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A soft giggle from the other side of the sofa drew Anthony’s attention away from the screen as episode five of Russian Doll opened. Watching TV and eating take out in Edith’s cozy studio was nothing like any date he’d been on before, but the Baronet had to admit he was enjoying the change of pace. There was less conversation than he might have liked, but it was the most low-pressure date he’d ever been on in all of his dating life, including those ‘date nights’ he’d been on with his first wife.

“What?” He asked, running a finger over the arch of her bare foot. Her toes were painted a lurid shade of orange that would probably glow if they turned more of the lights in the flat off. Her feet in his lap was the only physical contact they could manage as the moment he and she had taken their places to eat at the coffee table Lola the Wonder Mutt had jumped up on the sofa and settled between them like a furry chaperone. (In his professional opinion the squat dog was a cross between a pug and a dachshund that could stand to lose a few pounds, but Edith insisted that ‘Wonder Mutt’ was a better cognomen than Pugshund.) The dog had begged for Pad Thai but not actually tried to steal any, and now that the leftovers were packed away was dozing between them.

“Just a text from Thomas.” Edith told him, still grinning at her mobile.  Thomas Barrow, he’d learned when he walked her back to her flat after their second date, was the artist-owner of Living Canvas, the tattoo parlor Edith lived above. He was her friend from school and now her landlord.

“Oh?” He asked lightly. He didn’t want to sound like the dreaded Boomer, but people really did spend too much time on their devices these days. He tried to not take it personally that she was checking her phone while spending time with him, as informal as this date was. She had been the one to invite him round tonight, suggesting a quiet night in with dinner and Netflix.

“Yeah,” She hesitated for a moment and then seemed to make a decision. She handed him her phone, “If you want to read it.” Easier said than done. He didn’t want to get up and dig in his jacket for his reading glasses but trying to focus his eyes without them was going to require playing quite a bit of trombone. His nieces had suggested contacts, rather than constantly putting his cheaters on and then taking them off. But he only needed help focusing to read, and really, only focusing to read small print like an SMS or too trendy menu. Eventually he found the perfect distance and his eyes could focus on the grey bubble of text.

Thomas

How’s Netflix & Chill going?

Have you Anthony Straddled him yet?[1]

The message was followed by a string of eggplant emojis that even he knew were not supposed to be representative of aubergines. He handed her back her phone with an expression that made her burst out into peels of laughter loud enough that Lola rolled over with a doggy grumble.

“I know, it’s a horribly forced pun, but not a half bad idea.” Anthony suddenly had a lap full of Edith and not a clue how she got there. Not that he minded. The deep V of her oversized sweater offered a very tempting view of her breasts, and now just inches from his face he was quickly losing the ability to mind anything.

“Edith?” He licked his suddenly very dry lips and tore his eyes away from her chest to meet her gaze. “What exactly is ‘Netflix and Chill’?” She had a glorious laugh. It was one of the first things he’d noticed about her when they first met. One of the first things that had attracted him. Under other circumstances he might find himself miffed that she was laughing at him. But, as it was, when she laughed her back arched. If ever there was an invitation to smother himself, it was now. The fresh, floral scent of her perfume was stronger, mixed with the warmth of her skin as he pressed his nose, and his lips, to her sternum. Above him Edith’s laughter turned to a low moan.

Her slim hand threaded into the hair at the back of his head, first pushing him forward, further into her cleavage and then, cruelly wrenching him away from her splendor. His whine of protest was quickly silenced as her lips slatted over his in a firm kiss. As sweet as the first they shared, but also hotter and hungrier. She tasted like pork panang and off-dry Riesling, like want and need, and oh God… Of their own volition his hands found their way to her hip and thigh. He could feel the muscles there flexing beneath her floral leggings as she balanced on her knees. She nipped his lower lip and pulled back slightly, her dark eyes sparkling as she quickly tried to read his face.

“Think of ‘Netflix and Chill’ as the millennial way of asking you up to see my etchings.” She said, voice husky and slightly out of breath.

Oh.

Oh. He was already lightheaded from the lack of blood to his brain and then she went and said things like that.

“Edie, are you sure?” He did his best to focus on her lovely face, to read her expression for any sign that this was false brava. Despite what her friend had said, he had no expectations of anything when he had accepted her invitation. He had thought “chill” had really meant chill. Her eyes were sparkling and there was a beguiling blush across her perfect cheeks.

“I had planned this from the beginning, except for the part where we actually watched the show. I hadn’t expected it to be as interesting as it is…” She giggled a bit before leaning forward and kissing him again. This time he was ready for her. He sits up straighter and catches her lips halfway, pulling her slightly into the kiss. Her lips parted and he didn’t need any more invitation than that to trace them with the tip of her tongue. She responded enthusiastically, her own tongue coming out to meet his. He had read more purple prose in his life than he would ever admit, “tongues battling for dominance” seemed to be a popular way to describe a French kiss. This was nothing of the sort. It was a dance, sometimes he led, other times he followed as they explored one another in passionate Tango. It was so much better than asserting dominance. The give and take of exploration. Without it he never would have found the spot on the roof of her mouth that could make her melt against him. Without it he’d not be able to show her the exact amount of teeth to his lower lip that made him lose all rational thought.

It had been a very long time since Anthony Strallan had made out on a sofa like a randy teen. He was enjoying it immensely. Edith was a marvel, learning him quickly and then using her knowledge against him until he was legitimately concerned his body might react in other ways like a teenager. When he pulled back, he was surprised to find that his hand had drifted up from her hip, under her soft, soft sweater to feel the expanse of her smooth back. Possessed by a will of their own they stroked up and down the path of her spine.

Edie.” He could barely recognize his own voice as he spoke, it was deep and lusty, just the other side of needy. She melted against him, no longer hovering above where he wanted her to be, but now fully seated in his lap – the apex of her thighs up against his erection. The zipper was now extremely confining.

“Anthony.” She replied, sounding equally as wrecked. He took comfort in that. He wasn’t alone, adrift in desire. He did not, however, take comfort in how she shifted against him. The friction… he was going to disgrace himself in his jeans like he was fifteen instead of just shy of fifty unless one of two things happened. Either she needed to go sit on the opposite side of the sofa again, on the other size of the still snoozing Lola while he cooled down or he needed her clear and enthusiastic go-ahead to make love to her until they both couldn’t see straight. She lived in a studio flat, her bed was, at most ten paces away from where they were on the sofa. If he got his feet under him again it would be so easy to… FOCUS.

“Edith,” He began again. Gods, her lips were swollen from his kisses – in case they weren’t distracting enough as it was. “I am quickly approaching the point of no return, as it were. If you’re not…interested-” She was circling her hips against him and it was rude and unfair of her as he tried to form a coherent sentence. “Edie.” He groaned out, the sound coming from somewhere deep in his chest. “Please. If you don’t want to –erm- continue you need to tell me and…and maybe go sit in the chair.”

She was laughing again, her hips not stilling, even for a second. The kiss she planted on him was quick and searing. Then she leaned away from him and whipped her sweater off over her head. She rose up on her knees again as she cradled his face in her hands.

“Anthony, this is our fourth date. I know I said I was an old soul, but there are somethings I’m most certainly modern about.”

She was speaking. He knew she was speaking. However, he couldn’t entirely focus on her words over the angel’s choir that was filling his senses at the first sight of her lovely, lovely breasts. The was wrapped in black lace, spilling out over tiny cups that should have never presumed to be capable of holding her. Through the sheer, floral fabric he could just make out her dusky nipples, drawn tight with desire. If God himself struck him down in that moment he would die a happy man, having finally solved the mysteries of the universe. Beautiful. No.

Awesome. Awe inspiring.

Sublime.

Sublime.

With the last shred of gentlemanly decency, he looked up at her. “Are you sure?”

Her fingers, which had threaded themselves back into his hair gave a rather sharp tug on his locks.

“Are you not sure? Is that why you keep asking and hesitating?” She forced his eye to hers. “Anthony, I just threw my top across the room, that’s an engraved fucking invit-AYE!” She shrieked with surprised delight as he set his feet under him and stood up, taking her with him. There was but one thought in his head now.

Bed.

Edith instinctually wrapped her legs around his hips and her arms around his shoulders. One of his arms went under her rear to help take her weight and keep her from sliding down. His other arm wrapped around her back and shoulder, because the moment she realized he was carrying her she started flailing.

“Anthony!” She cried, squeezing him tightly. “PUT ME DOWN! I’m too heavy!” She was not too heavy. In fact, he wanted to string up whoever put such a thought in her head.

“You’re not heavy!” He protested, trailing kisses along her jaw and down her neck as he took the necessary ten paces to her bed.

“I am too! Put me down!” His shins brushed the platform of her bed and he felt himself smile.

“Okay.” And he dropped her in the center of her double bed. She shrieked again as she bounced, more comically than alluringly, on the mattress.

“Oh YOU!” She laughed and then grabbed him by his front belt loops and pulled him forward until he was on his hands and knees above her. He couldn’t help but laugh as well. It was liberating to laugh in bed with someone. Sex was amazing. Intimate, passionate, intense. The closest experience two people could share. It was also, at times, funny.

“Come ‘ere.” She moaned and pulled him down into another kiss that obliterated his ability to determine where he began, and she ended.

God, she was glorious. Skin as smooth as silk, like a pale moon beam against her peacock blue velvet duvet. His hands caressed down her body, enjoying the change in texture from her lacy black bra to her smooth, warm skin all the way down to the stretch fabric of her floral leggings and back again. She certainly enjoyed his ministrations, keening against his lips as she was. Her clever hands were having a time trying to get his jumper off of him. When he’d come over, he had worried that he was dressed too casual for a date (even though his nieces had insisted that the grey-blue sweatshirt made him look like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape).[2] He’d not realized that his real concern should have been that the old thing would be too difficult for Edith to remove in the heat of the moment.

Chuckling deep in his throat Anthony reached up and pulled the offending garment over his head with one hand. Making quick work of it so he could return to exploring the magnificent beauty before him. His lips replaced his hands tracing her curves. He started from her lips, working around her jaw, down the arch of her neck to the hollow of her clavicles. She caught her breath as he traced that small V with his tongue. Edith’s hands were at his shoulders, balled up in his tee shirt as she clung to him for dear life.

“You’re wearing a shirt,” She panted. “You’re still wearing a bloody shirt. Why?” He chuckled against the smooth plain of her pectoral before it swelled to her breast. “What is it with men and layers?” She grumbled, entirely too coherent.

“If I’d known this was a seduction I’d have dressed accordingly.” He mouthed against her cleavage, his hand stroking lightly at the lacy scrap of fabric concealing her breasts from him. He’d intended it as a subtle way to locate the clasp, but as his fingers brushed over her breasts Edith arched and shivered, he could feel her legs separating beneath him. Her nipples peaked beneath the lace. He couldn’t ignore that reaction. The bra was majority unlined, which meant it really was just the floral lace separating his lips from her skin, and it created a delicious contrast – for both of them – the slight scratch of the fabric against soft, flushed skin.

The bra was not a front clasp, more’s the pity. It’d been a while since he’d had to undo a lady’s brassiere. He’d not been particularly good at it even when he was more in practice – Maud, his now ex-wife, had often been the one to devest herself of underthings. Toward the end of their marriage in particular they had lost the seductive spark of undressing one another and instead opted for the more practical and utilitarian. He’d dated since his divorce, of course, he’d spent the last ten years as a free agent. And despite how daunting it had been to ‘get out there’ again when he was in his forties he’d still manages to go on dates, even have a few relationships. None of them had lasted. (None of them had felt half as good as spending time with Edith did, he knew that even with a small sample size). But they had been enough to keep him from living like a monk.  They had not made him any better at undoing the back clasp of a bra, however. He took her nipple in his mouth, swirling his tongue around it and sucking, first gently, then more roughly, as he tried to snake his hands around her back to worth the hook and eyes.

She. Writhed.

“Ahh!” Edith was truly writer - it had taken her this long to finally, finally be at a loss for words. She moaned and arched under him – which was helpful as he tried to get his hands behind her, but also damn distracting. His long fingers fumbled at the catch, pulling at it with little result. Undeterred he slid down the slope of one breast to lave the other with equal affection.

No luck. Keeping Edith distracted was erotic as hell, but not helping him succeed in divesting her of her glorious cage.

“Sit…” He panted, admitting defeat. “Sit up a second, darling.” She took a deep breath, breasts rising beneath his chin as he looked up at her face. She tilted her chin down to look at him after regaining some of her senses.

“Problem?” She asked, her voice like tinted glass.

“Sit up a second, I can’t get at your clasp if you’re lying on it.” He would not admit that he couldn’t figure the damn thing out. He would never admit to that. She giggled but complied, sitting upright and using the lull in activities to pull his shirt out from the waistband of his trousers.

“If you say so.” She teased. Giggling as he once again failed to get the hook and eye undone. Grumbling he hooked his chin over her bare shoulder so he could get eyes on the problem. He could feel a flush building in his cheeks and ears. “You sure you don’t need help?”

“I can do it.” He protested. She, however, didn’t listen. Her right hand slipped up her own back and she threaded her fingers carefully around the clasp.

“How many years of college did you go through, Anthony?” She teased as she snapped, and the bra unhooked. “Get your shirt off, I’m not being topless alone.”

“As my Lady commands.” He complied with a wink, pulling the undershirt over his head and tossing it aside to rest with his sweatshirt.

“Oh no! Don’t you dare start that with me, Sir.” He’d actually forgotten that she had a title and that she disregarded it as much as he ignored his own. It was one of the many things he liked about her, she was so uninterested in social status and climbing and etiquette that was less about being polite and more interested in showing off how you were so much better than everyone else. She was utterly invested in people. In interesting conversation, in treating everyone with respect and a bit of humor. It was so much more real – she was so much more real than the snobs he’d grown up with that had put such emphasis on titles.

“God you’re built.” Edith ran a hand across his chest, and he had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from crying out as her nails grazed over his nipple. They were probably his number one erogenous zone. Even brushing across them through his clothes he would go off like a rocket. And he knew, he knew as well as he knew his own name, if Edith found out about this ‘on switch’ she would use it against him at every opportunity. And while, God, that sounded delightful, he did, on occasion, need blood in his head.

“So are you.” He murmured, returning his lips and attention to her now bare upper body. The bra had been enticing, with its own set of allures, but nothing, nothing was better than seeing her bare before him.

Eventually he was able to turn his attention – and his lips – away from her breasts. He would never have his fill of them, but he was contented for the moment and willing to start exploring lower. She had a tattoo on her ribcage, along her right side. A typewriter with a blank piece of paper loaded. He was unsurprised, he’d seen her other tattoos – the beautiful one on her forearm with books, tea and flowers that had sparked their first conversation, the one following the high, delicate arch of her foot, the one on her ankle which was small and yet so detailed. He’d never thought much of tattoos before, they certainly weren’t something he wanted for himself… But on Edith, each one was a different facet of her, a part of her she was quite willing to literally wear on her sleeve (forearm) for all the world to see. Finding one hidden away on her was like finding another piece of her, and in this case given the location it was something that only he and maybe a small handful of people even knew about. He kissed the keys before moving lower, down her stomach to the waistband of her leggings.

 

She wasn’t wearing any underwear. That was the first thing he registered as he worked the leggings off her legs. She was utterly naked. That thought quickly was replaced however with the fact that she was also completely bare. There was not a single hair below her neck.

Anthony Strallan’s brain had melted and dribbled out his ears.

She was completely waxed.

He’d not been with a lot of women in his life and none of them had ever…

“Anthony?” Edith had propped herself up on her elbows and was now looking at him. He was on his knees at the edge of the bed, having drug her to him, her legs dangling over his shoulders. He’d been more than excited to go down on her but this…new information… had him momentarily distracted.

“You’re naked.” He said stupidly. Edith giggled.

“Yeah, didn’t mean to be actually, but I ticked the wrong box when I went to the esthetician and it was too awkward to say anything once she got started. Do you like it?” She ran a finger down his cheek. He could only gape. Part of him actually didn’t like it. He was already twenty years older than she was, something that he wasn’t reminded of often, but it was still always there in the back of his mind. She was so young (not too young, she was almost thirty after all, but still, compared to him she was young) and now she was laying before him, resplendent, without a single hair on her like she was a goddamn child. A stab of something dark pierced him. She was so young, too young for an old codger – an old pervert – like him.[3]

As quickly as the dark clouds came, they parted – they were banished by her sparkling eyes. Her beautiful brown eyes were almost black with want. She wanted him. Him! She was thirty years old (practically, her birthday was only a few months away). She had a BA, an MFA, and a PhD – more college than even he’d had.[4] She’d lived in America and Ireland. She’d lived her own life for years. She was emphatically not a child, even if she was younger than he was. To cast her as such was to do her an extreme disservice. Infantilizing her did nothing but rob her of her agency and everything she’d achieved in her life.

She wanted him. He had a job to do.

Something to be said in favor of the Brazilian wax, he could easily see just how much she wanted him. Her topography was clear and as he lowered his lips to hers, he found the warm, smooth texture was extremely inviting.

\

Anthony Strallan was a goddamn tease. Edith would love this about him if it wasn’t for the fact that he was teasing her and if he didn’t get on with it soon, she was literally going to go mad. He’d been surprised to find her waxed, which she should have guessed, she’d been surprised herself when she looked at herself after her appointment. It’d taken some getting used to, but now she found she kinda liked it. She certainly loved what Anthony was able to do to her when he could see what he was working with. He’d been able to zone in on all her most sensitive spots and manipulate to his benefit (and by his benefit she meant that she felt like she was moments away from snapping like an over tuned guitar string). He’d not even directly touched her clit. She’d been so certain that she knew what she liked in sex – direct clitoral stimulation. But

“Oh GOD!” Anthony was resolutely not giving her any and she was still delirious with pleasure. “Please! Anthony, please!” She was so close; he was keeping her on a knife’s edge, and it was the most glorious experience that ever made her want to die. “Close! Just… Please… so close…. Goddamnit…Ah! Ah!” He was slowly taking her hints (her begging).

*Slurp* a very wet, decidedly canine tongue ran up her cheek. Edith’s eyes sprang WIDE open. Lola the Horrible Bitch had woken up from her snooze on the sofa and decided that since the humans were on the bed she needed to be too. She was now leaning over Edith’s head with her stupid underbite of a grin.

“LOLA! NO!” Not only was her dog trying to make things a threesome, but her shout made Anthony stop. He was pulling back from her, she had been so close.

“Edie?” he began.

“Anthony, YES.” She bit out; she used the hand which had been in his hair to push his face back down where she needed it while she used her other hand to push Lola away from her face. “Lola, no.” The Baronet in her bed didn’t need to be told twice, with a deep chuckle he returned to what he had been doing. The teasing now welcome because of how much Lola’s intrusion had taken her out of the moment.

“Oh! Oh! OH!” Her eventual climax wasn’t quite what it could have been, as wonderful as it was. Having to stiff-arm Lola the entire time to keep her from joining the fun kept just enough of her brain engaged that she couldn’t just give herself over to pleasure like she had before the bitch had woken up. “Wow.”

Edith opened her eyes in time to see Anthony stand up, swiping the back of his hand across his face. He was so tall. He was actually tall but looking up at him from hooded eyes as he rose over her beside the bed, he was at least seven foot seven now. With broad shoulders and a big chest more muscled than she’d imagined under his cozy knits and chambray shirts. Most important and impressive of all was the bulge in the front of his khakis.

“God you’re sweet, my darling.” He growled. Heavens, she’d loved his voice from the beginning but the deep, gravelly tone it took after he finished… it was so hot. 

“I need you.” She heard herself say, her brain hadn’t even put the empty, needy feeling into thoughts, and it was tumbling from her lips. Anthony flashed his customary half smile as he looked down at her.

“Condom?” Right. Those things. She had some – a few anyway.

“One sec.” She let go of Lola so that she could scramble to her nightstand door. The dog, now free of the stiff-arm fend bounded up to Anthony and demanded pets. Edith could hear him laughing as she rummaged in the drawer, pushing aside the vibrator, tissues, batteries, and headache pills until she found her meager stash of protection. She’d had more, but when she’d prepared for tonight she’d gone through and actually checked the expiration date on the packaging and found 90% of her rubbers were expired (some by more than two years). There was nothing quite so depressing as having to throw away expired prophylactics, but it didn’t matter now! She still had a handful and she had a very good reason to use them.

Edith turned around, foil wrapper in her hand, just in time to see him slid his khakis and pants down his thighs. She knew that Thomas and Jimmy were going to quiz her over this night next time they had brunch – Boxers or Briefs, she could almost hear them asking. She had absolutely no idea. All she could see was his erection.

His glorious erection.

Magnificent.

Resplendent.

Big.

It was big. It had been so long since she’d had intercourse and now, she was being rewarded for her patience in a big way. Not only did he know what to do with his lips and tongue, but he was…. Well, she supposed it made sense, the man was something like 6’4”. It was probably proportional to his tremendous height. But in practical terms for her… it was all very exciting. Awkwardly, adorably the man gave Lola ear scratchies as he stood there naked and ready for her, his smile broadening as he noticed the condom in her hand.

“Go on now. Go lay down.” He told Lola seriously, pointing over to the sofa. “Get.” He was literally balls naked trying to reason with her dog. Edith couldn’t suppress a giggle. His eyes snapped to hers and she could see a flicker of fear there.

Fuck. She clapped her hands over her mouth.

“I swear, I was laughing at the dog.” She mumbled behind her fingers. She knew she had to be blushing bright enough to start a fire. She could feel it spreading from the tips of her ears to the tips of her toes.

Lola, for the first time in her life actually read the room correctly and decided to flee for the hills (sofa). Anthony’s eyes followed the little dog and then turned back to her. The fear was gone, replaced by a heady mix of desire and…sass. There was definitely sass lurking behind those blue, blue eyes. Slowly he crawled over her on the bed, taking the condom from her hand before drawing her into a deep, toe curling kiss. It was so through that she could not only taste herself but also his Pad Thai and the wine they’d shared. She could taste desire as well as her own and she suddenly felt relieved. He didn’t think she had been laughing at him.

He pulled away from the kiss, dropping a quick peck on her lips as a place holder while he turned his attention to removing the condom from the wrapper.

“You best be laughing at the dog, because I am a very serious man,” He rolled the thin protective barrier down over himself with dexterous fingers, it was enthralling to watch, especially as his rich voice, deep with desire, spoke with such warmth and humor. “and this is a very serious cock.” Uff. She hadn’t realized she had a thing for swearing or dirty talk, but he could talk about his cock until the end of time and she’d be absolutely panting.

“Good, because I’m in need of being seriously fucked.” She was rather proud of that comeback, especially when he took her face in his hands and kissed her – hard.

“Your wish is my command, my Lady.” She would have corrected him about using her stupid title, but he was positioning himself between her thighs, tip at her entrance. And

“Oh God.” He groaned from deep in his chest as he slid into her. She had to agree. Oh God indeed. He’d gotten her more than ready but still, it had been quite a while since she’d last had penetrative sex and he was… more than her last boyfriend had been. (A devilish part of her wanted to text Michael hey, shithead, going down on women isn’t just for guys with tiny dicks – it’s what fucking gentlemen do).[5]

And then he started to move, and all thought was blotted from her mind other than Yes.

Oh Yes.

Oh.

Ah! AH! ah!

So deep!

She could tell he was close. Even in her lusty brain she could tell that much, but he was holding back as best he could, trying to drive her over the edge of oblivion for the second time that night. He’d hooked her ankles over his shoulders, he could get so deep at that angle, but she knew she could make it better – for both of them. Years of yoga and barre workouts had to have some pay off beyond owning a lot of spandex and being the most basic bitch ever. She drug her nails down his chest. She’d seen how he’d jolted when she’d tweaked his nipple earlier, now that he wasn’t quite as controlled, she could truly see how he reacted to such abuse of his person.

He liked it. A lot.

“Fuck, Edie.” He groaned and she felt the smile split her face. Tilting her hips to a better angle she brought her knees to her chest and planted her feet on his pecks rather than over his shoulders. It forced him to tip back slightly and he gave her a mildly confused look.

“Trust me.” She moaned and he resumed thrusting. She tilted her hips a little further and… “Right there! Right there!” Direct hit to where she needed it.

“G spot?” He quired. She always knew the man was smart.

“Oh yeah.” She moaned. Smart and with flawless rhythm.

“Fantastic!” He sounded utterly delighted and, in that moment, Edith was certain she could fall in love with the adorable, awkward, wonderful (well hung) man.

God!

Jesus Fuck! YES!

Oh God. Oh God! OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod!

ah!

oh Oh OH! AH!

Her toes curled against his chest and Edith felt all her building tension release in a vivid climax. There were stars behind her eyelids. Fireworks in her blood. Her legs were like jelly as she lowered them to settle around his hips. Anthony had clearly been waiting for her to come apart under him before he chased his own pleasure.

“Are you alright?” He asked, kissing her long and slow.

“More than.” She moaned. And it was the truth. Thomas had laughed when she’d told him she was going on a date with the local veterinarian, but the man had just given her two orgasms, and he still hadn’t had his own.[6]

“Not too sensitive?” She was a bit sensitive, but he was now no longer on her g-spot, which helped.

“Nope, just don’t go quite as deep as before.” He nodded once and kissed her again before letting himself go. His thrusts were no longer measured and calculated for her pleasure. They were frantic and needy. He held her tight, his face buried in her neck, she could only hold on for dear life.

“Oh! Oh Anthony!” She could feel his climax shutter through his entire body. Unlike her he was laconic even as he came. His deep groan was the only vocalization of his completion, and she might not have realized its significance if he wasn’t holding her so close, if she hadn’t felt how his body spasmed with completion.

For a moment he simply lay there, unmoving, breathing hard. Then, his equilibrium restored, he raised his head to kiss her, taking more of his weight on his forearms and elbows, so that he was no longer crushing her. Eventually he pulled back from their kiss and studied her face. His eyes were so soft as they looked at her, a part of her wanted to look away – it was more intense than the climax he’s wrung from her. Another part of her, the majority, never wanted to look away again. She met his eyes and offered him a smile.

“Wow.” A lock of blond hair had fallen over his forehead and she thoroughly enjoyed herself as she brushed it away.

“More like holy shit. Can we do it again?” Anthony blinked at her and then burst out laughing. She could feel it bubble through him and into her. It was effervescent and infectious.

“I believe you have me mistaken for a much younger man.”

“It doesn’t have to be now.” She giggled, flexing her Kegels tentatively. “In fact, I’m not sure I’d be up for it right now.” He slipped from her and rolled over with a chuckle. “I just mean in general, can we do it again, at some point in the future – hopefully the not too distant future?”

“I’d like that, a lot.” She did a little happy dance and Anthony laughed, turning to look at her, running a hand over her to settle in the dip of her waist. She snuggled closer to him, his chest was as warm as it was broad, and raised her head to kiss him again.

Lola’s cold nose went right into the small of her back. She yelped and jumped into his arms, her forehead connecting with his nose.

“LOLA!” Anthony reeled back, hands flying to his face. “Bloody hell!” he swore.

“Are you alright?” She sat up trying to see how badly she’d managed to break the man who’d just given her some of the best sex of her life.

“Yes?” He said, tentatively wiggling his nose. While his eyes had watered his nose didn’t appear broken or bloody.

“Oh, thank God!” She felt herself sag slightly with relief. She turned to Lola, who was standing on the bed, her tail wagging. It wiggled her entire chunky body. “Lola. No!” Edith sighed and picked up her beloved, horrible brat of a dog and marched her over to the dog bed. She carefully dropped the pooch in the bed, bending at the waist. “Lola, stay!” she admonished.

“Splendid view, darling.” Anthony called from the bed. Edith looked over her shoulder at him. He gave her a very approving look from her now probably mussed to hell hair to her toes. He obviously wasn’t seriously wounded since his eyes were lusty as ever. Appreciative. Adoring. She turned and struck a pose, hand on her hip.

“You like what you see, then?” She smiled.

“You know I do.” He replied with a charming rumble. “And I’m going to go get cleaned up and then I’ll show you just how much.” He stood and walked the step and a half necessary to get from the bed to the walk-thru closet to the bathroom. Once he was out of sight Edith gave a little arm pump. That had been so much better than she hoped (Lola’s enthusiastic participation not withstanding), even with legitimately watching Russian Doll instead of “chilling”.

“Lola, stay off the bed. You hear me? Stay here.” Lola grunted and then spun around on her overstuffed pillow and sat down. Edith nodded firmly and then grabbed the remote. They had missed the entirety of episode five and the sixth was starting when she hit pause. They’d have to rewatch later. Although she supposed that it would be thematically appropriate to have to rewatch the episode and restart the next one. She could hear the tap running and glanced toward her phone. If she were quick, she could brag…

Thomas

1. Started watching Russian Doll – recommend, v. good.

2. And yes. Terrible pun btw but the sex was v. v. v. good.

Edith had just hit send on her text to Thomas when Anthony appeared out of the bath. He bent and grabbed his shorts pulling them on. It was just enough time for her to put her phone back on the coffee table and pretend like she hadn’t just been texting about him. Pants on (light blue boxers, she filed away for future reference) he ambled over to her, a very satisfied grin splitting his handsome features. He dropped his head to kiss her again, his hands spreading across her shoulder, the other coming around her hip to palm her ass. He tasted like mouthwash, his chin still a bit damp from the wash he’d clearly given himself.

“Mmmm.” She felt as sparkly as a new penny, all from his kisses.

“So,” He looked from her to the TV. “What say you?”

“We missed all of episode five and the start of episode six.”

“A pity, but it was in a good cause.” He squeezed her cheek and smiled.

“I couldn’t agree more.” She reached up and kissed him again, then pulled away. “I’ll get cleaned up too. Be right back.” Another quick peck and she retreated to her bathroom.

 

Anthony had wrapped the condom up in some toilet tissue, she’d made sure the bathroom was clean when she invited him over, so the neatly wrapped little package and mouthwash cup were the only things in her wastebasket. She also patted herself on the back for leaving the mouthwash out and clearly visible. He’d availed himself of it, as she’d hoped. He’d done more than she’d hoped tonight, and she was still feeling like she walked on air. Edith finished tidying herself up, taking a hit of mouthwash herself before grabbing the matching pair of panties to her bra from the drawer. She looked at the robe hanging on the back of her door. She certainly wasn’t going to get dressed, but did she want to go with the seduction of her silk kimono style robe or the classic move of stealing his shirt? If she played her cards right, he’d spend the night. She’d bought a spare toothbrush last week, her heart full of hope. Oh, she had liked him when she first met him. And she liked him a lot when they got a chance to sit and have a conversation over tea. Dinner was even better. And now…this. God, he was wonderful.

\

Edith emerged from her loo not long after she entered it wearing lacy black knickers and nothing else. She crossed confidently the nook where her bed was and picked up his sweatshirt from the floor where he had hastily tossed it. He was a little disappointed to see her breasts disappear beneath the grey-blue fabric, he was also a little thankful. There was no way he could focus on anything if she was topless. She looked good in his clothes. The jumper was just large enough on her to look oversized and adorable, the perfect complement to her mussed hair (he’d done that, he thought with pride). She was relaxed and gorgeous. The jumper, on the other hand, wasn’t so oversized that it swallowed her up entirely – the bottom of her cheeks and the lace of her knickers still peeked out from under the hem. Her legs, long and muscular, were completely bare. And, now that he was in his right, rather than lust-addled mind, he could see a colorful tattoo decorating her left thigh. A nightingale sang on a rose branch, thorn at its breast as a white rose slowly turned red.[7]

“Anthony?” It took effort but he was eventually able to tear his gaze away from her legs. She approached him with a coy smile on her lips. She had caught him staring. He found he didn’t care and considering her reaction he doubted very much that she minded either.

“Yes, sweet one?” The endearment rolled off his tongue completely independent of his brain. But now that he heard it, he found he rather liked it. Sweet one. It was fitting and her eyes danced when she heard it. She pressed herself against his chest, wrapping her arms loosely around his waist and tilting her head back to look at him. It was the most natural thing in the world to drop his own arms around her as well and pull her even closer to him.

“What are you thinking, hmmm?”

“Oh, about how lucky I am to be here with you. How much better you look in that sweatshirt than I do…” She gave him a quick peck. She had also used the mouthwash in her bathroom. Damn convenient that it was sitting out on the vanity, small stack of small paper cups beside it. He enjoyed the art of cunnilingus as much as the next bloke, but some flavors didn’t need to linger.

“Oh, very serious, deep thoughts.” She teased.

“I thought I told you, I’m a very serious man.” He teased right back.

“Mmm, you did indeed.” She tugged him gently toward the sofa, pulling him down so that he sat at one end; one of his legs extended out, his back leaning against the pillows stacked on the arm. She then quickly arranged herself in his lap so that she was cuddled into his chest, between his legs, her head pillowed on his breast under his chin. She fit perfectly here, slotted against him like the other half of a dovetail. Together they were seamless.

“Do you want to continue watching the show? We’re halfway through the season, the episodes are short we could probably finish it tonight if we tried.” He checked his watch. He’d stripped off all his other clothing – even his socks – but completely forgotten to take his watch off. The square face of his TAG Heuer told him that it was late. Too late to be starting anything ambitious – which another four episodes would be, even considering the fact they were only 30 minutes a piece. He might be young and spry enough for excellent sex, but he was still too old to be staying up so late to watch a movie. Then there was the fact he had three dogs at home that would need to be let out sooner rather than later. He’d not realized Netflix was a euphemism for sex or else he’d have made arrangements for Harriet, Tristan, and Siegfried to spend the night without him.[8]

“Sweet one, I’m entirely too old to start a TV marathon at 9:30 at night.”

“Old? You certainly didn’t seem old before.” She gave him a playful nudge in the ribs. He’d certainly not felt old either.

“That used up all my vim and vigor, if we start watching something now, I guarantee you I’ll have nodded off before the credits roll.” He would too. The sofa wasn’t necessarily comfortable – sofas rarely were. But her warm, slight weight against his chest, her coconut scented hair, the softness of her skin beneath his hands more than made up for the sofa’s quite literal shortcomings.

“Would it really be so bad?” She pulled back slightly to meet his eye, “If you slept here?”

“Are you asking me to stay the night?” He hoped so, or that question was going to be extremely awkward.

“Yes, I’m asking you to spend the night. In fact, let me make it clearer,” She sat all the way up and looked at him. “Would Sir Anthony Strallan do the Lady Edith the tremendous honor of staying the night at her flat, in her bed?” God above, he wanted to say yes. The idea of curling up with her to sleep was more alluring than even her legs at the moment – and she had remarkably fine legs. But the dogs. He sighed.

“Darling, I want nothing more than to pick you up and carry you back to bed and cuddle and fool around until we both fall asleep but when you suggested we get take out and watch Netflix I really believed you about the Netflix.” He gave her his signature self-deprecating smile. He was not a hip man; the euphemisms of today were quite foreign to him. “If I’d have known what ‘and chill’ involved I’d have made arrangements for the dogs. As it is, they’re probably all anxiously watching the door in need of a slash.” She pouted and studied his face, probably trying to read him to see if he was sincere or not. He leaned forward and kissed her forehead.

“Please believe me, Edie, the idea of waking up next to you is one of the best I’ve heard in a very long time.” She studied him for a moment longer and then curled back up against his chest.

“You can’t go yet.” She declared. “A little longer, please.” He happily settled back against the arm of the sofa, his arms settling across her back, one hand resting on her thigh. “And,” She added, “Next time I suggest Netflix-”

“I should pack a toothbrush?” He could feel her smiling against his neck.

“I actually have a spare one here. I was feeling optimistic about tonight. No, I was going to tell you to make arrangements for the dogs.”

Yes, ma’am.”

 

A comfortable silence fell between them. It was nice, cuddling like this, listening to the soft snores of Lola and the occasional rumble of traffic outside. But it was too comfortable, and with her warmth he was in danger of falling asleep in spite of everything he’d just said. Anthony cast his mind about for something to talk about. Certainly, there were lots of potential topics considering the night’s turn of events. Some more blue than others. But there was one question that had popped into his brain earlier and hung on for the ride.

“Edie.” He said softly, against his chest she shifted he was fairly certain she had drifted off for a moment resting there. Her breath had changed against his skin, he had felt her lips part, she’d not started drooling yet, but it was not the feeling of a woman who was awake.

“Hmmm?” She hummed.

“You weren’t wearing panties…earlier, with your leggings. Was that – was that because you had plans for this evening or…?” Edith giggled and stretched lazily against him.

“Oh, I often don’t wear pants with my leggings – they leave lines you know. VPL isn’t a good look. So, I’d say at any given moment I’m wearing leggings it’s 60/40 that I’m just wearing leggings.

“Really?” He gulped. The idea of her walking about in nothing but some stretchy spandex… did things to him. “So, at yoga…were you, erm, going commando?”

“Oh yeah.” She said brightly, snuggling up to him with clear intention. He groaned. Thank god he’d been completely ignorant of this information, or his lack of flexibility would have been the last thing to embarrass him. Although, now that he knew, there would be no way that he could see her in leggings and not wonder if she was wearing anything underneath them.

“You do realize,” he told her, his hand drifting up to stroke her backside. “That I will never be able to see you in leggings and not wonder if you’re bare beneath them, right?”

“That,” She smiled against his neck, dropping kisses along the underside of his jaw, “is exactly what I want you to do with this information.”

“You are going to be the death of me, woman.” He was getting hot again, which was amazing all things considering. The blood was certainly willing, however, even if the rest of him would be unable to fully comply.

“Le petit mort, perhaps, but you can’t die just yet, not for real. I’m not remotely done with you.” She giggled as he groaned. She was absolutely going to be the death of him, and he was going to love every moment of it.

 

It didn’t take Lola long to realize that the humans were back on the sofa and there was a hand free that could be petting her. She squirmed her way onto his chest, in the middle of Edith and him, then promptly rolled over so that he could rub her belly. Her absolute need to be in the middle was endearing in a way, if also extremely annoying. And with regret, as well as a dramatic, put upon sigh he moved his hand from tracing the nightingale on Edith’s thigh to stroking Lola’s little pot belly. The conversation ebbed and flowed, drifting from her thigh tattoo (inspired by Oscar Wilde) to continuing their conversation about Romantics that they had begun when they first met, it veered into John Donne, made its way back via Dorothy Sayers and was now in the very niche weeds of what was their favorite pop culture use of their respective ancestral homes. A topic only the aristocracy could love.

“Locksley was in a few episodes of Midsomer Murders.”[9] He’d never actually lived in Locksley Hall; the great house had been converted into a hotel when his father had inherited it. The estate itself was extremely financially stable (his great grandfather had seen to that, even during the depression Locksley had been comfortable as always), but the house was another matter entirely. It was too big and too costly to maintain as a private residence. His father had been an only child, Anthony himself was the second of two. Unlike the brood of five his namesake great-grandfather Sir Anthony Strallan had, it seemed silly to keep an enormous estate for a family of four.[10] He didn’t regret not living in the place, it was perfectly suited as a hotel – large with lovely rooms and an expansive park. Plus, he still got the revenue from the business without having to sacrifice his vocation to tend it.

“Oo, which ones?”

“Several, I don’t know their names. I did get to meet John Nettles a few times – he’s a nice man. Even remembered me the second time, although I suppose when you’re introduced with all the titles and as the owner of the estate, it’s only polite.”

“That’s still nice though, it’s always heartening to hear that celebrities are nice.” She shrugged. “Now, the real question, were the episodes any good?”

“What makes a good episode of Midsomer?” He’d seen the show of course, made a point of catching the episodes filmed at Locksley, but he wouldn’t consider himself a connoisseur. As much as he enjoyed a good murder mystery novel, he tended to ignore the televised counterpart.

“The scream, of course!” She skootched herself up so that she could better look at him as they talked. She apparently had opinions about this. “Then of course the body count – the higher the better, although if the murder weapon is something utterly ridiculous like a wheel of cheese or something that takes precedence. And then one must consider the guest stars, its double points if the show features someone who later goes on to be a big star – like Henry Cavill or Orlando Bloom.”

“You’ve put thought into this.” She smiled.

“Murder shows are my secret public vice. Mum is very much against censorship of any kind – I think in part on principle, and mostly because it riled Granny up like no other to see me with my nose stuck in Lady Chatterley’s Lover at age ten. So of course, I was allowed to watch all the mystery shows I wanted, I think my first TV crush was on Arthur Hastings from Poirot.[11] I think it was the fair isle.” She twittered with laughter and tickled Lola under her chin.

“You read Lady Chatterley’s Lover when you were ten?

“I did!” She sounded very proud, then added, “I didn’t understand any of it but I read it. I’d never gotten such a stir out of adults before. I think it’s what inspired all my later rebellions.” She gave him a saucy wink.

“Is that also where you learned those four-letter words you were using earlier?”

“Absolutely, and the second time I read it I even learned a neat trick with my tongue.” It was possible to choke on air.

What?”

“You’ll have to come back and “watch Netflix” soon and I’ll show you.”

Edith.” He would not call himself a creative man, but his mind was certainly running away with him –“tongue trick”.

“Yes darling?” She ran a hand down his chest, just shy of his nipple (but close enough to make him suck in a sharp breath). She knew exactly what she was doing. Minx.

“Careful, Sweet one.” He took her hand and pressed a kiss to each finger. “We’re still just feet from your bed.” She giggled and leaned forward into a kiss. The kiss lingered and deepened until they were once again making out on her sofa. This time with significantly more confident with one another and with significantly less clothing. She threaded her hand into his hair again, cradling the back of his skull and subtly directing him to the best angle for the kiss. The gentle tug at his hair, the scrape of her nails against his scalp. Her other hand was flattened against his breast, thumb brushing just below his nipple. So close, so damn teasing close.

It was maddening.

Turnabout was fair play of course, he slipped a under the hem of his sweatshirt, running his up and down her bare back, enjoying the flex and feel of her muscles under his palm. His other hand hitched under her thigh, holding her flush against him.

“God, Anthony, are you sure you have to go home tonight?” She was sounding increasingly wrecked. Almost as far gone as she had been before. It was quickly becoming his favorite sound in the world.  (He wasn’t far behind her, God she was seeking friction for herself and in the process…). The blood was willing, very willing, the spirit was as well. It never did know what was best for it. If he didn’t pace himself… he was going to die, but what a way to go…  

“I really wish I didn’t.” He’d left the house at 6:30, letting the dogs out right before he’d driven over. It was ten-ish now. He’d say as a general rule of thumb an adult dog could be left home alone for at most six hours. Herriot and Tristan, he’d trust to be just fine if he didn’t get home until Midnight, but Siegfried was getting on in years. The little old man would be bursting soon.

“Are you sure?” She purred, nipping under his ear and tweaking his nipple. God in heaven. Admittedly, it had been a while since he’d last had intercourse and no one had come close to making him feel what Edith made him feel. But still. He was far from fifteen years old, yet his body wasn’t acknowledging that fact at the moment. He was rather impressed with himself in a perverse way.

“I have to be home before Midnight.” This would probably never happen again. He would ride it as long as he could. Hopefully Sieggy would forgive him this once.

“I’ll make it worth your time.” Edith gave him a very satisfied grin as she slid her hand between their bodies. He grasped her wrist.

Gently as he could he dumped Lola off of his lap and then swept her up in his arms. “Lola stay.” He ordered over his shoulder as he carried Edith back to her bed for round two.

 

 

 


[1] This entire fic was inspired by/ a set up for this valentine’s card.

[2] There’s cool, and then there’s Steve McQueen cool.
The nieces referenced here are the OC children of Anthony’s sister, Mrs. Chetwood. Katherine and Philippa Chetwood are twins, about twenty-two, and known to their beloved Uncle Tony as Pip and Kit. I’ve got a lot of background/headcanon about this AU. Some of this background is laid out in my general post about the AU, some of it is simmering behind my fingers just waiting for an opportunity.

[3] The age question. Like everything in life it’s complicated. On the one hand, it’s twenty years age difference. On the other hand, Edith is an adult. An adult adult, not on the cusp of womanhood or something, a fully-grown independent woman. She’s not dependent on anyone, technically she’s got more social standing even than Anthony considering she’s the daughter of an Earl and he’s just a Baronet. She’s lived a life, had experiences and is a fully realized, interesting individual. She’s more than just her age in relation to his. Is there an age difference? Yes. But I think in this instance it’s not particularly problematic. People might disagree. I certainly had a student one time go on a rant about the age difference between Thomas Jefferson and Maria Cosway (~17 years). It was particularly funny/awkward/interesting considering the rant was in front of me and my husband, and we have a twelve-year age difference (I’m not sure she knew we were married; I kept my name).  

[4] Another background thing, as well as a bit of clear authorial prerogative. The University of Iowa (my alma mater) has a world-renowned creative writing program. Iowa City, where the university is located is an UNESCO City of Literature (one of two in the entire United States). Edith is a US citizen by virtue of her mother’s citizenship. In this AU I imagine Edith taking her interest in writing and her interest in getting FAR away from her family and deciding to study in the states. So naturally doing a BA and MFA at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop was what sprang to my mind (so that’s 4 years for the BA plus 2 years for the MFA). Trinity College Dublin is another world-renowned writing program/city of literature and offers a PhD in Literary Practice (I’m guestimating 3 years, although US graduate programs like the one I’m in are very different from European programs). So, there you have it, Edith has a PhD in being a novelist. This was an incredibly long author’s note, I apologize.

[5] My apologies to anyone who liked Michael Gregson. I just find him particularly easy to dig. I will note, I’m not suggesting he has small equipment, I’m actually accusing him of a far graver sin – not reciprocating oral sex. He’s like the DJ Khaled of the Cold Feet AU.

[6] I almost went with a rework of this classic dialogue from Legally Blonde. Poor Robert Bathurst, do you think he knows there are people on the internet objectifying him like this?

[7] Edith’s thigh tattoo is inspired by the Oscar Wilde story “the Nightingale and the Rose” from The Happy Prince and Other Tales.

[8] Anthony has three dogs, named after the three main characters in the James Herriot series All Creatures Great and Small which he credits with inspiring him to become a large animal veterinarian.  Tristan and Siegfried are both boys, Herriot is a girl. Tris is a Lapphund, Herriot is an Australian Shepard, and Siegfried is a Schnauzer. Anthony also has a barn cat named Walt Whiskers and four chickens: Hannah, Heidi, Helga, and Hennifer.

[9] This section is very much inspired by the fact that Highclere Castle and Hall Barn are popular places to shoot movies and television shows. I imagine even the Crawleys would eventually bow to the times and not keep Downton Abbey as an exclusively private residence. Hall Barn, the real-life Locksley, does appear in at least two Midsomer episodes (s7, e4 “Sins of Commission” and s11, e1 “Shot at Dawn” – between the two I think “Shot at Dawn” is better. I found Lionel more charming than Jezebel Tripp, plus Samantha Bond is in that episode), as well as the beginning of Gosford Park, which was a bit of a forerunner, in a way, to Downton Abbey.
Edith’s opinion on how to judge a good Midsomer Murder is based almost entirely on a system my husband and his Brother have in which they rank episodes based on how good the screams are. I don’t know if Midsomer is popular in all of Germany, but it is certainly beloved of my in-laws. We bonded.

[10] For this AU I changed the past, so unlike in canon, Maud Strallan never died, nor did she and Sir Anthony have trouble conceiving, in fact they had three daughters and two sons. Sir Anthony did serve in the war and as a diplomat before that, but since he had a wife and children at home he was never sent behind enemy lines. He lived to be 98. He, Maud, and their children were good friends with their neighbors the Crawleys and were delighted when the middle daughter married the Marquess of Hexham.

[11] Same, Edith, Same. It was then that my mother knew I was going to marry a nerd. And guess what, I did.