Red Dragon Inn
Dreamweaver's Lair => From the Dragon's Mouth => Crash and Burn => Topic started by: Olivia Storm on April 18, 2013, 08:18:18 PM
[size=9]((Contains material of an adult nature.))[/size]
The visit had, indeed, gone well. In the hallway, Liv paused momentarily, feeling just a little guilty for leaving Peggy alone once again, before her aunt's words welled up again. She smiled a little self-consciously, looking up at Johnny. "How did she know I'm a worrier?"
Johnny stepped out after Liv, feeling about the same, a little guilty for leaving Peggy alone, but they couldn't exactly live there. It was something they'd no doubt discuss, however. He smiled and slipped his arms around her waist, if only for a moment. "Because she's smart and observant and you're a little like Steve."
"Only a little?" His wife teased him, leaning into his embrace with a tender smile that was for his eyes only. "You mean you can't see me in red, white, and blue, hurling a shield all over the scenery?" She giggled at the thought, tucking herself easily under his arm as she began to walk along the hallway, toward the front of the house and freedom, hoping the taxi they'd booked hours before would be there. "Thank you for making me do this," she added in a quieter tone. "I ... I learned a lot."
He laughed at the thought of her as a female Captain America. "Not unless your name is Wonder Woman," he replied with a grin. Yes, he knew his comics and had had a huge crush on Wonder Woman as a boy. What red-blooded American comic book geek boy hadn't? He slipped an arm around her waist as they strolled their way down the hall toward their exit. He wasn't sure what she'd learned exactly, but he was happy things had gone well. He shrugged at her thanks. "I thought you'd regret it someday if you didn't come here."
"She's moving herself to America," Liv told him thoughtfully. She wasn't entirely sure how she felt about that development, though she understood the reasons behind it. She just hoped the move wouldn't shorten Peggy's already limited time. "She says she wants to be close to all of us, but I think she might feel a little out of the way here in England. Even knowing about portals and Rhy'Din, it still feels a long way away from Lucy and Steve."
He frowned thoughtfully a moment. He'd been thinking about this, too, but they'd already decided to try and make a life for themselves in Rhy'Din, at least for now - away from the overprotective eyes and ears of Lucy and Sue. "Do you want to move to New York?" he asked, wondering what she was thinking. They'd made connections on Rhy'Din, had jobs, friends. Picking up and moving back to New York wouldn't be as easy as it seemed.
"Someday, yes." It was something they'd never really discussed, this nebulous someday when they'd leave Rhy'Din behind. It wouldn't be for some time to come, but knowing it was there was a comfort in ways. "Not right now, of course." She glanced up at him with a fond smile. "With Peggy in New York as well, we'll be able to visit everyone at once. They're only twenty minutes away from us in Rhy'Din."
"Yeah," he replied, somewhat distractedly. He was still having a little trouble wrapping his head around the idea that they were who knew how many light years away in distance but only a short hop through the portal. It was faster than traveling by car through New York. There was something else on his mind, but he didn't want to remark on it while they were still in earshot of the nursing home. "I'm glad you two hit it off," he said instead, pulling the door open and waiting for her to step outside.
"So am I. It could have gone so badly wrong." She shook her head, laughing a little at the fears she'd given such free rein to as they'd approached the home a few hours before. Stepping out into the stiff breeze, she paused again, turning back to look at her husband with a curious cast to her gaze. She had a feeling there was something he wasn't saying, wondering what she'd missed that he had picked up on.
He wasn't saying anything just yet, not wanting to burst her bubble. His worries were mostly just that of Peggy not living long enough to see them have children and such. He wondered if there was any way of lengthening her life span, and yet, she had lived a full life and he guessed she might not even want that. Between Humphrey and Peggy, he worried they'd lose them both before they were ready. He led her silently to the waiting taxi and opened the door for her to get inside.
A little nonplussed by his silence, Liv frowned faintly, slipping past him to climb into the taxi. It wasn't like Johnny to fall completely silent - even when he was avoiding a subject, he tended to forcibly change it rather than appear to brood over something in mind. And despite Peggy's parting words to her, Liv couldn't help worrying a little as she waited for him to join her in the car, her good mood turning subdued as she struggled for words to try and draw whatever it was out of him.
He climbed in beside her and pulled the door closed. "Where to?" he asked, not sure if she wanted to go back to their hotel or wander the city a while longer. He'd brooch the subject of his own worries at some point, more than likely, but not yet.
"Somewhere we can talk," was his wife's quiet response to that, able to tell when Johnny had something on his mind and not liking to leave it brewing there alone for much longer. If she could help, she would, and he knew it. "So ... the hotel, I think. We can make a decision about dinner later."
"You really think any talking is going to go on there?" he asked, with the hint of a smirk on his face, the same old Johnny underneath there somewhere. He just couldn't stay moody for too long. He slid his fingers through hers again, as if needing to feel the reassurance of her presence.
Relieved to find that whatever it was on his mind wasn't weighing him too far down, Liv laughed softly, offering up the name of their hotel to the taxi driver as she slid over the seat to settle snug against Johnny's side. Her cheek found purchase on his shoulder, lips turning fondly against his jaw for a moment. "Eventually. Maybe."
He slid an arm around her shoulders to ease her lean against him, tilting his head to lean against hers, a smile on his face. "It's too bad she couldn't have come to the wedding." Theirs or Lucy and Steve's. She didn't really seem that much of an invalid to him, and he wondered if there was something they didn't know, or if she was simply too old to live alone anymore. He didn't know many old people, just Peggy and Humphrey really. He wondered what they'd be like when they got to be that age, if they got to be that age. "It has to be a little weird for her to see me." Though she seemed to have gotten used to the strange resemblance he had to Steve Rogers soon enough.
Liv nodded gently, appreciating that strangeness and how quickly it must have seemed that Peggy had grown accustomed to Johnny's odd similarities to Steve. "I think she sees a lot more than she lets on," she offered thoughtfully. "She obviously sees the differences more than the similarities, and ... well, I don't know. I don't have anything to base this off but a feeling." Which was, apparently, something she should keep doing, if she listened to her aunt. "I wish we'd known her before now," she admitted softly. "But I'm glad Steve didn't wait too long."
"It has to be hard for her, seeing Steve with Lucy... and you with me." Thought admittedly, it was most likely harder for her to see Steve with Lucy, since she'd once been in love with him, or so Johnny assumed. "It's kind of sad." He sighed, a small frown on his face. Liv was one of the few people who Johnny let see past the jester's mask he wore for most everyone else.
"It is sad," his quiet wife agreed with him, lifting her head to meet his gaze with an equally thoughtful frown. "She's so lonely, Johnny. It's almost as though she expected Steve to come and find her as soon as he came 'round, and when he didn't, it broke her heart all over again. She's trying to pretend it doesn't hurt so much, but ... she did admit to feeling angry. I suppose it's a good thing that she felt as though she could talk to me. I just ... I don't want her taking against Lucy just for being Steve's wife, and I don't know how to make it so that doesn't happen."
Johnny frowned thoughtfully, not wanting bad feelings between Peggy and her nieces or even against Steve. It had been hard on both of them, in different ways. Even if they could change the past, what was done was done. It was better left alone. "All we can do is make her feel loved, Liv, and let her know she's not alone." He knew it had to be awkward for Steve, too, but he didn't make mention of that. This was about Peggy right now.
"I know," Liv nodded once again, settling in against him as her fingers played in and out of his palm. She was still frowning a little, lost in thought for a long moment before suddenly asking, with seemingly random emphasis, "Johnny ... why do you save people? Not just because you can, I know that."
He arched a brow at her, wondering where that question had come from. It was in part because he could, but not entirely. "Someone once said that with great power comes great responsibility." He wasn't sure who'd said it and it didn't really matter. He considered her question a moment. "Maybe if there had been someone like me around, my Mom wouldn't have died." He rarely if ever spoke of the car crash that had taken his mother, but it there had been a hero on hand when it had happened, maybe she'd still be with them. "I could answer that question so many different ways, Liv. All of them sound kind of cliched."
"That doesn't mean they aren't true reasons," she pointed out, tipping her head back to look up at him. She was reluctant to make it clear why she was asking him this, so out of left field and random as it must seem to him, not really wanting to repeat what Peggy had told her. She wasn't sure she entirely believed it, and seeking confirmation felt like blowing her own trumpet. So she was investigating in as roundabout a way as she could.
"Is this about me or about Steve?" he asked, wondering why she was asking him this now. He thought she already knew the answer to this question or at least, knew him well enough to know the answer. He suspected the question had more to do with Peggy and Steve than with him.
Liv winced, not able to back out of that query without confessing to her sneaky attempt at confirmation. "Um ... I don't really know," she admitted with half a shrug. "It's either about you and Steve and everyone else I know, or ... or it's about me. I'm confused."
He wasn't sure what she meant by that, but he assumed it had something to do with her talk with Peggy. "Okay, well... Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a hero, but not just for the fame and the notoriety. I mean, that's part of it, but that can be a pain at times, too. It's funny, you know... When I was a kid - a really small kid - I wanted to be a fireman." He shrugged again. "I don't know, Liv. I'm not like Steve. I never asked to become what I am. It just happened."
She smiled, recognizing that all she'd done was spread her confusion around by failing to explain herself, but always happy to listen as Johnny talked. "I can imagine a teeny you in a huge fireman's helmet, no pants, and enormous wellies for some reason," she offered, somehow attempting to change the subject once again. He didn't understand and she couldn't explain, not without sharing what Peggy had told her. And she just wasn't comfortable enough with herself to do that without some hard prompting.
"Yeah," he chuckled drily. "Sue can probably show you pictures." If she hadn't already. "Why does anyone do what they do? When we got back from space and I realized what I'd become, the first thing I thought about was fame and fortune, but then some things happened and I realized I'd been given a gift. If I couldn't use it to help people, then what was the point of it all?" Maybe he'd misunderstood the question, but it was the best answer he had. "Anyway, someone has to do it."
Liv's smile deepened, choosing to believe now that Peggy had told her something because she'd needed to hear it, more than because it was the truth. And she found she didn't mind the kind lie so much as she might have done a year before. "Sorry, I didn't mean to confuse you or ask a silly question," she apologized, setting her feelings aside with little more than a pang, as she always did. She brushed another kiss to his jaw, glancing out through the window as the taxi crawled through busy inner-city streets.
He gave her a confused look before she looked away, but he wasn't sure he should pry. "It's not a silly question." He didn't deny being confused though. His confusion was as plain as day. He just wasn't sure how else to answer her question. Why did he save people? Because someone had to do it and it might as well be him. "Are you okay?" he asked, a little concerned, studying her profile as she glanced out the window.
There was a pause before she answered him, offering up her familiar smile to mask that pang he had seen despite her best efforts. "It's just something Peggy said," she told him softly. "I didn't know whether to believe her or not. It makes more sense now; she was trying to make me feel better."
"About saving people?" he asked, still confused. "You saved me, in a way," he told her, not really wanting to think about what might have happened if he hadn't met her. The saving he was talking about wasn't that of physically saving him from danger, though she'd done that more than once when he'd been weak and wet and weary. He was talking more about the saving of his heart and soul.
There was a familiar flicker of utter disbelief at these words, her head shaking as her smile deepened. "No, it was about ... well, you know what I'm like," she admitted suddenly, shrugging once again. "My life is full of heroes and geniuses and actors and all these special, wonderful people like you, and ... God, it's embarrassing even to think about what Peggy said to try and make me stop being an idiot." She blushed as she thought of it, but knew she had to clarify herself before Johnny leapt to entirely the wrong conclusion. "She said ... she said that heroes and geniuses and everyone like them, that they do what they do because of people like me. Just ordinary dull everyday people like me. She said ..."
The blush deepened as she looked down at their joined hands. "She says that you and Steve and Lucy do what you do to make the world better because ... well, because I'm in it." Her confusion was showing on her face as she said this, uncertain what to believe and what to dismiss from that moving reassurance.
"Oh." He considered that a minute, but it seemed what Peggy had said was practically the same thing he'd tried to explain to her, but only in different words. "You're anything but ordinary or dull, Liv." He wasn't sure he liked how she'd said that, like it was a bad thing to be normal. He'd been normal once. "I guess she's right in a way. Remember the fire? What if I hadn't been there?" It hadn't just been Liv's life at stake, but the elderly couple he'd rescued, as well, and that was just part of the list. "Steve put his own life at risk to save thousands, maybe millions, of lives. Ordinary, normal people who would have died if he hadn't saved them. That's a hero, Liv."
"You're just as much a hero as Steve is, sweetheart," she leapt to his defense even against himself, refusing to let her husband talk himself out of anything but equal footing with their brother-in-law. "It doesn't matter how many you save all at once. Everyone you save has someone who loves them, someone who you save just by being there for the person they love."
He shook his head, unsure how the subject had turned back to being about him again when it was supposed to be about her. "That's not it, Liv. He was willing to sacrifice his life to save other people. I'm... I'm not sure..." He broke off, chewing worriedly at his bottom lip. He didn't feel like he'd really truly been tested yet. When he was - and it was bound to happen sometime - would he be willing to do the same? He knew he wasn't half the hero Steve was, and nothing Liv said could convince him of that, no matter how many fires he put out. He thought back on what Peggy had said about heroes and ordinary people. "You don't think you're any less valuable because you're..." He couldn't quite think of the right word. He didn't want to use normal or ordinary - both seemed so demeaning.
She sighed softly. "I'm small in a big world, and the people I love are big players," she summed it up as succinctly as she could without using the more evocative words she had used to explain herself to Peggy. "I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop, Johnny. And I know it's stupid and pointless, and it won't ever happen, but I'm still scared of it happening."
He furrowed his brows, still puzzled. "The other shoe?" he asked, not quite following her. "You think I'm going to realize how ordinary you are and get bored with you or something? That's not gonna happen, Liv! I love you because..." He was getting animated and darted a glance at the taxi driver, forcing his voice down a notch. "I don't want anyone but you."
"No, I don't - I don't mean that you'll just drop me, I know you'd never do that," she rushed to assure him, hating that she was so bad at expressing herself in moments like this. "But things aren't always in your control, or Lucy's, or anyone else's. Something could happen, something big, and all these big players I love ... you could all just go, without any real choice. Just like the choice Steve made. And I know it's selfish and petty and stupid, and I don't have any right to feel the way I do, but I don't know where I fit, and Peggy lied to make me feel better about myself. And ... well, I don't know how I feel about that."
"She didn't lie, Liv. She's right. We do what we do so ordinary people can live their lives in peace. I know it sounds corny, but..." There was that sigh again that hinted at his own frustrated inability to explain himself. "It wouldn't be right if I just used my... my gifts selfishly." He struggled with a word to describe his abilities. Gifts, powers, abilities, none of them seemed to fit quite right. "You want to know where you fit? I'll tell you. You keep us all sane, Liv. You keep us grounded. You remind us what we do this for, and you're always there for us, whenever we need you. That's being a kind of hero, too. Just daring to love us when you know you could lose us. Superman has his Lois Lane. Spiderman has his MJ. And I have you."
"You'll always have me," she promised, curling her hand to his cheek, a hand on which white gold and emerald sparkled and made it plain that she was taken, now and forever. Her forehead touched his, soft brown eyes looking into blue, quietly apologetic for even bringing the subject up at all. "I didn't mean to upset you. I never mean to. I love you." Lips brushed lips, loving and remorseful for the frustration and confusion she had spread into him with her thoughtless query.
"You didn't..." He started, his words cut off by by her kiss, only too happy to return that display of affection. She had nothing to be sorry for, as far as he was concerned. He wanted to be there for her, to listen when she needed someone to talk to, to be the shoulder she needed to cry on, the one she could always depend on. He melted into that kiss, his worries forgotten for at least the time being. Some wise man or woman had once said that it wasn't how much time one had left that was important, but what they did with that time.
She didn't want to linger on a subject that did upset him, whether he admitted it or not. One way or another, Liv was going to reconcile this with herself at some point, and thanks to Peggy, that point was coming ever closer. But a kiss should never be rushed, and she did love kissing her husband. Drawing back just a little, she nudged his nose with her own, her familiar soft smile reappearing as she gazed into his eyes. "Last chance to say whether or not we're going to the hotel."
His lips lingered against hers, never in a hurry either when it came to kissing her - unless, of course, he was needed for some emergency or other. He sighed and smiled, whatever turmoil he was feeling soothed by that single kiss. "Oh, I don't think I'd mind a little afternoon delight," he admitted with a twinkle in his eyes of blue. "Unless you have something else in mind." He couldn't think of anything either of them would enjoy more than a few hours alone, especially after the emotional upheaval she'd just been through.
She giggled softly, hugging into his side as the taxi pulled into the concourse in front of their hotel. It was a pretty modest little venue, neither of them wanting to blow a silly amount of money on a couple of nights when this visit wasn't really about them, but it did, at least, have in-house catering. Room service was a must when you got so easily distracted by each other, after all. "Are you sure it'll be delightful?"
"Oh, I can probably think of a few other words for it, if you like," he teased back with a grin. He brushed another kiss against her lips, this one briefer but no less affectionate. It had been a long trip across a vast ocean in dark and cramped quarters. Even being who he was and flying first class, Johnny had been obviously anxious about spending so much time over that large a body of water, and now that they were on dry land and the hard part of their trip was over, he was all about a little rest and relaxation. He rubbed his nose playfully against hers before turning to push the door open, grabbing hold of her hand to pull her out behind him, anxious to be alone with her.
Her laughter pulled him to a halt for just a moment as she paid the taxi driver, before letting him pull her out of the car and onto the grey tarmac that led to the steps of the hotel. Her hand slipped out of his grasp, smaller body tucking close under his arm as she hugged her own arm about his back. "Do you know, Mr Storm, anyone would think you were getting anxious about asserting your husbandly rights."
"My husbandly rights?" He laughed as she tucked herself against him and he slid his arm around her waist. "You're the one who suggested going back to our hotel room!" And she was the one who had been getting daring and a little bit feisty of late. Maybe there was more than a little Peggy and Lucy inside her, after all. "It's not like I'm feeling deprived or anything." Just the opposite, in fact. Even if all they did was curl up in bed and take a nap, that was fine by him. He just wanted some time alone with his wife for a little while.
"Oh, am I wearing you out?" Liv asked, all sweetly innocent concern ... until he looked into her eyes and got a full blast of the Kitten, as he'd tagged the bolder side of her. Soft brown eyes sparkled teasingly as she drummed her fingertips against his stomach, drawing him to a halt in front of the elevator. "I suppose I'll just have to start curbing my enthusiasm, then."
Pulled to a halt in front of the elevator, he turned to face her, an amused smile on his face at her teasing, recognizing the passion that was burning in her eyes, desire flaring to life to match that of her own. He barked a laugh at her comment, doubting her ability to curb that enthusiasm for very long. "You couldn't resist even if you tried," he almost dared her, knowing neither of them could go hardly a day without wanting the other. They were newlyweds, after all.
"Oh, but I try so hard," she murmured, lowering her voice as others joined them in the wait for the elevator, not wanting to advertise quite how much she wanted her heat-soak of a husband to everyone who happened to look their way. But he had just laid down a challenge. "I could resist longer than you could," she retorted with a smirk.
Unlike Johnny who didn't care who overheard them - he was just that much of an exhibitionist. He laughed as she took up the challenge. "No, you couldn't." Because he was irresistible, after all, or so he thought where she was concerned. "All I have to do is take my clothes off, and you're all over me!" No, he hadn't really bothered to lower his voice when he'd said that, almost purposely trying to see if he could make her blush. She was so cute when she blushed, after all.
Only a supreme force of will kept the blush he was looking for from making itself known, her lips tightening to try and hold in the laugh that wanted to escape and give away her faint embarrassment at how very unsubtle he could be sometimes. "There have been plenty of times when you've been naked and I haven't so much as touched you," she protested, though, engaged in the challenge passing back and forth. "You're the one who can't keep his hands to himself."
He was about to laugh and point out how wrong she was - and prove it, too - when she threw down the gauntlet aimed at him. He gasped in utter shock, his mouth dangling open for the space of a few too many seconds. "I can so!" And just to prove the point, he disengaged from her and purposely stepped aside. "See?" He waved his hands in the air. "Hands to myself, Miss Smartypants."
"And what do I win when you give in and start begging?" Yes, Liv was definitely growing in confidence, at least with Johnny. Despite the blush that finally made itself known on her cheeks as he disengaged from her, she ignored the quiet snickers of the others standing with them, taking him by the lapel to pull him into the elevator when it arrived.
"I'm not going to beg. I can wait. I've got will power. I'm a pillar of self control," he said, just a little defensively, folding his arms against his chest and tilting his chin upwards. Yeah, right. Self control. Who was he kidding? "Ha! You touched me first!" he declared as he was yanked into the elevator, a grin spreading across his face as he came to a halt in front of her. "Just admit it. You want me. It's okay. I know I'm irresistible." And slightly full of himself.
Laughing, Liv let go of his jacket as she leaned against the wall, looking him over from head to toe as he bragged about his admittedly hard to resist self. "Well, I did marry you," she pointed out. "The wanting is rather self-evident, don't you think, darling?"
She was confusing him now, wanting him one minute and telling him she could resist him the next, but then, he'd been the one who started this little game. "You're confusing me!" he declared with an exasperated sigh of breath.
"Oh, sweetheart ..." Her hands crept up his chest, drawing him down into the kind of kiss he always seemed to very thoroughly enjoy. The kind of kiss that usually heralded something more, very soon. "Of course I want you," she promised him, breathing sweet heat against his lips for a long moment before abruptly stepping back and patting his cheek. "But that doesn't mean I can't resist you if I feel the urge." She tossed him an innocent wink, and stepped out of the elevator, moving toward their room without even a glance back, much to the amusement of the older couple sharing the ride with them.
He melted against her lips, feeling the heat of desire flare once again, the challenge forgotten. The hell with self control. He pouted when she pulled away from him, clearly disappointed and wanting more. He wanted her to want him, not to resist him. Why had he thrown down that challenge in the first place then. "She loves me," he told the older couple, maybe more to convince himself than them and followed her out of the elevator looking a little like a boy who'd had his favorite toy taken away.
His wife flashed him a playful smile over her shoulder, affection still clear in her gaze as she met his eyes. Of course she loved him; the hours of torture heading his way were entirely his own fault. She might be the quiet one, but she had a strong will in her own way. And besides, the make up would be a lot of fun, she was pretty sure of that. Jangling the key in her hand, she bit her lip, planning the evening ahead with a certain amount of mildly wicked glee. They had a mini-bar. She could do this. "I think we should go out tonight," she suggested, pausing by their door to unlock it. "Dinner and a club, what do you think?"
He shrugged and slouched a lean against the wall as he arrived near the door, shuffling his feet most of the way down the hall to their room. "So much for afternoon delight," he grumbled, ready to kick himself if he could. He'd only been teasing, not serious, but if she wanted to make this a challenge, maybe he should fight fire with fire - not literally, of course. "I think I'm going to take a cold shower." And maybe give himself a hand job.
She grinned up at him, refusing to take his grumbling seriously as her finger waggled in front of his nose. "No cheating," she told him. "I'll know if you do. And I'll pout." Not much of a threat, but she hadn't actually said the bet would be off if he did cheat in that way. Pushing the door open, she beckoned him inside with a crooking finger. "Cheer up, sparky," Kitten growled at him as the door closed in his wake. "All you have to do is admit that you've lost your own challenge."
Easier said than done for someone with his ego and boastful claims of self-control. "My challenge? I was kidding!" His blue eyes flashed with wounded pride. "If you can do it, I can do it. I can go forever!" Okay, maybe not forever. There wasn't much point in being married if he went forever. But a day maybe, or at the very least, a few hours. "I'm a pillar of self-control!" he reiterated again, trying to convince himself if not her. He paused as he stepped into the room, looking to her suspiciously. "What do you mean, no cheating?"
Shrugging out of her cardigan, she turned to look up at him, one brow raised as she compiled a few ground rules. "No pleasing yourself to relieve the pressure," she told him. "Kisses are allowed, but no touching under clothes. Anything else is fair game, and the ball is in your court, love." She blew him a kiss, just a little bit frustrated with herself for offering up rules that gave him an advantage over her in the patience stakes. If he realized it, that was.
Of course, he didn't realize it. In his opinion, offering kisses that didn't lead anywhere would only frustrate him further. He frowned for a moment as he pushed the door closed behind him and took a lean against it. He thought she had an advantage right from the start. All she had to do was look at him the right way, and he'd have a boner. After a moment, he smirked, almost rising to the challenge. "How are you gonna know if I relieve myself? You gonna follow me around and make sure I don't jack off? Wait... what if I have a wet dream? Does that count? That shouldn't count!"
She smiled, the kitten fading back into the background behind the sweeter, more familiar aspect of his wife. "No, wet dreams don't count," she promised him with a soft laugh, toeing out of her shoes as she raised her hands to shake her hair out. "And how do you think I'll know?" She paused, raising her eyes to his with disarming clarity. "I trust you to play fair and fight dirty."
"Fight dirty?" he asked curiously, brows lifting. "What do you mean?" He studied her from his lean against the door, trying hard to keep his eyes on her face and not feel any rising desire, even as all she did was step out of her shoes and shake her hair out. It didn't take much, after all. He was going to lose, he was sure of it. He wondered if he should just give up now, but a challenge was a challenge, and he was too proud to give up.
Liv held his gaze for a long moment, watching him as he struggled to hold her eye-line, and couldn't resist very slowly undoing the buttons on her shirt as she spoke, illustrating her point as clearly as she could. "Well, it's not much of a challenge if we don't make it one, is it?" she pointed out as her slender fingers opened button after button, until the cloth hung loose and open. "Let's face it, we know one of us is going to give in. Why not make it more fun in the meantime?"
"You're teasing me," he said, trying hard not to allow his gaze to drift downward and watch as she unbuttoned her shirt. Well, two could play at that game. "I'm going to take a shower." He pushed off the wall, shrugging the leather jacket from his shoulders and tossing it onto the bed with little fanfare.
"Of course I am." Kitten was reappearing as she said that, the glint in her eye showing off that she liked the sight of him taking his jacket off, even if he didn't make a fuss of it. She winked at him, sliding her shirt off her shoulders. "Enjoy your shower, love."
"I doubt it," he grumbled, making his way toward the bathroom, without shedding one more piece of clothing in her sight. He'd just wait and see what happened when he walked out in just a towel. She'd never been able to resist that. A flicker of a smirk crossed his face at that thought and he pushed his way into the bathroom intending on taking a cold shower, as painful as it was going to be. Why had he challenged her? Ugh, they hadn't even agreed on what the loser had to give the winner when they lost. A blow job, he decided. When she lost, she'd have to give him a blow job. Maybe two.
His grumbling merely made her smile deepen, enjoying the fact that he was as put out by his own challenge as she was relishing the chance to put that self-control - or lack of it - to the test. She had no idea what she was going to make him do when he lost, prepared to ask for suggestions when it happened rather than make a decision about it now. As Johnny slipped into the bathroom, Liv went straight to the mini-bar, relying rather heavily on the inhibition-blasting effects of alcohol to get her nerve up for what she was planning to do to him. A phone call later, and she knew exactly where she was going to take him, too. This was going to be a fun evening.
A muffled manly shriek came from the bathroom as Johnny stepped under the flow of ice cold water. It did the trick all right. The last thing on his mind now was sex. Water was one thing, ice cold water was quite another. He didn't like the cold and rarely had to tolerate it, but under the circumstances, he didn't have much choice, and he had a feeling it was only going to get worse from here. He wondered again if he should just give up now, but if he did, she'd only gloat all the more about and probably blab to Lucy. He inwardly groaned, wondering how long Steve could hold out. If Steve could do it, so could he, damn it, though he had a feeling it would never occur to Steve and Lucy to do anything as stupid as this. He stayed under the cold shower for as long as he could tolerate it - which wasn't more than five minutes - washing up as quickly as humanly possible before stepping out and wrapping himself up in a hotel towel to steam himself dry.
There was no way in hell she'd missed the muffled shriek as Johnny attempted to do away with his currently unwanted desires by means of icy water, but to her credit, Liv didn't laugh. She did, however, anticipate his next move pretty accurately, seeing his expected towel and steam routine with the sight of her in just her underwear, prepared to take her own place in the bathroom with clothes for the evening over her arm.
He stepped out of the bathroom to tag team her, a hotel towel wrapped around his waist, steam rising from his as water evaporated at the slow rise in temperature. At least, she hadn't tried to join him. He knew he would have completely caved at that. He did have a little something up his sleeve for the evening, as well, but he kept it to himself for now. Two could play at this game! He didn't even give her a second look, purposely keeping his eyes off her and any temptation she might cause him.
Two were playing at this game, and at least one of them was thoroughly enjoying it already. Liv didn't do much more than glance at Johnny as he steamed his way past her, unashamed of the telltale flush that swept over her exposed skin at her reaction to how much she did enjoy that particular sight. He was very tempting ... but Lucy had instilled a peculiar kind of competitive nature in her sister over the years. Liv wasn't giving in that easily. She stepped past and into the bathroom, calling over her shoulder to him. "A courier's going to drop tickets for a club 'round in about twenty minutes - if I'm not out, can you tip him? I'll make it up to you."
"Does that mean you're giving up?" he asked, when she mentioned making it up to him, wondering what that was going to happen. He chanced a quick glance at her backside as she stepped past and immediately regretted it, though the effects of the cold shower hadn't quite worn off yet. "We're not going to a strip club, are we?" he asked, taking a stab in the dark. If they were, it had better damned well be co-ed.
She laughed, leaving the door open as she ran the water, shucking out of her underwear with as much confidence as she could manage ... which, under the influence of a miniature of Jack Daniels on an empty stomach, was pretty considerable, given that this was Liv. "No, too obvious," she answered, flashing him a come hither grin before stepping under the warm spray.
"Aw, too bad because if we were..." He flashed her a mischievously evil smile that mirrored her own as he flung the towel from around his waist and held an arm out invitingly. "...cause then they could get a look at this!" he declared, making no attempt to hide himself from her, his skin glistening with water that was quickly turning to steam as his temperature rose to normal, at least for him.
"Oh, could they now?" was the laughing answer from the shower, though the tone warned him that it had better be just a tease and nothing else. "Should I change up, then? Because if you're going to strip, sparky, then so am I." And how was that for a threat?
"Well, I can't go out naked!" he replied, not quite understanding her question. He noticed an empty glass on the mini-bar. Had she been drinking? He smirked, wondering what would happen if he got her drunk, though he didn't really want a sick Liv on his hands. He didn't want her to pass out either. Alcohol could work either way, he thought. It might just loosen her up enough so that she couldn't resist him, or it could bolster her resistance. He was guessing it would be more of the former. After all, she couldn't possibly resist him for long, could she? He tossed the mostly dry towel onto a chair and unzipped his suitcase to look for something suitable to wear. "Kind of hard for me to get dressed when I don't know where we're going," he called to her while he poked through his clothes.
"Dinner and a nightclub," she told him again, resisting the urge to make a pretense of playing with herself just to see what his reaction would be. He knew her well enough to know that he knew how to touch her better than she knew herself. "I'm not going to make you wear a suit, but no sneakers!" As the water stopped, she stepped out of the shower, and belatedly shut the door to, leaving it open a crack as she reached for a towel. After all, what was the point of preparing a big ol' tease if she was going to give the game away before the night had even begun?
"Dancing?" he guessed again, trying to get an idea of what she had planned, not only so he could find the proper outfit but so that he could prepare himself mentally for the challenge ahead.
"That's the plan," she agreed, a little muffled as she struggled with drying off and making sure everything was, well, groomed. Of course, they'd never actually gone dancing together, and the dirty dancing the night before their wedding? That had been completely unexpected. Liv wasn't sure she could do that in public, but she might well be giving it a try. "Apparently the club I got us into has the best reputation in town."
He was finally picking out clothing, now that he knew their destination. Something that she'd appreciate hopefully. He wasn't the flashiest dresser or that keen on fashion, but he knew when he looked good - or at least, he thought so. "The best reputation for what?" he asked, pulling on a pair of briefs, glancing to the familiar second skin that rarely went unworn and deciding to take a chance and go without it for one night. He'd gone without it at Disney World and that had gone well... mostly.
"Live music and good atmosphere." She wasn't giving much away, but he could trust her a little bit. Liv wasn't going to walk him into a fetish club or anything like that, after all; she knew her own limits. Rummaging in her wash bag, she came up with the scent she'd indulged herself with a few months ago - a fragrance she only wore when she knew for a fact Johnny was going to get lucky, hard-wiring him to react to the smell of it on her skin whenever she wore it now. Playing fair? What was that?
That still told him nothing and he frowned thoughtfully, finally choosing a pair of pants and tugging them on over his legs. He lifted his head, catching a whiff of her perfume - a scent she only wore when she was trying to entice or seduce. He groaned as he caught scent of it and knew he was doomed. He was just about to go get himself a drink, needing it, when someone knocked at the door and he glanced over, puzzled, before remembering she'd told him someone was coming to make a delivery. "Just a minute!" he called as he searched the room for his wallet.
Hearing the knock on the door, Liv shut the bathroom door, not really wanting anyone but Johnny to know what she was up to, even if she wasn't letting him see it anyway. She met her own gaze in the mirror, took a deep breath, and turned her attention to getting dressed, emerging from the bathroom in a soft brown halterneck he'd talked her into buying while they were in Florida. Still barefoot, she offered him a smile, twisting her hair up off her neck as she stepped past and incidentally giving him an extra whiff of that teasing scent in the process. The tickets the courier was dropping off were for a club called Hellfire And Hickeys, which she had thought highly appropriate for the evening ahead.
He exchanged cash for tickets and closed the door as the courier departed, taking a moment to glance at the tickets in his hand. "Hickeys?" he mused quietly, arching a brow over at her as she stepped out of the bathroom. Oh, no, not that dress. He was going to lose this bet for sure, unless... He smirked. "We haven't decided on the stakes yet. You can't make a proper bet without knowing the stakes," he pointed out as he slipped the tickets into his wallet and his wallet into the back pocket of his pants, which were white and snugly fit.
Damn, she'd been hoping he'd be dressed by the time she got out here. He knew she was very easily distracted when he was half dressed, and ... Oh no. No suit tonight. She blushed, her gaze traveling with unabashed delight over the lean definition of his chest and down to the snug fit of his pants, half inclined to accuse him of cheating already. Biting her lower lip, she raised her eyes back to his face with a little difficulty, her blush deepening at the sight of his smirk. "I ... I hadn't considered the stakes," she admitted, unable to keep from smiling at the renewed interest he seemed to be taking in the challenge.
His smile widened at seeing her reaction. As subtle as it was, he knew her well enough to notice the blush that rose to her cheek, the nibbling at her lip, and he knew he had elicited the desired effect. Of course he was cheating, but then so was she. If she wanted to take him to a club, then he had to look the part, right? He couldn't very well go out in jeans and a t-shirt. "I have," he countered, though he wasn't sure she'd like his stakes or what she'd want in return. "What do you want if you win?" he asked, snatching a white button-down shirt from the bed and pulling it on over his shoulders. He'd seen where her gaze had gone and he was purposely slow to fasten the buttons, leaving the top open to expose a little hint of that chest she so loved and that was rarely seen without his ever-present blue suit.
"Um ..." So much for the self-control she'd been attempting to prove she had more of. Tearing her eyes from the slow covering of his chest - although to be honest, he could be covered head to foot and she'd still be having trouble - Liv turned away abruptly to sit on the edge of the bed, pulling her one and only pair of FM boots out of hiding. The leather fit snug about her calves, and she was just as slow to do up the zips, one at a time, as he had been to button his shirt. "I was going to ask if you had any suggestions, actually. It's more the taking part than the winning."
Oh, great... the FM boots he'd insisted she buy, which were really impractical, but he was looking forward to her wearing while they did the Horizontal Mambo. "Um, you sure you want to wear those?" he asked, nodding toward the boots, which were about as practical as the pants that fit him like a second skin. How was he supposed to eat and dance in them, he wondered. No matter, so long as they served the purpose. "If it's more the taking part, then why not just declare yourself the loser now and be done with it?" There was that maddening smirk again. He was either teasing her or amused or both.
"Because I have absolutely no intention of losing, sweetheart, you know that," she informed him, pleased to be back on somewhat level pegging with his comment on her choice of footwear. She stood up, looking down at herself with a secretive smirk. "Don't you like them? You were the one who wanted them ... in fact, everything I'm wearing was chosen by you." She grinned, moving toward him. He had a shirt on now; the rule about no touching didn't apply unless she let herself get carried away and went looking for skin. Drawing her fingertips up over his abdomen, she rose up and brushed a kiss to his lips. "Are you sure you don't want to call it quits?"
"Yes, but those boots aren't made for walking, and that's exactly what you have to do." He grinned at his own cleverness as he mimicked the old standard. They both knew Liv had enough trouble keeping upright without tempting fate with FM heels. He wondered what would happen if he got her drunk. He arched a curious brow at her statement. "Everything?" He wondered if that included her lingerie, unaware as yet that she wasn't wearing any. He hesitated a moment as her fingers found his shirt, the thin fabric not doing much to withhold the internal heat that radiated from his body. "I, uh..." He felt his body starting to react to her attention before he regained control again. "No, we've got the tickets. We might as well use them."
Liv's grin grew a little Cheshire as he faltered, tasting victory with a thrill that she knew was only there because whichever one of them won this little challenge, they'd both be rewarded for playing. "Dinner first," she murmured against his lips, reaching down to pat his snugly-attired rear end before stepping away. "I'm hungry."
"I bet you are, Kitten," he grinned back at her as she patted his rear. He was already starting to get worked up, but he refused to let her know it, his gaze following her as she stepped away, admiring the hourglass curve of the figure that was encased in that dress and trying not to imagine what she'd look like in only the boots. Stop, Johnny, or you're going to lose before you've even started. He snagged a tan jacket from the bed and slid it over his arms, more for sake of show than necessity. She might need it if it got cold later, anyway. He doubted he would. "Shall we?" he asked, once he was ready to go.
She wasn't quite finished getting ready, but it was only a matter of moments before she was. The finishing touch was a butter-soft leather jacket, giving the almost sophisticated look something of an edgy twist. It looked as though Kitten was coming out for the evening. "Oh, I think we shall," Liv agreed, picking up her clutch from the table. "Should I take the key, or can you fit it in somewhere, Captain Tightpants?"
He laughed at the nickname, which he didn't place as far as popular culture was concerned, but which seemed appropriate given the fact that he was almost asking for trouble in the pants he'd chosen to wear. It would be nothing short of a miracle if the seams didn't tear open before the evening came to an end. "Would you prefer spandex?" he smirked, reaching for the key. He'd find someplace to put it. In his wallet maybe.
"Oh, no, I think I can restrain myself with thoughts of what's going to happen when that zip gives up the ghost and concusses someone at thirty paces." She laughed at this mental image, drawing the door open and stepping into the hall, beckoning to him with one finger. As teasing as she was being, she had one sneaky trick to play before they got to the meat of the evening. She knew his weaknesses, after all. "I know they can't make pizza the way you would prefer it here, but Pizza Hut does have something I think you're going to like a lot," she told him, beginning her campaign with a little subtle brown-nosing. He knew she adored him; she was just rubbing it in, now.
"Hey, I am dangerous, you know. With or without tight pants!" He followed her out into the hallway, drawn to his doom like a moth to a flame, arching a brow at her mention of pizza. "I thought we were going to dinner," he said, puzzled. Dinner wasn't Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut was, well, Pizza Hut. "I can't eat pizza in this!" he exclaimed, arms spread, looking worried. Not only were the pants too tight, they were white. The whole outfit was white. One errant drop of pizza sauce, and it was all over.
"I'll feed you, if you like," she chuckled. It wasn't her fault he'd chosen to wear white, no matter how ... yummy ... he looked in that outfit. "I promise, anything gets dropped, I'll wipe you down. Thoroughly." The wink that came his way following this little promise was startlingly enticing. "Besides, don't you want unlimited ice cream for dessert?"
"Unlimited ice cream?" he echoed. She knew just what his weaknesses were, and ice cream was one of them - along with the Eff Me boots. "You're cheating," he accused with a pout as he turned to close and lock the door and somehow manage to squeeze the key into a pocket of those ridiculously tight pants.
She laughed sweetly. "You didn't object to the rules," she pointed out. "And I did say I was going to fight dirty. It isn't as though you can't pay me back for it, is it?" From her clutch, she produced a flier for Pizza Hut, and it was right there ... unlimited access to the Ice Cream Factory for kids and adults. "Or did you have something else in mind for dinner, sparky? I don't want you thinking you have to do everything I say ... although ..." A wicked glimmer lit up her eyes as she pressed the button for the elevator. "That's my stake. You, my slave, one day. Barring emergencies, of course."
"Love slave or slave slave? You're not going to make me clean the toilet, are you?" Not that he was adverse to doing household chores, but he knew she could think of far better things to have him do than chores. Rub her feet maybe or wash her hair or... No, no, no, he wasn't going to think on it further, or his imagination would going to get the best of him, and he'd lose for sure. The pants were already starting to feel a little snugger than they should for all the wrong reasons. "All right. Pizza and ice cream, but once we get to the club, we're going to have to work it all off." He turned back around, a smile on his face. He wondered what she'd do if he did a little bumping and grinding on the dance floor.
"Goodie." Liv could only imagine what he meant by "work it off", but she had a feeling that whatever it was, it would be highly enjoyable. Still, first round to her, she thought. Ice cream was always a sure fire way to get him to lower his guard. There was a ding as the elevator arrived, and she stepped aside for those within to get out, sliding her fingers between Johnny's with a smile of her own. "Come on, Captain Tightpants, let's sate that appetite of yours, shall we?"
"You're the one who's hungry, Delilah." Delilah, the temptress, who proved to be Sampson's undoing, not that he was very devout or much of a Bible thumper. He was just not very good at coming up with good nicknames for her. They got a few pointed looks as they stepped past those who were exiting and into the elevator. He pushed the button for the Lobby, secretly scheming to do a little cheating of his own when the time was right.
She laughed again, though this time the sound was more than a little infused with something husky and altogether unsuitable for outside the bedroom the moment the doors closed them in together. "Are you inviting me to shave you in your sleep?" she asked him innocently, leaning back against the wall in comfortable fashion as the metal cage began to descend. "Or maybe you're dropping hints that you can't flame on without pubic hair."
His mouth dropped open in obvious shock upon hearing her accusations. "What? No! If you get anywhere near me with a razor, I'll..." He'll what? "I'll-I'll hide your contacts. All of them!" There, he thought. Let's see what you have to say about that, Smartpants. "And just to clarify, I can flame on anytime and anywhere I please, so there." And just to prove a point he snapped his fingers, producing a flame, which hopefully did not set off the fire alarm.
"Hide my contacts?" That brought out her rich laughter, infinitely pleased that she'd muddled him so much that he'd actually forgotten she could see without her glasses now, and had done for almost a full year, thanks to Lucy's unexpected birthday present last May. Her eyes lit up as he produced his flame, eliciting a small growl from her throat. "So sexy when you do that."
"It is?" he asked, seemingly a little surprised by this announcement. No one had ever told him turning his flame on was sexy. "Well, yeah... of course, it is." He extinguished the flame and leaned close enough that she could feel the heat pouring off him. "We could just stay here and play Fireman. You could ride my pole, if you want." He waggled his brows playfully.
Now that was cheating. She'd never told him outright, but just the fact that he could pour heat over her was a turn on in itself. And he didn't even realize he was doing it half the time. She bit her lip again, unconsciously leaning into him from the wall to gently bump her nose to his. "Mmm, so tempting," she murmured to him, one hand rounding the curve of his hip to squeeze for a moment. "But I think I'll wait until it's a little ... stiffer ... before I try that."
"Oh, I think it's pretty stiff enough." He turned so that he was facing her and forcing her into the corner with no means of escape - until they reached the lobby anyway. The elevator continued slowly downward, as Johnny pressed her hand against his bulge in those tight pants that hugged his manhood and left very little to the imagination. No, that wasn't a rolled-up sock in his pants. "Last chance," he whispered, leaning close to breath the words against her lips.
She shrank back into the corner, her skin flushing with heat that was all her own this time as he took charge of her hand and what it was doing, all her attention suddenly focused to the minutest detail of him. His breath on her lips was almost the last straw ... but he hadn't picked his location of attack very well. In private, she'd have been on him like a shot. Here ... the little camera blinking its red light over his shoulder directly in her line of sight was her friend. She smirked, flexing her fingers against the bulge pressed so readily into her hand, aching to do more than that but not quite ready to end the game just yet. "Bored already, sweetheart?" The elevator lurched as it came to a halt, a ding the only warning half a second before the doors began to open.
"Bored?" he echoed, laughing as the elevator dinged its warning, and he pulled away just a fraction before the doors slid open. "Far from it. I almost had you there, didn't I?" He smirked as he pulled away, letting her step out first. If anyone's eyes strayed below his beltline, they'd notice just how truthful his statement had been, but no matter. He could wait a little bit longer. He wasn't ready to admit defeat just yet.
She wasn't at all ashamed to take a relieved breath and release it in a rush as he leaned back, her smile wide with delight at his teasing. "Almost," she admitted playfully, taking pity on his tight pants and stepping out ahead of him. "Although, of course, you do realize that little performance means the gloves are off, right?"
He narrowed his eyes as he stepped out behind her, not quite sure what she meant by that. She had already teased him herself with the dress and the boots and the kiss and the promise of ice cream. What more was there? "What do you mean?" he asked, not really understanding the rules of this particular game she had all too readily taken up.
Stepping out into the porch of the hotel, she turned abruptly, grasping him by the jacket and pulling him back into the deeper shadows to plant one of those kisses on him. Slow, seductive, wanting, and gently guiding his hands over her sides, giving him a full taste of what it was she wasn't wearing. As her lips drew back, she grinned, biting his lower lip with a soft growl. "Last chance to give in gracefully."
He was taken by surprise by her sudden display of dominance, the heat of desire flaring as she taunted him with a kiss that demanded his attention. His eyes widened as she guided his hands over her sides, his fingers bunching in the material at her hips and realizing with unabashed shock that she wasn't wearing anything beneath that dress. His pulse leaped in his throat as she nibbled at his lip, the growl doing things to him that were almost painful to ignore, but he refused to give in, refused to let her win so quickly and so easily. If he had to take a hundred cold showers, he would, before he'd give in. He looked at her with an almost pleading expression on his face, struggling to regain control. "That's not fair, Liv."
"I did say the gloves were off," she smiled sweetly back to him, brushing a more innocent kiss to his lips as her hands slid down his chest, gently easing herself away. "I love you." One last kiss, and she was stepping away, as demure as anything, when he now knew for a fact that she was anything but. "Do you need a minute?"
"So are your panties," he remarked, dryly. "If I'd known that, I'd have gone commando." Though it really didn't matter, considering the snug fit of his pants. "I need a cold shower is what I need," he replied, as she pulled away from his lips yet again. As frustrated as he felt, he knew that inevitably it would all be worth it in the end. He could only imagine what would happen when they did finally come together and finish this game. It didn't really matter who won or lost; they'd both win in the end. "No, I'm fine," he insisted as he tried to adjust his pants so that he didn't feel like they were crushing him. "My future children are getting squished."
She giggled at his turn of phrase, reaching out to take his hand once again. "I promise, I'll behave myself during dinner," she offered up by way of an apology for what she'd just done to him. "I'm just hoping it isn't too windy outside, personally." Touching a kiss to the back of his hand - she really wasn't any good at pretending she didn't want him - Liv moved to step out onto the concourse, raising her clutch to call a taxi to them.
"Maybe you should have thought of that before you went commando, Mrs. Storm," he remarked with a smirk, though in truth, he really didn't want anyone else getting a peek at what lay hidden beneath her dress. That sight was for his eyes alone, thank you very much. He watched her closely as she hailed a cab, protectively even, despite the game. He wasn't going to let anyone else touch what so clearly belonged to him.
"I had to do something," she protested laughingly as the cab drew up beside them. "You have far too much of an advantage over me as it is." Thankfully, the wind wasn't too invasive, merely fluttering her skirt as she drew the back door open and slid inside, her hand taming her dress to behave itself in the sinuous motion.
"I do?" he asked, sounding surprised as he slid into the cab beside her. He'd thought it was the other way around. It was so much easier for her to hide what she was feeling and so much harder for him to keep his body from betraying him. He wondered once again just what the rules of this game were. She had said something about not being allowed to touch her, though she'd touched him. If he let his fingers creep their way up her bare leg, would he automatically be deemed the loser?
He should have listened to the rules more closely, evidently. Liv smiled warmly to him as he settled in beside her, laying her skirt back over her thighs modestly, giving him as much opportunity as she'd been taking since they'd left the room. What was it she'd said? "Kisses are allowed ... no touching under clothes." But could he really keep himself from sliding her skirt high? "Of course you do," she told him with a chuckle, leaning forward a moment to give the address of the Pizza Hut to the driver before she settled back with her husband. "Look at you. You ooze sex appeal without even trying, and it's not even that I'm mostly attracted to. Although the boyish good looks do help."
The challenge was momentarily forgotten as he tried to wrap his head around what she found most appealing about him. Despite his own inflated ego and claims of knowing how irresistible he was, he really was mostly ignorant what sort of effect he had on her or how much sex appeal he oozed without really trying. "What is it you're attracted to then?" he asked, curiously, wanting to know. Had they been together this long without him even knowing?
"Oh, Johnny ..." She twisted to look at him, surprised that he didn't know this without needing to be told. But then, she supposed it was the same sort of insecurity that plagued her, better hidden behind that jester's mask he was so good at conjuring. "There's so much more to you than incredible good looks and the internal combustion engine," she told him lovingly. "You're smart, you're sweet, you're so open to everyone. You never look down on anyone, or judge them for their mistakes. You have such a forgiving view of the world. You are wonderful, even if you don't believe me when I say it. I'd love you without the pretty wrapping, I'm sure of it."
"I am?" he asked again, still looking a little surprised or perhaps even puzzled. How was it that Liv saw all that in him, that no one else seemed to see? But then, wasn't that part of why he loved her? She had seen through him right from the start. She had made an effort to see past the jester's mask and find out who Johnny Storm really was deep inside. He wasn't quite sure what to say to all that, and he looked a little dumbfounded and at a loss for words, his lips moving but no sound coming out. He'd never really thought of himself that way before.
She leaned into him, nuzzling a tender kiss to the very corner of his lips, giving him a moment to take that all in, knowing from experience how stunning being told what you were and why you were wanted could be. "I love you," she repeated, murmured softly into his ear. "I want you, all of you, all the time. And no, that isn't me giving in." The kiss was followed with a gentle nip and a grin, her hand descending to lay boldly at his thigh as she leaned back to show him those impishly wicked eyes of hers.
This more than anything was why he loved her. It was pure and simple, easy to understand. She made him happy. It was that simple. She understood him and she loved him and she made him happier than he'd ever been in his entire life. He smiled, the sexual tension draining from him for a moment as he was filled with a different kind of warmth, a warmth that filled his heart to overflowing with love and affection. "You complete me," he said with a smile, reaching over to playfully tweak her nose and stealing a line from Tom Cruise.
She giggled in answer, recognizing the line and rolling her eyes at how very cheesy it was. But her smile was bright and sweet, understanding the truth behind the borrowed line, too. "Well, your parts do fit in my parts very well, don't they?" she pointed out, blushing even as she said it, not entirely sure she was in full control of her own vocal chords this evening.
"That's not what I mean, and you know it," he replied, the smile widening into a grin. She had allowed the nose tweak, and he assumed certain caresses were permitted, so long as he didn't sneak a hand beneath her dress, which was more tempting than he cared to admit. His fingers brushed her cheek and he leaned in to kiss her, softly, lovingly, chastely, but with just a hint of heat beneath the tenderness of it.
Liv's lips were curved in an echoing grin as he kissed her, the expression fading as she answered his kiss in kind, trembling with telling excitement as his fingertips stroked against her cheek. As the kiss broke, it took a moment for her eyes to open, and then narrow with playful accusation. "Now who's cheating?" she breathed fondly, stroking the pad of her thumb along the line of his jaw.
"It's just a kiss, Liv. I didn't even slip you any tongue!" If anyone was capable of shattering a romantic moment, it was Johnny Storm. Though he meant well, his mouth always seemed to get the better of him, unable to keep his thoughts to himself for very long. "I can if you want me to though." He leaned closer, a mischievous smirk on his face, blue eyes dancing playfully.
"What, cheat or tongue me?" she countered, his mischief sparking off her own as she tenderly allowed the very tip of her nose to brush his. "Because I have to say ... both sound rather enticing." She snickered softly, nipping a kiss to his lips, not minding the loss of the romantic moment in the face of just playing with Johnny. It was always fun, no matter what happened in the end.
"Both?" he answered her question with a question, that decidedly mischievous smirk still on his lips. "But then, you'd probably like that a little too much, wouldn't you?" he teased, eyes shining. He dropped his hand to her thigh, bunching the fabric of her dress in his fingers, but sticking to the rules and keeping his hands on top of her clothing, rather than sneaking beneath the hem of her dress.
"You know me," she laughed softly, for once heedless of the curious and amused glances the taxi driver was giving them via the rear-view mirror. "I'm very easy to manipulate if you know the right moves." Just the heat of his hand on her thigh was enough to produce a soft flush to color her skin pale pink, though it likely had more to do with knowing how close he was to how unprotected she was at this precise moment in time. She could have groaned, but for a little impish insistence on not giving him what he was looking for. I'm definitely going to lose this bet. "Hey, you never told me your stake."
"I think I know you pretty well," he replied with that maddening grin still plastered on his face. He might not be able to touch her beneath her dress, but he sure as hell was going to push the limits as far as he could above her dress. He tugged the hem of her dress higher, his hand sliding up against her thigh and taking the material with him, careful not to go too far or he'd be giving the driver a free show in the rear-view mirror. He leaned close again, his lips close to brushing her ear, his breath hot against her neck, not to mention the heat that just naturally radiated from his body whether he willed it to or not. "A blowjob," he whispered. It was a small stake, compared to hers. There were other things he could ask for, but he suspected she'd have given him whatever he wanted just for the asking whether he won or lost.
It had been a while since that miniature in the hotel room, and despite the fact that this was almost entirely her fault, Liv fell a sharp swell of alarm mix in with the healthy dose of desire that spiked under the sliding brush of his hand against her. It wasn't so much the touch as the fact that if her dress rose any higher, she was going to be showing off a hell of a lot more than she was comfortable with. Her hand fell to his wrist, more as a warning than to stop him, even as his breath ghosted hot and intoxicating against her neck and ear. Her eyes drifted closed, never very good at resisting him at the best of times, much less when he was in seduction overdrive.
And he picked the perfect moment to whisper his stake against her ear, sparking images in her mind of just that, strong enough that she actually moaned. Just a soft sigh of sound, but definitely a moan. He was definitely onto a winner there, and despite the tension that was flooding her at the superfluous worry that she was going to be naked from the waist down within moments, she couldn't help biting his neck gently in answer. "Even if you lose, you're definitely going to have earned one."
He could have raised the stakes and asked for more. He could have countered her stakes and asked that she be his slave for a day, but he didn't really feel the need. All he wanted was right here before him. She was right - it wasn't really about the stakes or who won or who lost, and he realized it was more about teasing each other, seducing each other, until they had reached fever pitch and one or both of them could hold back no longer. Encouraged by the soft sigh of breath that was more moan than sigh, he brushed his lips against her neck, petal soft, just a whisper of a caress, his lips warm with unnatural heat. "Are you ready to give up yet?" he asked, halting the progress of his hand high on her thigh, but not so high that she needed to worry about him flashing a glimpse of that which belonged to him.
Oh god, yes. She bit her own lips hard to keep the words in, determined in her own way to at least keep going a while longer. Even if she utterly failed to keep it up past the end of dinner, she was at least going to give him a run for his money. Her fingers crept up along his arm, the trust in him giving her courage to abandon any pretense at holding him back in favor of teasing her fingertips in and out of his hair, ever so slightly scratching at his nape with soft fingernails. "Not yet," she managed to breathe against his ear when she finally found control of her own voice once again. Her other hand had found its way between them, inching its way up the inside seam of his tight pants with as teasing a caress as he was giving her. "You?"
Strange how they seemed to be wanting something other than pizza, but that was where they'd told the driver they wanted to go. He knew if he had a woman like that in the back seat wanting him, he wouldn't be taking her to Pizza Hut, but he didn't really understand just what was going on back there, other than what seemed obvious. He hadn't noticed the weddings rings or know about the challenge. He only knew there were two people in the back seat of his cab who clearly wanted each other badly.
It was Johnny's turn to squirm as her hand teased his inner thigh. She was at least somewhat safe, knowing he would stay within certain limits, but he wasn't so sure about her. He was fully clothed and there was nothing stopping her from touching him in places that she knew would drive him mad with desire. Despite the flare of heat, he managed a resounding, "No."
She giggled softly, pleased to hear the challenge was still in place, though she knew it was likely to get harder to resist as the time went on. The longer his hand lay where it was unmoving, the more she wanted it to move, not merely higher but beneath the layer of soft jersey that was her only protection from the sinful heat of his touch. Thankfully for her willpower, however, she felt the car begin to slow, skimming her thumbnail just barely against her husband's already tasked zipper before making a move to lean back. "I think it's time you fed me, sparky."
He had to withhold the groan that wanted to escape his lips, exhaling a hiss of breath instead, the zipper straining beneath her teasing thumbnail. He'd have to keep his coat closed for a bit until he relaxed a little and his arousal wasn't so obvious. Thank God for that coat - he was going to need it after all. He actually pouted a little. He knew they both needed sustenance and ice cream was tempting but not hardly as tempting as the treat right before him. Still, one could not live on love alone. "I know what I'd like to feed you," he muttered, having a little difficulty getting his wallet back out of his pants pocket so he could pay the cab driver.
She wasn't making it any easier for him to get that wallet free, either, leaning close into his side to tease her lips just barely against the sensitive curve of flesh behind and below his ear, focusing on him to keep herself from growing shy under the driver's smirk. "I know you do," she murmured back to her husband, her voice just low enough that only he could hear her, daring to make a stab at something her sister had tried to teach her and failed utterly. "Wrap my lips around you, lick you all over ... or bury you deep in my mouth and let you take as much from my throat as you can?" Olivia Storm versus dirty talk. It was debatable as to which had won.
He gawked at her, his mouth dropping open in shock. Who had stolen his sweet Olivia and replaced her with this temptress? He was speechless a moment, his face flushing with heat. If he didn't recover quickly, he was going to be declared the loser. Fortunately for him, the driver interrupted to remind them that they'd arrived at their destination and were still on the clock. "I, um..." he faltered, finally wrenching the wallet free from his back pocket and fumbling with its contents to pay the man.
She took pity on him, blushing herself at the boldness it had taken to make those words audible, even if they had only been for his ears. She leaned back, biting her lower lip as she giggled very softly to herself, smoothing her skirt back down in a vain attempt to look innocent. As if she could; he knew what was and wasn't going on there.
Saved by the cab driver, Johnny had been teetering on the edge of giving in, but now that he'd recovered, pulled back from the brink of defeat, he hoped he could somehow manage to get through dinner without wimping out. It was just pizza and ice cream, after all. There wasn't anything seductive in that, right? He shoved some bills at the driver and hopped out of the cab, wishing the breeze would cool him off, but with his unnaturally warm here, it would have taken practically a snow storm to manage it. He mumbled an apology to the driver and waited for Liv to join him, not even daring to offer her a hand, lest she use it against him.
It would have been nice to have had a hand getting out of the cab - between the breeze, the persistently open-wrap of her skirt, and her commando status, Liv had something of a struggle maintaining her modesty as she heaved herself up and onto the pavement beside him. Unlike her husband, she was susceptible to the coolness of the wind as it whipped about her, one hand holding her dress firmly in place as she watched the taxi pull away. Her eyes turned to Johnny, warm with wanting and tender affection. "You're very good at this seduction business, aren't you?"
"God," he muttered as she joined him. "You don't have any idea what you do to me, do you?" He seemed to snap to attention and remember that she wasn't wearing anything under that dress. It was her own fault, of course, but game or not, she was still his wife, and he didn't want her flashing her derriere - or anything else - at unsuspecting families trying to enjoy their pizza. He moved over and slid an arm around her waist, pulling her close so that the hem of her dress was wedged between them and she only had to worry about managing the other side. "No, I'm not..." he said with a dismal frown. He brushed an affectionate kiss against her cheek. "Let's go inside."
"Yes, you are," she promised him. "Trust me. I'm just being stubborn." Case in point ... the way he had just pulled her to him. Though he was the only man she'd ever slept with - the only man she ever wanted to sleep with - and had always been somewhat in charge in the sexual arena, Liv loved it when Johnny did anything assertive with her. It did wonderful melty things to her insides, just as it was doing now, even with him looking dismal at his perceived failure.
He thought he knew everything there was to know about Olivia Broderick, and yet, in a way, she was still an enigma to him. Maybe it was because she was female. He'd never really understand females, no matter how hard he tried. Maybe it was just that there were still so many things they didn't know about each other. Whatever it was, he didn't quite seem to understand just what it was that he did to her without even having to try. He frowned a little as he led her inside the restaurant, a mix of people scattered about chatting and eating. Friends, families, people on dates, all of them in casual clothing which befitted that of pizza eating. "We're over-dressed," he whispered to her as a waitress came up to show them to a table.
"Who cares?" she whispered back with a playful laugh, for once not minding at all that they weren't exactly fitting in with the surroundings. "Besides, this is as much a treat for me as for you, you know." It was all about the ice cream, even for her. Watching Johnny partake of his favorite sweet treat was an erotic experience even of itself. She'd first seen him do it in her hospital room a year before; he didn't seem to have noticed how many times she'd engineered repeats of that performance during their time together, as much for her own enjoyment as his. She caught his hand to kiss his fingers fondly, grateful to find that their waitress had taken one look at them and found one of the more out of the way tables to sit them at. Careful not to flash anything too personal, she lowered herself to sit, tucking one leg over the other for extra surety.
He knew she enjoyed ice cream almost if not as much as he did, and he had a feeling she was going to use that ice cream somehow to tease him further, making love to it instead of him. This evening was turning into one frustrating event after another, though it was certainly amusing to make her squirm. He was almost wishing he hadn't thrown down the challenge. They could have been back in the hotel room right now, snuggled together beneath the covers and enjoying room service. He seemed deep in thought a moment as he considered it, but that thought was doing nothing to calm his over-active libido. "Livvie..." he started as he took a seat across from her. Whenever he started a sentence that way, she could be sure he was feeling some uncertainty about something, some lack of confidence or other. They were really too much alike. He didn't need to ask if she loved him; he knew that much already. "Do you think we should move to New York?" Yes, he had strange timing, but the question had been nagging at him all day.
She blinked, a little surprised by the sudden dip into seriousness as they took their seats. They really hadn't discussed the future much at all, aside from the possibility of getting a house and a dog at some point sooner rather than later. Laying her clutch down, she rested her elbows forward onto the table, leaning toward him as she answered as best she could. "I'd like to, some day," she assured him quietly. "As much as I like living in Rhy'Din, it isn't the place I want to live out the rest of my life. It isn't home, not like Earth is. I'm not saying I want to move right away, though. It's nice to have a life apart from Lucy, away from her always having one beady eye on me, trying to meddle and make me something different to what I am at heart. But ..." She paused, not entirely sure where she was going with her but. "What brought this on? Do you want to move back to New York?"
"No," he replied. "Not right away, but..." There was a but from him, too. He liked living his own life, away from Sue's overprotective eyes, away from Baxter Tower, but their whole family was going to be in New York now, and they weren't. Still, he knew he'd miss the friends they'd made in Rhy'Din, too. The Grangers had taken them in and practically adopted them, and without a father figure in his life, he felt as strong an attachment to Humphrey as Liv might feel for Peggy. And then there was his nephew and Steve and Lucy's baby. He felt torn between the life they were building in Rhy'Din and the family they'd left behind in New York. "Peggy is... I mean..."
Comprehension dawned with his faltering words, and Liv felt a pang in her heart for what it was neither of them wanted to say. Peggy was old. She couldn't have many more years left, if she even had years at all. "I know," she said softly, looking down at the smooth wood of the table. "But she wouldn't want us to change everything in our lives just for the sake of being near by. She knows about Rhy'Din, and the portals. And I ..." It was her turn to falter, but she pushed on, knowing she had to express herself or risk losing him entirely to the sudden seriousness of temper. "I don't want to start relying on her too much. We're going to lose her, Johnny, much much sooner than any of us want to. I don't want that to break me when it happens. I ... God, that sounds so selfish."
He reached across the table to link his fingers with hers. That certainly couldn't be against the rules. He was frowning again, almost wanting to kick himself for bringing the subject up. This evening was supposed to be about fun, not about this, but it was something that needed to be discussed, sooner rather than later. "It doesn't sound selfish. I sort of feel the same about Grumphrey... I mean, Humphrey. It's going to kill Steve," he said, thinking that when they did lose Peggy, it was going to be hardest on Steve and Liv. Lucy was strong, she'd manage it. She'd find strength just in being there for Steve and Liv, and Johnny would have to do his part, as well, to ease the pain. They weren't facing that just yet, but it was only a matter of time. "I'm sorry. I... I shouldn't have brought it up." The waitress wandered over to set some menus on the table, promising she'd be right back.
"Don't apologize," Liv told him softly, folding her other hand around their linked fingers, the game forgotten for now in the face of their conversation, barely noticing as the waitress wandered in and out of their privacy. "I know what you mean, and ... well, I understand why it's bothering you, sweetheart. I want to be there for Steve as much as you do when it happens. But this isn't a decision we can make over one dinner, after one meeting, and it's a decision we should include Peggy in, since it's influenced by her. We'll work something out." But her eyes were sad for a long moment, thinking of the lonely old woman who had made such an impression on her only a few hours ago, and how easily that impression was going to turn to love. No matter the brave face Liv might put on it, she knew she'd have to run the gamut of painful bereavement, regardless of how close she let herself get to her great-aunt.
It didn't escape Johnny that all of this was going to be hard on Liv, maybe just as hard as on Steve, but in a different way. Peggy was the only link to a mother Liv and Lucy had never known, and Johnny knew how much that link meant to them both. "We should try to see her as much as we can. Make the time she has left memorable, happy. We can do it, Liv. We can all do it together. She's been alone long enough." Though they had only just met Peggy, he knew Liv was already forming an attachment, and he'd already grown fond of the old woman, just as he had with Humphrey. "Maybe we should send her and Humphrey on a blind date," he suggested, more in jest than in seriousness, in an attempt to lighten the mood again.
His suggestion had the desired effect, chasing away the dip in her mood and replacing it with a sudden splutter of laughter that was all but impossible to hide. "Only if we can spy on them," she added with a warm smile, grateful to him for lifting her up before she fell too far. "Can you imagine Jon's face if we told him we'd found his uncle a girlfriend?"
"An older woman, too," he added with a warm smile, a hint of his usual good humor dancing in his eyes. "A cougar." Though he was not entirely sure how old Humphrey was, he got the impression Peggy was older. He wondered if he'd ever be that old. "Can you imagine Humphrey's face?" he continued with a chuckle, chasing the dark thoughts away.
Though she was still shy of Old Man Granger - and he did nothing to discourage it, either - Liv couldn't help another giggle as she imagined the weather old face of the man they were pretending to set up. "It would be worth it, just to see Peggy put him in his place," she laughed softly, reluctantly loosening one hand from his to open the menu beside her.
"Livvie... No matter what happens, I'll always be here for you. You know that, right?" he asked, a questioning look on his face, needing her to know this. It wasn't enough just to make promises. Promises were just words, nothing more. Actions spoke louder than words, he knew, and he needed her to know that he was always going to stand by his promises. He reluctantly let go of her hand, but his eyes remained fixed on hers, even as she turned her attention to her menu.
Feeling more than hearing the forceful need in his voice, she raised her eyes to his once again, her hand renewing the clasp of their fingers as she held his gaze, willing him to see the absolute faith and trust she had in him. "I do," she promised him. "I know I worry about stupid things that will never happen, but I know better than anything that you'll never let me down, Johnny. I hope I never let you down."
"You won't," he said with complete and utter certainty, returning the faith and trust she had in him with that of his own in her. A smile touched his lips as he glanced over at her menu with a short nod of his head. "You ordering pizza or going straight to the ice cream?"
She blushed, the reason becoming clear for that little dip into his shyer wife once again as she answered his question. "Oh, I think I'm going to need as much energy as I can get tonight," she told him with a tiny, inviting smile. One of them was going to cave before the end of the evening, she was sure of it, if not both. "I can't eat a whole pizza by myself, though, so ... it all really depends on you." The angle of her head brought her gaze to his through the thick sweep of her lashes, the expression less about food and more about other appetites.
He had a feeling he was going to be the first to cave, if only because she seemed to want him to so badly. "I can do pizza, but only if it's sausage and pepperoni." So much for his very brief consideration of vegetarianism. He needed all the protein he could get.
"Hmm ..." She let her eyes scan the menu, chewing almost absently on her lower lip as she considered their options in the face of his conditions. As she did so, the very tip of her forefinger started to play softly over the lines on his palm - a barely there touch on one of the most sensitive places on anyone's body. "Could you cope with swapping out the sausage for jalapeno peppers?"
He found that soft caress both soothing and strangely arousing, an almost absent and intimately familiar caress of affection between lovers, and he found himself lost in his observation of her for a moment as she soothed his worries away with a simple touch. "Hmm? Oh..." He smiled as she offered him a swap. "It's a deal, but don't blame me if you get heartburn later."
She flashed him a sweet smile, not altogether aware of her finger's gentle motion over his palm, however much it might have seemed calculated. But then, Liv touched Johnny all the time, unafraid of how tactile her affection for him was. "Chilli peppers are an aphrodisiac, you know," she offered rather cheekily. "Might as well stack the odds even higher in your favor."
"Like either of us needs an aphrodisiac," he replied with a grin. So was chocolate, but he didn't mention it. He waved the waitress back over so they could place their order - one cheese pizza with pepperoni and peppers, a pitcher of beer, and whatever else Liv wanted to add to that order. "So, you planning on giving me a hickey before the night is through?"
"Oh, absolutely." She hadn't added anything to the order, content with what was coming. Maybe sex was like swimming; she might have bought herself at least half an hour's grace period after eating to avoid cramps. She waited until she had his full attention, however, before adding with a smirk, "At least one. On your arse."
He broke into a bit of laughter, amused by her answer. "Well, at least I won't have to wear a scarf or explain how I got it!" he remarked, his mood having shifted again. "There was this girl I knew in high school... She gave me this huge hickey on my neck. Try explaining why you're wearing a turtleneck when it's almost summer!" And when Johnny said huge, he tended to accentuate the word so that the word itself sounded huge.
"But you never wear - oh." She blushed as she caught up with what he was saying, snickering softly at the mental image of a teenaged Torch bundled up during a hot spring. "Why hide it? Did she have a boyfriend?" Not that she was convinced that he had always been a sex god, not at all.
"Oh, my God... Are you kidding? Sue would have killed me, and Ben... He would have never let me hear the end of it. Though you know..." He chuckled a little again. "It's kind of hard to give a rock a hickey." He was letting his mouth get the best of him again, though he wasn't really aware of it. The word killed was as emphasized as the word huge had been.
Liv laughed at that. "When have you ever tried to give Ben Grimm a hickey?" she asked incredulously through her giggles. "I demand to see pictures!" Under the table, her hanging foot reached out, dragging the toe of her boot up along the back of his calf. Innocent, no?
Johnny winced, making a face. "Never! He's not my type." His smile faded a minute as he admitted something he'd never admitted to anyone before, not even Ben. "I feel kinda bad for him sometimes. He really got the short straw." But the frown didn't last, arching a brow when he felt her foot teasing his calf. "You really have no self control, do you?" he asked with a smirk.
"I have plenty of self-control, I'm just ... testing yours," she answered sweetly. It seemed the promise to behave herself during dinner had been completely forgotten. If she'd been wearing shoes, they would have been off, and her feet would have been in his lap. Thank God for the FM boots. But she didn't ignore the rest of what he'd said. "He seems happy with Wanda, though," she pointed out. "And he knows for a fact that she isn't with him for any reason other than that she likes him. That's a big deal."
"Yeah, I suppose," Johnny agreed, unsure what to think of Ben and Wanda as he hadn't run into them in quite a while. He had no choice but to assume they were doing fine, just as he and Liv were. The Fantastic Four seemed to have become the Fantastic Two of late. He mulled this over, quietly staring at an invisible spot on the table.
Liv watched him for a short moment, interrupted as she opened her mouth by the reappearance of their waitress with the pitcher Johnny had ordered. Smiling a thank you to the woman, she leaned back briefly, letting the movement dislodge the fork lying on the table beside her elbow, dropping it to the floor. "Sweetheart ... just how good is your self-control?"
"My self control?" he echoed, looking back at her, a brief nod of thanks to the waitress as she left them with the pitcher and two glasses. He heard the fork clatter to the floor and wondered if she wanted him to pick it up. He looked a little confused, as if he wasn't quite sure why she was asking him that.
The quirk of her brow was a warning that she was about to do something he might not be entirely prepared for, not willing to let him dwell on much that wasn't their game for tonight. With an almost innocent smirk, Liv slipped her chair back as she knelt for the fork, momentarily disappearing beneath the table. Just long enough to bite his inner thigh through the snug pants he wore, rising back onto her seat with the fork retrieved, sweet and impossible to accuse of any mischief.
He furrowed his brows as she disappeared beneath the table, wondering what mischief she was up to now. He was just about to duck his head and find out when he felt her teeth nibble his thigh and he just about jumped out of his chair with a small startled yelp that was loud enough to draw a little attention their way. He waved a hand dismissively and tried to look as nonchalant as he could. "Something bit me!" he explained with an apologetic smile. "Spider or something." He cleared his throat and turned back to Liv, narrowing his eyes and lowering his voice. "Would you stop that? You're going to get me in trouble!"
She was utterly unrepentant as he narrowed his eyes at her, giggling with infectious enthusiasm for the game that neither of them yet were willing to concede. "All you have to do is admit you've lost, love," she teased him fondly, reaching to pour beer from the pitcher that stood between them.
"Are you kidding? I'm not giving up that easy!" He smiled back at her as he picked up his fork and held it tauntingly over the floor. She was the one not wearing underwear. Did she really want him ducking under the table?
Her eyes widened as he held his fork out, unable to keep the silly smile from her face even in the wake of that unspoken threat. As her knees clamped tight together, just in case, she laughed aloud, shaking her head. "You wouldn't."
"Wouldn't I?" He leaned in as he dangled the fork over the floor. "Say Johnny Storm is the most awesome superhero ever!" That was almost too easy, but it was just for starters. The smirk on his face grew a little wider, enjoying making her squirm for a change.
Her eyes narrowed playfully in answer to his smirking suggestion, the shift of her brow promising that his little victory wasn't going to last too long. "You are the most adorable superhero ever."
He frowned, almost pouting. "I didn't say adorable, I said..." He broke off as a boy came up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Hey, Mister, can I have your autograph?" The boy looked about ten years old with a mop of red hair, a sprinkling of freckles, and blue eyes bright with admiration.
Liv grinned, amused by the pout as much as by the interruption. She was used, by now, to people tentatively interrupting their time together to request an autograph or a photograph, always prepared to take a step back into the shadow cast by Johnny in the spotlight and let him enjoy the adulation, however slight or childlike it was.
Johnny arched a brow as he turned to the boy, and set the fork back on the table. He smiled, rather proud to have been recognized by a young fan so far from home. "Yeah, sure... Have you got a pen and paper?" What he got handed was a crayon and a paper place-mat, but it would just have to do. With any luck, the world's greatest P.A. had a pen tucked in her clutch, and if not, then a crayon would have to do.
If she'd known that Jon's silly title had stuck in her husband's mind, Liv might not have been so quick to produce a pen from that clutch, but then Johnny did know she was always prepared. "Maybe this will help," she suggested, handing the pen across the table to him with a smile for his little fan. A glance across the restaurant found his parents, watching a little anxiously, but reassured by how well the little request had been received.
Johnny gratefully reached for the pen and flipped the place-mat over so that he could scribble his signature on the back. "What's your name?" he asked, taking a moment to glance at the boy.
"Michael," came the slightly shy reply from the freckle-faced boy. "You're my favorite superhero!" he gushed.
Johnny smiled, obviously pleased, his ego inflating just a little. He scribbled his name on the place-mat, along with the boy's. To Michael, from The Human Torch, Johnny Storm.
Johnny handed the autograph back to the boy, who eagerly took it and glanced at the signature, face beaming for a moment before the smile drooped. "Johnny Storm?" he asked, uncertainly, looking back at Johnny with a puzzled expression on his face. "I thought you were Captain America!"
That little announcement was a surprise, though in hindsight Liv supposed she should have expected it. The Fantastic Four weren't known very well in England, certainly not as well as Captain America. And Steve had, after all, played a prominent part in that fiasco in Manhattan last year. She glanced quickly to Johnny, just to check he wasn't offended by this declaration. "It's an easy mistake to make, Michael," she tried to minimize any damage done. "Johnny does look an awful lot like Captain America. But he is a superhero, too. Haven't you ever heard of the Fantastic Four?"
Michael shook his head. "No..." He turned to Johnny again to give him a harder look. "He looked bigger on TV."
Johnny was frowning, his ego deflating quickly. On the streets of NY, everyone knew who he was but here, he was overshadowed by the more famous Steve Rogers.
Thankfully for Johnny, the waitress arrived with the pizza to rescue him. "Johnny Storm?" she asked. "Where?" At least she had heard of him.
Liv glanced up as the waitress recognized the name, glad that there was someone to cheer Johnny up. She did, however, have something up her sleeve that only she and Johnny could do for a slightly disappointed child. "Tell you what, Michael," she suggested, leaning toward the child. "Johnny is very good friends with Captain America. I'm sure he'd be able to get you his autograph, if your parents don't mind you telling me your address. And I'll find you one of the Fantastic Four comics, too, so you can tell all your friends that you've actually met the Human Torch." She offered Johnny a soft smile, hoping this would be enough to mollify both man and boy.
The boy pointed a finger at Johnny. "He says he's The Human Torch, but he looks just like Captain America!" More heads turned toward the pair who had been hoping to enjoy a quiet dinner alone. Johnny wondered when the kid's parents would come collect their son. "I'm not Steve Rogers, sorry." He apologized with a frown. Michael turned to Liv as she offered a compromise. It wasn't that he didn't believe Johnny; he just had never heard of him.
"Oh!" The waitress blushed and practically squealed with delight. "Johnny Storm is sitting at my table! Can I give you a kiss?"
Liv was just getting up from the table to escort the befuddled Michael back to his parents with her compromise when their waitress squealed. She couldn't help a smile at the excitement, nor at the request, which was understandable from her point of view. She laughed softly, trying not to let her own personal green-eyed monster rear its ugly head, and held out a hand to the little boy. "Come on, Michael, let's go and ask your parents about that autograph, shall we?"
Johnny glanced at Liv, looking slightly embarrassed and wishing she wouldn't abandon him. He wondered if she shouldn't be his P.A. or maybe Steve's since he seemed to be so much more famous than Johnny. "I, uh..." He cleared his throat, not wanting to disappoint a fan, but not wanting to make Liv angry either.
The boy looked up at Liv, smiling, as he was led back toward his parents' table. "Kissing is gross!"
"Wait until you get older." Liv's answer was audible as they moved away, a gentle touch to Johnny's shoulder assuring him she wouldn't be long. She always did this to him; whenever he was cornered by a fan, or fans, she somehow managed to slip out of the foreground to wait until the furor had died away.
"Someday you'll appreciate kissing!" Johnny called back as he overheard the boy, and the waitress took advantage of the distraction to lean down and steal a smooch, thankfully against his cheek, leaving a little lipstick behind.
She squealed again, having trouble trying to contain her excitement. "Oh, Johnny, you're so hot."
Johnny practically blushed, an awkward smile on his face. "Thanks," he muttered, embarrassed. Normally, he'd be eating the attention up, but now that he was a married man, it felt a little awkward.
"Can I have your autograph, too?"
Michael scrunched up his nose at the thought of kissing a girl. It was bad enough he had to hold Liv's hand, but she wasn't a girl. She was a lady, and she had promised him Captain America's autograph!
As promised with her unspoken touch, Liv wasn't long in delivering the boy back to his parents, assuring them of her sincerity. She did, however, catch Johnny being kissed, suppressing a faint flare of anger at the presumption of the woman doing it, surprised by the vehemence of her inner self's response. Back off, bitch, he's mine.
Johnny subtly flashed his wedding ring, but the waitress didn't seem to notice. Still, it was a mostly harmless encounter. She was just a fangirl excited about having run into someone famous. "Yeah, sure," he replied as he scribbled his name on the back of yet another paper place-mat.
"Thanks, Johnny! I love you!" she declared as she snatched the place-mat from him and hurried off to show the other waitresses.
So much for a quiet dinner. He sighed and turned to watch Olivia.
No, you don't. You just want to screw him. Liv was a little slow in taking her slightly hostile gaze from the overexcited waitress, certainly too slow to keep Johnny from seeing a very unfamiliar look in her eyes before she wiped the expression away. She wasn't angry with him, but the game they had been playing stood in danger of being thrown aside in favor of marking her territory. Still, she was all smiles and polite courtesy with Michael's family, returning to their table with an address filed away in that impressive memory of hers. She sat down, making an effort to push aside the jealousy with a warm smile. "Well, that was interesting."
He still had the telltale lipstick on his cheek, completely unaware of it. He frowned at her apologetically. While he adored his fans and his fans obviously adored him, he was a married man now. He wondered if they should put out a press release. "Sorry about that," he said. "I didn't think anyone would know me here." He looked over at the boy who was excitedly relaying something to his parents about Steve's latest comic book adventure. Well, Johnny knew what that was like. He was a fanboy, too. He looked a little troubled, but things seemed to have calmed back down.
"Johnny ..." Liv's voice was soft, but gently amused at the fact that he seemed to have missed something important to the fanboy in him. "You just got mistaken for your hero. Isn't that something to smile about?" Her brows rose teasingly, one hand playing her fingertips through his for a moment before dropping to prize a slice from the pizza between them.
He was still frowning as he considered her statement. "I'm not sure. I mean, I'm not Steve. I realize he's more famous than me. I mean, especially here. I just thought..." He trailed off, unsure what he thought. Why was he always comparing himself to Steve, when he was just as much a superhero as he was? He shrugged his shoulders. He knew he'd never be as wonderful as Steve. No one would.
"It's automatic," she agreed softly. "Especially after being in Florida. But Johnny, England's very cut off from the world. And in a week or so, when that little boy gets a package of comics from the Human Torch, together with a second autograph that's far more durable, he'll be so pleased he got it, that he was lucky enough to meet you through a case of mistaken identity." She pooled her fingers through his, offering him the point of the slice she held in her hand. "Trust me?"
"Think he'll like them?" he asked, with that uncertain frown of his that was not so very unlike her own occasional lack of self-assurance. He relaxed a little, linking his fingers with hers as he leaned in for a bite of the pizza, which was far too tempting to let go to waste. "Of course, I trust you!" he said before taking a bite. "I married you, didn't I?" he asked with a mouthful of pizza.
"That doesn't necessarily mean you trust me to be right about this sort of thing," she laughed at his muffled query. "And Johnny ... he's ten. You can set yourself on fire. He'll love them." She offered him another of those sweeter, warmer smiles, taking a mouthful of pizza for herself with twinkling eyes.
"Yeah, well... I don't want to encourage kids to play with fire either." He wondered if he should do a few public service announcements for fire safety. His mood did seem to be turning again though, which was proven when he reached for his own slice of pizza. "You know, if you ever get tired of being Jon's assistant, you could be mine."
"I thought I already was your assistant," she teased softly, daring him to object. She did, after all, organize most of his life without needing much direct intervention, and he hadn't complained so far. Well, not much, anyway. She caught a glimpse of their waitress as she walked by, a new sway in her step and a definitely hopeful smile directed at Johnny as the other woman passed, and a very soft growl made itself known. "If I wasn't a lady, I'd be doing something highly inappropriate right about now."
He glanced at the waitress, but only because Liv had noticed her. He chuckled a little, his recent confusion turning to amusement. "Like what?" he asked before taking another bite of his pizza. He wasn't denying that the waitress was cute, but his heart belonged to Liv and Liv alone. "Are you jealous?" he asked, blue eyes dancing with amusement. He'd couldn't remember ever seeing her like this before.
"Like ... either giving her two black eyes, or having you right here on the table." That possessiveness had always been there in Liv, but usually kept close, hidden away so she didn't make a mess of Johnny's interactions with his fans. But even if the wedding bands hadn't been noticed, this was obviously a date. Who flirted so outrageously with a man when he was on a date with another woman? She met those dancing blue eyes with Kitten's fervent gaze, holding the expression with intense heat that crackled in the soft brown depths. "You're mine, like I'm yours. And if she keeps this up, I might forget I'm a lady and teach her a little respect."
He knew the game was still afoot, but that seemed unimportant now, at least as far as Liv was concerned. If the boy's ignorance of his superhero status was a blow to his ego, the flare of jealousy from his wife was more then enough to bolster it back up. "Maybe you should mark your territory, Mrs. Storm," he suggested with a smirk and a waggle of brows. At the very least, wipe the waitress' lipstick from his cheek!
She eyed him for a moment. "Not so long as you're wearing another woman's lips, Mr Storm," was her response, knowing there was no way he could have known he had that red mark on his cheek. But the jealousy was simmering down a little, soothed by the knowledge that he really didn't have eyes for anyone but her. "And how would you suggest I ... mark my territory? I'm not a cat, I have no intention of relieving myself on you."
He looked confused again. "Woman's lips?" he echoed, not understanding what she meant, completely unaware of the red smudge against his cheek. He chuckled again. "You want to use me for your humpy pillow?" he remarked, with a teasing smirk, though that wasn't at all what she'd meant. He leaned over the pizza toward her. "Why don't you just kiss me, Mrs. Storm?"
Liv's smirk widened into an impish smile as she echoed his lean, leaving barely an inch between their noses as she met his gaze. "Are you asking me to kiss you, Mr Storm?" she asked in a playful tone, daring him to say yes and give in gracefully over the food.
"It's not against the rules, is it, Mrs. Storm?" he countered, still unsure what exactly the rules of this little game were. It was just a kiss. There was no groping involved, though he might not keep it quite so chaste this time. Still, Pizza Hut was a family establishment, so they could only go so far. He smiled over at her expectantly and just a little smugly.
"No ..." She grinned, brushing the tip of her nose to his teasingly as his smile turned expectant. "You are asking, though. But since you're pretty bloody close to completely irresistible, even wearing lipstick, I'm not going to hold you to giving in before I take advantage." She giggled, rising just enough from her seat to touch her lips to his.
His eyes drifted closed as her lips touched his, lost in her kiss, even if it was fairly chaste, needing that little bit of affection and reassurance from her. His lips were predictably warm and soft against hers, lingering a moment against hers. "I love you, Mrs. Storm," he told her softly, as his eyes drifted open. If anyone were to look their way at that moment, it would be obvious to them how very much he loved her.
Her lips lingered with his for a long moment, chaste yes, but tender. Brown eyes drifted open of their own accord, revealing a soft smile that was all his. "I love you back," she promised him in a gentle whisper, reaching for a napkin to finally wipe the lipstick mark from his cheek. "Although ... I'm beginning to think that the ice cream is going to be your killing blow when it comes to my patience, sweetheart." She lowered her voice, brushing her lips across his cheek to breathe the next words against his ear. "You're driving me crazy."
The whisper of breath against his cheek, combined with the admission that he was having the desired effect on her, sent a warm thrill through him that reminded him not for the first time that evening that his pants were too snug. He smiled back at her, leaning close to return the gesture, too-warm lips whispering against her ear. "I think that's the point."
"Only think? Hmm, maybe I should be trying harder then," she threatened mischievously, blowing him a last kiss before returning her attention to eating. And that leather clad toe was back to its own teasing, using the friction of his snug pants to caress his leg until the skin was far more sensitive than it should be.
It was too bad her foot was encased in leather or she'd have felt the heat that friction was creating, driving his temperature up even higher than normal. He had to be careful, he reminded himself. He wasn't wearing his uniform. He leaned back, a soft smile on his face, as he tried to refocus his attention on the pizza.
Her eyes narrowed thoughtfully at his soft smile, wondering just what she was doing wrong. Between teasing, kisses, and no underwear, he really should have had his hands all over her by now. She bit her lip, considering her next move as they ate. What could she do next?
She wasn't doing anything wrong, but they couldn't very well make out in Pizza Hut, could they? "Are you sure you want to go to this nightclub?" he asked, after finishing off his share of the pizza and washing it down with a long gulp of beer.
There was barely a pause before she answered, shaking her head and laughing even as she spoke. "Not really, no," she admitted shamelessly. "I'm tired of playing, Johnny, and I'm running out of patience fast. I just want you." She considered for a moment, and made the decision to give in gracefully herself. "I give. You are irresistible."
He wasn't sure if he should be disappointed or flattered. She almost seemed to have given up too easily, and he wondered if she'd just grown tired of the game. "It would be a shame to waste the tickets though, don't you think? What do you say we forget about the challenge and just try to have fun?" he asked, taking all the pressure off her, off them both, and allowing them to just be themselves without worrying about who would give in first or hold out the longest.
"Only if I get to pay your stake some time soon," she countered with a softer smile. It wasn't so much the pressure of the game as the fact that, while it had been fun, it was lasting too long. They were both too good at teasing each other, and the longer they went on, the less she could enjoy a touch, or a kiss, without having to hold herself back. "I always have fun with you," she added softly, reaching across the table to draw her thumb down the bridge of his nose fondly.
He smiled back at her, not really caring about ice cream. They'd promised to have ice cream with Peggy the next day anyway. "You can pay my stake anytime you want, but not here," he added with a look around. No one was paying them much heed anymore, and now that the game was over, he could touch her however he wanted, so long as he didn't get too carried away in public. He reached a hand beneath the table to touch her knee, his fingers brushing her inner thigh, but not going any higher. "What do you really want to do tonight, Liv?"
That touch, so long wanted and disallowed, sent a tremor through her that was wilder, less controlled than the shy tremble he was used to eliciting. Her eyes darkened, her body rising in a gentle shift of motion that bled tension down her spine with a tender gasp half hidden in her smile. "You're going to make me say it, aren't you?"
He withdrew his hand from her knee and instead touched her cheek, unable to miss the desire in her eyes. She wanted him, and he wanted her, but yes, he wanted to hear her say it again. Again and again. To tell him she wanted him, loved him, needed him. It was music to his ears, and he never grew tired of hearing it. "I'm not going to make you do anything. I just want to know what you want," he said, as he touched her cheek, his fingers drifting against her neck, allowing his eyes to move over her, his own heat rising.
Strange, how the moment the game was ended, the heat rose between them, the gloves off all over again and this time with no rules to restrain the consequences. She blushed under the heat of his gaze, her head tilting to enjoy the drift of his fingers from her cheek to her neck, lower lip caught in nibbling tension between her teeth as her eyes held his, darkened. Stormy. "I want you," she said simply, her tone quiet but firm. "Any way I can get you, anywhere I can get you. Although soon and in private would be nice, so I don't have to get dressed again." She flashed him a sweet grin, her hand rising to curl about his fingers at her throat. "You make my body sing your song, Mr Storm."
He wasn't quite sure what to say to all that. His shy, sweet wife was turning into quite the vixen, and who was he to complain? He gulped a breath, wishing he hadn't picked the tightest pair of pants he owned for the evening. They were actually painful. "I, uh..." The hell with the nightclub. They could go dancing anytime, and it would be so much more fun in private. If she hadn't given up first, he would more than likely be close behind. The effort of trying to control his desire was becoming too painful to deny much longer. He flushed as he met her gaze, turning away only momentarily so that he could find the waitress and pay their bill. "Check!" he called, lifting a hand to flag someone down.
His sudden impatience to get away - without even considering the ice cream - brought a delighted giggle to his wife's lips, the sound radiating from their table and causing heads to turn with smiles for the unadulterated display of sheer girlish enthusiasm. Johnny wasn't the only one struggling with the sudden, deeper spike of desire; Liv had a feeling that if she wasn't holding her legs together so tightly, she'd have crawled across the table by now, other customers be damned. Their waitress, so thoroughly engaged with looking after them now she knew who he was, actually looked disappointed by the call for the bill, pouting as she rang it up and brought it over to their table. Liv tried very hard not to smirk and giggle again - Johnny had the money. It was going to be interesting to watch him getting his wallet out of those fantastically snug pants.
"Thanks," he said with a good-natured smile to the waitress as she delivered the check, only because he was friendly and not because he was flirting in any way. He looked a little puzzled at the heart that was drawn on the bottom of their bill and the phone number that was scrawled beneath it. It took him a moment to put two and two together and once he did, he folded the bill so Liv wouldn't see it and get even more jealous that she already was. Fortunately, the waitress hadn't asked him to autograph any body parts. There was that look again as he realized he was going to have to somehow get his wallet out of his pants pocket. He reached behind him, but there was no way it was going to budge so long as he was sitting down.
Reassured now that the wait was not going to be long, Liv didn't flash any kind of death glare in their waitress' direction, though she did notice that the woman barely even looked at her. Johnny's puzzled look made her frown in amused confusion, wondering what was wrong with the paper in his hand. "Is something wrong, love?"
"No, nothing's wrong!" he replied a little too quickly, scowling as he tried to pry his wallet from his back pants pocket. "I, uh... Did you bring any money?" he asked hopefully, fingers almost getting stuck in that pocket along with his wallet, which wouldn't budge. He wondered if he was going to be able to get the pants off. Why had he packed those pants anyway? "I can't... get my wallet..."
She giggled, infinitely pleased to be the sole reason he was having this much trouble. "Well, luckily for you, I have my card," she took pity on him, very nearly laughing out loud when the waitress was forced to pay attention to her just to get the bill paid. Her jealous streak was mollified by the intake of breath from the woman standing above her as finally she noticed the wedding ring on Liv's finger, her gaze straying to Johnny's left hand and finding the matching band there.
"These damned pants!" he exclaimed a little too loudly, followed by an exasperated breath. And without his all-too-familiar blue suit beneath them, he had no choice but to wear them until they got back to the hotel. He doubted he would have even been able to get his pants on over his uniform. He'd made no effort to hide the band he was wearing on his left hand that declared him taken. It was right there as plain as day for anyone to see.
"Please come again." The waitress' parting words were a little less lively, a little more disappointed as she moved away, and though she knew she shouldn't, Liv was infinitely pleased with that reaction.
She tucked her card away once again, tipping her head to one side as she smirked over at her husband. "You're going to have to get the wallet and the key out, or we're walking back to a hotel we can't get into," she pointed out with a low chuckle, rising to her feet, offering him her hand with a husky addendum. "I'll peel you out of them as soon as I can, sparky."
"Oh, I will," Johnny remarked, with a smirk, though he meant something entirely different from what the waitress had said. The comment was obviously meant for Liv as he was looking right at her, with that silly smirk of his plastered across his face. He moved to his feet, pulling his coat around him so that he didn't give anyone a free show of what was hidden beneath those too-tight pants. "I might need your help." In fishing the wallet and key out of his pocket, that is.
She grinned, leaning up to brush her lips against his ear. "Gives me something to do in the taxi," was her rather wicked little murmur before she turned toward the door, giving Michael and his family a wave and a smile as she led her imprisoned superhero toward the outside world.
"I could burn them off!" he suggested as he followed her out of the pizzeria, though he obviously couldn't do that in public, or course. He'd been a good boy since their arrival, resisting showing off his talents to the unsuspecting public, except at the nursing home and then only at their request.
She laughed again, looking back over her shoulder with a slightly wicked glint in her gaze. "Wouldn't do much for the money or the key now, would it?" she pointed out cheerfully, pausing to wedge herself against his side. Between the wind threatening to show off her virtues and his ... zipper problem ... they made quite a pair as they made their way down the street toward the taxi rank. "Besides, don't you want me to feel you up in the cab?"
"You want my jacket?" he asked as she curled against his side, his arm going around her shoulders to lend her some heat. She had a point. They could probably replace the key, but his wallet had some valuables in it. Thankfully, he'd left his passport back at the hotel, safely locked up. "I don't usually carry a wallet," he remarked, though she knew this already. Blinking out of his thoughts, he flashed a grin at her question. "Do I have to answer that?"
"Would you usually?" Her smile was about as innocent as it was going to get, undercut as it was with a wicked lining that was only going to get worse as the evening progressed. She drummed her fingertips on his backside. "I think you need your jacket more than I do, sparky," she pointed out with a laugh, glad she'd decided to wear her own for once. The low hem of his was all that was keeping a particularly raucous group of teenagers from seeing what a man in tight pants really looks like.
The teenagers didn't even faze him, and for a man who was used to spending most of his time in a skin-tight suit, he was more than a little self-conscious of his pants, but it was mostly because they were as uncomfortable as they were impractical. "Where'd I get these anyway?" he asked, as they continued along, wondering if he'd accidentally grabbed a pair of Liv's boss' pants somehow. If that was the case, how the hell did he manage to fit in them?
"How should I know?" she giggled, untucking herself from under his arm to open the door of the nearest taxi and let herself in, sliding across the seat with her dress clamped between her thighs. "The Lowry, please," she told the driver with a smile that was just a little too eager to be mistaken for anything but a wish to be well and truly alone with her husband.
"Maybe the laundromat shrunk them," he mused as he slid into the taxi beside her. "Or maybe I..." He broke off as a thought crossed his mind, one that he wasn't too thrilled with. "Oh, my God, Livvie... Am I getting fat? It's all that ice cream, isn't it?" He looked down at himself and pulled his jacket back to see if he could pinch an inch of fat.
He earned himself another laugh with that worry, his wife sliding herself back across the seat as the cab pulled away from the curb to smooth her hand over his defined, slender and definitely not fat abdomen. "Nothing could be further from the truth," she promised in a low growl of sound, teasing her lips against his ear lobe. "You work out on me too much to worry about a silly thing like that."
"Work out on you?" he echoed, chuckling a little. "That's an interesting way to put it." He didn't work out at all, actually. He didn't have to. His elevated metabolism allowed him to eat whatever he wanted and burn it all off. What he and Liv did together behind closed doors had nothing at all to do with work.
She giggled once more, letting her hand wander downward, ostensibly in search of his wallet and the hotel key. "You keep me slim, then," she conceded impishly, dipping her head to press a hot, open-mouthed kiss directly over the beat of his pulse.
He turned his body toward her, presumably so that she could have better access to his pockets, though he'd forgotten entirely about the hotel key and wallet that were wedged inside the tight fabric of his pants. His pulse leaped beneath her lips as soon as she touched her mouth to his too-warm flesh, and despite his previous attempts to keep himself under control, he heard himself groan.
Oh, yes. This was what she'd been after all evening. She couldn't believe she'd taken him up on that silly challenge, although ... there was a good chance it had made what was coming a lot more explosive than usual. As her lips trailed upward, breathing a tender moan against his ear, her hand slipped down, accidentally ending up a good deal more central than it should have been in her search for pockets.
If she hadn't given in first, he would have been quick to follow. Though she was still following the rules, the rules no longer mattered. He sank back against the seat of the cab and pulled her onto his lap, his hands sliding beneath her skirt and around to curl around the curve of her rear, careful to keep the fabric of her dress from revealing any hint of what lay beneath. He almost didn't care if they were in the back of a cab or not. If the driver kept his mouth shut, he might get a decent tip.
He was rewarded for his boldness with a gasp that brushed her breath hot against his already heated skin, her body arching eagerly to his despite the flaring blush that rose at quite how bold his move had been. Her hands slipped from their exploration to touch him elsewhere - his chest, his neck, curling into his hair - as her lips hovered above his with a soft smile. "How do you do this to me?"
He ignored her question, as he really had no answer for it. Pulling her closer, he wasn't sure if he was going to make it back to the hotel. He wanted her and he wanted her now, and he wasn't sure if he could wait any longer. Arousal was quickly becoming agony, the game forgotten. This wasn't about titillation anymore. If he didn't have her soon, it was going to become torture. "Liv, please... I can't stand it..." He knew they should wait. Hell, if they took it too far, they could probably get arrested, but he was no longer thinking straight. He wasn't thinking at all.
For once, it was her holding him back, though she'd brought him to the brink of contravening a few laws in the past. "Shh." Her lips nuzzled his, soft, tender, not seeking to torment him any more. At least not yet. "Only a little bit longer," she promised, thrilling to the delicious knowledge that his current state was entirely her fault. "You can be patient. Can't you?" And there was a little girl pout to go with that soft plea.
"Patient?" he echoed, looking at her like she'd lost her mind. "You've been driving me crazy all night and you expect me to be patient?!" Yes, he was admitting it. While she might have thought him calm and collected, he had been nothing of the kind. The yo-yoing back and forth between various states of arousal was enough to drive him to madness, or so he thought.
"I might be a little tipsy, and I'm definitely too hot to care much about anything but you right now," she informed him through her enticing smile, "but one thing we are not doing is risking a criminal record and embarrassing the cab driver." But that didn't mean she wasn't going to kiss him until his toes curled, which was precisely what she then did.
Any protest from him was smothered beneath her kiss. He wasn't sure how he was going to manage it, but he was just going to have to wait. Thank God for that coat. It was going to be a lifesaver. His fingers curled into the soft round flesh of her rear as he melted beneath her lips, her kiss having the desired effect. If she wasn't careful, he wasn't going to make it to the hotel.
He wasn't exactly making it easy for her, either. She fought to hold in the moan that rose as he made full use of his unprecedented access to her skin, struggling to soften the kiss rather than deepen it. "Johnny," she whispered, her voice almost a whine but for the clear and present desire that colored it. "Easy, sweetheart." Softer kisses plied his lips as she sought to calm them both, feeling heat of her own beginning to gather once again, knowing he wouldn't miss that very obvious sign of her need. The cab driver glanced into his rear-view mirror, rolled his eyes, and put on a spurt of speed that unfortunately lurched her closer into her husband's arms, fitted almost as snugly as those pants of his.
He withheld a groan, more for the cab driver's sake than hers or his own. He felt the heat rising in her to match his own, his pulse pounding in his ears. She managed to calm him a little as her kiss softened, but they couldn't get to the hotel fast enough for his liking. He just hoped they'd be able to get the key out of his pocket before it was too late, or they might end up making quick use of a rest room or closet. "God, Liv..." he said softly, his breath ragged. "I love you."
She melted just at the words, knowing how much he meant them, feeling her heart swell with a deep echo of the same emotion. "Love you back," she promised in a whisper against his lips, inching back from him as her hand dropped once again. This time, though, she went straight for the kill, wriggling her fingers into a pocket to make a spirited attempt at extracting his wallet.
The change in tactic surprised him, and he actually chuckled as she hit a particularly ticklish spot, which thankfully allowed him to relax a little. He wriggled beneath her and made a grab for her hand. If he wasn't careful, they were both going to end up on the floor. "Stop! I can get it myself!" he warned, eyes going wide as her fingers found something that was definitely not his wallet. "That's not my wallet! Back pocket, Liv!"
"Oops!" But the look on her face wasn't oops at all. She was giggling with him now, a little of their tension ebbing away as they wrestled together to find his wallet, easing the tension in the front seat as a result. That sort of laughter didn't lead to uncomfortable silences and intimate clean ups. Skidding back onto the seat beside Johnny, Liv released her grip on what she'd found with a playful snicker, twisting to slide her hand into his back pocket instead. "Clench those buttocks, darling."
"I am clenching!" he replied. At least he thought he was. Who knew Liv could sound like Richard Simmons? If anyone didn't know better, they might think something else was going on back there other than her merely trying to get his wallet out of his back pocket. He turned sideways, giving her better access to his backside and that pocket. Given that her fingers were smaller than his, she stood a better chance of fishing the wallet out of his pocket than he did.
With a startling amount of effort needed, she got her finger and thumb about the edge of his wallet, giggling just at how hard she was having to work for this. "God, what have you been doing? Did you coat it with superglue before it went in there?" she asked laughingly, pulling as hard as she could. It was moving, though, finally slipping free with enough of a jolt that her hand flew up and punched the ceiling of the car with a loud thump. "Ouch!"
"I didn't do anything! It's not my fault! You must have shrunk them!" Because she usually did the laundry. That made the most sense to him anyway. It couldn't possibly be that he'd bought the wrong size or anything. He winced when he heard her hand smack the ceiling. "Are you okay?" he asked, reaching for her hand.
"God, those trousers are tight," she groaned, still laughing as he took her hand, the wallet now safely in her own lap. His concern for an injury that wasn't there was sweet, earning him his smile for a moment as her thumb stroked over his. "Well, I don't know. I might need mouth to mouth to recover."
He chuckled at her remark. "I think maybe we should wait 'til we get to the hotel for that." If the heat they had shared a few minutes ago was any indication, that was probably a wise decision. He hoped they didn't have far to go. Those pants were still feeling a little too snug in one particular spot.
"Not long, then," came the answer, but not from Liv. The cabbie had somehow managed to avoid the evening traffic jams to get them back to the hotel in record time, pulling up in front of the brightly lit lobby with a grin.
Liv giggled again, handing Johnny his wallet. "Next mission, the key," she teased, her hands dropping to set her dress to rights before they made a move to get out of the car.
He groaned and rolled his eyes, thinking fishing the key from his pants might be even harder than the wallet. It was smaller and more deeply wedged between the layers of fabric. "Mission Impossible," he muttered, before opening his wallet to pay the driver, giving him what Johnny deemed a decent tip. "Sorry. We're newlyweds," he explained. "My wife's a little feisty." That's right. It was all Liv's fault!
"Hey!" She poked his shoulder as he laid the blame entirely at her feet, laughing indignantly.
The driver snorted with laughter as he took this in, evidently feeling a little less uncomfortable now he knew he had newlyweds in his cab. "Best teach her some patience then, mate," was his answer, with a winking grin to Liv as her jaw dropped.
"Teach me patience?!"
"That's right. You!" Johnny grinned as he climbed out of the cab and slid an arm around her waist, a brief brush of lips to her cheek. "You lost, remember?" Oh, no, he hadn't forgotten, and he wasn't likely to let her live it down anytime soon either.
"Like I'm going to forget in a hurry," she muttered, feigning a grumble even as he drew her close again, offering a wriggle of fingers in a wave to their very accommodating cabbie as he pulled away. "Besides, I didn't lose. I conceded. Completely different." She smirked sweetly, dropping a kiss to the end of Johnny's nose. "Now ... which pocket did you say the key was in?"
He slipped his wallet into a coat pocket, not chancing those pants pockets again, chuckling at her, amused. "It's the same thing, and I didn't." He unwrapped himself from her and pulled open his coat to let her get a better look at him. "Where do you think it is?" he asked with a smirk, though he really thought they should get inside before the wind took her dress and she mooned the passersby.
"It is not the same thing, and you know it," she giggled, poking his stomach as he opened up his coat. Her gaze dragged down over his chest, to the mouth-watering sight of his straining pants, where she was distracted for a long moment before remembering what she was supposed to be looking for. She cleared her throat, jumping as a gust of wind reminded her exactly why she was supposed to be paying attention. Her hand flashed out for his, her body turning abruptly to march into the hotel. "I'll search you in the lift."
He chuckled as a gust of wind almost took her dress and he fell into step beside her, hand in hand, toward the relative safety of the hotel. "Yes, dear," he quipped, looking amused, unaware of the casual glances they were earning from people passing by. After all, they were an exceptionally attractive looking couple, even when they weren't all decked out for a night out.
She might have argued with that assessment, if she'd known of it, preferring to be the shadow to Johnny's light. Not that she really noticed anything but the ever shortening distance to the elevator as she all but dragged him bodily through the lobby. "You know, that still makes me sound as though I'm forty," she commented mildly, slowing to let him fall in beside her as they came to the elevator doors.
"Forty isn't that old, Liv. Steve is what... ninety something and look at him?" Of course, they both knew Steve wasn't really ninety years old. He was just well-preserved. "Will you still love me when I'm old and bald and wrinkly?" he asked, frowning. It was hard to imagine Johnny ever being old or bald or wrinkly, and he really had no idea what effect his metabolism would have on his aging. He'd never really thought about it before. He came to a halt beside her and leaned in to press a thumb against the button for their floor.
"Well, seeing as how I'll be old and bald and wrinkly at the same time, I don't see why you need to ask," she smiled, refusing to let the frown darken their mood. "I'm older than you, remember. So it really should be me asking if you'll still love me when I'm old and wearing granny pants."
"You're not that much older, and I doubt you'll ever go bald. Besides, Peggy's in her nineties and look at her. I mean, she's not bad looking for her age." It was all in the genes, after all. He smiled as he tried to imagine her in granny pants, but he wasn't really sure what those were.
Liv snickered softly, remembering something else he'd said about Peggy only a little while ago. "Does that make me a cougar, then?" she asked playfully, moving forward as the doors swished open, twisting to tug him into the metal cage with her, both hands in his shirt. "You're always going to be gorgeous, Johnny. I love you."
"Only if you growl," he replied with a grin as she tugged him into the elevator. Coming to a halt in front of her, he smiled down at her, his hands resting against against her waist as hers found his shirt, the search for the key forgotten again for the moment. "I love you, too, Liv. I'm always gonna love you."
"I'll hold you to that." She rose up, brushing smiling lips to his in a tender kiss as the doors closed on them, the elevator still waiting to be told where it was going while its sole occupants shared a softer moment in the renewed quiet. Drawing back just barely, Liv offered up a silly pretense at a growl as her hands lowered to press against the groove of his hips, one finding the lump of metal and plastic in his pocket. "Grr."
He laughed as she found the key and simultaneously growled. "Can I burn them off?" he asked, wondering if the pants were going to be as hard to get out of as they were to get into. He only smiled down at her, not making any attempt to help her fish that key out of his pocket, amused to watch her do it herself, so long as she didn't tickle him again.
She grinned at him, keeping that hand over the key as though she might forget where it was in the brief moment it took to press the button for their floor. "They're your pants, you can do what you like," she reminded him cheerfully, skimming around behind him to begin inching her hand into his pocket. With smaller fingers, she stood a better chance, but that was only if he managed to hold still and not give into the inevitable distraction that would come with her search. Her lips brushed his ear as she added, "World's fastest striptease, that would be."
"Like you haven't seen it before," he remarked, eyes following her as best he could as she slipped behind him, feeling her lips brush his ear and stifling a shudder. Even Johnny Storm shuddered now and then, given the right circumstances. He was acutely aware of her fingers and their movement, tempted to move them where he wanted them, rather than where they were at the moment, to an area that felt more urgent than the retrieval of a key, and yet if that key wasn't retrieved, he'd have to wait even longer.
She let her lips play against the curve of his ear, down the line of his hair, pressing soft kisses to the nape of his neck, only too happy to renew her teasing now they were so close to the privacy they were both aching for. "I love to see it," she whispered huskily, grateful they were alone in the elevator, but frankly it was debatable whether it would have mattered. "I love your flames, your heat. I love the way you make me feel." As her finger looped into the keyring, she gently set her teeth to the prominence of his spine above his collar and bit, worrying tenderly at the sensitive spot. "God, I want you so much."
As if it wasn't enough that she had her hand in his pocket and was pressing kisses against his neck, the feel of her teeth against the top of his spine nearly pushed him over the edge again. A groan made his renewed arousal known, as he reached for her free hand and pressed it against the straining bulge at the front of his pants. He once again wasn't sure if he'd make it to their room in time. They were so close, he was so close. Her teasing had taken its toll, and he was feeling the agony of frustration all over again.
The distraction had worked, though. He was so focused on what she was saying to him, what her lips were doing to him, that he had relaxed enough not even to notice as the key gently tugged from his pocket, secure in her grip. His groan sent a frisson of heat through her, echoed by the soft, startled moan that broke from her lips as he pressed her palm to the eager evidence of his arousal. The tip of her tongue touched his earlobe as she breathed his name, as the elevator came to a lurching halt and the door swung open. Her hand rose, jangling the key in front of his nose. "Shall we?"
No one had ever said such things to him; no one had ever loved him the way she did. Her words of affection stirred his heart, as much as her kisses stirred his arousal. Without the love and affection between them, their relationship would have burned out long ago. It was that love that kept the flame burning when other flames might have fizzled. He smiled as she showed him the key, partly relieved and partly anxious to get her safely into the room so they could both relieve the frustrations of the evening. "Yes, ma'am," he replied, turning to face her.
She was all smiles again as he turned to her, hands reaching to press against his chest, to guide him out onto their floor with slinky impatience that was becoming nigh on impossible to ignore. "Did you just call me ma'am?" she asked, trying hard not to laugh at the unexpected title he'd plastered on her.
Her smile turned to a teasing grin. "Yes, ma'am," he repeated. She was the older woman, after all. By what? A few months maybe. A year at most. He was tempted to toss her over his shoulder, but he knew if he did, her dress would most likely expose her to anyone who might unexpectedly step into the hallway. He let her guide him out of the elevator, a glance up and down to see if anyone was watching.
Liv's giggles filled the hallway, but there was no sign of anyone else as the elevator closed and trundled away. "You're such a goof," she accused him fondly, sliding her hand up to curl at his jaw, drawing him down to her for a kiss that really had been a long time coming. This one made promises that were definitely going to be kept, within minutes.
All too eager for that kiss and the promises that came with it, he met her lips with unspoken promises of his own. Nightclub or not, music or not, he was going to dirty dance with her his own way until they both collapsed from exhaustion. His hands found her hips as he backed her against a wall, deepening that kiss so that there was no mistaking how much he wanted her, needed her, pressing the heat of his body against hers, unable to hold back much longer.
The breath burst from her body as she thumped back against the wall, uncaring if he was a little rough, only too easily wrapped up and lost in the heat and scent and joy that was Johnny Storm. Her arms looped about his neck, the key dangling from her thumb as she drew her nails through his hair, moaning his name into his kisses. She'd already forgotten they weren't yet out of the public eye; it would be up to him this time if they weren't going to take the first big risk of their marriage right here and now.
As much as he wanted her, he had just barely enough self control to not want to embarrass and humiliate her by taking her right there in the hallway of their hotel room. It wasn't easy; it took an incredible amount of will power, but he dragged his mouth away from hers with a groan, his own breath ragged, looking into her eyes that mirrored his own desire. "Come on," he said, grabbing hold of her hand and starting toward their room, just short of breaking into a run.
She whimpered as his lips left hers, a real pout forming on her face, sharing her frustration with him just through the soft storm in her eyes before he took charge once again, pulling her along the corridor with purpose. She couldn't help another soft laugh as he did so, exhilarated by the knowledge that he really wanted her, that she was going to get what she wanted imminently. The key jangled once again as they came to a halt, trembling fingers fitting it into the lock as she glanced up at him longingly.
There was only one thing he wanted to say to her, only one thing he needed to say to her as they reached the door to their hotel room. Once through that door, all bets were off, all challenges over. No curious, prying eyes to watch them. No adoring fans, no lovesick waitresses, no embarrassed or amused cab drivers. Just Johnny and Liv. Mr. and Mrs. Storm. Just the two of them, alone at last, to share their love and fulfill their longing late into the night. "I love you," he told her, as they reached the door, a tender touch of warm fingers against her cheek, blue eyes soft with love and longing.
"I should bloody well hope so, after this evening," she answered with a soft grin, twisting the key, pushing the door inward. She half-turned, grasping his collar to pull him inside with her. One foot kicked the door shut, and within a moment, he was pushed back against it, her hands already shaking the leather from her shoulders, dropping her clutch, the key, divesting herself of everything but the boots and the dress he'd chosen for her. Her smaller body pressed close to his, lips teasing with a kiss that almost didn't happen. "I love you so much," she whispered fiercely, drawing her fingers over his body, anxious to touch skin and feel him against her. "Make love to me, Johnny."
He followed suit almost instantly, shaking the coat from his shoulders, not really caring where it dropped on the floor, hands sliding over her bare arms, warming her with no effort at all but the innate heat that radiated from him. His lips touched hers, once, twice, three times, his body aching for hers. She didn't have to ask him twice. "I want you, Liv."
"I'm right here." Not the most romantic of answers, but she was so hazed, so desperate for the teasing to end, that she had nothing else she could say that was coherent. To hell with naked; she had a stake to pay, and one she was eager to get to, pressing her lips in open-mouthed eagerness to his, devouring his mouth with mingled love and desire. Her hands fell to his pants, dragging open button and zipper, tucking her fingers inside to grip tightly and begin the rather monumental task of getting them off him.
He let out a sigh of breath once the button and zipper had been loosened, as if he was able to breathe again, his body reacting to her kisses without those damnable pants to inhibit him and constrict his movement. He moved to help her with the pants, in a hurry to get them off, peeling them away from his hips and letting her do the rest as he eagerly returned her kisses, fueled by the frustration of her incessant teasing.
Inspired by the way his body relaxed and tensed all at once, Liv tore her lips from his, dropping to a crouch to use a little brute force on those pants before he gave into the urge to burn his clothes - and probably hers, too - straight off, shoes or no shoes. He'd taught her how to be naughty a little too well; even without her lips on his, her kisses continued. Down the line of buttons on his shirt, to nuzzle the precious package barely contained in his underwear. "What do you want me to do?"
He was doing his best to repress the urge to burn his clothing off, more for his sake and the sake of the hotel than anything else. He didn't really want the fire alarm going off at a time like this. He moaned as her lips parted his, if only to ask what he wanted. He knew what he'd asked for, but now that they were alone, all he wanted was to bury himself inside her and be close. "I want you," he told her, breath ragged.
First one foot, then the other, and he was finally free of those pants. Liv held them up, frowning at them. "These," she told him firmly. "Never wear them again. If you do ..." She leaned close, tossing the offending garment over her shoulder. "I'll tie you down and cut them off. With a bread-knife." Her grin teased his lips, daring him to object as her hand found his squished future children with possessive intent.
He couldn't help but chuckle at that idle threat. "Sounds kinky, Liv." There was something strangely erotic about the thought of her tying him down and having her way with him. He'd never really considered anything like that with anyone before. He'd never trusted anyone or felt comfortable enough with anyone before, but with Liv, things were different. He wasn't so sure she would be open to anything like that though, and he was still a little too shy to ask.
"Don't forget, I've read Fifty Shades ..." she giggled fondly, smoothing her hands over him for a moment before tucking her thumbs into the band of his underwear. "You'd be surprised how much kinky f*ckery is in that book." Her grin blossomed wider. "Hell, I'd wear a collar for you. And nothing else."
"I saw the movie, remember?" he countered with a smirk. It was kind of required since Liv was working for the movie's lead actor. Though Johnny had found the plot a little ridiculous, he could appreciate the kinky sex, from a purely artistic perceptive, of course. "Tonight, I want you in boots and nothing else," he said as he reached around to the back of her neck to undo her dress. He already knew she wasn't wearing much if anything beneath it. He was wearing more layers of clothing than she was tonight.
She giggled softly, running her thumbs around the inside of his underwear's waistband before releasing him, letting her hands fall loose to her sides as he tucked his hands under the fall of her hair. She felt strangely shy, on fire for him but a little wary of the fact that there really was nothing under that dress but her. As the soft jersey came free under his fingers, the fabric skimmed down over her very bare skin, pooling about the FM boots she'd been teasing him with all night. "I thought you just wanted out of those pants," she breathed, too excited even to tease with any real conviction any longer.
"I want a lot more than that," he replied as the dress fell away revealing the bare-skinned beauty before him and causing another swell of desire. He took hold of her hips and steered her toward the bed, while his lips left a trail of soft kisses against her neckline.
How had they gone from fractious impatience to something that seemed so slow and ready to take its time? Liv had no idea. She was consumed already, Johnny's blissful heat pouring into her as her arms rose to curl about his neck, as she felt herself steered from the door, as his lips kissed a fiery trail over her skin. Her lips brushed his ear, hands fisting in the shirt he still wore. "You're overdressed, Mr Storm."
He wasn't taking his time by any means, though she might think he was. He would have taken her by the door as soon as they'd gotten safely inside their room, but he didn't want to hurt her in his haste to have her. He smiled at the not so subtle hint that she wanted his clothes off and broke away from her so he could catch up to her in removing his clothes. "You're slow, Mrs. Storm," he teased, as he stepped back a pace, just far enough that he had room enough to step out of the shorts that were far too confining.
She offered him the sweetest smile she could manage, given that she was wanting, blushing and naked but for her boots. Her hands reluctantly left him, folding demurely in front of herself as she watched him from beneath long dark lashes, savoring the view as he revealed himself to her piece by piece. "I'm trying not to tackle you onto the floor and have my way with you before you're ready."
He laughed as he kicked the shorts off one leg and almost got tangled up in them before they were tossed across the room. "Like I'd mind," he remarked with a grin. The shirt was next, but she already had it unbuttoned so that was easy enough. He shrugged it off his shoulders and shook it off his arms to drop onto the floor behind him. "Now, where were we?"
Ordinarily, his wife might have crooked a finger at him, or reached out to press herself close, but the teasing of the evening had taken its toll on the inhibitions that still plagued her from time to time. As he shook his shirt free, bare to her gaze and touch and oh, so, delicious to even contemplate doing anything to, she decided to let Kitten off her leash. A wild, loving growl escaped her throat, and she grasped his hips, tugging hard to pull him around and knock him back onto the bed with eager force, knowing he would stop her if she got too rough with him. A moment later, her body covered his, her mouth smothering his own with hungry kisses that did nothing to sate the need they had stoked between them.
There was really no worry about her getting too rough with him. More than ready and willing for a wild ride, he was more worried about him getting too rough with her. The growl from her only heightened his already pent-up desire, her kisses eliciting a muffled moan as his arms went around her to hold her snugly against him. His arousal was all too obvious as his body was pressed snugly against hers, his kisses matching hers in hungered need.
There really was no need or desire for foreplay this time, both bodies ready and willing, more than eager for the joining that fitted them together more intimately than any other. Liv cried out his name as she felt that coming together spear deep inside her, pulling him up until they sat tangled together on the bed, daring to keep control for the first time as her lips plied his, her hands smoothing down over his back. A single word slipped from her lips into his mouth, revealing the depth of her reaction to seeing another woman daring to flirt with him so openly in front of his wife. "Mine."
He smiled at her possessive claiming of him, both pleased and a little amused by it. She was becoming more comfortable with him, more assertive in her needs and desires, and though he'd never admit it to her, she had caught up with her sister's skill in bed if not surpassed it, though he was, of course, biased. He fitted his body perfectly to hers, wrapping his arms around her to hold her tightly against him. His hands slid down her hips to curl around the curve of her rear and pull her even closer. He smothered her lips with eager, hungry kisses as their bodies moved together in this dance of mutual love and lust.
If she was Lucy's equal in bed, it was entirely his doing, though that was, perhaps, part of her allure for him. He was the only man who had ever touched her, who would ever touch her; her skill or lack of it was his responsibility. Her arms wrapped tight about him as they moved together, wanting to claim him completely, wanting him to feel as wanted, as possessed, as loved as he made her feel, even in the grip of a passion that was so quickly taking over. To hell with the teasing and playing ... this was what she should have been doing instead.
But the teasing and playing had a point, and this was it. As frustrating at it had been, the heat that had been generated between them ended in the ultimate culmination of that teasing, the coming together and joining of their bodies as they gave and took equal quantities of pleasure from the other, until they were completely and utterly satiated and nearing exhaustion.
Falling together to the tangled sheets what felt like hours after they had begun, man and wife wrapped one another close in tenderness and affection, trading kisses still as the night deepened and sleep began to overtake them. Despite the emotional turmoil of the day, the teasing, the games and the jealousies, they had shared vows, made their private promises, each as determined as the other to keep their hearts entwined until the end of days. Sleep came and dreams with it; dreams of one another, and the life ahead of them, as night darkened and brightened, and that life took another step forward with the rising of the sun, into a new day for the newlywed Mr and Mrs Storm.
[size=9]((Gosh, that was a long'un! Congratulations on getting through it! And massive, enormous, tumescent thank yous to Johnny's player!))[/size]