Due to the sad turn the day had taken with the departure of Peter, Hannah, and Henry, the adults decided that it would be a good idea to do something special with the kids. Miles and Flora deserved a distraction, and Dani would have taken any excuse to spend more time with the children she’d hardly seen at all that weekend.
After Owen and Jamie helped the kids make ice cream from scratch in the kitchen - as well as let them eat it so early in the day - Dani offered to take them for a stroll around the garden. And since Jamie had some plants and flowers that needed her attention, it was the perfect opportunity for them to still be close to one another.
The kids raced off towards the far end of the yard, while Dani and Jamie took their time walking over. Their hands were linked, and Dani was letting the other woman know just how good of a job she had done cheering up the kids in the kitchen that morning. They were almost back to their normal selves already.
When they reached the children, Jamie placed a sweet kiss to Dani’s cheek before waving goodbye to Miles and Flora and heading into the garden. Dani watched her go, smiling at the women who made her ridiculously happy. Flora grabbed her hand.
“Something’s happened, hasn’t it?” she asked.
Dani stared down at her. “What do you mean?”
“You guys are acting more in love than usual,” she said, sounding exhausted over having to explain herself. “You guys told each other it wasn’t a game anymore, didn’t you?”
“Flora,” Dani started.
The little girl shook her head. “Don’t even try to lie about it because I heard Owen and Hannah talking in the kitchen this morning before Uncle Henry left. They said that you and Jamie had finally come to your senses.”
“Flora, you have got to stop eavesdropping,” Miles said, scolding his younger sister yet again over this bad habit of hers.
Dani nodded in agreement. “Flora, your brother is right. It’s not polite to listen in on other people’s conversations.”
“It’s not like I’m doing it on purpose,” she said, pouting. “They really do forget I’m there, you know.”
The au pair sighed, squatting down so that she was at eye level with the little girl. She placed a hand on her shoulder.
“You’re right, okay? Jamie and I have told each other that it isn’t a game anymore. So no more pretending. This is all just the truth.”
Flora celebrated loudly, throwing her hands into the air while Miles grinned. He looked just as happy as his younger sister did, despite being better at controlling his excitement. Dani laughed. If there was one person who wanted her and Jamie to get together more than she did, it was Flora.
“We’re both so happy for you, Dani,” Flora said, pulling her into a tight embrace that nearly tackled Dani to the ground.
“I can see that,” Dani replied, chuckling. “Thank you.”
God, how she had missed those kids.
Later on in the evening and after dinner had been eaten, Dani found herself itching for some alone time with Jamie. It wasn’t unusual for her to be touch-starved after how the last couple of days had gone for her, but once the kids were put to bed for the night, she saw no point in delaying the inevitable.
Dani reached for Jamie’s arm, gaining the gardener's attention from where she had been engaged in a conversation with Hannah. The housekeeper paid no mind to the interruption and swiftly joined in on a conversation with Judy and Edmund. Dani’s mom was currently in the cellar, fishing for a new bottle of wine with Owen’s help.
“What’s the matter, Poppins?” Jamie asked, one eyebrow raised in curiosity.
Dani bit her lip. “I, uh, was hoping the two of us could have some alone time. What do you think?”
Jamie’s gaze darkened almost instantly as she slowly nodded her head in agreement. “I think that sounds like a lovely idea. The kids asleep?”
“By now they should be out like a light,” Dani said.
“Think there’s any subtle way of excusing ourselves?”
Dani looked around the table, shrugging her shoulders. “Probably not. I don’t think anyone will mind too much, though. Once my mom comes back with the wine, nobody will even notice we’re gone.”
“You may be right about that,” Jamie said.
It was Dani who stood first, but nobody looked her way. However, when Jamie got to her feet as well, the conversation stopped and they had three pairs of eyes on them. Dani made a lame gesture towards the stairs.
“Um, I’m pretty beat. Today was a long day. I think I’m going to go to bed now,” she said, glancing at Jamie who began to nod profusely. “But you guys have fun, though.”
“I’m pretty tired, too,” Jamie added. “Did lots of gardening today.”
Nobody looked like they were buying it. Before things could get any more awkward than they already were, Dani walked away from the table and out of the kitchen. Jamie was following hot on her heels. They held hands tightly, remaining quiet until they had made it into their room before bursting into laughter.
“Did you see the look on Judy’s face?” Jamie asked, grabbing her side. “She knew exactly what we were sneaking off to do.”
“She’s probably envious of us. God knows when the last time she got laid was,” Dani said, knowing her and Edmund’s dad didn’t exactly have the most sensuous relationship after twenty-five years of marriage.
“I’m just happy your mum was busy for that. I don’t think I could have gotten up if she had still been there.”
Dani gave her an amused look. “You’re not starting to get intimidated by her now, are you? You were so good at keeping your cool around her.”
Jamie ducked her head. “Yeah, well, things changed once she stopped acting like a jerk. If she’s going to be fine about us, I don’t want to be on her bad side. I want her to like me.”
Dani pulled her closer to her by her hands, holding them softly. “That’s really sweet, you know that? I would have understood completely if you didn’t want anything to do with her after how she behaved the first half of her visit.”
Jamie smiled a smile that was just halfway, leaning forward to place a kiss on Dani’s lips. It was soft and sweet and reminded Dani of just how much elation she felt inside every time she was around the gardener. It was almost too good to be true.
“And just for the record, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like you,” Dani told her, leaning in for another kiss immediately after.
One thing led to another, and then they were suddenly on their bed, stripped of everything but their underwear. Dani had seen Jamie topless since their first time together when Jamie had remained fully clothed. She had the excessive drinking and numerous exhausting conversations that day to thank for that.
Other than a couple goes at second base and some light teasing, Dani hadn’t had the opportunity to give Jamie the same level of pleasure Jamie had so generously given to her. There was a promise in there somewhere about Jamie showing her the ropes to getting women off. How the gardener had become so good at it, Dani didn’t even want to know.
Dani put a hand on Jamie’s arm, stopping her from slipping her fingers into Dani’s underwear. If Jamie even touched her, Dani would lose all of her will power to try and get Jamie off first. She just knew it. Jamie gave her a puzzled look but drew back, clearly not wanting to do anything Dani wasn’t comfortable with.
“Everything okay, Poppins?” she asked.
Dani nodded. “Everything’s great. I just, um-” Dani exhaled in a laugh, trying to shake some of the sudden nerves away. “I was wondering if you could show me. Show me… what you like.”
It seemed to click in Jamie’s mind what she was trying to say because soon the gardener was raising her eyebrows in understanding. “Oh. That would be… Are you sure, Dani?”
“Of course I’m sure.”
Jamie smiled. “Okay.”
She turned over from her side so that she was now flat on her back against the bed. Dani hovered over her, staring down into her favorite eyes. Jamie brought her into a kiss, an eager one that Dani was struggling to keep up with. It wasn’t fair the things that Jamie could do with her tongue.
When their kiss broke, Dani began trailing her lips down Jamie’s body, leaving behind two or more love bites Jamie would easily be able to hide underneath her clothing. As she lingered on Jamie’s breasts, she watched the other woman squirm underneath her. It had become more than apparent Jamie had sensitive nipples, and Dani loved that. It seemed they both did.
As Dani’s lips fell over the soft curve of Jamie’s stomach, her hands worked to pull down the last piece of clothing on Jamie’s body. Dani sat up to admire Jamie’s body in its full exposure. It was her first time seeing another woman completely nude in her whole life. She wanted to brand the memory into her brain so that she would never forget it as long as she lived.
Jamie’s legs pressed together as she smiled shyly up at Dani. Dani looked away to meet the gardener’s gaze, her cheeks a little flushed herself. She hadn’t meant to stare, but Jamie’s body was a work of art. It took a lot of effort to finally draw her eyes away from her.
“You’re perfect,” Dani said, placing a hand on Jamie’s thigh.
The other woman laughed and looked away. “I’m not.”
Dani leaned forward to kiss her. “You are.”
Jamie swallowed thickly as the au pair pulled away. There was nothing more to be said on the matter. Dani continued from where she had left off and lowered herself back down onto the bed. Her hands gently nudged Jamie’s legs apart, opening her wide enough for Dani to see what she was doing. She looked up at the other woman from where she was positioned between her legs.
“So, how should I do this?” Dani asked, trying not to sound as nervous as she felt.
But Jamie’s eyes were glued to the ceiling and that helped a lot. “Um, you can start by teasing me a little. Just kissing… lightly.”
Dani nodded, leaning forward and pressing her lips softly against Jamie’s inner thigh. And when she was done with one, she moved on to the other. Jamie held her breath through most of it, raising her hips off the bed just slightly every time Dani’s lips made contact with her skin. The closer Dani’s lips got to her clit, the more she thought the gardener was going to snap.
“How’s that?” Dani asked after a good while, convinced that she had done so much teasing, Jamie would spontaneously combust if she didn’t supply her some relief.
Jamie sighed. “That was great. Really.”
“Now, you… you can taste me. With your tongue.” Jamie’s hands flattened out against the sheets as she spoke. “Long strokes. Up and down. Okay?”
No verbal response was needed. Dani understood exactly what to do. And as her tongue made that eager first stride along Jamie’s folds, she remembered the feeling of Jamie doing it to her, and how good it had felt. Jamie sucked in a breath. Dani counted the seconds in her head for how long it took for Jamie to release said breath. Almost a full ten.
She picked up the pace as she went along, enjoying the way that Jamie tasted on her tongue. With speed, came a bit of clumsiness, and without meaning to, Dani’s tongue peaked its way inside of Jamie. But when the other woman let out a low moan at the contact, Dani did it again. On purpose.
“Oh, god, that’s-” Jamie’s hips lifted off the bed to give Dani’s tongue more access to her. “That’s good.”
Dani could feel Jamie’s increasing arousal. It coated her tongue in a way that turned her on even further until she was positive her own underwear was soaked through. She reached a hand up to where her mouth was, tempted to slide one finger inside of Jamie. She pulled away, taking note of the way Jamie’s eyes were clenched shut now.
“Jamie, is it okay if I-”
“Yes,” Jamie answered, cutting her off in her breathless voice.
How she had known what Dani was going to ask with her eyes shut, Dani would never know.
The au pair gently pressed her finger inside of Jamie, watching it disappear with a fascination that spurred her on. And when Jamie’s hips bucked down against her hand, Dani knew she was enjoying the feeling. She began to move her finger in and out of her, sliding with ease. Jamie’s fists tightened around the bedsheets.
The au pair leaned in, ready to do whatever Jamie told her to. “Yeah?”
“Suck on my clit.”
It was a command. And a plea. And everything in the world Dani needed to hear to make sure she would be turned on her whole life. Without hesitance, she wrapped her mouth around Jamie’s clit, brushing her tongue over it in gentle flicks as she sucked in her cheeks. Her finger kept its pace from inside of Jamie. The gardener groaned desperately.
“That feels fucking amazing,” she said, throwing her head back into the pillows.
A rush of pride went through Dani as she continued fucking Jamie exactly as she’d been told. It was funny how arousing getting bossed around was when the orders were coming from Jamie. Dani knew that if it were anyone else, she would have already walked away.
Then Jamie’s hand fell to the back of Dani’s head, and it was all the au pair could do to keep from grinding herself down onto the mattress. There were no words for how turned on she was. She moaned at the action, letting Jamie know that not only was she okay with it, she was into it. Jamie pressed Dani closer to her.
“That’s it,” she breathed, moving her hips to meet Dani’s thrusts. “I’m close, Dani, I’m- fuck, I’m close.”
Then Jamie’s entire body locked, and Dani knew that was it. She could feel the other woman convulsing around her finger. It made her heart race. She supplied a few more gentle strokes of her tongue before pulling away to watch Jamie’s chest heave up and down. She thought for a second that maybe Jamie had been fucked to sleep, until she heard the deepened sound of her voice.
“Take off your underwear,” Jamie said, her head still flat against the pillows as she stared up at the ceiling.
Dani did as she was told, stripping herself of the garment before tossing it aside. She sat back on the bed, awaiting further instruction.
“Come here,” Jamie told her, and Dani began to move up the bed and into a lying down position beside Jamie. The gardener stopped her. “No. Come here.”
And then it became abundantly clear that Jamie wanted Dani’s thighs wrapped around her face, and she was too aroused and curious to argue. Then as she settled over Jamie’s face, anticipating that heavenly moment of relief, she wondered to herself how she had ever gotten so lucky. The last thing she could remember after Jamie buried her tongue between her thighs was her eyes rolling to the back of her head.
Dani woke up with a strange feeling in her chest the next day. It was the feeling of impending doom, and it really weirded her out. Jamie was gone when she woke up, which was already a bad start to her day. Then she went downstairs and saw that her mother, Judy, and Edmund were not at the table. Neither was Jamie. And Owen was missing from his place at the stove.
“Where is everyone?” Dani asked, accepting the steaming mug of coffee from Hannah.
The housekeeper sat down beside her. “Owen asked Jamie to go into town with him. He wouldn’t say why.”
“That’s weird. I wonder why she wouldn’t tell me she was leaving.”
Hannah chuckled. “You sound like you’ve been together for ages. Don’t worry, Jamie sounded the same way. She wanted me to make sure I told you she wouldn’t be gone long.”
Dani felt her cheeks grow warm. “Where’s everyone else?”
“The kids are still asleep. And after the way your guests drank last night, I wouldn’t be surprised if they slept past noon. There seems to be no end to your mother’s fun here.”
“I’m going to owe Henry a new wine cellar by the time she leaves.”
They drank their coffee and when the kids woke up, they ate oatmeal with blueberries. Dani couldn’t risk making something ambitious and screwing it up. She wasn’t exactly the best cook. By the time the kids had finished eating, her mother, Judy, and Edmund still had not come down. Hannah promised to take care of them while Dani went to teach the kids their school lessons for the day.
It was almost dinner time when Owen and Jamie returned. It wasn’t clear what they had gone into town for, but the look on Jamie’s face told Dani she would tell her all about it later. Owen got started on dinner immediately, and once they were all seated at the kitchen table together, the strange feeling in Dani’s chest grew sharper. She could no longer ignore it as successfully as she had been all day.
“So, I heard you guys had fun last night,” Dani said, sharing a look with Edmund.
He laughed. “I’m sure they had fun,” he said, gesturing towards Karen and Judy. “I woke up with a hangover. I don’t think I’ll be drinking for a very long time.”
“You can’t hold your liquor,” Judy told him. “You must get that from your father.”
Everyone at the table seemed amused by the conversation except for Dani’s mom. Karen was refusing to look her daughter’s way, which Dani noticed for the first time had been the case all day. Nothing had happened between the two of them that would lead Dani to believe she had done something wrong, but she could tell when her mother was bothered by something.
“Are you guys done?” Dani asked the kids, noticing their plates were nearly wiped clean.
Flora nodded. “Yes, I’m stuffed.”
“Can Flora and I go upstairs and play for a bit before bed?” Miles asked.
Dani smiled at them. “Of course you can. I’ll be up in an hour to say goodnight.”
With the kids gone, Dani felt more apprehensive about getting to the bottom of what was wrong with her mother. They had been having such a good time together lately, the thought of that being ruined was devastating. She tried not to think the worst, but she couldn’t help herself. Jamie reached for her hand.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she lied, giving Jamie her best attempt at a genuine smile.
Owen and Hannah stood from the table and began to clean the kitchen up. Dani and Jamie stood to do the same, but both were stopped by the sound of Karen’s voice.
“I need to talk to you both,” the older woman said.
The two shared a look before finding their seats again. Owen and Hannah glanced at the table but continued clearing the counters and washing the dishes. Dani looked at her mother, swallowing uncomfortably. Edmund and Judy looked like they had no idea what was going on, and they probably didn’t.
“Is everything okay, Mom?” Dani asked, attempting to keep her voice steady.
“No, Danielle. Not really.” Karen stared down at the table. “This afternoon, I left the house to look for Jamie. Nobody had told me she was in town with Owen yet. I wanted to apologize to her for my behavior in the beginning of my stay here.”
Dani wasn’t following, and from the looks of it, neither was Jamie. It was unusual that her mother would have thought to initiate an apology about anything, let alone one to Jamie. But Dani was warmed by the thought and wondered what could have so clearly changed her mind.
“I went into the greenhouse looking for her,” Karen continued, pausing as the room fell silent in anticipation. “This is what I found right by the entrance. Almost like it had been meant for me to see.”
She reached into her pocket, pulling out a small, wrinkled piece of paper and setting it onto the table. Dani didn’t recognize it. At first. And then she felt Jamie go stiff beside her and watched as her mother began to smooth the wrinkles out of it. Her eyes caught on Jamie’s scribbled handwriting. She could only make out a few lines from the messy scrawls.
Her favorite song is Wouldn’t It Be Nice by The Beach Boys. Her favorite color is orange. Her birthday is April 27th.
Dani’s stomach dropped.
“It didn’t take me long to put the pieces together,” Karen said, breaking the painful silence. “This is a cheat sheet. Notes for Jamie’s performance.”
“Karen, what in the world are you talking about?” Judy asked, looking at her best friend like she had grown a second head.
Karen fixed her with an even look. “Dani and Jamie have been lying to us this entire time. They’ve been pretending to be together just to fool us all. None of it was ever real.”