The Third Season

Parental Advisory Rating: L, N, AC

Break out those V-Chips, everyone!


Created, Produced, Directed and Written:

Fanatic and TNovan


Episode Eight: Mind Games

Kels wasn’t in a particularly good mood when she got home from the studio tonight. I’m betting Bruce had something to do with that. I’m going to have to have another little chat with him.

I glance over to the bathroom door. It’s closed. She’s been in there an awful long time. Well, longer than normal even for her. I crawl off the bed and make my way over to it, giving a soft knock.

"Kels, honey, are you all right?"

There’s no verbal answer to my inquiry. I hear what sounds like a glass crashing to the floor though. I try the knob. Locked. Damn! One of Kels’ little security phobias. "Kels!" I pound on the door. "Baby, open the door or answer me!"

I study the door and remember what Bear told me about kicking one in. Always next to the knob, since it’s the weakest part. Taking a step back and gauging the distance, I place a solid kick to the door. It gives but doesn’t break away completely.

"Kels!" Another kick and the door finally bursts open.

Oh my God!

I rush in. She’s laying on the floor, doubled over, whimpering. "Kels!" I pull her into my arms and her eyes meet mine. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.

"Har-" She can’t even finish before her body is gripped by another pain and she cries out.

"Brian! Brian!" I scream, as I pick her up in my arms and carry her into our bedroom. As I lay her on the bed and reach for the phone, he comes into the room.

"Oh shit! What’s wrong?"

I toss him the phone so I can focus on Kels. "Call an ambulance, then call Dr. McGuire. His number…"

"I got it!" He bolts from the room.

I return my attention to Kels. "Kels, baby, come on, talk to me."

She simply cries out with yet more pain. I pull her into my arms, trying to comfort her.

"The babies…" Kels manages to say through sucking gasps for air. "Something’s wrong…"

"Hold on, baby. We’ve got help coming." I try to soothe her.

She shakes her head against me. "Harper… don’t let our… babies die."

I answer fiercely, willing it to be so. "Our babies aren’t going to die. Everything is going to be fine. Just relax, Kels."

"Oh God!" she screams and doubles over in my arms. I notice a stream of bloody fluid running down the inside of her legs.

Brian comes back into the room and drops to his knees next to the bed. "Ambulance is on the way and I called the doctor’s emergency number. They said he’d meet us at the hospital. Anything else I can do?"

I give myself a quick look and realize I might not need more than the shorts and T-shirt I’ve got on, but I will at least need my sneakers.

"Shoes," I tell him, holding Kels close to me as she clutches my shirt, continuing to cry and whimper. "Get my sneakers from the hall."

"Done." He darts from the room once again.

Where in the hell is that ambulance?

Kels takes a deep breath and looks up at me. "You remember?"

I place a soft kiss to her forehead. "Remember what, baby?"

"Your promise." She bites her lip, holding back the cry of agony I know she’s feeling right now.

"Kels, everything…"

"Promise!" she demands, taking several deep breaths.

My heart simply shatters and the mere thought of what she’s talking about, but I don’t want to upset her anymore. "I promise," I answer simply, feeling the first tear slide down my cheek. "But you’re gonna be okay and our Baby Roos are gonna be okay, too." Please God, make this so.

She’s shaking now and can’t seem to speak past the pain. I can feel a chill setting in on her skin already. No, Kels, please, don’t leave me. Come on, baby, hold on. Help is coming.

"Talk to me, Kels. Come on, Little Roo, talk to me," I beg her through my own tears. I can feel her body relaxing in my arms. No, no, no, no, no! "Come on, Kels. Please! Talk to me!"

I look into her face and her eyes open a little, tears creeping steadily down her cheeks. She gives me a very weak smile. "Love you, Tabloid."

"I love you too, Kels. You are the best thing in my life. See everything is going to be okay!" She spoke to me, so that has to be true, right?

Her hand slowly crawls up my chest and settles on my neck. I feel a fragile attempt to guide me closer. I pull her closer to me. "What, baby?"

"Give them kisses for me," she whispers before her hand falls away, her eyes close and her body goes completely lifeless in my arms.


I gasp and jerk awake, my body covered in sweat, my face covered in tears. My heart is pounding, I swear people can hear it a few blocks away. I reach out and turn on the lamp.

Kels isn’t in bed with me.

Oh God! Tell me that was just a nightmare. Please. I can’t lose them.

I jump out of bed and rush to the bathroom, but she isn’t there. "Kels!" I scream, mindless of the neighbors. "Kels!"

Where is she? Is she all right? I begin to race through the apartment. I nearly collide with her as she is moving toward the bedroom. "Kelsey!"

"Harper, honey, I was in the living room!"

I grasp her by her upper arms and inspect her carefully, then I gather her against me, burying my face in her hair. "Merci Dieu." I begin crying shamelessly.

I feel Kels’ arms slide around me and she begins rocking me gently. "Shh, honey, it’s okay. Whatever it is, it’s fine." She begins tugging me over to the couch. "Come sit down with me."

We move toward the couch awkwardly, mainly because I won’t loosen my grip on her. We sit down and I pull her tight against me.

"Is everything okay?" I hear Brian ask from the archway.

Kels detaches herself from my death grip momentarily. "Yeah, everything is fine. I think Harper had a nightmare." She caresses my cheek. "She’s okay."

"I’ll make some hot chocolate," Brian offers and he has the good grace to leave us alone.

I grasp Kels’ hand and press a kiss to her palm. I still can’t bring myself to speak. I don’t think I even have the ability right now.

"It’s okay. Whatever it was, Harper, it was only a dream. We’re all here and we’re intact." She guides my hands and places them on her belly.

I suck in a deep breath and caress her skin. "It was horrible. You died … in our bed … the babies … I thought I would go insane. And then I woke up and you weren’t there."

"We’re all right here, very much alive and well. I had a bout of insomnia. I didn’t want to wake you by reading in bed."

"Read in bed from now on," I mumble. "I love you." I lean over and kiss her long and hard.

"Here’s some hot chocolate, good for whatever ails you!" Brian says loudly, entering the room. "Oh … excuse me." I hear him put a tray down on the coffee table.

I realize I am sitting buck naked on the couch, kissing my girl with serious intent, and Brian is watching. Some things you just can’t plan on. Oh well. I continue on with the kiss, feeling more grounded each second I am connected to Kels. Kels must have the same realization about my state of undress as I do, because I feel her pull up a blanket around me. It’s our wedding blanket. She always uses it when reading on the couch.

"I’m gonna leave," Brian says needlessly and he exits, stage left.

"Come to bed with me," I whisper against Kels’ lips. She nods and I lead her back into the bedroom, holding her hand the entire way.

Kels takes a look at the bed sheets, completely twisted due to my nightmare, and reaches out to touch them. "Harper, honey, these are soaked with sweat. Let me change these real fast. So we can be comfortable."

"I’ll do it, I don’t want you straining yourself." I go over to the closet and pull out a fresh set. Within a few minutes, I have the task complete. I help Kels into bed and I pull her against me.

This is much better. I feel her breath against my chest, her heartbeat next to mine. Brennan and Collin appear to have awakened and are kicking me. God, I love them.

After a few minutes, I hear Kels’ breathing slow and deepen. She has fallen asleep against me. The twins tumble about for a little longer, but then they settle down as well.

I reach over and turn off the bedside lamp, but I know sleep won’t come to me any time soon. I think I’ll just stay awake and keep watch over my family for awhile.

Say, for the rest of their lives.


* * *


I glance down at my watch as we step off the elevator.  Seven a.m.  I’m sure Kevin is as thrilled about this as I am.  I look to Harper.

"Humor me," she mumbles.  "Kevin is."

"Un-huh."  I yawn.  God, it’s gonna be a long day.

Kevin is leaning against the wall of the waiting room, sipping from a cup of coffee when we arrive.  "Which one of you had the bad dream?"

"How did you know?" I ask, pointing at Tabloid to confirm her as the culprit for our early morning invasion of his office.

"Happens a lot."  He chuckles a bit.  "I’ve got room two ready to go."

"Good.  Thanks for seeing us, Kevin," Harper says over my shoulder. "My family is big on intuition.  I don’t want to  be right on this one."  She grips my hand so tightly I feel the bones grinding together. Easy, sweetheart. Everything is fine.

"No problem.  Go on in.  Kels, you know the drill.  I’ll be right in.  Harper, would you like some coffee?"  Boy, he’s good natured about this whole thing. 

I’m not nearly as amused.  Must be the hormones.  "I’ll pass on the coffee, but if you can find a bottle of juice, that’d be great.  Thanks for asking," I torment him a bit moving to the exam room door.

He laughs.  "Of course, Kels.  No problem.  Harper, coffee?"

"Please.  Straight up.  Extra caffeine," she answers before following me into the exam room.

"If you’d like I can start an IV drip for you," Kevin offers as he moves past the door. Oh, don’t make promises you can’t keep. My spouse would love nothing more than that. From what I can tell, she didn’t sleep at all last night.

As I get undressed and ready for the exam, I notice Harper’s eyes never leave me. It’s not her normal lecherous stare.  It’s a far more concerned, critical eye.  I don’t know whether to be flattered or insulted.

She’s by my side the instant I’m ready to get on the table, helping me.  Boy, I’m not sure how I’m gonna handle another eight weeks of this.  I hope this visit will calm her and reassure her that everyone is all right.

Kevin enters and hands Harper her coffee.  He sets my juice down on the counter, for afterwards. "You know, I hate to tell you, but bad dreams like this are pretty common close to the due date.  It’s usually the birth mother who has them."  He takes his seat and puts gloves on.  Harper is standing unusually close to him, almost looking over his shoulder.  He grins at me before turning to her.  "You wanna do this?"

She takes a step back, blushing. "No, but I wouldn’t mind a tour."

"Harper!" I chastise her.  "Come over here and sit with me.  The last thing you need is a tour."

Kevin starts laughing so hard I’m afraid he’s going to hurt himself.  Tabloid takes a seat next to me, glaring at him.  "Very funny, Doc," she grumbles, but runs her fingers through my hair.

"I’m sorry, Harper.  I really am." He takes a deep breath, beginning the exam.  "Everything is fine from this perspective.  No discharge, no dilation, nothing out of the ordinary.  Everything is perfect."

"How are the kids?" she asks.

"Let’s see, shall we?"  Kevin strips off his gloves and moves to the ultra sound machine.  He applies the gel, then hands Harper the wand.  "Go ahead. I’ll tell you where to move it."

She carefully places it on my stomach. 

"Little more pressure than that, Harper, and move it to your left a bit."  Kevin watches the screen, glancing at her from time to time.  "That’s good."  He points to the screen.  "Brennan is sucking her thumb."

"Is she all right?"

"She looks pretty happy to me.  Let’s see if we can get her to move for you."  With that said, Kevin gives my stomach a little scratch and Brennan obliges by squirming a bit.  "Yup, she’s pretty pleased with life at the moment."

"Good.  And Collin?"

"Move the wand to the right and down towards Kels’ hip a bit.  Stop.  That’s good."  He leans over and looks at the screen, then he turns and smiles at Harper.  "Your son has learned what’s important to most men already."

She bursts out laughing.  "Oh God.  He’s a Kingsley for sure."

I just cover my eyes and shake my head. I take Harper’s free hand and give it a little kiss.  "Do you feel better now?"

"A little.  Kev, does Kels need to start bed rest now?  Is there anything else we need to be doing?"

Kevin looks to me and shakes his head.  "Uh… Harper, Kels would kill us both if I tried to confine her to bed right now.  The only thing I’m going to say is the same thing I’ve said before," he turns to me, being a little more serious, "stay on the meds I gave you.  Get plenty of rest. And watch for any unusual signs: swelling, discharge, intense pain, contractions that come faster that four per hour.  No flying, except home for the birth.  And generally be careful.  How’s your love life?"

I blink a couple of time at that unexpected question. "Ah…just fine, thanks, and yours?"

He laughs again, giving my shoulder a rub.  "The only reason I’m asking is, since Harper is so concerned, I’ll warn you now that as you get closer to the due date, orgasm has been known to start labor.  Just a friendly reminder." He gives me what he must think is a cute grin.

I look to Harper.  She looks like she’s swallowed a trout.  I’ve never seen her this pale and so unhappy looking.

Well, life was great until now.  Bet my sex life takes a huge hit.  I’m gonna smack him after the babies are born.

* * *


I escort Kels to her office. I hate having to leave her for even a minute, even though Kevin has assured me all three of them are fine. I tap my cell phone which is clipped on my belt. "If you have the slightest bit of pain, the smallest twinge, a touch of gas, you call me." Kels starts to object but I press a finger against her lips. "Immediately."

Her fair eyebrows draw together, but she nods. "I will, but, Harper, I am not made of glass."

"Yes, you are. Imported, hand blown glass, my dear." I kiss her nose. "Please, humor me, okay?"

"I will."

"I’ll come by with lunch, okay?" Kels smiles at me indulgently. I kiss her again, because I hate the thought being apart from her. "I’ll see you later."

When I come out of her office, I find Brian seated at his desk. He and I exchange glances, trying to decide if either of us are or should be embarrassed. "Thanks for the hot chocolate." He turns red. Guess he is embarrassed. I wonder if he’s ever seen a naked woman before. Should I ask? What am I thinking? He has sisters, of course he has.

"You’re welcome," he stutters. "Feel better?"

"I won’t feel better until I hold those kids. Actually, I won’t feel better until I see Kels hold our kids." That’s the God’s honest truth. "You keep a close eye on her, Brian."

"I will."

I give him a ghost of a smile. "You better."


* * *


My phone buzzes and I snatch it up, afraid it is Kels. "Kingsley!" I bark.

Langston chuckles. "You always this earnest?" he asks. Ever since the change, my working relationship with him has improved dramatically. It wasn’t bad before, but, now without being as closely associated with the talent, I can be his right hand and confidant. At least, that’s what I think he’s grooming me to be. Or what I hope we’re doing here.

"Of course, I love my job," I reply, with a light touch of sarcasm.

"Glad to hear it," he replies. "Come on up to my office. I have an assignment for you."

I jog over to Langston’s office and bound through the open door. I find him not behind his desk, typing into his computer, as expected, but sitting on his couch talking to a very attractive, young blonde.

"Harper Kingsley, have you met Brenda Lawson?"

I extend my hand to her, trying to ignore the cleavage shot I get while leaning over to shake her hand. "Sure, we’ve met a few times."

Brenda smiles. "Nice to see you again."

Langston gestures to the chair. "Harper, I want you to produce Brenda’s first segment for us. And, I’d like you to take her around today and introduce her to the rest of the staff."

Oh, that’ll go over well with my very pregnant, hormonal spouse.


* * *


First stop, Kels’ office. It’s good show politics, because Kels is top dog now. It also is good for marital politics, because I want it to be known I didn’t volunteer for this assignment. And I don’t want to be exiled to a third world nation, like sleeping on the balcony.

I knock on the frame, and wait until Kels asks us to enter. "Langston asked me to introduce our new correspondent around. This is Brenda Lawson. Brenda, this is Kelsey Stanton, our anchor."

Kels stands up and offers her hand. "It’s a pleasure, Miss Lawson. Welcome aboard."

"I am so glad to be here. Especially given the support I already have here." For some inexplicable reason, she gives me a bright smile.

I give Kels a very confused look.

Brenda looks around the office and her eyes linger on the photos on the bookcase. Ah, yes, our wedding photos. Thank you, Jesus. I want this little girl to know the score real soon.

Kels gives me a look that can only be described as predatory and possessive. "Beautiful, aren’t they?" The question is directed at Lawson, the stare remains on me.

I refrain from making cat noises. "Of course, they are. You’re in them," I say in my most flirtatious tone. Brenda is noticeably more subdued. For which, I am very grateful. "I’m going to take Brenda around to the other correspondents. I’ll see you for lunch, sweetheart."

Kels gives a nice low chuckle. "You betcha, Stud."

I lean over and place a gentle kiss on Kels’ cheek and rub her belly. Hell, I can do possessive too. This woman is mine. These children are mine. There is absolutely nothing in this world that’s going to come between us.

We leave the office and make our way toward Sam’s office. "How long have you two been together?" Brenda asks finally.

"The best of my lifetime."

And we repeat the meet and greet with Sam.


* * *

If I could avoid this office, I would. I’ve already put him last, after Kendra and even Frankie. Actually, if I could spit on the carpet in here, I would. "And, finally, we have Bruce Bartlett. This is our new correspondent, Brenda Lawson."

The prick rises, smoothing down his tie, and offers his hand. "Welcome aboard, Brenda. If there’s anything I can do to help you out, let me know." He looks over at me. "But I bet you got her covered, huh, Kingsley?"

I give him a big smile, deciding to ignore his asinine comment. "I want that piece by the end of the day, Bruce. We’re on a tight deadline here." Bite me.

"Hmm, whatever you say, boss. I know you’ve got your hands full. I’ll handle it for you."

"No, Bruce, just do your damn job. I’ll produce."

"Bet the wife will be glad to hear that." He picks up a file and a tape. "I’m off to the editing bay. Have fun, you two."

I smile. I like chasing him out of his own damn office. "Come on, Brenda, I’ll show you to your new digs."

And I’ll be damn certain to make sure the door is open.


* * *


"Oh, don’t ask me, I’m just the talent." I grin, sipping my tea.

The two segment producers and Aaron laugh with me. "Come on, Kels. It’s pretty much your call."

"Nope. I’m not gonna do it. That’s why you three are underpaid and overworked."

"Boy, ain’t that the truth?" One of the producers laughs, swallowing his coffee.

There’s a knock on my door. It only takes a moment before Harper sticks her head in. "Any chance of breaking you away for lunch?"

I look to my coworkers with a raised brow.

"Sure." Aaron gets up, giving me a wink. "But don’t blame us when you don’t remember what order those pieces are airing," he muses as the other two follow him out.

"Blame you? Buddy, I’ll hold you personally responsible," I joke with him as they leave.

Harper comes in carrying a cardboard box. She kicks the door closed with her foot.

"Trying to make sure I get my fill of fiber?" I gesture to the box.

"Nope." She sets the box on the table and heads to my closet where she retrieves a blanket I keep handy for my legs when they crank the AC to ‘is it cold in here or are you just glad to see me’. She spreads the blanket on the floor then extends her hand to me, helping me sit down and get settled.

She joins me and begins unpacking the box. "Didn’t know what you and the kids would want for lunch so I decided a variety of things were in order."

"Don’t suppose you happen to have any sushi in there?"

She smiles broadly. "Oh, you betcha." She hands me a white carton.

"Oh, you are a goddess." I can’t wait to dig into this. I am taking the time to appreciate my lunch when she hands me a pair of chopsticks. "Thanks, you remembered everything."

"Figured there was some kind of rule."

"Hmm, yeah there is." I take my first bite. Oh, that’s good. "Like the ‘keep your eyes off my wife’ rule that went into effect this morning."

"Noticed that, did you?" she asks.

"Notice it? Notice it? Tabloid, she was practically drooling."

"I’m sure it was over you, baby. You’re the looker in the family."

"Yeah, at the moment I look like a hot air balloon. No, sweetheart, she was most definitely making eyes at you. Those great big, come fuck me, bedroom eyes."

"That's a ten spot, sweetie. And she’s looking at the wrong person then. Because I am a one Stud kinda gal. I am very spoken for." She waves her wedding ring in front of my eyes.

"You better believe it. I’ll be happy to remind her, if need be. Your wife has an ugly, jealous streak a mile wide right now." I grin, giving her a little shove.

"Ooh, I like that. I’ve never had anyone fight for me before."

"Please! You mean to tell me that none of your little barflies ever got into it over who would get to go home with you? I find that hard to believe. I’d think that you would have been the subject of several cat fights."

She leans over and gives me a kiss on the temple. "That’s fighting over me. Not fighting for me. Big difference, babe. That’s what makes you the love of my life."

"Well, dear, if it makes you feel any better, I have an appointment to have my nails filed into points later today. Figure they’ll be good for clawing her eyes out, and drawing blood during labor too. Dual purpose." I make a little clawing action.

She nearly chokes on her lunch when she begins laughing.

"Yeah, you think it’s funny now. You just wait." I lean over and give her a little kiss then I offer her up a piece of wusabi. "Wanna try it again, Tabloid?"

She takes the tiny piece of hot mustard and eats it. Those nasty hotdogs she eats, must have finally killed her taste buds. She proceeds to nibble my fingers, moving slowly up my wrist. Oh, that’s nice.

I lean over and kiss her, letting her know we could tell Brian we’re gonna be in conference. She gets my message and I’m about to announce that little plan when she pulls back.

Harper takes a deep breath and shakes her head. "No."

"No? No? What do you mean no?"

"No. You heard what Doogie said."

Oh, yeah, I’m gonna kill him. "Kevin said, ‘may cause’ and closer to the due date. I’m eight weeks - minimum - from then. Eight weeks, Tabloid. You mean to tell me we’re going without for eight weeks?"

She groans and drops her head. "Kels, do you know what I went through last night? I thought I had lost you, lost Brennan, lost Collin. I have never felt that kind of pain before in my life. Do I want to make love to you right now? More than you know. But am I terrified of anything happening to the three of you? More than you know."

I take a deep breath, smile and caress her cheek. How can I argue with that? "Thank you for loving us so much." I lean in and nuzzle her ear before giving it a little nip. "But you’ll never last eight weeks."


* * *


I get another summons to Langston’s office. I look in warily, lest I find another voluptuous blonde who views me as life size catnip. He waves me in and points to the chair across from him. "Sit down, Harper, I have an opportunity for you."

This could be good, this could be bad. I sit. And wait.

"I got a call from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. They want one of us to come join a panel they are hosting on ‘Sensationalism in Journalism and in Violence in the U.S.’ next week. I think you, especially given your background, would be the perfect choice for this discussion. It’s next Tuesday night. Care to go?"

Hell, yes. I’m probably the same age as the average student at the school, but I happen to actually be doing what they dream of doing. Not only am I in the industry, I’m closing in on the top of my game. I smile. "I’d be happy to."

Langston leans back in his chair and rubs his jaw. "I figured. It’s always nice to be a success, eh?"

I share an easy laugh with him. He reads me well. "I’ve worked my ass off to get here, I work my ass off to stay here -"

My executive producer interrupts, "And you’ll work your ass off to leave here one day. Being a talking head is a good way to up the resume, that’s for sure. Professor Lowes is hosting the forum, here’s her number." He hands me a piece of paper with the information written on it. "Enjoy yourself."

"Thanks, boss."


* * *


"Yeah, I like these. It’s more fluid. The pacing is better." I turn the page to see what other changes have been made in the script.

"Just seemed to make sense to put Kendra’s new piece before Bruce’s. They sort of compliment each other." Tom Anderson, a freshman producer, leans on a desk.

"Don’t let Kendra hear you say that," I joke with the young producer. He laughs with me for a moment then stops suddenly, looking over my shoulder.

I turn to find Bruce. It’s all I can do to stifle a groan. He has been nothing but a pain in my ass since I took the desk. "Hiya, Kels."

"Bruce." I look to Tom and roll my eyes. He quickly bites back a grin.

"So, Kels," Bruce moves forward, "you gonna make me look good this week?"

"Well, Bruce." I turn, giving him my most insincere smile. "Someone has to."

"Oh, Kelsey, I’m wounded." His sarcasm is running at full stream today.

"I hope it's a head wound." I can be sarcastic too.

"You should save your claws for those who deserve it."

I take a deep breath. "Meaning what, Bruce?" If I sound tired of him, it’s because I am.

"Have you met Lawson?" He looks like the cat that swallowed the canary. I hope he chokes on the bones.

"Yes. Harper brought her to my office first thing, since I am the anchor of the show and all."

"She’s got eyes for…"

"For anyone she thinks can advance her career. You play your cards right and she might do you. She looks like she might be dumb enough to fall for your horse shit."

"If she doesn’t find a producer who’s willing to do her first." He adjusts his tie.

It’s such a nice tie too. Why a person could almost reach out and choke him with it. "I doubt Jac could stay sober long enough to take care of business. And if you’re even thinking of implying that Harper is interested in her, I’ll warn you now, shut the fuck up or I’ll make your life miserable. How’d you like to cover the National Spelling Bee for the rest of your career? Or maybe the garbage barges on the East River? You’re certainly accustomed to being surrounded by trash. I’ve seen the women you date."

He smirks at me.

Don’t do that Bruce. I don’t like it when you do that. "I mean it, Bruce. Don’t even think of trying to cause trouble for Harper, because, if you do, I’ll cut you into little pieces myself. You see, I’ve been in the business a long time. I’m rich, I’m powerful and I’ll make sure they never find your body. My father was the last person to see Jimmy Hoffa alive."

"Bite me, bitch."

"Not even with someone else’s teeth, Bruce. Now make a life choice and blow."

God, Brian will never forgive me if Bruce decides to go there.


* * *

Harper gives me a huge grin when I stuff the fifty into the cuss jar in the kitchen.  I do so while still cussing and pouring a glass of juice.

"Who set you off?" she snickers.

I turn to glare at her.  "Your favorite correspondent."

"How did he become mine? And what did Bruce do now?"

"He was being his usual stupid self.  I offered to send him to the bottom of the Hudson via concrete loafers if he keeps running his mouth."

"You know people who can do that?"  I notice she has a certain gleam in her eye. 

"Sure."  I take my juice and head for the living room.  She grabs something to drink and follows me.  "You mean you don’t?  You’re falling down on the job, Tabloid."

"Well, excuse me.  I prefer to go for the slow kill."

We settle on the couch.  I kick off my shoes and put my feet up on the coffee table.  "Me.  I prefer instant gratification."  I glance over at her.  "Speaking of which, tell me something sexual you’ve never tried."

I wonder if cran-raspberry juice stings when it comes out your nose?  She coughs and chokes a bit before looking at me. "What bought that up?"

"I want to know.  So I asked.  Well?"

"I’ve never slept with a man."

"You didn’t miss much."

"Really?" She leans forward, interested. "Tell me about it."

I look over and decide she’s sincere.  "Okay, you know how you and I never fail at our ultimate goal?"

Ooo, there’s that arrogant chuckle. "Oh yeah"

"Sometimes men only have one goal in mind and it’s not generally their female partners.  When that happens, you are then forced to ‘fake it’.   I hate faking it."

"Chér, you’ll never fake it with me.  I guarantee it."

"Oh, I know, Stud.  You’ve proven yourself.  Time and time again."  I sip my juice.  "But the one thing I found, with Ben at least, was that his ego got all hurt if he didn’t think he was wonderful every time.  I got tired of it.  I’m sure all men aren’t that way, but there was something else missing, a tenderness and a caring."

With that, she leans over and places a very tender kiss to my lips.

"Yup, that’s what I’m talking about," I tease a bit, taking her hand.  "So, you didn’t answer my question."

"Yes, I did.  I haven’t slept with a man.  Or a sheep.  Just FYI."

I laugh.  "Glad to hear it.  Okay, livestock aside, what else haven’t you done?"
"You know I don’t do bondage. But, if you’re asking what I haven’t done, that I would do ... well ..."

"Yes?"  Oh, I can’t wait to hear this. She’s blushing.

"Well ... you know ... it’s kinda silly."

"Come on, Harper, I never thought of you as the shy type.  How can you be shy with me?  I know every part of your body, several of which I’ve left teeth marks on."

"All of which, I think," Harper corrects. "But role playing ... I’ve never done that with anyone."

Well, now, that’s interesting.  "Why not?"

"I guess because I was already playacting with them.  It seemed redundant.  And it would have involved trust. I never trusted any of the women I slept with, until you."

I nod.  It’s true.  It does involve total trust to do that.  "You trust me?  Totally trust me?"

"Why do I feel like I’m being set up?" she’s joking with me, I can tell.  "I trust you with my life, Kels.  And my heart."

I reach over and run my hand under her shirt, making sure to graze all the interesting locales in the process.  "And your body?"  I get a feeling if her body could answer for her I know what the answer would be.

She groans, closing her eyes and not asking me to move my hand.  "God, yes."

"Good.  I’ll keep that in mind."  I take my hand back and grab the remote. "So, Tabloid, what do you want to do tonight?  Since we’re not having sex for the next eight to ten weeks, we’re going to have to find something else to do with our free time."

"Screw Parcheesi.  And you are an evil woman." She looks up at me hopefully. "So, you think we’re safe for tonight?"

"Oh, I’m sure of it.  You’re the one who said you didn’t want to take any chances after what Kevin said."  I sip my juice and take a very dramatic deep breath, releasing it slowly.  "It was your choice, but I can respect that."

Her eyes narrow in on me.  "Don’t start what you don’t intend to finish."

"I didn’t start anything.  I merely asked you a question." 

"You must certainly did start something.  And - seriously, if you think everything is all right - you know what I want to do tonight."

"Oh, I did not," I tease.  "And everything is fine, but you’re not getting any tonight."  I give her an evil grin.

"Oh, really?  That’s unfortunate for you then."

I laugh a little.  "I’m willing to risk it.  Besides, I have a plan and I need time to make it work." 

She leans over and whispers something in my ear, then proceeds to give it a nibble. 

I chuckle and remove my ear from her mouth.  I have great willpower when I need it.  Luckily I don’t need it for very long or very often.  "Nope, Tabloid, forget it."

She grumbles a bit, but can tell I’m quite serious.  "All right, then how about a video and cuddling on the couch?

"Cuddling we can do."

And you just wait until tomorrow, Tabloid.  If you were gonna have socks on, they’d get blown off.

* * *


I stand, looking at myself in the mirror. I feel totally ridiculous, but the outfit is, shall we say, intriguing. I look like someone out of an old Errol Flynn movie. It’s a pirate kinda look. As I give the thigh high black boots another tug, I’m not sure I want to know where in the hell Kels got this costume or exactly what she has planned for it.

Wait, I take that back. I don’t want to know where she got it. I do want to know what she has planned for it. And me.

I was sent out of the house very early this morning and told to amuse myself with a couple of pick up games in the park. Things that sound dirty but aren’t. Well, at least, not anymore. I knew she was talking about basketball.

When I got home, curtains had blocked off the living room entryway, and I was given orders not to go in there. I was handed then this box and told to go shower and change.

This is almost scary. Almost.

Brian has even taken Kam and gone to Doug’s, so there will be no interruptions. I have a feeling my lovely wife intends to do evil things to me.

God, I hope so.

It’s funny really. Before Kels, I had sex because I enjoyed it. A lot. It’s fun, there’s no denying that fact. With Kels, though, I want more. And I’m never disappointed. I think it’s because I know Kels wants and expects more from me than the women I slept with before. She expects me to be there in the morning when she wakes up. She expects me to be there in fifty years. No one else ever expected me to stay past catching my breath. And I very rarely ever did.

Even now as I adjust the wide black belt that cuts across my midsection, separating the very tight, crème colored pants and white silk pirate’s shirt, I know that no matter what kind of little game she has prepared for us tonight, I’ll be here in the morning and everyday for the rest of my life. It’s a nice feeling. She wants me for more than the physical pleasure I bring her. I’m definitely a lucky woman considering everything that has happened. A lot of women like Kels never would have taken a chance on someone like me.

I was given explicit instructions about what not to wear under the costume and I wonder if I should tighten the ties in the front that hold the shirt somewhat closed. No, I think that would be a bad move. I think Kels wants it open just the way it is. The shirt is pretty much split to my navel, with the ties holding it closed enough to be enticing.

What am I saying? Enticing? This outfit, when you get right down to it, is almost pornographic. It’s the kind of outfit you wear when you know you’re gonna get laid.

Thank you, God!

Okay, so now the finishing touches. The single earring. Guess you can’t be a good pirate without that. A black leather tie for my hair, allowing it to flow freely down my back. And, of course, black leather gloves with attached gauntlets that go to my elbows. Boy, Kels, you do know how to put a look together. You’ve done this before.

Don’t go there, Harper. It’ll make you nuts.

I am a mature adult. And I won, I won, I won.

I think I’m ready. Wonder when I’ll be summoned? Maybe I should go have a look for myself? Kels said I couldn’t go in the living room, she didn’t say I couldn’t come out of the bedroom.

As I step out into the hallway, part of me feels really silly and part of me feels really turned on. Turned on beats out silly every day in my world.

Yeah, okay, so there was no rule about walking very slowly past the living room and trying to figure out what is going on behind the curtain.

"You can come in."

How can four words cause chills to run up and down my spine? My hand slowly travels the curtains until my fingers find a slit in the fabric and I step forward.

Our living room has been transformed. It looks like a pirate hideout. Oil lamps and candles give it a soft orange glow and the fireplace provides a majority of the light. I look for a chest with gold spilling out and the parrot. Fortunately, the bird isn’t here.

In front of the fireplace is a bed made on the floor from thick blankets and large fluffy pillows. Trays of food are lined up next to it on one side.

I know I have a huge, silly grin on my face as I tuck my thumbs in the belt and take it all in. Right in the center of the bed on the floor is Kels, wearing barely more than a smile.

Listening carefully, I can hear what must be a sound effects CD playing very softly in the background. I can hear the very understated sounds of gulls, the crash of the surf and breezes blowing through trees. It’s the sound of a tranquil tropical beach.

If I close my eyes, I can almost feel the breeze coming in through the window. Now I can smell the incense Kels has lit. It causes another shiver to run down my spine so hard I have to physically shake it off.

I continue to listen, because now I can also hear what sounds like a tribal drum and chanting in the distance. These sounds are a little lower than those of the surf, indicating that our hideout must be some distance from whatever small village we’re near.

My, my, my Kels, but you are imaginative.

She’s managed to bring all my senses alive. My skin is ready to crawl right off my body and run right over there so she’ll play with it. I open my eyes. I may as well take the rest of me over there so it can have a good time too.

"Kels…" I say softly, not wanting to spoil the mood.

She sits up a bit, shifts her head to the side slightly and with the most sincere look I’ve ever seen, says, "Who?"

Oh, I get it now. She has said five words, has barely made eye contact with me, and hasn’t touched me once, and I’m so horny I can barely think.

I take a couple of steps closer and Kels rises to her knees, bowing her head, then raises it enough to give me a rather coy smile and wink. "Mistress…"

Oh yeah the second she lays a hand on me I’m gonna simply combust. Phoof! Into a little ball of flame.

Suddenly, my mouth is very dry. She must see me struggling because she reaches over and hands me a silver goblet full of wine. I swear she thinks of everything. I notice that her hands are very loosely bound together with a red ribbon. I do what any good pirate would do and hook the pinkie of my free hand through it and tug her toward me. "What’s this?"

"The ties you must remove if you wish to free me, Mistress."

"And if I don’t?"

"I think I would serve you better if I were free."

She moves slightly and runs her body and her hands up and down my leg, her hand grazing the inside of my thigh. She stays there, letting me come to my own conclusion. This is most definitely better than any drug I ever tried.

I reach down and pull the ribbon, letting it fall to the floor. One hand remains tucked between my legs and the other one travels up to my ass and gives it a scratch before traveling around to the front and the buckle of my belt.

"May I, Mistress?"

"Please do." I brush my hand through her hair, sip my wine and watch her remove the belt very slowly.

She’s trying to kill me.

Wait until she finds out my life insurance won’t pay off if I’m found with a huge smile on my face and most of a pirate costume spread around my body.

I watch as she drops the belt away. Then she takes my hand and tugs me down onto the bedding with her.

"You must be hungry." She offers me a strawberry before I can even answer.

Never breaking eye contact with her, I take it and her fingertips into my mouth. I see the shiver. She slowly withdraws her fingers and offers me another berry.

After eating it, I place my hand gently on her neck and pull her to me for a kiss. I’m assuming this is all right in the game we’re playing. She seems to have given me the role of the master here.

Good thing we both really know who is in control here. And she’s damn good at it.

The kiss is slow and deep and one of the most erotic experiences I have ever had. She’s not the least bit resistant even as I become more demanding and insistent. She only follows me. This causes my desire to rush further, faster and hotter through my body. She moans into our kiss and joins me in the intensity of it.

Her hands slide up and down the front of my shirt. One stops on the fabric right over the hardened nipple which has been begging for her attention for the last ten minutes. The other begins scratching the flesh which is available to her through the ties.

I finally have to break for air. Does she know how to breathe through her ears? My head drops back and I gasp for air. "God…"

"How," she slowly begins nibbling my neck even as she continues her massage of my torso, "may I serve you, Mistress?"

Other than ripping this outfit off my body and having your way with me? "Un… I’m… I’m…" I’m having a hard time talking and breathing at the same time apparently. "Boots," I manage to stammer.

She smiles, placing a tender kiss on my lips before moving to get me out of the boots. It takes her less time to get them off me than it took me to get them on. Her hands are hot even through the fabric of the pants I’m wearing.

Her nails scratch back up my legs, then land on my thighs. She begins a massage, slowly up and down. "You’re pleased?"

"Oh very." I nod slowly, watching the light of the fireplace dance off her skin.

"Perhaps a massage?" she suggests even as she reaches for a bottle of oil. I watch as she pours it in a small bowl, pushing it next to the fire so it will warm up before she applies it to my skin. She then turns back to me. "Of course, we’ll have to get you out of these clothes."

I swallow hard. "Of course." I start to undo the button on the pants but she pushes my hands away.

"My job, Mistress."

She actually chuckles when the long, deep groan leaves my chest and I simply drop back to the pillows. If I watch her do this, I’ll die. I know I will.

She tugs each button loose, letting her hand slip between the fabric and my skin with each one. She caresses my hip, moving slowly from one side to the other. I feel her fingers move very close to the point of no return.

Keep it up, chér, and we’re going to forget about the massage.

I try to keep my hips on the floor and I fail. Like the horny beast I am, if I don’t get satisfaction soon I’m going to scream.

She takes hold of the pants, pulls them down, and then tosses them away. I’ve noticed she seems to get turned on with me dressed from the waist up. It’s an odd little quirk, but, hey, if it works for her, who am I to argue?

My body is conspiring against me and I’m surprised and shocked when I feel my hand on the top of her head, guiding her to the place I need her most. Generally, I try not to be this demanding, but tonight is different. She has given me permission to go there and go there I will.

"Oh yeah…" I gasp when she takes my gentle request to heart and begins a slow exploration between my legs with her mouth.

First, I feel the softness of her lips on the inside of my thighs. Then teeth and lips nip tenderly at my skin.

I want, no retract that, I need to be naked. I pull the shirt off over my head and it flies across the room. While trying to concentrate and catch my breath, I catch a glance of her and it’s game over. Once again, I am simply a mass of quivering flesh.

I wonder if I sound as helpless as I feel, when I come crashing down from where she takes me. I know she’s always right there to cool and comfort me and this time is no different. Soon I’m wrapped in her arms, with her kissing my brow and the top of my head. She is whispering to me, most of which I can barely hear. One thing always come through loud and clear though and this time is no different.

"Love you," she whispers.

I can’t reply, but she knows why and understands. That’s the best part of her love for me.

She understands.


<fade out>


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