For Julia, the evening seemed to drag on almost endlessly. Unfortunately, she couldn't just up and leave. It was the Conservative Party's annual black and white ball, a fixture in the calendar of every important MP member. Since she ran for Prime Minister, it hadn't just been particularly important to her. No, she also was the central figure this year. Without a doubt, the who-is-who of financiers, tycoons and conservative activists would rub shoulders, while the party pampered them in the hope of relieving them of some of their money in the process. This was the reason why Julia was constantly drifting between tables and groups of powerful men, all of them in the hope to either get her or a piece of her power. She had accepted the advances and had been the charming hostess of the evening. Nonetheless, it didn't change the fact that Julia dreaded this event every year. There was no denying that she knew how to charm a few thousand Pounds out of some financiers pockets, she had done it often enough in the past. But like every year, she could not help but see the leering looks some of these men. There was nothing she could do about it. She could hardly tell a millionaire who was about to donate half a million Pounds to the party to get lost. It simply was part of the deal, as much as she hated it.
By the time the evening had peaked, she and other members of the Parliament had been auctioned off, she had started counting the time in glasses of champagne she had already indulged.
The auction itself had gone smoothly and her experience event, as the party called it, had come under the hammer with the considerable amount of 200,000 Pounds. The highest bidder had been none other than a newly-wealthy businessman who was handsome, she supposed. She hadn't been especially interested. However, she couldn't help but notice, how other women had been like bees around a honeypot. When he had won the event, which comprised an afternoon of being able to go horseback riding with the RH Julia Montague, the very same women had glowered at her.
Subsequently, she had spent some time with the man in question and found out that he had been doing horseback riding professionally up until a few years ago and seemed to be the first person, she didn't immediately want to run away from. The chat with him had been a pleasant one. He was intelligent and remotely interesting. Compared to his competitors in the auction, she was glad he had come out on top. Even though she would rather prefer spending the time with a certain someone instead, it had been the least terrible choice. Quite the contrary, the afternoon she would spend with the businessman, might turn out to be a pleasant distraction from the political circus.
At some point, though she had excused herself and had wanted to get another glass of champagne when she ultimately got caught in the clutches of an ancient man that had been ogling her all night and the one person she had determinedly been trying to avoid. Aloysius Barge was notoriously conservative, even for the party's standards. And he was even more adamant on giving everyone an ear bashing who was within sight. In his deep baritone voice, he kept droning on and on about past experiences with campaigns and how he had had the pleasure of meeting Winston Churchill. Julia remained quietly polite and pretended to listen to him, but kept glancing wistfully towards the bar. When she eventually saw Rob MacDonald coming into their direction, she took the chance and managed to get him wrapped up in a discussion with the old man. This would kill two birds with one stone, she thought relieved. She would have both of them off her back.
“If you'll excuse me, sir” she bid farewell to them, bit back a smirk at the helpless look on Rob's face and turned away to finally make the beeline towards the bar.
She now needed a drink more than ever. The time seemed to have slowed down even further if that was at all possible. This evening would last forever, she contemplated sullenly. Right now, she had a particularly hard time to keep the frustration of being stuck in here under control. She had managed to gloss over her foul mood with what the media called the “Julia Montague glamour”, a mixture of her charm, the fact that she had spent weeks reading up on all the important people and her witty tongue, for most of the night, particularly when Mr Barge had trapped her.
The bar she was now heading towards, was conveniently situated close to one of the exits. This particular exit was protected by none other than PS David Budd. It was easy to talk to him while nursing a glass of wine. She sighed, ignoring the chat behind her and enjoyed David's eyes darting in her direction. The Louboutin pumps she had chosen for the night were ridiculously high and were slowly but surely killing her feet. The black dress she had chosen for the night was tighter than the usual clothes she wore. It hugged her body beautifully. It had knee length, was sleeveless and had an oval neckline. Secretly she had chosen it just to see David's reaction when he saw her in it. She had not been disappointed. The minute she had stepped out of her apartment, her clutch in hand, she felt his gaze on her. The sway of her hips had been just a tad more just for him. Even now, only a few metres away from him she could feel his eyes secretly roaming over her body.
She thanked the barman, took her wine and eased her way towards her PPO. He watched her intently, unable to hide the curiosity in his eyes. As hard as he tried to stay professional, she saw it. But there was more than mere interest in his actions. Was it possible that he was a bit jealous of Andrew McIntyre, the highest bidder from her auction?
“Evening, sergeant” she replied with an official tone in her voice while taking a sip of her wine, enjoying its taste on her tongue.
“Ma'am”, came his reply, eyes still straight ahead observing the people in front. Julia followed his gaze and tried to remain just professional. It might look suspicious if she stood around her PPO for too long. The prospect of mingling with the rest of the crowd until the early hours made her shudder. There really wasn't any reason why she couldn't leave, was there? She did her job and got more than enough financial support for her campaign. Most people were too inebriated anyway and simply wanted to have fun now. She took another swallow of her wine and lowered voice so that only David could hear her. “I need you to get me out of here, David. If I have to go back to those brainless imbeciles again, I might just do or say something I would regret later.”
David peaked a quick glance at her before he trained his eyes back to people they were talking about. “Oh, to me it looked like you were enjoying yourself well enough with that one bloke” he mumbled back, just as determined on keeping his professional facade up. He still couldn't help but let his jealousy get the best of him just for a second.
“Andrew? Don't be ridiculous. He won the auction and was the only man in the entire room who wasn't completely dimwitted.” her eyes wandered over to Rob and with a bit of satisfaction she noticed that he was still talking to Mr Barge. As endearing as she found David's jealousy though, and as much as she would have loved to continue flirting with him for the rest of the evening. Instead of going back in the lion's den, she now had had other plans.
“Are you going to get me out of here or not?” she queried unable to keep a hint of irritability out of her voice.
“I am not sure that's wise, Ma'am” David noted. He knew that getting the most important person out of a highly protected event was very risky and would have to be done quickly, if at all. The other part of him had secretly hoped for this evening to end sooner rather than later, so he could spend some time with his secret lover. So, he was torn between excitement and concern.
“Please, David. I just need to get out of here.” Julia had finally dropped the pretence and almost begged him at this point. She usually wasn't one for asking other people to do something for her. But this was one thing she could not do herself. She needed and wanted him for this. On top of that, there wasn't much time left until her wine was empty and people would notice her standing by the exit, still talking to her bodyguard.
“Go outside and then to the end of the corridor. Wait for me there. I will get your coat and take you away from here”, he finally replied after doing another routine check around the room, to see if anyone was watching them. Julia downed the rest of her wine in one and set the now empty glass on the nearest table.
“Thank you”, she whispered relieved and slipped out of the ballroom. Another quick check later, David had exited the room himself and had gone to collect her coat and had notified the other PCs of Julia's wish not to have any more security tonight. He also informed them to let her driver know that she was in no need for his services tonight. She would use one of the hotel rooms tonight. This wasn't true, strictly speaking, but it was the only way to get his girlfriend off the secret-services radar for tonight.
Meanwhile, Julia had made it to the end of the hallway and had taken off her shoes. At this point, she didn't care who saw her. Her feet felt numb. She would have to put them back on, but just for the moment, she needed a break from her stilettos. The cold floor felt soothing under her sore soles. The silence in the hall felt almost deafening to her ears. It must have been only minutes she had been standing there. Nevertheless, Julia grew just a tiny bit anxious. Rationally, she knew nobody would come out here. She also knew that David would find a way to get her out. Still, she kept glancing up the hall for either a sign of him or of somewhere else. Just then she first heard, then saw David approaching at a smart pace. She put on her heels again and wished, she had brought a pair of ballerina flats.
He lead her through a door and down a stairwell, his hand at the small of her back. Shortly before they had reached the exit, David stopped her by holding her hand. He was just as tense as her, anxious to finally get out of this building and as far away from those upper-class people as possible.
They were completely alone now, almost entirely engulfed by darkness and quietness, excepting for the emergency power and their breathing.
“You look absolutely beautiful tonight” he murmured, eyeing her appreciatively for the umpteenth time tonight. Julia smiled at him and felt hot under his gaze. She loved how he always made her feel wanted and appreciated, not just for her body like those men up there. He wanted her.
“Well, I am glad that I left the ball with this handsome bloke, not the other one.” She couldn't help but tease him for his little jealous comment, now that they finally had time for it, while he helped her slip into her coat.
“Aye”, he simply replied and pulled her by the lapels of her coat and kissed her tenderly. Her lips tasted like wine and expensive champagne. The smell of his cologne, the warmth radiating off his body and his taste on her lips almost made her forget they were in the back entrance of the Rosewood Hotel when she sucked at his bottom lip and deepened their kiss. Only when his hand threaded through her hair and she lightly bit his bottom lip, did they actually realize where they were and reluctantly pulled apart.
“Where do you want to go?” he questioned, hesitantly stepping back, unable to let go of her hand just yet. “Take me anywhere, but here” she simply offered.
“Alright.” He knew exactly where he wanted to take her and he didn't see any reason why they shouldn't be able to go there together. Especially at this hour of the night. Nobody would suspect the Tories' candidate for the PM to be there. Besides, he couldn't think of a more relaxed and casual place after being forced to spend the evening with the sort of people he despised.
After he had hailed a taxi a bit further down the street as not to gain the attention of possible onlookers, he told the taxi driver a street, she had never heard of. She simply tried to hide away in her coat. The last thing she needed was for the man in front to recognize her. David had got rid of his tie as well and had popped open the button of his jacket and his shirt. It was his attempt to look more casual and to draw less attention to both of them.
When the taxi slowed down at their destination, at last, Julia realized where he had taken them – a pub. She looked questioningly at David sitting next to her. It had been years since last had been in a pub, the most public and exposed place you could be in as a politician. The alcohol in her blood had made her bold when they had got in the taxi, but now she was a little uncertain if this was such a good idea after all. On the other hand, why should she be denied of something normal people were able to do all the time? This was one night, it was late and certainly, nobody would expect her in a little pub in the middle of nowhere, or so it seemed. She opened the door and wrapped her coat even closer around her, trying to protect her from the cold of the night. David paid for the taxi and clambered out after her, suddenly a little uncertain at his choice of a location. “Are you sure?” he inquired. “Yes”. It was more of a statement than an answer.
No sooner had they stepped into the pub, when they were engulfed by warmth, chatter and laughter. Nobody cared for them or gave them a second glance. They simply were two people who had been drawn to the pub like a moth to the light, in need of a drink or simply a place to warm up. David found a little secluded table for them, that was hidden away from the rest of the crowded room, shielded by a wooden pillar and some plants. Julia slid into the bench and took off her coat, while David got them something to drink.
“I wasn't sure if you liked the red or the white wine better,” he said, putting down the wine glass on the table.
“It's fine. I was afraid you'd bring me a scotch, whiskey or alike,” she replied with disdain in her voice.
“What's wrong with Scotch?” he asked amusedly while sitting down on the bench next to her, shielding her away from the other guests even more. He didn't wait for an answer. “Cheers,” he continued.
After two more glasses of Scotch and wine, they were well and truly immersed in their conversation. He had even managed to persuade her to take a sip from his drink. She still hadn't liked it any better than she had before. But it had warmed her and had helped her relax.
“I didn't know you ride horses”, David remarked, finally asking the one question that had been bothering him all night.
“I don't do it any more, really. Time has been an issue ever since I entered politics. But I have been doing horseback riding for as long as I can remember. I was very competitive in my teen years, as well. I think, my mother still has all of my trophies propped somewhere in her house.”
“The only trophy I ever got was when we won a football match in 9th grade.”
She observed him over her drink, taking another sip of his Scotch. The mere idea that she actually shared a drink with him in a public place had something domestic, yet very alluring about it.
Before she knew it, he had both gotten them another Scotch. Julia had drunk more alcohol that night that was probably wise, but she felt perfectly content and wouldn't have traded this evening for anything else. The conversation shifted from more serious topics to light and flirty banter. The alcohol finally seemed to show some effect on both of them. The pub seemed even more crowded than when David and Julia had first entered it.
Everyone seemed to have a great time and no one seemed to care about what might be tomorrow or if their night might have any repercussions. And neither did Julia and David. She put down the glass that only contained ice cubes at this point and suddenly looked at him provocatively. Rational thinking was out of both their minds and under normal circumstances David would have long ravished her. The only thing that stopped him was the fact that they were in a pub surrounded by people, even if the people were at the other and of the room and they were in a little dim corner. When she ultimately gave him that look, he knew she was up to something. That one look had changed the atmosphere between them. No matter what she had in mind, they were bordering dangerous territory.
“I dare you to kiss me in here with this ice cube in your mouth” she murmured in a husky voice. She had leaned forward and was now looking at him, their faces only centimetres apart. He raised his eyebrows, wondering if she was serious. But she only gave him a mysterious smile, fished an ice cube out of his drink and took it into her mouth. David stared at her for a second transfixed at the vixen in front of him before he had a quick glance if anyone looked in their direction. But none of the other customers could really see what was going on behind that wooden pillar and those plants.
“Challenge accepted” he breathed and began to kiss her. Unlike the kiss on the staircase, there was nothing soft about it. He kissed her hard and deep, immediately seeking entrance into her mouth. The world around them disappeared when he felt her push the ice cube into his mouth with her tongue. Just like the ice cube, both of them seemed to be melting into each other while the ice cube became smaller and smaller in their mouths. Her arms snaked around his neck, fingers gripping his hair while trying to pull him closer. A small moan escaped her mouth. It took every strength in her body, not to straddle him then and there. His hands roamed down her body, trying to pull her just as close to him, as close as it was possible given the circumstances. His mouth ventured from her mouth to her pulse-point. He loved her taste, he mused, when he licked and bit her. Eventually, they pulled back, breathing hard, almost gasping for air, looking around to see if anyone noticed anything. Someone in the distance must have finally won their round at darts as there were cheers filling the pub. Julia and David looked at each other, their faces still dangerously close and they both started giggling, relieved that they got away with what they just did. For a fleeting second, old Mr Barge crossed her mind. He would have been mortified if he had known what the future PM had just done.
Two could play the game, David mused while he closed the space and kissed her cheek first, brushing it lightly before he moved to the corner of her mouth. This time it wasn't quite as passionate. Not yet in any case. “If you want me to stop, tell me now”, he whispered. Julia gave him a questioning look but didn't reply. The shivers he sent down her spine were too delicious. His lips slowly moved to hers and he kissed her gently, almost languidly this time while one hand was still on her hips. The other hand had made its way underneath Julia's dress. When she felt his nimble fingers on the inside of her thigh, she gasped. “David”, she rasped, “Not here“. “Tell me to stop and I will stop,” he whispered again.
Julia looked around anxiously, still, nobody cared about the two lovebirds in the corner. David didn't wait for her answer. Her lack of further protest and the fact that she had spread her legs ever so slightly apart were all he needed to know. Slowly, his hand moved up her dress, while his mouth was back on hers again, sucking her lip into his mouth to stop her from making any noise. She sighed and grazed her fingers up his scalp. When his fingers had finally reached its destination, he kissed her even harder to stop her from squeaking. But as soon as his fingers touched her sodden knickers, she gasped, albeit desperate to keep her voice down. The next move would tell him if he should continue or stop. She merely looked at him with hooded eyes and he slowly sneaked his fingers passed her knickers into her wet folds. He knew she wanted it but he didn't know if she was ready for such a public exhibition of what they usually did behind closed doors. Carefully he continued to let his fingers roam. Her breathing became more and more laboured, her chest heaving, but still, she looked defiantly at him and didn't say a word to make him stop. When his fingers finally found the bundle of nerves, she bit down hard on her lip to stop herself from moaning. She was still adamant on staying as quiet as it was possible for her. When he continued with his ministrations and eventually inserted two fingers inside her, she grabbed one of his shoulders, pressed the other hand hard into the bench and she gave an involuntary buck. He continued with his fingers. Only when he felt she wasn't long now, did he brush his thumb over her bundle of nerves again and pressed down on it. She still didn't make a sound, when he felt her contracting around his fingers. She leaned her head against his shoulder breathing hard, finally having let go of it. He was sure there would be bruising, she had dug her nails so deep into it. It took a few minutes for her and she came back up and looked at him, suddenly aware of what they had just done. For a second he thought, she might panic and might tell him they need to leave. Instead, she smiled at him, peaked down at the obvious bulge in his pants and murmured “I think, we better take care of this”, she mumbled seductively and disappeared into the loo, not without giving him another glance over her shoulder.
This was going to be a long night and this time it wouldn't be David having to find an excuse for a hickey.