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"Do you know how to handle boats?" Haas asked him by way of greeting, walking over to where Magnus and Lanie stood, not talking, in the crisp morning air.

"I rowed crew at Uni," Magnus replied with an easy grin.

"Of course you did," Haas sighed, rolling his eyes. "Well, I suppose that's good for us."

In truth, Magnus had always been an athlete, playing tennis and rugby and running track in addition to rowing. He liked to stay fit, and it gave him a place to channel his energy, especially before he had discovered his way with the ladies.

He could use a place to channel some energy now, he thought, scowling. Lanie had not been pleased by the turn of events that were taking place. He had thought moving from a flat out fight to a contest of skill would satisfy her, but she was stubbornly refusing to admit that sometimes a bully had to be knocked down hard so that he would think twice about harassing someone else. Magnus was more than happy to be the one to knock this particular bully into a pulp. The idea that he might be the one to end up in a bloody pile at the end of the day he found frankly insulting.

They had their first flat out argument back in their room, with Lanie insisting she could fight her own battles and didn't need him to protect her. He thought she was being unreasonable, and had not shied away from telling her so. In the end, she had climbed into bed in a pair of his shorts and a tshirt, stating that they should go to sleep since he would need all of his energy the next day. His jaw dropped as he realized that she was serious, and he grumpily resigned himself to trying to fall asleep next to her bewitching body without being able to enjoy it first. Yes they had coupled several times already that day, but that was not the point! He needed her with an ache that was visceral.

It was the same in the morning, when he awoke to the unheard of occurrence of Lanie already dressed and brushing her hair. He had glared at her, trying to decide how she would react if he simply grabbed her and yanked her back into bed. She had accused him of being a caveman last night, perhaps he should show her what one was really like. In the end, of course, he was far too respectful of women in general and his woman in particular to do any such thing, and resigned himself to stroking off to the sight of her in the pretty blue dress she had donned for the day. From the way her eyes kept returning as if of their own volition to his hand steadily working over his hard cock, he could tell he was not the only one finding the lack of intimate contact difficult. When he finally came in his hand with a dissatisfied grunt, he had the satisfaction of watching her tongue flick across her lips instinctively and groaned at the sight.

"You could come over here and lick me off like a good kitten," he suggested, enjoying her blush at having been caught.

"You could decide not to participate in a barbaric punching match like a good boyfriend," she said in reply. 

There had been very little talking since.

"I am actually most concerned about the archery," Magnus told Haas, thinking over their slate of events. "It's not something I ever really practiced. My aim with a gun or darts is good but a bow..."

"Fortunately for us," Haas smiled thinly, "my aim is impeccable. I am relieved, detective, that there is at least something you are not adept at. Why don't you let me handle the archery, especially as I assume you and Leland will wish to face off for the boxing. I know first hand that you can throw a punch. I will gladly fight whoever his second is."

"Oh yes," Magnus' smile was vicious. "I cannot wait to get in the ring with that slime."

He heard Lanie mutter something under her breath and storm over to sit next to Holly at one of the tables that had been set up in the shade to watch the competitors. 

"Problems?" Haas asked mildly.

"Let's just say not all the events are to her liking," Magnus shrugged, not wanting to get into his personal affairs with the other man.

"Ah, yes. I seem to recall her lobbying against the boxing, but some of the donors, women especially, like seeing men beat each other bloody. And I try to give everyone a taste of what they want."

The first event was the boat race. The craft that they were to row was small for Magnus' large size, he found the oarlocks made his arms bend at an uncomfortable angle.

"This is not ideal," Haas observed, grimacing. "Leland and Sven rowed together on a team for their school, and still do at the club. Well, nothing to be done about it now."

It was not the best of beginnings. Considering the fact that Magnus and Haas had never rowed together, they did remarkably well, managing to beat every team except Leland and Sven, but the other men still managed to just edge them out to the finish line. Magnus was cursing himself internally as they rowed back over to the shore, trying to ignore the smug expressions on their opponents faces while the spectators clapped for them all. Everyone knew about the challenge, of course, and there was an air of excitement to the proceedings. The fact that they had lost the first event did not sit well with him.

Archery was next, his weakest skill of the quartet. It turned out, however, that he was not as poor a shot as he had feared. After the first heat, he and Haas were both advanced to the next round. Leland was as well, but his bulky friend did not fare so well. Magnus smiled as the block of a man threw down his bow in anger and stomped on it, breaking the wood. Also advancing were one other man and two ladies. And Sonja. He should have known that she would be good at the deadly sport. The smile that she gave him as took her place on the target line next to him made him want to shower. When she then turned slowly and gave Leland a long kiss, murmuring good luck when she was finished, the feeling was doubled. He knew she would have no real interest in the man, though of course they would have had sex at some point in their past. She just wanted to show her disdain for Magnus and Lanie. That was fine with him, he had no desire for her approval.

Haas was indeed an excellent shot, just as he had claimed. He had known from playing darts with the man that he had aim, and apparently the arrow was his missile of choice. Magnus was able to keep up for the next round when the targets were moved back, but on the third volley his arrow went just shy of the bullseye, landing in the next ring out. Fortunately, Leland's did as well, along with most of the others. It was down to Haas and Sonja for the final volley, and his host managed to just eke out a win by the width of an arrow head. Sonja pretended to take it in good grace, but Magnus knew she did not like to lose. He smiled widely at her and she stormed off in a huff, muttering under her breath.

"She wasn't too happy, was she?" Haas asked, smirking after her. "As a good host, I should probably have let her win, but I am a bit put out at her for upsetting Lanie that first night. And we are trying to prove a point today."

"Upset with her?" Magnus looked at him with disbelief. "You've been trying to break Lanie and I up the whole time!"

"Well, yes... but I would not hurt her to do it."

"Just me," Magnus suggested.

"Exactly," Erik agreed. "Come, the tests of skill are over. Time for brute strength."

This was more the part that Magnus had been looking forward to. It turned out that no one else was electing to participate in the tug of war, everyone instead interested to see what would happen between the challenged teams. Leland's partner was an ox of a man, broad shouldered and beefy. He anchored their side of the rope like a tree trunk. Leland himself was obviously no weakling. Magnus had taken him by surprise yesterday in the billiard hall, he would be ready today.

He had the feeling that Lanie was supposed to be the one to start the contestants, but as she was still sulking it was Holly who came forward. Giving a scowl towards Leland and Sven, then a saucy wink to Magnus and Haas, she gave the signal and jumped back as the men began to pull. Good lord, but the man on the other end of the rope was strong! Magnus could feel the chords in his arms strain as he dug his heels into the muddy earth and pulled with all of his might. Erik, veins standing out in his neck in front of Magnus, was giving it his all as well. Say what he would, Magnus could not deny that Lanie's boss was taking the slight to her seriously. Slowly, ever so slowly, the rope began to move in their direction. As the faces of all four men turned various shades of red, Magnus took a step back, feeling an overwhelming sense of accomplishment as he did so. The next step was even sweeter, as Leland inched inexorably closer to the puddle of mud in the center. One more step and they would have it. Hands tearing up from the coarse fiber of the rope, arm muscles screaming out with the pain, Magnus gave one final tug and the opposite team tipped forward to land with a splash in the mud. He had never heard such a sweet squelching noise in his life.

"Well," Holly said, coming up to give each of them a sweaty hug, "that was entertaining! Don't you think so, Lanie?"

Lanie was fighting hard to keep a smile off her face, but as Leland stood and began to curse out his block of a partner the corners of her mouth tilted up and she gave a little staccato laugh.

"That's my girl!" Magnus grinned, going over to wrap his grimy arms around her.

"Don't let him mess up your face, darling," she whispered into his ear, "it's the only reason I'm dating you besides your curls!"

Magnus laughed exuberantly, glad that she seemed to be over her pique, and planted a sloppy opened mouth kiss on her lips.

"As soon as this is over, lovely," he told her in a low voice, "you and I are going someplace so that I can have my way with you. Making me sleep next to you without access to your sweet cunt is cruel and unusual punishment."

"Whatever you say, detective," she smiled, biting her lip adorably.

"Alright, Leland," he called out, one arm draped around her shoulders. "No need to go through the formality of making Haas and Sven fight, why don't you and I get straight to it."

"I heartily approve of that," Erik said, looking at the hulking Sven.

"Oh, no, Martinsson," Leland said with a sneer. "I'm not fighting you. That's why I have Sven."

"But the whole idea," Magnus began.

"Is that I get to watch you beaten bloody," Leland finished for him. "Do you really think I'm such an idiot as to try and do it myself? Sven here is fighting champ at his club, four years running. I hope your little whore isn't too fond of your pretty face, she's not going to be seeing it for some time."

***

Lanie was not amused. While she did admit that settling a score via the games planned for the day was a far sight better than the general brawl that had almost broken out last night, she still did not particularly fancy the archaic idea of Magnus and Erik, of all people, fighting to defend her honor. And she was under no illusions that it would be a fight. Yes, there was no risk in the two-man events - rowing and tug-of-war - beyond to the men’s pride, and she doubted any of them would actually shoot one another with an arrow, but the boxing... it was going to be brutal. While not as tall as Magnus, Leland was much more broadly built and out weighed her boy by quite a bit. She did not doubt for a moment that it would be Magnus and Leland in the boxing ring. That was the whole point of this challenge, to give themselves the opportunity to pummel each other in a “gentlemanly” way. Gentlemen, she decided, were fundamentally stupid. 

Going a good way towards proving her point, Magnus could not understand why she was upset when they retired to his room. 

“I can defend myself, Magnus,” she had huffed when he simply stared at her in question. 

“I know that,” he insisted. “That’s not the point.”

”That is the point! The only reason he said anything about me was to goad you, and you let him do it!”

”This whole thing started because he said things about you. Earlier, in the billiard room. He was bragging about how he was going to get you alone and rape you, Lanie!”

”Well, that’s unarguably dreadful,” she admitted, shuddering. “But considering you are not letting me out of your sight, the chance of that happening are slim to none.”

”None,” he growled. “There is no chance of that happening. If so much as looks at you again I will kill him. I swear to god I will."

It had gone down hill rapidly from there.

She was cursing herself hours later as she lay there staring at the ceiling wishing for his hands, his mouth, his body on her. Yes, she was punishing him, but it was punishing her too! How could she be so angry at him and so desperate for him at the same time? It made no proper sense!

The next morning she woke grumpy from lack of sleep and still desperately aroused. Magnus had slept nude, of course, just to instigate her she was sure. Looking at his thrusting cock as he lay asleep she had longed to take it in her mouth and give him the kind of good morning that would set him smiling for the day. She had a point to make, though, and she was not quite ready to concede it. With a last longing look at the sculpted body laid out beside her just asking to be ridden, she climbed moodily out of bed and went down the hall to take a long, cold shower.

Her resolve had almost slipped again when she watched him tend to himself, eyes provactively staring at her as he stroked his length in front of her. He was so damn beautiful, it was profoundly unfair. The sight of him, the little slapping noises he was making, all urged her let go of her irritation and join him on the bed. She was beginning to break down when, with a low noise, he came into his hand with an erotic shower of white. It took everything she had not to suck it off of him, she was that horny from the display.

When they finally stomped down stairs, she had hoped Holly would be some back up for her, but to her annoyance, her friend seemed to find it romantic. Chivalrous, as she said. Lanie didn't think her eyes could roll any further back in her head.

Still, she had to admit that their was something thrilling about watching Magnus compete. She could tell that both he and Haas had a great deal of easy competence in the boat. It was only the established team work of the other two that allowed them to just nose ahead at the end. His concentration with the bow was also a joy to watch. The look of total focus was so intense and attractive, not even Sonja's presence and undeniable skill could dampen her enjoyment. She was glad that Erik beat the snake. Glad Magnus at least equaled Leland and bested the other. She might be angry at her boy, but she could never root against him.

"Morning ladies," Leland said, sauntering over to their table as Mags and Erik were distracted in conversation. She wasn't sure how he managed to make such a benign statement insulting, but he did it. Lanie sniffed and turned her head away.

"You're lucky I wasn't there last night," Holly said sweetly. "I don't have the restraint Lanie does. They would still be trying to remove my stiletto from your balls."

"Well, aren't you the feisty one," Leland smirked. "I'll tell you what, if you're little friend's too stuck up to play, I can roll around in the mud with you instead. I bet you like it dirty too."

Before they could respond he had strolled away, pleasant smile on his face.

"That's it," Lanie snapped, unable to deny the anger boiling in her any longer. "I want Magnus to flatten him."

"Oh, there's my girl!" Holly clapped. "Oh, they need someone to start them. Mind if I..."

"Be my guest," Lanie smiled at her friend.

It was inordinately satisfying to watch Leland and his thuggish friend fly facedown into the mud. Startled by her own sudden thirst for vengeance, Lanie guiltily followed Holly up and over to congratulate their champions. She was feeling a little silly for her over reaction, and was relieved and aroused when Magnus seemed willing to kiss and make up. The day might not end so badly after all. She would even allow herself to enjoy Leland's bloody comeuppance.

It was on that thought that she realized it was not Leland that Magnus would have to fight, but the thug. It was just her imagination, but she could have sworn a cloud passed over the sun.

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