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When she emerged from the bathroom sometime later he’d set all of the food and drink on the table in an aesthetically pleasing way. As Mr. Nunzio had said, there were olives, more focaccia, a think chunk of Pecorino, and also what looked like fresh slices of prosciutto, a bowl of olive oil, and more fresh berries, sliced apricots, and plums. Jareth had cut the bread into slices and arranged the fruit, prosciutto, and cheese onto a wooden cutting board.

There was music playing, too—piano music, slightly jazzy, with quiet drumming in the background.

Jareth himself somehow looked slightly more regal than when she’d left him—he still wore the Wicked T-shirt, but his hair was smoother, his face slightly rosier in the cheeks. She let her eyes linger on him, remembering what he’d said about taking what she wanted. 

He admired his handiwork for a moment and then drizzled a spoonful of olive oil over the Pecorino.  “Right, hardly a meal fit for royalty, and yet sometimes simpler is—“

He glanced in her direction and went silent.

She smiled and smoothed her still slightly-damp hair, a large portion of which was piled on top of her head and fastened with sparkly clips. She wore tiny crystal earrings and had applied just a hint of blush and burgundy lipstick that complimented her white-and-red floral sundress rather nicely, she thought. As a final touch, she was wearing heels—he didn’t tower over her, but she still wanted to be closer to his eye level.

She’d felt fairly pleased with the overall effect when she looked in the mirror—especially in contrast to the cutoffs-and-tank-top uniform she’d been wearing for the past week or so—but Jareth’s reaction made her grin harder to hide. 

He moved toward her slowly. “Clearly I should have brought a change of clothes,” he said.

She laughed. “You’d look regal in a bathrobe.”

He reached out to trail a finger down her neck. “You, on the other hand, look…” He took her hand and kissed it. “More regina than reginetta, to be sure.”

She threaded her fingers through his. “Why do you call me that?”

He pulled her closer. “Because you’re quite regal yourself,” he whispered.

He moved in to kiss her and she pushed a finger against his lips, smiling at his look of frustration. “Dance with me,” she said.

He smiled. The music, as if listening to their conversation, shifted into a slightly more waltz-adjacent rhythm, and she let herself be gently twirled around the small room, her hair coming slightly undone and falling around her face, the skirt of her dress fanning around her. Eventually the music slowed and she found herself slightly breathless, one of Jareth’s arms gripping her waist and the other holding her hand up to his lips. She let herself rest against his warm chest as he rocked them both gently back and forth. 

“You’re asking for what you want,” he murmured.

She smiled. “I’ve been writing characters who do it for years. Strange I never tried it myself.”

He pulled back slightly and twirled her away from him again. “What is your novel about, anyway?”

She let him pull her back into his arms and and move in a small circle around the room. “It doesn’t matter.”

“Oh, but I think it does.”

She laughed and felt herself blushing. “It’s…it’s a sort of fairy tale retelling. About a girl who falls in love with someone she’s never met.”

Jareth raised an eyebrow. “What sort of someone?”

She somehow had a feeling he already knew. “A king. A king trapped in a castle tower, that she has to rescue.”

He grinned and twirled her again until she felt slightly dizzy. “You say you never thought of me, and yet your novel is about a girl who pines for a king.”

“Lots of stories are about girls pining for kings. Or princes.” 

“This is true.” He pulled her in close again, lowering his mouth to her ear. “So it seems you’re skilled with words.”

She felt a rush of heat. “Maybe,” she whispered.

Jareth kissed her neck and ran his hand up the side of her dress. “Not that you aren’t also good with images,” he said. “Though I do wonder what would you say to me, if words were the only weapon at your disposal.” 

She smiled, feeling bold. “My words could make you hard in a matter of seconds,” she whispered.

He trailed his teeth over her throat. “I think my words have already made you wet,” he said.

She gripped the collar of his shirt. “When I dreamed about you you had me up against a wall, and I wanted you to fuck me so badly it was painful.”

His breath quickened and he gripped the back of her neck. “I thought a girl like you would want sweet and slow, but no, I can see you’d want to feel me hard and hot up against you, my mouth everywhere on that lovely skin…”

Her hand moved slowly downward. “…and I’d kneel in front of you and just look up, my mouth wide open, waiting…”

“…and I’m generous enough that I’d give you everything you wanted until you were moaning and begging for more of it, with my hands messing up that lovely hair of yours as I pulled it hard…”

She reached down and smiled as she gripped him, giving his neck a long, slow lick. “I win,” she whispered. 

He reached under her dress, slipped his fingers between her legs and smiled as she moaned. “I’d say it’s a tie, regina.” 

It was a bit of a blur after that. Her competitive side wanted to believe that he’d moved first, but really they might have both lunged at the same time, tongues coming together with soft moans as she pulled his shirt off and he pushed her dress down her body, growling softly when he saw that she had nothing on underneath. His smooth hands brushed and squeezed all over her, finally gripping her breasts and squeezing one nipple hard until she cried out and bit his neck, her hands hurriedly fumbling with his trousers and reaching inside…

“You want this so badly I can taste it,” he whispered, one hand still massaging her nipple as the other reached down and pushed her own hand harder against him.

She stroked him, and he grimaced slightly, and she pulled his trousers down and wrapped one leg around his waist, grinding against him. “Not as badly as you want to be inside me,” she whispered back.

He kissed her hard and then moved his mouth down to her breast, sucking a nipple into his mouth  and then kissing roughly back and forth across her chest. “You do love to win, don’t you, regina?”

She felt slightly dizzy as her hand continued to stroke him, his hot mouth trailing slowly downward. “About half as much as you do.” 

He knelt and kissed the inside of her thigh. She rather liked the sight of him on his knees, she realized. “At the very least I’m going to make you scream loud enough to wake Rome.”

She cried out as he gave her a long, slow lick. “I’ll make sure you wake Lisbon, then.”

His tongue pushed and circled expertly, and when he reached up she bit down on his hand to keep from crying out too loudly, but as he circled faster and slipped a finger inside her her cries got louder and louder until yes, she admitted that he might have won this round. But they had all night.

All night turned into the next day.

We should really get up from the floor, Sarah thought absently.

But the floor is fine, a voice in her mind responded. Plus it’s where the food and the wine are.

She couldn’t quite remember how they’d gotten to the floor—though she thought that at some point they’d been against the table, then against the wall, then in the bed. She also couldn’t remember who’d had the wherewithal to pull down a blanket and bring the food and wine. But that was where they were now, and it was a nice place.

She propped herself up on an elbow, popped a slice of plum into her mouth, followed by an olive, and then took another sip of Tignanello. An arm snaked around her waist and pulled her closer.

“Care to share, regina?”

She grabbed a chunk of focaccia and dipped it in olive oil. “Not particularly.” 

He laughed and reached over her to pluck an olive from the wooden board, laughing again when she grabbed it from his hand and popped it into her own mouth. “I’m so glad to see you being selfish.”

She drained her glass. “The wine helps.” 

He casually waved his hand over the board…

…and another olive jumped into his palm.

Sarah blinked and turned to look at him. He looked genuinely surprised, though she felt sure that he could easily have faked it.

She smirked. “Wanna tell me how long you’ve had the magics back?”

He raised an eyebrow. “I assure you, I’m just as surprised as you are.” He stood up. “Though you must be relieved, as I can now finally leave you in peace.”

She grabbed his hand and pulled him back down to the floor, her expression teasing. “Oh, and you’re not eager to get back to the place where everyone cowers before you?”

He glanced at her hand gripping his, his smile mirroring hers. “Tell me that you want me to stay and I’ll stay.”

“Tell me you don’t want to leave, at least not yet.” 

“You first.”

She laughed. “Count of three?” 

He kissed her hand. “One…two…”


He smiled with genuine delight and kissed her mouth insistently. “Only if you’ll let me have some bloody food eventually.”

She kissed him back and pulled him on top of her. “Later. I promise.”

“Only a fool believes a mortal prom—“

She silenced him by wrapping her legs tightly around his waist and kissing him again.

Sarah didn’t really notice the passing of the night, or the next day, though she was relieved that Mr. Nunzio chose not to pay them a visit. At some point she indicated that they should probably get dressed and get off the floor, because they couldn’t very well do nothing but fuck, sleep, and nibble focaccia forever.

“Why, pray tell,” Jareth asked her, eating a fresh slice of apricot, “would one spend time doing anything else?” 

At some point she slept and woke with him inside of her, and she moaned with the beautiful ache of it as he moved slowly and carefully, pinning her arms above her head as she kissed his neck, his hair falling in her face, and then moving faster, harder, his fingers touching her just so until she cried out so loudly that he laughed and muffled her cries with his mouth. In a daze, she slept again.

When he suggested they move from the floor to the bed she insisted on showering first, delighting in covering every inch of their bodies with soap and then watching the water run down the hard lines of his pale form, and almost as soon as they were done she felt sure they’d need another shower soon.

She kissed him slowly. “I don’t think I’ve kept my promise to make you cry out loud enough to wake Lisbon,” she said.

He ran his hands over her still-wet skin. “You can certainly try.”

She kissed her way down his stomach. “You do love to goad me, don’t you?”

“Only because it produces such delightful results.”

She smiled up at him and gave him a long, slow lick, enjoying the struggle on his face. “Just so you know,” she whispered, “this is the only time I’m ever kneeling before you.”


At some point she wondered if Jareth had casually reordered time to stretch the days. She knew, at least, that she hadn’t worn clothes for a while, only throwing on a shirt once or twice to lean out the window and receive the containers of food that Mr. Nunzio did eventually bring. It was all a haze of wine, fruit, bread, and sex, and she certainly wasn’t complaining.

Eventually, though, she woke from a deep sleep on the sofa to see Jareth wearing the shirt he’d arrived in and quietly riffling through the kitchen cabinets, eventually pulling out a half-empty bag of espresso beans. She smiled, feeling a twinge of sadness that wasn’t overpowering.

“Sneaking out?”

He turned and smiled at her. “Hardly. Though I am stealing your coffee. And this.” He held up a plastic package of mortadella. “To hell with the goblins, I’ll keep these in a magically locked box.”

She laughed and rose from the sofa, wrapping the bedsheet they’d been laying on top of around her body. “I suppose the goblin chaos needs managing?”

He pulled her toward him, his arms slipping under the sheet to grip her waist. “I am tied to the place, ramshackle mess that it is.”

“Shame you had to spend your whole vacation in this apartment.”

He smiled and kissed her. “Indeed, it was torture.” 

She stepped back and toyed with one of the pillows on the sofa. “I could invite you back, you know.”

“Again, not a vampire, and I don’t need—“

She tossed the pillow at him. “I know you don’t need an invitation, you dolt. Maybe I’d just like to give you one.”

He kissed her again, and she kissed back, filling her senses with him one more time. He held on just a bit longer than she’d expected.

His face was slightly flushed when he finally stepped away and blew her one last kiss. “I’ll be waiting, then.”

He snapped his fingers and vanished.

Sarah glanced around the apartment as though seeing it for the first time, or at least the first time in several days. She wrapped her arms around herself—she still smelled like him. 

After cleaning up fallen clothes, tossing sheets in the washing machine, having a shower, and changing into a tank top and shorts, she heard Mr. Nunzio calling out from below.

“Tomorrow, Saaarah!” he said. “Tomorrow we fix stairs, you can leave soon, okay?”

She smiled down at him from the window. “Grazie, nonno.”

“So terrible, trapped inside for so many days, mi dispiace!”

Si, terrible.” She let her gaze wander to the distant ocean and the sun glimmering off its surface, her mind awash in very pleasant memories. “But I survived.”