Stop stealing my LJ! (auchic) wrote,
Stop stealing my LJ!
auchic

Chapter 15

Chapter #15

Sydney was slightly disoriented when she opened her eyes and looked around. She was practically hanging off the end of a huge bed that was not hers, the room was littered with clothes everywhere, and there was a weird snuffling noise behind her. She rolled over to see Sark sprawled over the rest of the bed on his back, his arms akimbo over the blankets. The sheet was pulled up over his nose and it fluttered every time he breathed out. With every rise and fall of his chest, he emitted soft little snorts.

She smirked. Somehow she knew he would snore.

She lay on her side watching him, looking so real and sweet. She wanted to reach out and touch his face but he looked so cute asleep that she really didn’t want to wake him just yet. So she settled for just studying the man that lay sleeping next to her. His curls were mussed into the pillow and his face was peaceful, half covered by the sheet. She drew it back and smiled when she saw his mouth. His crooked lip was moving slowly, as if he was talking, but no sounds were coming out.

She drew the sheet back more to finally get her first glance at his body. His chest was smooth and broad, tanned to a beautiful tone. Faded white scars marred the perfection of his torso every so often, but it made him all the more endearing, knowing that he could be scarred just like everyone else. A long pink birthmark curved down from his bellybutton like a hook. Other than that, the rest of his body was gorgeous, like a marble statue.

She made to push the blankets back over his hips, but he shifted slightly and she froze for a second, hoping he wouldn’t wake up. The little snuffles he was making paused for a moment, but he let out a contented sigh and slipped back into his sleep. She waited until he settled his breathing into a steady rhythm before she ducked her head under the cover to look at the rest of him.

His long legs were stretched out and she could see the strong muscles just underneath the skin. His hips were narrow and his stomach was perfectly flat. But she gave those the briefest of glances when something else caught her attention: his dick standing perfectly erect at the junction of his legs.

She smiled mischievously. Oh, she couldn’t pass up this opportunity to give him the wake-up call of his life. This was absolutely perfect in all respects.

She moved slowly, shifting her body down so she wouldn’t wake him up. Once she was sure he was still wrapped up in sleep, she moved her head until it hovered over his erection. She let out a hot breath and felt him shiver slightly under her.

She let her tongue dart out and flick the quivering head. His snores stopped abruptly and she heard a bleary “What the…” before she opened her mouth and took him in as deep as she could. A long passionate moan erupted from his mouth as she sucked on his length lightly. His arms moved over and his hands came under the blanket to cradle her head gently, not forcing her in anyway, but guiding.

She began a slow rhythm, running her mouth up ‘til only his head was in her mouth and she let her tongue circle around, rubbing the slit at the top. She then would push him back deeper into her mouth, bringing him in as far as she could. She kept the pace slow and sensual, wanting to expedite his pleasure. Occasionally she would let her teeth scrap gently over his shaft when she pulled back and he would let out a frustrated groan. Her hands came up to cup his balls, shifting their weight in her hands and squeezing them ever so carefully. Her thumbs came down to massage the sensitive skin at the base of his cock and he thrust his hips up instinctively. He threaded his fingers into her hair and pressed her on to a quicker rate. She timed her fingers movements with the laps of her tongue and bit down carefully the next time her mouth wrapped around his head. That final stimulation forced him over the edge and he came in her mouth, sighing with pleasure. She kept her lips fully wrapped around him until she had milked him completely, then she peeked her head out from the top of the cover and looked at him innocently, laying her head on his stomach. “Good morning,” she cooed.

“Holy Christ, I agree,” he muttered, his head still sunk in the pillow and his breath coming in short pants. She crawled herself up and straddled his body, running her fingers over his chest.

“I take it you enjoyed that then?” she ran her fingers over his lips and he smiled, engulfing her hand in his and kissing her fingertips softly.

“Immensely,” he purred and brought her head down to kiss her deeply. She sprawled herself over his body as her tongue laved at his. He traced her lips lightly, smiling in a sleepy kind of way as he rolled them over to lie on their sides. “So what did I do to deserve such a treat?”

She fingered the skin around his nipple. “You were taking up the entire bed. I wanted you to move.”

He laughed. “You could have just rolled me over.”

“True. But it was more fun this way.”

He chuckled and drew her into him. She sighed and snuggled her body down, feeling warm and safe and happy in his arms. They lay like that for a long time, facing each other and smiling at the feelings that they were both wrapped in. Everything else was lost to them as they held each other for eternity.

She finally looked up from his chest, where she had been drawing little circles. “Did you know you snore?”

His laugh this time was surprised, but pleased. He rolled over on top of her and nuzzled her neck. “Did you know you like to snuggle right up next to the other person in the bed?”

“What’s wrong with that?” she asked.

“It’s a queen sized bed, Sydney, and we were sleeping on less than two feet of mattress.”

“Hey, you said it yourself. I’m a selfish little girl, always wanting more.” She began to thrust her hips up to his, causing him to groan into her skin.

“Aren’t you tired?” he panted. She laughed and wrapped her legs around his hips so his semi-hard cock could brush between her legs. His breath caught in his throat and he bit her neck gently, causing her to yelp.

“You have to pay me back for that wake-up call,” she moaned and she brought her hands up into his hair as she pulled him up for a hungry kiss. He rolled over so that she straddled his hips and rocked himself up to her before lifting her body and setting it so he could plunge into her wet folds. She gasped as he lowered her down, until he completely filled her. She squeezed his cock tightly with her inner walls and he choked out a heavy breath.

Again, they stilled at the moment of penetration, enjoying the feeling of being part of one another, before his hands began to move her hips up and down over his length. They kept the pace slow this time, almost too slow for her, but she let Sark take control of them, allowing him to savour her like he had been dying to. His eyes gazed worshipfully on her upper body, which lay naked and gleaming before him. He moved his hands from her hips and she took over the slow rhythm as he let his fingers travel over her flat stomach, her breasts, her neck and shoulders. He found her own hands and linked their fingers together as she rode him. She arched her back to have him hit her at another angle and he let out a sharp hiss of breath. She leaned back like that, his hands holding hers to keep her semi-erect and began to move her hips faster over him. She saw him grit his teeth and she knew he was close, so she whispered, “Wait for me, Julian.”

“I’ll…try…” he gasped but she rolled her hips and he thrust his up and when she clenched herself to keep him in he exploded inside of her with a powerful yell. She rocked herself harder and brought her hands down to rub at her clit, aching for release. He was still spilling himself into her when she clenched herself tightly and shockwaves spasmed through her body. She cried as she came, stiffening herself over him, then collapsing backwards breathlessly. Their legs were tangled together when he sat up and drew her shaking body back to the pillows.

Finally she looked at him with dazed eyes. “Hello,” he said innocently. “Welcome back to the land of the living.”

She let out a long contented sigh. “They really should declare you a weapon of mass destruction, you know that?”

He smirked. “Well now that’s flattering.”

“It is!” she protested and he grasped the hand she’d brought up to smack him and pulled her in for a sweet kiss. She lost herself into his lips, draping her body over his and probing his mouth with her tongue. His hand slid over her side before dipping in between her legs and tracing her entrance with light touches.

She pulled back from his mouth. “Mmm…give me a minute…” she panted as he slipped his fingers into her warmth.

He smiled wickedly. “Sydney love, I’m just paying you back. It’s not fair that I’ve already gotten off twice this morning.”

She moaned and began to rock with his hand, which was thrusting gently into her. “Julian…” she whispered.

“I like it when you call me Julian,” he murmured sincerely. “But I also like it when you call me Sark, like you did before. It’s special, coming from you,” he punctuated this remark with a tiny fluttering kiss on her nose and by folding his fingers forward so he brushed her sensitive inner skin. She shuddered and her breath began to come out in short pants as her pleasure began to build. She wanted to move, but all she could do was stay sprawled out on his chest as his fingers pumped her faster and faster. She clutched at his shoulders and closed her eyes as the room began to spin again. Tiny whimpers came out with her breathless pants and she bit her lip as the pressure between her legs threatened to consume her. She tightened her muscles in anticipation of release, and it was only when his thumb pressed down on her swollen clit that the convulsions started and she cried out shakily, her body spasming under his. She gulped in breath, dizzily trying to focus so that she could come back to earth.

When she raised her head to look at him, he still had his cocky smirk plastered on his face. “You bastard,” she breathed sourly.

He looked wounded. “I thought you would appreciate that,” he pouted.

She crawled up and captured the crooked lip sticking out between her lips and sucked on it harshly. “You’re completely insatiable, aren’t you?”

He drew her head back gently so he could meet her eyes. “Only for you, Sydney,” he said softly.

She stroked his cheek at the tender emission and rested her forehead to his, closing her eyes contently. He dropped tiny feather kisses over her face, nuzzling them together tenderly. Eventually he found her lips again and kissed her sweetly, his tongue dipping in to play with hers. She rolled over onto her back and pulled him on top of her; he pressed into her hip and she could feel him hard against her skin. She deepened the kiss, making it more sensual and his hand was tracing her sides when the phone rang on the small bedside table near their heads.

She broke away to answer it, but Sark pulled her down, capturing her with his mouth again. “Ignore it; if it’s important, they’ll call back,” he murmured.

“Sark…” she moaned, and tried to break away again, but he pinned her down with his body. She struggled under him, pinching his nipples and twisting them. He yelped at the pain and pulled away enough for her to extract herself and answer the still ringing phone.

“Hello?” she said breathlessly into the receiver, but before she knew what was happening, she had the comforter thrown over her head and she was tackled back into the soft recesses of the mattress. She shrieked with surprise and fought the best she could, being bound by the fluffy blanket. She managed to bring her head out, her hair now mussed around, and caught a glimpse of Sark grinning wickedly at her before he grabbed her again and started to tickle her. She began to thrash around, trying to get back up when she found herself deposited into his lap, nose to nose with his grinning face. He lifted his head up for a soft kiss that she lost herself into until she heard a tinny “Sydney? Are you okay?” and remembered that the phone was still in her hand and someone could hear everything. She broke from Sark’s lips and wrapped her hand around his mouth to keep him quiet.

“Yes, sorry, I’m here,” she panted out.

“Are you okay? I heard you rolling around, it sounded like you fell,” Anna’s concerned voice came into her ear.

“Yes! I…uh…the phone woke me up and I reached over to grab it and I was too close to the end of the bed and I…fell off.” Sydney blushed a bit, stumbling over the explanation. Sark stuck his tongue out through her fingers and began to lick them softly.

“Okay,” Anna’s voice was slightly amused. “I was just calling to remind you about shopping. I didn’t expect you to sleep so late, but then I’m so used to waking up very early, I don’t know the definition of sleeping in anymore.”

Sydney laughed. “I can relate sometimes. This is probably the latest I’ve slept for months.” Sark now had her fingers in his mouth, sucking lightly at them. His hands found an opening in the duvet and were now skimming over her hips lightly. She kicked him a bit to get him to stop, but he smirked around her fingers and drew her even closer to him, so she was now pressed against his chest.

“Well, since you’ve just gotten up, what say we meet in an hour? That should give you plenty of time to get ready and drive over here, okay?”

“That sounds fine, Anna. An hour it is. Thanks for calling me to remind me.” She was desperately trying to finish the call because it was obvious that Sark wasn’t going to leave her alone. “I better go…goodbye.”

At the other woman’s goodbye, she hung the phone up and whirled around to Sark. “Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners?” she snapped. “You can’t just distract a person on the phone like that. It’s not very nice for both people. Plus, you’re not supposed to be here. How would I explain that to Anna?”

Sark let go of her fingers and began to suck on her neck. “My lovely cousin is the one with no manners, interrupting us like that. And you…” he pushed her back down to the bed and began kissing the skin above her breasts. “You left me all hot and bothered. I told you not to answer the phone, and then you bruised me.” He raised his head and mock pouted. She scowled even more.

“Please. I’m sure you’ve suffered worse. What do you want me to do about it?” She pushed him off and went to get up, but he grabbed her hips again and practically threw her on the bed. She squealed in frustration and punched his chest but he grasped her wrists and pinned her down, smiling mischievously.

“You can start by kissing them better.” He rolled her over so that she lay on him and directed her mouth until she was above his nipple. She shot him a dark look, then took it between her teeth and tugged roughly. He gasped sharply and then settled down as she let go and softly laved it with her tongue, then pressed soft kisses to the muscles around it. She repeated the treatment on his other nipple, then raised her head and gave him a triumphant smile. He smiled back and hauled her up to draw her into a soft kiss. They lay entangled together, kissing and touching gently, before she pulled away.

“Mmm…I have to get up and shower.”

“Shower…now there’s a word I like to hear. How ‘bout I join you?”

“Umm…no?”

“What? Why?”

“I need to actually shower, and I can’t expect you to behave. I only have an hour to get ready.”

“You have no faith in me. I can be a good boy in there.”

She shook her head and got up, grabbing her stuff and went into the bathroom. She turned on the shower and was in the process of washing shampoo suds out of her hair when she felt a pair of hands scrubbing her shoulders. She shrieked, got a mouthful of soapy water and when she turned, she slipped on the slick tub bottom. She ended up half sprawled against a naked, wet Sark, his arms tucked under her armpits holding her up.

“Get off, get off!” She pushed at his chest and stood upright as best she could. “What are you doing here? You scared me half to death!”

He shrugged and grabbed her bottle of shampoo. “I needed a shower too, and I figured you were being selfish. This tub is big enough for two.” She shot him a nasty look as he soaped up his hair and he smiled angelically back at her. “I promise to behave, love.”

“You’d better,” she snapped, and went back to washing herself. They showered in silence, but they couldn’t help occasionally brushing up against each other as they reached for soap and shampoo. She was starting to feel the familiar ache between her legs, but she didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of winning. So she tried to finish as fast as she could, and put some space between them.

Sark was rubbing the bar of soap over his chest when it slipped out of his hand and clattered on the tub bottom. “Whoops,” he murmured and knelt down to grab at it. She instinctively moved back against the wall to give him more room when suddenly she felt soft lips kissing her inner thighs. She gasped and let her head drop back as he slid his tongue over her throbbing clit, capturing it in his lips. She parted her legs slightly and hooked one over his shoulder to give him better access. His arms wrapped around her hips, anchoring her body against the wall so she wouldn’t fall, as her knees were getting weak with his slow ministrations.

“Ohhhh, Julian, yessss…” she moaned, as he sucked lightly on her sensitive nub. He would swirl it with his tongue, then let his lips work on her. Occasionally he let his teeth nip gently and she moaned deeply, finding it harder and harder to breathe. He moved his head down a little more until his tongue was tracing her hot entrance. The water still beating down was making their skin slick to the touch, and she was having trouble keeping herself up. Sark rested his head against her inner thighs as he plunged her tongue into her deeply. She gasped and bucked against his mouth; he held her down and lapped at her. His nose nuzzled against her responsive clit, which added to her pleasure. She began to rock against him as he fucked her, her hands buried in his soaked curls to spur him on. She panted as his tongue worked wonders on her swollen folds. One hand stayed cradled around the back of his head and she brought her other hand to cup her breast and massage her neglected nipple.

He broke away slightly to whisper, “Come for me, Sydney.” She cried out, trying to answer but she couldn’t form any words with her fogged mind. He alternated plunging his tongue deep into her and then coming back to suckle her clit. She clenched her muscles in a frenzied rhythm, and when she felt the spasms beginning, she relaxed her entire body to his mouth. Her body exploded when his teeth scraped her clit for the final time and she screamed loudly as she came, letting her body finally sag against the wall so that he was the only thing holding her up. He kept kissing her sex lightly as she spilled into him, sucking on the skin around and laving the soft area with his tongue. He let her body slide down the wall until she was wrapped around him; her eyes were closed and she lay her head back against the tiles while he rained soft kisses on her chin.

He kissed her eyelids until she opened them lazily, her eyes focusing on his face. She felt boneless and relaxed; she probably wouldn’t be able to stand if she tried. She saw him smile smugly and she tried to frown. “What happened to behaving?”

He laughed and cuddled her into him. “I was good, wasn’t I?”

She swatted him, but she was so drugged with pleasure that her hand limply fell onto his chest, where he engulfed her fingers with his and kissed the inside of her wrist softly. She shifted slightly in his lap and heard him suck in a sharp breath. She could feel his erection pressing into her leg and she suddenly began to laugh deliriously. “Aren’t you tired?” she gasped out between laughs. “I mean, my god, we’ve been at this all morning…we’re going to kill each other!”

“I can’t help it,” he murmured, kissing her ear. “You do this to me. You drive me absolutely crazy with desire, Sydney. I want you in so many different ways. I don’t think I could ever let you go.”

She tipped his chin up to her face to press a kiss on his lips. He pulled her into him deeper, and she reached her hand down to stroke his hardness. He groaned into her lips as her hand began to pump him faster. Her fingers flew over his rock hard cock, squeezing and twisting every so often and he buried his head into her shoulder, breathing hard. She swung her leg around so that she had them wrapped around his waist and guided him into her waiting center. “I need you inside me,” she whispered. He didn’t say anything but thrust himself up and pulled her hips down until he was completely filling her. She sighed and stilled her body, loving the feeling of him being surrounded by her. He rocked their bodies back and forth together, not releasing himself from her warmth. She draped herself lazily over him, knowing they were both close to orgasm and snuggled her face in his hair. He rubbed her back gently as he moved a little faster, laying tiny bites across her collarbone. The intense physical contact caused her already over-stimulated body to push over the edge and she came around him with a contented sigh. He rocked into her as she contracted around him and the rhythm was too much; he spilled into her with a loud, heaving groan, then fell back into the edge of the tub. She was still sprawled exhaustedly over him, so he reached over and turned off the shower, so the water was no longer beating down on them.

“I’m tired now,” she whined into his head. “This is all your fault, Sark. I’m supposed to be getting ready to go out right now, and you’re distracting the hell out of me.” She nuzzled her cheek into his damp curls.

“I didn’t see you trying very hard to stop me,” he grumbled, his breath hitting her shoulder. He gently sucked up the drops of water clinging to her skin. “You’re going to wear me out with your body.”

“I didn’t initiate it this time,” she said wearily. She wanted to get up, but the loose feeling was still present in her bones and so she stayed limp across his body. He didn’t seem to mind; she was pleased with the fact that she had had the same effect on him.

“And since when did I become ‘Sark’ again? You’ve been calling me ‘Julian’ all morning.”

“You’re Sark when you don’t behave yourself, when you can’t be a good boy. And you didn’t behave by getting into that shower. I should kick your ass.”

“Empty threats, Sydney. You can’t even summon the effort to get off of me.”

“I know,” she groaned. “I just want to go back to bed.”

She felt him grin wickedly against her neck. “That sounds like a lovely idea. I’ll join you. If I can ever walk again.”

“Nnnnn…” she tried to push against him, but she was still too weak from their lovemaking. She placed her arm behind his neck and rested her head on it, closing her eyes. She was about to fall asleep there when she remembered and groaned softly. “We need to get up.”

“Why?” he said dreamily. He sounded as if he had been close to sleep too.

“Because I’m supposed to meet Anna soon to go shopping.”

“You just met and already you women are planning bloody shopping trips? God.”

She pinched his shoulder. “It’s grocery shopping. I need food, you idiot.”

“You mean to say you’re kicking me out without offering to cook me breakfast? I’m disappointed.”

She pinched him harder, using her nails this time and he yelled. “What the hell was that for?” he yelped.

“You’re a brat, Julian,” she grumbled.

“You’re vicious,” he replied. “You have this obsession with hurting me.”

“You keep asking for it, brat.”

“Well, that’s a loving term of endearment.”

“Good. I’ll keep using it.”

“Aren’t you supposed to be getting up?”

“I need some help.”

He laughed again, and this time he righted them both and picked her up as he stood and stepped out of the tub. He leaned her up against the counter and grabbed the fluffy towels on the rack, wrapping it around her. She sagged against him as he dried her off, her eyes half closed.

“Sydney, love, you’re going to have to wake up, sweetie.”

“Don’t wanna,” she snuggled into his warm chest.

“Okay then,” he wrapped them each in a towel and carried her back into the bedroom, dropping her onto the bed. She curled up into the soft comforter. She was in a sleepy haze when she heard him say, “I’ll just call Anna and tell her you’re going to be a little later than you thought.”

That woke her up. “No, no, I’m up, don’t you dare. You’re not supposed to be here!” She rolled out of the bed and hastily grasped the hand that was on the phone, hanging it up.

He smiled. “What’s the problem, love?” He lay down and stretched out lazily, watching her pick through her clothes and begin to get dressed.

She rolled her eyes. “It doesn’t look very good, me sleeping with you just after supposedly meeting you. You’re going to have to wait here until we’ve left, so they don’t see your car leaving from here.”

He gave that a flippant gesture. “Good god, Sydney, Anna and Steven won’t care. I’ll bet my entire inheritance that she spends this shopping trip trying to set you up with me in some way. She’s been doing that for years.”

She scowled at him as she pulled a green sweater over her head. Damn. He was probably right. She hated how well he read people.

He sat up and pulled her onto his lap, doing up the zipper on her jeans and kissing her softly. “Just explain to her that you and I were involved once, and we’ve…rekindled that friendship. She won’t mind.”

She hesitated. “Are you sure?”

“Yep.”

She kissed him back. “Okay. I better get going. Do you need anything?” She blushed as she heard the words come out of her mouth. “I mean…”

He laughed, cutting of her next sentence. “Just get some real coffee, and perhaps a good kind of tea as well. Other than that…I’ll be satisfied with what I have already here for me.”

She giggled, kissed him one more time, then left. “Be good, okay?”

“I always am.”

********************************

“I want one of the little carts!”

“Don’t push me!! MOMMMM!”

“Kids! Don’t go running off…” Anna let out a frustrated sigh as Caleb and Abby went running towards two child-size carts. She plopped the baby seat on a regular shopping cart and pulled it out with a jerk. The sudden movement rocked the baby carrier and Ian, who had been napping, began to cry loudly. “Oh no…shhh, it’s okay, honey. Go back to sleep…” She fumbled around in her jacket pockets and withdrew a pacifier, which she stuck in Ian’s mouth. His sobs quieted instantly and he closed his eyes again. “I’m so sorry, Sydney.”

Sydney smiled reassuringly. She hadn’t been too late getting over to Anna’s house, but it still took them another half hour to actually get out the door. Apparently Steven, who was going to watch the kids, had been called with a work emergency. So the women had to round up two very energetic kids and take them along to the grocery store. This had inspired multiple protests, especially from Caleb, who was right in the middle of a video game. He had fought with his sister the entire car ride and Sydney could see that Anna had been dealing with this all day and was very tired.

“It’s okay,” she now spoke. “Look, why don’t you start and I’ll gather up those two.”

Anna sighed again. “Just…all right. I’m too tired to argue.” She walked off in the direction of the produce and Sydney walked in the direction the kids had gone. She found them fighting over the last small cart, their shouts getting louder, so she stepped up and put her hands on their shoulders.

“Hey guys! Look, I know you don’t want to be here, but your mom is tired and when you guys fight, you make it harder on her. Can you guys just settle down and stop fighting?” she asked.

Abby had tears running down her red cheeks. “It’s not fair! Just ‘cause he’s bigger, he always gets everything and I don’t get anything! I wanna help Mommy shop and he won’t let me have the cart.” She sniffed, and Sydney wiped her face carefully with a tissue.

“How about you help me shop? Is that okay?”

Abby looked at her. “Okay, Syd.”

“Okay,” she leaned over and kissed the little girl’s forehead. She took her hand and then turned to Caleb. “Are you going to listen to your mom, Caleb? It’ll make the shopping trip go faster, then you can back home to your game.”

He frowned at her. “I do listen. She doesn’t.” He pointed to his sister.

“Neither of you listen. Didn’t she tell you not to run away from her? You guys are making this harder than it has to be. Now, come on. We should go find your mom, and you two should apologize for acting up like this.”

Caleb rolled his eyes, but didn’t say anything as he walked off. Abby grasped Sydney’s hand tightly and followed her back to where Anna was contemplating some bananas. She looked up when they approached. “Well, that was quick.”

“Mommy, I’m sorry I made you unhappy. I didn’t mean to.” Abby ran up and hugged her mother’s legs. Anna looked slightly surprised, but bent down and kissed her daughter. “It’s okay, angel. Mom’s just tired today.” She looked over at her son, who mumbled a quiet “Sorry,” while scuffing his feet. Anna said nothing, but ruffled his hair softly and stood up, gratitude in her eyes. “Thank you Sydney,” she said quietly.

“It was nothing,” Sydney suddenly felt embarrassed for what she had done. Since when was it her place to step in on a family squabble? She had just felt so bad, Anna trying so hard to please Sydney but having to control two wild children, and so she had tried to help. She was kind of glad the kids had complied so easily, but she still couldn’t believe she had even done that.

She grabbed a cart and began to pick up things she would need. Some fruits, milk, bread, the essentials. She picked out food that would be fast and easy to make. After so many years of rarely being home to cook for herself, she had gotten used to frozen meals and canned suppers. She started a conversation with Abby about what kind of foods the little girl liked. For a five year old, Abby had an amazing vocabulary and was a very serious child. Sydney suspected she had a higher intellect than most would at that age, especially when she amazed Sydney by flawlessly reading all the signs in the aisles. She enjoyed talked with the little girl, who was warming to Sydney every minute.

They eventually ran into Anna and Caleb, who were pondering juice boxes for school lunches. Abby stepped in to voice her choice and Sydney finally got to speak a bit with Anna as they walked through the rest of the store, picking up the last things they needed. “Looks like you’re doing a little better.”

Anna smiled wearily. “Thank you for taking Abby. I don’t know why those two seem intent on fighting today, but they do. Did you get everything you needed?”

“I think so.” They had stopped by the magazine rack as the kids settled down to read comics. Judging by the large amount of room around the rack, Sydney figured it was a common meeting place for people to stop and talk while shopping. She cleared her throat. “Anna, there’s something we need to talk about.”

Anna smiled at her. “It’s about Julian, isn’t it? I knew you’d be asking about him.”

Sydney raised her eyebrows. Stupid Sark, she thought.

Anna continued, “Yes, he’s single, he’s fairly wealthy and he definitely needs to settle down, and both Steven and I think that it would be wonderful if you two became ‘friends’. We noticed the way he was looking at you last night. So, do you need me to say anything more?” She smiled somewhat triumphantly at Sydney.

Sydney laughed, “Um, actually…boy, this is kind of weird but…” she took a deep breath, “Julian and I…we’ve known each other for a while now.”

“Really,” Anna looked interested. “You never said anything about it last night.”

“Well, last night was a bit of a shock. I mean, the last time we saw each other…well, we didn’t really expect to meet again. Actually we were…we had something…and I had to leave for…reasons and it was hard,” Sydney shook her head and cleared her throat again. Why the hell was this so hard to say?

“Oh,” Anna said. “So you’re trying to avoid him?”

“No! I mean…” she took a deep breath. “He came over last night and we…sort of…started up where we left off.” She shot the other woman a meaningful look, hoping they could end this soon.

Anna narrowed her eyes a bit, and then burst out laughing. “I thought something was up when I called earlier! It didn’t sound like you just fell off the bed.”

Sydney blushed. I’m so going to kick his ass when I get back, she thought. “I thought I’d better tell you, so…you’d understand if we seemed a little…friendlier than usual around you guys.”

Anna smiled and rested a hand on Sydney’s arm. “Don’t worry about it, Syd. I don’t mind at all if you two want to be together. Thank you for telling me. It looks like it was a little awkward for you.”

“Just a bit,” she smiled back. She felt a kind of relief that it was over, and that Anna was okay with the whole situation. It would have been a difficult nine weeks otherwise. They rounded up protesting kids and finished shopping.

****************************

Sydney had accepted the offer of having coffee and a late lunch over at Anna’s, but first she had to unload her groceries. Sark’s car was gone from the clearing when she got there and she felt a little pang of disappointment. It left her, though, when she stepped into her bedroom after putting away her stuff and found a note pinned to the neatly made bed.

Sydney,

I had a meeting that I had to attend, but I will be back sometime later
This afternoon. I hope you got everything you needed and enjoyed
Your time with Anna. See you then.

Love,
Julian


She smiled and laid the note on the bedside table. It was so cute and unpredictable. She changed quickly and left. She had decided to walk back to the house, seeing as it was only about ¼ of a mile from the cabin. The air was brisk even with the bright sun and she was out of breath by the time she arrived at the big house. She entered without knocking, took off her stuff and went into the kitchen, where Anna was busy standing over the stove, stirring a pot. “That smells great; is there anything I can do to help?”

Anna turned and smiled. “No, just waiting for the soup to warm up. The kids are in the living room if you’d like to entertain them for a while.”

“Okay.” She went back into the living room and sat on the couch. Caleb was back to his video game, ignoring everything around him as he furiously pounded the controller in his hand. Abby was sitting reading a book, but when she saw Sydney come in, she smiled and moved over so she was cuddled up to Sydney. “Do you want to read with me?”

“Okay,” Sydney smiled. She hooked an arm around Abby’s shoulder as the little girl flipped back to the beginning of the book and started to read. She marveled at the child’s reading ability and relaxed into the couch, running her fingers through the girl’s haphazard curls. She became so engrossed that she didn’t hear the door open and close and jumped a little when a warm body snuggled up to her side. She turned to see a smug Sark smiling at her and she smiled back. He wrapped a warm arm around her waist and pulled her back into him. “Hello.”

“Hi,” she giggled. He tilted her chin up and lowered his head to press a soft kiss on her lips when she realized that Abby had stopped reading and was watching them. She blushed a bit under the serious gaze of the little girl.

“Uncle Julian, why did you kiss Sydney?” she asked, a little frown digging into her brow.

Sark pulled the little girl onto his lap. “Well, because I love Sydney, and she loves me.”

“Is she your girlfriend?”

Sydney flushed darker at that and Sark’s smile deepened. “Something like that,” he smirked, not taking his eyes off of her. That seemed to satisfy Abby and she jumped off his lap to go join her brother at the TV. Sydney poked him in the side.

“Ouch! What was that for?”

She rolled her eyes. “You can’t just come in here and kiss me. What if I hadn’t told Anna yet?”

He smirked again. “I really don’t give a damn. Either you would have told her, or I would have. I’m not going to pretend there’s nothing between us when I can’t keep my hands off of you.” He pulled her in for another kiss; this time she opened her mouth to him and let his tongue dance around with hers.

“Brat,” she murmured over his lips. He laughed and broke away to smile at her, bringing a hand up to stroke her face. She felt completely relaxed in his arms, resting her head on his shoulder as they watched Caleb instruct his sister on the finer points of video game driving. He threaded his fingers through hers and kissed her hair. “This is nice,” she said.

“Mmm,” he agreed. She could feel herself getting drowsy, an after effect from their intense morning together. She closed her eyes and sighed contentedly, giving in to her exhaustion. She sat like that for a long time, pressed against his warm body until she felt someone gently shaking her shoulder. “Nnnn…leave me alone,” she groaned.

She felt warm breath on her ear. “Sydney darling, don’t you want to eat?” She shook her head lazily and heard him laugh, his tongue tracing the outline of her ear. “Come on, love. Up we go.” His arms went around her waist and he stood them up. She finally opened her eyes and scowled at his cheerful grin.

“I want to go to sleep.”

“You can sleep later; you haven’t eaten anything all day long. Let’s go.” She let him drag her into the dining room, where the kids were slurping up soup. Anna came in with a plate of sandwiches and smiled at the pair. “I thought you would sleep through the whole meal,” she teased Sydney.

“I was sorely tempted to,” Sydney replied as she sat down. Tired as she was, her stomach growled at the wonderful smell of tomato soup and she filled a bowl and began to eat hungrily. “Oh, this is great!” she exclaimed, grabbing a sandwich off the platter and biting into it. Sark started to laugh at her enthusiasm and she reached over and pinched him, but slowed down her eating. He moved his chair until he was right up next to her and began to eat.

The kids finished quickly and ran back into the living room to continue playing their game. Anna settled back in her chair. “So, how did you two meet? I’m very interested about this whole thing.”

Sydney opened her mouth, but Sark beat her to it. “Work,” he replied shortly. Anna didn’t look surprised at his tone; she merely nodded. Sydney shot him a confused look, but he pressed a finger to her lips and mouthed ‘Later’.

“Well, it’s so nice that you could be together again. And I’m sure you’ll be able to stay together now that Julian’s quit his work.” Anna shot him a meaningful look.

“Don’t start, Anna,” Sark’s voice was now very quiet.

Anna gave Sydney a hard look. “So what was his excuse to you about disappearing for two years? Is that why you didn’t think you’d ever see him again? Or does he lie to you about everything in his life too? Maybe that’s why you left him.”

“Anna, stop this now,” Sark sounded pained.

“I don’t want to stop, Julian,” Anna was on the verge of tears now. “I don’t want to pretend like I don’t care when you leave and don’t know if you’re coming back. I don’t want to have to lie when people ask me about you. I don’t want to be scared of people coming to my door, asking about my daughter, trying to ‘protect’ her, when I have no idea what I’m protecting her from!”

Sark sat up suddenly. “Has someone come by again? Have you said anything? Anna, I thought I warned you…”

“Yes, you warn me and warn me, but you don’t say anything more, and so I become paranoid about every stupid little thing that her teacher says about her, and I never let her out of my sight because I’m so afraid she’ll be kidnapped or something!” Anna slammed her hand down on the table and Sydney jumped. “Damn it Julian, why can’t you tell us anything? Don’t you trust me to be able to make decisions about my family?”

“It’s not that simple, Anna, I’m trying to protect you too…” Sark rubbed his forehead.

“From WHAT? I’m sick of this…these secrets, living this life, worrying about you every fucking day, and then you come home and you pretend like there’s nothing wrong, like everything is normal. I wish you would just leave us alone sometimes…” She sat back and began to cry softly into her hands. Sark leaned his head into his hands and muttered, “Bloody Christ.”

Sydney felt awkward sitting there. Obviously they had entered some tense territory and she didn’t really know what to do. She opened her mouth to speak, but a tinny wail came from behind Anna. The older woman picked up the baby monitor and stood. “Ian’s awake; I’m going to go get him.” She walked quickly from the room, wiping her face with her hands. Sydney turned to Sark to ask him what was up, but he stood as well, not looking at her. “I’m going to move my bags into my room,” he said and followed Anna.

Sydney sat paralyzed for a minute. She tried to sort out what they had been fighting about. Did Anna and Steven know what Sark did for a living? It seemed like they knew…something, but he was just as secretive with them as he was with everyone else in his life. And what was the whole part with Abby? He had some explaining to do. She decided to clear off the table, bringing the dishes into the kitchen and putting the dirty ones in the dishwasher. When she stepped out into the living room, she met Anna at the bottom of the stairs. “I, uh…cleared off the food and the dishes; I didn’t know what you wanted me to do with the soup, so I just left it on the stove.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Anna said bitterly, keeping all her attention on Ian, who was sleepily cuddled into her shoulder.

“Okay,” Sydney felt uncomfortable, so she went into the entranceway. “I’m going to go back now…” Anna didn’t acknowledge this at all, so Sydney quietly dressed and slipped outside. She hadn’t gotten very far before she heard a shout behind her and turned to see Sark running up to her. He smiled and took her hand. “Sneaking out on me already?”

“Yeah,” she dropped her hand from his grasp and he frowned. “Do you want to tell me what that was all about?”

He frowned deeper. “Not especially.”

“Oh.” She tucked her stray hair behind her ear, then turned to walk down the path leading to the cabin. She heard him expel a frustrated sigh and he ran up and grabbed her arm to stop her again.

“It’s complicated.”

“Explain. Maybe I can judge for myself how complicated it really is. Do they know…what you do?”

“Did,” he said wryly. “And no, they don’t have any idea. Anna knows my work is off-topic, because it’s dangerous, but that’s all she knows.”

“So why was she so hostile talking about it?”

Sark rubbed his head again. “Because of Abby.”

Sydney gave him a confused look and he smiled humorlessly. “Come now, Sydney, haven’t you noticed how different she is from children of her own age? She’s been reading since she was two years old; she now reads at a sixth grade level. She can write, she does maths better than her brother, her IQ is off the charts…doesn’t that remind you of something?”

Sydney closed her eyes and smirked as the realization hit her. “Project Christmas. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“I’m not. Whether it’s CIA, or someone with their own agenda, like the Covenant, she would be perfect for them.” He laughed dryly and shook his head, looking up to the sky. “But I don’t care about that. I don’t care if she could be the best thing the CIA could ever find, I refuse to subject her to that life.

“But a child with that intellect has to come under some kind of scrutiny, and immediately people were interested in exploiting her. I really couldn’t say which ones were doing it for more corrupt reason, and so when Anna first told me…I reacted badly, to the point where I scared the hell out of her and Steven both. They weren’t satisfied with my explanation about not contacting them for two years, and this pushed them over the edge. They were scared, and they had no idea why, and I couldn’t tell them…

“We finally reached a shaky truce, that I wouldn’t talk about ‘work’ if they kept Abby safe. I knew it couldn’t hold out for long, but…at least we were able to talk again. I had to promise Anna that I was no longer involved in my work anymore. But she’s still unsatisfied…I can’t say I blame her,” he took a deep breath and closed his eyes. “I hate that I can’t tell her about everything I’ve had to go through, but I need to protect her; from everything that we’ve gone through, from me. But I think she’s tired of it and…I’m sorry that you had to be there for that.”

He stood completely still, the fading sunlight throwing shadows on his face. “This is why I ended it. I can’t do that life anymore.”

Sydney blinked at the tears in her eyes. She couldn’t believe that he would have the same fears and longings that she had had all her life, ever since Danny was killed. Just a chance to end everything that held them in, and go back to a life that demanded nothing of them. She reached out and let her hand rest on his arm. He looked at her with a saddened look in his eyes, then suddenly pulled her into his embrace, holding her tightly as if she would disappear if he didn’t. She buried her face into his chest and let the tears fall, soaking his jacket, clinging to him. They held each other for endless minutes, just quietly sobbing all the pain out on each other. He finally pulled back a little and kissed her softly; she could taste tears on his lips and that broke her heart even more. She ran her hands down his arms and clasped his hands in hers.

“Let’s do it together then,” she whispered and she pulled him down the snowy path.

********************************

They walked quickly down the path, not speaking, just holding hands. When they arrived, they immediately went to the bedroom, still staying silent. She faced him, took of their heavy jackets, and pulled him down for a hungry kiss. He kissed her back with equal passion, delving her tongue deep into her mouth, pressing his body into hers. They kissed for a long time, just feeding each other’s needs. He entwined his fingers in her hair, cradling her head gently and she could feel how desperately hurt he was, how much he needed this life here in this remote corner of the world.

When they came up for air, he touched his forehead to hers, closing his eyes. She took a deep breath and pulled herself back a little, his arms still resting on her hips. She touched his face gently, her fingers smoothing the hair off his forehead, stroking his cheeks, running the tips over his soft lips. She took her sweater off and threw it in the corner. Her bra was next, then she undid the button on her jeans, pulling those off along with her panties. She stood naked before him for a few seconds, then ran her arms around his neck and kissed him again, melding her lips to his.

When they pulled back the second time, he stood still as she unbuttoned his shirt and drew it off his shoulders. She let her hands trace patterns on his chest before she dipped them down to undo, then pull off his pants and boxers, never breaking eye contact. They froze for endless seconds, just breathing and holding each other lightly, then he lifted her hips and laid her on the bed.

There was no sensual foreplay, no flirty banter, just two people who needed comfort and love from each other without the games of lust and desire. He carefully settled his body on hers, fitting them together like a key in a lock. She opened herself as he entered her, tangling her legs in his. Her arms were locked around his back, her hands kneading the muscles under his smooth skin. His were locked on her hips, his thumbs rubbing the skin there. They kept their eyes open, focusing on each other. No sound came from either of them as he thrust into her with a slow, yet forceful tempo. He touched his forehead to hers again and they moved together, one body furiously intertwined in a passionate primal dance, seeking completion and fulfillment in one another. They came together, a rush of silent sighs and stayed completely still, neither wanting to break the intense connection. The weight of the day’s events finally hit them fully and they slipped away into a dreamlessly sweet sleep, bodies still joined intimately and clinging to the last thing on the earth that was real for both of them.
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