Part 22: link
“Arthur, wewe already got your payback,” Gwen says, hands on her hips as he stands with her red silk scarf in his hands, idly winding it and unwinding it around his hands.
“Well, you’ll just have to owe me for this one, then,” he says, advancing on her with an impish glint in his eyes.
She stays in place and lets him come to her, knowing that he’s got his mind set now. No reason why I should let it be too easy, though. He can come to me.
Arthur loops the scarf around her back, using it to pull her close. His eyes songesha over her face for a moment au two, the blue-grey pools searching her lovely features as she gazes serenely up at him, waiting patiently.
He kisses her then, hungry, greedy for her, holding her body to his with the scarf. She wraps her arms around his neck, matching his passion with her own as she winds a leg around his as well.
“Take your juu off,” he gasps, his forehead against hers.
“Not wasting any time, are we?” she giggles, kissing him once more.
“Well, my sweet, if I tie wewe up first, I won’t be able to get this thing
off,” he says, gesturing to the halter-necked tank juu she changed into after church.
“Oh—Arthur!” her snide maoni is cut off sharply when he hoists her over his shoulder and dumps her unceremoniously onto the bed.
“Not playing fair,” she says, looking at him reproachfully.
“Who alisema anything about fair?” he grins at her, then drops to the kitanda and slides his hands around her waist and kisses her once more, working the hem of her shati up as he does so.
“I bet you… think you’re… being… sneaky,” Gwen manages to get out between Arthur’s ardent kisses.
“No,” he says, pulling his lips away long enough to pull the juu over her head. “Not being sneaky at all. wewe weren’t complying with my request, so I took matters into my own hands.” He places his hands over her breasts as he says the word hands,
“Ugh,” she groans, flopping back onto the bed.
“Ah, just where I want you,” he purrs smoothly, climbing over her, straddling her carefully so as not to crush her. Arthur glides his hands down from her shoulders down across her torso, pausing to appreciate her breasts, how they feel in his hands, their shape and size fitting just right in his palms.
Gwen’s eyes close as his hands rove, the familiarity of his hands not detracting from the pleasure they bring her at all. She feels his hands leave her skin and her left hand being raised, gently, the silk scarf winding around it carefully. He is being very careful. He’s afraid of hurting me,
she realizes, smiling now but leaving her eyes closed.
“Too tight?” he asks softly, his lips grazing her forehead.
“No,” she says, opening her eyes and pulling gently. Secure, but not painful.
“If wewe don’t want me to do the other one…”
“No! I just… I just don’t want to make wewe uncomfortable au accidentally hurt you.”
“Arthur, tie me up.” She lifts her right hand to the headboard, crossing it in front of the other.
“Your wish is once again my command,” he says, winding the scarf around the other wrist now, securing it with the other.
Gwen pulls lightly at her bonds, and while it’s not as tight as the ones she did for Arthur, they’ll hold. I’m not as strong as he is, anyway.
“You’ll tell me if wewe want me to untie you…”
“Arthur, stop worrying.”
He stares down at her, her lithe form stretched before him on the bed. I hope I never get tired of just looking at her.
Pulling his own shati off now, he reaches down and unbuttons the opening on her shorts, sliding them down and off.
“Pink today, I see,” he says, commenting on her knickers. She giggles as he leans down and kisses her stomach, his lips trailing around the flat plane, dipping his tongue into her navel once au twice.
Then the telephone rings.
“Bloody fucking hell, what is it with us and telephones?” he exclaims, irritated as the insistent ringing invades their intimacy. He looks helplessly at Gwen.
“Well, answer it, please. It’s probably just Freya anyway.”
“Could be your dad,” he says, reaching for the phone.
“I’m in the loo if it is,” she laughs.
“Hello?” he majibu as politely as he can.
“Oh! I’m sorry, I must have misdialed. I…”
“Are wewe trying to reach Guinevere?” Arthur asks the unfamiliar voice. A woman. Sounds older.
“What? Yes, I am.”
“Hold one moment please,” Arthur says, bringing the phone over to Gwen and places it on her ear. She gives him a puzzled look as she leans her head, holding the receiver between her ear and shoulder.
“Hi, Gwen,” the voice says.
“Hi, Mum,” Gwen majibu back, trying not to sigh too heavily au audibly.
“Who was that answering your phone?”
“My boyfriend, Arthur. I was just in the loo when wewe rang,” she lies.
Arthur sits down at the end of the kitanda and decides to pick up a foot.
Gwen smiles at him.
“Oh, well, I was calling to see how your trip was, but I’m much zaidi interested in this boyfriend of yours.”
“Mum, this isn’t…”
“Oh come now, Gwen, surely wewe can part with a few details.”
“We’ve been together for around a month. He’s an artist.”
“Of course he’s handsome, Mum. Look, can wewe ring later? au better, tomorrow? I’m a bit tied up right now.”
Arthur starts laughing, pressing his face into the sole of her foot to try and keep quiet. Gwen kicks him with her free foot. “That’s just foreplay for someone like me,” he whispers, still laughing. She kicks him again.
“Oh, sure. Tomorrow night. Will call back then. ’Bye, Poppet, I upendo you.”
“Goodbye, Mum, upendo you, too.”
Arthur takes the phone from her and hangs it up. “I cannot believe wewe alisema that.”
“About being tied up?”
“Yes! I thought I was going to lose it!”
She smirks. “She would never suspect me capable of such depravity.”
“Indeed.” He quirks his head to the side. “Interesting that wewe told her wewe loved her.”
“Well, I do. Doesn’t mean I especially like
“Ah, I see. Understand perfectly, in fact.”
“Figured as much. Now are we going to talk about my mother au are wewe going to finish what wewe started?” she asks, pressing her foot lightly into his groin.
“Oh, you…” he growls, prowling up across her body, dropping kisses here and there as he goes. Gwen closes her eyes a moment, savoring the feel of his lips against her skin, the tingle they leave in their wake.
“Don’t forget you’re stuck in this kitanda until such time as I decide wewe can be freed,” he threatens with an impish grin.
“You don't scare me,” she teases back, lifting her head enough to steal a kiss.
He looks down at her, his eyes twinkling with desire, and simply says, “I know.”
Gwen laughs now, dropping her head back to the pillow. Arthur descends on her laughing lips, silencing them with his own hungry ones. His hand finds a breast, its nipple already stiff with the anticipation of his touch, and she arches into his hand, moaning into his mouth.
“You still have your knickers on,” he mutters, his lips brushing against hers.
“Well, who’s fault is that?” she answers, nipping his lower lip. Arthur slides his hand down over her stomach until it reaches the waist of her panties, snatching them with his fingers and starting to slide them down.
“Up,” he commands, and she lifts her hips to accommodate him. “Better,” he says, eyes roving over her body appreciatively.
Gwen watches him watching her, smiling as he does that slow lip-bite thing of his. That is just so damn sexy,
she thinks, unconsciously licking her own lips.
“How did I get so lucky?” he wonders aloud, but his voice is soft, almost a whisper.
“You’re not the only fortunate one,” she whispers back, her passion-dark eyes burning his heart.
Arthur gives her one zaidi ardent kiss, then moves down her body, trailing kisses until he settles himself between her thighs. He turns his head and kisses the sensitive skin of her inner thigh, dragging his tongue lightly, tickling enough to make her squirm and yelp. Then he bites the spot before turning his head to plunge his tongue into her, thrusting it inside straight away.
“Oh,” she gasps, pulling at her bound hands for the first time, her fingers wanting to touch him in some way.
He withdraws his tongue and slides it back in again, peeking up at her as he does so, enjoying watching her reactions, seeing her blissful face, her flushed skin, her breasts thrust mbele kwa the position of her arms above her head.
She moans and writhes, and Arthur holds her hips, keeping her as still as he can as he traces the contours of her moist folds with his tongue, flicking her already over-sensitive points with his tongue before changing and moving slowly, leisurely, his skillful mouth sweet torture.
“Arthur…” she draws his name out, her head tossing on the bed, amazed at how close he is getting her already.
He senses her approaching climax, and gently pulls away from her, grinning like the devil himself as she stares, breathing labored, face slightly frantic.
“Oh, wewe are not…” she gasps, realization dawning.
He kisses her now, deeply, passionately, silencing any further words she may have had for him. Once again she flexes her shoulders, forgetting she cannot use her hands. I can’t even torture him back,
she thinks as he kisses her neck, nibbles her earlobe, kissing his way to her breasts with wet open-mouthed kisses, tasting her skin.
Arthur’s lips find her breast now, and he lightly bites her firm nipple before running his tongue over it and around it as his hand gently massages her other breast.
Gwen winds her legs around his, sliding her smooth limbs against the slight roughness of his leg hair, willing him to touch her, enter her, something
to release her from the knot of pent-up desire she has become.
He chuckles against her breasts, switching to the other one now, still stubbornly keeping his hands above her waist.
“Arthur, touch me…” she whispers, asking but not begging. Yet.
“I am touching you,” he says, giving her breast an extra squeeze just to illustrate his point.
“You know what I mean,” she says, sliding her foot on his calf, trying to persuade him.
“No, please explain,” he answers, leaning up on his elbows to look down at her.
“Bastard,” she scowls. “I want you,” she winds her leg around him again, pulling him towards her, “inside me.”
“Arthur Pendragon, if wewe do not put your cock inside me right now I am going to explode!”
“Well, why didn’t wewe just say so?” he asks, casually dropping his head to kiss her, intending to bestow a few sweet soft kisses on her lips.
But she bites him and that becomes the end of that.
He makes a noise somewhere between a moan and a growl, the sting of her teeth on his lower lip only inflaming him. She did that on purpose,
he thinks, smirking in a rather satisfied way as he finally moves his hips mbele and into her warmth.
Arthur sighs, Gwen moans.
“Oh, God…” she says when he starts moving. He doesn’t bother starting slowly au gently; he dives right in, thrusting hard and fast.
“Guinevere,” he groans her name, bending down for a kiss before tucking his face into her neck for a moment.
“Mmm, yes,” she purrs, her legs still around him, holding him, pushing him.
Arthur adjusts, leaning on his left hand so he can reach up with his right to pull at the scarf securing Gwen’s wrists. He yanks the tail and unties one hand, which she immediately brings to his face before stroking his cheek and dragging it down to his shoulder.
He frees her other hand and she clings to his neck with both hands as he drives them both to the brink. Her fingers dig into his flesh, her mouth a silent O as her eyes flutter closed when the sensations take over her and she is falling, tumbling into the abyss with Arthur right behind her.
“Oh… Arth… Oh…” her half-formed words are accompanied kwa those of Arthur, his head back, the veins and tendons standing out in his neck as his body stills over hers with one final deep thrust.
She wraps her arms around his broad shoulders as he sinks over her, resting his head on her chest, content to let her hold him for a dakika au two while his head stops spinning.
“Okay, I forgive wewe for being an evil bastard,” Gwen says, and Arthur starts laughing, sliding off of her to lay beside her, holding her to his chest now.
“Oh, good. I was so worried, wewe know.”
“Guinevere, will wewe come in for a minute, please?” Mr. Gaius’ voice comes through the intercom on her desk.
“Of course,” she says, jabbing the forward
button on the phone before standing. This is it. He’s read the manuscript and he’s going to tell me how horrible it is and that my editing is bollocks.
She takes a deep breath and opens the door.
“Welcome back, dear,” Mr. Gaius greets her as she walks towards his desk. “I trust wewe had a pleasant holiday?”
“Yes, thank you, it was very nice. Good to be home, though,” she says, standing behind a chair, hands clasped firmly behind her back to keep them from fidgeting.
“Please, sit,” he motions to the chair she is hiding behind, and she sits.
“So. I read your friend’s manuscript,” he dives right in now, abandoning small talk.
Gwen waits, saying nothing, hands now folded in her lap, knuckles turning white.
“It’s… quite good. Quite
good. I liked it very much. Read it twice, in fact.” Really?
“Really?” she manages to squeak.
“Indeed. I know wewe alisema that wewe weren’t trying to get him published, but I think I’d like to give him a go. Do wewe know if he has any more? A sequel to Rylan,
“Um, I believe so. I haven’t asked, but then, he doesn’t know I’m doing this, either, but my boyfriend mentioned that he thinks Merlin does indeed have more, and…”
“Boyfriend?” Gaius cuts her off, pouncing, intrigued. Verbal diarrhea strikes again.
“Yes, um, Merlin Emrys is my boyfriend’s best friend, actually,” she says uncomfortably.
“Why are wewe sorry? wewe already alisema he was your friend, so what does it matter if he’s a close mate of your boyfriend?”
“I guess that makes sense.”
“I was merely surprised that wewe had a gentleman. You’ve never spoken of him.”
“It’s personal, sir.”
“Understood. Well. I should like to meet Mr. Emrys and discuss a few things with him. wewe can find him for me, yes?”
“Of course,” she says, brightening up again. All I need is a phone book.
“And Guinevere, about your editing,” Gaius starts again. Bloody hell. I’m dead.
“Very well done, young lady. wewe know your grammar, and wewe make shrewd choices. Not a word out of place. Why are wewe my receptionist?”
“Because that was the only position available, sir,” she says honestly, emboldened kwa his praise.
Thankfully, Gaius laughs at her remark. “Yes, of course. However,” he says, reaching for another manuscript, “I have something here for you. I’d like wewe to try your hand at this one.”
“It’s Marcus Ryan’s latest.”
“Isn’t… isn’t that the one that he was complaining about, saying that the editor ‘butchered his vision?’”
“The same. He was so unhappy with Ben’s editing that I had him send over a fresh copy.”
Gwen unintentionally smirks at the mention of the editor’s name, trying to keep her face neutral.
“And I’d like wewe to take a look at it. What was that look that just crossed your face?”
“Look?” she asks. Shit.
“Guinevere, I didn’t get to be the Editor-in-Chief of a large publishing company kwa not being observant. wewe made a curious face when I mentioned Ben.”
“Please speak your mind, dear.”
“Sometimes thoughts kuvuka, msalaba my brain that really have no right to be there, sir,” she says, biting her lip.
“Oh? Intriguing. Will wewe share?”
“Well, this was zaidi an opinion
than a thought, sir…”
“Even better,” he says, leaning forward. “Let’s have it.”
“Um, not that it counts for much, sir, but in my opinion, um… Ben Cooper couldn’t hariri his way out of a paper sack. Sir.” She bites her lip again.
Much to her surprise, Gaius laughs again. “Hmm,” he says, noncommittally. “All I will say is that young Mr. Cooper has been skating on thin ice for about a mwezi now.” With that, he hands her the manuscript.
“Thank you, sir.” Is he insinuating what I think he is?
“Now, feel free to work on that in between your normal rigorous duties,” he says with a wink. “Don’t take it home, now, that’s not how we operate here. Work stays at work.”
“Which is why wewe practically live here, I’ve noticed,” she says, the words leaping out before she can hold them back.
“I like this bold side of you, my dear, where have wewe been hiding it?” he asks, laughing again.
“Um…” she starts, not sure how to answer this question.
“Never mind, never mind. I’ll let wewe get back to your dawati now.”
“Thank you, sir. For everything.” She stands.
“You’re welcome, dear. I know wewe won’t disappoint me,” he says, raising his eyebrows at her, the implications unspoken but plain as day.
“Yes, sir,” she says, and turns towards the door.
“And Guinevere, get me Merlin Emrys on the phone please,” he calls after her.
“One step ahead of wewe already, sir,” she says from the doorway with a smile.
On the other side of the door, she clutches the new manuscript to her chest, squeezing it to her like a prized toy received at Christmas. Oh God oh God oh God oh God I have to call Arthur. Bugger. Merlin first.
She leaps into her chair and reaches over for the telephone directory, noticing for the first time that her hands are trembling slightly. She clumsily thumbs through the pages until she finds what she’s looking for. The Dragon’s Head.
She glances at the clock. 9:45. I hope he’s down there,
she thinks, dialing the numbers.
It rings interminably. “Damn.” She hangs up the phone and dials the number for Excalibur, which is already committed to memory.
“Excalibur,” Gwaine’s smooth voice pours from the earpiece.
“Gwaine, can wewe give me Merlin and Leon’s phone number? The one for their flat? I need to talk to him. Like now,” Gwen’s words come spilling out of her, fast and rambling.
“Whoa, easy there, Sparrow, Merls is right here, I’ll just—”
“No! Tell him to get his skinny arse back to the bloody pub and answer the bloody phone!” she orders, and hangs up on him.
Gwaine stares at the phone, perplexed.
“What was that?” Merlin asks, having heard his name.
“Guinevere,” Arthur answers, chuckling.
“She alisema that wewe need to go back to the pub and answer the phone. Actually, it was zaidi like ‘tell him to get his skinny arse back to the bloody pub and answer the bloody phone,’ if I am remembering correctly,” he laughs.
“You’d better go,” Arthur says, grinning and shoving him.
“Wait, what? Why?”
” Arthur shoves him again, this time with his boot.
Merlin stumbles out the door and back into the dark of the pub. He can hear the phone ringing from outside.
“Hello?” he answers, grabbing it.
“About damn time,” Gwen’s voice snaps at him, then she shifts gears, her voice turning pleasant and congenial. “Good morning, Mr. Emrys, this is Guinevere with Taliesin Publishing. Please hold for William Gaius.”
“What? Gwen—” Merlin is left stammering as he is put on hold. He sticks his tongue out at the hold music, total crap, and waits. What is going on? What has she… Surely not.
The muziki disappears just before Merlin considers stabbing a kisu into his eardrum to save him from death kwa The Carpenters. “Mr. Emrys?” a clipped, polite male voice comes through the phone, just slightly ragged with his advanced age.
“Yes, this is Merlin Emrys,” he says, swallowing. She didn’t. She couldn’t have done. I sent that manuscript in months ago.
“Well, Merlin, this is Will Gaius. I’m the editor-in-chief of Taliesin.”
“Yes, I know,” he says before he can stop himself.
Gaius laughs, and continues. “I’ve read your manuscript. Rylan.
I think it has marvelous potential and would like to publish it.”
Merlin grabs the edge of the bar before slumping down to the floor, his bony backside connecting sharply with the slightly sticky wood.
“I’m here. I’m just… in shock.”
“Understood. Can wewe come kwa the office tomorrow afternoon so we can meet and discuss details? Contracts, advances; the little details.” Contract? Advance?
Suddenly pound notes are swimming in Merlin’s eyes, but he blinks them away long enough to respond, “Yes, tomorrow should be fine.”
“Sure,” he answers, still stunned.
“I look mbele to seeing wewe then,” Gaius says, a finality creeping into his voice.
“Me, too, sir, thank you. Thank wewe very much.”
“Oh, Merlin, two things.”
“Make sure wewe thank your friend Gwen for bringing your manuscript to my attention.”
“I will, sir. I will!”
“And if wewe have any other manuscripts, particularly a sequel to Rylan,
“I can do that. Thank wewe again.”
Merlin reaches up and gropes until he finds the phonedrops the handset back on its cradle. Leon emerges a dakika later to find his flatmate still on the floor behind the bar.
“Merlin! Are wewe all right?”
“I’m getting published,” he says quietly.
“Gwen got Will Gaius to read my manuscript. He wants to publish me.”
Leon drops to the floor beside him and hugs him sideways, awkwardly. “That’s amazing news! We have to tell the lads inayofuata door, come on!”
He stands and pulls Merlin to his feet, and as they walk out the door, Merlin says, “I have a feeling that Arthur already knows.”
Part 24: link