“Mmm…happy birthday, sexy man. Are you sure you want to go to work today?”
Isabella rolls into my side and circles one finger over my nipple until it rises into a hardened point. “Is that a trick question? Of course I don’t want to get out of bed, but playing hooky today is not an option.” Alice, the little taskmaster, has me scheduled for an all-day seminar with her admin superstars, and she is not a woman to disappoint.
Neither is the lady lying naked next to me, but as I’ve learned in recent months, Isabella is beyond reasonable. It could be her DNA; she just doesn’t have it in her to play the drama queen. As she curls her hand around my cock and squeezes, another theory dominates: she is entirely secure in my love and devotion for her, and she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would spend every second of every day with her if I could—and so much the better if those seconds were spent in bed.
“Hmm, okay then. I guess our celebration will just have to wait until later.”
She releases me after a few quick pumps and rolls her body seductively, making sure to brush the satiny skin of her tight belly across mine as she exits our bed, taking all the covers with her. She can’t help grinning back at me before stepping into the bathroom, and I deliberately fold my arms behind my head and cross my ankles, blatantly displaying my arousal. Six months into this relationship and I continue to find Isabella increasingly tantalizing and constantly surprising, a trend I am certain will continue. “Can’t wait.”
Isabella rakes her hot gaze along my body, lingering between my legs but ending at my smile. “I really hope you will.”
Her raised eyebrow adds a challenge I’m quick to accept. After all, how many times have I ordered her as my submissive to refrain from touching herself for a period of time? It’s only fair I hold off, especially if she has something special planned for tonight—which, I can readily tell from that twinkle in her eye, she most definitely does.
“You know I’d do anything for you, baby.”
“That’s my birthday boy.” Her smile is instant and bright, and all is right in my world.
Mercifully, the workday passes quickly. Alice runs a tight ship, and the ambitious schedule of topics we agreed upon for our workshop does a fair job keeping my mind occupied. By five o’clock, though, my focus is slipping, the promise of Isabella’s secret plans getting the better of me. Rather than meet her in the lobby at 5:30, I decide to surprise my date at her office a few minutes early.
“Well, if it isn’t the birthday boy,” Jessica greets with an enormous grin.
Not that I have any hang-ups about growing older, but I’ve never been one to make a fuss over my birthday. Aside from the obligatory parental call with the ritual singing of “Happy Birthday,” the day has largely gone unnoticed for most of my adult years, so it surprises no one more than me that all the attention feels pretty damn good.
“Thank you, Jessica.”
“Big plans?” Either she knows nothing about Isabella’s plans, or she’s a far better liar than I would’ve given her credit for.
“You’d have to ask my fiancée about that. She’s playing this one pretty close to the cuff.”
“Ahh. Gotcha. Maybe we better announce you today, huh?”
I can’t help but smirk, remembering my early run-ins with Jessica over access to Isabella’s office. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve asked anyone’s permission to see Isabella exactly whenever and wherever I pleased—Isabella included.
“Just this once,” I agree.
Jessica’s smile never fades as she lifts her phone and presses the intercom. “Yes, I have a visitor out here...mmhmmm…he insisted on being announced...” Jessica shoots me a conspiratorial wink as she and Isabella play their little game. “Hmm, I’m not sure I’d call him drop-dead gorgeous, but he’s okay-looking…oh yes, he seems fairly eager to see you…”
Jessica easily surrenders the phone as I curl my fingers in a “gimme” gesture. “Correction,” I say into the handset. “He’s eager as all hell to see you.”
The line goes dead, and several seconds later, Isabella’s office door swings open and she pushes through. Her eyes dance with her private plans as she strides over to me and steps into my open arms.
“Playing hard to get, I see,” she giggles before kissing me.
I know Jessica is riveted to our scene, so I pull Isabella closer, discreetly pressing my dick against her belly. With my lips inside the shell of her ear, I murmur, “Not playing; just hard.”
“I love you, too, baby,” she chuckles, grasping my hand in hers and tugging me toward the elevator.
“Have fun, you two.” Just before the elevator doors close, Jessica gives us a little wave.
Springtime in New York City can range wildly from cold and blustery to warm and balmy—sometimes all within the span of a day. What I have planned for Edward’s birthday is indoor sport, so the weather won’t matter either way, but it’s nice to have the warm, dry breeze as we head out of Clarke’s with dinner in hand.
“Are you sure you don’t want to just eat here?” he asks, eyes fixated longingly on the fully loaded cheeseburger as it disappears inside the Styrofoam box.
“Nope. We’re doing take-out.”
“But the sweet potato fries are going to get cold.”
“Have I ever told you how cute you are when you whine?”
“No,” he answers, looking proud of himself.
“Because you’re not.” I kiss away his pout. Truth be told, he is positively adorable, but I’m not about to let him know it. And I’m also not about to let him know that I have plans for that food—and him—that involve our being quite alone.
“You love me.”
“Yes, I surely do.”
He weaves his fingers through mine, and we swing our joined hands between us as we walk the five blocks home. “Want me to carry the food?”
“No, Edward. It’s part of your present. I’m taking care of everything.”
“You don’t trust me not to sneak a fry, do you?”
“Not even a little bit.”
He laughs. “You have learned a few things in our time together, I see.”
“Oh, I think I’ve learned plenty, and not just about your epic love for the sweet potato fry, thank you very much.”
His head swivels my direction. “You’re very welcome.”
We make our way through the chorus of greetings from the building staff in the lobby and suffer through a torturously pungent elevator ride as the scent of onions and grilled beef swirl tantalizingly in the tight enclosure. When Edward pulls me close and accuses, “You’re killing me . . . killing me,” I have to bite back my smile.
I lead him to the couch and tug our joined hands so that he flops to the seat. Momentarily setting down the restaurant bag on the coffee table, I climb onto the cushions with my knees on either side of Edward’s thighs.
“Mmm,” he hums, a grin forming on his face as his hands automatically reach for my hips. I let him hold me and even gyrate underneath me as I loosen his tie and unhitch his top button. I want him relaxed and comfortable, but I’m hyper-aware of his hunger meter. I bend to cover his lips with mine, and I know I have a willing participant when Edward lets me take control of the kiss. He protests mildly as I pull off him, but he doesn’t make any kind of move to follow me as I head across the room to the bar and pour us each a Grey Goose on the rocks.
“Happy birthday, baby,” I toast, offering him a glass and clinking before taking a long sip.
He opens his arms. “Come back.”
“I will,” I promise. He gives me a curious tilt of his head as I snag the food and head for the kitchen. “Can I trust you to stay right there for just a few minutes while I get ready?” I call across the room while I arrange the burgers and fries in the warming oven, a well-used engagement gift from my parents.
Edward drops his head against the back of the couch and regards me upside-down, his mouth agape but grinning indulgently. “You’re really testing me today; you know that, woman?” he growls.
I can’t resist touching his shoulders and kissing him once more on my way to the bedroom. Our kiss is cool and wet from the icy vodka, and Edward tastes spicy and sweet and eager. “I know, baby, and to be honest, I’m not sure I could resist you right now myself, but…I promise I’ll be quick.”
He grabs me suddenly behind my neck and pulls me into his lips again. When he lets me go, his eyes are dark and needy; it’s a look I recognize well, and one that never fails to send a jolt through my system.
“Go!” he orders, tipping his chin toward our room.
“Drink,” I command right back before skittering off to the bedroom.
The very moment I’m out of his visual field, I start tearing off my clothes.
What is she planning? I still have no clue, other than the fact that Isabella is taking charge—always a welcome instinct unless, of course, it’s playtime. Master is not one to share his authority, but there’s always room outside of our scenes for Isabella to freely express her needs...mmm, not to mention our intimate aftercare sessions. I have to chuckle to myself at how difficult our talks still occasionally can be for my sweet subbie, depending on the topic at hand.
The ice clinks gently against the crystal tumbler while I swirl and sip as ordered by my benevolent dictator while the tantalizing aroma of our burgers fills my nostrils with another kind of desire. It cannot be helped; I am a man of multiple hungers. How miraculous that I found a woman who not only satisfies me on every level but pushes me to expand my passions. That unique brand of Isabella warmth fills me, and a stupid grin spreads over my face as I relax and count my blessings. Lucky, lucky fucker I am. I’m sidetracked—marveling at how Isabella manages to grace me with perfect contentment while at the same time inciting a riotous need inside me—when the lights suddenly dim.
My head snaps to the hallway, where Isabella emerges embodying one of my all-time favorite fantasies. Covered in nothing more than a few strategically-tied silk scarves, hair corralled into a high ponytail, Isabella appears to be my very own living, breathing genie. I toss down the remainder of my drink while my body fights for equilibrium. As far as birthday presents go, this one’s a doozy.
Isabella’s head is lowered demurely, but as her high-heeled-sandal-clad feet carry her soundlessly in front of me, she lifts her eyes to mine—my beautiful girl, managing to slide into submissive mode as easily as tying herself into a halter and brief skirt. And yet, this scene is all hers—my fiancée’s generous gift to me.
I’m waiting as patiently as I’m capable of, but I cannot resist telling her how beautiful she looks. Her cheeks pink up to match the soft pastel scarf fastened at her neck, and she instantly drops to her knees at my feet and sinks back on her heels. My stomach jumps to my throat; could she be any more perfect?
Ahh, hand feeding? Fuck yeah. I’ve been on edge since Isabella’s promise this morning, and the perfect set of knockers six inches from my crotch finishes the job of bringing my dick to full attention. “I would love that.”
“Very well, Master. I know how hungry you are, but before I get your meal, may I make you a little more comfortable?”
Right on cue, my stomach grumbles, and we both chuckle as I rub my hand harshly across my belly to shut the damn thing up.
“Don’t worry, Master; I’ll be quick.” Her smile pierces me. Only Isabella truly appreciates the battle waging inside me right now. She’s turned me into a human time bomb, ticking away on the couch. Will she cut the right wire, or will I implode and blow us both to oblivion?
“Have at it, Genie.”
“Thank you, Master.” Within seconds, my shoes are untied and set to the side, along with my socks. Isabella takes one foot at a time onto her thigh and kneads each one thoroughly until I’m moaning out loud. She finishes by dropping a soft kiss onto the top of each foot before gently releasing me to the floor. I’m sure I’m sporting some big, goofy, blissful grin as she leans over and kisses me while sliding my tie out of my collar and tossing it away. My hands twitch with the urge to reach for her tempting breasts...they’re just right there...but I’m a good boy and twist my hands into the sofa cushions instead...for now.
I barely register the slight tug of each button coming loose from its slot as Isabella opens my shirt and slides it out of my pants. Brushing her palm down my chest, she inquires, “Comfy, Master?”
I feel like I’ve answered her, but I can’t be sure if I actually voiced anything outside my own head. She giggles and takes my empty drink with her across the room. I stare in awe at the gentle sway of her makeshift skirt as she refills my drink for me. The front view will always be my favorite though, not just because of her tight belly or the way her long lean legs disappear into those golden sandals; not even because of her perfectly-shaped breasts or their perfectly tightened buds, but because of those eyes.
The chocolate pools of honesty and warmth, where no secrets come between us.
“Thank you.” I reach for the offered drink, and she squeezes my shoulder with her other hand on her way to the kitchen. I am about to get a big, fat, juicy cheeseburger and a mound of sweet potato fries hand-fed to me by my very own volunteer genie.
Lucky, lucky fucker.
After testing several models of bed trays, we finally found a keeper—a bamboo number with high sides and a graduated circular indentation that holds up to jostling mattresses and rising laps. As I settle it over the birthday boy’s thighs, I send up a quick prayer to the upholstery gods. Please do not let the condiments end up splattered across our sofa...again.
Oh, the hazards of a passionate love life. As joyous as I am to be me in this relationship, I would most definitely not want to be any piece of our furniture. Not the dining room chairs with the ladder back and legs that lend themselves so readily to Master’s ropes. Not the kitchen stools—or for that matter, the counter—where numerous scenes have had me bent over forward, backward, and sideways. Not the poor coffee table, whose top has supported our weight through all kinds of bold experimentation. And most definitely not this poor, abused sofa. I can’t even think sometimes when we have visitors over and they sit...anywhere, really. It’s bad.
So I’m not sad we’re leaving it all behind and starting fresh when we move into our next place—once we find that perfect slice of ecstasy-with-an-unfinished-basement, that is.
Speaking of ecstasy, the man I’ve settled between my legs with his back to my chest is hungry and eager for everything I have for him tonight. I drag three fries through the maple-mustard dip and lovingly deliver them to Edward’s waiting lips.
“Mmmmm!” His bliss is palpable, and I scurry to gather the next handful so I can keep the happy buzz rolling. “Oh, man, crispy and hot!” His delight at the simple pleasure of a sweet potato fry will never cease to amuse me. This time, when my fingers meet his lips, he doesn’t stop until his tongue is lapping at the tender skin where my fingers meet my palm. “Fucking delicious,” he mutters as I slide out to grab the burger. Reaching around his upper body, I grab the burger with both hands and lift it toward his mouth. He’s not cooperating, resting his head against my shoulder and chuckling while I blindly struggle to locate his mouth.
“Open sesame?” Worked for Ali Baba.
“Since you asked so nicely...” With one final chuff, he straightens up and reaches his face to the food. Through a mouthful of meat and bread and toppings, he mumbles, “Napkin, please,” but it’s too late. The grease has begun a slow roll down his chin.
“Clean up on aisle one,” he jokes, still chewing and swallowing the giant mouthful while I mop him up from behind.
“This went so much better in my head,” I admit.
His neck swivels and Edward captures my lips with his before I’ve finished degreasing him. His tongue brings with it the lingering suggestion of succulent beef and salty fries, reminding me I’m hungry, too. Before the thought is even fully formed, Edward is pressing two fries into my mouth. “Eat, my sweet genie.”
“You’re not supposed to be feeding me,” I mumble gratefully around the fries.
“Sure I am. It makes me happy.”
And it does. I can see it written all over his adorable, adoring face. There’s no answer for that—short of accepting his offering. He scoots into the back of the couch so I can slide more to his side. He feeds me with his right hand; I feed him with my left. Giving and taking on both sides—so us.
But it’s his birthday, and I so want to tip the scales. All it takes is one magical word. “Master?”
His eyebrows rise, and the easy smile morphs into something just a tad more serious. “Yes.” His simple response tells it all: I’m here. I’m ready. I’m yours.
“May I clear, please?”
The hum sends a thrill down my spine, ending with a dangerous tingle under my skirt. It’s completely ridiculous how easy I am for him—one look, one sound, and I’m a hot mess. Wordlessly, I hand Edward his drink before slipping out from behind him and clearing away the tray.
“You trying to get me drunk, Genie?” he calls over to the kitchen.
“Just relaxed, Master.”
Master. Gawwwd, the word. Had I realized as a kid watching reruns of Barbara Eden how erotic the show was? Was the scantily-clad submissive woman not enough? Larry Hagman was cute and loving, but he was no Master—not compared to mine anyway. That poor woman nearly killed herself trying to serve him, and Major Nelson never did let her have her joy, the rotten stinker of a sweetheart. Just like the long-suffering castaways on Gilligan’s Island who came so close to rescue so many times.
Thankfully, my Master knows better—way better—and taking in his sprawled form on the couch makes me leave everything in the sink and scoot back over there, pronto.
Stuffed to the gills with dinner and a chocolate cupcake she somehow managed to hide from me since yesterday, there’s only one hunger left...and she’s kneeling between my legs again. I lean forward, resting my elbows on my thighs and folding my hands together between my knees. “What’s next, my sweet genie of a birthday present?”
“This is the part where you tell me. I’m here to grant three birthday wishes for you, Master.”
“Three? Whew!” I give my head a shake to clear away some of the food coma so I can think. I’m totally unprepared for her offer. There’s literally nothing I need that she doesn’t already provide. “Okay, give me a minute here...you caught me off guard—and a little tipsy. Let’s see...” Pretty girl dressed in a harem costume...what could I possibly want? “Got it! I wish for you to dance for me.”
That was a stroke of genius, if I do say so myself.
Isabella dips her head, taking a moment to absorb the request. When she looks up at me again, she’s fully in the moment, and a tiny smile plays at her lips. “Your wish is my command.”
She moves gracefully to the sound system, and I prepare myself for tambourines and oboes. I wonder briefly if Isabella has been practicing belly dancing, though I can’t imagine the spare time she’d have found where we haven’t been together. We’re probably nauseating as a couple, separated vertically during work hours and almost not at all otherwise.
She selects a track on her iPod and spins around in time for my reaction to the initial guitar riffs. Oh, my sly little genie, you are at least three steps ahead of me tonight. Apparently, belly dancing is not on the docket tonight, not with Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet” filling the apartment.
Black Velvet, Isabella’s first real connection with the dom inside me. Her confidant, her trusted friend, the mentor who held her hand as she dipped her toe into the wide, wonderful world of BDSM. And the one who almost reluctantly let her go when Edward and Master took over.
Freaking perfect tribute, that’s what she’s just given me for my birthday. She’s pure sex as her heels drop deliberately along the carpeted floor along with the heavy beat of the drums. Those long, lithe legs I’ve explored repeatedly from thigh to ankle come closer, bringing the rest of her firm body close enough to touch—but I won’t. I force my hands behind my neck, clasping my fingers tightly together so I don’t lash out for her when the need becomes too intense. She’s left me unbuttoned, and her eyes rake over my chest, one of her very favorite parts. I know this well by now, know which parts of me excite her most. In the end, though, it’s my eyes that hold hers because they’re everything for both of us. She drinks in courage from my needy gaze, and her upper body begins the dance.
Subtle at first, a shoulder lifts, an arm swings, a hip sways. There’s a tilt to her neck, a dreamy gaze, a roll of her belly. Soon, she’s lost to the music, and she’s dancing just for me, for Black Velvet. Her nipples are rock hard under the scarf, and my fingers itch to set her free. “Undo your top for me,” I plead because I can’t wait another second.
She grins. “Is that your second wish, Master?”
It’s a sucker’s bet, using my second chit on one stinking scrap of fabric, but I don’t care. I need to see those tits moving just for me, the nipples hard just for me. “Yes,” I answer, quickly adding, “I wish for you to remove all the scarves.”
Hah! Take that, Genie!
She smiles again without a hint of guile as if she’s pleased I tossed in the extra request. “Your wish is my command, Master.” Her hands lift slowly, wrists crossed in a seductive ballet as they rise over her head. I feel my mouth drop open as she unties the knot at her neck, leaving the hot pink scarf to drop away from her perfect tits and slide off her body to the floor.
Mine, mine, mine! Yes, but not yet. I shift on the sofa, hard and thick and so goddamn ready for her. She teases me with her hands high over her head, offering no barrier between me and the hardened nubs I want to pull between my teeth. The soft flesh dips and sways, and despite the fact I’ve had her breasts in my hands a thousand times, I want them so badly now that my fingers tingle. As if reading my mind, her hands glide down her neck, parting to cup the two plump mounds in her palms.
I want, I want, I want. I want my hands on her; I want her hands on me.
She shows me no mercy whatsoever, slipping her hands lower to the silky skirt. One piece is untied and tossed away; the second follows quickly. Naked but for the high heels, all she’s wearing are the Master’s bracelet I hadn’t realized she’d put on tonight and her infinity ring—symbols of her devotion to me and my dedication to her.
Her bare pussy is right at my eye level, teasing, gyrating, begging to be licked. My mouth waters at the sight, and I sit up a little straighter.
“So beautiful, Isabella. I want you...so much.” My words give her courage, draw her out of her inhibitions, remind her she’s dancing for me. Her eyes flutter and she lets the music take her again. She steps closer, opening her legs and straddling my thighs. I look, because how could I not? She’s glistening with her own need. I watch with fascination as her hand slides down her firm belly, past her abs, to the edge of her desire. She throws her head back and sighs, spreading her legs even wider and gyrating in front of me. My cock is aching from neglect, but I’ve waited all this time, and I’m not going to give up now.
“Touch yourself, Isabella. I want to see you come for me.”
“Yes, fuck, that’s my final wish!”
He’s surprisingly bad at this game, my overexcited birthday boy, spending all his wishes on me. Watching me. He’s demanded this of me before, in scene, but not like this—not when it cost him the remainder of his chits for the night. Genie’s Master is bound by the rules of my game, whereas Isabella’s Master is bound only by his own vast imagination.
Edward’s dress slacks do little to hide the erection pressing aggressively against the puckered fabric, and it occurs to me that I should’ve removed all his clothes when I had the chance. Watching him squirm in front of me half-dressed is delicious, but the idea of challenging his restraint by leaving him naked brings a fresh rush of fluid beneath my fingers. I drop my eyes to the unruly bulge in his lap and give my lips a slow, seductive swipe of my tongue. He rewards me with a low grunt and a definite shift of his hips. He’s struggling now, and it warms my ever-submissive heart.
Those expressive emerald green eyes of his flare open, then abruptly half-close again as I expose myself to his view. I’m close to the edge, but I draw out the show...for him. One finger disappears inside me; I give it a slow pump, a twist. His jaw drops open; his thighs are thick bands of steel throbbing with tension.
Transferring all my weight to my right foot—because falling on my ass would really not be sexy—I flex my left knee and lift my foot to the cushion, making sure to drag the five-inch spike heel along Edward’s pants before resting it next to his hip. I give him a minute to eye my leg like a Porterhouse steak bone he wants to gnaw on, and now that he has front-row seats for the main event, I start the final act, adding my voice to the last chorus:
“Black Velvet and that little boy’s smile...” Gyrating my hips, close enough that he can smell me, taste me if he wanted...
“Black Velvet with that slow southern style...” Slipping my fingertip to the tiny round bud and circling...
“A new religion that’ll bring ya to your knees...” Pressing, teasing, faster and faster, letting myself go...
“Black Velvet, if you please.” Losing myself in the ecstasy...knowing his eyes are on me every step of the way as I fall...
If you please...if you please... Alannah has to finish the song by herself; I’m quivering and spent.
“C’mere.” His voice is soft but insistent, stirring me from my stupor. I open my eyes to the happy, sexy grin I know and love. He’s finally released his hands from their voluntary bondage behind his head, and they instantly seize whatever he can reach—ankle, calf, thigh. “Thank you, Genie.”
“My pleasure.” Truly. His hand climbs the back of my leg still perched on the couch, fingers teasing higher. I shift to my knee and pull the other leg up, straddling his thighs, and sit back in his lap while I open his belt and slide it through the loops. He watches me with an awed fascination while I unbutton and unzip his pants and reach my hand inside his boxers to touch him for the first time tonight.
Throwing his head back against the couch, Edward growls out, “Motherfucker!”
He’s cooperative, to say the least, when I shimmy off the rest of his clothes, but I notice he’s eyeing me suspiciously. I lean forward to kiss him, and now I’m sure of it. Something’s off; he’s not his usual exuberant self though I can clearly see that all systems are GO!
With a weary sigh, Edward rolls his head side-to-side on the couch. “I used up all my wishes.”
There is such misery in that poor voice, I almost feel sorry for him. Thing is, I wrote this story, so I already know it has a happy ending—for both of us. “Sweet Master, have you forgotten your ‘one to grow on’?” I scoot my hips closer, line us up, and sink down until his entire length is inside me.
A string of profanities spews from his lips, and I lean forward and fill his mouth with my flesh instead. He takes my nipple in like a starved man, nicking me with his teeth and lapping at me until I pull him back by his hair. The rough play only incites him further—I suppose I should’ve known—and he grabs my ass with both hands, lifts me, and drops me again. His lips claim mine; his tongue owns my mouth while I’m skewered at the other end. My head is spinning with the pressure above and below and Lord help me, his grunting. The birthday boy has left the building, and in his place is an incoherent fucking machine—not that I’m exactly complaining.
I’m holding on for dear life, my arms wrapped tightly around his neck while he spears me again and again, his cowgirl riding bareback over rough terrain. He pulls his mouth away to draw a frantic breath, leaving him free to groan and mutter and beg. My thighs are burning, and every stroke is banging away at the sensitive spot deep inside me; pleasure and pain woven inextricably together so that I could not separate them if I tried. Our bodies are slick with sweat, slapping and sliding. We’re two thick, steel cords braided together, coiling forcefully around each other’s need, gathering intensity with each stroke.
He shifts below me, and the last thrust is impossibly deeper. My hips are caught in a vise-like grip as he singlemindedly chases his release. I’m grasped and pounded, waves crashing against a rocky shore. More, more, just a little bit more...
Utter stillness. A quick breath, tightening, then wild abandon. We hold onto each other through the rugged ride; we’re so much better now at finding each other at the top...we’re galloping through a grassy field, cool breeze in our faces, riding wave after wave of ecstasy.
“Stop looking at me like that; you know I can’t take it.”
“Don’t unbuckle your shoes then. You know how much I love you in heels.”
“Edward, we’re going to bed.” She stops plucking our clothes from the floor long enough to put her hand on her hip and attempt to look fierce. It’s really not working, probably because she’s naked and all post-coitally mussed.
She tosses the handful of clothes at me and chuckles. “Incorrigible.”
“I’m allowed. It’s my birthday.”
After consulting the oven clock, she responds, “Only for another ten minutes.”
I wrap my arm around her shoulders and distract her from taking off her shoes while we walk back toward the bedroom. “I plan to make the most of my last ten minutes.”
“Oh yeah? You haven’t had enough?”
Enough? Does not compute.
“It was a great birthday, Isabella. I loved my present. You are the best genie a guy could ever hope for. I want to spend my last ten minutes thanking you properly.”
“Hmmm, your wish is my command.” Her voice is weary, and it’s only fair. She’s done all the heavy lifting...and feeding and dancing and sexing.
In the bathroom, I sink into a crouch and unbuckle her shoes for her, peppering her feet with the same kisses she granted me. We fall into our bedtime routines, but the toothbrushing and face-washing are accompanied by tender caresses and close body contact. There’s almost nothing separate about us anymore. We walk to the bed with joined hands, and she snuggles into my body under the lightweight spring covers.
“‘Black Velvet’, eh?”
“Yeah...I’ve been waiting for the right time to bust that out.”
“How did you know I’d ask you to dance?”
“I had a hunch.”
My thumb drags down her back. “I think you took advantage of me.”
Her giggle is a warm puff of air into my chest. “Poor birthday baby.”
I can’t even pretend not to be smiling. “I know, right? Well, all I have to say is thank God for ones to grow on.”
“Yes, you certainly grew on me.”
“What can I say? I’m older, wiser, and obviously more charming.”
“Am I to assume that this trend will continue with every birthday?”
“Most likely,” I warn her.
Ninety-nine girls out of one hundred would be shaking in their boots right now, but not my girl. I imagine her smile in the dark as she ponders her fate—a lifetime together—and her words echo my own thoughts perfectly.
“I cannot wait.”
Author’s Note: Thank you to my behind-the-scenes superstars: Kitkat and Shell Shock (pre-readers), and Chayasara (beta extraordinaire).
This piece was part of the F4LLS compilation encompassing the three fandoms of HP, Twilight, and Hunger Games, which together raised over $7700 for research for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I have personally witnessed the miracles this kind of research can perform, and I thank you all for your generosity. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a couple of characters who are still playing behind the scenes.