Ioan Gruffudd Ch. 04bymadam_noe©
LA had been much as I remembered it; sunny, warm, beautiful people and no culture. I was bugged a thousand times to know who NM Lee was. Sad as reporters were, they never suspected it was me. They'd thought it was my father, they thought that it was my brother, or my three cousins. But they were wrong. All wrong.
I met with executives and laid down my demands. I'd live there starting in December to do a script with a real live screenwriter. That was the date Helen had warned me about and it meant just over a month more in England finishing up the editing on my current novel.
I didn't know what I'd come home to but I was scared. Legitimately scared.
I flew home contract in hand, ideas brimming, and slept for two days to get back on Greenwich Mean Time. The phone rang three times and I ignored it.
Finally at eleven on the third day I awoke to a loud bang.
I sat up in the bed and Ioan was in the doorway. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," I replied, blinking. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I told you I'd come. You've been hiding from me and I won't have that."
I yawned. "I've been sleeping off a 7 hour time difference and a bad vacation. Do you mind?"
He had the good grace to look contrite. "I'm sorry."
"Should be. Don't you have work today?"
"They're shooting around me. I won't have to return until the battle scenes in two weeks. You look like hell."
"Great, better than I feel. I need a bath, can you wait?"
"For a bath? God woman, they've invented showers, you know."
"Men," I shook my head. "Make yourself comfortable, put on some tea. I'm not doing anything until I've had a bath. There's a Wolves Dons game on."
I brushed past him and shut myself in the bathroom. I heard sounds from the kitchen and a roar from a BBC channel as I drew the bath. I scented it, put in all the female things that made me happy and soaked. I lathered and smoothed, scrubbed and exfoliated. Finally I shampooed my hair and drained the tub, rinsing off with the wand. I slathered on conditioner and rinsed it out.
It took me thirty minutes but I rollered my hair and blew it dry, using body building mousse as I went. I put on makeup that was subtle and colorless, simply to shade my features and make me look polished.
I looked great, even wrapped in a towel. I came out and smiled at Ioan whose jaw reflexively worked, and closed myself in the bedroom. I chose more professional dress. Black chiffon pants in the exact measurements all my pants were tailored to and a midnight blue satin blouse with a sweetheart neckline and three quarter sleeves.
I put on my matching slipper shoes and my midnight blue y-necklace, a worthless bauble gift from a friend. I looked good.
I emerged to find him on the sofa, a cup of tea waiting for me, a beer in his hand. "You made me tea?"
He nodded, looking over his shoulder. "I don't drink it, but thanks."
I grabbed the cup and headed into my tiny kitchen.
"So why do you have it?"
I looked up to see he'd followed me. "For my British friends. I drink coffee, soda, and beer. But not before six PM."
"Actually, yes. But I don't care what other people do."
He shrugged. "So I've been thinking, about what you said. And it makes sense."
I raised my eyebrow. He was agreeing with me?
"I guess we signed up for something very casual and to be honest, neither of us is in a position for more."
I had to stop him. "I should tell you something. I found out I've got to move back to the US in December."
"The first week."
I nodded. "So you can see I'm really not in a position for anything more."
"I've gotten word I might be shooting another film. Ironically in America, but it won't be until Spring. I don't know when yet."
When I got done writing it. "Sounds unsure."
"No script yet, it's loose talks. But I think it's an NM Lee film."
I shrugged. "You'll get it, and yes, that is straight from the horse's mouth. Have you read the book?"
"When it first came out. Loved it. Had no idea I'd someday play Donovan Cullen. I believe that's the role offered to me."
Well, I knew. "All right then, our lives are progressing nicely. So what now?"
"Why don't we just go back to what we once were?"
Could we? I chewed my lip and popped the top on a coke. "I'm not so sure."
He folded his arms and crossed his legs at the ankle, leaning in the doorway. Short of crawling through the pass through there was no escape.
"What happened in LA?"
"I just locked in my future for the next several years. Looks like most of my time will be back there. But England is home now. American accents sound so flat, everything seems so loud and different. I miss the rain, I miss this place when I'm away."
He nodded. "I lived there for a year and missed home every day of it."
"It's just depressing."
He ignored the fact that I had ignored the question. "Well, that's a month away. More than. We can enjoy the time left, can't we?"
He smiled. "Then come with me to a Guy Fawlkes party, that's all. And we don't have to do anything you don't want to."
"All right? That quick?"
"I make up my mind fast and I try to stick to it. All right."
"But you haven't heard my conditions yet."
He nodded. "First, if you get scared just tell me and we'll slow down, or I'll back off, whatever it takes. No more hiding. I won't stand for it."
"Rhys has been asking about you. He'd like to see you again. But I'll understand if that's too much for you."
"It's not. He's a great kid."
"He wants a hot dog and his mother is baffled as to where celery salt goes on it."
I laughed. "It's a Chicago thing."
"Is that where you're from?"
I stopped smiling and nodded, taking a pull of soda.
"All right, too much I guess. You never talk about your family and it used to make me wonder, but now I assume you have to protect NM. I understand."
We chatted about the game and were too nervous to have sex, though both of us would have denied that. I came over to his place that night and as a concession, I slept over after our lovemaking. He made me breakfast, something Welsh and damn near inedible. I smiled but refused the blood pudding. On that I would not give.
The next month passed lightly, little concessions between me and him to each other. Every time Rhys spent the weekend with him we'd go out and have fun. We went to amusement parks where the coasters were much smaller but the fun rides were better than back home. Ioan got sick on anything that spun so Rhys and I would go and bedevil him with taunts afterwards.
It was scary, but on those days we were like a family and no one hid anything, overanalyzed anything, or held anything back. It was shockingly intimate even when we didn't touch. Maybe because we didn't, so the longing built up. And when Rhys went to bed we'd lock the door to Ioan's room and the lovemaking was sweet and total.
Those times I didn't stay over; I didn't want Rhys to realize what we were doing.
Strangely it didn't hurt when the day to leave came. I thought it would but I felt bolstered, saved from myself perhaps. Rhys and I had said goodbye the weekend before, the night before Helen and Danny had given me a small party laced with complaints as to how much time I was spending with Ioan.
So it was when I came home to a near empty apartment where my suitcases should have been waiting, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was more than a little tipsy, and weaved my way up the stairs.
It took three tries to get the keys into the door but I managed.
It didn't look like my apartment. There was a lot of stuff, so much so that at first I thought I'd walked into Mrs. Asprille's apartment again.
I started to apologize when Ioan stepped out into the room. It hit me then. There was an array of implements. Candelabras and things that looked vaguely like a dungeon setting from a movie. In the back my beaded kitchen was covered by what looked like some plastic palm fronds.
"What is this?"
"No, not angry, just so long as I don't have to haul it out."
He frowned. "I mean drunk. You're drunk."
I shrugged and tossed my purse on the couch, which had been covered with a blanket and Arabic pillows. "Jeeze this place looks like the Mustang Ranch."
"Ritzy legal brothel in the states."
He smiled and I realized he was dressed differently. His pants were dark and tight, material indeterminate in the dim light. His shirt was black and flowy, the open neck cut deeply, ties that should have held it together sagged over his firm flesh. He was dressed like a wet dream and I gulped.
"So what is this?"
"How drunk are you?"
"Helen bet me fifty pounds she could out drink me. I won." I gave him a grand smile and felt my body weave a little.
"Congratulations, but that doesn't answer my question."
"I'll probably sober up in another hour. Maybe two, if I don't pass out."
He folded his arms. "You drink too much."
"I never used to until I moved here. I had to. I used to smoke and it was hard but I kicked the habit. Everybody here smokes and drinks so I had to do one."
"So what's with the 'it's a small world' getup?" I looked around the room to see a variety of scenes. A jungle, a harem, a possible Grecian temple.
"Ahh, and what are we filming in my postage stamp apartment?"
"Something like that. You know, it's kind of hard to be all seductive when you're standing there grinning like the Cheshire cat."
"Sorry. I'm a happy drunk. Maybe if I had some coffee."
"I've never seen you drunk."
I shrugged again and stumbled slightly. "I don't so it very often. After Eric left me I was drunk for a whole year. Didn't like it very much."
"We used to be engaged."
"What happened?" He moved closer.
"He left me at the altar. Ran off with my maid of honor."
I shrugged and stumbled again. "I realized I wasn't really in love with him. I was just going along. I think I was more embarrassed than anything. So many people blamed me, I found it totally ridiculous. They said money changed me, but it changed them. Changes everyone around you, you know?"
He was holding me, setting me back on the Arabian couch from which I had tried to rise.
"Aw, crap, I shouldn't have said anything. It's heavy. But it's all in the past." I gave another grin.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. They got married, just had a kid. Didn't bug me at all. That's when I realized I didn't really love him."
He patted my hand.
"Damn it, I really shouldn't be talking about this. I never told anyone."
"No wonder, if they blamed you for his infidelity."
"I work a lot, as you know. People like to spend my money, but they don't like that I have to earn it. They want it both ways."
"I understand how you feel."
I smiled at him, blissfully unsure of myself and uncaring. "That's when I knew. I'm just not built for relationships. I really don't like have to baby sit someone else's ego and worry about them all the time. I'm terribly selfish."
"No, you're not."
"You don't know me really well, and isn't that proof enough? Too selfish to share myself with anyone. Anyways, I think I'm talking too much. Coffee?"
He pulled me close and for a moment I felt that old familiar panic, the smothering, the fear that I wouldn't like what was coming and wouldn't be able to escape. The animal instincts other humans somehow suppress.
He loosened his hold, I guess I must have stiffened and he read it without comment.
"God I don't know why you do this to me," he whispered.
"Turn me inside out, twist me around. You've done everything you can to drive me away and I just can't do it."
"You'll have to, Ioan. I'm leaving tomorrow morning."
"I know, I bloody well know that. So tonight, give me tonight."
He kissed me, and it was unusual. Almost sloppy it started somewhere between jaw and ear and moved as if without thought. God, it was perfect, just what I wanted. No artifice, no showy talent, just honest need.
His hands were still holding me and my brain was swimming. I wanted to run screaming into the night, just to hide my love. That it bubbled to my consciousness meant I could blurt it out at any moment and that terrified me.
But the feelings he aroused in me were magical.
I turned in his arms so his lips met mine. I'm sure I tasted of whiskey, I felt his surprise, but then he was pressing his erection into me. He knew how much I liked it.
I'm not sure what came next but my dress was half off and he was moving with maddening slowness towards my breasts. I wanted to grab his head and force it down but the anticipation was pleasure in itself.
When at last he reached a nipple it was pebble hard, the areole puckered and wrinkly. I was so sensitive that I cried out when he latched on, his mouth hot and wet. He pulled sharply and my whole body lurched with it. I whimpered because the pain was so delicious that I felt myself getting impossibly wet.
He pulled away with dark eyes and a dangerously masculine look. "Tell me your fantasy."
"Tell me what you yearn for most, in the dark, what makes you come when you know no one else knows."
I shivered just at the suggestion. "I don't know."
He nipped at my nipple with his teeth. My panties were officially ruined.
"I can't," I begged on a sigh.
"Yes you can. Trust me, whatever it is, I've thought about it too."
I laughed but it broke on a moan as his clever hands found my inner thigh and moved slowly towards the apex.
"You'd be surprised, Nicky."
"I don't think anybody has most of my fantasies."
"Like I said, you'd be surprised. What is it? Another woman? Another man? Me with a woman, a man?"
I couldn't respond but those thoughts made me wet. His fingers were now whisping at the edge of my panties where I knew he could feel my wetness, my heat. He had to know all those things struck a chord.
"I'll tell you what I think. I think you like to watch."
He stroked my inner labia, the move so teasing that my reply broke on an animal sound.
"I think there's lots of things you like but you've never tried them. I think you hide your true self, even from you."
God, he was right.
"I think you like to be dominated. Hell, I know you do. And the thought of being the man to do it makes me so hard."
He circled my clitoris but would not touch it, killing me. I shifted my hips trying to force the pad of his thumb where I wanted it but he kept it out of reach.
"I think you want me to tell you my fantasies. Would you like that?"
One slow rasp on the clitoris and I was lost. The colors behind my eyelids were violent and bright, my leg twitching in tension.
"Open your eyes, Nicky."
I did and met his, so dark they were almost hard black.
"I like your stockings, Nicky, and your heels. I want you to take everything off but them. Do you understand?"
His voice was harder, his accent stronger with thick emotion. Everything about him was much more commanding. I nodded and he pulled away to watch me.
I got the message from his eyes and pulled off my dress slowly. I peeled it down, imagining the cloth was his hands on me, caressing just where I wanted. I wanted to torture him, to goad him.
I stepped free and watched those hard eyes slide up over my body. The bra came next, I slid the straps down my arms until my breasts threatened to pop free, but then I caressed the exposed flesh.
"Get on with it," he growled.
I went even slower, enjoying my power. When at last I was satisfied by his white knuckles I undid the clasp and slowly peeled the lace away from my body. You would think it was the first time he'd seen my breasts, not the hundredth. He almost drooled but still managed to look cold and distant. Amazing trick, but easy for an actor.
I massaged them, partly because that bra made them ache and partly because I wanted to push his erection beyond the confines of his pants. The power was all mine and I wanted to use it like a weapon, brand him with my sexuality.
My nipples were so erect that even the cool air of the drafty room kept them going, they didn't need the help my hands offered but I kept on. He watched me pluck and pull, rub and twang.
I could see he was breathing a little heavier.
"Nicky, the panties."
His voice sounded strained and I myself was so turned on I couldn't think. I ripped them off, surprising him with my strength. But I could see he approved.
"Now take that one lit candle and light a few others."
I did as he asked and he turned off the low lamp. I only lit two more so there was three. Just enough to see everything but dark enough for some mystery.
"Come over here."
I came to stand before him, still dressed, his eyes harder than ever.
He pulled out another candle, not a taper like the others, but shorter, fatter, and purple. "Lay down."
He moved to one end of the sofa and positioned me on my back, waiting.
He moved my legs apart so one rested on the back of the sofa, the other across his lap. His eyes were for my pussy, but his free hand softly traced the stocking on my left leg.
"Touch yourself for me. Show me what you like."
If I had been sober I don't think I would have been willing, but I did as he asked. I moved my hands slowly down my stomach knowing it would tease him, but it also stalled for me.
I had never done this for a partner, never done it as anything other than a fast furious substitute for a man. Now I wanted it to drive him crazy. I wanted to tease him until he tore his pants off and sank that monster cock inside me, dripping with precum.
So I teased my slippery folds, feeling my cold fingers create shivers. I scissored my clit and slid my fingers up and own, knowing he wanted more. It felt good, so good, and my head fell to the side. My hips pumped just a little and I could feel my wetness grow.
When I heard a stifled moan from him I took pity and slid a finger inside me. I pulled it in and out a few times before adding another. I turned my hand so my fingertips grazed my g spot and it caught me by surprise.
Everything faded to sensation. My other hand stroked my clit as I moved my fingers back and forth across the raised nub inside. My thighs tried to close but his wide body was there to block them. It flashed through my mind the fear of being watched, judged, and then I was about to tumble over.
He caught my wrist and jerked both my hands away. I cried out and bucked, eyes open and staring.
He looked strained and angry. "You come when I say you come. Got it?"
I nodded, slightly scared and thrilled by it. I had never seen this side of him before.
I expected forced submission, a barrage, but instead he produced that little candle. I watched in rapt fascination as he traced it up my left leg from ankle to the top of my stockings.
It reached soft flesh and I quivered, scared and thrilled at the possibilities.
He used the cool wax to stroke my pussy, pushing the wet lips apart and barely rasping my clit. I was still on the edge and whimpered.
"Do as I say. Take it!"
I took the candle for him and waited for my next order, breath held.
"Fuck yourself with it." The bluntness of his words turned us both on.
I lowered the candle and spread my lips, putting it by my opening. I worked it in slowly, it was wide, quite wide, but I was wet, drippingly so. His eyes never left the candle until it was impossibly in. I took a deep breath feeling my muscles stretched.
"Fuck yourself with it. Fuck it, Nicky."
I moved it back out with some measure of relief and sunk it back home quickly. The sensation surprised me and I cried out, seeing his nostrils flare in time. I repeated the action and felt my body lurch, desperate for orgasm.