Raquel’s face, then decided he’d better make a run for it. He scarpered off. She turned to Sergio, outraged.

“He tried to rob me and you give him money?”

He sighed. “Let’s go in and eat. I don’t want to have this discussion while we’re both hungry.”

She followed him in, fuming quietly, and they were both silent until their food came. After a few bites, Sergio looked up at her.

“Raquel, has it occurred to you that that boy didn’t want to steal from you?”

“What do you mean?”

“He was barely more than a child. He should have been out with his friends, or actually, since it’s a weekday, he should have been at school. Yet he was out on the street picking people’s pockets. Do you think he’s doing that for fun?”

“If he needs money, he should get a job”, she said angrily.

“Don’t you think he would prefer that? But who would give a job to a fourteen-year-old kid?”

She glared at him. “You still shouldn’t have given him money. You were rewarding him for being a criminal.”

He gave her a sad look. “Don’t you think he needed that money desperately, to risk himself like that? He probably has a family back home who rely on his income to eat.”

She remained silent, and he continued.

“Do you know what happens to kids like that? They end up in gangs, doing and selling drugs. If he’s lucky, he’ll spend most of his adult life in prison, but with President Duterte’s current war on drugs, it’s much more likely that he’ll be shot by the police and die in some alleyway before he’s eighteen.”

He shook his head. “I don’t know, Raquel. The money I gave him won’t do him much good in the long run, but I suppose I’ll sleep better tonight knowing that he’ll be safe for a week or so.”

They finished their meal in silence. Then she looked up at him and sighed.

“It’s not easy, shifting perspective like this. I suppose I’m on the other side of the law now.”

He nodded. “Yes, you are. I know it must be painful, but you’re not a police officer anymore. If you live with me, you’re automatically an accomplice. You have to face the fact that you’re not an honest citizen anymore. Welcome to my side of the tracks.”

She rubbed a hand over her eyes. “I don’t like this.”

He leaned across the table and took her hand. “You need to know, Raquel, that most criminals aren’t bad people. They don’t turn to crime because they like it, but because they have no choice. If you want fewer pickpockets, take some of our money and get involved in an organization that helps these kids stay in school. That’s a much better way to get them off the streets than by arresting them.”

She nodded thoughtfully. “You’re right. Maybe I’ll do that.”

He smiled at her, and the air between them cleared considerably as the conversation turned to lighter topics. After lunch, they walked around a bit more, then set off on the bike again to see some waterfalls a little way outside the town. As they drove along, Raquel was grateful that she had an excuse to hold him tight, and she couldn’t resist lightly stroking his stomach with her fingers. He tensed for a moment, then relaxed again as he realized she wasn’t going to let her hands wander again.

They got off the bike at the entrance to a little forest, and walked together towards the waterfall. It was a beautiful spot, with the water pouring down in a thin stream into a clear blue pool below. Since there was no one else around, they changed into their swimwear and, after some convincing, Raquel got Sergio to join her in the water and swim with her to underneath the waterfall. The pool was too deep for her to stand, but he could just reach the sandy bottom, so she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him as he kept them steady, while the water pattered down on them.

He pulled her closer and deepened the kiss, and when she wrapped her legs around his waist, she could feel him hard between her legs. She reached one hand down into his swimming trunks. He closed his eyes and sighed as she brushed him lightly with her fingers, but the next moment, she hastily withdrew her hand as more tourists appeared between the trees, headed for the waterfall as well. They shared a disappointed look, and she pressed one last kiss to his lips before swimming out from under the waterfall.

The other tourists were a family with three kids, and as they dive-bombed into the water, Sergio and Raquel silently decided to get out of the pool and dry off. They changed back into their clothes behind a towel, then set off for their bike again. When they were back on the road, Raquel felt decidedly frustrated. It was so tantalizing to have him between her legs, and the vibrations from the bike weren’t helping matters much. She shifted a bit to press herself even closer to him, and her fingers started stroking his chest again of their own accord. She just couldn’t resist feeling his skin, so she worked her hand under his shirt and gently caressed his stomach. Without having to reach down and feel, she knew that he was hard, and when a charming little hotel came into view, she didn’t even need to tap him for him to stop there.

The moment the bike stood still, he took off his helmet and turned to kiss her.

“A hotel”, she whispered between kisses. “Good idea.”

“It was this or crashing into a tree”, he grumbled. “You were driving me crazy.”

They went into the main building, hand in hand, and asked for a key to one of the private bungalows they had spotted in the hotel garden.

“How long will you be staying?” the clerk asked them, and Raquel flashed him a grin.

“Not very long”, she said, before Sergio cut in with: “Just the one night. We’ll pay in advance.”

They hurried along the little garden path to their assigned bungalow, and Raquel was trembling with impatience while he unlocked the door. The moment they were inside, she pressed him against a wall and kissed him deeply, one hand grasping his hair, the other already undoing the button of his pants.

“Calm down”, he laughed, as her hand disappeared down his pants.

“I want you now”, she said, biting his earlobe, and he shivered and pulled her in for another kiss.

Still kissing, they started moving towards the bed, but he tripped over the edge of a carpet and they went down together, Sergio landing on his back with Raquel on top of him. She didn’t let it break her stride, and kept kissing him as she fumbled with her own pants. She had to release him for a moment to kick them off, then sat astride him and drew him out.

“The bed is right there”, he laughed, but she shut his mouth with another kiss.

“No time”, she whispered, then lowered herself onto him with a moan.

“God, you’re so wet”, he sighed, then gripped her hips tightly to guide her movements. She set a fast pace, feeling her knees bruise against the hard ground, but unable to care. As she moved up and down on him, she reveled in the feeling of having him inside her, of getting rid of the afternoon’s pent-up frustration. He pulled her down for a kiss, but she sat up again after a moment so she could ride him harder, her hands on his chest for balance. He placed his thumb on the spot between her legs, and she closed her eyes and sighed with pleasure as the feeling rippled through her. Drawing tight circles, he soon had her gasping as the tension inside her began to build to an almost unbearable pitch. She gripped his hand and shifted it just a fraction of an inch, then pressed down gently to increase the pressure, and it was enough. She gripped his shirt with trembling fingers and moaned as the sensation moved through her for several long seconds, then she stopped moving for a moment, her eyes closed, leaning heavily onto his chest. He waited for her to recover, then they started up again, matching their movements with perfect synchronicity until he tensed and moaned, then let himself go.

She let herself drop down onto his chest, and he held her for while as they recovered their breath. When she slid off him, he sat up with a groan and pressed a hand to his back.

“Jesus, Raquel, I’m not twenty years old anymore. Next time, we use the bed.”

She smiled and sat up to press a kiss to his shoulder and rub his back. “I’m sorry. That stupid bike just had me all turned on.”

He turned to her with a grin. “I’ll take you out riding more often.”

She grinned back at him. “As long as the ride ends in a place with a little privacy, I’m fine with that.”

They got fully dressed again, then were faced with the embarrassing task of having to drop off the key back at the concierge desk. The young clerk raised his eyebrows as he saw them coming.

“Was there a problem with the room?” he asked them, and Sergio shook his head, blushing fiercely.

Raquel, on the other hand, thought it was rather funny. “Oh no,” she said, “the room was excellent.”

She winked at the clerk, and the young man turned a brilliant shade of red as comprehension dawned on him. Sergio quickly put the key on the desk, then took Raquel by the arm and marched her outside.

“You didn’t have to be so blatant”, he mumbled, still red in the face, but Raquel was laughing.

“He would have figured it out on his own anyway”, she said.

They got back on the bike and put on their helmets. Before they took off, Sergio turned to her and said in a warning tone: “Behave yourself now.”

“I will”, she promised.

Half an hour later, though, she was already having trouble again to keep her hands where they should be. She really meant to keep her promise, but there wasn’t much else to focus on, and as he shifted between her legs and the vibrations of the bike traveled up through her legs, she realized that she already wanted him again. They were on their way back home, but they were still a long way from getting there, and she gritted her teeth with frustration. After another fifteen minutes, her hands started wandering again, and she felt him heave a sigh of resignation as he steeled himself against her caresses.

They stopped for dinner along the road, at a restaurant with a beautiful ocean view, and he spent ten minutes sternly lecturing her on the dangers of distracting the driver, after which she promptly kicked off her sandal and ran her foot up his leg. He gave her a startled look, then burst out laughing.

“You’re unbelievable.”

She grinned at him. “Thank you.”

“That wasn’t a compliment!”

“And yet I elect to take it as one.”

He gave in with a warm smile. “I can’t wait to get you home.”

“Me neither”, she sighed. “That bike is like the world’s strongest aphrodisiac.”

He seemed resigned to her wandering hands as they got back on the bike for the last stretch to their village. She was careful not to distract him when the traffic claimed his attention, but whenever the road was empty and straight, she snuck a hand under his shirt or dropped it to his thigh. When they finally got home, she got off with a sigh of relief, then dragged him straight inside.

The moment the door closed behind them, he suddenly picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. She exclaimed in surprise and clutched at his shirt, then started laughing.

“What are you doing?”

“Making sure we get to the bed this time”, he said with determination.

She let herself be carried to the bedroom, where he laid her down gently on the mattress and kissed her. When she began unbuttoning his shirt, he pushed her hand away.

“You’re in such a hurry today. Let me kiss you for a moment.”

He kissed her deeply, slowly, which didn’t help at all to quench the little fire between her legs. She was grateful when he started undressing her, though he took his time, then she helped him out of his clothes until they were both naked. She reached for him immediately, but again he pushed her hand away.

“It all went so fast this afternoon”, he said. “I want to do it properly this time.”

When he started kissing her neck, the sensation was so delicious that she felt like she would burst. She stroked his chest and stomach, then let her hand move further down until she could wrap her fingers around him. He stopped, took hold of her wrist and pulled her hand away again. Then he gave her a look that was half amusement, half exasperation.

“All day your hands have been places where they absolutely shouldn’t be. What am I going to do with you?”

Her eyes flashed as she got a sudden idea.

“Maybe you can think of a way to keep them out of your way”, she suggested slyly, and he raised his eyebrows as he got her gist.

“You want me to tie your hands?”

She grinned at him. “If you want to do this slowly…”

She’d been trying to get him to tie her up for a while now, but he’d always refused, saying it didn’t feel right. He was hesitating now, though, and she was quick to press her advantage. She sat up and wrapped her hand around him again, stroking him slowly so he closed his eyes and shivered. For a moment, it seemed like he would surrender to her, then to her delight, his eyes snapped open and he grabbed her wrist again with an amused smile.

“Okay, if you really can’t keep your hands to yourself, it seems like I have no choice.”

She leaned in until her lips were almost touching his.

“Yeah”, she breathed. “Seems like it.”

He laughed, then turned serious again. “But no handcuffs.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t want you to hurt yourself if you get too… enthusiastic. Let me grab a tie.”

She let herself fall back onto the mattress with a big smile as he got off the bed. When he returned with two ties in his hands, his eyes were serious.

“You have to tell me immediately if something feels wrong. Promise me.”

“I promise”, she said, equally seriously.

Then they grinned at each other, and he kissed her. Her stomach tingled with excitement as he tied her hands together over her head, then tied them to the headboard.

“Is that okay?” he asked her earnestly.

“Yes”, she said, a little breathless.

“Good”, he said, brushing his lips by her ear and making her shiver. “Are you comfortable?”

“Yes”, she said again, feeling a tingle between her legs.

“Good”, he repeated, kissing her neck. Then he straightened up. “Now, I think you need to cool off a little.”

He started towards the door, and she raised her eyebrows. “You’re going to leave me here?”

“Only for a second”, he assured her. “I’ll be right back.”

Only a minute later, he was back, and her eyes went big as she saw what he was holding. It was an ice cube.

“I didn’t think you meant ‘cool off’ literally!”

He grinned at her. “Oh, I meant exactly what I said.”

She squirmed on the bed, laughing. “Oh don’t you dare, Sergio!”

“I think I’m calling the shots tonight”, he smiled smugly, but he looked into her eyes for a moment and waited for her to nod her consent before he approached her further.

As the ice cube neared her skin, Raquel held her breath and steeled herself. He pressed it against the hollow below her throat, then let it slide down her chest between her breasts. She shuddered, and goosebumps erupted all over her body. Her nipples hardened, and he picked up the cube and pressed it against the very tip of one nipple. She gasped, and a delicious shiver shot right through her body to create a sharp tingle between her legs. He switched the cube to her other nipple, and the same thing happened. Then he retreated the ice cube and closed his warm mouth over her nipple. She gasped again at the sensation, his mouth almost unbearably hot, yet feeling so good. She desperately wished she could twine her fingers into his hair and keep him where he was as the tingle between her legs turned into a deep, deep ache for him.

While his mouth warmed her other nipple, he dropped the ice cube onto her stomach and let it slide down slowly. She bit her lip. He was driving her mad with all these contrasting sensations, until she wasn’t sure if she was shivering from the cold or the pleasure of his mouth on her. When the ice cube slid between her legs, however, and hit that spot, she gasped loudly and jerked her hips away.

“Oh”, she shuddered. “That’s cold.”

“Be brave”, he whispered. “I promise I’ll warm you thoroughly afterwards.”

She hesitantly opened her legs again, nervous butterflies filling her stomach. This time, he only let the ice cube slide past for an instant before retreating it again, and it produced another sharp tingle. She knew she must be extremely wet by now.

“Again?” he asked, and she nodded.

The ice cube slid over her once more, and this time it was a little more bearable. He seemed to notice, because a moment later he pressed it to her a little longer, and she held on for as long as she could bear it while the fire inside her flamed higher. When she gasped for him to stop, he immediately withdrew.

“I think you deserve a reward now”, he murmured, then moved quickly off the bed to throw the almost-molten remains of the ice cube into the sink in the bathroom.

When he came back, she was quivering with anticipation, and when he pressed his mouth to the cold spot between her legs, she moaned loudly and strained against her ties. His mouth was so hot, it was almost as unbearable as the cold, yet she didn’t want him to stop for the world. When his warm tongue flicked over her, she almost came right on the spot, but he pulled back just in time.

“Not yet”, he smiled, and she groaned in frustration.

He entered her with two fingers, then hesitated. She was so wet. He added a third finger, then pressed in deeply, and she arched her back and moaned again. When he curled his fingers upwards and started pressing against her with a regular rhythm, she felt the tension inside her begin to build immediately. She tilted her hips for an even better feeling, and wrapped her fingers around the ties restraining her, to have something to hold onto. She felt like she was going to need it. A moment later, her grip tightened as he pressed his mouth back against her, and his tongue started moving over the exact right spot. It took mere seconds before she started trembling, then she gave a loud cry as the feeling shook her, making her strain against her ties again. He eased off gradually, then came up to stroke her as she recovered.

He grinned. “It’s a good thing we don’t have any neighbors.”

She gave him an apologetic look. “Was I that loud?”

His grin broadened. “Yes. But don’t worry, I love it.”

Then he hesitated. “Would you mind if I untied you for the next part? I desperately want to take you, and it wouldn’t feel right this way. I would miss your arms around me.”

She laughed. “Oh, so now I can use my hands again?”

“Yes, please”, he smiled. “I never really had a problem with them anyway.”

He pulled at the ties until she was loose again, then he inhaled sharply as the fabric fell away to reveal vivid red stripes on her wrists.

“I knew you were going to hurt yourself. You have absolutely zero restraint.”

He took her hands into his and ran careful fingers over the inflamed skin, then pressed soft kisses to it.

“It’s okay”, she reassured him. “I barely feel it.”

“It’s a good thing we didn’t use those handcuffs”, he said sternly. “Come on, get up, we need to run some cold water over this.”

She knew he wouldn’t let it go, so she obediently followed him into the bathroom and stood for a while with her wrists under the tap. He wouldn’t let her stop until the red had receded and the skin looked almost normal again. She dried her hands, then smiled at him and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her naked body against his.

“It was totally worth it, though”, she whispered, her lips only inches away from his.  

His eyes were warm as he smiled back at her. “I’m glad.”

When he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her, she felt him stir against her hip. Still kissing, she pulled him back into the bedroom and down onto the bed with her. This time, he didn’t complain when she reached down and stroked him gently until he was completely hard again. He rolled her onto her back and she opened her legs to him. When he entered her, she sighed in delight and wrapped her legs around him, running her hands all over his shoulders and back as he took her with slow, deliberate strokes. She caressed the back of his neck, then twined her fingers into his hair and pulled him down for another kiss. He picked up the pace and took her deeper, and she bit her lip not to make any noise. He smiled and leaned down to whisper into her ear:

“Please don’t hold it in. I love to hear you moan.”

At his next thrust, she allowed a soft little ‘oh’ to escape her lips, and immediately felt better. She lifted her hips to meet his every stroke, and soon he tensed. By running her fingernails down his back, she pushed him straight over the edge and he groaned as he shuddered his release.

She held him close for a while, loving to feel his weight on her, then he shifted off her and took her into his arms.

“What a day”, he sighed, and she nodded, snuggling close to him.

“Would you want to do it again?” she asked tentatively.

“What? Tie you up or take you out on the bike?”

“Both”, she smiled.

He pretended to think about it for a moment. “I don’t know, Raquel, you’re a real hazard on that bike. You have absolutely no regard for road safety.”

“I’ll behave better next time”, she promised, and he laughed.

“I almost believe you.”

She grinned. “And the tying me up?”

He gave her a grave look. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself again.”

“I didn’t really hurt myself this time, Sergio, it was just a little red. You know, you can be a tad overprotective. I can handle a little chafing.”

He smiled. “I’m surprised you want to do it again after I so blatantly abused my power over you.”

She shivered at the memory of the ice cube.

“I kind of liked it”, she whispered, and he laughed and pulled her closer.

He kissed her hair. “I don’t know what I did right in a previous life to deserve you. You’re amazing.”

She gave him a wicked grin. “Tell me that again next time we’re on that bike and my hands are all over you.”

He smiled. “Even then, my love. Even then.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

They had spent the entire previous night arguing. The discussion had started over dinner – they didn’t really remember how – as a question over the ethics and morality of crime arose, and it had lasted all through the evening. It wasn’t a fight, exactly, but they were each unwilling to give in as they spent hours debating the relative dangers and merits of what he called “the police state” versus what she called “anarchy”. Sergio stuck to his point with a quiet stubbornness that surprised Raquel, and she rather enjoyed butting heads with him. They were well matched as debating partners, and they kept arguing passionately as they got ready for bed, and even when they were between the sheets. Finally, after glancing at her watch and discovering that it was past 1am, Raquel suggested that they just agree to disagree, and they went to sleep.

The next morning, Raquel woke up with the nagging feeling that she had forgotten something important. She racked her brains for a while, then suddenly sat bolt upright.

“Shit!”

Sergio stirred and opened startled eyes, reached for his glasses and sat up.

“What’s wrong?”

“I forgot to take my birth control last night!” she said, scrambling out of bed. “I was so caught up in trying to prove you wrong, it completely slipped my mind.”

She hurried into the bathroom and swallowed the little pink pill she should have taken last night. Then she returned to the bedroom with the little information booklet that came with the box.

He gave her an anxious look. “How bad is this?”

“Probably not that bad, it’s happened to me before. I think we’re fine, but let me just check, there’s an entire section about what to do if you’ve forgotten to take it.”

He fidgeted nervously as she read.

“Okay”, she said, “if you take it less than 12 hours after you usually take it, there’s no problem. I usually take mine between ten and eleven, and it’s now…” She checked her watch. “Nine thirty! That’s within the 12 hour window.” She laughed, relieved. “We’re fine.”

The crease between his eyebrows didn’t disappear. “That’s only very narrowly within the 12 hour window. Don’t you think we should take some extra precautions?”

She frowned at him. “Like what?”

“Maybe you should take the morning after pill? I can go out and get one for you.”

She shook her head. “I’d rather not take that if it’s not absolutely necessary.”

“Why not?”

“They can make you really sick, Sergio. I’m not doing that to myself when there’s no need.”

He shifted uncomfortably. “I wouldn’t say ‘no need’.”

“I took it within the 12 hour window! Stop worrying.”

He turned anxious eyes on her. “I’m sorry, Raquel, but I really don’t want you to get pregnant.”

“I’m over forty”, she reassured him. “The chances of me getting pregnant are very slim at this point anyway.”

“As long as you get your period, you can get pregnant”, he said, getting upset. “Plenty of women have had babies over forty. Would you please consider taking that morning after pill?”

She raised her eyebrows. “Why are you getting so worked up over this? It’s not a big deal.”

He gave her an alarmed look. “Raquel, we’ve never discussed this but… you don’t want any more children, do you?”

“No”, she said, “I don’t, really. But if it happened, would that really be the end of the world?”

He turned to her, really upset now. “Yes! Raquel, there are genetic defects in my family! I spent my entire childhood in a hospital, my brother was dying from a degenerative disease at forty! I can’t pass on my genes! I can’t do that to a child!”

She placed a soothing hand on his shoulder. “Calm down, Sergio. I see what you mean. But don’t worry, I’m not going to get pregnant, alright?”

“But you might! You see how easily it happens… you just forget a pill and before you know it, it’s too late.” He turned to her with serious eyes. “Raquel, I don’t like to ask you this, but I need to know. If… if it happened, you would get an abortion, right?”

She hesitated, and he urgently said: “Raquel! This is important!”

She ran a hand through her hair. “I don’t know, Sergio! I’m not against abortions on principle, but I’m not sure I could go through with it if it actually came down to it.” She glanced up at him. “Not… not if it’s your baby.”

He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. “Look. I see the romance of it, I do. I see the appeal of having a child that would contain parts of both of us, but I just can’t, Raquel! I can’t have a baby!”

She was surprised at how badly he was taking this. “Sergio… we won’t, okay? I’ll be more careful with my birth control in the future, I promise.”

He shook his head. “You said you’ve forgotten it before. I could easily happen again.”

“I’m sorry!” she said, getting annoyed. “I’m only human, I make mistakes! But you need to stop freaking out, because nothing happened and nothing will!”

“I never really considered this”, he said, seemingly talking to himself. “I never realized the risk we were taking every time we had sex.”

She rolled her eyes. “Life is risky, Sergio! You take a risk every time you cross the street, every time you get onto that bike. But you deal with problems as they arise, if they arise. There’s no use in worrying beforehand.”

“There must be a better way of ensuring you don’t get pregnant. We clearly can’t rely on this form of birth control.”

“Believe me”, she snapped. “I’ve learned my lesson. After this, I’ll never forget to take it again.”

“But it’s like you said. You’re only human.”

“I’m done with this conversation”, she said angrily, getting out of bed. “Pull yourself together, please. I’m taking a shower.”

As the water pattered down on her, she slowly felt her anger fade away. Pregnancy scares were a part of life for her, for anyone in a heterosexual relationship. She’d forgotten pills before, and everything had always been okay, so she could put this into context. But it was the first time this happened to him, he’d never had to deal with anything like this before. Given his medical history, she reflected, perhaps it was understandable that he would overreact. She sighed as she turned off the water and picked up a towel. She’d try to reassure him again.

When she got out of the bathroom, she smelled eggs and toast and coffee, and followed her nose to the kitchen where he was just putting breakfast on the table. He looked up when she entered.

“I’m sorry”, he said immediately. “I overreacted. You’re right: you took the pill within the 12 hour window, which means we’re safe.”

“I’m glad you came to your senses”, she said, then went up to hug him. “Thank you for making breakfast.”

She tried to kiss him, but he gently pushed her away. “Eat your eggs before they get cold.”

He’d never refused a kiss before, but she told herself he was still a bit shaken up. They had breakfast and talked about other things.

“I have some work to do today”, he said, as they were clearing the table.

“That’s fine”, she said. “I was going to spend this morning on the beach, and this afternoon I wanted to go into town.”

She caught his wrist before he could disappear into his study, and pulled him close, wrapping her arms around his neck.

“Hey”, she said, softly smiling up at him. “Everything’s going to be okay. Don’t worry so much.”

She kissed him, and he let her, but after a few moments he pulled back and carefully extricated himself from her embrace. When the door of his study closed behind him, she tried hard not to feel hurt, but it wasn’t easy. He just needs some time, she told herself. Give him his space.

She put on her bathing suit, picked up a book and a towel, and spent the morning reading on the warm sand. By the time she came back to the house, thinking about lunch, she was feeling nice and relaxed and she’d almost forgotten about the morning’s drama. She hummed to herself as she prepared them a salad, then went into his study to tell him the food was ready.

He was bent over some paperwork and didn’t look up as she entered. She went to stand behind his chair and wrapped her arms around him, kissing his neck.

“Lunch is ready”, she said in his ear, running her hands down his chest. “Though it can’t get cold, in case you first want to do something else…”

He didn’t react to her touch. “I’ll be right out, just give me ten more minutes to finish this.”

She went back into the kitchen, feeling definitely upset now. You knew this moment would come, she told herself sternly. You’ve been practically glued together for weeks, that stage doesn’t last. She knew it was a normal step for a relationship to move beyond the ‘can’t-keep-your-hands-off’ stadium, but she wasn’t there yet, at all, and it hurt that he apparently was.

He seemed perfectly normal during lunch, talking to her as if nothing was wrong, and she wondered if she was imagining things. When she kissed him goodbye to go into town, however, she pressed her body to his and again got no reaction. She left feeling hurt and upset, but also determined to get him interested again. A smile appeared on her face as she had the perfect idea.

He was still in his study when she got home towards evening. She entered the room, smiling, with a little box in her hands.

“I have a gift for you.”

He looked up, surprised. “A gift?”

“Yes”, she said, putting the box in front of him. “Open it.”

He lifted the lid and took out the compact little video camera inside. “A camera?”

She kissed his cheek. “I though we could make some memories, so you have something to watch when I’m back in Spain and you’re feeling lonely.”

He smiled. “I’d like that.”

Encouraged, she ran her hand up his thigh. “Maybe we can even make some special memories, for nights when you’re feeling particularly lonely.”

His face clouded over again and he pushed her hand away. “Not now, Raquel.”

She straightened up. “Sergio, what the hell is going on? Did I do something wrong?”

He shook his head. “No, of course not. There’s something I want to discuss with you. I did some research this afternoon. I think it might be a good idea if I got a vasectomy. That seems the best way to make sure you won’t get pregnant.”

She sighed and leaned against the corner of his desk. “Are you still going on about that?”

“I take this extremely seriously.”

“If you’d feel better with a vasectomy, that’s fine with me. It’s your body, you decide what you do with it. And I suppose it will be nice not to have to worry about birth control anymore.”

He nodded. “I’ll schedule the operation while you're away.”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “Please don’t. I don’t want you to be alone and in pain. Wait until I get back so I can take care of you.”

He steeled himself. “Fine. But I think we shouldn’t have sex anymore before the operation.”

She stared at him. “Are you kidding me? Sergio, this is the overreaction of all overreactions, ever, in all of history.”

He shook his head. “I’m not risking it.”

Comprehension suddenly dawned on her. “Oh, so that’s why you’ve been so distant today! You didn’t want to have sex.”

“It wasn’t easy”, he said stiffly. “I hated pushing you away.”

“Darling”, she said gently. “You have to snap out of this.”

He looked up at her in anguish. “I don’t know how to deal with this, Raquel.”

He opened his arms to her and she went to sit on his lap as he held her tight. They talked about it all through the evening, while they made and ate dinner, and though she was able to calm him down somewhat, she felt that she couldn’t take away the root of his anxiety. By ten o’clock, they were sitting on the porch steps and she didn’t know what else she could say to him.

“I’m calling Paula now”, she said, and he nodded. She called Paula every night at ten o’clock, which was four o’clock in Madrid, when the girl came home from school. It was their little ritual.

As always, her heart lifted when she heard the voice of her daughter. She asked her the regular questions: how school had been, if she had a lot of homework, if she’d played any good games with her friends. Then her eyebrows rose. She held the phone out to Sergio.

“She wants to talk to you.”

He gave her an alarmed look. “To me?”

“Yes.”

“But… what do I say to her?”

“I think she wants to ask you some questions.”

He took the phone from her and hesitantly pressed it to his ear.

“Hello, Paula?”

She came straight to the point. “Is it true that you have a cat?”

He smiled. “Yes. She’s grey and her name is Amber.”

“When we come to live with you, can I play with her?”

“Of course. She would love to play with you.”

“Is it true that you live by the beach?”

“Yes. You’ll be able to see the sea right from your bedroom.”

“Will I get my own bedroom?”

“Of course.”

“Is it a nice room?”

“The nicest room in the house.”

She was quiet for a moment, then asked: “Do you kiss my mom?”

He went red. “Uhm… well… yes, I do.”

“Are you in love, like Beauty and the Beast?”

“Yes”, he said. “We are.”

She sounded satisfied. “Then it’s alright. Can I talk to my mom again?”

“Of course. Bye, Paula.”

“Bye, Sergio.”

He passed the phone back to Raquel with a crooked smile, then sat in quiet contemplation as mother and daughter said their goodbyes.

“What did she say to you?” Raquel asked, curious, after she put down her phone.

He smiled. “She asked if we were in love.” He laughed. “She compared us to Beauty and the Beast. Now, I don’t know what that says about how she sees me, but I don’t think it’s very flattering.”

She laughed, too. “That’s her favorite movie, it’s her frame of reference. Don’t take it personally.”

He took her hand. “Raquel… maybe having a child wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. The one you have now is rather delightful.”

She smiled. “I like to think so, yes.”

He hesitated. “And even if there was something wrong with it, we’d still love it, right?”

She squeezed his hand. “Of course.”

“Now, I’m not saying we should actively try to have one!” he clarified. “Just… in case it happens.”

“Yes”, she said. “Just in case.”

She breathed a sigh of relief as she felt him relax for the first time all day. He shot her an apologetic look.

“I’ve behaved abominably to you today. I’m sorry.”

“You were freaked out, I understand. Though I’m glad it’s over now.”

He held out his arm to her. “Come here.”

She scooted over to him and he pulled her close, taking her face between his hands and looking into her eyes.

“I can’t believe I haven’t kissed you all day”, he murmured, then softly pressed his lips against hers. She eagerly wrapped her arms around his neck and opened her mouth to deepen their kiss. They stayed kissing for several long moments, until she drew back, slightly breathless, and asked:

“Bedroom?”

He hesitated for only a second, then nodded and helped her up. As they fell onto the bed together, she couldn’t help but laugh.

“I can’t believe you actually proposed that we shouldn’t have sex again before I returned to Spain. Do you really think we could have managed that?”

“I like to think I could have done it if I set my mind to it.”

She raised her eyebrows. “Really?” She started kissing his neck while she unbuttoned his shirt, then sat up for a moment to take off her own shirt, her eyes on his.

“Do you think you could have resisted me?”

He swallowed. “Maybe.”

She took off her pants and started unbuttoning his. “Maybe?”

He cleared his throat. “Probably not.”

She pressed her body against his, only wearing her underwear, then reached down to wrap her fingers around him.

He closed his eyes and groaned. “Definitely not.”

She bit his earlobe. “I didn’t think so.”

He rolled her onto her back and started kissing her neck and chest, and she realized with a surge of relief that he still wanted her as much as she wanted him.

“I thought for a moment today”, she whispered, “that you were getting tired of me.”

He looked up. “Never.”

“I think I’m going to need some proof of that.”

He grinned. “With pleasure.”

He took off her bra and took a nipple into his mouth, sucking with such enthusiasm that she gasped and grabbed his hair. When he used his teeth and pulled ever so gently, a moan escaped her lips as she felt the sensation deep inside her. His hand was between her legs, slipping into her panties so he could press his palm against her. She gasped again and shifted her hips, moving against his hand. He released her nipple for a moment to whisper:

“God, Raquel, I don’t think I could ever get enough of you.”

He trailed kisses down her stomach and pulled off her underwear. She moaned when he pressed his mouth against her, then realized that it was not what she craved right now.

“Sergio”, she breathed, “I want to be closer to you.”

He looked up and nodded, then took her hand and pulled her up.

“Sit on my lap”, he said, and seated himself on the edge of the bed. She straddled him on her knees, then lowered herself down on him slowly, drawing out the pleasure of feeling him fill her up inside. He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled her in for a long, deep kiss.

“Do you want to try and come together?” he whispered against her lips, and she nodded.

“After today, it will be nice to get back in synch.”

“Alright”, he said. “You just go ahead. I can hold on until you’re ready.”

He moved a hand between them, and when she felt his fingers hit her spot, she closed her eyes and shivered. She tilted her hips to give him a bit more space, and gasped as he suddenly pressed hard against her G-spot. She leaned back a little further, her hands behind her on his knees for support, and he took advantage of the opportunity to bend his head and take a nipple into his mouth again. She moaned loudly at the combination of sensations, but when she felt herself get closer, she sat back up again to wrap her arms around his neck and hold him tight. His hands were on her back, keeping her close to him, as he pressed his mouth against her throat and whispered to her between kisses:

“You’re so beautiful, Raquel. I just love to be inside you. I love to hear you moan.”

He went on, and it was getting her closer by the second. She gripped his hair as his fingers shifted and suddenly he was touching the exact right spot. She tensed.

“Yes”, she whispered against his lips. “Right there. Yes, yes, yes!”

She pressed her mouth hard against his as she felt herself begin to tremble, and when she clenched around him, he bucked his hips to take her deeper, which pushed him over the edge too. Arms tight around each other, they shuddered together for several moments as the exquisite wave rushed through them both. Then he fell back onto the bed and pulled her down with him so she was lying on top of him.

“Who was I kidding?” he said, trying to catch his breath. “I wouldn’t have lasted 24 hours without making love to you.”

“I’m glad”, she said, kissing his cheek. “Because if I had had to spend the rest of my stay here being all platonic with you, I’m pretty sure I would have burst into flame at some point.”

He laughed and hugged her tighter. They spent several long moments in a happy cocoon of each other’s arms, then her phone started buzzing on the bedside table.

He raised his eyebrows as she scrambled to get it. “Paula again?”

“No”, she said, smiling. “I set an alarm for my birth control. It will go off every night at eleven, so I never forget anymore.”

She went into the bathroom for a moment to take her pill, then they got comfortable on the bed again. He kissed her hair.

“Thank you for trying to accommodate my neuroses. I’m still not entirely sure what came over me this morning. I had honestly never considered that your birth control might fail, and what that might mean. I’m sorry I panicked.”

“It’s okay”, she said, stroking his chest. “I’ll try not to forget again and save us both the stress.”

He caressed her shoulder. “Thank you for putting up with me.”

She raised her head. “I’m not ‘putting up’ with you, Sergio. We’re partners, we support each other through the rough patches.”

He grimaced. “I’m afraid with me you might get more rough patches than you bargained for.”

She reached up to kiss his cheek. “Don’t worry. You’re worth it.”

He gave her a solemn look. “I can honestly promise that I will try my hardest for you.”

“I know you will”, she said simply. “And I love you for it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

When Raquel woke up the next morning, Sergio had figured out how to work the video camera. Or rather: Raquel woke up the next morning because Sergio had figured out how to work the video camera.

“Good morning”, he said softly, and when she opened her eyes, the lens was only inches away from her face. She pushed it away.

“Jesus, Sergio, don’t film me when I’m just waking up. That’s not exactly when I look my best.”

He kept the camera on her. “But I want to capture every part of you, for when you’re back in Spain.”

She pulled the sheet over her head. “Leave me alone! You can film me after I’ve had my coffee.”

“Oh, come on”, he said, and she heard the smile in his voice. “I think you look lovely in the morning, with your hair all tousled and your eyes still soft with sleep…”

“Go away.”

“I’m staying right here.”

“It can’t be very interesting filming a blob under a sheet.”

“Hmm”, he said, and the next moment his hand and the camera appeared under the sheet. She stifled a laugh, ducked out from under the sheet and hit him with a pillow.

“Watch out!” he said, laughing. “The camera!”

She sighed. “Alright, alright, if you’re so keen, let me get up and make myself presentable.”

He kept the lens on her as she got out of bed.

“Smile” he said, and she stuck out her tongue at him.

He grinned. “If you want to go that route, I’m totally on board, but let me just grab some ice cream…”

She looked daggers at him and shut the bathroom door in his face.

“Don’t you dare follow me in here!” she shouted through the door. “I need my privacy in the morning!”

He chuckled and turned off the camera, then went to the kitchen to make breakfast. When she came into the kitchen a little later, her hair still damp, she eyed the camera warily.

“If you’re going to film me, I suppose I’d better put on some make-up.”

As she passed him, he caught her around the waist and pressed a kiss to her cheek.  

“Please don’t. I like your natural look.”

She sat down and started spreading jam on her toast, then frowned as he picked up the camera again.

“Do you have to film me while I’m eating?”

“I told you, I want to capture every moment of your day.”

“You mean you’re going to follow me around all day with that thing?!”

“Well”, he said, giving her a meaningful look. “Soon you’ll be leaving me and I’ll be sitting here, all alone, with only the images on this camera to stand between me and abject despair, so…”

She laughed. “Oh fine, if you’re going to be all dramatic about it.”

She bit into her toast. “But don’t forget to eat.”

He filmed her for a while as she ate, then turned it off to focus on his own breakfast. After the table was cleared and the dishes were done, she rolled her shoulders a couple of times and rubbed her neck. The stress of yesterday’s drama had made her muscles rather stiff, and she knew if she didn’t loosen them, it would give her a headache later. She went out onto the porch to do some yoga, stretching her arms and shoulders through various poses. She was doing a downward stretch when he came out.

“What are you doing?”

“Yoga”, she said shortly. She moved through to downward dog, upside down with her buttocks in the air, when she saw him grin.

“Sergio!” she warned him firmly, “If you get that camera out I swear it won’t live to film another day.”

He raised his hands, smiling. “Alright, alright, I’ll leave you to do your yoga in peace.”

“Thank you.”

It was a grey day, and a light drizzle began to fall beyond the roof of the porch, combining with a stiff sea breeze to create a rather chilly atmosphere. After a few more minutes, she went back inside, shivering slightly. Her shoulders still felt rather stiff. When she entered the living room, Sergio was squatting in front of the cat basket, filming a peacefully sleeping Amber. She went to him with an amused smile.

“You do realize that the cat is staying here with you?”

“But look at her sleeping, with her nose tucked under her paw. Isn’t she adorable?”

“She always sleeps like that.”

He didn’t respond and kept filming, and she shook her head, still amused. Sergio and that cat…

“I need to relax a bit today”, she announced. “I think it’s time to try out that lovely big bathtub you have.”

She went into the bathroom and turned on the tap, turning the handles so the water was nice and hot. Then she got the novel she was reading from her bedside table, undressed, and stepped into the tub, sighing with pleasure as the warm water enveloped her. Peace and quiet didn’t last long, however. The door opened and Sergio’s head appeared.

“Can I come in and film you while you’re in the bath?” he asked. “Please? I would love to get a shot of that.”

She didn’t look up from her book. “As long as you don’t talk.”

He came in and let the camera slowly pan over her body from her head to her feet. Then he turned it off, put it away and sat down on the edge of the bath.

“I think that was a lovely shot.”

 “You’re talking”, she warned him.

One of her legs was out of the water, her foot braced against the edge of the tub. He reached out and ran one finger up from her ankle to her knee.

“Your skin is so soft.”

“That’s because I just shaved my legs”, she grumbled. “Again. I mean, I love this climate, but it’s bathing suit season all year long and I’m soon going to get tired of shaving my legs every goddamn day.”

“Then don’t”, he smiled. “I don’t mind.”

He let his fingers slide over the wet skin of her knee, down her thigh, dipping his hand in the water.

“I’m reading”, she admonished him.

“That’s alright.”

“I’m going to hit you with my book.”

He smiled. “Are you?”

He traced his hand over the curve of her hip, then back up over her stomach to cup a breast. Her nipple hardened and he squeezed it gently. He heard her inhale sharply, and cupped her other breast. With his thumb, he drew circles around her nipple until it hardened, too, and again he gently squeezed. Another small gasp.

“Is it a good book?”

“Yes”, she said, her voice a little strained. “If only I could focus on it.”

“I’m distracting you, I’m sorry”, he said, running his fingers back down her stomach to dip between her legs. “Do you want me to stop?”

He stroked the inside of her thighs while she hesitated. Then…

“No”, she whispered, letting her novel drop to the floor next to the bath. “Fuck the book.”

She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the tub as his fingers started exploring her.

She hummed with contentment. “This bath is turning out even more relaxing than I thought it would be.”

Under the water, he slipped one finger inside her and curled it upwards. She tilted her hips with a little moan and put one leg on the edge of the tub, spreading her legs a little wider to give him better access. He withdrew his finger and moved it upwards towards the center of her pleasure. She sighed and sank a little deeper into the water as he found it and started drawing slow circles around it, coming closer every time. When he finally touched her, she bit her lip and grabbed the edges of the tub with both hands.

The warm water all around her was definitely adding extra pleasurable sensations to the experience. He kept a close eye on her reactions to determine where exactly she wanted him, and when he found the right spot, his fingers started quick, nimble movements up and down that made her moan. She tilted her hips even further, pressing herself harder against his hand, and soon she was breathing fast, her chest flushed. He kept going, and a minute later she arched her back, and her grip tightened on the edges of the tub as she cried out softly, trembling through her release. He eased off slowly, and she opened her eyes to look at him, shivering slightly with the afterglow. She gave him a radiant smile.

“I think I’ll take baths more often.”

He bent forward to kiss her. “Any time.”

She leaned her head back against the tub with a happy sigh and a dreamy expression, utterly relaxed. He smiled and got up, taking the camera with him as he left the bathroom so she could have some time alone.

Twenty minutes later, she came into his study where he was working, still with a happy smile on her face. She stood behind his chair, wrapped her arms around him and covered his cheeks with kisses.

He grinned. “You seem to be in a better mood than you were this morning.”

“Yes”, she said, “that bath worked miracles.” She kissed his neck. “It stopped raining. I’m going into the village for a while, I’ll bring back lunch.”

“Alright”, he said, turning his head to kiss her. “Have fun.”

“I’m back!” she called out when she got home slightly after noon. “Come and eat while it’s still warm!”

She’d brought them lunch from one of their favorite stalls at the side of the road: sticky rice with steamed vegetables and tofu, covered in a delicious sauce. He came out of his study and they ate in silence, appreciating the food. When they were done, Raquel cleared the plates away, then sat back down and turned to him with a serious expression.

He looked at her sadly. “I’m not going to like what you’re about to say, am I?”

She grimaced. “I’m afraid not. Sergio, it’s time I think about leaving.”

He nodded, resigned. “I know. You’ve already been here longer than I had any reason to hope.”

“You know I would stay here if I could, but Paula misses me, and I miss her. And the faster we get this move over with, the faster we can start our lives together.”

He looked at her. “When?”

“At the end of next week. If you let me borrow your laptop tonight, I’ll book my ticket.”

“I’ll miss you”, he said softly.

She nodded. “I know. That’s why I’ve been out making some arrangements for you.”

He raised his eyebrows. “What kind of arrangements?”

“There’s a small organization in the village aimed at providing after-school and weekend activities for kids and teenagers, to keep them off the streets.”

He gave her an alarmed look. “Raquel, you don’t expect me to go and play games with them or anything, do you? I’m terrible with children, and I’m even more terrible with teenagers.”

“No, of course not. The organizers are just a bunch of kids, really, barely out of school themselves. Their administration is a mess, they are bleeding money, and they can’t attract sponsors. What they need is for an adult to supervise their bookkeeping, sort out their papers, implement a system. They need better efficiency, and strategies for fundraising and sponsors. Does that sound like something you could do?”

He hesitated. “I think so.”

She smiled. “Good. I promised them a monthly donation and I told them you would stop by once a week to help them sort things out.”

“Do you really think that will help me miss you less?”

“Yes”, she said decidedly. “I need to be sure that you will get out of the house at least once a week. I won’t have you moping around in here for two months straight.”

“I don’t ‘mope’”, he said, offended. “And I took care of myself for a full year before you got here.”

“Yeah”, she said, raising an eyebrow. “And how was that working out for you?”

He hesitated, then sighed. “Not great. You’re right, I’ll go help out in the village.”

She nodded. “I really think it will give you a sense of purpose. It will feel good to contribute to something.”

He reached out and squeezed her hand. “It’s sweet of you to worry about me.”

She squeezed back. “I just hope it’s enough.”

“I’ll be fine”, he said firmly. “It’s not like you’re leaving me forever. Two months is a long time, but it will pass eventually.”

She patted his hand and smiled. “Come on, let’s go do something fun. Why don’t we record something with that camera that will actually be worth watching?”

He grinned. “What did you have in mind?”

She winked at him. “Wait for me in the living room.”

He took the camera and went to sit on the sofa while she disappeared into the bedroom. A few minutes later, he heard her call through the door:

“If this doesn’t cheer you up when you watch it later, I don’t know what will!”

He smiled in anticipation and turned on the camera. The door opened and she appeared in her nurse’s uniform. His smile broadened.

“You’re right, I think that will cheer me up considerably.”

She twirled for him, then blew the camera a kiss. He bit his lip.

“Can I film you while you take it off?”

“Sure”, she smiled, then looked straight into the lens as she slowly began unbuttoning the blouse. He groaned softly when she took it off to reveal his favorite set of black lacy lingerie underneath. She unbuttoned the skirt, then lowered it to the ground and stepped out of it. He let the camera slowly move up from her feet to her face.

He grinned and stopped filming. “That should keep me going for a while.”

She threw him a look. “How about we put something really interesting on that camera?”

He raised his eyebrows. “Like what?”

She walked towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Do you want to come in front of the camera with me?”

“You mean… let it film us while we’re making love?”

“Yes.”

“Have you done this before?”

She colored slightly. “Yes.”

He nodded, not surprised. “How did it turn out?”

“It was pretty hot. Do you want to try it?”

He hesitated. “I don’t know. I like the idea of filming you, but I don’t know if I want to see myself.”

She shrugged. “It’s up to you. This is entirely for your benefit, so you have to consider whether or not you think you would like to re-watch it later.” Her eyes sparkled. “But I’m up for it if you are.”

He thought about it for a while. “I suppose I could always focus on you when I watch it.”

“And wouldn’t it make a nice memory for when I’m gone?”

He grinned. “Nice seems like a bit of an understatement. Alright, let’s do it.”

Her eyes shone. “Really?”

“Yes. Now, you’re the expert. How do we go about this? I’d like to have a bit of plan so we don’t end up fumbling around too much.”

She nodded. “Yes, smart. I think we’d best choose a position beforehand. Do you have a preference?”

“I suppose we need to select one with maximum visual appeal.”

“That rules out missionary or spooning. I think our best options would be doggy-style or me on top. Do you want to pick?”

He pulled her closer against him. “Why not do both?”

She grinned. “I like your thinking.”

They moved into the bedroom, both smiling and a little nervous. He undressed, then moved one of the bedside tables and put the camera on it.

“Go sit on the bed so I can frame you.”

Peering at the little screen, he adjusted the angle until it seemed about right. Then he pressed the ‘record’ button and joined her on the bed.

“It does make me feel a little uncomfortable”, he said, throwing the camera an anxious look. She sat up, took hold of his chin and turned his head.

“Don’t look at it. Look at me.”

His eyes lost their anxious expression as he turned them on her.

“Will you leave that bra on?” he said in a low voice, and she smiled.

“If you like.”

“Yes, I would like that very much”, he whispered, then leaned in to kiss her.

She pulled him down with her into the pillows, and pushed him onto his back. “Let’s start with me on top.”

“Good idea”, he said. “I’m rather nervous.”

She flashed him a smile. “Give me five minutes and I’ll make you forget all about that camera.”

She came to lie on top of him, and he closed his arms around her as she started kissing him. For a few minutes, they sank deep into those kisses, as she took her time to make him feel comfortable. She waited until she felt him stir against her thigh before moving on. A quick nip at his earlobe made him shiver, then she started pressing kisses down his neck, over his chest and stomach. She was pretty sure he wasn’t thinking about the camera anymore by the time her lips brushed his dick, completely hard now.

“Oh, Raquel”, he sighed as her mouth closed over him. “God, that feels good.”

Again, she took her time, letting him enjoy the feel of her warm mouth on him. She was careful not to take him too far yet, though – he would need to last a lot longer. After a few minutes, she straightened and pulled off her panties, then sat astride him, her hands on his chest.

He opened his eyes. “Are you ready to go like that… without any warm-up?”

She grinned. “Oh, believe me, I’m ready to go.”

She reached one hand down to guide him in, flashed a quick wink at the camera, then sank down on him with a sigh of pleasure. He placed his hands on her hips and helped her set a leisurely pace, not too fast, that he would be able to keep up for a while. She leaned back, putting her hands on his thighs for support, knowing it would make for a better visual as she arched her back. From the look on his face, she gathered that the visual was excellent from his point of view as well, and the angle pressed him right up against her G-spot, making her gasp every time she moved up and down.

She rode him for a couple of minutes, until his hands tightened on her hips, and he gasped: “Stop!”

She got off him and let him cool down for a few seconds as he took deep breaths. Then she asked:

“How do you want to do doggy-style? Sideways, so the camera will film you entering me? Or full-frontal?”

He didn’t hesitate. “Full-frontal. I want to see your face when I make you come.”

“Okay”, she grinned. “Ready to go again?”

“Yes”, he said, sitting up, “but I want a kiss first.”

She pressed a long, lingering kiss to his lips, then got on her hands and knees, facing the camera. He took up position behind her, then gave the camera a nervous look. She noticed his hesitation.

“We can still do it sideways if you don’t want to face the camera.”

“No”, he said, and his nervousness disappeared as he looked down at her, his eyes soft. His hands caressed her hips. “Oh, you look so lovely.”

She braced herself while he guided himself in, then moaned loudly as he entered her forcefully, penetrating her fully from the first thrust. God, she loved this position. Taking a firm hold of her hips, he started moving in and out until she was gasping every time he entered her. With one hand, he reached around her hip to slide a finger between her legs, and she moaned again as he found the right spot.

“Harder”, she whispered, and he picked up the pace, carefully keeping himself in check so he wouldn’t come first. She was breathing fast as she felt the pressure inside her build with the double stimulation. When the wave was almost upon her, she firmly gripped the sheets, looked straight into the camera for a moment, then closed her eyes tight as the feeling rushed through her and she came with a loud cry. He kept going, drawing out the orgasm until she pushed his hand away and hung her head, panting. He stopped for a moment and waited for her to recover. Then he said:

“Can we maybe turn off the camera now? I think it’s recorded about all I want to see, and I don’t know if I can… while it’s filming.”

“Sure”, she said, leaning forward to push the button. Then she turned to him with a smile. “That was fun! Do you want to keep going like this, or do you want to change to a different position to finish? I know this one isn’t your favorite.”

“I would like to hold you”, he admitted, and she let herself drop into the pillows on her back and held out her arms to him.

“Come here, then.”

He came to lie on top of her, and kissed her gratefully. She reached down a hand to guide him, then sighed happily as he sank into her. It still felt so good. He kissed her neck as he took her, and she pulled up her knees so he could take her deeper. He was much more relaxed now that the camera was off, and it didn’t take long before he tensed and groaned. The moment he buried his face in her hair, she ran her nails down his back the way he loved it, and he uttered a muffled cry as the added sensation pushed him over the edge.

She held him on top of her for several long moments as he tried to catch his breath, then he rolled off her onto his back, and she sat up, grinning.

“Let’s take a look!”

She reached out and grabbed the camera off the bedside table. Pushing the buttons, she eagerly maneuvered through the menu to the play-back function. His nervousness returned.

“I’m not sure if I want to see it.”

“Do you want me to check it first and delete it if it’s totally awful?”

“Yes, please”, he said, relieved.

She found the right video, then fast-forwarded a bit to the action. Her face flushed a little, but she was grinning broadly as tantalizing sounds came from the camera. He raised his eyebrows.

“You definitely sound good.”

“It looks good, too! Here”, she said, pushing the camera into his hands. He turned red, but couldn’t look away.

“It’s so weird seeing it from this perspective.”

“Good weird or bad weird?”

“Good weird, I think…” He looked up, smiling. “Yes, I think I like it.”

She kissed his cheek. “Wonderful. Then you can watch it every night while I’m away.”

He kept his eyes on the screen. “You know, I think I might just do that.”

She smiled broadly. Mission accomplished.

They went to bed rather late that night, and Sergio soon fell asleep. Raquel waited until his breathing was deep and even, before sneaking out of bed. She grabbed his shirt off a chair and the camera off the bedside table, then quietly went to the kitchen, where she turned on all the lights. Wearing nothing but his shirt, she sat down at the kitchen table and recorded a message for him that he wouldn’t see until she was gone. Afterwards, she stayed sitting at the table for a little while longer and wiped away a tear. She would miss him like crazy, but she felt like she had to be the stronger of the two of them, and she didn’t want him to see her cry. When she’d collected herself enough, she snuck back into the bedroom, took off the shirt, and climbed back into bed with him, pressing her naked skin against his back as she spooned him. He let out a small sound of contentment as she pressed a kiss to his shoulder and hugged him tight. She was still here for another ten days, she reflected, and she was going to make the most of it.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

He was leaving her for the day. A few days ago, he’d told her he would have to go into the capital, Manila, to arrange some paperwork.

“But we have so few days left before I have to leave”, she said, disappointed. “I don’t want to spend a whole day without you. Can’t you go to Manila once I’m gone?”

“I’m going there specifically to get you some papers that will make it much easier for you to re-enter the country when you come back. Immigration procedures, that sort of thing. I need to get them now so you can take them with you when you leave.”

“Can’t I come with you, then?”

“Of course you can, if you really want to. But honestly, it will be a miserable day. I will get up at four, take a plane from Puerto Princesa at eight, and spend all day going from one government office to the next, before flying back in the evening. Wouldn’t you rather stay here to enjoy the last of your holiday? Sun-bathing, swimming, that sort of thing?”

“Alright”, she said reluctantly. “I suppose that does sound nicer.”

And now he was going. He got up before dawn, and when he kissed her goodbye, she wrapped sleepy arms around his neck and pulled him back onto the bed with her.

“Don’t go”, she whispered, and he kissed her forehead.

“I’ll be back before you know it. Relax, sleep in, enjoy your day.”

He pressed a soft kiss to her lips, and she reluctantly let him go. She thought she would fall right back to sleep, but she lay awake for a long time as the first grey light of dawn came creeping in through the window. The bed felt so strange without him in it. Finally, as the first rays of the sun peeped over the horizon, she fell into an uneasy sleep.

It was fully light when she next woke up – a bright, beautiful day with perfect beach weather. She tried to ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach as she opened her eyes and remembered that she would have to spend the day alone. This is just one day, she told herself. Soon, it will be two months. Time to show that you can be strong. She determinedly swung her legs  out of bed and got up. She put on her bathing suit, grabbed a towel, and went for a morning swim, diving into the clear blue water and swimming as hard as she could, trying to leave the squirming feeling in her stomach behind.

It’s only one day, she kept repeating to herself as she walked back toward the empty house. He’ll be back tonight. She tried a sterner approach as she stood under the shower to wash the salt off of her skin. Pull yourself together. You’ve lived for forty years without him, you can survive one more day. But she knew this one day affected her so much because it was only a taste of what was coming soon. She dreaded leaving him more than she was willing to admit to herself, and this day was an uncomfortable reminder of how close they’d become, and how painful it was not to have him with her.

Her heart lifted when she came out of the bathroom and saw that he’d texted her.

10.36 <<The flight was delayed. I’ve just landed in Manila. Did you sleep well?>>

10.43 <<i slept ok. where are you now?>>

10.43 <<In a taxi on my way to my first appointment. I want to picture you. What are you wearing?>>

10.45 <<nothing ;)>>

10.45 <<Really?>>

10.46 <<yes. i just came out of the shower>>

10.47 <<That image just significantly improved my morning, thank you.>>

10.47 <<anytime ;)>>

He didn’t reply to that, and she assumed that he must have arrived at wherever he was going. She rummaged through her clothes. What would she wear today? On an impulse, she opened his wardrobe and pulled out one of his shirts, a crisp white one that he wore often. She felt a little better as she put it on, as if she were a bit closer to him this way. Maybe I’ll steal one of his shirts before I leave, she thought, so I can sleep in it when I’m back in Spain. Preferably one he’d worn, so it would smell like him, at least for a while.

She smiled when her phone buzzed again.

10.59 <<I’m waiting for my first appointment. I’m bored. Entertain me.>>

She laughed.

11.00 <<how?>>

11.00 <<You’re usually imaginative enough. Can’t you think of something?>>

She sent him a selfie.

11.01 <<Is that my shirt?>>

11.02 <<yes>>

11.02 <<Why are you wearing my shirt?>>

11.03 <<its comfy>>

11.03 <<What are you wearing underneath?>>

11.03 <<would you like to see?>>

11.04 <<Yes, please.>>

She sent him another selfie, this time with one button undone.

11.05 <<You are a terrible tease.>>

She opened a second button and sent him another picture.

11.06 <<I like where this is going.>>

A third button. By now the shirt was open far enough to show that she wasn’t wearing a bra.

11.07 <<Oh god.>>

Another button, another selfie.

11.08 <<Okay, you have to stop now. I’ll have to go into that meeting soon, and these pants aren’t tight enough to hide anything.>>

She smiled and sent him another picture anyway.

11.10 <<I’m putting my phone away now!>>

She waited, watching her phone, then grinned as the screen lit up again.

11.13 <<Okay, I lied. Send me another one.>>

She did as he asked, only one button left now.

11.14 <<You are so sexy.>>

She opened the last button, so the shirt hung open and revealed just a strip of skin from her chest to her thighs. Selfie.

11.15 <<God help me. Now take it off, please?>>

She texted back this time.

11.15 <<no. youll have to take it off yourself when you get home tonight ;)>>

11.16 <<This is highly unfair!>>

11.16 <<my shirt, my rules>>

11.17 <<It is, in fact, MY shirt.>>

11.17 <<not today it isnt>>

11.18 <<I hope they don’t call me into the meeting now, I am in no fit state to stand up.>>

11.18 <<deep breaths ;)>>

11.19 <<Distract me. Talk about something else.>>

11.19 <<i think i’ll go out for ice cream later>>

11.20 <<That is not helping!!>>

She laughed.

11.20 <<i just feel like licking something>>

11.21 <<You, madam, are pure evil.>>

She laughed again, but then he texted:

11.21 <<Going into meeting now.>>

11.21 <<ok x>>

She sighed and let herself fall onto the bed. She was starting to suspect that they were going to run up the most extravagant phone bills over the next few months. Then she remembered who her boyfriend was, and that he could probably pay a phone bill or two.

She rolled off the bed, buttoned up her shirt, then wandered aimlessly through the house. It felt so empty without him. She gave herself a mental shake, then picked up the novel she was reading and sat down on the couch, determined to distract herself. It only half-worked, however. Every few minutes, she caught herself just staring at the pages, really waiting for her phone to buzz again. It must have been a long meeting, however, because noon passed and went, and she strolled to the kitchen to look for something to eat.

She opened the fridge and considered the fruit there. That would be the healthy choice, but she wanted something that would cheer her up. Her eye fell on the chocolate cake that Sergio had brought home for her yesterday for exactly that purpose. She took it out, got out a knife and a plate, and cut herself a big slice. After the first bite, her phone buzzed.

12.32 <<What does ‘x’ mean?>>

She frowned.

12.32 <<what?>>

12.33 <<In your last message. You sent me: ‘ok x’.>>

12.33 <<Oh :) its a kiss :)>>

12.34 <<I didn’t know that. So if I send you ‘x’, I am sending you one kiss?>>

12.34 <<yes>>

12.35 <<And if I send you ‘xx’, I am sending you two kisses?>>

12.35 <<thats how it works>>

She smiled broadly as his next message appeared on her screen:

12.36 <<xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>>

12.36 <<arent you the cutest :)>>

12.37 <<I miss you. What are you doing?>>

12.37 <<eating the chocolate cake you got me>>

12.38 <<You’re going to eat all of it?>>

12.38 <<hey, its a long day and im lonely>>

12.39 <<I just don’t want you to get sick.>>

12.39 <<after all the ‘working-out’ we’ve been doing, i don’t think a little extra sugar will hurt me ;)>>

12.40 <<Wait, but are you still wearing my shirt?>>

12.40 <<yes>>

A moment later, her phone rang. She answered it with a smile.

“Problem?”

“You’re eating chocolate cake while wearing my favorite white shirt?”

“I sure am.”

“But what if you spill on it?”

“I won’t.”

He snorted. “I’m not taking your word for it. Take it off!”

She grinned. “Oh, is this going to be one of those phone calls?”

He seemed genuinely confused. “What kind?”

She laughed. “You are so innocent sometimes. Where are you now? Can you talk?”

“I’m walking through a park to my next meeting, so yes, I can talk. And I resent you calling me innocent.”

“Then talk to me. What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to take off that shirt. I’m rather attached to it, I don’t want chocolate all over it.”

“Alright”, she said, making her voice soft and playful, “I’ll take off your shirt. I’m unbuttoning it now. Remember what I’m wearing underneath?”

He seemed to stop walking.

“Oh”, he said. “That kind of phone call.”

She grinned. “You catch on quick.”

She heard a smile in his voice as he next spoke.

“I think I’d better sit down for this.”

“Good idea.” She shrugged out of the shirt. “Okay, the shirt is off. What do you want me to do now?”

He hesitated. “I don’t know, Raquel, there are other people around who can hear me.”

“So? They probably don’t speak Spanish.”

He said in a low voice: “I’m not sure I’m comfortable saying… things like that to you.”

She smiled. “We’ll definitely have to work on that while I’m away, then. But for now, don’t worry. How about I just tell you what I’m doing?”

He swallowed. “What are you doing?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“God, yes.”

She got up. “I’m walking to the bedroom.”

“You haven’t thrown my shirt on the floor, have you?”

She quickly bent down to pick it up and put it on a chair. “Of course not.”

“Okay. Go on.”

She walked to the bedroom and let herself fall onto the bed. “I’m lying down on the bed now.”

“Naked?”

“Yes.”

His voice was deep and low when he said: “God, I wish I was there right now. There are so many things I want to do to you.”

She shivered. “Just hearing your voice turns me on.”

“Should I keep talking?”

“Yes, please.”

“I can’t wait to get home tonight. I can’t wait to take you in my arms and kiss you. I can’t wait to get you on that bed.”

She brushed a thumb over her own nipple and sighed. He immediately noticed.

“Tell me what you’re doing.”

“I’m touching my nipple.”

“Go on.”

“Now I’m squeezing it.”

She gasped, and he groaned.

“Oh god, Raquel.”

“Now I’m touching my other nipple. I’m imagining that you’re here, that it’s your hand and not mine.”

“I wish it was.”

She let herself sink deeper into the pillows as she closed her eyes and imagined his arms around her. With one hand, she was pressing the phone to her ear, while her other hand roamed over her body.

“I’m imagining that you’re kissing me.”

“Where?”

“On my neck, where I like it.”

She brushed her fingers to the spot she wished he were kissing, then let her hand drift down as she continued:

“Now down my chest… and my stomach… now your hand is between my legs.”

“Keep going.”

“Aren’t you getting a little uncomfortable?”

“Extremely.”

“Do you want me to stop?”

His voice was a mere whisper. “Not for the world.”

She lightly caressed her inner thighs, enjoying the tingle it sent to her center. “Your hand is stroking my thighs.”

“Do you like that?”

“Yes”, she whispered.

“Don’t stop”, he encouraged her, and she moved her hand a bit higher up.

“Now you’re touching me.”

His voice sounded strained as he next spoke. “Are you wet?”

“Yes”, she breathed, “very much so.”

He let out a soft ‘ohh’, and she went on.

“Now you’re entering me with one finger… then two.”

She moaned as she did exactly that, and he groaned again.

“Raquel, you’re killing me.”

She moved up her hand.

“Now your fingers are on my spot.”

“How does it feel?” he whispered.

So good. You know just where to go.”

Her breathing quickened as her fingers started moving rhythmically, and she tilted her hips for a better angle. On the other side of the line, she heard him breathing rather fast, too.

“Sergio”, she said, “I’m not sure I can keep talking much longer. You talk now. Make me come.”

“But I don’t know what to say.”

“It doesn’t matter. Just the sound of your voice will be enough.”

“I… There’s… there’s so many things I love about you”, he began, rather hesitantly. Then he seemed to find his stride. “I love the way your hair smells. I love the taste of your lips. I love how you melt against me when I kiss your neck.”

Her fingers were moving faster now, and little moans were escaping her lips. He faltered for a moment.

“God, Raquel, the sounds you make are driving me crazy.”

“Keep going”, she gasped.

“I love to kiss you, I love to hold you. I love the way you press your body against mine when we kiss.”

“Don’t stop! Oh, I’m going to come…”

“I love the way you look when you’re on top of me. The way your hair falls over your shoulders… your hands on my chest…”

She gasped as the image of being on top of him got her exactly where she wanted to go. She arched her back and let the wave wash over her, imagining him inside her and letting out short, soft moans at the thought, drawing out the orgasms for several long, delicious moments. Then she relaxed back onto the bed and realized he’d gone quiet. When he spoke again, he sounded a little breathless.

“Did you come?”

“Yes.”

“How was it?”

She hummed with contentment. “Just lovely.”

“What were you thinking of?”

“You, inside me.”

He let out a shuddering breath, and she asked: “Are you hard?”

“So hard it’s painful.”

“Are you still in the park?”

“Yes, sitting on a bench with my jacket in my lap. I’m blushing so hard I’m surprised my head hasn’t caught fire.”

She grinned. “So, our first time having phone sex.”

She heard the smile in his voice. “Yes. But next time let’s make sure I’m somewhere where I can actually do something about it.”

“Did you like it?”

“I loved it, but I’m afraid I wasn’t much use to you.”

“You were very sweet today. We’ll work on ‘sexy’ when I’m back in Spain. I’ve got a feeling we’ll be doing this more often in the next few months.”

“I hope so.”

“I’m sure you’re going to get very good at it.”

“I want to be”, he said longingly. “When all we can do is talk to each other, I want to be able to say the things you want to hear.”

“One step at a time”, she said gently. “I think today was a very good start.”

“I have to go now. I’m running late for my next meeting and I haven’t eaten anything yet.”

“Go on, then. I’ll see you tonight.”

“I can’t wait”, he whispered, and then he was gone.

She smiled and stretched luxuriously on the bed. Today was turning out more enjoyable than she’d anticipated. She got up and went to the kitchen, put on his shirt again, then realized she wasn’t craving chocolate anymore and had some fruit instead. The afternoon was spent lazily reading on the beach and texting with Sergio between meetings and on his taxi ride back to the airport. Finally he sent her a message that he was on the plane and had to turn his phone off.

She went out and got dinner from one of the street food stalls she loved so much. She was going to miss the food stalls when she went back home – they were everywhere, cheap and delicious. After eating, she tried to focus on her book again, but really she was just waiting for him to come home. She was making herself wet again just imagining what she would do to him the moment he stepped through that door. At long last, a rumble outside the door announced the return of his motorcycle, and a minute later he opened the door.

She ran to him and wrapped her arms around his neck, and he caught her around the waist, kissing her so fiercely he lifted her off the ground in his enthusiasm. He swung her around and pressed her hard against the door, fumbling with the buttons of the shirt she was wearing and finally, impatiently, forcing it open so the last two buttons tore off.

“Your shirt!” she exclaimed, but he was already pushing it off her shoulders and onto the ground.

“I don’t care, I want you now.

She breathed in sharply as he bent his head and closed his mouth around a nipple, but before she could twine her fingers into his hair, he was already on his knees, spreading her legs with his hands. She gasped as he pressed his mouth to her, and leaned heavily against the door, one hand on the door handle and one hand on his head for balance. He resurfaced just long enough to say:

“I’ve been dreaming of this all day.”

“Can’t we do this on the bed?” she tried, but…

“No”, he said, then applied his tongue in such a way that all she could do was close her eyes and moan.

She had already been seriously turned on just by waiting for him to come home, so when he started licking, she felt the tension inside her begin to build immediately. In a matter of seconds, her knees started trembling and her breathing was fast and uneven. A moment later, her entire body tensed as she tried not to collapse on top of him while the sensation rushed through her. She threw back her head and moaned, her fingers in his hair, until the feeling receded again and she slid down the door a little as her knees gave way.

He was quick to catch her, holding her up with his body pressed against hers until she had recovered enough to stand again. Then she reached down and deftly unbuttoned his pants, and he groaned as she drew him out. She lifted one leg and he caught it, supporting her as she guided him in. When he pressed into her, he closed his eyes and whispered into her ear:

“All day… I’ve been thinking… of this exact moment.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck as he started taking her, hard, against the door. At every thrust, a sharp little moan was torn from her lips, spurring him on. When he groaned, she knew he was close. She wished it could have lasted longer, but she wasn’t surprised that his stamina wasn’t what it usually was today. She simply stroked the back of his neck and held him close as he tensed, then came with a shudder.

Breathing hard, he leaned heavily against her for a few moments, then took his weight off her while still keeping his body against hers.

“Oh”, he sighed. “I’ve never wanted you so desperately. I’m sorry it was over so quickly.”

“That’s alright”, she smiled, playing with his hair. “The night is still young, we can go again once you’ve had some time to recover.”

He kissed her. “I would love that.”

They went to the bedroom and he stretched out happily onto the mattress, holding out his arms to her until she nestled against him. They talked quietly about their day for a while, then he looked down at her with a serious expression.

“Raquel, I always knew it was going to be difficult to be apart from you for two months, but honestly, today was harder than I anticipated.”

“Yes”, she admitted. “For me, too.”

He sounded a little desperate. “I just don’t know how I’m going to get through it.”

“I know”, she said, stroking his chest. “It won’t be easy for either of us.”

“Today was hard, but it’s going to get a million times harder.”

“Yes… but think about it. What was the best part of your day?”

“Coming home and seeing you again, of course.”

She looked up and smiled. “Then can you imagine what it will feel like when we see each other again after two months? It’s going to get a million times harder, sure, but it will also feel a million times better. Focus on that.”

He gratefully kissed her forehead. “You always know what to say.”

She lifted her face and kissed him properly. For the rest of the night, they remained entirely wrapped up in each other.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Raquel woke up in the middle of the night because she had to use the bathroom. Cursing the three glasses of wine she’d had before bed, she slipped out from between the sheets, careful not to wake Sergio. When she came back out of the bathroom, she nearly tripped over Amber, who was sleeping on the rug next to the bed, as close to Sergio as she could get without violating Raquel’s no-cats-in-the-bed policy. The kitten woke up and rubbed her head against Raquel’s ankle, and she bent down to scratch the little thing behind the ears. The room was bright with moonlight, and by the time she was back in bed, she was wide awake. She checked her watch. 3 AM.

Sergio stirred beside her, and her gaze softened as she looked at him sleeping. He was lying on his back, with his face turned towards her, lit by the moonlight. She smiled. He looked so cute. She spent some time just looking at him, listening to his deep, even breaths. She knew she should try to go back to sleep, but they didn’t have much time left together, and soon she wouldn’t have the chance to see him sleep anymore. Thinking about leaving suddenly made it harder to breathe. She wanted to hold him, but she didn’t want to wake him up. With a conscious effort, she tore her eyes away from him, turned around, and tried to think of happier things.

In an effort to distract herself, she thought about the previous afternoon, when they had spent several blissful hours in bed together, just because they felt like it. They had talked, cuddled, and Sergio had spent a long time caressing her all over, letting his hands roam over her body as if he wanted to memorize every curve and every inch of skin. She sighed at the memory of his hands on her back, her hips, stroking her inner thighs. Then his mouth against her throat, his tongue flicking over a nipple, then moving further down. The memory of the resulting orgasm made her shiver. Great. Now she was too horny to sleep.

She turned around to look at Sergio again. Would it be the worst thing in the world to wake him up, just a little bit? She stretched out a hand and brushed her fingers over his bare shoulder.

“Sergio”, she whispered. “Wake up.”

He stirred and opened sleepy eyes. “What? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I just can’t sleep.”

He rubbed a hand over his face. “Mmm, and you thought you’d like some company?”

She stroked his chest, then let her hand wander down to his stomach. “Something like that.”

He turned blurry eyes on her. “What time is it?”

“Three o’clock”, she said, then shifted closer to him and kissed his neck. He cottoned on rather quickly from there.

“You woke me up at three in the morning to have sex?”

“Yes. Do you mind?”

He considered this for a moment, then said: “No, I don’t think I do.”

“I’ll do all the work”, she said, and he chuckled.

“Sounds good. Let me just wake up a bit…”

She smiled. “I think I can help you with that.”

“I’m sure you can”, he breathed, as she got onto her knees, kissing his chest and stomach, then pushed aside the sheet and moved down to sit between his legs. A sleepy smile appeared on his face. He was already beginning to stir, and she helped him wake up further with little licks and kisses that made him shiver. When he was entirely hard, she closed her mouth over him, and he heaved a deep sigh of contentment.

“I feel like I’m having the best dream ever”, he whispered, and as she continued, he softly stroked her hair.

She took care to move slowly and carefully, so she wouldn’t overstimulate him when he was still half asleep. Soon, though, he said:

“Raquel… please come up. Let me hold you.”

She straddled him, then lay down on top of him so he could wrap his arms around her, still heavy with sleep. He looked at her, his eyes so soft.

“This is nice”, he whispered, before pressing a sweet kiss to her lips. “Are you sure I’m not just dreaming you? Will I wake up tomorrow to find out that you were never here at all?”

“I’ll show you how real I am”, she whispered back.

She reached down a hand, guided him in, then slowly sank down on him, and he closed his eyes and sighed again, holding her a little tighter. She kept her body against his as she moved up and down, not breaking contact, pressing little kisses to his cheeks and neck that made him smile. Keeping up a leisurely pace, she reveled in the feeling of having him inside her, of his arms wrapped around her waist. Soon she would have to miss all of this, and she was enjoying every second she could get.

Slow as their pace was, eventually she felt him tense underneath her, and she bit his earlobe to tip him over the edge. For several long moments, his arms tightened around her almost painfully, and then he relaxed and let her go. She slid off him to nestle against his side, with her head in the hollow of his shoulder. He gently stroked her back and shoulder, and she could soon feel him slipping back into sleep. The next moment, though, he shook himself awake again.

“What about you?” he murmured.

“I’m fine”, she lied, but he saw right through her.

“No, you’re not”, he smiled. “You started this, you must have wanted something out of it.”

“You don’t have to feel obligated”, she tried half-heartedly. “You can go back to sleep if you want.”

“Not until you come for me”, he whispered.

He rolled her on her side and curled his body around hers, one arm under her head and the other around her waist, caressing her stomach. She pressed herself closer to him, grateful that, even half asleep, he cared about her pleasure as much as about his own. When his hand slipped between her legs, she sighed happily, then a quiet little moan escaped her lips as he started stroking her. His fingers played her expertly, knowing exactly where and how to touch her for the best effect. Soon she was gasping, holding on to her pillow with one hand, her other hand on his to indicate pressure. When he began kissing the back of her neck and the curve of her shoulder, she thought she would die with the bliss of it.

When he felt her tense, he started moving his fingers a bit faster, and a moment later she was trembling in his arms, letting out a soft ‘oh’ with every breath as felt the wave inside her begin to build, then wash over her for several long, delicious moments. She touched his hand, and he eased off gently, until she sighed and relaxed against him.

“Thank you”, she breathed, and he wrapped his arm tightly around her waist and buried his face in her hair.

“Wake me up any time for this”, he murmured, and the next moment his breathing deepened and he was asleep again.

She smiled happily as she nestled herself even closer to him, her body still humming with the echo of his touch.

 

 ...

 

 

At breakfast one morning, Sergio turned to her with thoughtful eyes.

“I’ve been thinking”, he said. “Don’t you think it would be nice if we arranged Paula’s room for her before you leave, so she has a nice room to come home to when she gets here? I suppose you know what kind of things she would like?”

She gave him a radiant smile. “That’s so thoughtful of you! Yes, I’m sure she’d like that.”

“We can go into town today, see if we can find a few nice things for her, order some furniture. For your mother, too. I don’t think it would be much fun for them to arrive to bare, white rooms.”

So after breakfast, they called a taxi and drove into town. They spent the entire morning going from store to store, picking out the loveliest furniture they could find and arranging for it to be delivered to their home. Whenever Raquel had doubts about something, Sergio pointed out that they could easily afford to replace it if it turned out Paula or Mariví didn’t like it. Their last stop was a store that sold paints and painting materials.

“What color do you think Paula would like in her room?” Sergio asked, and Raquel immediately said:

“Pink. She’s still very much in that phase, and she’s been asking me to paint her room pink for ages. If I tell her there’s a pink room waiting for her here, that will be a major selling point for moving.”

“Pink it is”, he smiled, and they picked out a soft, Disney-princess kind of color.

They took home their paint and materials in a taxi, had lunch, then decided to start straight away with the actual painting. They put on the white coveralls they had bought, and took all the necessary material into the lovely little room that would be Paula’s. Raquel started placing large sheets of plastic  next to the walls to catch any drops. Sergio frowned.

“Don’t you think it would be better to cover the entire floor? It’s wood, any paint on those boards will be so hard to get off.”

“I’m a very neat painter”, Raquel assured him, but he didn’t seem convinced. She rolled her eyes. “Cover the entire floor then, if you want. We’ve got plenty of sheets.”

He was careful to open all the windows first, to let out the paint fumes, before opening the buckets. Soon, they were both hard at work. After about half an hour, Raquel’s coverall was sprayed with little drops of pink, as were the sheets underneath the wall she was working on. Sergio, still meticulously clean, glanced over at her and snorted.

“I thought you were a neat painter?”

“I don’t have to be if I’ve got a coverall and sheets everywhere. I can work much faster this way – look, I’m almost done with this wall and you’re only halfway.”

He gave her an amused look. “At least I don’t have paint in my hair.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “You don’t have paint anywhere.”

“And I’d like to keep it that way.”

She dipped her brush into the bucket, then looked up at him thoughtfully. “You know what would really improve your look?”

“What?”

She grinned. “Just a splash of pink.”

She flicked her brush at him, and a nice spray of color flourished on the white fabric of his coveralls. He looked at her, appalled.

“I can’t believe you did that!”

She laughed at the look on his face. “Coveralls are supposed to get dirty, Sergio! You’re not a proper painter without some paint on you.”

He snorted. “You’re only saying that because you can’t keep yourself clean.”

She grinned and flicked her brush again. He flinched.

“Stop that!”

She advanced on him, her brush dripping pink everywhere, and he retreated warily.

“You know”, she smiled, “I’m a pretty good painter. Let me paint something on you.”

He raised his eyebrows, still eyeing her brush. “You know, I don’t see that happening.”

When she kept coming closer, he warningly raised his own brush. “Stop right there!”

She didn’t, and he flicked his brush at her. She squealed and turned around, so the drops landed neatly on the back of her coveralls, then flicked her brush back at him. Soon they were both laughing and throwing paint at each other, and she forced him back until he was pressed up against an unpainted wall. She pointed her brush at his chest.

“Do you surrender?”

“Yes,” he smiled. “I surrender.”

He let his brush drop to the floor, and she smiled triumphantly as she drew a pink heart on his coveralls in the middle of his chest.

“There”, she said, satisfied.

The next moment, he took her wrist and pulled her against him for a kiss. When they broke apart, the little painted heart was printed on her chest, too.

 

 ...

 

They were out on the bike again one afternoon, touring a different part of the island. Driving down a road parallel to the coast, they stopped often at beautiful little coves and inlets, the water each time a different startling shade of blue. After a while, the road veered away from the sea and dove into the jungle of the inland part of the island. Finally, around lunch time, they followed a sign that sent them off the main road onto a much quieter one, where they found a charming restaurant, half-hidden by the exotic trees that surrounded it. There were only a few other patrons in the neat little garden where they were seated, and brightly colored butterflies darted from one flower to another.

“What a lovely spot”, Raquel said, as a sky-blue butterfly landed on her hand for a moment, then took off again. “If the food is good, we have to remember how we got here for the next time we pass by.”

The food was, indeed, good, and they ate in appreciative silence.

“Where do you want to go now?” Sergio asked her after the plates were cleared.

“I don’t know”, she said. “Let’s just drive around and see what we find. But I’m going to the bathroom first.”

On her way back from the bathroom, Sergio saw her stop and strike up a conversation with the owner of the restaurant. They talked for a few minutes, then Raquel came back to the table with sparkling eyes.

“I asked the owner, and he said there’s a little waterfall a short walk from here. The only path that goes to it, runs over the restaurant’s property, and we can use it for a small fee. What do you think, shall we go for a swim?”

“But we didn’t bring our bathing suits.”

She winked at him. “Then let’s not use any.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Remember what happened the last time we went swimming at a waterfall?”

She nodded. “I know, we got interrupted.” She flashed him a grin. “That’s why I gave the owner a little extra cash to not let anyone else through for the next hour.”

He laughed, then got up and followed her willingly along the path that wound its way through the trees at the back of the garden. They walked along for several minutes, the forest echoing with the calls of birds and the buzzing of insects. Finally, they heard the sound of running water, and when they rounded the next bend, a lovely little waterfall came into view. The water tumbled down a rocky outcrop and splashed into a little pool, surrounded by greenery and flowers.

“Oh”, Raquel whispered. “This is like something from a movie.”

Sergio had to agree with her, and they giddily took off their clothes and dove into the pool.

“The water is so clear!” she exclaimed. “And nice and warm. This just couldn’t be any more perfect.”

They swam to the waterfall and let the water splash down on them while they floated for a while. The pool was too deep to stand there, however, so they eventually drifted more towards the edge, where their feet could reach the sandy bottom. Once there, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him. He circled his arms around her waist and pulled her close to him as he returned her kiss enthusiastically. In response, she wrapped her legs around his waist, then raised a suggestive eyebrow as she felt him stir between her legs.

“Do you want to…?”

“Not in the water”, he reminded her. “Your natural lubrication will be washed away and I’ll end up hurting you.”

She moved her hips against him, and he groaned.

“I really think I’m wet enough”, she whispered in his ear, and he hesitated.

“Well… fresh water isn’t as bad as salt water, I suppose…”

He flashed a look towards the path. “Are you sure we won’t get interrupted?”

“The owner of the restaurant assured me he wouldn’t let anyone else through until we got back.”

“Then I suppose we can give it a try”, he said, and she smiled and kissed him. “But if it chafes even a little bit, you have to tell me immediately.”

She nodded eagerly, then he lifted her with his hands on her hips so she could reach down a hand and guide him in. She moaned softly as he entered her, maybe a little less smoothly than usual, but not painful at all. He held them both steady in the water as she moved up and down, her arms around his neck, enjoying the feeling of weightlessness the water provided. She pressed her lips softly against his, and they shared several long, lingering kisses while she moved. Then she tightened her legs around his waist to take him in deeper, and he closed his eyes and groaned, his breathing fast, his hands on her hips to guide her movements. A few more strokes, then he suddenly tensed and came with a shudder.

She kept him inside her for several more moments, then unwrapped her legs from around his waist as he pulled her in for another kiss. There were several smooth, flat rocks at the edge of the pool, and she pulled herself onto one of them to dry in the sun. He stayed in the water a bit longer, his elbows on her rock as he let himself float rather dreamily, and she sat down on the edge next to him and let her legs dangle in the water.

“This is such a nice spot”, she said, enjoying the feel of the sun on her shoulders. “I’m so glad we found it.”

“Yes”, he said, eyeing her legs next to him and pushing himself upright so his feet were on the ground again. “Very nice.”

He moved over and spread her knees so he could stand between them. She smiled down at him.

“What are you doing?”

“Just enjoying this lovely day”, he murmured. “Come a little closer to the edge.”

She shifted her hips until she was right at the edge of the rock. Then he lifted her knees over his shoulders, and she sank down onto her back with a sigh as he pressed his mouth to her. The rock was smooth and warm underneath her as his tongue explored her. After a few seconds, he surfaced again.

“I can’t taste you”, he complained. “You’re too clean.”

She smiled. “Then you’ll have to get me a little dirty again.”

“With pleasure”, he said, then set to work in the right spot, making her moan.

He spent several minutes there, then dipped back down to taste.

“Much better”, he rumbled, satisfied, and she sighed happily as he continued what he was doing.

She stretched a little further on the rock, rubbing her shoulders against the warm stone and tilting her hips for a better angle. When he found the exact right spot, she whispered a soft ‘yes!’ and he stayed there, increasing the tempo a little until she arched her back and moaned. She was breathing fast now, her fingers scrabbling against the smooth surface of the rock, but there was nothing to hold onto. A moment later, she half rose up on her elbows as the sensation rushed through her, and he didn’t stop until the last tremor had come and gone. She fell back with a deep sigh and a broad smile on her face, and he kissed the inside of her thighs as she recovered.

Then he pulled himself up on the rock beside her, and they lay together side by side, talking softly as the sun dried their skin. Finally, regretfully, they decided to put their clothes back on and return to the restaurant. Before they walked back into the trees, Raquel took one more look at the little waterfall, with the sunlight playing on the water to create little diamonds that rained down into the pool. She smiled, and added another memory to the ones she would take with her to Spain, to replay over and over in her head as she waited patiently to come back.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Sergio was being particularly sweet to her that morning. She had spent an entire hour on her stomach while he slowly caressed her back and shoulders, a thing she dearly loved, especially when she was just waking up. Several times, she had told him that he could stop if he wanted to, but he had kept going until she was entirely satisfied. Now, he was keeping her from getting up.

“But I’m hungry”, she said, as he pulled her back between the sheets.

He kissed her. “Let me make you breakfast.”

“Why?”

“Because I want to.”

She noticed him giving her a look she couldn’t interpret.

“Is there anything you want to ask me, Sergio?”

He colored slightly. “No, nothing. Now you stay right here and let me take care of breakfast.”

She didn’t protest any further, but let herself sink back into the pillows with a happy sigh. She expected him to call her when breakfast was ready, but instead he came into the bedroom a little while later with a tray laden with fruit and toast and coffee, and a small vase containing a single flower from the garden. She raised her eyebrows.

“What’s all this?”

He smiled. “I just thought you might like to have breakfast in bed.”

She smiled back at him. “You’re spoiling me.”

“Soon I’ll have to go two months without being able to spoil you. Let me make the most of it now.”

He sat next to her on the bed and they happily shared the toast and fruit, chatting companionably over the food. When they were done, Sergio put the tray aside and said lightly:

“How about we spend the day on the beach together?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Alright, you want something from me. What is it?”

He widened his eyes innocently. “No, really, I don’t!”

“You hate the beach. Why would you voluntarily spend time there?”

“To be with you.”

“I’m not buying it. You want something, and I want to know what it is.”

His face was getting red. “Well… uhm… maybe there is something I’d like to discuss.”

She settled herself back into the pillows. “I knew it. Alright, what is it?”

He went even redder. “It’s… I would like to propose another experiment.”

She grinned. “It must be something pretty kinky if you’re blushing like that.”

He ran a hand through his hair. “You’re probably going to say no.”

“I might, but have I ever said no to an experiment before? Try me.”

He hesitated. “I’m afraid you’ll get mad at me just for bringing it up.”

She raised her eyebrows and laughed. “Jesus, Sergio, what the hell do you want to do? You’re not trying to tell me you’re into Fifty Shades of Grey or anything, are you?”

“What’s that?”

“It’s a really bad book about BDSM. And while I’m not opposed to a little light bondage, as you know, I draw the line at S&M. Is that what you’re trying to propose?”

He gave her a horrified look. “God no. I could never hurt you.”

“Good”, she said. “Now I’m really curious. Just tell me what you want to do!”

He quickly clarified: “It’s not so much something I want to do, per se, as something I would like to talk about.”

She gave him a soft look. “We can talk about anything, darling. I would never get mad at you for wanting to talk about something.”

He took a deep breath. “I was wondering if you’d be open to discussing… oh god, I don’t know if I can even say it…”

She waited for him to gather his courage, though she was bursting with curiosity.

He tried another tack. “I was wondering if you have any experience with… with…” He continued in a whisper: “… anal sex?”

“Ah”, she smiled. “So that’s it.”

He was blushing furiously. “I understand if you don’t want to talk about it.”

“No”, she said mildly, putting a hand on his. “Let’s talk about it, I don’t mind.”

“I know it’s weird, I’m sorry.”

She shook her head. “It’s not weird at all. A lot of men are curious about anal sex.”

He glanced at her. “Have you done it before?”

“No”, she said. “It never particularly appealed to me, and I haven’t had any partners who’ve asked.”

“So you have no experience with it at all? Not even insertion of…”

She laughed. “Insertion of nothing! No, Sergio, I have no experience with it at all.”

He gave her a hopeful look. “Would you be open to exploring it?”

She thought about it. “I might be. But I’d like to know why you’re bringing it up. What about it appeals to you?”

He hesitated, and she continued: “You don’t have to give me a reason if you can’t. Sometimes it’s hard to put into words why we’re drawn to something.”

“No”, he said, “I’ve thought about this a lot and I think I know why I would like to try this. First of all, I’m just curious.”

She smiled. “Of course you are.”

His blush deepened again. “From what I’ve read, the sensation is quite different from… regular sex, and I’d like to experience that. But the main reason is…”

He took her hand and caressed it with his thumb as he continued. “Raquel, the past weeks with you have been so special for me. You have shown me so many new things, awakened so many new sensations and desires in me, things I never knew I wanted, never dreamed I would do. But you have done all of this before.”

She nodded, seeing where he was going. He went on:

“Almost all of my first times were with you. You were always guiding me, and I loved that, don’t get me wrong. But I guess I just really like the thought of exploring something new together, something that is uncharted territory for both of us. I… I would love to have a first time with you, a first time that we share.”

She smiled at him. “I can’t believe you managed to make it sound so romantic.” She leaned in to kiss him. “I like the idea of sharing a first time with you, too.”

His eyes lit up. “Does that mean you want to try it?”

She hesitated. “I’m open to the idea, but I have to admit it scares me a little.”

He nodded earnestly. “I completely understand that. But this is something we can gradually build up to, little by little, and at each step you can see if you like it and stop me if you don’t.”

“Alright… how would we start?”

He eagerly explained: “The first thing we would try is just to see if you like stimulation there. A lot of women do – there’s a lot of nerve endings – but some don’t and that would be fine, of course.”

“How do we try that?”

He smiled. “If you give me permission, I will go down on you and just touch you there to see how you react. If you like it, I can exert some pressure, and if you like that, insert a finger. It’s supposed to provide a very different kind of stimulation.”

She felt a flutter in her lower belly. “Okay… The thought makes me a little nervous, but I have to admit you’re making me curious, too.”

He kissed her tenderly on the lips and whispered: “You’re amazing, Raquel, really.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down with her into the pillows. For several minutes, they lost themselves in deep, slow kisses. Then she looked up at him, an excited sparkle in her eyes.

“Do you want to try it now?”

“Now?” he said, startled. “Don’t you want some time to think about it?”

She shrugged. “What’s to think about? Either you want to do it or you don’t, and I do. Why wait?”

He sat up. “Wouldn’t you like some time to consider, to get used to the thought? I thought you might think about it while you’re back in Spain, and then we can try it out gradually when you get back.”

She gave him an amused look. “I don’t think you’ve realized yet how much more difficult this will all be with other people in the house. What we’ve been doing now, having sex at all hours of the day and night, will no longer be possible.”

“Won’t Paula be at school during the day?”

“Yes, but my mother will still be here. If she has a good day, I’m sure she’ll give us some privacy, but her good days are going to be more and more rare. She’ll need a lot of care. Which means we’ll only be able to have sex when everyone else is asleep.”

He nodded. “Yes, I understand.”

“It’s going to be a lot harder to make time for little experiments like this. So if we’re going to do this, I’d rather do it now, while we still have plenty of time and we don’t have to worry about making noise or Paula knocking at our door because she had a nightmare. I won’t be able to relax as much.”

He smiled. “You’re right. So… now?”

“Yes, please”, she nodded, then frowned. “Or, wait, won’t we need additional lubrication if we try this out?”

He blushed again. “I’ve… more or less taken the liberty of buying some already.”

She suppressed a smile and raised her eyebrows at him. “That’s very presumptuous of you, Mr. Marquina.”

He grinned through his embarrassment. “I had a feeling you might prove persuadable.”

She laughed. “And you were quite right.” She settled herself more comfortably on her back. “Okay, let’s do this!”

“Just a minute”, he said, then went into the bathroom and came out with a tube of lubricant that he put on the bedside table. He undressed, then joined her on the bed, and the flutter in her lower belly returned. He took her in his arms, then started kissing her, unhurriedly, taking his time, and her nervousness disappeared in the familiarity of his embrace, the tenderness of his touch. As always, he allowed her plenty of time to get ready, letting his hands roam over her body until her skin tingled and her nipples were hard. She gasped when he flicked his thumb over one, then moaned when he moved down to take it into his mouth.

She felt herself relax even further as he moved down her stomach, pressing kisses to her skin along the way, and she opened her legs so he could lie between them. He spent some time kissing the inside of her thighs, until she was squirming for contact. When he finally obliged her and pressed his mouth to her, she arched her back with a sigh of deep contentment, and enjoyed the feeling of his tongue on her most sensitive parts. He explored her slowly, thoroughly, making her tremble with impatience for him to reach the spot where she wanted him the most. By the time he reached it, she wasn’t thinking of anything else anymore beside the exquisite sensations his mouth was evoking. He spent a long time there, moving slowly, drawing out her pleasure. Finally, he drew back and kissed her thigh again.

“What do you think?” he murmured. “Can I?”

She swallowed, then whispered a “yes”, allowing him to touch her where no one had ever touched her before.

“How does it feel?” he asked.

She considered the sensation. “It’s definitely not unpleasant.”

“Can I exert some pressure?”

“Yes.”

He did so, and she caught her breath. “That feels… weird.”

“Good weird or bad weird?”

“Do it again.”

He obliged, and she decided: “Good weird.”

“Do you want me to continue?”

She bit her lip. “Yes, let’s give it a try.”

He reached out a hand and took the tube of lubricant off the bedside table. When he applied some, she shifted, tense with anticipation. He seemed to feel her nervousness.

“Now, the most important thing is for you to relax”, he said in a soothing voice. “If you clench, it won’t be very enjoyable.”

“Will it hurt?”

“Most definitely not”, he assured her. “Not when it’s just my finger. Try to keep an open mind. You might quite like it.”

She privately doubted it, but she tried to relax anyway. He helped her along by applying his tongue to her spot again, producing sensations that were so pleasurable they washed away her apprehension. She twisted her fingers into the sheets as she felt herself get closer with every stroke of his tongue. He didn’t stop what he was doing as he exerted a gentle pressure again, then slowly entered her. To her utter surprise, the moment she felt him inside her, the sensation of it tipped her over the edge, and the orgasm that had been building crashed through her. She threw her head back and cried out sharply as waves of pleasure washed over her again, and again, and again. Finally she relaxed back onto the mattress, panting, and he withdrew carefully.

“Oh”, she gasped. “Oh.

He came to lie beside her and gave her an anxious look. “How was it?”

She looked at him, still a little dazed. “Not at all what I expected.”

He smiled tentatively. “In a good way?”

She rubbed her face. “To say the least. That orgasm was intense.”

His smile broadened. “You liked it?”

“The sensation was so different from anything I’ve ever felt, but… yes, I liked it. I didn’t think I’d have such a strong reaction.”

“Why do you think that was?”

She thought for a moment. “Honestly, I think the mental component also played a big part. It felt really exciting to do this, a little taboo, a little dirty.” She grinned. “I liked that.”

He leaned down and kissed her enthusiastically. “You’re so wonderful. Thank you for letting me share this experience with you.”

She smiled. “Surprisingly, it was my pleasure. Now go wash your hands.”

He did as she asked, then came back and let himself fall onto the mattress, propping himself up on an elbow to look at her.

“Do you think you would like to do it again?”

She blushed a little. “Yes, I would really like that.”

He grinned in delight and kissed her again. “Good. And if you don’t want to go any further than this, that would be totally alright.”

“No”, she said thoughtfully. “Now I’m really curious to try all of it.”

His eyes shone. “Really?”

“Yes”, she said. “But not today.”

“No”, he agreed. “I think we’ve had enough experimentation for one day.”

“But let’s not wait too long, either. Otherwise I’m just going to get nervous waiting for it to happen.”

He kissed her forehead. “Whenever you want, my love.”

“Tomorrow”, she decided, and he smiled and pressed a soft kiss to her lips.

The next morning, she woke up with nervous butterflies in her stomach. He was so sweet to her throughout the morning, constantly pulling her in for kisses and hugs, whispering sweet things in her ear. After lunch, though, she couldn’t stand the tension anymore. She grabbed him by the shirt and dragged him into the bedroom.

“Alright”, he laughed, “so I guess we’re doing this now?”

“All this waiting around is only making me more nervous”, she grumbled.

He caught her around the waist and pulled her close, looking earnestly into her eyes. “We really don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”

“No”, she said. “I want to.”

He looked down at her, his eyes so soft. “Raquel”, he murmured, “It means so much to me that you trust me enough for this.”

She reached up a hand to stroke his cheek. “I don’t think I would have considered this with anyone else, but I like the thought of sharing this first time with you.”

He bent his head to kiss her, a long, lingering kiss that took her breath away. He undressed her slowly, pressing kisses to every inch of skin he uncovered, then she helped him take his clothes off, too, and they went to lie side by side on the bed. He stroked her hair as he looked into her eyes.

“I love you so much”, he said softly, and she smiled.

“I love you, too.”

“Lie back”, he whispered. “Relax. Let me take care of you.”

She settled herself comfortably on her back in the pillows, then took a deep breath and tried to relax. He lay down close beside her, then bent his head and just brushed his lips against hers.

“You’re so beautiful”, he whispered, as he softly kissed her cheek. “So lovely.” He kissed her other cheek, her nose, her closed eyelids, her forehead. “I could just watch you for hours.”

He brushed his lips against the sensitive skin of her throat now, and she couldn’t help but melt a little as his warm breath played over her skin.

“There is nothing in my entire life I have ever loved so much as making love to you, Raquel.”

She hadn’t thought her nervousness would allow her to get turned on, but the combination of his featherlight kisses and the low rumble of his voice was having an unmistakable effect on her body.

“You are so unbelievably sexy”, he murmured, moving his lips along the side of her neck to her ear. “There isn’t a moment of the day or night that I don’t want you.”

Ever so gently, he nipped at her earlobe, and she shivered and pressed herself closer to him.

“Tell me what you want”, he said, and she whispered:

“Kiss me.”

He placed his hand on the side of her face and stroked her cheek with his thumb as he looked down at her for a long moment. The look in his eyes made her heart beat faster, and she yearned to feel his lips on hers. When he finally bent his head and kissed her, she closed her eyes and sank into it. He kept kissing her for a long time, tenderly, passionately, focusing on nothing but her lips, and she felt her body respond: her breathing quickened, her nipples hardened and there was a sharp tingle between her legs. He deepened the kiss until she was absolutely aching for his touch.

When he drew back, she was left breathless for a moment, then she whispered:

“Please touch me. I want to feel your hands on me.”

He ran one hand lightly down her neck, over the curve of her shoulder and down one arm, making goosebumps erupt all over her body. He stroked her wrist and palm, then entwined his fingers with hers for a moment, before drawing a line back up her arm and shoulder, then over her chest and down between her breasts to caress her stomach. His touch was infinitely tender, almost reverent, and she shivered with delight.

“I love every inch of you”, he murmured as he stroked her. “Every beautiful part. You are my goddess, Raquel, my very own Aphrodite.”

He was touching her everywhere except where she really wanted him. After a while, she couldn’t stand it anymore.

“Sergio…” she said, and he immediately responded exactly the way she wanted him to: he lowered his head and closed his mouth over her nipple. She gasped as the delicious sensation shot right through her, and when he sucked harder, she twined her fingers in his hair as a hot, bright fire was kindled between her legs. He released her and pulled her other nipple into his mouth, and as he sucked it, her desire for him became almost too much to bear.

“Oh”, she gasped. “Please, I need you.”

He returned to kissing her neck as his hand slipped between her legs. She eagerly opened them to give him better access, but he only stroked the inside of her thighs until she was shaking, desperate for him to touch her.

“I don’t think I could ever get enough of you”, he whispered against her throat as his fingers inched ever closer. “I could make love to you all day and all night and never get tired.”

His fingers brushed against her and she shuddered, only to want him even more.

Sergio”, she said urgently, then moaned softly as he pressed his palm against her. She tilted her hips to increase the pressure, then gasped as his fingers found the right spot and started circling it.

“I love it when you moan”, he murmured in her ear as she arched her back and clutched at the sheets. “I love it when I can make you come.”

For a second, she thought he was indeed going to make her come, but right before the crucial moment he stopped, and she bit her lip in disappointment.

“Do you want me?” he asked softly.

“Yes”, she groaned. “Desperately.”

He kissed her, then whispered: “Then get on your knees.”

She hastened to obey him, trembling with longing to feel him inside her. “Can you please fuck me the regular way first? I want you so badly.”

He chuckled as he got behind her. “Of course.”

He took hold of her hips and she gasped as he entered her. It was such total bliss to feel him fill her up completely, and when he started moving, a soft moan escaped her lips at every thrust. She wanted nothing more than for his fingers to resume their work, but she knew he wouldn’t let her come now. The tension inside her built up until she couldn’t stand it anymore. She knew there was only one way he was going to make her come, and suddenly she wasn’t scared anymore.

“Sergio”, she panted. “I’m ready.”

He stopped. “Are you sure?”

“Yes”, she said decidedly. “Very sure.”

He withdrew from her and put on the condom he’d placed on the bedside table, then applied liberal amounts of lubricant. He caressed her hips.

“I love you”, he whispered. “I love you so much. We can stop at any time. Just relax.”

She took a deep breath and relaxed, then felt a sharp stab of excitement as she felt him press against her. She bit her lip as the pressure increased. When she felt him enter her, she tensed involuntarily and for a moment it was painful, but his hands were stroking her hips, and his voice was low and calm as he said: “Breathe, my love. Breathe…”

She realized she had been holding her breath, and the moment she breathed in again, the tension vanished and so did the pain. The feeling inside her was deep and primal and exciting, and she moaned loudly.

“Is this okay?” he asked.

“Yes”, she gasped, and he groaned as he started moving.

“God, Raquel, this feels so good.”

His hand found its way around her hip and the next moment, his fingers were between her legs, stroking her where she so desperately wanted him. The tension inside her, which had subsided a little, immediately began to build again. She didn’t know if it was the actual sensation or just the thought of it, but something about this was extremely stimulating, and she found herself saying ‘yes’ over and over again as he moved, his fingers caressing her in just the right spot. In mere minutes, she started trembling, and she gripped the sheets tightly as she felt the wave begin to build, then cried out loudly as it broke over her, rocking her to her core. A moment later, she heard Sergio cry out too, and for several long moments, the delicious sensations rushed through them both. Finally, the feeling subsided and he stopped.

She was shaking as he carefully withdrew, then she collapsed onto the bed, exhausted. He took off the condom and disappeared into the bathroom for a moment to throw it away, then returned to the bed to take her into his arms. He covered her face with soft, tender little kisses as she recovered.

“That was amazing”, he whispered as she opened her eyes. “You are amazing.”

She smiled. “Was it good for you?”

He shook his head with an awe-struck expression. “Good doesn’t even begin to cover it. It was absolutely mind-blowing.”

She happily cuddled closer to him, and he asked: “How was it for you?”

“A deeply strange, deeply interesting experience. I’m definitely not sorry we tried it.”

He kissed her hair and tightened his arms around her. “I’m so happy to hear that.”

They were quiet for a moment, each lost in their own thoughts. Then he said:

“Raquel, I’m so grateful we could share this experience. I didn’t think it was possible, but I feel even closer to you now.”

She looked up at him and kissed him softly on the lips. “Me too.”

He gently stroked her shoulder. “I don’t have words to express how wonderful you are.”

They stayed in bed for a long time, just holding each other and talking softly. Outside, evening fell and the setting sun colored the room a deep, soft pink.

“Don’t you just want to stay like this forever?” Sergio sighed, holding her close.

“Yes”, she said, trying not to think about the fact that she was leaving in only a few more days. “Forever.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

They were at the store one afternoon when Sergio noticed Raquel pile tablet after tablet of chocolate into her basket. He raised his eyebrows.

“In the mood for chocolate, are we?”

“I’m sad I’m leaving on Sunday, I need emotional support.”

He came to stand close to her and brushed his lips against her ear. “I can provide emotional support.”

She laughed. “We’ve been having ‘emotional support’ three times a day. Any more and I won’t be able to sit down on the plane.”

He threw a pointed look into her basket. “But if you eat all of that in three days, you’re going to get sick.”

“What if I balance it out with some fruit? What do you think of chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert?”

“Sounds good. Can we also have some mango?”

She grinned. “You and your mangoes. But yes, why not. Some banana would also be good.”

They passed by the market on their way home for the fruit. That night, after dinner, she melted the chocolate au bain marie while he chopped the fruit, then they sat down at the kitchen table together and happily dipped their fruit into the warm chocolate.

“Those strawberries are so good”, he said. “But I think nothing beats the combination of chocolate and banana.”

She eyed him as he dipped in a chopped piece of banana.

“You know”, she said. “That’s really not the right way of eating chocolate-covered bananas.”

“It isn’t?” he said, confused. “Then how should you eat them?”

She grinned broadly. “I’ll show you.”

She got up and got the last unchopped banana off the kitchen counter. She peeled it, then dipped the tip into the chocolate. Looking straight at him, she then proceeded to slowly lick it off.

He grinned and blushed a little. “Oh, I see. Yes, I completely agree that that is the only proper way for you to eat bananas. Or rather, the improper way.”

They continued eating until all the fruit was gone. Sergio peered into the pot.

“There’s still some chocolate left over.”

She dipped her finger in. “That isn’t a problem at all.”

As he watched her lick the chocolate off her finger, the look in his eyes gave her a better idea, however.

“Are you open to a little game?” she smiled.

“Sure”, he said. “What kind of game?”

“The bedroom kind.”

“You have my full attention.”

She leaned across the table. “Let me blindfold you.”

He hesitated. “I don’t know, Raquel…”

“On the bed”, she hastened to assure him. “You don’t have to go anywhere. It will be completely safe.”

“But I like looking at you”, he said. “That’s the best part.”

“It will be just for the game”, she said. “Then you can take it off again.”

He gave in. “Alright.”

Raquel warmed up the chocolate again for a minute, then they took it into the bedroom with them and undressed. Sergio sat down on the edge of the bed, rather nervously, as she rummaged in his drawers. When she approached him with a tie, he held up his hand.

“Please promise me you won’t do anything weird to me when I can’t see, or… or startle me.”

She gave him a soft look. “Would I ever do that?”

“No…” he admitted. “No, of course not.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “Okay, I trust you.”

She bound the tie over his eyes.

“Not too tight?” she whispered in his ear, and he shook his head.

“No, it’s fine.”

He felt the mattress dip as she climbed onto the bed behind him, then she was quiet for a while.

“What are you doing?” he asked apprehensively.

“You’ll see in a minute”, was the only answer he got.

“No”, he said drily, “I won’t see.”

She laughed. “Okay, I’m ready. Come closer.”

He carefully turned around and got onto his knees. He stretched out a hand.

“Where are you?”

“Right here”, she whispered, and her fingers brushed his as she took his hand and guided it to her. When his fingers touched her skin, he felt something sticky.

“Oh”, he smiled as he brought his fingers to his lips and tasted chocolate. “I think I get it.”

“I’ve got chocolate in… some places”, she said. “And you have to find it.”

“I like that”, he rumbled, getting into the spirit of the game.

He stretched out his hand again and found her arm. From there, he traced careful fingers over the curve of her shoulder, up her neck, until he was touching her face. He lay down beside her and lowered his head, his lips brushing her cheek, then let his mouth wander lightly over her skin until he found her lips. He licked the chocolate off them, and she opened her mouth for a deeper kiss.

“You taste so sweet”, he murmured as he broke away.

“Now look for the rest”, she encouraged him.

He knew where she liked to be kissed, so he followed the line of her jaw with his lips to her throat. Sure enough, there was another spot of chocolate there, and he took his time licking it completely clean while she tilted her head back and sighed. He moved down, and found more chocolate in the little hollow between her collarbones.

“You missed a spot”, she whispered. “Two spots, in fact.”

He thought about it for a moment, then let his fingers trail up her neck until he found her ear. Bending down, he took her earlobe between his lips and sucked off the chocolate. He carefully felt his way to her other ear, then did the same thing, nipping at her earlobe with his teeth this time, and she shivered.

With his mouth against her skin, he found his way back down her neck and kissed her shoulder, then her chest. He knew perfectly well where he would find more chocolate, but he feigned ignorance as he brushed his lips over her breasts.

“You know, I just can’t seem to find any more”, he said teasingly, then used his tongue to draw tantalizing circles around her nipples. “Where could it be?”

She laughed, then grabbed his hair and moved his head. “You know perfectly well!”

“Ah!” he said, then closed his mouth over her nipple and sucked hard. She gasped as the sudden sensation shot through her, and used her hands in his hair to keep him where he was for a moment or two. When she released him, he found his way to her other breast and licked the chocolate off of that nipple, too, causing a pulsing sensation to start up between her legs.

From the place between her breasts, a thin trail of chocolate ran down her stomach, and he followed it willingly to where it stopped below her belly button. He knew perfectly well where it was leading, of course, so he trailed his lips over her curls and dipped between her legs to find the last trace of chocolate. She moaned softly as his tongue touched her. All the chocolate was gone now, but he didn’t stop licking, and she tilted her hips and twined her fingers into his hair. Carefully feeling his way, he entered her with two fingers and curved them, making her moan again as he pressed upwards. Moving in a steady rhythm, he soon had her breathing fast, her fingers churning in his hair. He didn’t need to see to know that she was close, and as he picked up the pace a little, both with his fingers and his tongue, he felt her tense and tremble, then she cried out as the orgasm overtook her. He kept on exactly what he was doing, easing off gradually to draw out her pleasure for as long as possible as he guided her through the aftershocks.

Finally he stopped, pressed a kiss to her thigh, then took off the blindfold and propped himself up on his elbows to look at her. He loved seeing her right after she came – her hair all tousled, her chest flushed, her eyes dazed and dreamy. He smiled with satisfaction as he moved up to lie beside her.

She gave him a soft look and cuddled up against him.

“Haven’t you come far?” she smiled. “When I first got here, you’d never even gone down on a woman, and now you can make me come with your eyes closed.”

 

 

…..

 

When Sergio came back from the market the next morning, Raquel came running towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck before he was even through the door.

“Oof!” he said, as she knocked the breath out of him. “Why this enthusiastic welcome?”

“I’ve missed you”, she said, pressing herself close to him and kissing his cheek and neck.

He laughed. “I’ve only been gone for an hour.”

“I still missed you. You weren’t there when I woke up.”

“I thought I’d be back before you’d wake up”, he said. ‘’I wanted to surprise you with fresh fruit for breakfast.”

“You can’t leave me alone anymore”, she whispered against his chest. “We only have two days left, I don’t want to spend a whole hour without you.”

He dropped the bags he was holding so he could wrap his arms around her.

“I’m sorry”, he said, kissing her hair. “Can I make it up to you?”

She looked up at him and smiled. “I think that you can.”

The next moment, his lips were on hers and they were moving towards the bedroom, shedding clothes everywhere. Amber came tripping up to them to see what all the excitement was about, but Raquel firmly closed the bedroom door behind them, so the little cat was left outside. She didn’t like that one bit, and set up a plaintive mewling that went straight through the door. Sergio, on the bed, lifted his head and shot the door an anxious look, but he knew Raquel didn’t take kindly to him prioritizing the cat over her, especially if it meant sex got interrupted. She was a woman of very little patience in that regard. So he steeled himself and kept up his kisses, and after a while the sounds outside the bedroom door stopped and they could continue in peace.

Afterwards, they came out of the bedroom, smiling and holding hands, and began picking up their fallen clothes to dress themselves again. As Raquel picked up the fruit that had fallen out the bags at the door, Sergio looked around the house.

“Where’s Amber?” he called out to Raquel.

“I don’t know”, she called back. “Isn’t she in her basket?”

“No”, he said, coming into the hallway, frowning. “I can’t find her anywhere.”

His eyes widened as he saw the front door, which he hadn’t closed completely as he came in.

“I didn’t close the door!” he said, horrified. “She must have gotten out!”

“Oh, shit”, Raquel said, quickly getting up and opening the door further. “Amber!”

“She ran away because we didn’t let her in”, he said, upset. “She was crying in front of the door and we didn’t let her in.”

“She can’t have gotten far”, Raquel said soothingly as she put on her shoes. “You go left, I’ll go right. We’ll find her.”

They separated and quickly walked down the street, calling her name. Raquel peered around corners and behind garbage cans, hoping desperately that Amber hadn’t gotten into traffic. Besides the fact that she liked the little cat, she didn’t want to think what it would do to Sergio to lose Amber, especially right before she had to leave for Spain. Suddenly, she stopped dead as she heard a little ‘miaow’. A little further along the street, a garbage can had fallen over, and Raquel ran to it and looked inside. Amber was in there, her head stuck in a tin can she was trying to shake off.

On her knees, Raquel extracted the little thing from among the garbage and carefully removed the tin can from her head. Then she gave the cat a stern look.

“You little rascal! Running away like that. Didn’t you know how much your daddy would worry?”

She gathered the kitten up in her arms and quickly walked back towards the house.

“Sergio!” she called out. “Sergio, I’ve got her!”

He appeared from around a corner, relief in every line of his body. He ran to them and closed his arms around the both of them.

“Thank god”, he sighed, and Amber squirmed out of Raquel’s arms into Sergio’s. He held her tenderly. “Thank god she’s alright.”

“Of course she is”, Raquel said mildly, patting his shoulder. “She was only out for a couple of minutes.”

They went back inside, and Sergio spent a long time cuddling the little cat, until Amber had basked enough in his undivided attention and jumped out of his arms to go eat. He sagged down onto the couch and buried his face in his hands.

“Now don’t be dramatic”, Raquel chided him gently. “She’s okay.”

“I’m going to be a terrible parent”, he groaned. “I can’t even take care of a cat.”

She smiled as she sat down beside him and pulled his hands away from his face so she could look at him. “Of course you won’t be a terrible parent. I know you’re kind of new to this, but let me assure you that taking care of a child is not the same thing as taking care of a cat.”

“You’re right, it’s much harder.”

“But easier, too. Paula isn’t a toddler anymore, she knows not to go out into the street alone.”

“I’m so afraid I’ll screw it up”, he whispered.

She patted his knee. “You probably will.”

He looked at her, aghast. “Well, thank you for that!”

She laughed. “I mean, we all do. All parents screw up, Sergio. We’re only human.”

“I don’t want to traumatize your child.”

“And you won’t. Children are more resilient than you think.”

He gave her an anxious look. “Raquel, I haven’t much talked about this but I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and the truth is… I’m terrified.”

She took his hand and squeezed it tight. “Don’t be. Parenting a child is like starting a new job. You learn as you go along. You make mistakes, but learn from them as you grow together. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. I know you’ll love her once she gets here.”

“I don’t doubt that”, he said softly. “But will she like me? She doesn’t get a choice in all of this, yet she’ll get dragged halfway around the world and shoved into a house with a strange man she doesn’t know.”

“Sergio”, she said firmly. “I am first and foremost a parent. If I didn’t think this decision would be good for my daughter, I wouldn’t do it.”

“You’re right”, he said, looking at her earnestly. “Of course you would only do what’s best for her.”

She nodded. “Yes. And living by the beach will be good for Paula. Going to an international school and learning English will be good for her. Seeing her mother happy will be good for her.”

She stroked his hand. “And having a father who doesn’t yell and who doesn’t hit her mother, that will be good for her, too.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him so he could kiss her hair.

“I’m sorry”, he said. “I’ve been making this all about me.”

She looked up and kissed his cheek. “I understand that you’re worried. But I’ll be here to help you, and we’ll make it work together, won’t we?”

“Yes”, he said. “Of course we will.”

They kissed, then he got up.

“Would you mind if I went for a short walk along the beach? Just a few minutes, to clear my head.”

“Of course”, she said, and he walked out onto the porch.

When he was out of sight, Raquel kneeled by the cat basket and scratched Amber behind the ears.

“Now don’t you do anything like this again, little one”, she whispered to the kitten, feeling a heavy weight on her chest. “He’s a little fragile, and you’ll have to take care of him when I’m gone. Will you do that?”

Amber purred happily and butted her head against Raquel’s hand. She took that as a yes.

 

 

…..

 

 

After dinner that night, Sergio disappeared into the bedroom for a while. Raquel thought he was taking a shower, but after about fifteen minutes, he called her in. When she opened the door, her eyes widened in surprise. The room was full of candles, and Sergio was standing beside the bed, smiling.

“What’s all this?” she asked, delighted.

“I know you’ve been stressed about your trip back home the day after tomorrow. I thought you might like a massage to relax.”

She noticed that the bed was covered with towels, and a bottle of massage oil was waiting on the bedside table. She walked to him and kissed him.

“This is so sweet of you”, she whispered against his lips.

He grinned. “Not really. I just wanted an excuse to touch you all over for as long as possible.”

“You don’t need an excuse for that”, she smiled, then kissed him again. “But I won’t say no.”

He undressed her slowly, then took off his own clothes as she lay down on the bed on her stomach with a sigh of happy anticipation. He took the bottle of massage oil and sat astride her. When he applied some of the oil and started rubbing her shoulders, she realized for the first time how much tension she was holding there. The past few days hadn’t been easy on her, helping Sergio through moments of crisis as he panicked regularly about her leaving, while trying to stay strong herself, never showing to him how much it hurt her, too. They couldn’t both fall apart, she kept telling herself, but it was starting to take its toll on her, and she sighed softly as he carefully massaged the tense muscles in her shoulders and back.

It only got better from there, and she thoroughly enjoyed the feeling of his hands on her back, exerting a gentle pressure that felt amazing.

“How does that feel?” he asked her regularly, and she could only reply with a sigh and a “so good”.

He took his time, running his hands over her back and shoulders until she felt ready to start purring like Amber.

“Do you feel a bit better now?” he asked her after a long time, and she turned her head and smiled at him.

“Yes, I do. Thank you.”

She started to get up, but he gently pushed her back down.

“I’m not finished yet”, he said, then he moved to sit beside her and started on her legs and feet.

“God”, she sighed blissfully. “You’re the best boyfriend ever.”

He smiled. “And don’t you forget that while you’re back in Spain.”

A little later, he asked her to turn over, and she did so willingly. The deep relaxation she felt gradually made way for a more sensual feeling as he ran his hands over her chest and stomach, between and over and under her breasts, but he was careful to avoid her most sensitive parts. He massaged each of her arms, then spent a lot of time on her hands, rubbing his thumbs along her palms and each of her fingers. When he asked her to spread her legs a little so he could massage the inside of her thighs, she started to feel a tingle of desire, but he didn’t touch her there. He rubbed the massage oil along her legs until she was entirely smooth and soft and glistening. Finally, he stopped.

“How are you feeling now?” he asked, and she stretched luxuriously, her entire body humming with his touch.

Amazing”, she breathed. “Just wonderful.”

“I’m glad”, he smiled, then leaned down to kiss her.

She sat up as he went into the bathroom to wash his hands. She felt so good, she wanted to do something for him in return.

“Why don’t you lay down now and I’ll take a turn?” she asked him as he came back into the bedroom.

He hesitated. “I’ve never gotten a massage before. I don’t know if I’ll like it.”

“I’ll be really gentle, just barely touching you, and we can try out different pressures to see if you like them.”

He wrinkled his nose. “I don’t much like the thought of getting slippery oil all over my body.”

“We can take a shower afterwards”, she reasoned, and he capitulated.

“Alright”, he said, lying down on the towels on his stomach. “Let’s see what all the fuss is about.”

She sat astride him and applied a liberal amount of massage oil to his back. Then she started rubbing the oil into his skin, her hands light as a feather. He heaved a deep breath as she felt him relax under her.

“Oh, this does feel nice.”

“I’m going to try out a bit more pressure, okay?” she said, then gently pressed the ball of her thumbs into the muscles of his shoulders. “How does that feel?”

He groaned. “God, it feels really good.”

“No wonder”, she said. “You’re all tense.”

She spent a few minutes working the knots out of his shoulders, careful never to press too hard so she wouldn’t hurt him. Then she let her hands wander a bit more freely. She was enjoying herself, running loving fingers over the strong lines of his back and shoulders, trying to let her hands memorize the feel of him, another memory to take with her back to Spain. After a while, she moved further down, running her hands appreciatively over his buttocks, then down his legs and feet. He sighed with pleasure and didn’t complain when she asked him to turn over. His eyes were closed and a blissful expression on his face as she massaged his chest and arms. When she moved down to his stomach, however, his body reacted automatically to her touch, and she noticed that he was gazing at her with that look she knew so well.

She smiled. “Do you want to move on to a different kind of massage?”

He opened his arms to her. “Please come lie on top of me.”

She did as he asked, her body connecting full-length with his, their skin slippery with oil as his arms circled her waist and held her close while she kissed him. After a few minutes, she felt him hard against her thigh, and she reached her hand to guide him in, still keeping her body close to his. He bit his lip and sighed as she sank down on him, and she sat up to take him in deeper, her hands on his chest for support. The oil on her skin made it appear shining and golden in the light of the candles, and she saw admiration in his eyes as she started moving slowly. His eyes widened as she lifted a hand and started stroking her own nipple, moaning softly at the combined sensations.

“That is so hot”, he whispered, his voice strained. “Don’t stop.”

She lifted her other hand to her other nipple, and he took a firm hold on her hips to support her as she kept moving up and down. After a while, one of her hands moved to rest between her legs and her fingers worked nimbly until she had to place her other hand back onto his chest to keep herself upright. She was breathing hard now, and as he bucked his hips to take her deeper, a sharp moan escaped from her lips at every thrust. Finally she cried out, and as her nails bit into his chest, he had to use every ounce of restraint he had to keep from coming himself, but he desperately wanted it to last a bit longer. He clenched his jaw as she trembled and shook, then collapsed onto his chest. They stopped moving for a bit, and he stroked her back as she recovered.

After a few deep breaths, she looked up at him with a smile and kissed him.

“You’re holding up well tonight”, she whispered, stroking his cheek.

“I didn’t want it to be over yet”, he admitted. “Now stay close to me.”

He wrapped his arms around her and kept their bodies close together as she started moving again, the oil making everything smooth and slippery as they moved against each other. He held on for as long as he could, but her slick body pressed up against him was driving him beyond endurance. He twined his fingers into her hair and pulled her in for a kiss, before groaning against her lips, then burying his face against her shoulder as the dam of his restraint burst and the orgasm gripped him. Her hand caressed the back of his neck and she kept moving until he shuddered a last time and relaxed back onto the bed.

He kept her on top of him for a long time, stroking her all over as they lost themselves in kisses. Finally, regretfully, they broke apart and agreed that they should take a shower. They couldn’t stop touching each other even while the water rained down on them, rubbing their soapy bodies together and pressing wet kisses everywhere. I don’t want this night to end, she thought over and over. Tomorrow will be our last day and I don’t want that yet. Not yet, please, not yet. She tried to take deep breaths as he pulled her close again.

“Raquel”, he whispered. “Don’t go. Stay a few more days. I’ll buy you a new ticket.”

She bit the inside of her cheek, then, steeling herself, she pulled back with a brave expression and pressed a soft kiss against his lips. “I don’t want to go, Sergio, but I have to. Remember that it’s only for a while, and remember that I need to go so I can arrange our lives together.”

“I know”, he murmured sadly. “I know.”

They held each other for a long moment as the warm water streamed down their bodies. Then he left the shower first so she could wash her hair, which had gotten oily as well. She waited until he was out of the bathroom before turning to the wall and tilting her face up into the jet of the shower. Only then did she let the tears stream down her cheeks, where they mingled with the water. For several long moments, she allowed herself the luxury of crying, but then his voice sounded behind her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes”, she said quickly, pressing her hands to her face and wiping the tears away. “I was just thinking.”

She turned off the water and dried herself so she could join him on the bed, where they wrapped themselves around each other and held on tight.

One more day, it echoed through her head. One more day.

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Neither of them wanted to get out of bed that morning. They spent hours between the sheets as the rays of the sun shifted slowly across the room, kissing, talking, just holding each other. They made love, slowly and for a long time, conscious of the passing of each precious moment. Afterwards, they lay close together and tried to talk away their sadness.

“Two months really isn’t such a long time”, Raquel said, trying to convince herself as much as Sergio. “It’s almost nothing if you compare it to the years we’ll be spending together afterwards.”

He said nothing, just kissed her hair.

“It’s like the summer holidays when you were in school”, she continued. “They seemed interminable at the beginning of the summer, but they were always over before you knew it. This will be just like that.”

“I’m sure you’re right”, he said, both of them knowing she wasn’t.

They were silent for a while, each caught up in their own thoughts. Raquel felt almost sick with worry about leaving him alone. She knew the separation would be easier on her, because she would have her family around her, she was looking forward to seeing her daughter again, and she would be busy every day with arranging the move. Sergio, on the other hand, would be left alone, with nothing to do but wait for her to return. If the thought of leaving him made her ache, she couldn’t even imagine what he must be feeling.

She took a deep breath and sat up.

“Come on”, she said. “We can’t spend the entire day in bed, that’s just too depressing.”

“Yes”, he said, shaking himself from some rather dark thoughts. “You’re still here now, we should make the most of it. It’s your last day, what do you want to do? What are you going to miss when you’re gone?”

“The food”, she said immediately. “Let’s get lunch from our favorite street food stall.”

“Excellent”, he smiled. “What else?”

“I’m going to miss the ocean. I want to go swimming at least one more time before I leave.”

“Good. Then what?”

“It’s going to be a stressful couple of months. I want to relax for a bit today, just lie in the sun on the beach.”

“Sounds like we have a plan for today, then.”

“And what will we do tonight?” she asked. “For our last evening together?”

He smiled. “I made reservations at your favorite restaurant for tonight.”

She perked up. “The one with the small garden and the live music?”

He nodded, and she kissed him. “That’s so thoughtful of you.”

They got up, showered and dressed, then went out for food. She didn’t care that it was considered inappropriate – she held his hand the entire way, and he didn’t complain. They talked and laughed as they ate, able to forget for a while that she would be gone within 24 hours. Afterwards, she put on her bathing suit, and, to her surprise, so did he.

“Are you coming with me for a swim?”

He nodded. “I don’t want to be apart from you today.”

She kissed him gratefully. They went out and dove into the water together, but they didn’t get much swimming done, as she kept wrapping her arms around his neck to kiss him, and his hands were all over her under the cover of the water. After a long time, they came out of the sea and lay down to dry in the warm sun. They had both brought a book, but Raquel was only pretending to read as she kept shooting glances at him on the towel next to hers. She wanted to remember this moment exactly. The salt drying on his skin. The small furrow between his brows as he read. The drops of water glistening on the muscles of his arms and shoulders. He glanced over and caught her looking, and without a word they both got up and went back into the house, where they fell onto the bed in a tangled heap and made love with a deep, electric sense of urgency. Afterwards, they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

It was early twilight when Sergio woke up and kissed her awake.

“We should get ready”, he said. “Our reservation is in an hour.”

They showered together, running soapy hands all over each other, then he put on a suit and she put on her best dress and a few touches of make-up. He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist as he looked at her in the mirror.

“You look gorgeous”, he whispered in her ear, and she smiled.

Their favorite restaurant was only a short walk away, and they walked hand in hand through the fragrant night, the chirping of crickets all around them, combining with the ever-present sound of the waves breaking on the beach. When they reached the restaurant, though, it was dark and silent.

“Are you sure you made a reservation for tonight?” she asked, disappointed. “It looks closed.”

“No”, he smiled. “I’m sure it’s open.”

He took her hand and led her through the gate into the garden. The moment they entered, fairy lights popped on everywhere, draped over the branches of trees and bushes, providing a soft illumination to the small but charming garden, where the usual dozen tables had been cleared away and just one table remained in the middle, set for two. There were flowers everywhere. Raquel turned to him, her eyes wide with delight.

“Did you arrange this?”

He gave her a shy smile. “Yes.”

“You rented out the entire restaurant just for us?”

He shrugged modestly. “What’s the point of being rich if you can’t be a little extravagant every now and then.”

They went up to the table and he held out her chair for her as she sat down. A waiter appeared with two glasses of champagne and took their order, and as they toasted and sipped their drinks, a number of musicians entered the garden and set up discreetly in a corner to play soft music to them throughout the meal.

“I have something for you”, he said after dessert. He took a small box out of his pocket, and slid it across the table.

She opened it and found a broad silver ring with a lovely pattern. She smiled at him in surprised delight.

“I love it! It’s exactly my style, thank you.”

“I hope you’ll think of me when you wear it”, he said softly.

“I’ll never take it off”, she promised as she slipped it on.

He smiled, then stood up and held out his hand.

“Do you want to dance?”

She raised an eyebrow. “I thought you didn’t dance?”

“I don’t, usually”, he admitted. “But you love it and tonight is a special occasion. And I don’t mind it as much if nobody’s watching.”

The band struck up a slow song, and she rested her head against his shoulder as he held her close and they turned slow circles together.

“I don’t want this night to end”, he whispered.

“Me neither”, she whispered back against his chest, trying hard not to cry. “It’s been such a perfect last day, Sergio, thank you.”

He smiled and kissed her hair. “The night isn’t over yet.”

She looked up at him, eyes sparkling. “What did you have in mind?”

He bent his head and whispered in her ear: “I want to taste you so badly.”

She shivered and pressed closer to him as he continued.

 “I’m going to take my time with you tonight. I’m going to undress you slowly and lay you down on the bed, and then I’m going to make you moan until you’re begging me not to stop.”

She felt a delicious thrill run down her spine and a sharp tingle between her legs as he murmured:

“Does that sound at all acceptable to you?”

She swallowed. “That sounds… perfectly acceptable, yes.”

He nuzzled her neck. “Do you want to go home?”

“Yes, please”, she sighed.

When the door of the bedroom finally closed behind them, she was almost trembling with longing to feel his mouth on her, but he kept his promise that he would take his time. He stood behind her and ran his fingers over the curve of her shoulder and down her arm. Then he wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her neck until she felt faint with desire. Taking hold of the zipper of her dress, he pulled it down agonizingly slowly, then he ran the very tip of his tongue down her spine, making her shiver in the best way. Her entire body felt alive to his touch as he kissed her shoulder, then pushed down the straps of her dress so it pooled at her feet. She stepped out of it, and he unhooked her bra and took it off. Still standing behind her, he caressed her stomach with both hands, then cupped her breasts and ran his thumbs over her nipples. She let out a sigh and leaned back against him as his fingers manipulated her deftly, causing a pulsing sensation between her legs that made her ache for him.

After a while, he lowered a hand to stroke her through her panties, rumbling in satisfaction as he noticed they were wet through. By now she was trembling, torn between wanting him to hurry up and a desire to make it last as long as possible. He was clearly going for the second option and refused to be rushed as she pressed her hips back against him. He turned her around and went down on his haunches, then slowly lowered her panties. She held her breath as he leaned in, but he only pressed a kiss there, then stood up to embrace her. As they kissed, she pressed her naked body against his, still fully clothed, and his hands roamed over her back and buttocks.

“Go lie on the bed”, he whispered as they broke apart, and she did as he asked, breathless with anticipation as she made herself comfortable on her back. He quickly undressed himself, then joined her on the bed, spreading her legs so he could lie between them. She was so ready for him, but he still took his time, kissing his way up her inner thighs, building the tension to a fever pitch, until she felt like she would come the moment he touched her. When he did touch her, however, his tongue was so light against her she almost couldn’t bear it. She was so, so close, but the little licks and kisses he was giving her weren’t enough to satisfy, they only inflamed her more. Finally, she couldn’t take it anymore.

“Sergio”, she whispered. “Please…”

He nodded, then suddenly applied his tongue to the right spot with just the right amount of pressure, and she felt herself slip over the edge immediately. She had just enough time to gasp in a breath before the feeling crashed over her, intense and overwhelming and over much too fast. Her body relaxed again as he withdrew his mouth, but she was far from satisfied. He didn’t show any signs of wanting to come up, however, and she looked down.

“Again?” she asked him hopefully, and he kissed her thigh.

“Of course. This one was over so quickly it barely counted.”

She smiled happily as she settled herself against the pillows, then moaned softly as he pressed his mouth to her again. This time, he explored her thoroughly, avoiding her most sensitive spot as she recovered, letting his tongue roam everywhere else, dipping it into her and running it up and down with slow, deliberate strokes. As she surrendered to him, she privately thanked her lucky stars that she wasn’t one of those women who became too sensitive to touch after just one orgasm.

After several minutes, he tried out if she was sufficiently recovered to go again, and when he got a positive response in the form of a moan, he settled into a steady rhythm that he could keep up for a long time. The pressure built more gradually this time, and she enjoyed every second of it, reveling in the sensations he was evoking. When he picked up the pace and moved slightly to the right, where she was most sensitive, she arched her back and her breathing quickened. She felt the familiar wave inside her start up slowly.

“Don’t stop”, she breathed, her fingers in his hair. “Don’t stop.”

He kept doing exactly what he was doing, until she started trembling and then, suddenly, she was there, wave after wave of pleasure washing over her and making her moan. The feeling lasted much longer this time, and as he gradually eased off, she shivered in delight and felt much more satisfied.

It took her a few moments to catch her breath and recover, then she gently tugged on his hair.

“Come on up”, she said. “It’s your turn.”

He merely shook his head and returned to kissing her thighs.

“What are you doing?” she smiled. “I already came twice. Now come up, I want to feel you on top of me.”

“Later”, he whispered, then pressed his mouth to her again.

She gasped. “Sergio”, she protested weakly. “Really, it’s enough.”

He didn’t stop, and she felt herself melt again as he ran his tongue up and down her.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to… again”, she tried one last time, but then he entered her with two fingers and all she could do was gasp ‘oh!’.

She was so sensitive now, and when he pressed upwards, the sensation floored her and she was rendered helpless. He added his tongue, and she trembled, the feeling of it on a knife’s edge between pleasure and pain, but he kept his touch feather light, and soon pleasure won out. She arched her back and moaned loudly at the combined sensations of his fingers and tongue. Faster than she expected, the pressure inside her began to build again as every movement he made was amplified by her sensitivity. She was acutely, intensely aware of him and of her own body, which was starting to thrum all over. The feeling of it was so exquisite it had her gasping, and she clutched tightly at the sheets as he applied a little more pressure and tipped her into her third orgasm of the night, a deep, fiery tingling radiating out from her core as she half rose out of the pillows and sobbed his name.

He eased off gradually, and her entire body shuddered with the aftershocks as she fell back onto the bed, dazed and fulfilled and breathing hard. After a few moments, however, she realizes that he still wasn’t coming up, and she propped herself up on her elbows to look at him.

“Sergio”, she said. “No. You have to stop now, I’m exhausted!”

He gave her an appealing look. “One more time?”

She laughed. “Are you trying to compensate for something?”

He suddenly went red, and she narrowed her eyes at him.

“What are you not telling me?” she said.

“Nothing”, he mumbled, making her even more suspicious.

She sat upright and pulled away from him, crossing her legs. “Actually, now that I think about it, you’ve been over-compensating all evening. The restaurant, the ring, the dancing, and now making me come three times in a row. What’s going on? Did you do something horrible that you’re trying to make up for?”

He looked up, still red in the face. “No, of course not!”

“Then what is it, Sergio?”

He gave her a desperate look, then whispered: “I just want you to come back.”

She frowned, confused. “What?”

“I… I want you to come back to me”, he repeated.

She stared at him, appalled. “You think I wouldn’t come back?”

He hesitated. “I don’t know… I mean, you never know. Once you’re back in Spain with your family and your regular life, what if you forget about me? What if you decide I’m not worth the trouble of moving, after all?”

She stayed silent, and he continued: “It’s just that I’ve been struggling so much with you having to leave, and you seem to be dealing with it so much better than I am, so I thought…”

Suddenly she was crying, hard. He stumbled to a halt and looked at her in horror.

“Raquel!” he said, “What’s wrong?”

He moved up to take her into his arms, but she pushed him away.

“I’m not dealing with it better than you, you idiot!” she sobbed. “I’ve been trying to be strong, for you, but I hate this, I hate it so much!”

All the tears she’d been keeping in for the past week seemed to flood out of her at once, streaming down her cheeks as she continued:

“I’m going to miss you so much and I haven’t said anything because I didn’t want to make things harder for you, and now you fucking think that I’m not coming back?! How could you?!”

He wrapped his arms around her and this time she let him. He pressed kisses to her hair as she wept on his chest.

“I’m sorry, Raquel”, he whispered. “I’m so, so sorry. You shouldn’t have felt like you had to be strong for me. I shouldn’t have made you feel like you had to keep things in to spare me. I should have noticed, I should have seen…”

He rocked her gently and kissed her forehead. “But you know, it’s such a relief to hear you say that you hate this, too. I thought it was just me.”

She sat up and wiped her eyes. “Of course it’s not just you. I was only trying to be pragmatic about it. There’s nothing we can do to change this, we’ll have to get through it somehow and I was trying to be brave. I’m sorry I made you feel alone.”

“You can’t be strong all of the time, Raquel”, he said gently. “Sometimes you have to let me take care of you.”

“But I’m so worried about leaving you here”, she said, her eyes overflowing again.

He took her face in his hands and wiped the tears away with his thumbs.

“My love”, he said. “I’ll be fine. As long as you’ll come back to me, I can survive anything.”

“Of course I’ll come back to you”, she sniffed. “I am so offended that you think I would even consider not returning.”

“That’s all I needed to hear”, he smiled softly, then leaned in to press a kiss against her lips.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down with her into the pillows. He kissed the last of her tears away, then began to cover her face and body with kisses. She sighed and stroked his hair as he kissed her chest, feeling as though a weight had been lifted off her shoulders. All she wanted now was to be close to him.

They were both aware that this would be their last time, and when he covered her body with his, she wrapped her arms around him and held on tight. She opened her legs to him, and buried her face against his shoulder, moaning softly as he entered her. He pressed in deeply, then stayed there for a long moment as they both savored the feeling of closeness. When he started moving, she sighed with pleasure and let her hands caress him, stroking his arms, his shoulders, his back, his hair. He looked into her eyes, then kissed her deeply as he took her at a slow but steady pace. Lifting her knees so he could take her deeper, she found herself wishing to be even closer to him, wishing that she could somehow melt into him for a moment so they could truly be one. Then the feeling passed and she focused exclusively on the sensation of having him inside her, constructing a perfect memory to recall on the lonely nights to come.

He held on for a long time, not wanting it to be over, but finally he couldn’t take it anymore. He picked up the pace and she lifted her hips to meet his every thrust, moaning every time he pushed in, running her nails down his back. He tensed, then groaned and buried his face in her hair as the orgasm shuddered through him.

Afterwards, she kept him on top of her for a long time, enjoying the feeling of his weight on her as they kissed. When he finally shifted off her to lay on his back, she cuddled up against him and her head found its usual place in the hollow of his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around her and stroked her back.

“You should try to get some sleep”, he murmured. “You have a long day ahead of you tomorrow.”

“I can sleep on the plane”, she said. “I don’t want to miss a second of this night.”

So they stayed awake throughout the night, talking softly and kissing often, clinging to each other more and more desperately as the arms of the clock moved relentlessly towards morning. Finally, when the first light of dawn started coming through their window, they wordlessly got up and went outside.

They sat together on the steps of the porch and watched the sun rise, hand in hand, silent. There was nothing more to be said. When the sun was fully up, he checked his watch and squeezed her hand.

“It’s time. We need to go soon.”

She nodded and kept her eyes on the horizon. He patiently waited until she was ready. Finally she sighed and turned soft eyes on him.

“I’ll come back as soon as I can.”

He nodded. “I know you will. And I’ll be here waiting for you.”

They got up, then walked hand in hand back into the house.

Chapter Text

 

 

Sunday

When the front door closed behind him and he came home to an empty house for the first time in weeks, the silence was deafening. The house felt hollow without her, like it had lost its heart. He felt hollow, too. His heart had gone with her. He stood in front of the door for a long time, unable to find the necessary motivation to move. In his mind’s eye, he saw her come out of the kitchen, smiling, to rush to him and wrap her arms around his neck. He replayed the memory over and over, closing his eyes to recall the feeling of it, her shape, the solid warmth of her.

Their goodbye at the airport had been a nightmare. He’d cried, she’d cried, and they had held on to each other until the last possible second. Letting go of her had been one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do. He had looked after her for as long as he could as she walked down a hallway, and she’d looked around one last time, blown him a kiss, then turned a corner and she was just gone. He rubbed his eyes. He knew he was exhausted from not sleeping all night, he knew he should go to bed, but he couldn’t move. Then Amber came out of the living room and twined herself around his ankles, loudly demanding her breakfast. Without really thinking about it, he bent down to stroke her ears, then went to the kitchen to feed her.

He poured some food into Amber’s bowl, then took some fruit out of the fridge for himself. He sat at the table for a while, staring at his plate, then got up and put the fruit back. The very thought of eating seemed ridiculous. He went to the bedroom, and the sight of the empty bed where they had made so many great memories made it difficult to breathe for a moment. She’s coming back, he tried telling himself. There will be more memories. But two months felt like an eternity, and future memories meant nothing to him now. He took off his clothes and got into the bed, knowing he should sleep, but the empty space beside him kept drawing his eyes. He couldn’t remember how he used to be able to sleep without the sound of her breathing, without his arm around her waist.

His phone buzzed, and his heart lifted for a moment as he saw her name on the screen.

09.14 <<waiting at the gate, short delay. its weird that you’re not here with me>>

He swallowed hard, then texted back.

09.15 <<It is weird to be home without you, too.>>

09.15 <<what are you doing?>>

09.16 <<I’m in bed, thinking of you.>>

09.16 <<you should try to sleep>>

09.16 <<I don’t think I can.>>

09.17 <<it will make you feel better>>

09.17 <<I will sleep when you’re on the plane.>>

09.18 <<promise?>>

He hesitated.

09.18 <<I promise I will try.>>

09.19 << i cant believe im saying this, but maybe you should let amber on the bed with you>>

That made him smile.

09.20 <<What about your strict ‘no cats on the bed’ policy?>>

09.20 <<the ban is lifted due to special circumstances ;)>>

           <<but only until I get back!>>

09.21 <<Of course.>>

09.22 <<god, that cat is going to rule the house by the time i get back, isnt she?>>

09.22 <<I do seem to attract strong women.>>

09.23 <<i told you not to group me with the cat!!!>>

          <<oh, we’re boarding>>

          <<have to go>>

          <<sleep now!>>

09.24 <<Have a good flight!>>

09.25 <<thank you>>

           <<i love you>>

09.25 <<I love you, too.>>

He stared at her final words for a long time, then put his phone away. She would be in the air for the next nine hours, so there really wasn’t anything to do but sleep, but he couldn’t relax enough even to close his eyes. There was a heavy pressure on his chest, and he wished he could cry, but he felt too numb. With a sinking sensation in his stomach, he realized that the darkness he had struggled with for an entire year before she’d found him, had never truly gone away – it had just been lying in wait, ready to pounce again. He tried to push it away, but it was so much stronger than he was. He lay looking up at the ceiling for hours, unaware that time was passing. His stomach growled, but he ignored it. When it got dark, he didn’t turn on the light. He only moved when his phone buzzed again.

18.43 <<landed safely in Doha. only half an hour to catch next flight>>

           <<have you slept?>>

18.44 <<Yes. Have you been able to sleep?>>

It took a while before she answered, and he knew she would be navigating across the airport.

18.56 <<not really. but i have another 7 hour flight, im sure ill be able to sleep now, im exhausted>>

           <<have you really slept?>>

18.56 <<Yes.>>

18.57 <<dont lie to me>>

18.57 <<Alright, no, I haven’t slept.>>

18.58 <<i knew it>>

           <<is amber with you?>>

18.59 <<No.>>

18.59 <<please go get her>>

He made no move to get out of bed.

19.00 <<I will.>>

19.01 <<theyre already boarding, i have to go>>

           <<I’ll call you tomorrow when i get home>>

           <<take care of yourself, please>>

19.02 <<I will. Fly safe.>>

He kept staring at the screen for several minutes, but there was no more reply and he assumed she had gotten on the plane. Putting his phone away, he knew that it would be about ten hours before she would call him – an eternity. He turned onto his side and started calculating how many days were left before she returned, then how many hours that was, then how many seconds. The resulting number was so vast, it made him feel so much worse. He looked at his watch and watched the seconds tick away. Ten less… twenty less… thirty. His eyes were burning with lack of sleep.

For about the fifth time that day, Amber came in and sat on the rug next to the bed, asking for his attention. Instead of ignoring her like he had all day, he remembered his promise to Raquel, and made a supreme effort to stretch out his arm and lift the little cat onto the bed. She immediately started purring contentedly, and when he lay on his back, she climbed onto his chest and settled herself over his heart, vibrating softly. He scratched her under her chin, and she stuck out her tongue and licked his hand. Suddenly, he felt his eyes prickle, and the tears that hadn’t wanted to come all day began to slide down his cheeks.

“Raquel was so smart to get you for me”, he whispered to the kitten, stroking her softly as he cried.

After a few minutes, the flood of tears dried up, and he felt, not better exactly, but relieved. With Amber creating a warm spot on his chest, he was finally able to close his eyes and fall asleep.

 

Monday

He woke in the first grey light of dawn because Amber was headbutting his face. He gently pushed her away, but she set up such a howling that he just couldn’t ignore her. Rubbing his eyes, he picked her up and got out of bed.

“Right, I didn’t feed you last night”, he murmured, still half asleep. “Of course you’re hungry.”

In the kitchen, he poured food into her bowl. As he was putting the bag of food away, he suddenly remembered why he was feeling so bad, and he had to lean against the table for a moment as the pain of her leaving hit him all over again. He stumbled back to bed, barely able to breathe. Checking his phone, his heart started beating fast as he saw that she’d sent him a message.

05.15 <<im home. let me know when youre awake so i can call you.>>

He texted back.

05.34 <<I’m awake.>>

Seconds later, his phone rang, and he almost dropped it in his haste to pick up.

“Sergio?”

He fought hard to keep back the tears as he heard her voice, cracked and tired.

“Yes, my love. How was your flight?”

“Terrible”, she groaned. “I barely slept.”

He did a quick calculation. “It must be almost midnight there. You should go to bed now and sleep until morning, then you’ll be on the right time schedule again.”

“Believe me”, she said, “I’m going straight to bed. I just didn’t want to go to sleep without talking to you first.”

His heart contracted painfully in his chest.

“I’m glad to hear your voice”, he said, trying to sound normal. “Are you happy to be home?”

“Yes”, she replied, “I was so happy to see Paula and my mother again. But I miss you.”

He took a deep breath. He couldn’t cry now, he couldn’t.

“I miss you too”, he whispered, trying to keep his voice from breaking. “But you should go to bed now.”

“Yes”, she said, and he could hear how exhausted she was. “I’ll call you when I wake up in the morning.”

“Goodnight, Raquel.”

“And good morning to you, my love.”

The line went dead, but he kept the phone pressed to his ear for several more minutes before he was able to move again. The sun was up now, and his day was starting, but it would be eight, nine, ten hours before he could talk to her again, and that seemed longer than he could bear. He knew he should get up and do something, but what was the point? What was the fucking point of anything if she wasn’t here? He got back into bed and stared at the wall. The rising sun was painting it a pale gold, but all he could see was grey.

He woke out of a fitful sleep at four in the afternoon because his phone was ringing. He reached out a heavy arm and picked up.

“Raquel?”

“Good morning, darling.”

“How did you sleep?”

“Like a log. Paula just woke me up.”

“How are you feeling?”

“Still really jetlagged, to be honest. I wish I could go back to bed after breakfast, but I promised Paula she didn’t have to go to school today and we would spend the day together. What are you doing?”

“Oh, I… just took a nap”, he said, half-truthfully.

“Good”, she said softly. “The better you’re rested, the better you’ll feel.”

He heard Paula’s voice on the other end of the line, and Raquel said:

“I have to go. Paula has had to miss me for so long.”

“Of course.”

“When can I call you again?”

“Whenever you want. I’ll be here.”

“Can I just call you tomorrow? By the time Paula is in bed tonight, it will be the middle of the night for you. I’ll call you when I wake up tomorrow, okay?”

That was twenty-four hours. His heart sank, but he steeled himself.

“Okay. Have a good day with your daughter. Talk to you tomorrow.”

“Bye”, she whispered.

He swallowed hard. “Bye.”

 

 

Tuesday

He had spent the entire twenty-four hours in bed, only getting out to go to the bathroom and feed Amber. Time became syrupy and strange – he often felt like an eternity had passed, only to look at the clock and see that it had been only fifteen minutes. He drifted in and out of sleep, grateful for the relief it brought him on the one hand, but more often than not waking in a cold sweat from dreams he couldn’t remember. It was three in the afternoon when his phone rang again. He stretched out an arm, feeling like he was moving through water, and picked up.

“My love.”

The sound of her voice made his throat hurt, and his voice was hoarse as he answered.

“Raquel. How is your jetlag?”

“Much better. I slept for twelve hours tonight and I feel like myself again.”

She sounded guilty as she continued. “I’m sorry for leaving you alone for so long. But Paula demanded all of my attention yesterday and I was so tired. She’s gone back to school now.”

“It’s alright”, he said. “I understand.”

“How are you feeling?”

“I’m okay”, he lied, but she saw right through him.

“No you’re not.” Her voice softened as she asked him: “Is it very bad?”

He hesitated. “It… hasn’t been easy.”

“Have you been out of bed at all?”

“Yes.”

 “For anything other than feeding Amber?”

He hesitated again, and she pressed him: “Sergio?”

“No”, he admitted in a low voice, and she sighed.

“I didn’t think so. Darling, you have to get out of bed. I know it’s tough right now, but you have to be strong.”

“Why?” he whispered.

“For me”, she said pleadingly. “Because I can’t stand the thought of you being this unhappy.”

He was silent for a long moment, and she continued, her voice kind:

“Let’s do this one step at a time, okay? Just start by sitting up.”

He took a deep breath, then made an extreme effort and sat up. The room swam around him rather alarmingly for a moment.

“Are you sitting up?”

“Yes.”

“Now sit on the edge of the bed.”

He did what she asked, and she went on:

“Now get up.”

“I can’t”, he whispered.

Her voice turned stern. “Yes you can, Sergio.”

“I don’t feel well.”

“When have you last eaten?” she asked him.

“I… I can’t remember.”

“Have you eaten anything at all since I left?”

“No”, he admitted, ashamed.

“Sergio!” she said, horrified. “I’ve been gone for almost three days! You said you were going to take care of yourself!”

“I’m sorry”, he whispered, and she reined in her indignation as she heard how lost he felt.

“It’s okay”, she said soothingly. “Now we know why you feel so bad, we can fix it. You’re going to get up, go to the kitchen, and eat something.”

He swallowed. “Yes. I’ll try.”

“Take a deep breath, darling. Keep talking to me.”

He steeled himself and got up, swaying slightly. “I’m up.”

“Good”, she said. “Is Amber there?”

“Yes”, he said, as he walked into the living room. “She’s just coming out of her basket.”

“Pet her for me”, she said, and he bent down to scratch the little cat behind the ears, then continued on.

“Alright”, he said. “I’m in the kitchen.”

“There’s mangoes in the fridge”, she said. “Put me on speaker phone and cut one.”

She kept talking to him while he cut the mango and ate it. Almost immediately, he started to feel a bit better, and she sighed in relief as he told her so.

“I’m glad. Now I’m going to hang up, and you are going to take a shower, okay?”

“Okay”, he said, having no intention of actually showering.

She didn’t fall for it, however.

“Sergio”, she said sternly. “I’m not kidding here. I expect you to call me back in fifteen minutes to tell me that you’ve showered. And I’ll know it if you’re lying to me!”

A corner of his mouth quirked up. “You’re very strict.”

“I’m just trying to help you through this”, she said. “You’ll feel so much better when you’re clean.”

“You’re probably right.”

“I’m hanging up now. If you don’t call me again in fifteen minutes, I’m going to get really upset, do you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am”, he smiled, then hung up.

It took all the strength he had, but he didn’t want to disappoint her. He got to his feet and went to the bathroom, and the moment the hot water streamed over his body, he heaved a deep sigh and felt his tense muscles relax. For a long moment, he turned his face up into the jet and let the water rain down on him, then he bent down to pick up the soap and washed himself. Fifteen minutes later, he was calling her. She picked up immediately.

“Did you shower?”

“Yes, I did.”

“And don’t you feel better now?”

“Yes”, he admitted. “I do.”

“Good!” she said, and he could hear the relief in her voice. He suddenly felt guilty.

“I’m sorry, Raquel”, he said. “I’m not making this easy on you.”

“It’s alright”, she replied. “I’m sure it will get better in a few days. But you have to feed and clean yourself, Sergio, even if you do nothing else. Even if it’s hard.”

“I will”, he said earnestly. “I promise. Don’t worry about me.”

“Now”, she said, “I’m going to go out and start arranging things for the move. The sooner I get started, the sooner I can come back to you. I’ll text you as often as I can, okay?”

“Okay”, he nodded.

“I’ll call you again tonight, and I want you to tell me what you’ve done in the meantime. It doesn’t have to be much, but it has to be something. Understood?”

“Yes”, he smiled.

“Don’t let me down, Sergio.”

“I won’t”, he whispered.

They said their goodbyes, and he felt just a little stronger as he put down his phone. He wouldn’t let her down. He got up and started changing the sheets.

 

 

Wednesday

He slept in for as long as he could. There was no sense in being awake as long as she was still sleeping in Spain. At one o’clock in the afternoon, however, he heaved himself out of bed. She would call him in an hour or two and ask him about his day, and he wanted to be able to tell her truthfully that he’d showered and eaten. He couldn’t make her worry even more. The darkness was still a heavy weight inside his chest, weighing him down, making his movements slow, but he stubbornly refused to surrender to it as he washed himself and made breakfast.

At three, after she had taken Paula to school, she called him and asked him the questions he knew she would ask, seeming satisfied with his answers. Throughout the rest of the day, she was out arranging things, but she texted him regularly, and he held on to her messages like a lifeline. He got through the afternoon and early evening fairly well, reading a bit and making himself dinner, but as night fell and the house darkened around him, he felt the darkness inside him swell again. He felt deeply, achingly lonely. Her absence was everywhere around him – in the empty chair across from him at the kitchen table, on the steps of the porch, even in his study, where he could still see her sitting on his desk, her legs crossed, her foot sliding up his thigh. He sat at his desk for a while, staring blankly at his computer screen, then he got up heavily and went to the bedroom, where he let himself fall into bed fully clothed.

It was almost ten o’clock when she called him again.

“How are you?” she asked when he picked up.

“I… I’m…” he faltered, trying to say something optimistic, but unable to get his mouth around the words.

“Oh darling”, she said, her voice full of empathy. “Is it that bad?”

He noticed there were tears on his cheeks. “I don’t know how to live without you anymore, Raquel.”

She replied with infinite tenderness: “You don’t have to live without me, my love. I’m right here with you. I know you can’t touch me or hold me, but I’m here.”

“How did this happen to me?” he groaned. “I never used to need anyone.”

He heard the smile in her voice when she answered: “That’s what happens when you fall in love.”

“I didn’t think love would hurt this much.”

“It's painful because the feelings run so deep. That's how you know we have something important.”

When he didn’t reply, she continued: “Have you tried watching the videos you made of me on your camera?”

He shook his head. “I don’t think I can bear to watch those now.”

“I think you might be surprised.”

He was silent again, and she said regretfully: “Darling, I have to pick up Paula from school. Please try to watch the videos before you go to bed.”

“Alright”, he said, swallowing painfully. “I will.”

“Be brave. I’ll call you in the morning.”

“Yes”, he whispered. “Talk to you tomorrow.”

When she was gone, he put down his phone and, with a great effort, he went to the living room to get the camera. He settled himself back into the pillows and turned on the screen, navigating through the menu to the playback function. He scrolled through the list of videos, unable to choose one to watch. He didn’t think he could stand to see her smile at the camera, stick out her tongue, joke with him. Then, at the very end of the list of videos, he noticed one with a timestamp past midnight. He frowned. He didn’t remember filming anything at night. Curious, he pressed it.

Raquel appeared on the screen, sitting at the kitchen table, wearing one of his shirts. He stared hungrily at the screen, drinking in her tousled hair, the familiar lines of her face, the look in her eyes. She looked straight at the camera and smiled.

“Sergio”, she began, her voice soft yet firm. “When you see this, I’m probably back in Spain.”

She leaned a little closer to the camera and spoke to it earnestly. “I know this isn’t easy for you, my love. I know you’re having a rough time. You’re lonely and sad and you probably feel like you won’t be able to bear these two months apart. I get that. I feel that, too.”

Silent tears were coursing down his cheeks as he held on to her every word.

“But you know what I think? I think that you and I can never truly be apart anymore. I think that part of me is always with you, just like I know that part of you is always with me. When two souls find each other like we have, when they recognize each other and say “Oh, there you are”, they can never again be truly separated. I believe that with all my heart.”

The smile she gave him went straight through him.

“Have you ever considered how lucky we are? Because I have. I was so broken and bruised when you found me. After my divorce, I thought I could never love again, I thought that that part of my life was over, that I would spend the rest of my life learning how to live alone. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I think that the best part of my life was just beginning. And then I met you. Sergio, I never thought that I could be this happy again. I never thought that I would meet the love of my life…” Her voice broke for a moment, but she recovered herself, “… that I would meet the love of my life in middle age. And our journey together has only just begun. This separation is merely a bump in the road. When you feel at your worst, please focus on this: this is the hardest part. It will only get better from here. We still have so much time together to look forward to.”

He wiped the tears from his cheeks and took a deep breath as she finished:

“Be strong for me now. I know you can do this. I love you so much.”

When the video stopped, he pressed a few buttons and watched it again, and again. He felt so raw and her words were soothing him, just a bit, just enough. After he’d watched her message five times, he took up his phone and texted her:

22.46 <<I found your video. It helped. Thank you. I love you.>>

Then he put aside the camera and his phone, put on his pajamas, and fell asleep instantly.

 

Thursday

On Thursday, at Raquel’s insistence, he ventured out of the house for the first time. He only went to the market and back, but he felt proud of himself for getting even that far, and the fresh mango he bought tasted great. They texted on and off throughout the day, and when she called him in the evening, he was able to report that he had gotten some work done. He watched her video message again before going to bed, and even replayed some of the other videos he had made of her. The darkness inside him was still there, but it seemed to retreat a bit with every video he played. He had no trouble falling asleep that night.

 

Friday

On Friday, she insisted that he go into the village to help at the organization where she had arranged a volunteer position for him. He didn’t want to go, but she held firm that he had to.

“I promised them that you would come in and help them once a week. Don’t make me a liar.”

So he went, dragging his feet and almost turning back home at every corner. When he got to the organization, however, he was welcomed with such enthusiasm that his qualms disappeared. He was taken into a small office and shown their bookkeeping, which, to his horror, was in a terrible state of disarray. He forgot his own problems entirely for the next three hours as he tried to sort things out, and at the end of the afternoon, he left with many thanks, a bag of homemade cookies, and a promise that he would visit them three times a week until he got things working smoothly. When he told Raquel during their evening phone call, she burst out laughing, then said she was proud of him.

 

Saturday

For some reason, he couldn’t sleep on Saturday night. He had slept late and not done much during the day, and he felt restless and unhappy as he tossed and turned in his bed. Finally he sent her a message.

03.07 <<What are you doing?>>

She called him immediately.

“Sergio, for god’s sake, it’s three in the morning there, why are you still up?”

“I can’t sleep.”

“Are you feeling worse again?”

“A bit.”

“That’s only normal. These things have their ups and downs, recovery doesn’t happen in a straight line. Do you want to talk for a bit?”

“Do you have the time?”

“For once, yes. I just put Paula to bed and my mother is watching TV. I’m sorry you can’t sleep, but I’m glad we finally have a chance to talk for more than five minutes. Let me just go to my room.”

He waited until he heard a door close, and the sound of her falling onto the bed.

“How was your day?”

“Busy, as always. There are so many things to do if you want to move across the world. How was yours?”

“Rather empty.”

“You have to try to stay busy.”

“I know.”

“Why can’t you sleep?”

“I feel too restless.”

“Have you tried a little tension relief?”

“Like what?”

“Like masturbating.”

He grimaced. “I haven’t felt even a twinge of interest in that area all week.”

“Loss of interest in sex is a key sign of depression.”

He smiled. “Have you been reading up on this?”

“Yes”, she admitted. “I have.”

“That’s sweet of you.”

“Now”, she said tantalizingly. “Let’s see if we can re-awaken your interest, shall we?”

He raised an eyebrow. “How do you plan to do that when you’re all the way across the world?”

“Have you tried watching the video we taped of us having sex?”

“No”, he said. It was the only video he hadn’t been watching over and over again.

“Why don’t you watch it now and see if it stirs anything?”

“Do you think that will help?”

“I really do. An orgasm will release endorphins in your brain, which will make you feel happier.”

He smiled in delight. “You really have been reading up on this.”

“Just watch the video.”

He took the camera off the bedside table and turned it on, then scrolled through to the longest video in the list. He fast-forwarded the first bit, then pressed ‘play’.

“Are you watching it?”

“Yes.”

“Do you like it?”

He swallowed. “Yes, I do. God, you look so sexy.”

To his surprise, he felt something stir inside him.

“Tell me what you’re seeing.”

“You’re on top of me. You’re leaning back now. Oh, Raquel…”

“Do you remember how it felt?” she whispered.

He closed his eyes for a moment as a sharp stab of arousal shot through him. “Vividly.”

“I remember how it felt to be on top of you. How good it felt to have you inside me.”

His breathing quickened as he continued to watch the video, and she noticed.

“Are you hard?” she asked him.

“Yes”, he whispered.

He heard the satisfaction in her voice. “Good. Then why don’t you do something about it?”

He grimaced. “This is so deeply unromantic”, he complained.

“Then what’s your plan?” she said, amused. “Total abstinence for the next two months until I come back?”

“Maybe”, he mumbled.

“That’s not healthy, Sergio. Your body needs this. Just imagine that it’s me who’s touching you.”

He pressed ‘pause’ on the video. “I wish I could kiss you.”

“I wish I could kiss you, too. When I get back, I’m going to kiss you and kiss you and kiss you until you can’t breathe anymore.”

He smiled. “That sounds nice. What else are you going to do?”

“Oh”, she sighed. “So many things. I can’t wait to get my hands all over you again, in your hair and over your shoulders and chest. Then I’m going to reach down and stroke you.”

He shivered at the thought of her fingers stroking him. “Then what?”

“Then I’m going to wrap my hand around you and just gently move it. Why don’t you do it now?”

He hesitated, then reached down and took hold of himself, imagining with all his might that it was her hand around him. “Go on.”

“Then I’m going to go down on you. Remember what that felt like? When I took my tongue and ran it all over you?”

He closed his eyes and let his imagination run overtime as he recalled the exact feeling of it with perfect clarity.

“Don’t stop talking”, he whispered.

“Then I’m going to take you in my mouth”, she said. “I love doing that. Remember what it felt like when I moved my mouth up and down on you?”

He groaned as he did remember it. She continued:

“But what I’m looking forward to the most is being on top of you again. To lie on top of you and kiss you and then to guide you in and to feel how you enter me, slowly, until you’re all the way inside of me, so lovely and hard.”

“Oh god”, he breathed.

“I love that feeling so much”, she sighed. “When you first press into me. And then I’m going to start moving, and it will feel so good.”

He was very close now, overcome by the thought of her.

“Remember how well we move together?” she said, her voice silky with longing. “How we were always in synch as you pushed into me again and again? I’m starting to tingle just thinking about it. And then you’ll put your finger there where I want it – you always know where I want it. You always know what to do to make me come so hard…”

The thought of her coming was too much for him. He inhaled sharply as the orgasm suddenly rushed through him, and he whispered her name over and over until the feeling receded again. Then he took a deep breath and relaxed back into the pillows, a warm glow spreading through his body.

“Did it work?” she asked.

“Yes”, he sighed happily as he took a tissue off the night stand.

“How do you feel now?”

He made a sound of contentment. “Better than I have all week.”

“That’s wonderful!” she said.

“How are you so amazing, Raquel? How do you always know just what to say?”

“I just know you rather well. Do you think you’ll be able to sleep now?”

“Yes”, he breathed, already sinking deeper into the pillows. “Thank you.”

“Anytime”, she smiled. “Now next time, you can do the talking.”

“Sure”, he murmured, already half-asleep. “I’ll be happy to return the favor.”

“I can’t wait”, she whispered. “Goodnight, darling.”

“Goodnight, my love.”

He put the phone on the bedside table, made himself comfortable, and was soon sleeping soundly. He dreamed of her the entire night.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Raquel opened her eyes and, as always, her first thought was Sergio. Would this be a good day or a bad day? She reached over and pressed the button on her alarm clock at the exact moment that it emitted its first sound. Amazing, she thought, how fast her body had readjusted to the rigid rhythms of everyday life with a child, after so many weeks of lazy days and sleeping in. She rubbed her eyes and got up, ready to face yet another busy day. Under a steaming hot shower, she let her thoughts wander where they always went whenever she wasn’t specifically focusing on something: Sergio, Palawan, home. She was grateful that Paula and the arrangements for the move kept her mind occupied for the biggest part of the day, because it was equally pleasurable and painful to think about him. There was a constant, pulling sensation around her midriff, like there was a fishhook in her soul that was trying to pull her back to him. She rubbed the place where it hurt the most, then turned her thoughts purposefully to the tasks of the day.

Her biggest frustration was the time difference. She called him twice a day: once in the morning, usually from her car, after she had dropped Paula off at school and before going on her daily pilgrimage along the various government offices that were involved in the tedious, complicated process of uprooting her family and moving them halfway across the world. The second phone call was made in the afternoon, before she picked Paula up from school again. After school there was homework and making dinner and spending time with her daughter. By the time Paula was in bed and she was free for the evening, when she wanted nothing more than to spend hours talking to him, it was 3 a.m. in Palawan and he was asleep. So she spent her evenings talking to her mother, doing paperwork, and missing him.

“How are you feeling?” she would ask him every morning, tentatively. His answer determined so much of her own day: whether she would spend the hours driving and waiting in line worrying or daydreaming about him, whether they would spend all day texting each other jokes and innuendos, or messages of desperation and comfort. She was happy about his good days, but in a weird way, bad days were easier on her, because they meant she could be strong for him, feel useful and needed. Good days just made her miss him more. Those were the days when she got into her car between meetings and cried because he’d sent her a sweet message and she just wanted to go home. She was doing everything she could to get back to him as soon as possible, but it could never be soon enough.

One day, she mentioned to him in passing how she wished she could talk to him in the evenings, when she felt most lonely. Over the next few days, without a word to her, he started adjusting his sleeping schedule to fit with hers, staying up until dawn and sleeping until the afternoon. The first time he called her after Paula’s bedtime, she scolded him and told him he should keep to his regular rhythm, but he ignored her and, with quiet stubbornness, he kept calling her every evening from then on. She didn’t say it, but she was extremely grateful. It was such a relief to be able to talk to him when she needed it the most.

“What’s the worst part of this for you?” he asked her, three weeks after she’d returned to Spain.

He was having a very good day, so she felt like she could safely confide some of her own sadness to him without weighing him down even more.

“The hunger of it”, she said. “The constant, gnawing feeling that something is missing. Wanting to touch you when I can’t. When I lie in bed at night, my entire body hurts with wanting to hold you.”

“I know”, he said softly. “I feel it too.”

“What’s the worst for you?”

He thought about it for a moment. “The worst thing is… when things get really dark, I don’t remember what it was like to be happy. It’s such a weird emotional state. Objectively, I know that I was happy once. I know that I’ll be happy again. But I can’t summon the feeling. At that point, the darkness is my only reality, and it’s so hard not to believe that it will stay that way forever. When I’m in really deep, it feels like there’s no possible escape. Loss of hope. That’s the worst of it. You can endure anything as long as you have hope.”

Her heart ached for him. “I’m so sorry, darling. I can’t begin to imagine what you’re going through.”

She could feel him shake himself mentally, and he continued in a brighter tone: “Let’s not talk about that now. Today is a good day. I went back to the animal shelter where we got Amber.”

Her eyes opened wide in alarm. “Please don’t tell me you brought home every kitten in the place, did you?”

He chuckled. “No. Though there was a sweet little calico cat who might make a really good playmate for Amber if we wanted to…”

“No”, she said firmly. “One cat is plenty. Pets are a slippery slope – once you get a second one, what’s to stop you from getting a third, and a fourth, and before you know it, we’re running an animal shelter in our living room.”

He sounded a little wistful as he replied: “Would that really be so terrible? If it was just cats?”

“You stay away from that place!” she warned him sternly. “What were you doing there anyway?”

“I went to give them another donation. Amber has been such great company to me, I wanted to thank them.”

“That’s sweet of you.”

“It’s the least I could do.”

They were silent for a moment, then he asked:

“What are you going to do tonight, after we hang up? Are you reading anything?”

She sighed. “No, I can’t focus on a book. I’ll probably end up going to bed early and then lying awake, thinking about you.”

She heard the smile in his voice as he asked: “Is that a euphemism?”

She smiled, too. “For what?”

“Well…” he said slowly. “When you’re thinking about me, what will you be doing?”

“Oh”, she said, happily settling herself deeper into the pillows. “You are having a good day.”

“Yes”, he said. “I am. Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course.”

“It’s very personal.”

She grinned. “If you’re asking it, of course it is.”

“Do you have any toys in your bedroom?”

“Well…” she said, teasing. “Paula has lent me one of her stuffed animals to cuddle with when I get lonely.”

He laughed. “You’re dodging the question! I’m going to assume that this means the answer is ‘yes’.”

She smiled. “Yes.”

“Do you have a vibrator?”

“Yes, I do.”

She could sense him perking up on the other end of the line. “Really? What kind?”

“The kind that vibrates.”

“No, I mean… I’m not an expert, but aren’t there different models?”

“It’s a pretty basic model, nothing fancy.”

“Do you use it every night?”

“No. You have to clean it afterwards, sometimes I don’t want the bother.”

“What does it feel like when you use it?”

“It’s nice. The vibrations are very stimulating.”

“Do you like using it?”

“Of course. Otherwise I wouldn’t do it.”

“How much do you like it?”

She smiled, getting his drift. “Are you wondering if I like it more than you?”

In her mind’s eye, she could see him blushing. “Uhm… yes, maybe I do wonder that… a bit. Do you?”

“Well…” she said, pretending to think about it. “You don’t vibrate.”

“No”, he said, “I guess that’s true.”

He sounded so put out that she burst out laughing.

“Sergio, come one! How could a piece of plastic possibly compare to you? My vibrator doesn’t kiss me, or hold me, or tell me sweet things. It’s just a way to take the edge off of my frustration.”

“Are you frustrated?”

“Of course I am! I dream about making love to you. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, always right before you make me come. Believe me, I’m frustrated.”

“And the vibrator helps?”

“Sometimes. Other times, it only makes me long for you even more.”

“Why?”

“Because it highlights all the things that are missing from the experience. Your skin against mine, your weight on me, your hands all over my body. The vibrator is just a quick way to orgasm, nothing more.”

“It makes you come fast?”

“Yes.”

“Faster than when we make love?”

She hesitated. “Yes.” Then she quickly added: “But that’s not necessarily a good thing! I like it when it doesn’t happen immediately, that makes the pleasure of it last longer.”

“Are your orgasms better with your vibrator?”

“No”, she said honestly. Then she smiled. “If you’re so curious, maybe I should bring it with me when we move. Then we can play with it together.”

“Don’t do that”, he said seriously. “Sex toys are illegal here, you could get into serious trouble if they stop you at customs and find it.”

She grinned. “And also, you don’t want competition in the house?”

He chuckled. “Fine. That, too. So… what do you think about when you use it?”

“Antonio Banderas”, she said promptly.

“Oh”, he said, and she laughed.

“That was a joke, Sergio! Of course I think about you.”

“Good”, he said, his voice low. “What do you think about exactly?”

“No”, she smiled. “Every time we’ve had one of these conversations, I’ve been doing all the talking. I think it’s your turn now.”

He hesitated. “I… I don’t think I’d be very good at it.”

“Why don’t you give it a try and I’ll help you along?”

“I’m just not sure I can say those things to you.”

“What kind of things?” she asked, smiling.

“You know… dirty things.”

“Why don’t you try and tell me what you would like to do to me? If you were here with me right now, what would you like to do?”

“Honestly?” he said soberly. “If I were there right now, I would take you in my arms and never let you go again.”

She felt a sudden stab of sadness. “I miss you so much”, she whispered.

“I miss you too”, he replied, his voice strained.

She took a deep breath and shook her head. “No, darling, let’s not go there. I would much rather end up coming than crying tonight.”

“Alright”, he said, and she could feel him pull himself together. “I’ll try. If I were there right now, I would want to kiss you. I miss the taste of your mouth. I would push you down on the bed and lie on top of you and kiss you.”

“Good!”, she said happily. “That’s a good start. What else would you do?”

“I would kiss your neck.”

She smiled. “I like that.”

He chuckled. “I know.”

“And then what?”

“Then I… would take off your clothes and…”

“And?”

He sighed in frustration. “I can’t do this, Raquel, I’m sorry. I can’t use words like that with you.”

“What kind of words?”

“You know. I can’t just say that I want to… that I want to…”

“Fuck me?” she suggested.

“Yes!” he said, “I can’t say that to you! That’s not what it feels like, that’s not what we do!”

“Isn’t it?” she smiled. “Remember the time when we were out on the bike and we went to a hotel and we couldn’t even make it to the bed? Or the time when you were in Manila all day, and then when you got home, you took me right up against the front door? Because the way I remember it, that was some top-notch fucking.”

He swallowed. “God yes, that was good.”

“Sometimes we make love, and sometimes we fuck. That’s perfectly alright.”

“I still can’t say it”, he said stubbornly.

She bit her lip, thinking, then her eyes lit up as she had an idea. “Why don’t you let me talk to the Professor?”

“What?”

“You never had any trouble talking about inappropriate things when you were on the phone with me as the Professor.”

He seemed to be considering this. “I suppose that’s true…”

“I think you can talk dirty to me, you just need to flip that switch.”

“Yes”, he mused, “I think you’re right. Give me a minute.”

She waited, patiently, while he tried to summon that part of his personality. When he spoke again, she immediately knew that it had worked.

“Inspectora… what are you wearing?”

She smiled broadly. “My pajamas.”

“Describe them to me.”

“Loose pants and a white top with thin straps and some lace.”

“Underwear?”

“No”, she said, and he hummed his approval.

“Now”, he said. “I want you to listen to me, and do exactly as I say. Agreed?”

“Agreed”, she said, excited butterflies in her stomach.

“Is your door locked?”

“Yes.”

“Then take off your top.”

She put the phone down for a moment and did what he asked.

“Alright, it’s off.”

“Now cup your breast and just lightly run your thumb over your nipple.”

She did so, and sighed at the sensation.

“Again”, he said, and she obeyed him. “Is your nipple getting hard?”

“Yes”, she said.

“Then squeeze it.”

She did, and gasped slightly.

“Tell me how it feels”, he said.

“I feel it all the way between my legs.”

“Good”, he said softly. “If I were there, I would take your nipple in my mouth and suck it. Do you want me to do it hard or soft?”

“Hard”, she whispered, then felt the tingling between her legs grow stronger as she imagined it.

“Yes”, he rumbled, “hard, the way you like it.”

His voice was so deep and warm it made her shiver all over as he said those things to her.

“Sergio”, she asked him, “Can I move my hand down and…?”

“No”, he said decidedly. “Not yet. I want you fully turned on and wet first.”

She bit her lip and murmured: “I like this part of you. Tell me what to do now.”

“Move your hand to your other breast. Is your nipple hard?”

“Yes.”

“Stroke it.”

She sighed as her fingers made the fire inside her flame higher. She wanted nothing more than to slip her hand between her legs, but she didn’t dare disobey him.

“How does that make you feel?”

She sighed. “Really horny.”

He chuckled. “Good. Take off your pants. I want you naked.”

She eagerly did as he said.

“The pants are off.”

“Spread your legs a little. Don’t touch yourself yet.”

She groaned in frustration, and he chuckled again.

“A little patience, my love. Lie back and close your eyes.”

“Alright.”

“Move down your hand and stroke the inside of your thighs. That’s all you’re allowed to do right now. I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen, and you can’t touch yourself anywhere else until I say so. Understood?”

“Yes”, she breathed, letting her fingers play over the sensitive skin of her thighs.

His voice was smooth and deep as he continued. “If I were with you right now, I would kiss you there, where your fingers are now.”

She sighed as she imagined him between her legs.

“Then I would move up”, he went on, “and taste you. I love the way you taste. I could go down on you three times a day and never get enough of you. I would push my tongue inside of you. Then I would lick you all over. Would you like that?”

“Yes”, she whispered, her fingers itching to do what he was describing. “Can I…?”

“Not yet”, he teased her. “Are you wet?”

“I’m sure I am.”

“Let’s check to make certain. Take a finger and feel, just for a moment.”

She brushed a finger against herself.

“I’m wet”, she confirmed. “Very.”

“Is your finger wet now?”

“A little.”

“Lick it.”

She opened her eyes. “What?”

“I desperately want to taste you, but I can’t. You’ll have to do it for me.”

She hesitated, and he noticed. “We had a deal”, he said softly. “You were going to do exactly what I told you to do. Have you forgotten?”

“No”, she said, feeling another stab of excitement. “I haven’t.”

“Then lick your finger.”

She stuck out her tongue and ran it lightly over her fingertip. The taste wasn’t unpleasant.

“I’ve done it”, she whispered, and he rumbled his satisfaction.

“Good. Now you can touch yourself.”

She sighed in relief as she was finally allowed to press her hand between her legs.

He continued talking. “If I were there, I would push two fingers inside you now. Again, you’ll have to do it for me.”

She let her fingers wander down and slip inside. “Alright.”

“Curl your fingers up a little. Do you feel a soft spot there, where the texture is a little different?”

“Yes”, she whispered.

“Push against it”, he said. “Hard.”

She moaned as she did so.

“Does that feel good?”

“Yes”, she said, breathing faster now.

“Now take out your fingers, and move them up. I know where you want them. Do what feels good.”

She placed a finger on the right spot and moaned softly.

“Keep talking”, she whispered as she moved.

“If I were there now”, he said, his voice slightly hoarse with longing. “I would put my tongue where your fingers are now. I would lick you until you squirmed, until you trembled, until you begged me not to stop.”

“Don’t stop”, she breathed.

“Yes”, he said. “Just like that. I would lick you until I made you come, and come, and come.”

Oh”, she sighed, as she felt the pressure inside her begin to build.

“Then”, he continued, his voice so soft. “I would ask you to get on your knees and I would push myself inside of you.”

She arched her back as the tension became almost unbearable.

“Oh”, he murmured in her ear. “I can just feel you around me, so tight and wet.”

She bit her lip. “I can feel it too. Keep talking!”

“And then”, he said smoothly, “I would fuck you.”

His words were tipping her over the edge, and he seemed to know it.

“Say my name”, he whispered.

“Sergio”, she gasped, then let out a soft cry as the orgasm rushed through her. “Oh… oh.”

She knew just how to make the feeling last, and she drew out the pleasure for several long moments as he whispered sweet things to her. Then she let herself relax back into the pillows, breathing hard.

“Fuck”, she said, trying to catch her breath. “Oh fuck that was hot.”

“Was it good?”

Hell yes.”

“I’m glad”, he said, and she could hear something shift in his voice.

“Sergio?” she asked.

“Yes?”

“Ah”, she smiled. “You’re back.”

“I think I am…” He sounded embarrassed. “God, Raquel, I don’t know what came over me.”

She grinned broadly. “I don’t know either, but it was damn sexy.”

He groaned. “Oh no, I’m mortified. I can’t believe I said all those things to you.”

“Then let’s say you didn’t”, she soothed him. “Let’s say it was the Professor, and leave it at that.”

“Okay…” he said. “I think I can live with that...”

“And do you think”, she said slowly, smiling, “that I can talk to him again at some point in the next few weeks?”

He cleared his throat. “I… yes, I can probably arrange that.”

“Good”, she murmured happily.

“Raquel?”

“Yes?”

“I really want to hold you now.”

She sighed. “I know, darling. I want to hold you too.”

The air was suddenly chilly on her bare skin, and she shivered and got under the blanket.

“Can we end this conversation by saying something nice to each other?” he asked tentatively.

“Of course”, she smiled. “What do you want to say?”

“You know what I miss about you?” he said, his voice soft. “I miss the way your eyes light up when you get an idea. I miss your beautiful smile. I miss holding your hand.”

She felt such a mixture of love and pain that it took her breath away.

He went on. “I miss your head on my shoulder. I miss kissing your forehead. I miss your hand on the back of my neck.”

“I miss you too”, she whispered. “I miss running my fingers through your hair. I miss sitting with you on the steps of the porch. I miss your hugs.”

“Soon”, he said quietly. “Soon we’ll have all those things again.”

“Yes”, she said, taking a pillow and hugging it to her chest. “Soon.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Sergio looked up at the red letters on the board in horror. Flight 3184: Delayed 1h07. The flight must have been delayed on the runway, he figured, because Raquel hadn’t mentioned any delay in her last message from the airport. One hour and seven minutes. He couldn’t believe that he would have to wait another hour for her. You’ve survived two months apart, he tried telling himself, you can survive another 67 minutes. But it felt to him like those extra 67 minutes were exactly 67 minutes more than he could bear. For weeks, he’d been holding on to ‘Friday at 3.44pm’ like a lifeline, counting down the days, the hours, the minutes, unable to sleep last night because he kept calculating the seconds, and now he had to add a full fucking hour worth of seconds to that and he just couldn’t stand it.

He knew he should sit down somewhere, maybe have something to eat or drink, but he couldn’t stay still. He paced through the airport, checking the board at regular intervals to make sure there were no further delays. After what was the longest hour of his life, the red letters finally turned green and his heart lifted. Flight 3184: Arrived. He knew it would still take a while for the plane to taxi to the gate, for them to get off, claim their luggage and go through customs, but he went to the arrival door anyway to wait for them. As time passed, his heart started beating faster and his skin started tingling with the thought that she would soon be in his arms again. He couldn’t wait any longer – he couldn’t, he couldn’t, he couldn’t… He waited.

People started coming through the doors, his heart skipping a beat every time the doors opened. Then finally, gloriously, there she was. His breath caught in his throat as she appeared, laden with bags, Paula and Marivi close behind her. She looked tired but full of anticipation. Her eyes swept the waiting crowd, and the moment she spotted him, she dropped everything she was holding and ran to him. His arms were open wide and she collided with him so hard she almost knocked him over, but he couldn’t care – she was here, it was over, he was holding her. Perfection. They held each other so tight it hurt, but neither was prepared to let go.

“I’ve missed you”, she kept whispering over and over against his chest. “I’ve missed you so much.”

He didn’t say anything. He couldn’t speak. He buried his face in her hair and tried hard not to cry. The shape of her was so familiar, her arms around him, the top of her head at exactly the right height to kiss. His entire world had been off balance for months, and now everything felt miraculously right again.

After several long moments, they broke apart with extreme reluctance so Sergio could greet the others. Marivi gave him a radiant smile and took his face between her hands, kissing him on both cheeks. He felt a little embarrassed, but pleased all the same.

“She’s having a good day”, Raquel whispered to him. “She says she remembers you.”

Paula gave him a shy wave, and he waved back, equally shy.

“Hello Paula”, he said.

“Hello Sergio.”

“Are you ready to see your new house?”

She smiled. “Yes.”

Sergio signaled a porter, who loaded their luggage onto a cart, then they headed in the direction of the exit, Marivi taking Paula by the hand so Sergio and Raquel could walk together, his arm around her shoulders, her arm around his waist, fitting together like two pieces of a puzzle. He felt like he was walking on air, so overwhelmed with happiness that he felt a little dizzy. Several times they almost bumped into people or walls because they were looking at each other rather than their surroundings, and they couldn’t stop smiling.

“I can’t believe you’re here”, he murmured to her. “I can’t believe you’re really here.”

She tightened her arm around his waist in response and leaned her head against his shoulder for a moment. Behind them, Marivi looked at them and smiled in satisfaction.

Once out of the building, Raquel wanted to hail a taxi, but Sergio shook his head and led them to the parking lot.

“I bought a car”, he said. “We need a family vehicle now.”

“You still have your bike, though?” she asked him, thinking of all the happy memories she had of that bike.

“Of course”, he said, and the look he gave her told her he was thinking of the same memories.

The porter loaded their bags into the car, and Paula and Marivi got into the back seat. He tipped the porter, then moved to go to the driver’s side, but she caught his wrist and pulled him back.

“Not without a kiss”, she whispered, wrapping her arms around his neck.

He closed his arms around her and softly pressed his lips against hers. Immediately, it felt like fireworks were going off inside his head. The sound of the world, which had been muted for the past two months, suddenly came roaring back, and the darkness that had been his constant companion shriveled up and disappeared, leaving him feeling lighter than he ever had in his life. She was here, she was back, and this time, she would stay.

Their kiss deepened, one of his hands in her hair and one on her back, pulling her closer to him. Her fingers caressed the back of his neck, and he felt her touch all through his body, lighting fires that had been burning low. He kissed her more passionately, and she responded with enthusiasm, leaning into him, pressing her body against his in a way that made his heart beat frantically. Then one of the back doors opened and Paula stuck her head out.

“What are you doing?” she called out. “Let’s go!”

They broke apart regretfully but smiling, and her eyes held a clear promise of what he could expect later. He took a few deep breaths to clear his head before getting behind the wheel.

Her daughter and mother both fell asleep almost instantly on the way home, but Raquel felt wide awake as she kept her eyes firmly on his face and her hand on his knee as he drove. She didn’t want to stop looking at him, didn’t want to stop touching him, even for a moment. She needed proof that he was real, that she wasn’t dreaming him. They talked softly so as not to wake the sleepers in the back, and there were long silent stretches where they didn’t say anything, but just basked in each other’s presence. Time, which had been dragging its feet for months, now miraculously sped up again, and they were both surprised at how quickly the long drive home was over.

Paula and Marivi woke up as the car stopped, and they all went into the house together. Sergio took care of the bags as Raquel showed her mother and daughter around. Marivi kept smiling and nodding her head in approval, and Paula exclaimed in delight at the sight of her pink room, at the cat, and again when they went out onto the porch and she saw how close the ocean was.

“Can we go swimming?” she asked, her eyes shining.

“Not now, sweetheart”, Raquel smiled. “It’s getting dark. But we can go swimming first thing tomorrow morning.”

While they unpacked, Sergio got them dinner from the closest street food stall, and they ate together. The atmosphere was a little awkward, but Raquel felt sure that that wouldn’t last long. After dinner, there was a sudden loud bang outside, and Paula ran out onto the porch to see what was going on. Only seconds later, she was back, shouting excitedly:

“Fireworks! There are fireworks outside!”

They all went out to stand on the beach and watch the magnificent display, which seemed to be coming from a boat some way out at sea. The colors shot across the sky, forming beautiful bouquets of green and blue and gold, and they went on for a long time. Marivi and Paula looked up in delight, while Sergio wrapped his arm around Raquel’s waist and watched the sparks reflected in her eyes.

“Welcome home”, he whispered in her ear, and she looked at him in surprise.

“You arranged this?” she asked him, and he winked.

“Oh, darling”, she said softly, putting her hand against his cheek and kissing him tenderly.

After the fireworks were over, the eyelids of the travelers began to droop with tiredness. Marivi excused herself and withdrew to her room, and Raquel put Paula to bed. Sergio waited for her in their bedroom, a little nervously. Would they still be in tune with each other after two months of separation? Would it be awkward? All of his concerns vanished immediately, though, when she walked in and he could see with one look how tired she was.

He opened his arms to her, and she hugged him tight, leaning heavily against him.

“How long have you been awake?” he asked her, and she struggled to make sense of the time difference and the long hours on the road.

“It took us 32 hours to get from our house to here”, she said.

“Did you sleep at all on the plane?”

“No”, she said, smiling up at him. “I was too excited to sleep.”

“Then you’ve been up for almost two days straight”, he said. “You should sleep, now.”

She kissed his neck. “But I don’t want to sleep yet. We’ve waited so long…”

“And we can wait a few more hours”, he said softly. When she started to unbutton his shirt anyway, he gently pulled her hand away and kissed it. “My love, you’re exhausted.”

She sighed, then nodded sadly. “Yes, you’re right.”

“It will be so much better tomorrow, when you’re rested.” He hesitated. “I suppose we can’t sleep naked anymore now there are other people in the house.”

She shook her head. “But please only put on pants. I want to be as close to you as possible when we sleep.”

She swayed as he released her, so he caught hold of her again and undressed her carefully, then helped her put on her pajamas. He pulled back the sheet and led her to the bed, then covered her tenderly before putting on his own pajama bottoms. By the time he got into bed with her, she was already asleep. He didn’t mind, however. He wanted nothing else at the moment except to have her near. For a long time, he watched her as she slept, drinking in the sight of her, finally sleeping next to him again. His eyes wandered over the familiar lines of her face, relaxed in sleep, so beautiful and serene. He wanted to kiss her, but he wouldn’t wake her for the world. When she finally turned onto her other side, he carefully curled his body around hers and draped his arm around her waist. She made a small sound of contentment and cuddled closer to his warmth. He couldn’t stop smiling as he buried his face in her hair, feeling like he never wanted to sleep again in his life, unwilling to miss another second with her.

He woke up at dawn, after only a few hours of sleep, his entire body singing with joy because she was still next to him, because he could hold her, and hold her, and hold her to his heart’s content. As she showed no signs of waking soon, he got up after a while and showered and brushed his teeth. Then he got into bed again and waited patiently, watching the rays of the sun play on her face. Finally, she stirred, then opened sleepy eyes and smiled.

“Sergio?”

“Yes”, he smiled back. “I’m here. How are you feeling?”

She stretched. “So much better. God, I haven’t slept this well in months.”

He moved closer to kiss her, but she put her hand against his chest and kept him at a distance.

“I didn’t shower last night.”

“I don’t care”, he murmured, trying to get close to her again, but she scooted away from him.

“But I do. I feel so gross from the journey. Let me just quickly shower and brush my teeth and then I’m all yours.”

He looked at her longingly as she got out of bed. “Please hurry.”

After the longest fifteen minutes in the history of time, she came out of the bathroom again, wearing new pajamas, feeling fresh and clean and ready to make love to him for at least an hour or two. She slipped back between the sheets and into his waiting arms, pressing her body against his as he leaned down to kiss her.

The moment his lips touched hers, the last of her drowsiness disappeared as her body started to wake up properly. His kisses were slow and sensual, and she sank into them happily, running her fingers through his hair, over the back of his neck and his shoulders. It was such a luxury to be able to touch him as much as she wanted, after not being able to for months. She couldn’t get enough of him, of his mouth on hers, of his skin under her hands, of his body pressed to hers. He dipped down to kiss her neck, and she sighed with pleasure as she tilted her head and felt a first soft tingle between her legs. After several blissful moments, he came up to press his lips to hers again, and he started caressing her ever so tenderly, stroking her hair, the side of her face, her neck and shoulders. Her skin felt so alive to his touch, his fingers leaving her tingling as they ran slowly down her arm.

“I’ve dreamt about this so often”, he whispered in her ear as he moved his hand to her collarbone and began to trace it downward over her top tantalizingly slowly. “I’ve wanted nothing more than to have you in my bed again, to kiss you and touch you and now I can.”

His hand reached the bottom of her top and slid underneath, caressing her stomach as he kissed her again. Her nipples hardened in anticipation as he moved up slowly, cupping a breast and then grazing his thumb over her nipple. She made a small sound of pleasure as the tingle between her legs deepened and intensified.

The next moment, the door swung open and Paula burst into the room.

“Mom, can we go swimming now?”

They broke apart hastily, Sergio withdrawing his hand and moving as far away from her as possible without falling out of bed. Paula, however, had already clapped a hand over her eyes.

“Ewww”, she said. “You’re kissing! That’s gross.”

Raquel sat up, shaking softly with laughter at the sight of Sergio, who looked about ready to burst into flames.

“First of all, Paula”, she said. “Kissing isn’t gross. It’s what people do when they love each other.”

The girl lowered her hands, but seemed unconvinced.

“And secondly”, Raquel continued. “If you don’t want to see us kissing, you should learn to be polite and knock before you come into our bedroom. Will you do that next time?”

Paula nodded, then said: “But can we go swimming now?”

Raquel threw Sergio a longing look, then turned back to her daughter. “How about you go play with Amber for a bit and we can go swimming after breakfast?”

“No”, the girl shook her head. “You promised yesterday, you said ‘first thing in the morning’.”

Raquel sighed. “Alright. Go put on your bathing suit and I’ll put on mine.”

Paula ran off, and Raquel got out of bed to close the door behind her. Then she turned to Sergio, who was still a burning shade of red.

“I’m sorry”, she said. “I should have known we might get interrupted.”

He gave her an anxious look. “Do you think we traumatized her?”

She laughed. “Don’t worry about it. It could have been a lot worse.”

He shuddered at the thought. “We need a lock for that door. I’ll take care of it today.”

“Good”, she said, then gave him another longing look. “I desperately wish we could continue, but Paula will be back in five minutes.”

He nodded. “Go swim with your daughter. We’ve got plenty of time tonight.”

She went into the bathroom to change into her bathing suit, but she left the door open, and he gazed at her hungrily as she undressed. He got out of bed and went up to her, taking her in his arms and kissing her, running his hands down her back and over her buttocks.

She smiled up at him. “What are you doing?”

“I’m sorry”, he whispered, nuzzling her neck. “I couldn’t resist. I couldn’t see you naked and not touch you.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back, pressing her body against his. As she felt him hard against her hip, she looked up at him with sparkling eyes.

“The bathroom door has a lock”, she pointed out, but he frowned.

“Paula will be back in five minutes.”

She kissed his neck. “I don’t think I need more than five minutes.”

He hesitated as she ran her hand down his stomach to stroke him through his pajama bottoms, but then he decisively pushed her hand away.

“No”, he said softly. “I want more than five minutes. I want to do it right.”

He kissed her again, his hands firm on her back, then he whispered in her ear: “I want to kiss you all over and touch you all over and then I want to make love to you properly and very thoroughly. Let’s wait until tonight.”

“Alright”, she sighed regretfully, and the next moment he was proven right as Paula knocked insistently on the bedroom door.

“Mom!” her voice sounded through the door. “Are you ready?”

He gave her one last kiss that took her breath away, then left her to put on her bathing suit, simmering quietly with frustration.

They all breakfasted together, and as Sergio and Raquel kept shooting each other long, lingering looks, Paula was chatting away happily about the fish she’d seen in the ocean.

“I think they were all kinds of colors”, she said, “but I couldn’t see them properly because of the water.”

“I’m going into town later”, Sergio said. “I can bring you some swimming goggles and a snorkel, so you can really see them.”

“Yes, please!” Paula exclaimed, and Raquel gave him an approving smile.

“What are you going to do after breakfast, darling?” Marivi asked Paula.

“Can I watch some TV?” the girl asked.

Sergio shook his head. “I don’t have a TV.”

Paula’s eyes went wide. “You don’t have a TV? But… I’ll be bored!”

“I… I suppose we could get a TV”, Sergio said, looking at Raquel, but she shook her head.

“Paula”, she said firmly, “How can you be bored when you live by the beach and have a cat?”

The girl perked up. “Do you think she wants to play with me?”

“I’m sure she does”, Raquel smiled. “And later you can explore the beach and look for sea shells.”

They finished breakfast, and Sergio and Raquel washed up together.

“We can get a TV if you like”, Sergio said, but Raquel shook her head again.

“I like not having a TV. If you have one, you watch it way too much, and often you’re watching things you don’t even want to watch. Though it might be a good idea to get Paula a tablet or something so she can watch cartoons on Netflix, but we’ll be able to control how much time she spends with it.”

He left to go into town to get a lock for their bedroom door, and Raquel spent the morning looking for sea shells on the beach with Paula. They found lots of beautiful shells, and laid them out on the porch to dry. Then her daughter started building a castle out of sand under the watchful eye of her grandmother, and Raquel went inside to prepare lunch. Towards noon, Sergio came back and asked if she could come out to the car with him.

“Why?” she asked curiously.

“I got some things for Paula, but I want your approval before I give them to her.”

She nodded and followed him out, glad that he was considerate enough to run this kind of thing by her. When he opened the trunk of the car, however, her eyes went wide. There were dozens of games in there, toys of all shapes and sizes, snorkeling gear, and on top of it all, a brand-new iPad.

She turned to him in consternation. “What did you do? Rob a toy store?”

He ran an embarrassed hand through his hair. “I don’t want Paula to get bored. I want her to like living here.”

She laughed. “You’re going to spoil her rotten, aren’t you?”

He grinned. “Maybe a little?”

She kissed him, but then shook her head. “You can’t give her all of this stuff at once, it’s way too much. Let’s give her the snorkeling gear and a few of the games, but store the rest away for birthdays and Christmas and such.”

It took several trips to get everything inside and stored away, then Raquel returned to the kitchen to finish lunch, and Sergio followed her there.

“Where are Paula and your mother?”

“Outside”, she said, and he closed the kitchen door and came to stand close behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and kissing her neck.

“I’m so happy you’re back”, he whispered between kisses.

“Me too”, she sighed, reaching back a hand to stroke his hair. “But you need to stop that, you’re going to get me all turned on.”

“But I like turning you on”, he murmured, his hands caressing her hips.

As he kept kissing her neck, she sighed and melted back against him. His hand disappeared under her top to stroke her stomach.

“I like it when you go all soft when I kiss you”, he whispered, his fingers moving up to play with her nipple through the fabric of her bra. “I like it when your nipples get hard.” His other hand moved down over her pants, to press for a moment between her legs. She gasped. “And I love it when you get wet for me.”

She turned around in his arms to wrap her arms around his neck and kiss him. A moment later, though, Paula’s voice sounded from outside.

“Mom! Come and look at my castle!”

She groaned and gave him a frustrated look. “I’m already starting to miss the time when we could just make love whenever and wherever we wanted.”

“Me too”, he whispered, kissing her neck again.

“Mom!”

She sighed and grabbed him by the shirt. “I am going to fuck you so hard tonight.”

He grinned. “I’ll make sure the lock is in place, then.”

She pressed one last kiss to his lips, then went outside.

In the afternoon, Raquel and Paula went into the ocean again to test their new snorkeling gear, while Sergio screwed the lock onto the bedroom door, then went into his study to do some work. He was so absorbed in his papers, that several hours passed without him being aware of it, and he looked up, startled, when Paula was suddenly standing in front of his desk.

“Sergio? Can I ask you a question?”

“Uhm… yes, of course, but… where is your mother?” he asked her, afraid of doing or saying something wrong without Raquel to watch over him.

“Outside, talking to grandma.”

“Okay…” he swallowed nervously. “What do you want to ask?”

“What kinds of games does Amber like?”

He smiled. “Oh. Well… she likes to have her ears scratched, or her belly rubbed.”

“But how do I play with her?”

“Her favorite game is just to chase a piece of string around.”

Her eyes lit up. “Do you have a piece of string?”

“Of course.” He got up, and she followed him into the living room, where he kept Amber’s favorite piece of string twined up in a drawer.

He showed Paula how to drag it across the floor in a way that got Amber’s attention, and soon the girl was running around the living room, dragging the string and pursued by a frantic Amber. When Raquel came in to see what the noise was about, she found Sergio and Paula both laughing hard at Amber’s antics, and she smiled to herself. Getting that cat had been one of the best ideas she’d ever had.

Over dinner that night, Paula and Sergio had a lively conversation about Amber’s likes and dislikes, and Raquel felt like she couldn’t possibly be any happier. To be here, to be home, with him and her family… Then she noticed that her mother was getting quieter and quieter, and finally she got up and excused herself from the table to go to her room. After the plates had been cleared away, Raquel went to her mother’s room and asked if everything was okay.

Marivi smiled. “I’m just a little tired, mi hija. It’s probably the jetlag. I’m going to bed now and I’m sure I’ll feel better tomorrow.” She winked. “You go and enjoy your evening.”

Raquel smiled and kissed her mother on the cheek before rejoining Sergio and Paula, who were discussing which of the new games they’d be playing that evening.

The three of them played a game together, and Raquel noticed with a smile that Sergio was letting Paula win. Her own mind wasn’t really on the game. She kept noticing how nice his hands were every time he moved a piece, and she couldn’t help but imagine those hands on her back, in her hair, on her hips… Every few minutes, she glanced at her watch, waiting for Paula’s bedtime to arrive. As the game drew to a close, she noticed that Sergio was shooting glances her way, too, and she was sure he was as relieved as she was when she finally said:

“Alright Paula, time for bed.”

“One more game?” Paula wheedled, but Raquel was not inclined to let her stay up late tonight.

“No”, she said firmly. “You still need to rest from our trip. Go put on your pajamas.”

The girl went off to her room without any further protest, and Raquel promptly dropped herself onto Sergio’s lap to kiss him. He rumbled his approval and wrapped his arms around her.

“You’re in for the night of your life”, she whispered against his lips, and he smiled in delight. “Only a few more minutes now.”

He frowned. “Shouldn’t we wait a bit until she’s asleep?”

She groaned. “Oh, for the love of god, I’m going to combust. But alright, I suppose we should. Half an hour, tops.”

“I can’t wait”, he whispered, and the look he gave her caused a tremor deep inside her. She kissed him again, then went off to put Paula to bed.

When she came back, he was sitting on the couch, and she joined him there to wait until Paula fell asleep. They tried talking for a while, but it was no good, and soon she was sitting on his lap again, kissing him fiercely. They kept their hands to themselves and their clothes on, in case Paula got out of bed again for some reason, but they just couldn’t keep from kissing, for minutes on end until they were both breathless and tense with anticipation. After half an hour, Raquel couldn’t take it anymore. She was trembling with desire for him, the fire between her legs flaming higher with every kiss he gave her, and she was aching to take him inside her.

“I want you, I want you so badly”, she whispered, and he sighed deeply.

“God, I want you too. Go check to see if Paula’s asleep yet?”

She did so, tiptoeing to the door and opening it gently, then closing it again.

“Yes, she’s asleep!”

He got up eagerly, and she grabbed him by the shirt and dragged him into the bedroom. She locked the door behind them, then turned to him. He raised his hands at the look in her eyes and grinned broadly.

“Now, Raquel, calm down. Don’t hurt me.”

In response, she pushed him down onto the bed and climbed on top of him. He closed his arms around her and pulled her body down on his, kissing her hard. Her hands flew to undo the buttons of his shirt, and they broke apart for only a moment so she could take off her top. His hands were all over her as they kissed fiercely, then she sat up to undo his pants with trembling fingers.

“Are you wet enough?” he asked her in a low voice.

“After a full half hour of kissing? You bet”, she said, helping him out of his pants, then leaning down to kiss him again.

He was just about to unhook her bra when a loud crash sounded outside of their room and they froze.

“What was that?” he said.

She hesitated. “Probably just Amber knocking something over.”

They listened, and there were more noises outside their door. Raquel cursed softly but heatedly, then put on her top again and opened the door to stick her head out. Marivi was standing in the middle of the living room in her night clothes, staring at the lamp she’d knocked over. Raquel went out and closed the bedroom door behind her.

“Mother? What are you doing?”

“Raquel?” her mother said. “Where are we? When are we going home?”

Raquel frowned in concern and went up to take her mother by the arm. “We are home. We moved in with Sergio, remember?”

“Who?”

“Sergio, my boyfriend”, she explained patiently, but her heart felt heavy. These episodes never lasted very long, but they were getting more and more frequent, and she knew things would only get worse from here. “Why don’t you go back to your room and try to sleep.”

“I… I don’t know where my room is.”

“I’ll show you, come along.”

She led her mother to her room and helped her into bed. When she wanted to leave, however, Marivi clutched at her hand and wouldn’t let go.

“Don’t leave me alone”, she whispered, and she looked so confused and scared that Raquel’s heart went out to her.

She sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked her mother’s hand. “Don’t worry. Everything will be fine. Why don’t you try to sleep?”

Sergio waited for her in their room, but when she wasn’t back after twenty minutes, he got up, dressed himself again, and went to look for her. The door to Marivi’s bedroom was open, and he peered in carefully, seeing her sit with her mother, talking to her in a reassuring tone of voice. When she heard him behind her, she got up and came to him with an apologetic expression.

“I’m sorry this is taking so long, my love. I can’t calm her down. She doesn’t know where she is and she’s scared.”

He considered her for a moment, then said: “You should stay with her tonight.”

She gave him a pained look. “No, I want to sleep with you.”

He smiled sadly. “And I want to sleep with you, but you can’t leave her alone.”

“What if I stay with her until she’s asleep?”

“She might wake up again in the middle of the night and panic.”

She sighed. “You’re right.”

He hugged her, and she clung to him. “I’m so sorry”, she whispered in his ear. “So, so sorry. You didn’t ask for any of this.”

“It’s alright”, he soothed her. “Really. It’s only for one night, tomorrow the nurse will be here. I suppose I should have asked her to come today, but I wanted to give your mother a day to settle in without any new people to unsettle her.”

“You’re so sweet. I will make this up to you, I swear.”

He smiled and pressed a soft kiss to her lips. “There’s no need for that, my love. I’m just glad you’re here, that’s all I want.”

She reluctantly let go of him, and they shared one last regretful look.

“Goodnight”, she whispered, then got into bed with her mother.

“Goodnight”, he said, closing the door behind him and going back to their room alone.

As he lay in bed, he took a few deep breaths as a deep sense of acceptance settled over him. Living with her family was going to be more difficult than he had anticipated, but he didn’t care. He would take on any amount of family members, any interruptions, any difficulties to have her here with him. With that thought, he turned onto his side and fell asleep.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

He woke up the next morning as she slipped into bed with him and cuddled close.

“How did you sleep?” he asked her blurrily, and she shook her head.

“Not great. She had a bad night, it’s a good thing I stayed with her.”

“The nurse will be here around noon. That should take some of the burden off of you.”

She kissed his cheek. “Thank you for understanding.”

“Of course”, he said softly. “We’re in this together now. You’re not alone.”

“I wish I could wake you up properly”, she said wistfully. “But Paula is already up and I promised her we’d go swimming again.”

“That’s alright. I don’t mind”, he said, surprised at himself to realize that it was perfectly true. He would have preferred to spend the entire morning in bed with her, of course, but she was here and that was all that mattered.

“But I do”, she complained, nuzzling his ear. “I can’t believe I’ve been here almost 48 hours and we still haven’t made love once. When I imagined these first nights back together when I was in Spain, they looked very different in my mind, believe me.”

He smiled down at her. “We still have so many nights left, though. Hundreds. Thousands.”

She smiled back at him. “You know, when everything has calmed down a bit and Paula and my mother have settled in properly, I’m going to get a babysitter one night and check us in to a hotel, and then I’m going to fuck you for twelve hours straight. How does that sound?”

He grinned. “Amazing. But right now I’d be the happiest man on earth if we could just have one hour to ourselves.”

“Tonight”, she said softly. “We just have to survive today.”

He groaned. “I’ll try, but it won’t be easy.”

They heard Paula walk past their door, and Raquel heaved herself out of bed.

“I’d better put on my bathing suit.”

He looked at her longingly as she changed, and when she went out and closed the bedroom door behind himself, he fell back into the pillows with a deep sigh, and tried to think of something else, anything else, than her naked body.

Marivi was much better by breakfast time, and when the nurse arrived after lunch, she was able to meet her lucidly. To Raquel’s relief, the two women hit it off straight away, and they were soon talking companionably on the porch, keeping an eye on Paula, who was building another sand castle and decorating it with sea shells. Raquel went into the house to see what Sergio was up to. She found him in the spare bedroom, where he had set up a little gym with a boxing bag so he could exercise. He’d clearly been working hard, because he was out of breath and glistening with sweat when she came in. She bit her lip and closed the door behind herself, then went up to him to kiss him.

“It’s not fair that you look so hot when I have to keep my hands off of you.”

He wrinkled his nose and kept her at a distance. “What are you talking about, I’m all sweaty.”

“Yes”, she smiled. “Hot. Why are you working out?”

“Just trying to burn off some of my… frustration.”

She nodded. “I get that.” She winked at him. “I could use a good work-out myself.”

She tried to get closer to him, but he held her off again. “Please don’t. I want you so badly I can’t stand it.”

“I know”, she sighed. “It’s gotten to the point where I don’t know anymore what I want to do first – I want to do everything. I want to go down on you, and I want you to go down on me, and I want to fuck you in every possible position at once.”

Despite himself, he leaned closer to her to murmur: “You have to let me go down on you tonight. Promise me. I desperately want to taste you.”

She smiled, delighted. “You don’t have to ask me twice. But you need to fuck me first. I need you inside of me.”

He came even closer, but he didn’t touch her. She suddenly felt the presence of the Professor as he whispered in her ear: “Don’t worry, I’ll fuck you first. The moment I have you on that bed, I’m going to take you, hard and deep, the way you like it, until you are thoroughly satisfied. And then I’m going to go down on you… I can’t wait to get my tongue all over you, to make you moan, to make you shake, and then to make you come harder than you’ve ever come before.”

She was getting dizzy with the very presence of him, with having him so near and not touching him, with imagining the things he was saying to her. She swallowed hard, and tried to keep her breathing even, tried to ignore the insistent tingling between her legs.

She cleared her throat. “Well, I have to say, all those weeks of phone sex have certainly paid off in terms of dirty talk.”

He didn’t smile, just gave her such a warm look it made her shiver. Then he put his hand under her chin, tipped up her face, and gave her a kiss that made her knees weak. She was dazed and breathless as he pulled back, took her gently by the shoulders, turned her around and steered her out the door.

That night over dinner, she felt for the first time like they were a real family. Sergio had told a silly joke, and Paula and Marivi were both laughing, and Raquel looked at them all and felt like her heart would burst. Suddenly his eyes turned to her, and they shared a look, and she knew that he felt it too. After dinner, she saw her mother corner Sergio in the kitchen and take his face between her hands. Staying back at the door, she heard her say to him:

“Sergio, I’ve never seen Raquel this happy. Thank you.”

He mumbled something in reply, red in the face, but she could see that he was very pleased.

Later, Sergio and Marivi read a book while Raquel played a game with Paula. All in all, it was a wonderful evening, but after a while Raquel couldn’t wait for it to be over. Her mother seemed to notice, because she went to bed at the same time as Paula, saying that she was tired. The nurse had a bed next to Marivi’s, and she assured Raquel that she didn’t need to worry about anything. Finally, everyone was in bed, Raquel and Sergio were in their bedroom, and the door was locked behind them. They stared at each other for a long moment, tense, half waiting for another interruption. Then he held out his arms to her and she went to him gratefully, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him deeply. Now that the wait was finally over, she noticed that her hunger had changed to a profound, aching yearning that went deeper than anything she’d ever experienced before.

They couldn’t stop kissing as they undressed each other, completely absorbed in one another’s presence. She unbuttoned his shirt with eager fingers and he shrugged out of it, then pulled her top over her head.

“You’re so beautiful”, he whispered against her lips as he unhooked her bra and took it off. “Sometimes I can’t believe how beautiful you are. Sometimes I can’t believe you’re mine.”

He bent down and flicked his tongue over a nipple, making her gasp, then moan and twine her fingers into his hair as he took it into his mouth and sucked, sending pleasure shooting through her and starting up a delicious tingle between her legs. When he moved up again and kissed her neck, she felt her knees go weak and she wrapped her arms around his neck as she melted against him, his hands caressing her bare back. He took a deep breath, breathing in the unique scent of her skin, which he’d missed so terribly.

 “I’ve waited so long for this”, he murmured, not taking his lips from her skin. “I want to take my time with you. I feel so lucky that I get to touch you, and hold you. You’re so unbelievably soft.”

She reached down to stroke him through his pants, and he groaned.

“Do you want me?” she whispered in his ear.

“Desperately”, he whispered back.

She bit his earlobe and made him shiver, then started to unbutton his pants. “God, I want you too. I love how hard you are for me.” She pushed down his pants and underwear, then pressed her lips against his and wrapped her hand around him. He moaned against her mouth, then bit her lip, and the tingling between her legs intensified to an insistent, deep pulsing sensation. She suddenly couldn’t wait anymore and started undoing her own pants, but he pulled her hands away.

“Let me, please”, he rumbled. “I love undressing you. It’s like unwrapping the best possible present.”

He kneeled down in front of her and pulled at the string that was keeping up her loose trousers. When it came undone, he slowly pulled them down and helped her step out of them.

“I want to taste you”, he whispered, pressing a kiss to the curls between her legs, but she tugged on his hair to make him look up.

“Later”, she said, her voice breaking with longing. “I can’t wait anymore, Sergio, I want you now, now, now.

He stood up and swept her into his arms, kissing her fiercely, one hand gripping her hair, the other moving down her body to dip between her legs, slipping one finger inside of her for a moment, checking to see if she was ready. She gasped and clung to him.

“God, you’re so wet”, he breathed.

“Of course I am! What did you think?”

“I love it”, he said, bending his head to nip at the skin of her neck with his teeth. She groaned and dug her nails into his shoulders.

Now, Sergio, now, I mean it, if I have to wait another second I won’t guarantee your safety.”

He chuckled and pressed another kiss to her lips. “I’m all yours. But can I make a request?”

“Anything that will get you inside me.”

“We can go hard later, but please let me hold you first.”

She gave him a soft look, her impatience overwhelmed by a sudden longing to hold him, too. She placed a hand against his cheek.

“Of course, darling.”

He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her onto his lap so she straddled him on her knees. She pressed her body close to his as he kissed her deeply and tightly wrapped his arms around her. She was trembling as she reached down. Finally, she thought. Finally, finally. She guided him in, then moaned softly as she sank down on him ever so slowly, drawing out the pleasure of feeling him fill her up. She took him in completely, reveling in the feeling of having him inside her again after so long, after all the frustration, after two months of longing, longing, longing for this exact moment. They leaned their foreheads together and didn’t move for a long time, just holding each other, everything feeling utterly and perfectly right. Then they started rocking together, and she gasped, the sensation of it indescribable, exquisite, heavenly. She twined her fingers in his hair as he kissed her neck, and she wished that they could stay like this forever.

“Raquel”, he murmured, “you feel so good. This has to be the best feeling in the world.”

“I think I can make it even better”, she whispered, then leaned back and placed her hands on his knees.

He gasped as she tightened around him. “Oh god!”

He picked up the pace, bucking his hips to take her deeper, then bent his head to take a nipple into his mouth. She moaned softly at the added sensation, and he sucked harder, making her gasp loudly. When he moved to her other nipple, she felt the tension inside her begin to build, and she wanted nothing more than to feel his fingers there.

“Sergio”, she said, breathing hard. “I want to come.”

He smiled and pulled her up, and she detected the Professor again as he whispered in her ear: “Not yet. I’m not done with you. I promised you I’d fuck you hard and that’s what you’ll get. Get on your knees.”

She bit her lip in delight. “Oh, hell yes.”

She obeyed him immediately, getting off him and moving further up the bed, positioning herself on her hands and knees. Then he set himself up behind her. He drew out the moment, running slow hands along her hips and buttocks and thighs, until she was trembling with longing and anticipation.

“Hurry up and take me already”, she complained.

He tutted. “Always so impatient.” He moved a hand around her hip and slipped his fingers between her legs to stroke her, just lightly, just for a moment. She shuddered and hung her head.

“In a moment”, he said, his voice low and warm, “I’m going to push inside you and take you, hard. I’m going to fuck you, and fuck you, until you are entirely satisfied, and then I’m going to make you come. Do you want that?”

“God yes”, she groaned.

“Good. But you’re going to have to do something for me first.”

“What?”

“Ask for it.”

She bit her lip. This was so hot. “Please”, she whispered.

His hands were still caressing her hips, driving her crazy. “I think you can do better than that.”

“Sergio, please, I want you.”

“What do you want, exactly?”

“I want you to fuck me.”

“How?”

“Hard”, she whispered. “Really hard.”

He rumbled his approval, then guided himself to her. She groaned with impatience as he waited another long moment, letting the tension build. She couldn’t possibly want him more. Then suddenly he was inside her, pushing in hard, taking her fully with the first thrust. She bit her lip not to cry out as he felt so good inside her.

“Like this?” he asked softly, and she struggled to speak.

Yes.

“I thought so”, he said smoothly, then began taking her in earnest.

She knew she should be quieter, but she couldn’t help but moan as he tightly gripped her hips and pressed in again and again, hard and deep. She tilted her hips and gasped as he was suddenly pressing hard against her G-spot. The tension inside her started building, fast, increasing with every thrust to an almost unbearable pitch.

“Sergio”, she gasped, “I want…”

“I know what you want”, he murmured, his voice strained with keeping such a tight rein on himself.

He moved one hand around her hip and between her legs. To her utter frustration, however, he didn’t touch her where she wanted it, but placed a finger on either side, providing just enough tantalizing stimulation to bring her to the edge, but not enough to tip her over. She wanted to scream.

Sergio!

“Ask nicely”, he rumbled.

“I’m going to kill you!”

He sounded amused. “No you’re not.”

“Oh, for the love of god! Please! I can’t take it anymore, just… please!”

He moved his fingers, and she cried out the moment he touched her, such a stab of pleasure shooting through her that it tipped her over the edge immediately. She gripped the sheets and trembled and shook as the orgasm that had been building and building finally washed over her, glorious and intense and rocking her to her core, wave after wave of pleasure rolling over her as he kept taking her hard. She couldn’t do anything but moan and moan.

Finally, the feeling subsided, and she pulled his hand away, gasping. He stopped and withdrew, and she collapsed onto the bed, completely out of breath, her entire body humming with the fierce, ecstatic joy of it.

He bent down and brushed her hair aside to tenderly kiss the back of her neck and her shoulders.

“Oh”, she whispered. “That was amazing. You were amazing. It felt so good. Oh. I needed that.”

He sat down next to her and stroked her back as she recovered. After she’d caught her breath, she turned onto her side to look at him.

“Did you work on your stamina while I was away? Because that was impressive.”

He grinned broadly. “If I promise to take you thoroughly, I take you thoroughly.”

She sat up to kiss him. “You sure did. That will keep me going for another two days if need be. Now”, she said, putting a hand on his chest and slowly pushing him down into the pillows. “I think you deserve something in return.”

His eyes went dark with longing as he understood what she was about to do.

“God”, he whispered as she kissed his chest. “I’ve imagined this so often. Your mouth, your lips, your tongue.”

He groaned as she moved down to kiss his stomach. Then she stopped and looked up.

“Do you want me to continue?”

“Yes”, he whispered.

“Do you want me to take my tongue and lick you all over? To take you in my mouth and suck?”

Yes”, he whispered again, his voice strained.

“Then you’re going to have to do something for me first.”

He grinned as he got where she was going. “Ask nicely?”

“No”, she said as she looked him straight in the eyes. “Beg.”

His grin widened. “I suppose I deserve that. But I have no problem with that at all.”

He sat up and pulled her closer so he could kiss her.

“Please, Raquel”, he murmured between kisses. “Please do all the things you just said. You’re so good at it. You’re an absolute goddess and when you put your mouth over me, you make me float. So I’m begging you, please, please don’t make me wait any longer.”

She gave him a satisfied look and pushed him back into the pillows. “That’s what I like to hear.”

She settled herself between his legs, gave him one last look that made him shiver, then slowly closed her mouth over him and moved down, tasting herself on him. He stared at her.

God”, he whispered, his voice cracking. “That may be the hottest thing you’ve ever done.”

She pulled back and ran her tongue up his length from the bottom to the tip, over, and over, and over again until he was squirming. Then she took just the tip of him into her mouth and swirled her tongue around it, running it along the little ridge and flicking it over his frenulum. He gripped the sheets and groaned.

“Ahhh that feels so good. Don’t stop. I don’t know what you’re doing, but don’t stop!”

She kept it up for a while, then moved down to take him in as deep as she could, blessing her lucky stars that she didn’t have much of a gag reflex. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply, enjoying the feel of her warm, wet mouth all around him. The next moment, he inhaled sharply as she cupped his balls with one hand and started massaging them gently, moving up and down on him at the same time. She pulled back for a moment and, with her other hand, she made a ring of her thumb and forefinger and closed it tightly around him, then closed her mouth around him again right behind her fingers. Slowly, very slowly, she moved down, creating a delicious contrast between the tightness of her fingers and the softness of her mouth.

 “Oh god”, he moaned softly. “I can’t believe how good that feels. Oh. Raquel! Oh.”

She increased the pace, and he could only keep it up for a few more strokes before his entire body started to shake. He gripped the sheets even tighter, every muscle tense, then he came with a groan and several long, deep shudders. Finally he relaxed back onto the bed, panting, pressing his hands to his face as he groaned, then staring up at the ceiling with an expression of pure bliss, while she delicately spat into a tissue.

“Raquel”, he whispered in awe. “That was phenomenal. Really, just… unbelievable.”

She smiled. “Was it as good as you hoped it would be?”

“You know”, he said earnestly, “I spent nearly every night imagining making love to you again, and I thought that I was building it up in my head to something that it wasn’t, something that it could never be. I thought the real thing could never live up to my feverish fantasies, and now you’re here and I don’t know how it’s possible, but it was even better. God, you’re so good.”

He turned onto his side and pushed himself up on an elbow to look at her. “But now you have to let me go down on you.”

“You don’t have to feel obligated”, she said gently. “We can do that tomorrow if you…”

He held up a hand to stop her. “No, you misunderstand me. I’m not saying that I want to go down on you. I’m saying that I need to go down on you. That I’ve been dreaming for months about burying my face between your thighs and licking you, tasting you, making you come for me.”

She grinned in delight. “Well, in that case… who am I to stop you? But let me just clean up a bit first.”

She slipped out of bed and into the bathroom and he could hear the sound of running water. When she came back, he lost no time in pulling her back onto the bed and pushing her down among the pillows. She sighed happily and settled herself comfortably on her back as he traced kisses down her chest and stomach.

“I’m going to enjoy this so much”, he murmured. “You have no idea.”

 He spread her legs with his hands so he could lie between them.

She tensed in anticipation as he kissed the insides of her thighs, tickling her with his beard, teasing her with just the tip of his tongue without fully engaging until she squirmed for contact. Then she  gasped as he suddenly pressed his mouth to her. He rumbled in satisfaction as he let his tongue explore her thoroughly, running it up and down in broad strokes, then moving up to settle in the one spot. Her breathing quickened as he circled and licked, left to right and then up and down. She was still sensitive from her first orgasm, and his tongue felt amazing against her, exactly the way she’d imagined it for so many lonely nights. He gave her plenty of time to get ready again, then picked up the pace, and she arched her back and tilted her hips for an even better angle, moaning softly.

He focused exclusively on the one spot now, bringing her closer, closer, closer. The tension inside her built until it was the only thing she could think about, his tongue against her the only real thing in the world, urging her on, bringing her right up to the edge until she tensed and then… He suddenly veered off course, and she gave a cry of disappointment as she lost her grip on the feeling and it receded again.

Why?” she demanded, frustrated to the extreme.

He stopped for a moment and kissed her thigh. “It’ll be worth it. Trust me.”

She grumbled darkly and let her head fall back on the pillow. “It better be.”

He spent several minutes on other parts, before moving back to where she wanted him. The tension was back immediately, rising faster and more urgently than before. She gripped the sheets and arched her back again, moaning, trembling, tensing, almost there… almost… Right as she was about to tip over, though, he stopped again, and she cried out in frustration.

Sergio!

He smiled and kissed her thighs as he waited. The feeling lingered for a while before receding this time, humming through her and making her squirm.

“You finish what you start next time!”

“One more time”, he murmured.

She sat up and grabbed his hair. “No. I did not sign up for this teasing! If you do that to me again I swear there will be consequences.”

He grinned. “What kind of consequences?”

She cast around for a suitable punishment. “No sex tomorrow!”

His grin widened. “As if.”

She laughed. “Okay, let me try this a different way. If you let me come this time, extra sex tomorrow.”

“Now you’re talking”, he murmured, then pressed his mouth to her again so she fell back into the pillows, helpless. She knew this was the one, and she was more than ready for it as his tongue moved back up to where she wanted it.

Suddenly, he entered her with two fingers, adding another sensation, and the combination of his fingers and tongue was so exquisite she could cry. When he pressed upwards, she threw her head back and moaned, lost to the world, her hands gripping the sheets so tightly her knuckled whitened, her back arching off the bed, her eyes closed tight.

All the tension that he had built up so carefully seemed to return at once, making her gasp for breath. When she tensed for the third time and he didn’t stop, she surrendered herself completely to the feeling of it as the orgasm crashed through her, fiery and perfect and all-consuming. She sobbed his name as he just kept her coming and coming, easing off just a bit to draw out the sensation for moment after divine moment, then easing off further until his touch was featherlight as he guided her, trembling, through the aftershocks.

Finally he withdrew completely and she relaxed back onto the bed, her breath coming in gasps, her eyes dazed and her chest flushed. She turned onto her side and curled in on herself for a moment, laughing giddily.

“Holy fuck, that was incredible.”

 He moved up, smiling. “If you had let me edge you a third time, it would have been even better.”

“I don’t think that’s possible.”

He gave her a longing look. “Can we try it out tomorrow?”

She laughed. “You’re keen.”

“Yes”, he murmured. “I’ve missed this, I’ve missed this so much.”

“God”, she breathed. “Me too.”

 She gently pushed him onto his back and he opened his arms so her head could finally find its familiar place again in the hollow of his shoulder. They lay like that for a long time without speaking, just smiling, softly caressing each other and basking in the afterglow and each other’s presence. Finally he pressed a kiss to her hair, then said softly:

“I can’t even say how happy I am that you’re back. Please never leave me again.”

“I won’t”, she promised him. “From now on, wherever you go, I go. I don’t care where it is or what you do, but we will never be apart again.”

He hugged her tight. “I… I’m not that great with words, Raquel, so I don’t think I can ever tell you how much you mean to me. How important you are to me. What you’ve done for me, teaching me how to live, teaching me how to love, I can’t express how you’ve changed me. How you’ve saved me. It’s as if… for most of my life, the entire world was grey, and now I’m finally seeing it in color. I don’t know how to thank you for that.”

“My love”, she said simply. “You’ve saved me too.” She looked up and pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too”, he whispered.