It was only Sydney, but she seemed a world away. Jack breathed in the fragrant steam rising from his mug and thought of the smoke chugging out of the stacks on the train carrying her back to him. He would hold her in his arms again in the morning; yet he still couldn't shake the restlessness that had haunted him for days.
Phryne’s last case touched on all her favorite things: a silk merchant, murder, stolen diamonds, and a naive young adventuress. In other words, an opportunity to use her considerable talents and resources to protect the vulnerable, while no doubt draped in a nearly obscene amount of silks and diamonds. Catnip to Phryne, but unfortunately not requiring any of his expertise
Instead, the past few weeks had made him a solitary midnight philosopher and a slave to the postman. He absently trailed his finger over the worn folds of the stack of letters in front of him, and the thick, smooth blossom of the bow topping the box just beside. It was not the cool kiss of the silky bow that made him shiver, but the thought of what lay inside the box, and the oft revisited lines of her letters. Phryne might have preferred actions to words, but these weeks away seemed to dredge from within her a poetry of longing. Unlike the long, nerve-wracking separation when she flew her father back to England and took not a moment to write, here he had before him a physical reminder that he had not dreamed their frantic runway kiss, or all those that followed.
Her letters showed him that he was not alone in carrying her with him every moment of every day. Just as he heard her teasing voice at every crime scene, and the furtive glimpse of a feathered headband on inky black hair could make him gasp with remembered pleasure, in her letters he was clearly woven into every street, party, and clue in Sydney.
“I've had to buy a truly atrocious silk tie for you Jack,” she wrote, “to maintain cover. I can hear you telling me you'll never have an occasion for a chartreuse tie, but you'll have to sacrifice a little practicality for this case.” Another letter informed him, “The police here are very dull. There is no one to give me that look of disapproval you specialize in, which always dissolves into a smile when you think I'm not watching. But you underestimate my powers of observation, Jack - and in any case, I'm always watching you.”
Her letters whispered other things to him as well, and he couldn't help reaching into the pile to reread a few lines: “There is a very fit young constable here, but for all of his heroic flexing in the line of duty, he has none of your charm. He's still a boy, really, and he makes me ache all the more painfully for you. I miss the way your clever fingers unerringly find every secret place inside of me. My little fingers just don't feel the same, although after writing this letter and thinking of you, I do believe I will still have to try.”
With a fingertip he traced the words that still sent a little twinge through his chest, and imagined, as he had many times before, that he could feel a trace of her through the ink. He hoped that when he poured his desire out onto the page for her, that his words had the power to touch her too, and stroke all the hidden places so far out of his reach.
he had quoted. In his own words, he continued, “How I long to turn my winter’s heart back to the warmth of your eyes. Reaching out in the night, I find only cold, empty sheets. I dream always of tasting the honey of your desire, sticky and sweet from the heat of our touch.” Would her eyes widen and the blush of her rouged cheeks darken when she read it? He imagined it constantly, hoped they were both imagining it together, and that the nectar he so longed to taste bloomed in her at the sight of his words.
“For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And, thou away, the very birds are mute,”
Yet, although her letters quickened his breath they also stung him with melancholy. How many strapping young constables would pale in comparison to him? There would come a day when his old fashioned sensibilities seemed tiresome rather than charming, his protectiveness cloying rather than touching, and his sense of duty cumbersome rather than a worthy challenge on the road to adventure. It was not that he begrudged her the pleasures to be found in another embrace, for how could he deny a hedonist that which makes life worth living? No, he simply despaired of the day when she would no longer choose him. He wished only that the inestimable Phryne Fisher, lady detective extraordinaire, pilot, spy, raconteur, queen of hearts, look out onto all her supplicants and choose him. Every day. Again and again. He knew that if - when - if she should choose another, he would love her still, and leap at the miracle of her return when it came, but he knew too that his heart would weep, at having fallen from her grace.
Thus he toyed nervously with the points of the black ribbon on the dark red box. Did he dare? As an image of her nose scrunched in revulsion, or her lips twisted in pity rose involuntarily in his thoughts, he shuddered. Yet, he had tried loving someone else, had tried being apart from her, had tried to forget her. With her or without her, he would love her still. He wished only to be close to her, to touch her, for as long as he might. Resolutely he affixed a tag to the box, before setting aside his mug and seeking sleep. In the last glow of the fire embers it read:
“Being your slave what should I do but tend
Upon the hours, and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend;
Nor services to do, till you require.”
Until this case, Sydney had never felt so remote, and in only a few weeks, Phryne had begun to feel that it had been an absolute age since she last saw Jack's sly little surreptitious smile. A case that brought her away from home to rub shoulders with the beautiful, powerful, and deadly was usually like a summer holiday to Phryne: full with the promise of adventure and indulgence. Yet, although she had immensely enjoyed interrogating a silk baron over a very charming flute of French 75, dancing with the baron’s devious but beautiful young heir apparent, and sneaking glances at the scandalous dilettante currently escorting her client, none of them managed to push her from amused appreciation to the hot urgency of desire. Even when she lay alone in her plush hotel bed and conjured a set of strong, angular features, then a boyishly sweet smile, and a pair of rowers arms, she touched herself in vain because none could bring her more than a flicker of pleasure. Only by sinking into the memory of familiar fingers skimming up her thighs and a familiar voice calling her name as he brought her past the limits of her endurance, did she finally reach her peak on a whispered “Jack.”
She hadn’t made any promises to Jack, and he hadn’t asked for them. She imagined that pledging herself to one person for the rest of time - or even the foreseeable future - would leave her constricted and gasping for freedom. What she hadn’t expected was this sudden strange lack of desire, or rather its overabundance. To her surprise, every waking moment had filled to overflowing with thoughts of Jack, and no pleasant accent, or skillful flourish on the dance floor could disrupt her fixation.
It was really most perplexing.
Weeks of pining left her desperately turned on and, she would admit to herself, slightly apprehensive, although the worry marks bit into her lower lip indicated a deeper disquiet. In all her insistence on maintaining her own freedom, she had never really considered what it might mean to wish to impose upon someone else’s. She wanted Jack to be there when she arrived in Melbourne, wanted him to sweep her into his embrace, whisk her home, and make love to her with all the fury of a man denied his sine qua non, as she had been. She trusted completely, or almost so, that today this would come to pass, but what of the future? For the first time, she had a desperate wish to keep someone, to tie him to her and never let him stray. And for the first time that meant she had to consider that someday he might wish to stray, that he could grow bored, or disenchanted with her risk-taking, and that he would see her age. The enormity of what she wished from him left her breathless and small and altogether uncomfortable and unfamiliar in her own skin.
Luckily, as with most uncomfortable feelings in her experience, it could be partly smothered by a generous application of luxury. The previous evening, as she readied herself for the night train, she had stood before her dressing mirror and contemplated the lines and curves of her body. Could the same breasts, the same thighs, the same skin, really stir a man, after weeks, and months, and years? In his marriage Jack hadn’t been the one who cheated, and she would never suspect him capable of it; yet would the spark nevertheless wane over time? She blew the gorgeous woman in the mirror a little kiss - her beauty had never been in question, but she deplored boredom.
Luckily, although her body would remain the same, if slowly yielding to the touch of time, it could also come in an endless variety of novel wrappings. She sighed in satisfaction as she stepped into the exquisite new silk and lace tap pants, which settled in a gossamer cloud around her hips. Then she tied the delicate silk ribbons of her new brassier and let out a little contented humm as her breasts were cupped in a feather soft embrace. She traced her fingertips across the hundreds of little threads that swirled into lacy flowers at the garment’s edge, and down the smooth surface, imagining the path of Jack’s eyes.
Then she covered that secret sensation with a gown, rouged her lips, and set off for the train, and her love on the other end.
Swooping down to kiss away her smirk he replied, “Only for you, Phryne. Only for you.”
The cab ride to Phryne’s house was an excruciating test of patience. Their fingers expressed an acute need to reconnect more completely. During the entire ride they stroked, entwined, fell apart, and returned again and again to tickle the sensitive webbing between fingers, the delicate curve of a wrist. Although minutes should be as nothing compared to weeks apart, that these were the last few made every touch that couldn’t continue past the shirt cuff all the more unbearable, every heavy glance all the more incendiary.
As soon as they were inside the threshold, with Bert and Cec driving away outside, Phryne flung Jack’s hat to the side and plunged her fingers into his soft hair to pull him back into a kiss. The urgency of her lips and tongue whispered the words she still couldn’t quite say: “I missed you” along the seam of his lips. “I was desolate without you,” traced against his teeth.
Aloud she managed, “I brought you something.”
Jack chuckled and she felt the warm vibration against her cheek. “Not that horrible tie, Phryne. Can’t it wait?”
She pulled away and took a few backward steps toward the stairs. “Oh, no, not the tie. I think you’ll like this much better. But,” she paused to slowly tease apart the ribbons holding her gown closed at the neckline, “you’re going to have to come upstairs to unwrap it.”
“I like it already,” Jack replied. He closed the distance between them and ran his finger down the growing slit in her dress. Phryne squirmed, guiding the questing finger toward one breast, then the other, until she seized it in her hand, and brought it to her mouth where she nibbled and licked at the tip. With a little groan Jack ghosted his finger across the edge of her lips and she gasped at the tickle that followed his path and sent tendrils of heat shooting deep inside of her.
On quickened breaths Jack managed to say, “It just so happens that I have something for you as well,” and he gestured to a bag that lay dropped and nearly forgotten near the door.
“And you haven’t even been away,” she noted. “You are full of surprises, Jack.” She relinquished her hold on him and took a few steps up the stairs. “Meet me in the bedroom and we can both unwrap our gifts.” With a challenging smirk she added, “I trust that you remember the way?” before turning to dash up the stairs and out of sight.
For a moment Jack sagged against the banister, with a moan. Then he straightened, grabbed the bag, and raced up the stairs after Phryne.
When he reached her she was already draped across the bed, her gown parted down the middle to reveal tantalizing glimpses of alabaster skin and creamy silk. He set one knee between her splayed thighs and lay over her to find her lips again, nibbling her lower lip until her tongue came to play with his. She hummed into his mouth and the sound warmed him straight through his core.
At a little tap to his shoulder he pulled back. She gave him one more peck on the cheek and a long, luxurious arch of her hips that sent shocks through his cock. Then she looked up at him in faux innocence and said, “I’d like my present now.”
The pitch with which he squeaked “Phryne” could not be called dignified, but he nonetheless straightened and withdrew from the bed to retrieve the package. He returned to her rather more tentatively than he’d left, and lay the box in her lap without meeting her eyes. With a curious tilt of her head she slid the thick black ribbon to the side and pulled off the deep red top to peer inside.
Her sharp intake of breath was audible, and her hand flew to her mouth, but when he looked up, it was not revulsion or pity, but surprise and mirth that lit her features. “Oh, Jack,” she said softly, reaching a hand into the box to stroke the cool, smooth surface of an onyx dildo, then the shiny finish of one carved from jade. “They’re beautiful, but why? I don’t think I require any therapeutic intervention in this respect.”
Jack shrugged and looked away for a moment, then sighed deeply and turned to meet her gaze. “I thought you might like a little variety, and that perhaps instead of looking for it in the arms of the next strapping young constable, you might find it here with me.”
“Oh, Jack,” she sighed. “I’ve known for awhile there was something I owed it to you to say, and this trip rather confirmed it.” He tensed, but she reached out to stroke his hair, across his brow, and down the line of his nose to the bow of his downturned lips. “You know that I love my freedom, and I love that you’ve been strong enough to demand not a single promise from me. But Jack, the truth is that I don’t want anyone else.”
He looked down at the crumpled bow and whispered, “You say that now, but...”
“No,” she said, returning her finger to his lips. “Let me say this. It’s because you haven’t asked it of me that I can choose in freedom to make this promise. I only want you, Jack.” His eyes snapped back up to her face, wide in amazement, and this time is was she who ducked her head away. But soon she looked up at him again through down-turned lashes, to quietly ask, “What do you think, Jack? Will you be my one and only?”
Jack positively glowed. “Yes, Phryne. Of course. If you will be mine,” he said, and at her nod he leaned in to plant frantic little kisses at her hairline, behind her ear, under her jaw, and at the peak of her collar bone.
When he moved to capture her lips she scooted back on the bed, and brought his fingers back to the ribbons of her dress. “Don’t you want to open your present now?” she asked, and he lifted an eyebrow in confusion at the note of uncertainty in her voice.
“I couldn’t wait a moment longer,” he assured her, and peeled away her gown to reveal a confection of cream silk and delicate lace. He reached immediately for the ribbons holding the smooth little bralette together, but she reached up to stop him, asking, “Don’t you like it?”
Nearing the edge of his patience, he explained, “It’s lovely, Phryne, but not nearly as lovely as you.”
A smile he would have to classify as shy bloomed across her face, and she asked, “You would rather have just me, than the most exquisite silks in all the world?”
“Phryne,” he said seriously, resting on his forearms, “you know I’m a man of simple tastes. I would rather look at you than any silk, or sculpture, or painting.”
“I wish,” she began tentatively, “I wish that could always be so.”
“Oh, my love,” he said, smoothing away the little worry lines that had gathered at the edges of her eyes. “Never doubt it.” He held her gaze for a long stretch, watching as the tension drained from her body and the color returned to her cheeks and chest. Finally a loud chuckle burst from her and she turned a radiant smile to him once more.
“Oh, Jack,” she said on a giggle. “Our gifts were a little misplaced. I’ve lost the appetite for variety, and you never had one to begin with.”
He smiled ruefully at her observation. “Wise gifts, those gifts of the Magi,” he replied.
“Indeed,” she nodded. “But ... perhaps not all is lost.”
“What do you mean?” he questioned.
“Well, I seem to be in possession of some rather beautiful dildos, and you have just professed a delight in looking at me naked. Tell me, Jack,” she continued, her voice gone low and husky as she propped herself up and leaned in to him. “When you bought these, did you think of how they would look? How they would look in your hand, sliding in and out of me?”
“Yes,” he gasped. “Every day. Every day and every night for weeks.”
She pulled a rose quartz length from the box and handed it to him. “Put it in me, Jack. Put it in me and watch me come apart for you.”
Jack groaned low, and buried his face in her neck. He nuzzled there for a moment, then drew a line of kisses down her breast bone, to softly nudge the silk away from the softer, infinitely more precious flesh beneath. He lay wet kisses along the rise of her breast, and breathed hot moist air over the cool material, until with a gasp of frustration she reached down and released the brassiere’s ties so he could finally take her nipple in his mouth and pull gratified moans from her. Releasing her with one last lap of his tongue, he reached his hand up to circle and twist the sensitized peaks, sending her back arching and her hands scrabbling against the sheets for purchase against the waves of pleasure crashing within her.
Slowly he drew his wet fingertips down her body and she mewled at the loss, until his hand found the edge of her tap pants and began to play there, causing the smooth material to slide deliciously across her aching flesh. He lowered his head to her stomach, where he nipped and nuzzled as his hand explored the border between silk and skin. She swiveled her hips in tight circles, nearly mad with anticipation. “Let me see you,” he whispered into the curve of her hip, and she whimpered, pulling frantically at the tap pants’ enclosures so that she could peel them off and send them flying indiscriminately across the room.
Jack settled himself between her thighs and drew shaky fingers from ankle to knee, and knee to hip bone, over and over, until her plaintively moaned “Jack!” made him chuckle and slide his fingers at last over her aching center. He brought his glistening fingers to his mouth and suckled. “So wet,” he moaned, and watched as her whole body shivered.
Grasping the quartz cylinder, he placed the cool stone against the burning heat of her pussy, and her chest arched off the bed. “Too cold?” he asked. But she immediately responded, “No, no. It’s so divine. Inside of me, Jack,” she pleaded, and he complied, smoothly sliding the stone into her welcoming depths, while his cock strained within the confines of his pants.
Phryne cried out nonsense, every nerve taunt as her body stretched around the cold, hard stone. She looked down past her quivering bust to see the transformation of Jack’s features as he watched the stone move slickly within her, the beauty of the pale rose length against her blush darkened nether lips breathtaking to behold. He looked at her with rapt fascination, as if nothing, neither duty, nor storm, nor explosion could tear his attention away from her swollen pussy and the pleasure that he could see rippling through her. Watching herself splayed open and displayed for him, and seeing the delight he took in it, sent her soaring even further, and she reached desperately for her own nipples as the tension within her coiled impossibly tighter.
Jack broke his fixed stare for a moment to look up at her face, and saw her clouded eyes, her inky hair tangled messily in a dark halo, and her fingers tugging harshly at her nipples. The sight nearly undid him and he bit his lower lip to hold himself together. Then he pulled the quartz nearly completely out of her, lowered his lips to her clit, and pushed it back to the hilt. She screamed and squirmed in ecstasy, and he placed the flat of his tongue against her to feel the thrum of pleasure wash through her. When he looked up her entire body lay at right angles, twisted in the wake of her orgasm. He dispensed with his clothes and crawled up her body to kiss her languid lips, rubbing his cock against her sticky thigh.
As she stirred from her stupor, she kissed back with growing fervor, and reached up to drag her fingernails along his scalp, leaving electric tingles in their wake. He shuddered as the sensation cascaded down his spine. Phryne squirmed beneath him, rubbing her sensitized nipples into his chest. In one smooth motion, he reached down and pulled the quartz free, then positioned his hips and pushed his cock inside. She snapped her hips up to meet him and closed her eyes for a moment to savor the familiar hot ache of him inside of her, where he belonged.
“Oh Phryne,” he whispered, and she opened her eyes to meet his adoring gaze.
“I missed you,” she began, and surprised herself as her voice caught on a hastily choked back sob. “I missed you so terribly,” she continued. He stilled and nodded solemnly, and they shared a moment of perfect understanding, the ache and worry of the past weeks, and the overwhelming sensation of wholeness mirrored in the depths of each other’s gaze.
Yet the needs of the flesh quickly reasserted themselves, and Jack began to move, pushing into her in long, slow strokes at first, then quickly with increased need and ferocity. “Touch yourself,” he gasped, and she reached her hand down between them. At first she circled his cock, caressing them both where they connected, but as her pleasure swooped down upon her, she pressed against her clit and moaned again in bliss, only faintly aware of the twitch and stutter of his hips when he joined her in completion.
He collapsed atop her, barely managing to ask, “Too heavy?”
“No,” she replied, and wrapped her legs around his waist, holding him close. She smoothed his hair back from his slick brow and snuggled into the familiar weight and smell of him. She would sleep well tonight, cocooned in sensory proof of his presence and the lingering ache of him inside of her.
“I missed you too, Phryne,” he whispered into her nape. “So very terribly.”
“I know,” she whispered back, straining to kiss his temple. “But missing each other just makes it all the sweeter a gift when I’m back in your arms again.”
He nodded and murmured in contentment as they drifted off, safe in each other’s embrace, and home at last.