Phryne set down her spoon after the last bite of dessert, her eyes seeking out Jack’s. He had already finished his small plate of pannacotta and was obviously trying not to watch her too intently, his eyes flicking between her, the tableware, and the candlestick with its five lively burning candles.
Was he nervous? They had had a lovely meal and conversation, but there had been a sense of apprehension, as if he was keeping himself back a little. Just as she decided she needed to say something, Mr Butler appeared to take their plates.
“Thank you, Mr Butler,” she said. “This was divine.”
Jack seemed to come alive before her and turned to the butler.
“You have outdone yourself again, Mr Butler,” he said, his voice warm and grateful.
As her smiling butler exited the room, Phryne set her gaze back on Jack. He was still not meeting her eyes. He obviously wasn’t entirely sure what he was up for, after he’d told her he couldn’t say no to her, and she’d said he should keep that thought until after dinner. After dinner was fast approaching, and he seemed uncertain of how to feel about that. She watched him fidget slightly with his napkin.
This was so out of the ordinary for Phryne it made her feel slightly lost. She wasn’t used to reluctant bedpartners. She flirted with men to decide if they’d be up to some fun, and she only continued with those who clearly showed they were. This was not the case with Jack. She had flirted with him, extensively, and he’d responded. But he’d responded in his own very down-played way, and he was certainly not a person who was simply up for entertainment. There was so much more beneath the surface than a simple game of flirtation; it felt like an electric current filling the room. A much more consistent one than the temporary frissons with other men.
What was she even doing? Did she know how to do this – how to take a thoroughly serious man to bed, a man who would never think of it as just a fun night? But she wasn’t thinking of it as simply a fun night either, was she? There was nothing flippant about this, nothing light and arbitrary. They had worked towards this for a long time. When she heard him say those words, How could I ever say no to you, Miss Fisher, the whole game had changed. That was the closest to ‘yes’ he had ever said to her.
“Nightcap, Jack?” she asked. Her voice was light, attempting to conceal her thoughts.
“Thank you, that would be lovely,” he answered, rising as she did.
He followed her to the parlour, where she went to pour them some liquor. When she turned, two glasses in hand, he was just standing by the chaise, not sure of where to seat himself. She handed him a glass and sat down in one of the chairs; after a moment, he took the other one.
Phryne raised her glass with a small smile on her lips.
“To a successful numismatic adventure.”
“To your urgent need of a numismatist, Miss Fisher,” he answered. He seemed to feel slightly more at ease now, his eyes not leaving hers as he took a sip of the whisky.
“So, as you cannot say no to me tonight, Jack…” Phryne started, pronouncing every word carefully. He blinked slowly – she thought he might be blushing ever so slightly and she found that incredibly endearing. She drew out the pause just to revel in the palpable tension. “…there is no way you can deny me revenge.”
His eyebrow quirked up. “Revenge?”
She bounced up and went to the corner of the room to fetch the game.
“In draughts, Jack.”
He huffed out a laugh, incredulous, but quickly collected himself.
“I think I recall you won the last time, Miss Fisher, so it might not be much to revenge,” he ventured. She could hear from his voice he was smiling broadly.
“Surely not, I distinctly remember you beat me, Inspector.”
She set the game on the table in front of them, stopping only for a moment to take in the image of him: comfortably sitting in his chair, grabbing the pieces to help her set up the game, his smile bright, his eyes tender. She had surprised herself by deciding not to seduce him immediately, but the sight of him like this made her relish her decision.
“You start, then, Miss Fisher,” he said gallantly, and the game was on.
There was no gallantry present once they were playing – they were both going for the win. She laughed brightly as she managed a long sequence of jumps, and he sighed exaggeratedly. Phryne won the first game, Jack the second, which made him exclaim a “ha!” that was so petty they both had to laugh.
“You’re a very bad winner, Jack,” she said. “I never thought you would be.”
He smiled as he set up the pieces again.
“Only when it comes to you, Miss Fisher.” His eyes were teasing as they met hers. “It seems you bring out the worst in me.”
“I do like the sound of that,” she said, allowing her smile to bloom across her face as she tilted her head. “I might need to test this hypothesis.”
His eyes visibly darkened as he took her in. She felt his gaze turn her insides to fire – how could he do that with only a look? – but she valiantly fought down her feelings.
“But first, we need to settle this score, Inspector.”
“As you wish, Miss Fisher,” Jack nodded. She loved the way he looked when he was clearly amused by her – the way the tiniest of smiles settled in the corner of his mouth but refused to fully break out.
She made a first move and waited for him to counter. Slowly she realised she wasn’t paying attention to the game. Instead, she was focusing on the way his hands moved to grab a black piece and move it on the board. Those hands. She followed one of them as it moved to scratch the other arm, mesmerised, and she had a sudden flash of memory, of times she had imagined those hands on her – the images were rather explicit and made her breath hitch. Her gaze slowly continued from his hand, following the arm up to his shoulders and that tie that always seemed to ask her to release him from it. Finally, she ended up in his face, and she realised he was looking at her oddly. He must have seen her face turn from amusement to desire.
“Your turn, Miss Fisher,” he said, his voice not entirely steady. He swallowed hard. She saw his Adam’s apple bob, and that was the final straw.
“It is my turn, isn’t it?” she said. She looked down on the board before her, then into his eyes as she rose and took a few steps around the table, holding out her hand to him. He rose too, following her lead. “Then, this is my move,” she said and took a last step into him, putting her hand on his cheek, letting her thumb caress it.
His eyes flicked between hers for a moment, waiting, before he seemed to realise the next move was his. He raised his hand too, allowing it to swiftly move from her cheek to her neck as he bent down to press his lips to hers. The hand was soon joined by his other, and he held her face as he kissed her.
The kiss was everything: slow, tender, and building up towards more heat by the second. His tongue in her mouth made her weak in the knees; his hands in her hair kept her upright. She felt him against her body like the solid pillar she always imagined him to be, but now he was all for her, focusing intently on the way their mouths met. She let her hand drift down his body and the rough fabric of his suit, ending up caressing his behind, which surprised him enough to withdraw a little and look at her.
“I think it’s my move again, Inspector,” she said, ignoring her own breathlessness.
She was sure his heart beat as hard as her own did. His breast heaved under his suit, and his eyes were dark pools of awe. That kiss was a beginning, a teaser of what was to come, and the promises in it were manifold. He was still completely unrumpled, even his hair in perfect order, a peculiar contrast to his dark eyes. She felt the urge to make a mark on his appearance, to make what was happening between them visible, existing. She took hold of his tie and started to undo it, leaving it hanging half undone as she continued to unbutton the top buttons of his shirt, her fingers tentatively touching the hollow that was exposed.
The sight of him slightly askew pulled at her heart strings, and she was again overwhelmed by the feelings he provoked in her, seemingly without even trying. He watched her intently – probably interpreting expressions on her face she had no idea she was making. She suspected she was giving away exactly how much she’d longed to do this.
“Phryne,” he said, his voice rough.
Then he kissed her again, harder this time, deeper. One hand strayed down to her waist and managed to sneak in under her blouse and caress the skin on her back, holding her firmly to him. She shuddered from her pent-up desire, from his hands actually, finally, gloriously touching her – the trail of his palm like fire on her skin. This was happening. She had managed to make her staid, contained Inspector come out of his hiding and meet her. He wouldn’t say no to her, not tonight.
She countered by dragging his shirt out from his trousers and pushing her hand inside. Her hand caressed his back, his waist, his stomach – she could feel the tell-tale bumps of a scar on his left side and over part of his stomach, and without seeing it she could guess what it looked like. A souvenir from the war, no doubt. Realising he’d been hurt and healed just made her want to touch him even more. She dipped a finger under the hem of his trousers, just to get at reaction from him, and he breathed a ‘hmpf’ into her mouth.
Emboldened by her directness, he sneaked his hand further up inside her blouse, caressing the underside of her breast, then moving to cup it through her satin bra and knead it lightly. Now she was the one to make a sound into the kiss.
“Jack,” she whispered, withdrawing from his mouth. By now he looked decidedly less perfect, and more like he had been subjected to the freight train that was Phryne Fisher – his shirt hanging freely; his lips swollen by their kisses and sporting a tinge of red from her lipstick; his eyes unfocused; his breathing ragged. Phryne felt quite proud of being the creator of this rumpled Jack.
His eyes managed to focus, and his tender smile told her that perhaps she looked a bit rumpled too.
“I believe it’s my turn, Jack,” she said. “I say this jacket needs to come off. And the waistcoat.”
Jack looked hesitant, his eyes flicking to the door. “What about Mr Butler?”
“Mr Butler has retired for the evening,” Phryne said decisively and started to push his jacket from his shoulders. “We will be quite undisturbed, I assure you.”
She held her breath, wondering if undressing in the parlour would be too much for the poor Inspector’s nerves. He was here, he had said yes, but the removal of clothes would be a final sign of him having made his decision. She suspected he might dread the finality of the boudoir, and she was rather turned on by the illicit feeling of having the proper Inspector in her parlour. It was only a suggestion; he could easily refute it if he wanted to.
But he didn’t. After a short hesitation, he took off his jacket and waistcoat and hung them on a chair. He turned to Phryne; heat pooled in her guts from seeing him in only shirtsleeves and braces. He was stunning, and somehow so innocent-looking with some of his layers gone. His face was unreadable, his eyes raking over her.
“Does this mean it’s my move?”
She almost laughed aloud – this was a playful version of Jack she’d hardly even dared to hope for.
“I suppose it does,” she said, wondering what he would suggest now. How daring would Jack Robinson be in a situation like this? The very thought was making her inside tingle – as if she wasn’t already completely overtaken by her desire for him. This was almost ridiculous; she was usually much better at keeping a calm head. There was something with Jack and his tentativeness – his slow, steady pace – that did her in completely.
He looked speculatively at her as he moved towards her; she stood there, completely still. He set his hand on her shoulder, his thumb caressing her as he leaned in, his lips almost touching her cheek.
“Let me think. I might just do this as I consider my options,” he said and pressed his lips to hers. His other arm snaked out to hug her to him.
Phryne hummed into the kiss. How did he manage to captivate her so much, simply by teasing her? His kiss turned open, wet, and messy – there was nothing chaste about it, this was a kiss loaded with promises of carnality and future pleasure. She answered in kind, eagerly, sensing Jack losing his restraints. When he moaned, it was the most beautiful sound; it also made her disentangle from him.
“Do you still claim this is not your actual move?” she asked, smiling suggestively.
“Just an interlude,” Jack answered, but he had some problems breathing properly. He looked at her, then bent down to pick her up and carry her to the chaise.
“Although you look stunning in them, I’ll ask you to take off your trousers,” he said.
“You never tell me I look stunning.”
“I don’t have to. It’s always implied,” Jack said, with a small self-deprecating smile. “Though I do admit to particularly fancying you in trousers.”
“How utterly modern of you, Jack,” Phryne purred as she wriggled out of the white pair and threw them on the floor, leaving her in a white blouse and cream coloured tap pants.
Jack was sitting on the chaise next to her and reached out his large hand to touch first her knee, then her thigh, and finally her hip. He touched her tap pants, caressing the silky material carefully. He moved his hand over her mound, and she couldn’t stop a sigh falling from her lips. She opened her legs the tiniest fraction and the movement made his caress go slightly lower. He pulled in a breath as he felt the warmth and wetness of her.
“You’re soaked,” he whispered, incredulous.
“I know,” she answered. “That’s what you do to me with your slow burn romance, Jack. Do not doubt how much I want you.”
His hand kept exploring as he leaned over her to kiss her. She grabbed his hair, slightly on the harsh side, so she could make him stay for a longer, deeper kiss. She rejoiced in the groan she pulled from him as she held him roughly.
She pushed him back slightly, so he sat against the back of the chaise, then she moved to straddle him. As she alternately kissed him and paused, she unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it open, baring his chest to her; it felt like opening a mysterious brown-paper package to see what was inside. There was a light smatter of hair, both over his chest and in a darker string beneath his navel; a lean, muscular form she had gotten glimpses of at Queenscliff; and the scar, whitened and smooth, covering a fair share of his stomach. She caressed it tenderly – he questioningly met her eyes, seemingly surprised at her tenderness – as her eyes raked over him, the ugly patches of skin simply making him more beautiful to her eyes. She felt an urge to press her mouth to his whole body, to kiss and lick his chest, his stomach, and the scar, but she contented herself with simply caressing him. There would be time, later, for more thorough investigations. She dragged her nails lightly down his front and rejoiced in the way he responded, shuddering.
She put her hand on his trousers and opened them gingerly, pushing down his underwear slightly. She pulled out his alert cock, caressing its silky hardness with slightly tentative strokes. Finally. Finally, she was allowed to feel the length and texture of him. A fine specimen as far as she was concerned, not too large but certainly promising in its fullness and eagerness, reddish and slightly curved.
He groaned, breathing heavily, and then took up his exploration of her wetness again, managing to get in underneath her pants and caress her wet curls just as she leaned in to kiss him again, deeply. She was amazed at how erotic this simple act of mutual touching felt. It was all about who she was finally doing it with, and how long she had longed for it to happen. She teased his tip, squeezing it lightly, and then rubbed the tip slowly against her own wet underwear.
“It’s my turn. I wonder if I should…” she said as she pulled away to look at him, ceasing her caresses.
He met her gaze, out of breath.
“If you should what?”
“If I should just, well…” She paused, wondering if she was being too forward for him, “…take you?”
“Please,” he said. “I doubt I can play anymore. I can hardly think straight.”
She smiled down on him, admiring him for his honesty as much as for his deliciously rumpled look, in shirtsleeves and with his cock rakishly rising from his trousers. She gave his tip a last caress before she rose to get rid of her tap pants, quickly straddling him again so she could position him at her entrance. He reached out to grab her hips and still her movement.
“Do you have… protection?”
“I do,” she said, leaning down to press a kiss to the tip of his nose. “I never thought this would happen tonight, but I prepared nonetheless.” She smirked. “It’s something I take very seriously.”
“I’m very glad to hear it,” he rumbled, letting his hands drift from her hips to her behind, kneading her buttocks until she moaned.
She set into motion, taking him in slowly, savouring this very first time and the way he stretched her slightly, deliciously. He sighed as she enclosed him, and it was a sigh that made her heart clench, as it was so sincere and unprotected. She rose and sunk onto him again, delighting in him, delighting in the way he had closed his eyes to concentrate on the feeling, but her enjoyment was hindered by his trousers. The rough fabric very quickly turned from stimulating to annoying. She stilled with him fully sheathed inside her.
“I need the trousers to go,” she said.
“What?” he asked, flustered. “How?”
“Just pull them down slightly,” she said. She wasn’t going to rise and let him go now, when she finally had him where she wanted.
His eyes pierced hers for a moment, but he didn’t refuse. He awkwardly managed to pull off his braces and then pull both trousers and underwear down to his ankles, working around her, apologizing as he slightly crushed her thigh when he tried to reach. She laughed, only rising and moving slightly to the side to accommodate for him, content to see his face react to her every movement.
“Are you sure I shouldn’t remove them entirely?” he asked, but she shook her head.
“This is perfect, Jack.”
She started to move again. His hands settled on her hips to help steer her, one soon straying further up to knead her breast under her blouse. She bent down for a wet kiss, giving him space to devour her back, which he did thoroughly, almost desperately. When she disentangled from the kiss, he moved to grab her blouse and pull it off, then he leaned forward and took her breast in his mouth through her satin bra. She moaned, which made him redouble his efforts, alternating between licking and sucking her nipple, after a while managing to pull down the bra slightly to release her tip to his ministrations.
It was glorious; he was glorious. Phryne kept moving, changing her pace and angle to increase the pressure, putting one hand in his hair to caress him as he licked her breast, then moving it down to his cock to caress the base of it.
He groaned, deciding to mimic her by moving his hand down to her sex, and she felt his breath hitch at the wetness he found there. He soon found the place he was aiming for, making Phryne gasp as he touched it.
“More?” he whispered.
“More,” she answered.
He moved his fingers around her nub, down to where his cock was sliding into her, and then back again. She gasped and moaned at his pressure on her, feeling her desire build up to excruciating levels. She wouldn’t be able to keep this up for much longer.
“I’m going to…” she said.
“Good,” he answered, laying back against the chaise again and clutching her hip with one hand while keeping up touching her with the other, more decisively now. “Me too.”
She felt her tension build up to impossible heights, all from the friction of Jack against her, again and again – until she snapped, succumbing to a release that was somehow equally blinding lighting and roaring ocean waves. It took her over completely, and she started to shake. When she faltered in her rhythm, Jack started thrusting up into her, prolonging her rolling climax and finally, as he succumbed to one himself, crying out softly. They soon stilled, Phryne’s body glorying in the sensations before turning numb and relaxed as she fell on top of him.
In the end of her climax she had managed to open her eyes to look at him; she wanted to know him, fully, in every situation. She was entranced with the look on his face – his concentration when he was close, his stutter as he came, his restfulness as it was over. Every single one of his expressions were beautiful. She rose up again to kiss him, on his nose, on his mouth, on his eyelids. He smiled and then made a grimace of discomfort.
“What?” she asked.
“I just need to…” he reached down and pulled his softening cock out of her, laying it to the side to rest. Then his hand caressed her, from her hip all the way up her side to her shoulders, to stop at her cheek. “You are... wonderful.” He searched for words that had obviously deserted him. “A dream. I can’t even say.”
She recognised the effects of post-coital bliss, and her heart tugged at what she saw: his openness, his slightly disbelieving smile, the adoration in his eyes.
“I love you, Phryne,” he said, his eyes turning suspiciously wet. “I can’t help it.”
She captured his head between her hands.
“God help me, Jack Robinson,” she said, “I love you too.”
It felt strange to say it; it wasn’t something that came easily for her and it held so many implications she would have to think about later. But she knew it was true, whether she wanted it to be or not. She loved this man in a way that meant she wanted him, everything he had. She wanted him to make her feel like this again, sated and elated. She wanted him to be happy, she wanted him to be with her. She wanted him to stay for breakfast in the morning, she wanted to see his face as he said good morning to Mr Butler, she wanted to know his thoughts on a million different things they hadn’t talked about yet. She felt warmth spread through her body just from the thought. His gaze was so tender when he looked at her, she thought she might cry too, but she sat up instead, hiding the rawness of her emotions by action.
“Look at you,” she said, laughing at the figure he cut – his shirt open, his trousers at his ankles, and a puddle on the lower part of his stomach where his release had started to leak out of her again. “You are a sight.”
He sat up so their chests touched, hugging her to him tightly and caressing her back with long, soft strokes.
“I don’t mind,” he said.
She buried her nose in his collar, sniffing, feeling the fabric of his shirt against her face, wondering how she got so lucky as to have this man in her bed. Or, well, to be entirely accurate, in her chaise.
“I think we should adjourn to the boudoir,” she said, facing him and smiling at the closeness of him as he nudged her nose with his. “There is a bath, too. You’ll stay the night, won’t you?”
“If you’ll have me,” he said.
She rolled her eyes as she rose and went to collect their discarded clothes.
“Put your trousers on and let’s go upstairs,” she said, as she pulled her blouse over her head.
He did as she said, almost losing his balance as he grappled with his trousers. He fastened them over the shirt, attempting to let the shirt take the brunt of the mess from their lovemaking. She laughed at him, trying to help by smoothing down his shirt, soon realising it was a lost cause.
“That will have to do, I suppose,” she said, smiling at him. “This is not a sight your constables would survive.”
He laughed and stroked her hair.
“I’m sure Miss Williams has seen much worse in this household,” he said. “You’re at an advantage there.”
He gazed at her and she was on the brink of kissing him again – his small, downturned smiles always made her feel she needed to kiss that mouth. But it was high time to escape the parlour, so she resisted. In the doorway, Jack stopped her.
“What about the game?” he asked, nodding towards the draughts board. “Who won?”
Phryne looked at the deliciously dishevelled man by her side, taking his hand and tugging at it.
“I did,” she answered.
“Did you now?” he said, raising an eyebrow.
“There’s no doubt about it,” she replied as she opened the parlour door. “After all, it was I who got the numismatist.”