Part 19: link
“Are you nervous, Guinevere?” Arthur asks quietly. Gwen is seated between Arthur and Morgana in the back upuan of Gaius’ Cadillac, on the way to church.
“Yes,” she sagot simply.
He takes her hand in his. “It will be fine,” he says. “It’s church. People are supposed to be nice at church.”
“Yes, they are,” Gwen answers, “but some of the most closed-minded people are also some of the most righteous.”
“Righteous in their own minds, anyway,” Morgana adds. Gwen nods in agreement.
“Gwen, it’ll be fine, I promise,” Alice says. “Betty doesn’t go to our church,” she adds, smirking back at her.
Gwen laughs despite her worries, and Gaius pulls into the parking lot. It’s a warm araw for mid-October, one of those occasional oddities in autumn where a near 60-degree araw pops in just to tease people before abruptly disappearing.
They step out of the car and head towards the building. Already Gwen is aware of peoples’ eyes on her. Gaius did tell her that she would be the only colored person there, as she would have guessed. So she was at least forewarned.
Arthur can sense her nerves beside him. He takes her hand in his, gives it a reassuring squeeze, and leans down and whispers, “I pag-ibig you,” before they go inside.
“I wish I had my ring,” she says quietly, knowing she would feel better with the hard evidence of their engagement on her hand.
Gaius and Alice lead the way, with Arthur and Gwen following and Morgana in the rear. It feels like they’re guarding us,
Arthur realizes. They slide into a pew somewhere in the middle, Gwen between Arthur and Alice.
Soft organ music is playing and people chat quietly. Alice says hello to a few people; an usher stops to greet Gaius and shake his hand. They introduce “our nephew Arthur and his fiancée Gwen” to the people that stop. The people smile politely, but Gwen sees the surprise in their eyes. She smiles back, as friendly and warm as she can be.
“Where are you visiting from?” a woman seated in front of them turns and asks.
“Not visiting, ma’am. Moved, from Memphis,” Arthur answers.
“Kathy, I told you that,” Alice says, chuckling.
“Oh, that’s right you did. How long have you been here now?”
“Just a week,” Arthur says. “We arrived a week nakaraan Saturday.”
“And you’re a lawyer as well?”
“And what is it that you do, Gwen?” Kathy asks.
“I was a kindergarten teacher back home, ma’am. So at the moment I’m just helpin’ Aunt Alice around the house, mainly.”
“Oh, that’s nice. Will you be looking for a teaching job at the term break?”
“Maybe. I don’t know if my teachin’ license is valid here, though. Gotta find out first.”
“Well, good luck to you. And welcome.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” Arthur nods.
The organ starts the intro for the opening hymn and Kathy whips quickly around in her upuan to face front. Ten segundos after the pag-awit starts, she turns back again, looking at Gwen.
“You have got a beautiful voice, Gwen,” she says just loud enough for her to hear, her eyes wide.
Gwen smiles. “Thank you,” she says, noticing a few other heads looking with interest in her direction now, including Alice’s.
“You didn’t tell me you could sing,” Alice leans over and whispers in her ear.
“You never asked,” Gwen answers, and Alice laughs.
The service is pleasant enough. A little subdued compared to what Guinevere is accustomed to, but the pastor has a nice speaking voice and his message was interesting and, madami importantly, relevant. Gwen thinks she sees him smile in her direction once, too. Of course Gaius and Alice would have told him about Arthur and me.
After, everyone files out past the pastor to shake his hand and exchange pleasantries.
“You must be Arthur and Guinevere,” he says, holding his hand out. “Pastor Gary Meinhardt. Welcome, welcome.” He is an older man, a little younger than Gaius. Arthur guesses him to be about Uther’s age. He has sandy blonde hair tinged with grey and smiling blue eyes that crinkle around the edges.
“Hello,” Arthur says, shaking his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, sir,” Gwen also shakes his hand.
“I’m so glad you decided to sumali us this morning,” he says. “Please stick around a bit, I’d like to talk to you some more,” he says, noting the parishioners yet lined up behind them.
“We’ll stay around, Pastor,” Alice says.
They wait in a lobby area, and Kathy descends on them again, with what is presumably her husband in tow. “Gwen, this is my husband, Alan. He was playing the organ and directing the choir, that’s why he wasn’t sitting with me. You need to come sing for him.” Boy, she’s pushy,
Gwen thinks. She glances at Alice. “Um, all right,” she says.
“I’ll come with you,” Alice says. “You wait here,” she tells Arthur, Gaius, and Morgana.
“No way, I’m coming, too!” Morgana protests and follows them into a room off the sanctuary where the choir warms up and puts their robes on. Some of them are still standing around and chatting.
“What would you like to sing?” Alan asks, sitting at the piano.
“Um, anything. What was that last hymn? Precious Lord, Take My Hand?
That’ll do, I guess,” Gwen says, picking her fingernails nervously.
“All right,” he says, flipping a hymnal open and starts playing.
Gwen sings. “Precious Lord, take my hand; lead me on, let me stand…”
Alice beams as all conversation ceases in the room. “Wow,” Morgana whispers. “I had no idea.”
“She’s going to find herself in the choir sa pamamagitan ng susunod week,” Alice whispers back.
Gwen finishes, just one verse, and the people present applaud. “You’re going to sumali the choir, right?” one woman asks.
Gwen looks at Alan, who is looking up at her hopefully. She glances back at Alice and Morgana.
“It’s up to you, dear,” Alice says.
“It’ll give you something to do,” Morgana suggests. “I know you’re getting bored.”
“Okay,” Gwen says, giving in. Then she smiles a little. Daddy would be proud. He always loved my singin’.
Alan looks at her, grinning now. “I suppose it’s too much to hope for that you read music?”
“I can a little,” Gwen says.
“I can help her with that, Alan,” Alice says, as though it should be obvious.
“Well, it’s not strictly necessary, but it helps. And with a voice like yours… Gwen, is it? It would be a shame for you to not
know how to read music.”
They chat a bit more, and Gwen promises she’ll attend rehearsal this week after he tells her when it is.
Alice, Morgana, and Gwen head back out and discover the pastor already chatting with Arthur and Gaius.
“…it shouldn’t be a problem at all. We’re not going anywhere that weekend, so I’d be available,” Pastor Gary is saying.
“Thanks. Probably should double-check with Guinevere, though,” Arthur says.
“Of course you should,” Gary says. “Seems he already knows the ways of married life,” he adds, looking at Gaius.
“Double-check what with me?” she asks, slipping her hand into Arthur’s.
“Pastor Gary is willing and able to marry us on the 30th if we want to get married here,” Arthur says.
“Um, yes, that would be nice, thank you,” she says, squeezing his hand. It’s getting real now.
“We can get together a couple times before then to iron out the details,” Gary says.
“It’s going to be very small,” Gwen says. “Just some family.”
“Small and intimate is nice,” he nods. He pauses a moment, thoughtful. “Can I be straight with you?”
“Please,” Arthur says.
“It’s probably a good thing that you’re keeping it small. Gaius told me the reason for your move, and I commend your bravery, but I also know that you won’t have the easiest road.”
“Yes, we know that,” Arthur says. “We are not harboring any illusions about our life together in that aspect.”
“If you have a big, public wedding, it may invite trouble. That’s all I’m saying,” Gary finishes. As if on cue, a couple walks past the group, staring openly at Arthur and Gwen, doing a poor job of hiding their distaste.
“Just keep on walking, there, Ruth,” Alice mutters, watching them. They finally stop staring and go on their way. “Thought so,” Alice finishes.
“Mom, you are like a mother madala with them,” Morgana observes, amused and a little proud.
“Yes. Things like that,” Pastor Gary sighs. “Sometimes it takes a little longer for that whole ‘love thy neighbor’ rule to get through to some people,” he adds.
Gwen purses her lips together, trying not to giggle.
“You can laugh, it’s all right. ‘A joyful puso is good medicine,’” he quotes.
Arthur smiles and wraps his arm around Gwen’s shoulders now. “So, yeah. It’ll likely be us five, plus Gwen’s brother, my father, and our friend Merlin.”
“Your father’s coming?” Gwen asks.
“Well, yes. Sorry, I forgot to tell you. Talked to him on Thursday. He’s going to fly up on Saturday and tahanan Sunday. I told him that he could ride with Merlin and Elyan…”
Gaius laughs loudly at this. “Yeah, that’s not going to happen.”
“I’m sure we can get Alan to play some music for you. Unless you were planning on it, Alice,” Gary suggests.
“No, I’ll be too busy weeping,” Alice says, smiling. “Alan has just drafted Gwen into the choir, so I’m sure he’ll be madami than willing.”
“Oh, you sing?” Gary asks.
“Happened to be sitting behind Kathy, and, well…” Alice holds her hands up helplessly.
“Right. All right, I need to find my wife and you all probably would like to go home.”
“Yes, Gwen needs to get started on her fried chicken,” Arthur says, excited.
“Sounds delicious,” Gary says. “Well, then. Don’t let me keep you. I do hope you’ll find your happiness here.” He shakes Arthur’s hand, then Gwen’s.
As they walk back out to the car, Arthur says, “See, that wasn’t so bad.”
“Mostly surprised looks,” Gaius agrees.
“A few dark glances, but we don’t pay attention to those people,” Morgana says, a little haughtily.
“Morgana!” Gwen exclaims.
“What? If they’re going to be ignorant, screw ’em.”
“Language,” Alice warns.
“Adult,” Morgana shoots back, climbing into the car after Gwen.
“I didn’t notice any dirty looks,” Gaius says.
“There were about four, including the couple that walked through when we were talkin’ to the reverend,” Gwen says.
“Hmm,” Gaius frowns. He starts the car and is about to shift it into gear, when he pauses, brightening. “Gwen, how much time do you need to make dinner?”
“A couple hours. Why?”
“It’s such a beautiful day, I thought we’d take a ride past the lake. Have you seen it yet?”
“Not yet.” She gives Arthur a sideways look that clearly says you should have done that sa pamamagitan ng now.
“I’d pag-ibig that,” Gwen says.
Arthur stalks Gwen while she putters in the kitchen. They’ve been tahanan an hour, and already the kusina smells amazing. Gwen loved the lake, even climbing on the large rocks along the baybayin where they stopped, trying to get closer to the water, going on about how big
it is and how it seems to go on forever. Arthur had to stop her from going out too far, claiming Alice was going to have a puso attack.
Really it was him that was having the puso attack. She looked so lovely in the sunlight, the breeze blowing her hair, blowing her palda around her slender, shapely legs. He wished he had a camera.
Since they got home, he’s been following her around like a puppy, making a general nuisance of himself until she finally banished him from the kusina for getting in her way.
Now he peeks from the doorway, watching her, wearing jeans he didn’t even realize she owned and a simple shirt, covered with an apron, humming to herself while she rinses greens. Beside her on a tray are all the chicken pieces, coated and ready to fry.
“Why are they all just sitting there?” he asks.
“I told you to go away,” she says, not turning around. She goes to the hurno and peeks at the cornbread, frowning at it.
“I’m not in the kitchen. See?” He points to his feet, ipinapakita her that he is definitely not
in the kitchen.
“Ain’t your feet cold?”
“It’s warm enough.”
“You should at least have socks on,” she sighs. “But they’re your feet,” she shrugs.
“So why is the chicken sitting there and not being fried?” he repeats his question.
“You have to let the coating set a bit or it’ll just fall off,” she finally looks at him, her hands on her hips.
“Now scoot. Go bother someone else,” she scolds, but he can see her amusement at him behind the façade.
The phone rings just then, and they both stare at it a moment. It stops ringing and they hear Morgana answer.
Gwen turns back to her work, and Arthur wanders to the living room to see what’s on TV. For now, anyway.
“Hello?” Morgana sagot the phone.
“Um, hello, may I speak to Arthur please?”
Morgana pauses, confronted with an unfamiliar voice and an unfamiliar accent. Definitely not Uncle Uther.
“May I ask who’s calling, please?”
“Merlin,” the voice says.
“Merlin?” she asks. “Merlin
Merlin? The mysterious Merlin that I thought Arthur was making up until Gwen confirmed your existence Merlin?”
“I’m sorry; I’ve been teasing Arthur for months. He always promised he’d bring you with when he and his dad came to visit, and he never did, so I started accusing him of having an imaginary friend,” she laughs.
“Ah, right, I see. Well, sorry to spoil your fun, but I’m real,” he laughs. “If it’s any consolation, he did invite me last time, but I couldn’t go. Was going to, but then me mum got sick, so I stayed tahanan to look after her.”
“Aw, you’re a good son,” Morgana coos. “And I love
“Thank you,” he says.
“Oh! You wanted to talk to Arthur,” she exclaims, remembering. “Hold on a second.” She puts her hand over the receiver. “ARTHUR! YOUR IMAGINARY FRIEND’S ON THE PHONE!”
Merlin is laughing when she puts the handset back to her ear. “Nice,” he comments.
“I have to give him shit, obviously.”
“Obviously,” Merlin agrees.
“Hello?” Arthur’s voice interrupts them.
“Arthur!” Merlin greets him.
“Goodbye, Merlin, it was lovely talking to you,” Morgana says smoothly.
“’Bye, Morgana. Nice talkin’ to you, too.”
“Hang up the phone, Morgana,” Arthur says. He hears the click
of her hanging up. “Hey, Merlin! This is a surprise.”
“Is she as pretty as she sounds?”
“No. So what’s up?”
“What? Oh. Well, I heard some things from Elyan and since you
couldn’t be buggered to call me yourself and ask me to come to the wedding, I thought I’d call you and hassle you about it.”
“I was going to call you tomorrow at the office. Honest,” Arthur says.
“Right,” Merlin says.
“I was. Don’t believe me if you don’t want to, but I was. So are you coming?”
“Wouldn’t miss it,” he says. “Elyan and I are gonna leave really early Friday morning. Right now we’re thinking three.”
“Hmm. You know what? I’ll ask Aunt Alice if we can have Thanksgiving hapunan on Friday, then. Then you and Elyan can sumali us.”
“That’d be great!” Merlin sounds excited. Of course he’s excited. It’s food.
“Yeah, it’ll be a whole party. They have a piano; maybe you could play.”
“Yeah, I never told you? My aunt teaches piano lessons.”
“Maybe she’d siksikan with me.”
“Right,” Arthur says, skeptical. “Oh, guess what?”
“Guinevere is making her fried chicken for hapunan today.”
“The fried chicken she claims is better than Gwaine’s?”
“The very same. I have never been madami excited about a meal.”
“Well, I hope it lives up to expectations, mate,” Merlin says.
“You’re just jealous.”
“Maybe. Oh! I got Vivian to talk to Percy on Friday,” Merlin says, sounding rather proud of himself.
“How did you orchestrate that?”
“I got Leon involved. Honestly, I feel like a girl. But Percy came to the office to meet with Leon, and I had Leon make him wait in the lobby a bit. Then I came through on my way out to pick something up for your da, and I sinabi hello to Percy and asked him how things were going at the factory. Made sure Viv was payin’ attention and made sure to mention things about taking over the business and askin’ him how it felt to be a big shot. Just enough to get her attention.”
“Merlin, that’s not exactly…”
“No, no, wait,” Merlin cuts him off. “Percy was great, though. Completely, well, how he is. Like it’s all no big deal. He even sinabi that money doesn’t buy happiness. Can you believe that? sa pamamagitan ng the time we were done chattin’, Vivian was lookin’ at him the way she used to look at you, and believe me, mate, there were not any dollar signs in her eyes.”
“You little matchmaker,” Arthur teases.
“Shut it! I already told you that I felt like a girl! Don’t make it worse. Anyway, Leon told me that when he saw Percy out, Vivian stopped him specifically to tell him to have a nice weekend and that she liked his tie. Then Percy smiled at her and according to Leon, he could have scooped her out of her chair with a spoon.”
“Sounds like a good start. Oh. One thing: When you and Elyan drive up on Friday, you have
to stop in a town called Mattoon, Illinois, and go to Althea’s Soul pagkain kusina for lunch. Tell her you’re mga kaibigan of ours.”
“Honestly, Arthur, you two made mga kaibigan on the way up to Milwaukee?”
“Yes. She’s a hoot. And she’s gonna love
you,” Arthur grins at the image of Miss Thea cooing and fussing over sweet, skinny Merlin. She’s gonna keep feedin’ him till he pops.
Dinner is finally ready, and Arthur is the first one to the table. Fried chicken, greens, sweet potato casserole, and cornbread. Gwen even made sweet tea. Morgana immediately decides that it’s the best thing ever.
“Okay, we’ve sinabi grace. Pass me that platter,” Arthur declares, holding his hand out. Gwen passes it over, laughing, but deep down she’s very worried about whether he’ll like it. I may have talked it up too much,
she thinks, taking some greens and putting them on Morgana’s plate after she passed it over without taking any.
“Hey!” she protests.
“Just try it. For me?” Gwen asks.
“She’s evil. Does she do that to you, too?”
Arthur can’t answer because he already has his mouth full of chicken and he’s moaning as though in ecstasy. “Oh, my God, Guinevere… I could die a happy man right now…” Almost,
he mentally adds, knowing there is only one madami thing he requires for a blissful demise.
“That good, huh?” Gaius asks, spooning some sweet potatoes on his plate. Then he digs in. “Okay, yes. It is,” he declares.
“Oh, to answer your question, Morgana, yes. Obviously Guinevere can get me to do her every bidding,” he says, his mouth full.
Gwen rolls her eyes. “He says that like I make demands,” she sighs, trying the cornbread. “Hmm. Closer.”
“Closer to what?” Alice asks.
“My mama’s cornbread. It’s gettin’ there. Miss Thea’s was better,” she says, setting it down and taking a delicate bite of chicken.
“Miss Thea’s cornbread was
very good,” Arthur agrees. “Yours is also very good, Guinevere.”
“Which means that Miss Thea’s is better,” Gwen smirks.
“I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t have to. And it’s all right; I agree.”
“Better than I could make,” Arthur adds.
“Yeah, that’s going to make her feel better,” Morgana laughs. “I’ve seen you attempt to cook.”
“Shh,” Arthur shushes her.
“What do you think of the greens, Morgana?” Alice asks.
“I haven’t tried them yet,” she admits, poking them with her fork.
“They’re really good. Not mapait or mushy at all,” Arthur says. “I have had some bad greens in my day. These ain’t some.”
“Nice grammar,” Gaius remarks.
Morgana tries a bit. “Okay, they’re not terrible,” she admits. “The tusino helps.”
“Oh, if I’d known that the way to get you to eat vegetables was to slather them with bacon…” Alice laughs.
“Anyone want to try some gizzard or liver?” Gwen asks, figuring the answer will be no. At least from Morgana.
“I’m game,” Gaius says. Gwen passes him the pinggan and he takes one of each. “Surprisingly good,” he nods.
“Thank you,” Gwen says.
“It’s all very good, Gwen,” Alice says. “You’ll have to teach me so I can make all this when you’ve gone.”
“You say that like I’m goin’ far away,” Gwen chuckles. “But of course I’ll teach you. That’s the best part of cookin’. Sharin’ secrets.”
They eat quietly for a bit. Arthur consumes at least half an entire chicken on his own. He keeps licking and sucking at his fingers, and Gwen keeps getting distracted sa pamamagitan ng this.
“Gwen, can I ask you something?” Morgana breaks the silence, snapping Gwen out of her study of Arthur’s long fingers.
“Um, sure,” she says.
“Don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but are any of your ancestors white?”
“Morgana…” Alice groans.
“It’s all right,” Gwen says. “I know she don’t mean it in a nasty way.”
“I’m just wondering because you’re, well, light brown.”
Gwen chuckles. “Well, colored folks come in all shades, you know, just like white folks aren’t actually white
like this napkin is white. Well, you’re
pretty white,” she says, prodding Morgana in the shoulder, laughing.
Morgana laughs at this as well, even though her schoolmates used to call her “ghost girl” because she was always so pale.
“There may be a white person or two in my heritage, I honestly don’t know. No one really kept track, unfortunately. I know it happened, where a slave owner would take advantage of his female slaves. Similar things still happen in the south. My brother says he sees evidence of it a lot when he’s on jobs. Rich Mister feelin’ on his pretty little colored maids.”
“That’s awful,” Alice says.
“Elyan didn’t like me for a while because of that. He didn’t trust me,” Arthur says, licking another finger. “Oh! I never behaved inappropriately towards Guinevere, just so we’re clear. I was only her lawyer during that time, honest. He and I came to an understanding before I whisked her away up here, honest.”
“So you’re fine now? You and Elyan?” Gaius asks.
“Oh, yeah. I even officially asked for permission and everything. Then we got drunk.”
“Ah, the great equalizer,” Gaius nods. He takes madami sweet potatoes. “These are like dessert.”
“Oh! Alice, can I make sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving?” Gwen practically jumps out of her seat.
“Of course,” Alice laughs. “I was actually going to ask if there was anything you wanted to contribute to Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Oh, yes, please, I have a few things I’d pag-ibig to make for y’all.”
“Excellent. We’ll talk later, then,” Alice smiles.
“Hey, that reminds me. Can we have Thanksgiving hapunan on Friday instead of Thursday? Elyan and Merlin are comin’ up Friday and I thought it might be nice if we could wait for them,” Arthur says. Stop sucking on your fingers,
Gwen thinks. Or don’t…
“I don’t see why that would be a problem. Besides, the Packers are playing the Lions on Thanksgiving araw anyway, so Gaius will be able to devote his full attention to the game,” Alice says, smirking at her husband.
“I cannot eat any more,” Morgana says, setting her fork on her plate.
“Me either. Stuffed. It was excellent, Gwen. Do feel free to cook any time,” Gaius says.
“Thank you,” Gwen says, blushing from their praise.
“No, Gwen, I’ll clean up. You did all the cooking, you go put your feet up,” Alice says.
“I can’t let you do that,” Gwen says, stubbornly following her into the kitchen.
Arthur and Gaius disappear, as men tend to do in these situations, and Morgana actually joins them in the kitchen.
“I’ve missed having a girlfriend to talk to,” Gwen comments, drying dishes with Morgana while Alice washes.
“You didn’t have a girlfriend in Memphis?” Morgana asks.
“Well, I did. She moved away a taon ago. And of course I talked to the other teachers at school some, but I didn’t really ever spend time with them socially.”
“Why did she move?”
“She got married, and her husband got a job in Texas,” Gwen says. She stares at the plate in her hands. “We write, sometimes. Send birthday cards. pasko cards. She’s got a baby girl already.”
“Well, I am honored to be your friend, Gwen,” Morgana says, looping her arm around Gwen’s shoulder and clunking her head softly against Gwen’s.
“Aunt Alice, are you crying?” Gwen asks.
“No,” Alice sniffs.
“Liar,” Morgana laughs.
“Hey,” Arthur pokes his head in Gwen’s bedroom door.
“Hey, yourself,” she says back, setting her nightgown aside. She was just about to change. Arthur slips in and closes the door quietly behind him.
“Arthur, what are you doin’?” Gwen asks when he sits down on the kama with her.
“Just sittin’. Surely I’m allowed to sit to say goodnight to my fiancée.”
“You closed the door.”
“I know,” he scoots closer, reaching up and stroking her cheek with his thumb. She opens her mouth to warn him off again and his lips are on hers before she can get the words out, his hand sliding to hold the back of her neck as he kisses her deeply, longingly, his tongue sliding against hers.
She whimpers in the back of her throat as she feels him moving closer, and before she realizes it, they are lying on the bed, his other hand is holding her waist, and her hands are around his neck.
Gwen gives up and surrenders to his kiss, bravely running her fingers into his hair. His hand slides along her waist, moving slightly higher, and his thumb brushes the underside of her breast.
“Arthur!” she gasps, pulling away.
“Sorry…” he croaks. Damn.
“It’s… it’s okay,” she says. “I was just… surprised.” She tucks a stray curl behind her ear and tries to sit up. He doesn’t let her.
“Stay,” he says, turning and pulling her so she is nestled against his side, her head on his shoulder.
“Arthur, you shouldn’t be here like this.”
“I’m just visiting. Saying goodnight. And if we happen to drift off to sleep…”
“Arthur,” she says, her voice serious. “Your aunt and uncle are kind enough to let us stay here. We shouldn’t disrespect them sa pamamagitan ng defying the one rule they gave us.”
“You’re right, as always. Sorry. I won’t accidentally fall asleep, then.” Definitely going to look for an apartment. Or something.
“Um… you can halik me some more, if you wa– mm!”
Arthur’s lips are back on hers before she finishes her sentence, leaning over her, his one arm pinned beneath her, holding her softly.
She moans softly and squirms a little beneath him, freeing her arm to cling to his shoulders, her soft wet tongue growing bolder. Arthur slides one hand up towards his target, trying again, his fingers itching for the soft flesh of which they just got the barest taste.
This time she lets him, even arching slightly into his hand as his palm closes over her breast, fingers flexing, thumb stroking.
He releases her lips and trails kisses down her jaw to the side of her neck.
“Arthur…” she sighs. His lips are warm and wet on her skin, and she feels like the kama is slowly spinning.
“Oh…” she gasps. Arthur shifts slightly, and his stiffening manhood presses into her thigh. The feeling snaps her back to earth, and she knows they have to stop before they go too far.
“Arthur, we have to stop,” she says.
“Mmm-hmm,” he agrees, halik up her neck to nip her earlobe lightly.
He lifts his head. He removes his hand. “Right. Got carried away.”
“I did a little, too,” she says, sitting up now. This time he lets her.
“I should go,” he says. “Good night, my love.”
“Good night, Arthur. I pag-ibig you.”
“Love you, too,” he says. He leans over and gives her one last chaste halik before he stands and goes to the door. “This was fun, though,” he says, grinning wickedly.
“Yes, it was,” she agrees softly, blushing dark pink.
Arthur hurries back to the den, hoping that he doesn’t run into anyone in his current state. His fingers twitch, remembering the feel of her perfectly shaped, perfectly sized breast, remembering how she arched into his hand, remembering how she felt beneath him, even fully clothed. We still have just over a month. I need to find a place for us to live. I know she won’t live there with me until we get married. I’ll ask, but I know she’ll say no.
He changes clothes and climbs into the increasingly-less-comfortable hide-a-bed. He heaves a frustrated sigh and ponders the tent in front of him.
Closing his eyes, he allows his hand to creep beneath the covers, thinking of Guinevere out in the sun on the lake, lying beside – and beneath – him on the kama just now, thinking of her gorgeous light brown skin tinged kulay-rosas when she blushes, even thinking of her standing over a pan of chicken, frying noisily. His beautiful Guinevere.
Part 21: link