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A Man in the Bedroom

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Hugh Collins shifted awkwardly in his bed. He was an old married man of two whole weeks now, and felt that being embarrassed by a sexual conversation was not complimentary to his virility. But the whole idea of a sexual... aid... was making him very uncomfortable. “But why would anyone need something like that, Dottie?” he asked his wife.

“Well,” she said thoughtfully, trying hard not to be distracted by the feeling of her husband’s bare thigh against her own, “the doctors at the sanitarium thought it was... therapeutic. For certain patients. Though I don’t quite see how. And,” she continued, determined to be thorough, though there were many aspects of that case she preferred not to think about while in bed with her husband, “Miss Fisher seems to be very... well-acquainted with such devices.”

That confused Hugh even further. “But... why? Why would she need them?”

Dot raised her eyebrows at him.

Hugh cleared his throat loudly and absolutely refused to blush. “I meant, why would she need them? She doesn’t seem to ever be lacking in, uh, willing gentlemen to, um, help.”

“That’s very true,” said Dot, very fairly, and smiling at the thought of her absent employer. There had been a telegram from Miss Fisher that very day, letting them all know that she and the Baron were safe in Calcutta. It would be another week at least before she could possibly be in London, but she was making good time and – so far – hadn’t done anything drastic to the Baron. “But sometimes, according to her, a woman has... needs, and no gentleman handy to, well, satisfy them.”

Hugh blinked once or twice, and pondered this information. His pondering was somewhat hindered by the sensation of Dottie’s small warm hand wandering purposefully under the bedsheets. “So... women need to use machines?”

That made Dot giggle. “We don’t need to, silly,” she teased, her cheeks colouring at her own boldness. She had learned many things during her two weeks of marriage, but the thought of discussing self-pleasure with Hugh still felt incredibly... naughty. “We have hands, the same as men do.”

The idea of Dottie using her hands on herself sent a flood of blood to Hugh’s groin. “Then what’s the percussor for?” he asked huskily, rolling over and taking his wife into his arms.

“Something different, I suppose,” Dot replied, her voice gone soft and warm. “Something that’s all about the woman. Something that—”

Hugh kissed her and the rest of their conversation was shelved in favour of the more routine activities of a honeymoon.

Chapter Text

Dr. Elizabeth MacMillian glanced up from her clipboard and gave Senior Constable Collins a rather dry once-over. “I know this isn’t the best time,” Hugh hedged.

“I’m not sure any time would be a good time for me to give a new husband sex tips,” she replied, making a note on her autopsy report. “Why don’t you ask Inspector Robinson? He seems like the sort of man who could give you the sort of pointers you’re looking for, especially after a whole month of marriage. Make you feel more like a man in the bedroom...”

“That’s just it, Doctor, I don’t want to feel like a man in the bedroom! I mean—” Hugh gulped and shut his mouth quickly, and tried to gather his composure and his dignity.

Mac went on with her examination of the body on her table, and watched Hugh with the same sort of fondness she reserved for other people’s very well-behaved children and dogs.

“I don’t want,” the constable said, carefully, “that kind of advice. I’m not looking for ways to... for me.” He sighed and gazed at Mac with a quiet resignation. “I want to know how to make things better for Dot. I want to...” Hugh swallowed and forged on. “I want every time to be as good for her as if she was pleasuring herself.”

“...Well.” Mac set her clipboard down and regarded Hugh with a new interest. “If that’s the way you’re thinking already, lad, then there’s hope for you after all.” She beckoned him to follow her into her office. “Have a drink?”

“Uh, no thank you, ma’am—doctor! Ma’am.” He took the chair Mac indicated and perched gingerly on the very edge. “I-I hope you don’t think it’s a liberty, Doctor, me asking you this...”

“I might, if it was anyone else.” She poured a measure of whiskey for herself, to get her through the ordeal. “But if Phryne were here, I’m sure you’d be asking her. Unless you find her more intimidating than me?” Mac raised an eyebrow.

“Um... you’re, uh... equally intimidating, ma’am. Doctor. B-besides, Miss Fisher already gave me some, erm... tips.”

“Oh? This should be good.”

“When I first started courting Dot. She gave me a book.”

“Oh Lord, she didn’t start you out on the Kama Sutra did she?”

“No, ‘Erotica of the Far East.’”

“Almost as bad. I’m surprised the shock didn’t bring on an apoplectic fit.”

Hugh coloured up. He knew the doctor was teasing, but he wasn’t entirely sure if she was teasing him or the absent Miss Fisher. “I mainly concentrated on the chapter on kissing. Everything else seemed, uh...”

“Advanced?”

“Erm.” The new bridegroom cleared his throat. “Yes?”

Mac rolled her eyes and envisioned having a stern talk with Phryne when she got back. “So what exactly do you want to know?”

Hugh rubbed his damp palms on the legs of his trousers. “I just... I don’t want Dot to ever feel like she has to attend to her own needs. I don’t want her to feel like she has to seek out satisfaction—” Oh, but Hugh’s face was red! “—because I couldn’t give it to her.”

“Hmm. Is this about another man?” asked Mac bluntly, remembering Constable Martin.

“No! No, but... Dottie was telling me about a... a device...”

“Oh, that.” The doctor grinned and dropped into her chair, suddenly feeling on much firmer ground. “So you want to know what you need to do to make sure she never has to have recourse to something like the percussor.”

Hugh nodded emphatically.

“Well, first off: sometimes, a woman just needs to get herself off. Same way a man does. Accept that, and you’ll be a lot happier. Understand?”

“No, ma—doctor. But I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Good. Next thing: women experience sexual pleasure in a much less focused way than men do. I mean... all that can be done for you is to focus on the business end of things, yes?” Mac gestured carelessly at Hugh’s crotch.

He automatically closed his legs. “Well, I-I guess...”

“You can make a woman climax by touching her almost anywhere, if you do it right.”

“...Really? Anywhere?

“Damn near,” Mac smirked, remembering the women she’d performed that particular favour for, and the women who’d returned the favour…

“Doctor?” Hugh ventured.

She cleared her throat sharply. “Constable, it sounds like you’re getting along just fine on your own initiative. If you want to get more specific, we’ll go out for a drink after your shift and talk the matter over thoroughly. But honestly? Just keep listening to Dot. Watch her. She’ll let you know what she wants, with or without words.”

Mac tossed back the rest of her scotch, and then on a whim, poured another measure and handed it to Hugh, who knocked back the amber liquor without a word.

“You’ll do, lad,” she assured him, patting his back while he coughed.