Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight
By Jo Fredericks
Utterly bone-weary, Catherine collapsed as daintily as possible onto the easy chair which was a new addition in Vincent’s chamber.
"Phew!" She blew at a stray curl that had escaped her hastily arranged ponytail, then gave up and pulled the ponytail free, shaking her head to loosen it.
"You are much too tired to make the trek back to the threshold, Catherine," Vincent observed as he followed her into his chamber, sitting heavily onto the sturdy oak chair by his writing table. His own weariness was etched in his face.
"But it’s a ‘good’ tired," she replied, stifling a yawn. "I feel we accomplished a lot today."
He nodded his agreement. "The library has never been so orderly or so organized. The children will no longer pester Father daily for the secret hiding places of his many books."
She grinned. "If by ‘secret hiding places’ you mean all those piles scattered helter skelter!"
Rewarding her with a rare smile, he confirmed, "An apt definition."
Catherine stretched in a full-throated yawn, then apologized sheepishly. "Sorry! You’re right, I am exhausted. But," she pushed herself out of the comfortable chair, "as the guest chambers are full tonight…."
Vincent rose hastily and laid a restraining hand on her forearm. She looked up and was surprised to see an uncertain look on his face. For a moment, neither of them spoke, until, with some trepidation, he offered, "You…could…stay here."
A reluctant smile graced her lips. "You’re as tired as I am. I will not put you out of your own bed."
"You would not be doing so." He squeezed her forearm to reinforce his meaning.
"Oh! Then…thank you, I accept the invitation," she murmured, trying to smother the jolt of surprise that was spiking through her.
The hand on her forearm was removed; Vincent was turning, and she realized he was heading for the wardrobe which held his clothes. He bent and opened a drawer, and when he turned back to her, he was holding a familiar garment.
"From when you stayed with us after your Father’s passing…yes."
"I thought I’d returned it to Mary," she noted, a hint of amusement coloring her voice.
He didn’t seem inclined to explain further.
Catherine reached out to take the soft, cream-colored nightgown from him. Its tiny ribbons and bits of buttery suede had made the simply designed garment immediately identifiable. She wondered if the matching robe lay in his drawer, as yet unrevealed.
Vincent shoved the drawer closed with his foot, his eyes never leaving hers. "You may wish to use…." He left the rest of his suggestion unvoiced, gesturing toward the small bathroom adjacent to his chamber.
Nodding, she gathered her wits and the nightgown and headed toward the proffered changing room. Quickly she shed her outerwear, hanging her jeans and sweatshirt on the towel rail to air out; they were dusty from her work in the library, but she didn’t want to shake them out in the confined space. She hesitated a moment, then decided to remove her undergarments as well. She wished she could bathe, as she was uncertain exactly what, besides a place to lay her head, Vincent was offering her, but settled for washing up quickly, using a handy bit of toweling.
When she returned to his chamber, Vincent was in his own nightclothes – a worn-thin pair of sweatpants and a loose pullover sweater which, although laced at the neck, left some of his chest hair exposed. He was blowing out all the candles, leaving only a single one – the thickest and tallest – to hold back complete darkness.
Catherine approached the bed but didn’t get into it. Eying him speculatively, she asked, "You aren’t going to pretend to settle in until I drift off, then sleep in your chair, are you?"
A startled blush spread quickly over his face as they both realized she had guessed his plan exactly.
With chagrin, Vincent shook his head. She thought, not for the first time, how endearing he looked when he was a tiny bit flustered.
"I’ll get in first," he suggested, as if to prove he didn’t intend to slip off the mattress at his first opportunity. He climbed into his bed, holding up the covers for her. She smiled in gratitude and slipped under the quilts, letting him settle them around her. But if she had hoped he’d lie close beside her, she noted that he had no intention of doing so. Although it looked as though he was only getting into a more comfortable position, in fact his attempts to settle into the bed barely masked the fact that he was inching away from her. To Catherine it appeared as if he was aiming to lie as close to his stained glass window as the bookcase below it would allow.
Amused and a little exasperated – he had been the one to suggest they sleep in the same bed, after all! - she gently mocked him. "Don’t fall off the other side!"
With apparent effort, Vincent stopped himself before he’d completed his retreat. He turned on his side instead, his back to her, on the far side of the large bed.
Accepting this as a great concession – there were at least six inches between him and the edge of the bed - Catherine turned on her side as well, and ventured toward the middle of the bed, close behind but not touching him, except to lay her right hand against his back. She wanted to feel his warmth at least, even if he wouldn’t lie close beside her.
She felt him tense at her touch, but stubbornly refused to pull away from him, letting her feelings of contentment and drowsiness imbue their Bond, underscoring her intent: comfort – both for herself and for him.
He relaxed by degrees – she could feel it in the set of the muscles beneath her hand. After a minute, Vincent shifted a little, backing toward her, and one massive arm reached behind him. To her surprise her right hand was grasped and gently pulled until it was tucked against his chest, enfolded in his own large hand.
In order for her to accommodate this move, Catherine had had to slide toward him few inches, until she was lightly spooned against him. It made her inordinately happy that he had reached for her hand, given the somewhat uncomfortable turns at the start of this strange dance.
Vincent’s tension still simmered just at the edge of consciousness. Catherine could feel it in his chest, in the line of his body. But then they yawned in unison, and snuggled deeper under the covers together. And despite the novelty of their situation, before any further advancing or retreating was possible, sheer exhaustion claimed them; in moments they both fell asleep.
* * *
Catherine awoke to the distant sound of tapping on the pipes. She was so relaxed…suffused with the lulling warmth of the large body beside her. Blinking sleep from her eyes, she smiled happily to herself as she remembered where she was, and the monumental shift in their relationship that sleeping in Vincent’s bed with him had betokened. Even if he’d taken no advantage of the situation, the mere fact that he had apparently stayed in the bed with her all night was encouraging. And the next time…assuming there was one…she felt sure the awkwardness would be minimized.
As her eyes finally focused, she realized Vincent was turned toward her, gazing down at her, her right hand still firmly within his grasp.
She stretched lazily, taking care to keep her hand in his. "What time is it?"
Vincent looked up as if reading the message of the pipes, then back down to her. "Just past 4:30."
"Do you think I should leave before anyone realizes I stayed the night with you?" she murmured, as if someone might overhear her from the tunnel beyond his chamber.
"It’s all right," he reassured her. "No one who might notice will say anything about it. Only the sentries are about at this time, and they all report to me."
An impish grin creased her lips. "It’s good to be king!"
Catherine heard his raspy chuckle and, taking a chance, she snuggled close to him, pressing her face against his chest. He didn’t resist. She smiled secretly. "Did you really stay with me all night?"
"I did," he whispered, and she felt him nuzzle a kiss upon the crown of her head.
Her smile grew broader. "Thank you…for this."
He released her hand and his arms encircled her, pulling her even closer. She sighed and snaked her arms under his, reaching around to hug him in response.
The breathy sigh of her name nearly undid her, and she lifted her face to his.
Vincent’s flat, furred nose rubbed across her forehead, his lips barely brushing her eyebrows. They placed a definite kiss on her temple, however, atop the one stubborn scar that remained after her attack. He nuzzled there for a moment, sending shivers of delight up her spine. When he began to trail his lips across her cheek, Catherine held her breath, waiting for what she hoped was his inevitable destination. She almost groaned in relief when his lips finally met hers, and for a breathless moment the universe spun crazily, or perhaps it only spun within her, for she was dizzy from it.
Catherine sensed Vincent beginning to pull back and she followed, not allowing him to take his mouth from hers. He seemed surprised by this, but hesitated only a breath’s span before he kissed her again, more urgently.
Her lips parted hungrily, the need to taste him nearly overwhelming. That full lower lip of his had intrigued her for ages, and she longed to trace the cleft in his upper lip with her tongue. Now, finally, she was being allowed to do what she’d dreamed of for so long.
Vincent huffed sharply in surprise when Catherine’s tongue slipped across the tender cleft, and she realized how sensitive it was. Delicately she lapped at it, her actions dragging nearly imperceptible moans from deep in Vincent’s throat.
His left arm slid gently from behind her, brushing with tantalizing brevity across her breasts, then settled between them, his hand cupping her face as their kisses continued.
Tilting her head back with the pressure of his thumb under her chin, Vincent began to caress her neck with his fingertips and with his lips, flicking the tip of his tongue lightly along her pulse point, her earlobe, breathing warmly against her ear – everything combining to cause her stomach to flutter wildly. Deep in her core, she felt the clutching that was her body readying itself for him, for whatever he might offer her.
Vincent’s hand left her neck, fingertips stroking downward across her collarbone, rounding her shoulder, slipping across the top of her chest. He tugged gently on the lacings of her nightgown until he had bared one breast. Kisses trailed after his hand, pressed warmly across the base of her neck, her shoulder, lower and lower, until the taut, dusky flesh of her nipple was beneath his mouth. His tongue lapped against it…once…twice…and as she whimpered and arched against him, his mouth took her in, tongue swirling and tugging, soft suction pulling her more deeply into his mouth.
Catherine moaned his name, sending a shudder through his body that she could feel to her toes, and he shifted until he was partly atop her, pressing against her tightly. For the first time she could feel his erection, hot…and quite substantial…along the top of her thigh.
The lone candle in the room flared in a sudden breeze, and disembodied voices could be heard, far off, laughing companionably.
Catherine would have stayed there forever, joyous and delirious, drowning in his kisses, his caresses, the solid length of him, the heat of his body pressed so close…but Vincent, panting heavily, rose from her breast, leaned his forehead against hers and murmured, "My world is awakening, Catherine."
On so many levels, she thought hazily. But she managed to gasp in reply, " ‘Wilt thou leave me so unsatisfied?’"
The quotation caused a smile to replace the cloudy passion that had suffused his face. " ‘What satisfaction canst thou have…’" He allowed the responding quote to languish, but Catherine finished it, the thought changing to a question.
" ‘…tonight?’ "
He gazed down at her, bathing her in the new glory of his unbridled passion, and to her amazement, he nodded once and replied, "Tonight."
* * *
Catherine was trying hard not to let jitters overcome her. She had his promise, but in the past his good intentions had come to nothing; that little trip to Connecticut had still not happened, and heavens knew how many times his promises of "someday" had been made.
She considered the words to one of the ubiquitous power ballads that had been flooding the radio recently: Forever’s gonna start tonight. She agreed wholeheartedly with that sentiment. But it didn’t just depend upon her…which was always the problem.
No, she wouldn’t think negative thoughts. She had felt what he was feeling, and not through their Bond, but physically - how much he’d wanted her, how desperately he’d needed her. He couldn’t explain all that away, nor couch it in euphemisms, nor put off discussion any longer. Whatever else would happen tonight, forever was "gonna start," damn it!
She tossed her head, grinning at her defiant thoughts. Yeah, right, Cathy. You’ll go along with whatever he wants…just like always, her rational mind taunted, and her grin grew wry.
Well, a girl can always hope.
Shrugging off her doubts, she stood with hands on hips, eyes raking the bedroom. Clean sheet on the beds: check. Lights off: check. Candles lit: check. To her visual inspection she added a mental checklist - fresh towels in the bathroom: check…wearing my sexiest nightgown….
A rustle of sound on the balcony interrupted her inventory. She rushed to the bedroom doors and threw them open to the warm night air, turning toward Vincent, who stood at the doors to her dining alcove, one hand lifted to tap upon them. She watched his eyes grow round and his jaw drop the smallest bit before he recovered and ducked his head.
Hmmm….that head duck isn’t too promising.
Aloud, she reminded him, "It’s ‘tonight,’" as she glided toward him and wrapped her arms loosely around his waist. She tilted her head, trying to make eye contact with his lowered glance.
"Yes," he replied, his voice huskier than usual. He heaved a great sigh, then raised his head and faced her, his gaze direct. Yet she felt his trembling, sensed his nerves were on edge, and she realized what an effort he was making to stand still.
"Will you come inside?" she asked, and at his stiff nod she turned, laced an arm through one of his, and led him to her bedroom threshold. He followed with no resistance, but….
Before they entered, Catherine hesitated and murmured, "You can change your mind, you know." She knew it was important that he have the option, as much as her heart sank to offer it, and she turned her face up to him, waiting for his reply.
Blue eyes glittered down at her darkly. A surge of emotion sparked between them, so strong it was nearly palpable. It was as if their Bond, for one brief breath of time, had become visible, a lightning strike crackling intensely from heart to heart.
She knew his answer before he voiced it.
Suddenly she was swept up in his arms and in a heartbeat was set down again beside her bed. Vincent released her and tugged the clasp of his cape loose, letting it pool at his feet. For the first time, Catherine noticed he was not wearing his usual layers of clothing. He was in clothes similar to those he had slept in the night before. Just one layer between her and what she’d dreamt of, wished for, ached for….
Her fingers itched to rake through his wild thick mane of hair, but as she was about to reach her arms up, he slid to his knees in front of her, wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, and pressed his face against her stomach. Stunned, she cradled his head against her, bending to kiss the golden hair she’d so often longed to caress, her fingers following her thoughts instantly.
Vincent rubbed his face against her belly in response, and she felt her insides melt, ready for him, with barely a touch shared between them.
His hands left her waist, tracing her form to her ankles, then lifted, his fingers loosely grazing her legs. The hem of her nightgown rose as his hands traced her curves upward, and when he briefly cupped her bare bottom in both hands, her knees began to grow weak. His fingers curled into the fabric of her gown and tugged downward, easily snapping the thin straps at her shoulders.
The gown slithered down her body, leaving her naked. As his fingers let the material of her gown slip to the carpet, her gasp of surprise turning into a low moan, for Vincent’s mouth had found her soft curls and he nuzzled against her womanhood.
Her knees were water; all that was holding her upright were Vincent’s firm hands, once again encircling her waist. He nudged between her thighs with his nose, urging her to part them, and she was immediately obedient, almost unable to comprehend Vincent’s actions. This was the man who nearly bolted from his bed last night?
A long tongue lapped at her center, toying with the moist folds there, and this time not even his strong hands could hold her steady. She slipped from his grasp and half fell, half sat on the edge of the bed, her legs trembling, her heart stuttering, her breaths unsteady, gulping air.
Shakily she reached for the waistband of his sweatpants, but he gently disengaged her fingers. He scooped her up and laid her upon her bed, toeing off his boots, then following her onto the mattress, lying beside her still fully dressed.
Again she reached for him, wanting to run her fingers beneath the tunic-like sweater he was wearing. Again he intercepted her hands and, interlacing his fingers with hers, pressed her arms back beside her on the bed.
As he slid his hands out of hers, with very lightly stroking fingernails he ran his fingers up the insides of her arms, then across her collarbones, stopping only when his palms rested upon her breasts.
Her chest was heaving as she panted heavily, more needy than she could ever remember being, wanting him so badly, all of him, everywhere.
Vincent threw one clad leg over both of her bare ones, hitching himself ever so slightly atop her as he lowered his head to her breasts, kissing them tenderly, stroking them with the pads of his thumbs.
Catherine cried out at the sensations, arching against him, wanting to touch him in return, but when she tried to stroke his arms, he stopped her with that same insistent move – interlacing their fingers and sliding her arms down to the bed.
Frustrated, Catherine tried to remain passive, since it seemed to be what Vincent wanted. Although she longed to give him pleasure in return, her attempts were very obviously being rebuffed. So she gave up for the moment and allowed him to lead their lovemaking…which seemed to be focused on her own pleasure.
His hands returned to her breasts, kneading them, tugging on them, and his mouth slid over them, nipping, sucking, until she thought she might faint. The thought flitted through her mind that they had not kissed once, that his head hadn’t even raised farther than her chest, but she didn’t consider what that might mean.
She just let herself be loved.
When she began to beg – she couldn’t stop herself, and what started as a near-silent plea because a helpless mantra of "pleasepleaseplease…" – he lifted himself slightly, pulled his sweatpants down just enough to free himself, and lay upon her, hip to hip.
She couldn’t see him, could only feel the turgid length – hot, smooth, insistent – pressing against her, and she parted her legs for him, offering herself, wet and so ready.
He was quite large, and she hadn’t been with anyone in so long…. Even though she was open to him and more than willing, he wasn’t able to enter her easily. She could sense him begin to pull back, uncertain, and she abandoned her imposed passivity, wrapping one of her legs around the calf of one of his, throwing her arms about him and hugging him to her fiercely, murmuring, "Stay…be patient…I want you so badly…."
He relaxed, then so did she, and they moved together in slow undulations, his great length inching into her slick channel, her body accepting more and more of him, until he was fully sheathed within her and they both groaned at the sensation.
Her hips urged him to move, but one hand of his hands found her waist and pressed down, silently requesting her to stay still. Baffled, she complied, again focusing on the pleasure, putting aside contemplation of his odd need for her to be subdued, compliant.
Slowly…slowly…he moved inside her. Minute, almost delicate thrusts caused a crescendo of sensation within her, her core tightening around him as she trembled in release. Vincent tensed, and a moment later he groaned heavily, muffling his voice against her shoulder as he came in shuddering waves, spending himself within her as she’d always dreamed he would some day.
He would have risen from her, but she prevented it, holding him close, feeling him strain slightly against her arms, then felt his moment of acceptance as he gave up the fight and rested himself against her.
"I’m too heavy," he whispered.
She sensed that she would finally be allowed to touch him, and she did it tenderly, threading her fingers through his tousled hair, stroking his shoulders and upper arms through the heavy sweater he still wore, finally slipping her fingers around his face, still pressed to her shoulder, and kissing his forehead – with some difficulty, since he wouldn’t raise his head.
Almost imperceptibly she began to move against him – he was still inside her, still warmly wrapped within her – her hips rising only the slightest bit, rocking him gently, gently…as she murmured her love to him, her thankfulness…. Minutes passed quietly as she held him close and rocked with him, this time Vincent being the compliant one…. She felt the slight twitch that heralded the hardness that was swiftly developing, and Vincent stirred, again, making as if to pull away. Again Catherine held him fast.
"Don’t leave me, don’t go," she pleaded. "Let this happen. I want it…I want you…again…please…."
In response, Vincent lifted his upper body on stiffened arms, and she looked down at the place where their bodies were still joined, in awe of the now fully tumescent part of him buried deeply inside her. He filled her so completely…completing her physically as he always had emotionally, spiritually. She wanted to say these words, but his quietness seemed to demand a corresponding quiet in her.
He gazed at her as if looking for her eyes to confirm her words, and seemed to find what he was looking for, for he began to rock against her on his own, with a more insistent rhythm. But it seemed his sufferance of her touch was at an end. He used one hand to gently dislodge her arms from around his neck, where they had been interlaced even when he had lifted away from her.
This time Catherine didn’t struggle against his desire to dominate her completely. Whatever his reasons, he was here with her willingly, making love with her…well, maybe to her would be the more appropriate word. But rather than question the fulfillment of her heart’s desire, she closed her eyes and gave herself up once again to the incredible sensations, her arousal so intense that thinking soon became impossible.
Once more, his lovemaking was cautious – his thrusts measured, controlled, his touches passionate yet gentle. But despite that, he wrung from her an orgasm so intense she wept, shaking with the power of it, and his followed swiftly on the heels of hers, as if he’d held off until her pleasure pushed his over the edge.
As they lay together – this time he’d not attempted to pull away from her, and she still held him inside her body – Catherine again wondered at the strange silence, almost reticence, of this beloved man who was loving her so intently. She longed to hear him tell her how this union of their bodies made him feel. After so long living on dreams, after such struggle to get to this point, had words failed him? It didn’t seem possible.
The little voice inside her head wouldn’t be silent. She was envious…of her earlier self. Envious of the Catherine of this morning, who had awakened to a shower of kisses in Vincent’s bed Below…kisses so far not given to her tonight. How greedy was she, to demand that everything be perfect, everything be exactly as she dreamed it might be? She should be ashamed…and grateful. Two days ago she’d have sworn they were a long way from sharing what they’d shared twice this night…yet here she was complaining to herself about not being able to participate more fully in their lovemaking, of his failure to remove his clothing, of his quietness….
Firmly she clung to him, holding him closer but not trying to caress him, not trying to initiate more…except for what he’d accepted before, that slow rocking motion that had brought him to hardness once. It seemed to be just about the only thing he’d accept from her tonight, so she offered it to him again…and again, she felt him thicken and harden, filling her as completely this third time as he’d done the first time he’d entered her.
This time, when Vincent pushed his upper body away from hers, he rested on his elbows, his face closer to her, and this time, instead of lying almost passively beneath him as he might wish, Catherine lifted herself on her own elbows and began to kiss the broad column of his neck. She let her kisses linger, rolling her tongue against his flesh, gently sucking and nipping, until, carried away by the feelings her kisses aroused in her, she whimpered softly with each kiss.
Vincent groaned and collapsed into her arms, and Catherine risked rocking harder against him, intensifying the rhythm he’d established, moving more fiercely against him as the kisses she offered got hungrier, as she moved from his neck to his chin to his mouth. He seemed to want to fight her – his head whipped away from her, but her kisses never stopped, until finally, as if in defeat, he groaned loudly and, clasping her face between his palms, he began kissing her hard, his tongue invading her mouth as his manhood pumped harder and deeper within her. At that moment, almost as if she could sense it within their Bond, he finally broke free of whatever was holding him back.
Taking advantage of the change in him, Catherine wrapped her legs around his waist and pushed with all her might, rolling them both over, until she sat astride him. Perspiration had slicked strands of hair against her face and neck; she tossed her head, flinging her hair back, and her gaze riveted to his face as she matched his thrusts, his strong hands now anchoring her around her waist. Feeling primal and fierce in a way that shocked her inwardly in the small part of her brain not given over to their lovemaking, she abandoned herself to their wild rhythm, throwing her head back and grinding against him, feeling him deep within her.
He moaned her name aloud – a one-word agony of ecstasy – and in response she tugged his hands from her waist and pressed them to her breasts, leaning down and into their grasp. She could see the fleeting shock on his face at her bold moves after such compliance and meekness - before his expression changed to a kind of passionate ferocity.
Rising to a sitting position, he repositioned her legs to wrap around his waist. He was fully in charge again, but this time he didn’t try to restrict her, and she settled quickly into his new rhythm, his face so close she could feel each frantic breath. Her hands clung to fistfuls of his sweater, and she threw her head back, reveling in the glory of his loving her. He filled her deeply, thoroughly, and she rode the waves of his passion, finally leaning her forehead to his, working hard to give back to him all he was giving to her.
The rapidly changing angles of their lovemaking had prolonged her approaching orgasm, but now that they were face to face, staring into each other’s eyes, the intensity of their shared experience became irrefutable reality, and sensations avalanched, surging with an overwhelming force that nearly took their breath away. Their shared orgasm exploded within them, and they shuddered and quivered as one with the intensity of it.
In the aftermath, they clung to each other as if they might part forever otherwise. Vincent’s reserve abandoned, repeated Catherine’s name like a litany, recklessly raining kisses on her face, her neck, her eyes, her hair. In turn, she crooned his name, pulling at his sweater – now sweat-soaked and twisted around him – until he helped her tear it off.
Catherine groaned at her first contact with his hot bare flesh, pressing her breasts against the hard planes of his chest, hearing him hiss with the pleasure of it, rubbing herself shamelessly against him, grinding herself against him, her hands taking him in, feeling the dense mat of fur on his steely forearms, his broad chest, her fingers finding the bare flesh of his thickly muscled shoulders, his sleek sides.
He lifted her then, pulling out of her for the first time in an hour, and both of them felt the loss as an almost physical blow. But he needed her close in another way, and as she lifted to her knees in front of him, he kneaded one breast while sucking hard on the other.
Catherine’s head was thrown back as she held him to herself, each long pull against her breast causing a corresponding shudder low in her torso. But suddenly she realized this would lead to yet another orgasm built primarily on her pleasure, and she wouldn’t be that greedy, not now that Vincent was allowing her to be more aggressive in their lovemaking.
So despite craving every bit of the attention he was lavishing on her breasts, she leaned forward against him, slowly forcing him backwards, until he was lying on the bed and she was draped over him. Then, slithering on sweat-slicked flesh, she pressed her face against his naked chest, powerfully built pectorals and deeply ridged abdominals glistening where his skin had a lighter covering of hair…kissing him, running her tongue across the patches of bare skin, finding and loving his small paps, moving lower, ever lower, to the concavity of his stomach, where she addressed herself to the shell curves of his belly button.
She could feel his tension rising as she slid lower on the bed, his hands on her shoulders as they began to urge her upwards, but she resisted, and after a moment when she thought he might insist she rise, his hands left her shoulders, giving her tacit permission to continue.
She soon reached the waistband of his sweatpants, where she dug her fingers around the edge and peeled them further down. Urging Vincent to lift his hips, Catherine rolled the sweatpants lower, until she had exposed his hipbones, the round curve of his buttocks, and, in full glory, his again gloriously tumescent penis.
She kissed the hard angles of his hips, then moved to the side to lightly bite his delicious bottom before focusing on her prime target. Sighing with happiness, she wrapped one hand as far around it as she could, lowered her head and tasted him. He was slick and salty-tasting from their lovemaking, and almost impossibly large. She had a moment of gratitude that she hadn’t known just how immense his erection would be before they’d made love, because she was truly astounded, now that she saw it, that she had been able to accommodate it.
Vincent’s trembling alerted her that he was having trouble holding still for her exploration, and as delectable as she was finding him, she had to remember this time was primarily for his pleasure. So she bent herself to her happy, long-denied task, basking in his tremors of pleasure, until he begged her to take him inside her.
When she rose, she found herself lifted bodily and laid on her side, facing away from him. Vincent spooned behind her, one hand stroking her hip, then slipping his fingers between her legs and teasing her before urging her top leg to lift so he could angle himself inside her once more.
As they rocked together, Vincent’s arms wrapped around her, one hand caressing her breasts, one descending lower to stroke her clitoris. She turned her head to capture Vincent’s mouth with hers, and he bent to receive her kisses, hungrily.
Catherine couldn’t believe the sensations Vincent was arousing in her – so many points of pleasure being touched at once. She had wanted this time to be about his pleasure…but he’d managed to turn the tables on her very neatly. Her last coherent thought before succumbing to another earth-shattering orgasm was that she really had to plan things better…next time….
* * *
Afterglow can be a lovely thing…when you’re not too sore to enjoy it! Catherine thought wryly. Gingerly she shifted in the bed, turning to nuzzle against Vincent’s broad bare chest. He winced slightly as he adjusted his position and stifled a yawn.
"You are much too tired to make the trek back to the threshold, Vincent," Catherine observed as she pulled the covers up over them in the dim light of pre-dawn. Her own weariness was etched in her face.
"But it’s a ‘good’ tired," he replied with a slight smile. "I feel we accomplished a lot tonight."
Catherine realized she’d unconsciously repeated Vincent’s words of two nights before…and he, very consciously, had repeated her response to him. She rose and turned to look at him with a mock-stern expression.
"Is this what I have to look forward to? My own words coming back to bite me?" She shook her head as if in disappointment.
"I’d much rather do the biting," he murmured, leaning over to nip her gently on the shoulder.
Catherine laughed, a clear note that earned her a responding smile from her lover. "Yes, please! I like that idea much better."
He leaned back against the pillows, all lines of tension gone from his face. He looked so beautiful in the guttering candlelight that her heart hitched. Catherine regarded him silently for a moment, considering her earlier concern, then asked, "Would you answer a serious question for me?"
"Of course," he responded, but somewhat warily, obviously sensing her apprehension through their Bond.
Regretting her impulse to ask what might be a very sensitive question and possibly ruin their mood, nevertheless, Catherine forged ahead. "Earlier…when we began making love…." She faltered. How could she ask this without sounding critical? "You preferred that I stay…passive…and…." She ground to a halt, unable to find the words for what she wanted to know.
Vincent’s eyes softened and he reached out for her. She went into his arms gratefully, glad that she hadn’t upset him with her need to know.
She sensed him struggling with his reply, but he hugged her tightly and eventually murmured into her hair, "I wanted to make you happy, but…I was uncertain that I was the…man…for you. Everything about me is…so…different. I thought if I concentrated on you, I could hope to give you what you needed. But when you wanted to reach out for me…." He sighed. "I wasn’t sure it would be…pleasant for you. I didn’t want to… disappoint you."
Catherine shifted until she had her arms wrapped around Vincent’s shoulders, and he leaned his head on her breast as he continued.
"If I let myself focus on my own pleasure…our Bond might not be an accurate guide for me. I wanted…I needed you to be happy, Catherine. With me."
Tears flooded Catherine’s eyes and she pressed a kiss against Vincent’s forehead as she hugged him harder. "I was worried you didn’t want me to share pleasure with you. That would have disturbed me a lot, had it been true." She tucked her fingers under his chin and lifted his face to hers. His own cheeks were wet. "I love you, all of you. I want and need every single inch of you. You know that now, right?"
Her alarm clock went off, but Catherine slapped it into silence. "I’m not going in today, in case you were wondering." She sighed as she settled back into Vincent’s arms.
Concern colored Vincent’s voice. "Mr. Maxwell must need you and…."
"He can get along without me perfectly well," she replied, cutting off Vincent’s argument.
Smiling against her temple, Vincent pressed a warm kiss there, then responded, "It’s good to be Queen?"
Catherine grinned against his chest. "Exactly!"
The new day dawned.