Secretary: Part Eighteen

By Darling Effect

“Are you ready yet, Wes? We’re going to be late!” Faith yells in the general direction of the bedroom. There's a muffled curse and she can't help but giggle. “Am I gonna have to come in there and drag you out?”

“This conversation sounds tiresomely familiar, Faith, although I daresay the situation is usually reversed,” comes the rather terse reply.

“Oh, stop prevaricating, Wes. You even choose a tie yet?”

“Don’t think that your choice in vocabulary is going to preclude my noticing your appalling tone of voice.”

“Counting on it. And, y’know, this place we’re going to is really, like, casual. You don’t even need a tie.”

“’Casual’?” He says the word like it has cooties.

"Yeah, casual. It’s a little different from the fancy-ass places you’re used to. But you can handle it. C’mon, shirt and jeans and let’s go!”

When he finally emerges from the bedroom, she can’t help but beam. “As much as I love you in suits, I have to say that you can really work a pair of jeans.”

“Why, thank you,” he grits out.

“Oh, come on. Don’t be like that. This’ll be fun. You remember fun?”

“I find fun vaguely traumatizing.” He looks dead serious but she can tell through his Long Island-via-London lockjaw that he’s suppressing a chuckle.

She rises on tiptoe to kiss his cheek. “That’s my Wes.” She steps back and gives a little twirl. “So, does my outfit meet with your exacting standards?” Much as she loves wearing Miu Miu and Marc Jacobs 24-7, she’s just as happy in her beat-up pair of vintage Levis and a cheapo drapey top she bought in her favorite slut-wear shop.

“If I told you that you look as adorable as ever, would you let it go to your head?” he asks, crossing his arms over his chest and looking her over appreciatively.

“Possibly,” she replies coyly, fluttering her eyelashes and waiting for the swat of his hand on her ass. But his attention is already elsewhere. He’s grabbed his coat and has her beloved Miu Miu coat draped delicately over one arm.

“You’re so single-minded when you’re nervous. It’s cute,” she chides him. “But then, you’re so single-minded pretty much all the time.”

She gets a smirk for that comment. “Am I going to have to tip you over my knee beforewe’ve even got to the restaurant, my darling?” he asks, holding her coat open so she can slip her arms into it.

“Aren’t we running late?”

“Oh, but we’re never too late for that.” He smiles slowly. “And anyway, wouldn’t your friends approve?”

“Well, yeah, although they’d be sorry to have missed out on all the fun…”

“Well, we could engage in some participatory activities after dinner, perhaps,” he adds coolly, totally deadpan, taking her arm in his and guiding her towards the door.

“Damn, Wes. Living with me has loosened you up. Maybe too much, “ she laughs.

“You know I prefer to keep you all to myself.”

“I sure do. Speaking of which, have you given Rupert my regards recently?”

“Oh, he asks after you all the time…”

“Really? How …in-ter-esting,” she sing-songs, eyes sparking with only-slightly-feigned curiosity.

“You’re skating on increasingly thin ice, Faith,” he drawls, patting her playfully on the ass and propelling her towards the door.

“Yeah, yeah,” she retorts, bounding ahead of him to grab the door and yank it open. “I’m setting a tone so get used to it. I don’t get you out of the house or the office enough, dammit, and you’re gonna have fun if I have to…”

He doesn’t let her finish that statement. “I can tell you’re going to be a handful tonight, Faith. I’d best keep you away from the champagne.”

“You just try, Wes!” she yells back, as she runs ahead out into the hall, toward the elevator.

Once they’re in the elevator, he pushes her up against the wall, wrapping his arms around her. “Are you determined to be a handful this evening, my willful girl?”

He brushes her hair back and leaves these devastating little kisses along the taut line of her neck.

“Can’t lie to you when you’re… mm… doing that,” she says, a little breathlessly.

“But even you must admit that you’re being frustratingly evasive,” he adds, between even more kisses.

“Yes. I mean, no. I mean, dammit, Wesley!”

He chuckles softly. “Have I told you that I love you today, Faith?” he asks as he’s pushing her top up with restless fingers, letting them brush slowly over the thin material of her gauzy bra, and she’s arching into his touch.

She giggles. “How could you forget, Wes? It was in the shower, right after you fucked me up against the tiles—“

“Ah, yes. It's all coming back to me now.”

The elevator grinds to a halt and they rush to rearrange themselves before old Mrs. Devlin —who walks her little drowned-rat dog every night at the same time, like clockwork— sees something she shouldn’t.

“Good evening,” Wes says pleasantly, nodding in her direction.

She smiles broadly, and a little vacantly, before she steps into the elevator, dog trotting jauntily behind.

They spend the rest of the short ride in silence, giving one another meaningful little looks as Mrs. Devlin’s dog glares at them.

By the time they hail a cab going downtown, Faith is chiding Wes that they’ve never managed to actually fuck in the elevator, knowing only too well that he's going to take it out on her ass — she's counting on it.

Instead though he gives her a long-suffering look, which she can’t remember ever having seen before.

“Where are we going again, Faith? You’ve been awfully cagey.”

“You don’t like being surprised, do ya, Wes?” she teases, jabbing him in the ribs.

“Not unless I’m the one doing the plotting, no. “

“I rest my case.”

“You think it’s that simple?”

Wes stops Faith’s line of questioning by kissing her ardently, quietly unzipping her jeans and slipping his fingers between her legs.

“We’ve done this before, though, Wes,” she whispers.

He pauses. “Are you saying I’m getting predictable, Faith?”

She doesn’t really answer, because she’s concentrating on holding back a moan. That’s all the answer he needs, really. They get to the restaurant eventually, despite the fact that the cabbie practically runs the cab aground on the sidewalk trying to ogle them in the rear-view mirror.

The Bowery isn’t all flophouses and dive bars anymore. They’re meeting Spike and Dru at this drab-seeming little hole-in-the-wall that reveals itself to be cozy and chic once they’re inside. Nevertheless, to say Wes looks out of his element would be the understatement of the century. Faith peers around, a bit nervously, only to spot Spike and Dru at a corner table. She waves.

“Dearheart,” Dru says fondly and opens her arms to Faith.

“Dru! It’s so good to see you.” Faith hugs her, and kisses both her cheeks.

“Spike.” She wraps her arms around him too as she catches Wes’ reflection in the mirror that’s behind them. He doesn’t look especially pleased.

“Love,” Spike says, kissing her on the cheek. ”He treating you right?” he whispers in her ear.

“So right,” she whispers back, with no hesitation and the world’s biggest smile on her face. She doesn’t flash the engagement ring yet because it’s not yet time and she doesn’t want to make Wes uncomfortable.

“Good. Because I worry. And you’re too far away to keep proper tabs on.”

She laughs. “There’s really nothing to worry about.“

“Well, you look positively radiant.”

“Now you’re going a bit far.”

“Not at all.”

“You keep whispering sweet nothings in my ear and Wes might get a little jealous.”

“Really? Well, then… You look wonderfully well-fucked. There’s a glow about you…”


He chuckles softly. “I’ll be good. Promise.” But the puckish smile he gives her says something else entirely.

Wes clears his throat. Faith steps back, pointedly slipping her arm through his.

“Spike, Dru, I’d like you to meet Wes.”

Wes shakes Spike’s proffered hand, a little awkwardly, and kisses Dru’s cheek perfunctorily, not prolonging contact any longer than he has to. When they all sit down on opposite sides of the table Faith can sense a certain unease emanating from him. She leans close against him, squeezing his hand, and he relaxes just a fraction.

“Shall I order drinks?” Spike asks, flagging down the first waitress who passes by.

It’s New York City, so they don’t card. Faith gets the house special —something called a French Kiss that has pretty much everything but the kitchen sink in it. Wes sticks to Scotch, and Spike and Dru split one of those lethal, death-by-kitsch Scorpion Bowls that come complete with parasols and giant wedges of pineapple. As they sit in slightly less-than-companionable silence, Faith prays for early inebriation.

As the long minutes drag on, it’s up to her to break the silence. “So, what brings you two here?” she asks, her feigned perkiness barely covering up her nervousness. “When Dru told me you’d be visiting, she was kinda short on specifics.”

Dru waves her hand dismissively. “Well,” she starts off, throatily. “Supposedly it’s for this silly coiffure convention. Work stuff. But we’ve got some other things going on.” She stares down her lashes at Wes. “I’ve got a little performance lined up for tonight. We’d love for both of you to join us.”

“Oh. That’d be lovely.”

“Yes, lovely,” Wes parrots, without much conviction. Then his curiosity gets the better of him and he asks, “What sort of performance?”

Dru’s eyes light up at the question. “Well, it’s a little bit Cosey Fanni Tutti, and a little bit Annie Sprinkle. It’s a new mode for me, totally different from—“

Cosi Fan Tutte? I love that opera. So lyrical…” Before Wes can wax nostalgic on his favorite arias, Dru cuts him off.

“Are you familiar with COUM Transmissions? Late 70s performance art, validating sex work and taking back the public spectacle of the female body? I took that as inspiration, updated with a post-feminist approach…”

“Ah. That sounds like a lot of rhetorical justification. Or, to be blunt, A-level wank.” Wes locks eyes with Dru, his expression flat, but there’s a spark of amusement in his eyes.

Dru laughs sharply, clearly surprised to hear such a barb emerging from someone with Wes’ apparently reserved demeanor. “You’re absolutely right. Well, then—“ She leans in close to Wes, a little conspiratorially. “I’m going to set a girl on fire.”

Faith’s French Kiss goes down the wrong way and she splutters helplessly for what seems like a small eternity before she can say, “What?!”

Dru smiles slyly. “You’ll just have to come and see.”

“You gave the milk away for free, pet,” Spike drawls from the corner, a bit the worse for wear after three-quarters of a Scorpion Bowl and god knows what else before they’d even gotten there.

“Hush, Spike,” Dru hisses. “I did nothing of the sort.”

“I’m just saying.”

“And, as usual, it’s sound and fury, signifying nothing,” replies Dru, sourly.

“Oh, don’t be like that, sweetheart. ‘S going to be beautiful, I know it will. I’m just drunk is all. Don’t mind me…” He struggles to light his cigarette, in flagrant disregard for the no smoking sign, finally succeeding and blowing an aggressive plume of smoke across the table, directed right at Wes. "Looks like you're keeping our Faith in fine form, Wes. So, tell me —you don't have any plans to break her heart again do you? 'Cause I have to say, I'd be a little cross."

Spike!” Faith grabs his arm. “Don’t you fucking dare talk about me like I’m not even here. And how could you even say that here, now? What is fucking wrong with you?“ She’s just about ready to throttle him but holds back when she sees Wes’ reaction.

Wes barely moves. Just sits there, completely still. All his anger is coiled up, but when he speaks his voice is even and calm. "Spike. As we’ve only just met I feel compelled to tell you, quite bluntly, that were I to have plans of any sort I wouldn’t share them with you. I know you’re only looking out for Faith’s best interests, as I imagine you don’t have the best impression of me, but I would appreciate a modicum of tact and civility at this table. We all seem intent on ruining this evening as quickly as we possibly can. I don’t really think that’s what any of us intended, do you?”

Dru falls just short of clapping her hand over Spike’s mouth, instead stilling him with her hand on his arm. “Spike here gets a little …excitable when he’s in his cups. You wait and see: in two hours he’ll be apologizing and begging your forgiveness. Isn’t that right, my sweet?” she asks prettily, throwing Spike a pointed glare.

He stubs out the cigarette. “Not going to apologize. And I know what it looks like —that I’m a tactless arsehole. And yeah, Faith looks really happy. I just want to hear it from you. ”

Now Wes looks like he’s going to punch Spike’s lights out. “Why don’t you ask Faith, Spike? Since you obviously don’t trust me…”

Faith intervenes before a punch is thrown. “Jesus Christ, would both of you just stop it? You’re acting like three year olds! No, three year olds would have better manners. Spike. Apologize or I’m going to kick your fucking ass.”

“I deserve that, yeah. Put my foot in it. Didn’t mean to. Well, yeah, I did. But I just wanted to make sure that—“

“Listen to me, okay, Spike? I cannot believe you’re asking me to justify my, what? ‘Lifestyle choices’ or whatever the fuck, because that is really fucking rich coming from you! But you’re drunk and I know deep down, somewhere, you actually mean well. So I’ll let you in on a little secret, even though you don’t deserve it.”

She flashes her engagement ring and Dru lets out a little gasp.

“Oh, my darling, how wonderful! I’m so happy for the both of you!” She leaps out of her seat to kiss Faith’s cheek. She hugs Wes too. He doesn’t stop her, but looks more than a little unnerved by her gesture of familiarity.

“Wes asked me when I came here in January. But I didn’t want to tell you both until I was more settled in.” She takes Wes’ hand and gives it another squeeze.

Spike looks a little weary, but he smiles. “Would you accept my heartfelt congratulations, Wes? I mean it.”

“I would, Spike. Thank you.” Wes raises his now nearly empty glass of Scotch by way of a toast.

“You got that wrong, y’see, Wes. I do believe I’m s’posed to toast you.”

“That’s quite all right, Spike. I think you’ve done enough.”

“You’re not wrong. Well, then. Cheers, mate,” he says as he shakily hoists the Scorpion Bowl.

That coaxes a sliver of a smile out of Wes —the first one Faith has seen since they sat down. “That was definitely the least dignified toast I’ve ever seen.”

Spike shrugs. “I was forced to improvise with the materials at hand. ‘Sides, it’s the thought that counts, yeah?” He fishes the damp paper parasol out of the bowl and holds it aloft. “Pretend this is a white flag…”

Dru rolls her eyes and whispers across the table to Faith: “See? He is apologizing.”

Faith elbows Wes.

“Thank you, Spike. I appreciate that,” he says, as he takes the parasol and twirls it absently.

Inwardly, Faith is incredibly relieved, because at least she’s changed the timbre of the conversation. Although, really, it didn’t have anywhere to go but up considering how low it had sunk.

And things are actually a little better after that. Spike is on good behavior —or maybe just insensate from the drink, it’s hard to tell. Faith and Dru start gossiping and Wes probably finds out more than he’d ever want to know about certain bigwigs in town and their preferred sex practices, thanks to Dru’s new part-time sideline as a domme.

“The New York Times business section? Really?” Faith asks, a bit incredulous.

“Every week.” Dru giggles. “I think the poor boy is a bit conflicted about working in the financial sector, no?”

“I’m going to thank my lucky stars that I’ll never have another meeting with him,” Wes quips. “Please, Dru, don’t go on.”

“Oh, it’s rather amusing, don’t you think?”


“Oh, really, now. You can have a laugh at these things.”

Wes is dismissive. “Not my strong suit.”

“But it’s just sex. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything and nothing.”

“Of those last two, I’d have to choose the former.”

She turns to Faith. “Is he always so serious? My.”

Faith laughs. “Not when I got him stoned when we were at the beach that one time…”

“Although I am apparently the most uptight stoned person Faith has ever seen.”

“I believe it,” Spike mutters.

“Spike! Shut it,” Dru grits out.

“Yes, my sweet,” he replies, sarcasm dripping from every syllable.

Dru just ignores him, her attention still fully on Wes. She takes his hand and opens it, tracing her finger slowly down the long line running from the joint of his thumb nearly to his wrist. “You have such an intensity about you —a very physical authority. But until very recently you were completely out of step with your own wants. But you’re different now, more …centered.” She pauses. “I’m glad Faith didn’t let you get away. It would have been …such folly. For you both.”

Wes practically snatches his hand back. “I’m quite delighted that Faith proved herself both as heroically determined and as persistent as she was.” He doesn’t sound annoyed, just a little unnerved. Dru seems to have quite an effect on him.

Faith can’t resist needling him, just a little. “Wanted to fly up here and kick your oblivious ass, Wes.”

“You got your chance, didn’t you?”

“Come to think of it —no. Someday, Wes —payback’s going to be a bitch.”

“I can arrange for a little addition to this evening’s performance schedule this evening if you like,” Dru adds, sweetly.

“Uh, I don’t think—“

Wes cuts her off. “Thank you for that tempting offer, but no.”

“Well, you are at least going to join us, yes?” she asks, her voice innocence personified.

“Oh, c’mon Wes. Don’t be …uptight.”

“I think you’ll see just how …uptight… I can be once I get you home.”

She links her arm in his and whispers in his ear: “I’m counting on it, Wes.”


The club is underground. Tiny. Dark. All bluish, recessed lighting and people striking artfully contrived poses. There’s a tiny stage in the back and already there’s an arcane ritual being performed. Or, at least, arcane to Faith’s eyes. It involves long, thin needles and a woman who looks pierced enough already. Dru won’t be on for a while yet, but she’s disappeared with Spike into the backstage area —leaving a slightly stunned Faith and Wes to ponder the truly mind-boggling inappropriateness of some of the nudity on display. Maybe the bad lighting is a mercy after all.

Who knew simulated sex acts could be so dull? Or spanking for that matter? Faith's about to go into a boredom coma and Wes is lost in his third (or is it fourth?) Scotch. The one reprieve is the Bettie Page look-alike who does an ingenious, charming strip-tease to “If I Knew You Were Coming, I’d Have Baked You a Cake,” which —despite being wholly out of place— is a delightful surprise.

“This is possibly the least erotic spectacle I have ever seen,” Wes mutters to her.

“Oh, and sure enough, we got the raincoat brigade, ten o’clock,” Faith points out.

Wes sighs heavily. “When is Dru going on again?”

Finally, after what seems like a small forever, even if it’s not precisely that, Dru takes the stage. She’s elegant but serious as she turns to face the small crowd. She’s put her hair up in chopsticks, twisted into a chignon. She’s elegant in a black corset and skirt, tall boots. Very no-nonsense. A girl follows behind her. She’s light to Drusilla’s dark —very American looking, all broad features with strawberry blonde hair that falls in graceful waves down her back. But her look is serious and her eyes are downcast. She doesn’t turn towards the audience, but keeps her back to them. She kneels, slipping her kimono slowly off of her shoulders while Dru watches appreciatively.

The kimono finally drops to the floor, revealing two wings tattooed across the broadest part of her shoulder blades, ending at the narrow of her back. They look like something you’d find on a headstone, or in an Edward Gorey book —all delicate, fussy, cross-hatched lines. They’re beautiful, and when Dru’s fingers brush along the girl’s skin she flinches slightly, giving them the appearance of movement.

Dru stands before her, cupping her chin and forcing her to look into her eyes. “Are you ready?”

She doesn’t speak, just nods.

“Good, Justine. Now, stay very, very still.”

There’s a small table at the side of the stage. Faith can’t see what’s on it, save for a small blue bowl. Dru dips a cloth into the bowl, then proceeds to daub the liquid generously along the girl’s back until she’s covered with a sheen of it.

Dru quickly grabs for something else on the table and Faith realizes it must be a matchbox because —a split-second later— a flame flares up and Dru touches it to the girl’s back.

There’s an intense burst of heat and blinding flash of red and gold and it takes a second for Faith to realize that the entire exposed expanse of flesh of the girl’s back has burst into flame. And yet she doesn’t flinch, doesn’t move a muscle —just stays as still as a statue, which must take incredible will-power.

Everyone’s holding their breath and it seems time has slowed down to nothing. It’s agonizing and magical, scary and beautiful. Faith doesn’t move for fear of jinxing it somehow, of upsetting a delicate balance.

Mere seconds later, it’s over. Dru extinguishes the flames with soaked towels, patting them down the girl’s back with great speed. Once the flames are doused, Dru kneels down, covering her with the kimono. She opens her arms so Justine can collapse exhaustedly against her, kissing her forehead tenderly. If all the sex tourists in the audience are waiting for something else —something outsized and Girls Gone Wild— they don’t quite get it; the kiss they see onstage is such a small thing, too intimate. Faith turns away, a little uncomfortable. She leans against Wes, who puts his empty glass down on the bar and merely says, “Let’s go.”


He’s silent in the cab ride and doesn’t even deign to make any advances in the elevator. She’s seen him withdrawn before, to be sure, but this is something new. He’s quiet, still. She doesn’t think he’s plotting some elaborate, devious torment for when they get home, because he doesn’t have that gleam in his eyes. She knows that gleam all too well, but when she kicks off her shoes and flops down on the couch next to him, it’s nowhere to be found.

She rests her head on his shoulder and he lets her. But that’s all. She doesn’t like not being able to read him. But she’s going to try.

“You found all that sorta …distasteful, didn’t you?”

“It was something of a vaudeville spectacle, a bit ridiculous. Not for public display.”

“But you make a public display of me sometimes, Wes. Don’t see you finding that too distasteful.”

“Yes, but that’s between the two of us, ultimately. “

“Yeah, I suppose. And, well, Dru’s just kinda dramatic that way I guess. Big gestures with her, but you don’t notice because —she’s got a sort of quiet grace. She can get away with a lot because of it, you know?”

“I wasn’t speaking of her performance. But everything else was slightly repellent, not to mention, quite dull.” He pauses. “Well, except for Bettie.”

“C’mon, tell me it got you a little hot. Your secret’s safe with me.”

“Is it really?” He actually arches a fucking eyebrow at her. Then he sighs and leans back against the couch. “Not a secret.”

“Try me.” She touches his shoulder. It’s funny how faraway he seems right then, how remote.

“I’m not sure I liked Spike’s —familiarity with you. Struck me as rather proprietary.” His voice is curt, like he can barely get the words out. “Presumptuous. I know why he acted like he did, Faith, but I found it very difficult to deal with—“

“He’s a friend, Wes. He and Dru looked out for me. They were there when I needed them.”

“And I wasn’t.” He looks away form her, staring off into the distance, obviously demoralized and more than a little uncomfortable.

“I’m not blaming you, dammit! We’ve had this discussion, Wes, and we’re done with all that. It’s in the past, okay? I’m just saying… Look at me, Wes. Please.”

He doesn’t. “You never really told me what happened that night—“

“Is that what this is, Wes? Some lingering jealousy on your part? Is that why you could barely be civil to them for most of the night? I’ve never seen you like this!”

“I’m not jealous, Faith. Curious? Envious? I don’t know. When you told me, told me that you’d slept with them, that they were a couple, I told myself not to worry about it. That it was just therapeutic for you, contact comfort when you needed it, nothing more. But meeting them tonight, I’m not so sure any longer. And whenever I think of it, I remember how fraught our relationship was at the time, how unhappy we were and how desperate I was to preserve our friendship. I didn’t want to push you or impose or—“

“You didn’t push or impose. If anything, I was doing all the pushing. And pulling. And prodding. Wasn’t going to let go of you so easily, Wes, you know that. And yeah, I needed the kind of comfort they were all too willing to offer me, Wes. I’ll admit that. But all it did was remind me how right we were together. Not apart, trying to keep things strictly platonic and failing miserably, but together. They saw that too, and it helped, you know? Helped me through this dark, fucked-up time in my life because they listened to me and validated all the shit I was going through. Do you see what I’m saying, Wes? I’m sorry you felt threatened, or whatever, but there’s no need—“

“I never felt threatened, Faith. No. Hurt. Because there was so little keeping me together then. I threw myself into my work utterly. I didn’t leave the office for weeks on end. When you told me you’d had this little …interlude… and I was —shattered. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was unhealthily obsessed with the very idea. And every time I imagined the scenario—Dru’s mouth on you, her hands all over your beautiful body— I couldn’t do anything but watch helplessly, like some furtive voyeur. You weren’t mine any more. And that revelation was unbearable.”

“Didn’t seem so unbearable when you wrote to me with that little fantasy of yours. That got me so fucking hot, Wes, you know it did…“

He’s not really listening to what she’s saying, he’s so lost in his own reverie.

“You weren’t in control of it. That bothers you, doesn’t it?” She touches his arm, gently, but it doesn’t bring him closer.

“It’s complicated. It was something precious of yours. None of my business, not then—“

“You’re right. It wasn’t. Just like I haven’t asked you—“


“Why the fuck not, Wes? It’s true, isn’t it? We weren’t together. Don’t have to dissect every mistake we made. Or didn’t make. Whatever, Wes! I told you then and I’m telling you now: I’m not blaming you. Don’t make me a liar.”

“No,” he says so quietly she almost doesn’t hear it. “I’m sorry. “

She leans across his body to kiss him, lingering quietly, almost chastely on his lips before pulling away and forcing him to look at her. “And I’m sorry you didn’t have a good time. I think we were all on edge and—“

“I didn’t even see that other girl. You were the one onstage with her. Bowing down, pale and resplendent under the lights, wings cascading gracefully down your back. Those tense few seconds as the fire flared up, burned bright, I could see your face shift from anticipation to beatific ecstasy to fear to relief when she doused it finally. As she wrapped your shivering body in a kimono, covering your nakedness, and you fell into her arms, shaking like a leaf, this look passed between the two of you. Of recognition, of care, kindness.”

He pauses, swallows. “I let it go. It’s yours, Faith.” He sounds a little regretful.

“It’s ours, Wes. Ours. Because you’ve told me, and it’s really kinda beautiful, you know?” Suddenly she smiles mischievously. “So, what you’re really saying is: you want me to get another tattoo?”

“You could certainly choose to interpret it that way.”

She rises up to straddle his hips, slipping her arms around his waist as she does so. “You want me to get it on with another girl while you get to watch?”

“Again, it’s all a matter of creative interpretation.”

“C’mon, Wes. You pretend you’re all rarefied and shit, but really you’re like every other red-blooded American —uh, British— male out there. I think I know the answer to that question.”

He laughs —the first relaxed, genuine laugh she’s heard all evening. “Well, since the other girl is nowhere to be found this evening, shall we test-drive Son of Mr. Bunny instead?”

She looks at him rather coyly from beneath her lashes. “Gotta admit, I test-drove him right off the lot, Wes.”

“Really? I don’t recall approving such an action, my impetuous, wanton darling.” He brings his hand down firmly on her ass. She squirms against him, giggling the whole time, but he holds her fast. “I suppose you expect some form of punishment for your admission?”

She whispers hotly in his ear. “Long as I get fucked eventually, Wes. Yeah, I do.”

“You’ll not be disappointed, then. On your knees, Faith. Now, I’m curious if you recall how to unzip these jeans with your teeth…”

Part Nineteen

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