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A New Beginning

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It felt weird to be back in his apartment.

The relief was finally setting in as he realises his father is locked away and he is no longer in danger. He can’t help the weird feeling in the pit of his stomach though when he thinks about his dad being in prison now.

There’s a sadness there for everything that had happened; a childish melancholy for the loss of what could have been if his dad had just been a loving and caring human being with a semblance of emotion other than rage. He didn’t know if he ever believed that would ever have come to fruition, every time his dad had been even remotely not unkind, he had been suspicious of the angle, of what possible play he was trying to make, of the intentions behind his behaviour. He knows deep down his dad would never have changed but it doesn’t stop him from feeling the anxiety around it.

He enters to a team of cleaners, aggressively pulling everything out of his kitchen cupboards to scrub them, big humming machines to buff the tiles in the hallway, two women putting on the new bed sheets he had arranged for; knowing they were Gerri’s favourite.

He has a lot to do today.

He had decided after speaking to Gerri this morning that he was going to make this day special; an attempt to drive away all of the negative emotions that were currently bubbling within him.

He grabs one of the women after they make up the bed, sets about getting her to help him move the shit he didn’t need in his closet into one of the closets in one of the spare rooms upstairs.

Of course, when he says help, he means he threw the shit on the bed and it was the responsibility of the maid to find a place for it upstairs. It’s the most concentrated he’s ever been, successfully clearing out a few drawers and half of his walk-in closet for her. He determines that if this, no, he had to think positively, when this became a permanent thing then they would need to consider either rearranging shit so they had more space for everything or they were going to have to find a bigger place with a different layout.

He lies on the bed spent after it, panting like it was a fucking work out.

He never would have imagined himself doing something as fucking monotonous as clearing out half his closet for a girlfriend. The last ones ended up just throwing their shit somewhere, finding a hanger in the closet to put things on, or slyly putting their shit in the spare closet’s upstairs. He never considered clearing fuck all out for any of them before. But he knows that he didn’t really want any of them here; he knows he always felt stifled when they tried to work their way into his apartment. He had felt crowded, suffocated when they constantly surrounded him; too much fucking intimacy for his liking, Tabitha really the only one who understood what personal fucking space was.

He knows though that he doesn’t feel that way about Gerri. He knows the roles are reversed this time. If one of them was going to feel smothered it was her, and he wants to do anything he can to make sure she doesn’t, he wants to pass this trial, wants to impress her with his maturity so that she stays.

For once, he feels a little guilty about his past girlfriends, realises what it might have been like to be them. He pushes it to the back of his mind, decides instead to go through with his plan to set up a rosy night for her like she had suggested; grabs his shit, calls his car, and goes out into the city to pick up the shit he needs to make that happen.

 

****

 

She’s in the car on the way to his apartment, smiling as she looks out to city as it passes her. She felt a little odd leaving her apartment, knowing she may not be back for a while, or ever for that matter.

It hadn’t been home per se, but it had been hers and hers alone. It had been the first thing that was only hers in such a long time; the first indication of her independence after Baird had died.

It had been set up the way she had wanted it, everything she needed exactly where she wanted it, and everything clinically perfect and uncluttered.

Roman’s apartment was tastefully done, relatively orderly, but it wasn’t her style; far too contemporary for her liking.

However, an apartment was something that could be changed, that she was not so worried about.

Whilst she has a little anxiety about the idea of losing her independence, she can feel her excitement growing too. The fact that they were finally going public, that after months of sneaking around and not being able to see each other when they wanted would finally be over.

They would be able to hold hands in public, that they would be able to seek that fun and comfort at the end of a shitty day when they most needed it. The fact that they could finally start going out into the city and enjoying things as soon as the media died down, it was exhilarating. It felt like the introduction of a new chapter; a hopefully less stressful and peaceful chapter.

She can’t wait to get started.

 

****

 

She lets herself in with her key, balancing three garment bags over her shoulder, dragging her suitcase on wheels behind her as a mix of grapefruit and Clorox hits her. She smiles at the familiar smell, at how it smells so similar to her apartment, and how it instantly feels like home.

“Rome?” She shouts out, tucking the suitcase next to the couch by the door, walking through the hallway with the garment bags still over her shoulder as she seeks him out, finally hearing a thumping and mumbling coming from the bedroom.

“Fuck… shit… hey!” He shouts. “You’re early!” He shouts again as he scurries out of the bedroom into the hallway, closing the door firmly behind him, looking back over his shoulder to it nervously.

“Yeah,” she smiles. “There’s apparently a bit of traffic so Charlotte decided to head over at seven,” she tells him gently as he leans in to give her a peck. “That okay?

“Yeah, sure. Cool,” he sighs.

“Your face looks better today,” she observes, her free hand moving up to stroke his black eye.

“It’s not as sore,” he shrugs. “Uhm…,” he hums before noting the bags she’s lugging over her shoulder. “Fuck, sorry,” he scoffs. “Let me take those,” he shakes his head, taking them off her shoulder. “Go and relax, and I’ll hang these up. I… uhm… I put on the fire in the main room tonight. Thought it would be a bit different. Unless you’d rather go to the living room to watch the news or whatever.”

“Main rooms fine,” she says softly with a smile.

“Ehm… I didn’t have the time to take your wine out. But it’s in the fridge if you want to grab it. Or there’s red in the wine rack if you’d rather have that,” he says walking backwards, still rabbling. “Or you can tell me whichever you want, and I can get it once I’ve done this.”

“I can get it,” she smiles through a frown, noting is unusual behaviour, as she watches him nervously shuffling back to the bedroom. “You have a preference?”

“Whatever you want!” He shouts as he goes into the bedroom.

“Okay,” she shakes her head, moving to the kitchen to get the wine from the fridge, pouring them a large glass each as he re-enters.

“Uhm…,” he ventures, leaning against the frame of the kitchen door. “You’ve packed light,” he observes through an awkward laugh, pointing to the suitcase with his head over his shoulder.

“Oh,” she laughs. “The rest of it is coming tomorrow. Maria is having it brought over, so I didn’t have to bring it all up.”

“Ah, okay,” he sighs in relief, as she walks towards him with a glass of wine. “I was going to say because you basically change your coats, like, every day and there’s no way that little suitcase could hold all that.”

“Absolutely not,” she laughs, passing him his glass as he moves out of her way. “I just brought what I needed for tonight and tomorrow. It’s all coming tomorrow,” she smiles as she walks towards the main room.

They never usually came in here; he always had said that Tabitha spent all her time in here, whereas he much preferred the living room. The couches were comfier there, he had a television, his PS5 set up. He never really did see much need for the main room unless he was entertaining.

It’s a perfectly nice room. Very muted with a cream corner couch with two armchairs next to them, making it into a horseshoe all facing a large pale marble fireplace that reached the ceiling, topped off with a large ugly sculpture by the window that she didn’t really want to spend her nights staring at. However, it always looked a little uncomfortable to her, a bit bare, not a lot of reason to sit in here when she visited considering she was often working and liked to spend her nights when she got home watching ATN and PGM to assess what news was circulating so she could keep on top of things. The living room was cosier, a place to relax in her opinion; a feeling apparently mirrored by Roman.

“That’s unusual that you chose to sit in here tonight,” she notes with a smirk. “I’ve never even seen the fire on.”

“We can go into the living room if you want,” he says quickly with his eyes wide, pointing over his shoulder.

“No, no,” she protests lightly, sitting down on the corner of the large couch, kicking off her shoes and moving her legs up onto it outstretched to face the fireplace. “It’s nice in here.”

“Well,” he says walking over to the couch, sitting a few feet away from her, taking a gulp of his wine. “I thought you might like to sit in here when you wanted some peace and quiet. Maybe when you wanted to read or something. Tabitha liked to chill out in here with the fire; scrolled on her iPad most of the time. She liked it more than the living room, but I always found it kind of, ya know, cold.”

“It’s a nice room. I’m sure I would like to read in here,” she narrows her eyes at him, taking in his twitchy behaviour, the scratching off the back of his head, his fiddling with the glass, his eyes darting everywhere in the room apart from towards her. “What’s up, Rome?”

He finally looks around to her, noting her expectant eyes, her small smirk.

“Nothing,” he chokes. “Nothing at all,” he says taking another gulp of his wine.

“Come on, honey. Tell me,” she smiles, though he still doesn’t look up.

“Nothing to tell,” he mumbles as her lips purse.

“Is this because of last night? With Shiv?” She asks curiously.

“Nah, nah,” he mumbles. “We sorted it all out.”

“Did something else happen?”

“I don’t want to talk about it just now but it’s nothing bad. It’s not that.”

“Okay,” she twists her lips in consideration. “Then are you having regrets about me moving in?” She ventures softly.

“What?” He asks confused, looking around to her finally. “No. Are you?”

His eyes are wide, his chest holding in a large inhalation, and she realises he’s afraid.

“No,” she tells him seriously. “But you seem worried. If this is going to work, our communication has to be open even more than it was before.”

He sighs, looks down to his wine, hunching over to lean on his knees.

“I just want you to be comfortable,” he divulges quietly.

“I am comfortable. Has something suggested I’m not?”

“No,” he whinges. “But I just, ya know, don’t want to fuck it up.”

“Honey, I’ve not even been here five minutes. That would be a record if you were able to do that in this time,” she scoffs, trying to lighten the situation.

“You know what I mean,” he groans draining his wine and sitting it on the coffee table in front of him, running his idle hands through his hair.

“I feel like I would feel a lot more comfortable…,” she begins as he looks around to her expectantly, waiting for her need so he can fulfil it, “… if you weren’t sitting several feet away from me and had your head settled right here,” she smiles softly, tapping her thighs, looking into his eyes with mirth.

He sighs, releasing a breath, giving a small relieved smile, crawling across the couch towards her, placing his head on her lap, lying on his back perpendicular to her across the other end of the couch, as she instantly runs her hand through his hair, her wine glass perched on the back of the couch.

“I tried to make an effort,” he reveals with his eyes closed, humming at the feeling of her touch.

“I can tell,” she reveals. “I can smell it.”

“You noticed?” He opens his eyes to look at her.

“Jo Malone Grapefruit candles. Didn’t realise you picked up on that.”

“Well they’re all over your apartment,” he divulges. “I went to the store today and bought like twenty of them. Lit them up all over the apartment. Well I got the cleaners to. I got you some of the bath oil shit as well. Thought you might want to take one later.”

“That’s very sweet, honey. Very thoughtful.”

“I just want you to be comfortable.”

“I realise that, and it was very kind, but this is your apartment too. You also need to be comfortable.”

“I like the smell. Reminds me of you, so that’s fine with me.”

“I don’t just mean that, honey. I saw the fridge is also filled with my favourite wine,” she chuckles with quirk of her eyebrows.

“Yeah, so? I got like three crates of white and three crates of the red you like. Is that wrong?” He asks, genuinely wanting to know the answer.

“No, but you didn’t have to.”

“But I wanted to,” he retorts as though it were obvious.

She realises that with everything that’s been going on with Logan, with work, and all the bullshit stress, she’s neglected to even consider that Roman may never have moved in with a girlfriend before. She had thought they had, but until this point, she had neglected to ask.

“Rome, have you ever had a girlfriend move in before?”

“Uhm… kind of. Never like officially in terms of a decision. Like they ended up moving more and more of their shit in and would stay over more often. But not like them giving up their apartments and staying over every night.”

“Did they ever pay some of the bills at least?” She asks curiously.

“Fuck no,” he scoffs.

So, he hadn’t moved in with a girlfriend before, she realises.

“Okay,” she sighs, taking a sip of her wine. “We’re going to have to talk about this then and set some ground rules.”

“Wait, what?” He asks confused, looking up to her until she moves her hand to his chest, undoing one of the buttons, to run her hand soothingly across his chest, his lips caressing the soft skin of her forearm. “Rules for what?”

“It’s not a bad thing. We just need to figure some things out. Like paying bills. I will be paying bills here,” she tells him resolutely.

“Fuck that! I don’t want you to pay bills. Why the fuck would you pay bills here when you don’t need to?” He protests, looking up to her with a frown.

“Because that’s what couples do when they move in with one another,” she reveals.

“But you still need to pay for your apartment,” he reminds her.

“I own my apartment. I won’t be living there so the bills will be drastically less.”

“I own this apartment, too. It’s not like a pay a mortgage,” he laughs as she rolls her eyes.

“I want to pay my way, Roman. I’m not a kept woman. I pay my way with everything and this is no different. I want everything to be equal,” she tries to explain.

“But why when I can afford it,” he shakes his head.

“Because I’m not a little girl who can’t afford it,” she argues.

“Okay, fine whatever,” he huffs, his hands falling to his sides as his body stiffens.

“It’s not like I’m going to be paying more than you. Just show me your bills and we can figure out how much everything is and then take food into account with that and we can decide who pays what while I live here,” she explains diligently.

“While you live here?” He frowns, sitting up as her hand releases from his shirt. “You’re already talking like you’re planning on leaving.”

“Roman,” she warns. “Don’t put words in my mouth. I said what I said. While we both are living collectively under one roof, everything will be equal. That’s how I want it and I’ve already explained why.”

“I don’t handle the bills. My accountants do,” he mumbles as she brings her legs up to her chest, shifting over to face him on the couch.

“Then give me their contact details and I will talk to them. It doesn’t have to be completely split to the cent. It might just be that I pay the food and the electricity, and you pay the rest. Do you see what I mean?”

“Yeah, I get it,” he mumbles again as she narrows her eyes, flexing her legs out towards him to kick his thigh until he looks up to her, splaying her legs across his thighs as he smiles, moving his hands to knead them.

“Trust me, it’s better this way,” she smiles, as Roman nods silently. “That’s another thing. Your cleaning services. Are they efficient?”

“I mean, they clean shit?” He shrugs, looking around to her.

“Wow. A rave review,” she deadpans.

“I mean, I hired extra ones and paid extra for a deep fucking clean for you coming today because I know you like things fucking sparkling, but I can’t say I’ve noticed before now,” he offers with another shrug.

“Okay, I’ll keep an eye on it,” she bites the inside of her mouth. “I assume you don’t have a housekeeper or anything like that?”

“Nah, I didn’t see the need when I’m barely here and only get takeout. The cleaners have a key to let themselves in and out and drop of laundry and shit.”

“Would you mind if I brought Maria over here with me then since she has nothing to do at mine for now. It took me years to find someone I trust and who knows exactly how I like everything.”

“Yeah, whatever you want,” he offers with a shrug, her smile widening in relief. “As long as I get to pay half her wages,” he gives a shit eating grin, his eyes fluttering.

“Using my own logic against me,” she smiles, running her hand over the back of his neck. “She will be a part of the split expenses then, yes.”

“I like Maria.”

“She’s great. She can get all our groceries for us so your fridge might have something other than wine in it,” she smirks. “And she can keep an eye on the cleaning service you have too. If they’re substandard, we can just use mine.”

“What’s with you and cleaning?” He laughs, running his hand down her shin.

“I like everything clean and tidy. That simple.”

“Nah, but it’s like an OCD.”

“I don’t like mess. Something you should note if you don’t want to get on my bad side,” she quirks an eyebrow with a smirk.

“Who? Moi? I am spotless,” he jokes.

“Uhu,” she rolls her eyes. “You forget I’ve stayed here before Roman Roy. I’ve noticed that you seem to feel the need to stare at your teeth as you brush them, getting toothpaste all over the mirror so I can barely see my reflection. That you throw your clothing around a room for other people to pick up instead of into a hamper. And that you can’t seem to turn off a damn light,” she mocks, her caresses softening the blow of the reality.

“Hey! Turning off a light isn’t cleaning or mess,” he notes.

“But it’s wasteful,” she smiles, leaning over to peck his lips.

“Fuck, it’s like being back in military school,” he jokes. “Except I’m fucking my drill sergeant.”

“Is this a new fantasy?” She flirts. “Am I going to have to get you to make a bed and bounce a quarter off it to get you hard,” she laughs, her fingers tickling the back of his neck now.

He finds his lip curling at the thought, as the idea of Gerri in a military uniform, barking orders at him, forcing him to give her head when his chores aren’t completed to her satisfaction, as he feels his pants becoming suddenly tight.

She laughs, watching him shift to make himself more comfortable as he remains silent.

“Earth to Roman,” she whispers in his ear, placing a kiss under his ear as he turns around to her grinning.

“I could get behind that role play,” he smiles, kissing her hard as she laughs into it, pulling back quickly.

“Tell me this first, what are you most afraid of with us moving in together? There’s obviously an issue.”

“I’m not afraid,” he whispers, tightening his grasp on her thigh through the linen pants, brushing his nose against hers.

“You seemed pretty jumpy when I got here,” she whispers back, pecking his lips before pulling back and taking a sip of her wine, whilst he looks down to his hand kneading above her knee.

“I just don’t want to fuck it up. I don’t want to make it so shitty that you don’t want to stay here,” he reveals quietly.

“Is that what you think? That this is like a test? That it’s a pass/fail, and if you fail, I’m going to walk?” She asks gently, brushing her hand through his hair above his ear, as he shrugs in answer.

“Oh, honey,” she soothes. “It’s not like that. If you don’t pick up a towel, I’m not just going to call the whole thing off.”

“But it’s a trial. A trial by definition is a test,” he says, looking up to her again.

“But it’s not like that,” she reassures. “It’s not a case of you having to impress me and do everything I want, or I pack it in. It’s making sure we are far enough along in this relationship to live together. That we know each other and are comfortable enough with each other to live together. I was going to be living here for a few weeks regardless of whether or not it was a trial for making it permanent. I shouldn’t have said anything,” she sighs sadly. “I should have just suggested it at the end of staying here a while if it was going well.”

“No,” he protests loudly. “I’m glad you suggested it. It gives me some fucking hope that this is actually moving forward. It means I can actually try to make an effort, so we do shit together to make it a real thing. I just… I’m not making any sense.”

“I get it, Rome. But this isn’t a test for you. It’s to make sure that there isn’t something substantially different when we’re always together that makes the relationship not work. A lot of people have a little trial living together before moving in now from what I hear. It’s also to see how suitable our surroundings are for us. To see if there are things we could change to make things more comfortable for us as a couple. Like whether we need an office to work in, whether we need a bigger closet, separate bathrooms, or just more space in general. Or maybe we don’t need all the space we have and want something a bit more intimate. Things like that before we upheaval everything from one apartment to the other.”

“Change whatever you want,” he reassures solidly, as she offers a wry smile. “No seriously. You want another bathroom, we’ll build it. You want the whole closet? Take it and I’ll put my shit upstairs.”

“You’re missing my point. This isn’t about what Gerri wants. It’s about what we both want collectively to maximise our space. What if I said, I want a house without any TV’s?” She challenges with a raised eyebrow as he grimaces.

“Exactly,” she laughs. “We’ve only ever stayed over and been content in each other’s space because we knew it was the other persons and were mere guests. But the more we live together; we’ll realise what we might need. We might want a separate bathroom from each other, or just a separate sink, or we might be fine with just the one sink. Like you suggested earlier, I might want a little quiet room where I read, while you want a room where you can play your video games and shout at teenagers down a headset. Or we might be content to do those things sitting together because we’re happy with the way things are. You see what I mean?”

“Yeah, I get it,” he nods. “It’s not just a test for me.”

“No,” she smiles. “You don’t get a performance review at the end of the month. It’s about getting to know each other more, so we can adjust the way we do things to make things even easier. Like my need for things to be tidy is very important to me and that means you may need to make an effort to be conscious of that, so my head doesn’t continuously explode,” she laughs as he grins. “But I also need to adjust myself to not be so obsessive because you’re a grown man who can leave your underwear on the floor from time to time. There will be other things. Things you’ll find irritating about me and vice versa, but if we can communicate and try and be understanding then it’ll be fine,” she soothes.

“You make it sound like it’s going to be all shitty. Like we’re just going to spend the whole time being angry at each other,” he mumbles sadly.

“No, it won’t be all shitty but there will be moments because that’s normal. Like the fact that I will probably have to work from home most evenings. That’s probably going to get on your nerves. That it won’t be so easy to coax me away from work into bed because while it was okay to do once a week when we saw each other, I won’t be led astray every night because it’s my job that I get paid a shit load to do. Not to mention, I’ll probably encouraging you to do work alongside me. That’s going to get on your nerves,” she laughs a little at his nose progressively scrunching up.

“Fuck,” he huffs. “I forgot I’m also going to be living with my boss.”

“Your boss and a drill sergeant,” she repeats with raised eyebrows. “What happened to hot goddess and siren? You really do know how to flatter a girl,” she jokes as he looks around to her with his face still scrunched up as she reaches her hand over to put her wine glass down on the coffee table. “It won’t be all fighting and work you know,” she lowers her voice a little more seductively as she looks back around to him. “There’ll be plenty of everything else.”

“Mmm,” he hums, his hand trailing up her thigh. “That’s the bit I was looking forward to.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah,” he breathes as her lips move closer to his. “I thought it was going to be all fucking on every surface. Multiple orgasms and sex dungeons. Finding all the ways I could get you to squeal. Spooning you every night and lying watching the news with my head in your lap,” he offers, quirking his eyebrows.

“Mmm… I don’t know about sex dungeons but there’s no reason there can’t be plenty of the rest of it,” she breathes low against his lips, her hot breath swooshing into his mouth.

“Gerri,” he whispers back, before he kisses her solidly, pushing her down onto the couch as his hand grips her hip. He hears her moan when he pushes into her mouth, languidly caressing her tongue with his as her hands grip the back of his neck, one moving to exploring the expanse of his shoulders as his hand ventures up under her shirt.

She knows if this goes any further, she’ll never get packed or get any of the work they had to do done.  

“Rome,” she whispers, moving to push him back a little.

“What? We’ve never done it on this couch,” he breathes nipping at the underside of her jaw as she gasps. “Thought we could christen it. There’s a romantic fire and everything.”

“We have things to do,” she tries to protest as her eyes close at the feeling surrounding her.

“This is all we have to do,” he tells her as his open kisses move to her pulse point, whilst she grins.

“There’s a lot to do,” she protests, pushing him away as his forehead meets her.

“Nooooo,” he groans. “No, there isn’t.”

“I need to pack everything away, and we have to go over the information for tomorrow,” she reminds him, stroking her nose back and forth against his as he huffs.

“Can’t we just have fucking five minutes before we have to do the shitty stuff?” He protests.

“Or we can make the shitty stuff not so shitty and then have more to look forward to afterwards?”

“Well,” he pulls back. “I already had my own plans for this evening.”

“Oh, did you?” She smirks.

“Yes. Your bath for starters.”

“Well, how about this,” she narrows her eyes to negotiate as he offers a quick peck to distract her. “How about I go find somewhere to put the things I brought tonight,” she begins before he interrupts her.

“I cleared out drawers and closet space.”

“Oh, really? Well then that makes this all the easier,” she smiles, pecking his lips. “Then, I’ll go put it all away while you run the bath, then we go over the things for the interview and the meeting with the heads while I’m in the bath. Then afterwards we go back to our night. Hmm?” She negotiates, raising her eyebrows suggestively.

“The whole point in the bath was to relax. Not to work,” he argues, burying his head into her neck.

“Well maybe relaxing in the bath means I won’t get stressed about work,” she reasons, closing her eyes, wrapping her arms around his back.

“Fine,” he moans, pulling back. “But then it’s my plans for the rest of the night.”

“Then I’m all yours,” she declares.

He groans loudly before offering a final peck and getting up with a huff.

“Come on then,” he bitches, holding his hands out to her to pull her up. “Let’s get this over with.”

 

****

 

She settles into the large bathtub he had filled for her, more bubbles than water at this point with the aroma of grapefruit that he had spoken of earlier; easily half the bottle in here. She closes her eyes, relaxing into the boiling hot water, allowing her muscles to ease up as she shifts her legs from side to side, hearing as he shuffles in, jumping up onto the counter.

When she opens her eyes, she sees he’s sitting back against the wall, the unharmed part of his face reflected in the mirror, his battered side facing her, his tablet balanced on his thighs, concentrating diligently as his eyes dart back and forth across the words he’s reading.

“That’s new,” she notes, as he looks up to her innocently.

She nods her head towards the little black speaker plugged into the wall, wrapped around the sink and settled in front of his bare feet.

“Yeah,” he trails off, turning his attention back to the tablet. “I forgot I had it. Was given it at some award show. But I thought you might like it when you’re in here. You can just play your playlist and when you want it to change you just say Alexa, next and it’ll change the song to the next one.”

It’s then that the Alexa speaker, lights up and asks, “what do you want to play?”

“See,” he nods. “Thought it would be good in the bath. Plus, if you want to play a random song then it just plays. Alexa!” He shouts, watching it light up again. “Play Landslide Live by Fleetwood Mac.”

“Landslide live at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California 23rd May 1997 by Fleetwood Mac on Amazon Music,” the Alexa monotonously repeats back before the opening chords of the guitar begin playing as he raises an eyebrow at her.

“That’s pretty cool,” she nods.

“You never had an Alexa?”

“Your father discouraged it and I didn’t see the need anyway but it’s actually quite a useful little thing isn’t it?” She notes, still looking at it as she listens to the song.

“Alexa!” He says, “volume three.”

The volume instantly lowers so that it’s playing faintly in the background.

“The volume goes from one to ten, so you just lower it like that. And if you want it to play songs by an artist or album you just ask it to. Or you can go on your phone and hook it up to play your own playlist and shuffle it,” he tells her quietly, as he looks back down to the tablet.

“That was very thoughtful, Rome,” she smiles, running her hands through the water, coming up to take the bubbles in her hands.

“Do you listen to music in the bath?”

“Sometimes. I like to listen to classical music when I relax,” she divulges closing her eyes and leaning her head back on the bathtub.

“Oh yeah?” He asks curiously.

“Mmm,” she hums. “Apparently there are studies about classical music; that it’s supposed to help you relax and concentrate. Sometimes I listen to it when I’m trying to work on something because it’s supposed to chill you out.”

“Does it work?”

“Yeah,” she sighs, opening her eyes again, smiling at his interest. “Maybe you should give it a try.”

“Maybe I will,” he curls his lips, scrolling the screen up on the tablet.

“It sounds stupid, but I play the Fantasia album. You know the 40’s Disney movie?”

“Yeah, with the dancing flowers and the centaurs and shit?” He laughs a little. “Forgot about that. Loved it when I was a kid.”

“Yeah,” she smirks. “It has a mix of lots of well-known pieces and they are quite easy going.”

“Do you go to see orchestras and shit then? The Philharmonic at the Lincoln Center?”

“Sometimes,” she smiles, picking up bubbles with her hands and moulding it before transferring them between each hand. “When I get the time and there’s something interesting.”

He hums a little before looking back down to the tablet, huffing as she silently sculpts the bubbles.

“Okay, Alexa, pause,” he says as the song ceases. “Let’s get this over with,” he pouts. “So, the meeting tomorrow?”

“I’m not so worried about that,” she sighs. “I think the best option is just to announce it at the beginning. It’s been put at the top of the agenda already. It will be a lean cut. We’re in a relationship, we have informed the board, there will be an investigation, there will be an interview released on Wednesday, and we would appreciate your discretion until that point,” she says resolutely, lifting her leg and running the liquid across it to knead above her right knee that had been aching a little recently.

“Right,” he nods quietly.

“I don’t want to invite any commentary or opinion because to be honest, it’s none of their fucking business so,” she shrugs, lowering her leg and bringing her arms to rest on each side of the bathtub.

“And what am I supposed to do? There’s no mention of me anywhere here,” he looks up to her.

“Is there something you want to say?”

“Uhm… I don’t know,” he twists his lips. “But it’s like both of us so I feel like I should maybe say something, or it would just be awkward.”

“All right. But I think it’s very important that we remain professional,” she smirks, raising an eyebrow.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He laughs through his question.

“Well,” she chuckles, lifting her hand to stroke through the front of her hair to push the small wisps away, careful not to undo the clasp holding it all together. “I don’t think there should be jokes, especially not crass ones, nor should there be anything such as a fist pump in the air, a high five, or flipping them off smugly,” she smirks at him.

He snorts loudly, leaning the back of his head against the tiles behind him, a smirk on his lips as he looks up to the ceiling.

“So, I’ve not to be me then,” he offers a wry smile, looking back to her.

“I know you and I know that you’ll want to gloat,” she challenges with mirth.

“And why the fuck shouldn’t I? Like look at you right now,” he throws his hands up looking at her with raised eyebrows, releasing all the air in his lungs. “You looking fucking beautiful surrounded by all the fucking bubbles with your hair all curling and shit and I can’t even brag? Why can’t I fucking let them know I’ve triumphed in bagging the fucking hot top legal eagle of this generation?”

She can’t help but grin at his compliments, shifting her legs from bending to straight and bent again as she picks up a collection of bubbles with two fingers, almost embarrassed at his attentions and the thoughtfulness he had already put into this evening to accommodate her.

“Because,” she smirks. “The announcement alone with make clear that you’ve bagged me. Not to mention that they likely don’t see me the way you do so there isn’t much to brag about.”

She’s not ignorant enough to think she’s unattractive, but she doesn’t consider herself a raving beauty though she knows she’s not ugly. However, what she definitely does know is that no one on the whole world is as infatuated with her or sees her how Roman does. No one could ever be obsessed with her and everything she does as much as he, and the thought that he wants to shout that from the rooftops though flattering to her, made her cringe at how others would react to his delusion.

“Are you serious?” He questions with a scrunched-up face as she looks to him innocently. “You really don’t fucking know do you?” He asks her seriously.

“Know what?” She asks, her head tilting to the side as her fingers run up and down the edge of the bathtub.

He puffs out loudly, his eyes wide, shaking his head.

“You’re like fucking top tier,” he tries to explain, his eyes narrowing. “Like if you took a fucking poll in Waystar, you would be one of, if not thee top rated as most fuckable. And not even that, putting aside that people don’t even know the real you which would make people want you even more because of how, you know, caring you are, but then the fact you’re a fucking genius and the most with it person basically everyone knows, makes you a fucking catch.”

“Roman,” she smiles gently. “Not everyone thinks the same way you do,” she quirks an eyebrow, her lower stomach swirling with arousal.

“Maybe not, but I’m not just talking about me, Gerri. It’s pretty fucking well known. I already told you that Laird chose you as marry in Fuck, Marry, Kill,” he tells her resolutely as she shakes her head with an eyeroll. “If I went around every single fucking person in Waystar tomorrow and asked them if they would fuck you, you could guarantee it would be 100%, including women by the way. If I asked them if they would marry you, it would be a little less because some people are afraid of you, but still, you’re fucking up there.”

“Well,” she coughs a little with a smile, “while I think you’re vastly overestimating your hypothesis there, I will take it for the compliment it is, but it doesn’t negate that I would rather you kept your desire to boast on the back burner.”

“Well,” he imitates her, “while I think I’m overestimating fuck all, I still think I should at least say something so it’s coming from both of us rather than just the big boss lady.”

“Then what are you thinking?” She asks as she watches her fingers swirling, creating a pattern on the surface of the water next to her thigh through the soap.

“Maybe I can be the one to ask for some discretion until the interview is released? Like not as a joke. Sincerely,” he suggests watching the pattern she is also swirling, taking in how perfect she looks as her face and skin on her neck is a little flushed from the piping hot water, the escaped strands of hair already curling to their natural state from the humidity, the bubbles veiling the majority of her body from him. He wants to take a picture of it to always remember how stunning she looks right now, though he knows she would never allow him. He tries to burn it into his memory, though he realises this was his new normal, that he would be seeing her in this form on a regular basis and that warms his whole chest as she looks up to him with a soft smile, collecting some bubbles between her two fingers as she raises her hand back up to the side of the bathtub.

“I don’t see why not,” she offers lightly. “I just want to make sure we are direct about it. We aren’t discussing it with them like they’re our advisors. We’re informing them.”

“Surely the ones that don’t know will congratulate us though?”

“I’m sure they will, even if they have reservations. So, we just offer our thanks and move on.”

“And what’s the deal if people approach us later with questions?” He asks, looking down at the tablet again.

“No one will be approaching me with questions,” she offers a wry smile.

“Okay,” he huffs with a laugh. “When they obviously ask me questions?”

“Just stick to the interview story we’re giving the press so if it leaks, then it’s nothing new.”

“Okay, so you want to go over the interview story then?” He asks scrolling down the page to the interview notes.

“It’s all preapproved questions anyway so we shouldn’t be hit with anything out of the ordinary. We just need to make sure it isn’t rehearsed and comes across genuine.”

“Yeah, but I just want to make sure I’ve got it down and like rehearse it,” he says quietly, reading over the notes diligently.

“Okey, honey,” she sighs contentedly, leaning her head back onto the back of the bathtub, closing her eyes.

 

****

 

They recite their backstory from beginning to end several times before she is exceptionally pruned, most of the bubbles evaporated.

He helps her out of the bath, wrapping her in a towel, darting out of the bathroom with the tablet as she dries herself off to finish his preparations.

“So, what are these plans you have for tonight?” She asks lightly as she walks into the bedroom, stopping in her tracks as she looks around.

He’s standing with a smile by the bed, the room dark with candles lit around it on every surface, a large white blanket over the bed with a single white rose sitting on her pillow.

Her smile grows into a grin as she looks up to him.

“What’s all this?” She breaths, wrapping the towel firmer around her and tucking it in tightly.

“I made things rosy,” he smiles, walking towards her.

“I see,” she laughs, meeting him in the middle at the bottom of the bed, bringing her hands up to his shoulders, as he wraps his around her waist, the edge of a bottle he’d holding pressing into her.

“What’s that?” She asks as her smile drops and she tries to look around behind her back before he pulls it in front for her to see.

“Oil to give you a massage,” he shrugs, holding it up.

“A massage?” She grins, baring her teeth, her nose crinkling. “La Mer?”

“That’s the shit you use right?” He asks reticently, fearing he’s failed in his observations somehow. “I went into Bloomingdales and spoke to the woman there. She said you’d like this. Sold me a bunch of other shit she said you’d like as well. I put the rest of it in the bathroom. It’s in the cupboard to the left,” he divulges, as her arms wrap tighter around his neck, her face coming closer to his as she presses her body hard against his.

“Honey,” she begins lightly. “You didn’t have to do all this. I told you that we both have to work at making this rosy.”

“I wanted to,” he offers sincerely, his hand wrapping back around her waist to pull her even closer to him if that was possible. “It’s our first night and I wanted to make it special.”

“You don’t have to impress me,” she breathes, her lips skimming his as she offers a chaste kiss. “You’ve got me.”

“This isn’t impressing you,” he whispers back, returning her light peck. “This is how I want it to always be. I want to take care of you.”

“That’s very sweet,” she sighs, offering a more loving kiss as he returns it, exploring her mouth, squeezing her solidly to him, before she pulls away with a smile. “You want to give me a massage?” She giggles.

“Yeah,” he breathes, his pupils blackening as he offers another quick kiss as she titters through it.

“Do you know how to, or?” She asks seriously, her eyes full of levity.

“I know a little something, something,” he smirks. “Let these hands work their magic,” he groans, lowering his hands down to her derriere to knead there. “Trust me,” he murmurs into her neck as his tongue explores there. Her eyes close at the charge building up between them, at that swirling feeling returns to her stomach. “Let me worship you,” he breathes in her ear as a small gasp leaves her mouth involuntarily.

“Okay,” she chokes out, pulling back to look at him, as she notes his attempts to regulate his breathing.

“Good girl,” he growls, tapping her ass, as he pulls back from her, her eyes narrowing at the gesture. “On the bed,” he instructs, his voice suddenly back to normal.

She smiles, kneeling up onto the bed and crawling up to it, before she picks up the single rose to smell it, her grin widening.

“I told Maria to bring the other one’s with her tomorrow,” she divulges looking down at it. “I couldn’t leave them behind to wilt.”

“If you did, I would have bought you more,” he smiles, moving around to the bedside table, before unscrewing the cap from the bottle of oil.

“I have no doubt,” she smiles, setting the rose next to her before lying on her front. “Are you doing the shoulders?” She asks, regarding the pillow.

“Fuck yeah,” he scoffs. “This is about releasing her majesties tension.”

She smiles, throwing the pillow to the side, deciding she didn’t want to risk it getting covered in shit before she lies down carefully onto the blanket, ensuring nothing can reach the bed covers.

“What about Chuck? Is he coming in the move?” Roman asks lightly.

She turns around to look at him, points her head to the couch next to the doorway to the bathroom, where Chuck is happily sitting next to a large pillow.

“There he is!” Roman shouts. “My little buddy.”

“Like I would leave him behind,” she laughs, settling back down onto her arms.

“I would have you arrested for neglect and abandonment,” he pouts, reading the back of the bottle he’s holding as he rests his thigh against the bedside table.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a massage that wasn’t from a masseuse, nor from a man,” she divulges with a laugh, folding her arms under her cheek as he pours a shit load of liquid onto his hands, kneeling up onto the bed.

“You’ve never had a Roman Roy massage. It’s gonna blow your fucking mind,” he deadpans as he climbs on top of her, sitting on her backside.

She can’t help but laughing as she feels his weight on top of her.

“I also don’t think I’ve ever had a masseuse clamber on top of me,” she laughs, leaning up, looking around to him over her shoulder.

“I should hope fucking not,” he leans down to kiss her lips before she leans back down onto her arms again. “But if you did, I would definitely want to hear the story.”

She offers a chuckle as his oil clad warm hands finally make contact with her back, rubbing the liquid across the expanse, pushing her loose towel down further down until it was settles at her hips as he runs his hands randomly across her whole back spreading the oil around. She realises that at first, he has absolutely no technique, moving from up to down, then from side to side, then motioning circles from the top of her back continuously until he was circling his hands at her waist. She doesn’t mind though, didn’t expect some fucking expert deep tissue massage from him; she’s simply enjoying the contact, the feeling, and the smell of the oil and candles permeating her nostrils, creating a completely relaxing atmosphere. It’s then though that his technique becomes more coordinated, moving the liquid up to her shoulders, clasping them as he firmly rubs across the muscles from the joint of her shoulder towards her neck, the tips of his fingers brushing her clavicle as he follows the line up to the hard muscles of her neck until he rubs circles at the underside of her skull where all her tension regularly builds up.

She can hear herself groaning at the feeling. A mixture of pain, pleasure, and relief as he continues kneading there.

“Is it sore?” He asks, ceasing his actions.

“No, don’t stop,” she growls, her eyes tightly closed as she brings her arms out from under her head, to lie on the bed next to her.

He can’t help the smirk that forms on his lips, that he may actually be helping to give her some relief.

He continues the same regular pathway along her shoulders a few times more until he feels the tension begin to leave her, until he sees that the area is starting to redden before he finds a new focus. Instead this time he leaves his hands on her shoulders, pressing his thumbs next to her shoulder blades, rubbing in circular motions. He hears that delicious groan from her lips again, her hands next to her head on the bed grasping the cover as she enjoys his ministrations.

“Fuck,” she moans as he moves his dextrous hands to rub down and back up the line of her shoulder blade, stopping when he feels knots there to try and give them careful attention. Once he hears her gasps become more strained into pain, he stops immediately, rubbing his hands up and down the expanse of her back again to move around the unabsorbed lotion.

“Do you want me to crack your back?” He asks quietly.

“If you can,” she chokes out, her eyes still closed as she takes in the euphoria of this feeling.

He smiles, splaying his hands out on each side of her back, rising his hips off of her before putting all of his weight onto it on his inhale, moving his hands a little until he hears a crack and her small gasp. He exhales as he lets go, rubbing her back again before moving his hands lower to her waist, putting all his weight on her on his inhale again and letting go when he again hears a crack, before rubbing his hands across her again.

“You know,” he observes. “You have a lot of tension here. Why don’t you go for massages more often?”

“When would I get the time?” She groans out her muffled question as he rubs his hands hard up the expanse of her sides, trying to release all the tension he can.

“Well we’re going to have to change that. I might be a mediocre substitute, but you need a professional to really work on all this,” he says again, removing his weight off of her to shuffle down so he’s hovering above her thighs.

“You’re doing pretty well from where I’m lying,” she mumbles again, as he smiles happily, glad for her approval.

“Let’s get this to fuck,” he groans as he pulls the towel away, yanking it out from under her as she adjusts her weight to make it easier to pull, listening as it thuds onto the floor. He leans forward, pressing up against her back to kiss the back of her neck, whispering in her ear. “Don’t worry, I’ll pick it up later.” He offers a small Roman giggle, before sitting back up.

“I don’t give a fuck if it lies there all night, just don’t stop what you’re doing,” she says lifting her head a little so he can hear her clearly.

“Oh, it’s not over lady,” he laughs as he takes in what lies before him; the curves, the pale skin, her form practically unscathed apart from a few freckles here, a few marks there. She’s beautiful, an absolute work of art, and he can’t believe he gets to look at her like this every day now.

“I thought it wasn’t over,” she lifts her head again, attempting to look over her shoulder though she’s too tired to stretch.

“Wow,” he drones. “Look who’s impatient,” he laughs before running his hands across the bottom of her back, concentrating on the muscles at her back dimples.

“Mmm,” he observes, as he kneads them. “I love that you have dimples of Venus.”

“Why?” She groans as she bites her lip from the pleasure, the knot in her stomach not subsiding at all.

“I don’t know. It’s thought that the most beautiful women in the world have them so obviously you would. Factual proof,” he smiles continuing his attention on them.

“I’m not so—,” she starts before she gasps at a particularly hard manoeuvre. “— sure about that.”

He keeps his attention there before allowing his hands to wander to her hips, running his hands across there, forever noting the small indentation her underwear has left as he feels his need for her growing. The next part of his plan was nearly in motion and he couldn’t fucking wait.

He stops his ministrations, leaning over to pick up the oil again to fill his hands with them before moving back to his place, moving off of one thigh at first and nudging her legs apart.

“Spread your legs,” he orders softly, as she raises her head, her already pooling centre practically flooding now.

“What?” She whispers breathily, only staring at the lamp on the bedside table.

“Spread your legs,” he repeats louder. “I can’t sit on your legs if I’m going to massage them.”

She can feel her arousal increasing as she slowly moves her legs apart, her pelvis pushing deeper into the mattress, her whole sex completely exposed to him. God, she wants him to touch her there.

However, he can see it for himself, smirks as he sees her centre glistening, already waiting for him and it takes everything in his power not to just indulge. He wants to draw this out, wants to build it up, wants to give her one of the most intense experiences she’s ever had, and to do that he would need to tease her a little.

He spreads the liquid equally into his hands, putting a hand on each of her cheeks, giving the illusion he is going exactly where she thinks he is before running his hands further down her thighs, continuing past the inside of her knee and down to her calf. He goes back to his starting point and this time collects some of the liquid, starting from her ankle this time before running his hands all the way up, ensuring that he brushes the inside of her thighs this time as he hears a small gasp fall from her mouth.

“It feels so good,” she groans, her mouth wet against the covers.

The smirk is plastered to his face as he kneads the liquid against her cheeks, massaging firmly before lowering a little before completely bypassing her thighs and going directly to her left calf. He hears her loud exhale of released anticipation as he kneads from her ankle up to her inner knee a few times before moving swiftly onto her right calf, harshly kneading there too.

It’s then that he looks back up to her body, noting her deeper breathing as her whole body rises and falls, as the glistening of her centre has left a small stain on the cover. He licks his lips at the thought that this alone was turning her on, however, he is aware that he’s going to have to push this whole thing along because his own hard on is becoming a progressive issue.

He finally moves his hands to the back of her thighs rubbing progressively from the inside of her knees up to the top as his thumbs lightly brush against her centre, feeling a small jerk of her hips when he does so, her centre contracting a little.

“Fuck, Rome,” he hears her whisper as he moves all of his attention to one of her thighs, pretending to massage as he lightly brushes his fingers along the inside, looking up to her head to see if she is responding to his teasing.

He can see her breathing becoming more ragged, can hear her gasps become more frequent, and can see her hand twisting harder into the cover as he grins widely.

“You okay, babe?” He asks casually, thankful she can’t see his shit eating grin.

“Yeah. Don’t stop,” she breathes.

Not a fucking chance, he thinks.

He moves his hands to the other thigh, giving the same attention, the same teasing, the same light caresses to the inside as his attentions gain the same reaction, the twitching of her hips becoming more of a shudder.

He decides to begin truly making his intentions known as he runs his fingers gently from the inside of her knees up the inside of her thighs before gently grazing her centre, noting it’s seizing becoming more obvious, his dick now straining to be inside her, his tongue begging to lap her up.

He’s waiting for her to say something, wonders if she will, curious if she will ask for it, understanding that she is sufficiently teased but perhaps not enough to be on the brink of desperation.

He moves his hands back to her ass, rubbing across it before trailing down to her centre, noting the gasp she emits as he runs a hand deep across her, feeling the juices there as he grazes her clit before running his hand back up to her behind, spending more time there. Eventually he runs his hand back down one more time, this time touching her clit harder, rubbing there for a few seconds before pulling back and running his hands across her behind and hips.

“Rome,” she pants, her voice laced with arousal, leaning up onto her elbows. “Please, honey.”

And there it is. The recognition he needed, before he fully runs his hand through her folds, moving the juices around as she audibly gasps, her forehead falling back onto the bed, her hips pushing against his hand as the heel of his palm moves against her entrance and the pads of his fingers find her clit.

“Oh god,” she moans loudly. “Yes, honey.”

He looked up how to give a happy ending. Would be lying if he said he hadn’t had one himself. However, he had no idea how to issue one, especially to a woman. The thought of running his hands all over Gerri and finally get her off when she was fully built up enough was one that had been plaguing his mind all day. He was unsure if he could do it well enough, however, if there was one thing he had always wanted to do was to explore Gerri’s entire body. He knew as well that fucking a woman from behind was supposed to be pretty fucking great in hitting the G-spot, but that was something they hadn’t really done, always wanting to create a face to face connection, but he viewed this as a prime opportunity to give it a try.

He continues rubbing against her as her pelvis happily responds, his free hand perched on the bed next to her hip as his hard on presses against the inside of her thigh. He watches as her hand wanders down as though trying to reach him, finally finding his hand and trying to grasp it whilst he listens to her ragged breathing.

“That feel good?” He asks.

“Yes,” she pants. “Fuck yes. Keep going.”

He leans down to kiss her spine at her waist, trailing his lips upwards, never ceasing the rubbing of her clit, the pressure from the heel of his hand as he feels her movements become more desperate.

“That’s it, Gerri,” he groans between her shoulder blades. “Come for me.”

He can hear the desperation in her moans as she writhes; her whole body squirming as he increases his tempo against her, his fingers pressing harder against her as he hears her begin to scream.

“Yes, Roman. Yes, fuck. Right there,” she squeals, tightening her hand on his, pushing her chest harder into the bed, on the brink of her orgasm as she falls over the edge.

“Oh my god,” she groans, pushing her head into the bed. “Yes, fuck,” she whines as her orgasm takes over every nerve in her body, her hips gyrating harder into his hand, her centre spasming as it flushes with liquid. “Jesus Christ,” she mumbles into the mattress, her hair becoming looser within its clip as she reaches behind her head to undo it, her hair falling down as she pushes it back from her face as she lies there exhausted, whilst his hand moves slower across her centre, taking in the aftershocks before he pulls back.

“Where the fuck did you learn to do that?” She asks, as she pants, the feeling in her stomach still not dissipated, still waiting for him to fill her completely.

“How do you know it isn’t just an ingenious talent I have?” He smirks as he hovers over her body, kissing her shoulder before she perches on her elbows, leaning up to kiss him fully.

“Because you would have pulled that out the bag long before now,” she groans, nipping his lip with her teeth.

“Maybe I just discovered right now it was a talent,” he quirks an eyebrow, kissing her lips hard again, pushing his hard on up against her ass, rubbing there slightly.

“I can confirm, it is,” she groans, pushing her tongue into his mouth as he pushes her hair back from her face, framing his thighs to press up against the back of hers as he passionately wars with her tongue.

“Are you ready?” She asks in a mumble against his lips, though she knows he is, can feel it hard up against her.

He pulls back a little, gyrating his hips up against her.

“Fuck yes,” he laughs, kissing her deeply again, before she pulls back from his mouth.

“Do it now, baby,” she breathes, kissing his lips briefly though hard. “I need you inside me.”

She sounds desperate, more desperate than he’s ever heard her, and he’s not willing to deny her anything ever again.

He kneels up quickly, pushing his sweatpants down quickly, kicking them off behind him so he doesn’t have any restrictions.

“Take the t-shirt off,” she orders, looking over her shoulder. “I want to feel you.”

He groans loudly again before pulling the t-shirt off over his head and throwing it to the side before leaning forward and pressing his free dick up against her behind, pressing his chest to her back to receive the remnants of her oil on him, pushing his lips into her hair as she turns her head so he’s pressing into her neck whilst she grinds her behind up into his hard erection.

“Gerri,” he groans into her neck as his tongue attacks her, his elbows perched on either side of her chest, her hand reaching up over her shoulder to push the back of his head harder into her neck as she gasps at the sensation it’s creating in her.

She’s never felt so alive, so adored, so fucking stimulated.

“Rome, baby,” she breathes as she moves her mouth to find his, her neck taking the strain so she can run her tongue across his passionately.

When he can’t take it anymore, he pulls back, buries his head into the back of her neck as she looks forward panting, perching on her elbows. He jumps up onto his knees, looking down at her soft shining skin, her golden hair, her silky cunt as he grasps her hips, pulling her towards him to encourage her onto her knees, kissing her back again as he reaches around the front of her to push his fingers up against her nub.

“Oh, Rome, honey. Please,” she begs, still perching on her elbows.

He reaches down to his erection, tugging a few times before pushing into her cunt, feeling the familiar warm slickness that he only enjoys when within her. Within Gerri; his fucking siren, the fucking lighthouse in his storm, the love of his fucking sorry life. If he could choose anywhere to be at any given time, it would be right here; wrapped around her, his skin pressed to hers, her scent invading his nostrils, buried deep inside her, listening to her little gasps of pleasure, his balls tight from the suspense of his own release.

The huge sigh of relief he has from being inside her releases as she gasps loudly, pushing back hard against him, the angle of him within her hitting the special spot perfectly. He begins moving, one hand still wrapped around her to tease her clit, as the other holds onto her hip.

It’s different being in this angle, not being able to see her face, her reactions, her striking blue eyes, her plump lips. He can’t watch for her reactions, can’t really press his lips against hers, but this is about her; about creating her pleasure first and foremost and while he misses all the other stuff, he’s still deep inside her and that’s all he needs.

He instead focusses on moving back and forth within her, ensure that his angle hits properly so he can rub her g-spot, ensures that he continues to rub against her clit, presses his lips against her spine so she knows how much he wants her. He moves to press against her back as he listens to her gasps with each thrust, lifts his hand from her hip to knead her breast as he gyrates into her.

“You’re so fucking beautiful,” he groans into her neck as she twists her head towards him, his hand moving from her breast to push her hair away before she kisses him hard, her gasps entering his mouth with each continued thrust.

“Rome,” she groans. “I want you,” she pants against his mouth as her eyes flutter closed, the connection of their lips broken, her hips pushing harder back against him as his hips speed up at her words.

“Fuck Gerri. Yes,” he hisses as he pounds harder into her, the leverage in this position the best it’s ever been as he rails into her, his hands now perched on both hips as hers dig deeply into the mattress as she kneels in front of him.

“Fuck, yes, Roman. Harder, harder. Fuck. Give it to me,” she pants between each thrust.

He feels like he can’t hold on any longer, wants to wait for her to let go and seize around him but his dick is throbbing within her, his balls are bursting, and he can’t help but spill inside her with a loud groan, continuing his hammering into her, trying to get her over the edge before he slackens. Relief fills him when he hears that familiar scream, feels that familiar clenching in her core.

“Yes,” is all he can hear her whisper on repeat as she comes down from her orgasm, as he simply holds onto her waist, his chest pressed against her back, his forehead hard against the top of her spine as he tries to get his breath back.

He eventually pulls out of her, watching as she lies back down on her stomach panting, he more or less falling half on her as she faces him; his hands pushing her hair back from her face again so he can watch her come down.

“Well that was something,” she sighs deeply with a smile.

“Never had a happy ending?” He laughs, kissing her arm.

“I can’t say I have. Clearly I’ve been missing out,” she moves closer to him, nuzzling her nose against his temple as he takes her hint, leans up to kiss her lovingly, noting her instant response as she moves to her side, rolling onto her back so he can wrap around her, both of them pouring every ounce of affection into the kiss, into the small caresses and touches that they couldn’t possibly vocalise right now.

Their kiss slows, becoming pecks as she pushes his hair back from his forehead as he closes his eyes enjoying her attentions. She takes a moment to appreciate his boyish good looks even with his battered face, his tired brown eyes now staring into hers, running her hand down to graze against his stubble.

“You know, I think I have a crush on you,” she smiles sweetly.  

“You think?” He grins widely.

“Is it weird to have a crush on your own boyfriend?” She asks sarcastically.

“Maybe a little,” he shrugs lightly, leaning forward to lazily kiss her lips. “But I’m not really one to ask. I have a huge fucking crush on my girlfriend. Irreversible.”

She scoffs a little, moving her hand back up to push through his hair until she pulls the back of his head down to rest on her chest, her eyes closing as she feels his warmth around her, his fingers caressing the underside of her breast, their legs tangled together, whilst she runs her fingers along the soft skin of his shoulders.

“You know,” she almost whispers. “Everything you’ve done for me moving here is probably the sweetest, most thoughtful thing that’s ever been done for me in my whole life,” she divulges into the open room, her eyes still closed.

“I’d do anything for you,” he tells her honestly. “Literally anything.”

“I think I’ve just fallen even harder in love with you than I ever thought possible,” she reveals seriously as her hand absently explores his back.

“I think I fell hard long before you,” he mumbles, pressing a soft kiss to her clavicle.

“Do you know when you did?” She asks curiously. “Was it by chance when I uttered the words slime puppy?” She asks laughing as he snickers, moving his hand down to drift against her side.

“I don’t know. Don’t really think I understood what love was. All I know is that I was seeking you out. I wanted you around me all the time in the early days as well. Whenever I saw you; when you were drifting around a room, or talking to someone, or in a meeting, or at a charity event. I would just watch you,” he smiles against her skin. “I loved watching you. How you hold a pen and sometimes twist it around when you’re trying to figure something out. How you would push your hair out of your face when it would annoy you. Or when you lick your lips when you’re trying to preamble how you’re going to word something you deem delicate. How you lift your mug or a glass to your lips and hold it so delicately when you take a sip, how your cheeks would suck in when you were appreciating the taste,” he continues thinking of all the things he had noted then and still loves to watch now, before he laughs a little. “You do this thing as well, where you like invert your lips when you’re trying to hold something in. Like you’re physically trying to hold it in. I remember when dad first said he wanted to go for Pierce and Ken was like trying to feel us out and you were trying to convince him you thought it was exciting. You literally tightened your lips together and bit them like you were afraid you’d blurt it out if you didn’t,” he chuckles a little as a small smile forms on her lips, listening to his adoration. “Even how you clap your hands. You always tap your right fingers against your left palm. I just couldn’t stop watching everything.”

“I didn’t realise you were paying attention to every single little thing I did. I mean,” she scoffs. “I knew you were watching me at times, but I didn’t realise you were watching that closely.”

“I was obsessed. I wanted to know every single thing,” he reveals a little embarrassed. “Still do. Though now I don’t feel the overwhelming feeling to seek you out every minute of every day.”

“Ahh,” she laughs. “The infatuation is finally wearing off then.”

“Mmm,” he hums. “I don’t know about that. I’m still fascinated by you. But I try ration myself now, like a good boy,” he offers lightly, looking up to her through his eyelashes.

“A very good boy,” she smiles, pecking his forehead as he settled back down thinking about it.

“I think I started to fall that night in Argestes. When I came to see you, after you know,” he flickers his eyes away, staring off out to the Manhattan skyline. “You just comforted me like I’ve never been comforted before. Just stroked my hair and said It’s going to be okay,” he whispers, smiling lightly. “It’s the first time I ever believed it actually might be. And then you just let me cling onto you, letting me be broken.”

Her eyes are shining, she remembers that night well; remembers the heartbreak she had felt watching all his barriers break down so easily for the first time so openly.

“But like really love you? When did I think I was truly in love with you? Like no going back? I think it’s when you caught that rapid hard hit from Frank in Hawaii and he was out,” he deadpans as she starts laughing, her unshed tear falling as she wipes it away giggling.

“It was then and there I knew I had to marry you,” he says resolutely with a resigned shrug.

“You ass,” she chokes out through her chuckle.

“I’m kidding,” he smiles, looking up to her. “I think it was that night in London. When you we were outside the townhouse and you were so interested in everything. You looked so fucking beautiful. Then how exicted you were to see that poets house. I wanted to make you that happy for every minute of my sorry life. I just knew I needed you with me forever,” he smiles, as she chokes out a gasp, moving closer to him to kiss him solidly, as he wraps his arm around her firmly, pulling her closer whilst they pour all the emotion into their kiss.

She pulls back, pressing her forehead into his, her eyes closed.

“Turkey,” she whispers. “When I thought you were dead in the hostage situation. That’s when I realised, I was falling. That it was something deeper. I’d been hiding it from myself up until that point,” he listens intently, lying back down onto her chest as she continues. “But truly falling with no going back? I don’t know. I keep falling harder and harder. When you took care of me that night I was exhausted, and you took me to the bunker. The night in the Ritz when you didn’t answer your phone and I thought something had happened. When I started to realise you didn’t just want to fuck me and you wanted to take care of me and be with me. And our London adventure, seeing that new side to you and realising that I wanted that life with you, that I wanted in, that I didn’t want to go back to my boring life before you were a part of it. But the final nail in the coffin was Hawaii, when you had the accident.”

It had been the first time she had brought it up his accident in Hawaii. She had forbidden him from making jokes about it, had barely wanted to talk about any part of it unless it was to help him process it. She hadn’t said anything about her feelings about it, hadn’t divulged what had happened whilst he was unconscious though Frank had revealed that she was distraught, not going into any details. He knew something had happened, had seen a change in her and their relationship after that. She had been more forthcoming about her feelings, more attentive, initiating spending more time with him; not that he had any complaints, but he could never get her to talk about it. He never thought he would find out, but her bringing this up now, maybe he was.

“You want to talk about that?” He asks, leaning up on his elbow, his hand on her waist still gently caressing. “I know it affected you, babe,” he smiles. “I know something went on in that hospital.”

She remains silent for a moment, offering a quivering smile as her hand strokes his battered face gently.

“It was one of the most terrifying moments in my life, Rome,” she reveals quietly, her eyes filling with tears. “Just seeing you lying on that ramp with blood rushing from your head. I’ll never forget getting to the hospital and going straight to the bathroom and just washing your blood off my hands. It was like they had been dipped in your blood,” she whispers. “I was so afraid I was going to lose you. I couldn’t think of anything else. I’ve never felt so gut wrenched like that, not even when Baird died.”

He’s surprised by that. As much as he thought Baird was a fucking cunt that didn’t deserve her, she loved him and obviously suffered from his death.

He looks up to her, sees her trying to hold in her emotion, her blue eyes surrounded by tears as he pulls her closer to him, kissing her quickly, before pulling her onto his chest, allowing her to bury her head into his neck as he holds her.

“I was on edge in that waiting room. Even got into a fight with Frank because I was so high strung. But all I could think about was how you couldn’t leave me. How I needed you to stay and how I didn’t want to continue my life without you. I told you that you know,” she divulges, looking up to him as he regards her, pushing his hand through her hair with a small smile. “When you woke up asking if I made a big plea to beg you to stay; I did,” she reveals quietly, tears falling down her cheeks as he pushes them away with his thumb, while his own tears begin to form.

“What did you say?” He whispers, feels selfish to ask but so desperately wants to know.

“I told you all the things I still wanted to do with you. How I wanted you to come to my apartment and plan our vacation and go to Rome on my birthday.”

“We’re still doing that by the way,” he tells her adamantly, as he takes in her small smile.

“I know. But I thought at that point that we weren’t going to be able to. I was pleading for you to wake up so we could. Begged for you not to die; not to leave me because I couldn’t imagine a life without you, but you didn’t respond. I thought my heart was breaking,” she chokes out a small sob as her tears continue to flow, his emotion building up as both of his hands move to wipe her tears away as she presses firmer into his side.

“I would never leave you if I had the choice,” he tells her seriously, holding either side of her face. “I want to do everything with you. More than just go on vacation and take you to Rome on your birthday. I want to spend my whole life with you, Gerri. You’re it. You’re fucking it.”

“I know, honey. I know that now. I just don’t know why I’d held back so much until that point.”

“Yeah, there seems to be pattern there that you fall harder when you think I’m about to die,” he laughs a little, trying to inject humour into the situation.

“I know, it’s ridiculous,” she says pushing her tears away as he grins at her. “I don’t know why I think like that. I’ve fallen even harder since then though. No near death experiences. Just being with you, just how I feel around you. Everything I said to you yesterday.”

“What when you were giving me a hand job?” He teases again.

“Yes,” she rolls her eyes through her wet eyes exasperated, looking down to his chest as she trails patterns there with her finger. “No one’s made me feel like you do, and I mean that. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I can’t imagine a life without you.”

“Does that mean you’ll marry me?” He asks with a smirk.

“I meant what I said the other night, Rome,” she smiles knowingly. “Not now, but when the time is right, I’ll give you the nod and when you ask, I’ll say yes.”

He grins even wider, moving towards her quickly to kiss her hard as she laughs through it, her hand pressed against his chest.

“You’ve just basically agreed to marry me,” he mumbles against her lips, continuing to offer solid kisses.

“No,” she gasps, smiling through his kisses.

“Yes,” he smiles even wider, pulling back to look at her. “We’re basically engaged.”

“Not officially, honey. We’ve not even went one night living together. Pre-engaged.”

“Pre-engaged,” he whispers against her lips, kissing her again.

“And I still refuse to be a Roy and I’m picking my ring.”

“Pick whatever the fuck you want, call yourself whatever the fuck you want, I don’t care,” he groans, his teeth grazing her lip. “As long as I get to call you my wife at the end of it.”

“I don’t know when it’ll be, Rome,” she warns, offering a peck before pushing him back to lie down as she settles her head on his chest again.

“Just knowing it’s going to happen is enough.”

She lies there quietly, her chest relaxing against him as her high emotions dissipate a little.

“The shit with the accident in Hawaii,” he says quietly. “You think you should talk to someone about it?” He asks, caressing her bare back with his fingers.

“I think it’s pretty normal to be upset about something like that. It’s not affecting me on a daily basis,” she reasons quietly.

“But it does affect you?”

“Sometimes, when I really think about it.”

“Maybe you should speak to someone then. Maybe even Charlotte? Or the PTSD person she keeps trying to offer me?”

“Maybe,” she bites the inside of her mouth. “I’ll keep an eye on it.”

“I’m going to go see my therapist,” he announces, his lips twisting as she looks up to him. “The shit with Shiv and whatever last night. It delved into shit I never thought of and I need to, ya know, figure it out in the old noggin’.”

“I’m glad you want to figure it all out. After this whole weekend I think you really should speak to him. What did you figure out last night?”

“Con said something about how dad had deliberately pit us all against each other and picked on me so he could create this like pecking order. That it was maybe half to freak everyone else out by making an example of me, and the other half was to try and big Ken up to prepare him to take the reins in Waystar,” he reveals.

“Is this theory or fact?” She asks with a horrified expression, leaning her arms across his chest to look at him.

“I don’t know,” he puffs. “Con said it like it was fact. But if that’s fact then it’s pretty fucked up,” he laughs awkwardly.

“Oh honey,” she sighs. “I knew your dad was cruel but to deliberately do it instead of just being absent-minded,” she trails off biting her lip.

“There was this part of me that felt better about it, Gerri,” he reveals, looking down to her, running his hands through her hair as she frowns. “Like, if he did it for that reason then maybe he didn’t do it because I was a fucked up piece of shit or I was the most unloved, but just because I was the youngest son. It was like more strategic to dad than like emotional.”

“I understand that, Rome. That it might be better that it wasn’t personal to you. It doesn’t make it hurt less though,” she curls her lips, stroking across his chest.

“Shiv said this shit as well. She apologised for what she said by the way,” he digresses.

“She should have.”

“Well she did. But she like had this theory that I was maybe the strongest of us all because I was the only one who like went back for more. I was the only one who stood up to him, whereas the rest of them were just underhanded. She might have just been trying to blow smoke up my ass, but I never thought of it like that. I need to figure out if I believe it.”

“I think that’s a good way to think of it, Rome,” she tells him resolutely, nodding. “Who else really did verbally stand up to your dad? I mean sure, you were scared of him, just like we all were. There are only a few occasions that I told him what I really thought of a situation, but most of the time I told him what he wanted to hear as did everyone. But the fact that you would even joke about him to his face was something no one else did. That only you could get away with because of your charm.”

“Apart from when I got a back hander now and then for it,” he notes.

“Yeah,” she breathes. “Apart from then.”

“Well, I’m trying not to overthink it just now. Want to just enjoy this now and finally going public. I’ll make an appointment with my therapist and try and let them fucking figure it out.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” She asks gently. “Would that make it easier?”

“I don’t know,” he bites his lip.

“Well,” she ponders. “Why don’t you get an appointment for when I can make it and if on the day you want me to come with you, I can.”

“Cool,” he grins widely.

“What are you smiling at?” She laughs.

“Just you,” he offers shaking his head, the smile still present.

“Well, don’t. It’s unnerving,” she smirks back.

“How can I look at your cute face and not smile.”

“I’m hardly cute.”

“You’re the fucking cutest,” he groans, leaning forward to peck her lips.

“You’re deluded.”

“You’re a fucking siren.”

“You know of all the things you call me, I think that’s my favourite. Babe is a very very distant second.”

“Should I start addressing you as my siren in work emails?”

“Only if you want me to address you as slime puppy in them.”

“I absolutely want you to address me as slime puppy in emails,” he laughs, moving onto his side, brushing his nose against hers as she chuckles, their bodies pressed up against each other.

“My favourite is honey,” he divulges quietly, pecking her lips. “I know you call your kids honey but when you say it, it’s like I’m home. Or when you call me baby when you’re turned on. But the way you say my name. Rome. The way it draws out. Perfect,” he smiles, kissing her quickly again.

“Rome,” she whispers with a smile.

“Yeah, like that,” he closes his eyes, sighing slowly. “The best.”

They lie there for a moment until a yawn comes over her, he sympathy yawning immediately after her.

“We should get some sleep. It’s a long day tomorrow,” she reasons as he leans in to kiss her, pushing into her mouth as he languidly caresses her tongue.

“Roman,” she warns when she pulls back. “We need to sleep.”

“When you do angry Roman too. That’s favourite number four,” he smiles before pecking again.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” she smiles, pulling away from him and getting out of the bed.

“I left you out pyjamas on the sink in there,” he notes, lying back completely naked on the bed.

“You might want to think of getting some yourself,” she smirks over her shoulder, before closing the door slightly.

He gets up quickly, blowing out all the candles, before pulling back the blanket covered in oily shit and throwing it onto the couch where he sees Chuck the Chick sitting.

“Aww little Chuck!” He shouts as he walks towards his drawers to pull out a pair of boxers. “Is Chuck the Chick relegated to the couch now then? No more sleeping in your bed?” he shouts out to her.

“Unless you want relegated to the couch?” She shouts back as he hears the toilet flush and the water running.

He smiles, pulling back the bed covers and getting into the bed, lying back against the pillows.

“Roman!” He hears her shouting. “You can’t be serious with this,” she shouts, though he hears a hint of laughter in her voice.

“What are you talking about?” He asks, chuckling under his breath, completely aware of exactly what she’s talking about.

He hears a little shuffling before she appears in the doorway, leaning her hand on the door frame, giving him her best stare, her blonde hair curling around her makeup-less face, her legs completely exposed as she dons an oversized plain black t-shirt that just reaches the tops of thighs, the huge print of Kylie Minogue staring at him as he chuckles.

“Wow, you look hot,” he smirks, though he tries to hide it.

“Kylie Minogue?” She asks as she walks around the bed towards her side.

“Hey, you don’t know how long I looked for that. Ended up getting it specially made just for you. Only one in the world. Fucking couture,” he rabbles as she rolls her eyes.

“You didn’t even leave out bottoms.”

“What do you need bottoms for?” He flirts as she rolls her eyes again, reaching for the rose on the bed, smelling it with a smile before placing it on the bedside table. She moves for the lamp to turn it off, ensuring her phone is still charging, that her alarm is still on.

“Go to sleep,” she instructs, sitting on the bed. “We’re up at 5am.”

“Okay, remember we were talking about ground rules with living together,” he says into the pitched black room. “A 5am wake up is on my list that needs negotiation. I’m willing to go full proxy battle style. Presentations and all kinds of shit.”

“That’s when I wake up,” she groans, lying down as she faces away from him, whilst he lies on his back. “Are these bed sheets new?” She asks absently, feeling the softness that she only feels within her own bed.

“But I don’t need to blow dry my hair,” he groans, moving up behind her to wrap his arm around her waist, she instinctually threading her hand through his to pull their clasped hands up to her chest.

“Then see it as a snooze alarm. Go back to sleep for half an hour before you set your own alarm and need to get up,” she challenges, looking around to him and kissing his lips quickly before settling into her pillow. “Goodnight.”

“Night,” he lilts, kissing the back of her neck before he settles down behind her to go to sleep himself. “Yes, the bedsheets are new. They’re the ones you like,” he sighs into her back as she smiles sweetly.

It was a perfect new beginning.