Nick was startled out of the doze he hadn't realised he'd fallen into by a soft tapping sound from the vague direction of the door, and then the creak of said door opening.
"Permission to enter Bletchley Park?"
He opened one eye groggily, looking up from the sofa to see Gloria standing in the doorway holding two steaming mugs, one eyebrow raised as she looked around at the numbers and symbols plastered all over the boards and walls. Not quite awake enough yet to form coherent words, he just held out a hand for the coffee and Gloria came in, sitting down on the couch beside him with her own mug, still looking around in amusement.
"What is all this?" she asked.
Nick eased himself into a slightly more vertical position and rubbed his eyes before putting his glasses back on and following her line of sight around the room. "To be honest, I'm not sure myself anymore."
"Hmm." Gloria hid her smile in her mug. "I can already tell you where you've gone wrong," she said conversationally.
"Really?" Nick took a sip of coffee and grimaced. "Are you trying to kill me?"
"No, Nick, the opposite in fact. I've come to the educated conclusion that the reason you keep nodding off at three in the afternoon is because you spend so little time asleep during the hours of darkness, and we both know that this is really not healthy. Naturally, as your kind and caring wife it falls to me to do something about this."
"By poisoning me."
"It's decaffeinated coffee, it's not arsenic."
Nick glanced at her askance but nonetheless took another sip, mainly because the beverage was hot and wet and tasted vaguely like coffee rather than out of any desire actually to lower his caffeine consumption.
"Where have I gone wrong?" he asked eventually. Whilst Gloria never normally ventured inside his study, much less made any notions towards understanding what he was doing in there, this particular problem was getting to the stage where he would accept any help on offer.
"There." She pointed at a piece of paper tacked up beside the door. "Unless you've gone so far that you've run out of numbers and you're resorting to treble clefs, I really don't think that should be there."
Nick moved over and peered at the piece of paper, turning it sideways and upside down before conceding that there were no two ways about it, what he'd written made no sense and he was indeed using treble clefs instead of... whatever it was that he was supposed to have been using instead of treble clefs.
"I think I must have been asleep for that part," he muttered, balling the paper up and tossing it in the direction of the bin. Gloria gave a soft huff of laughter, then her brow furrowed as she shifted on the couch and eventually reached under the cushions, unearthing a crumpled up letter.
"What's this? Maybe it's your missing link. I wouldn't put it past you to be sitting on the key to life, the universe and everything."
It was in that moment that full comprehension and wakefulness returned to Nick in a flood of awareness and his blood ran cold as he realised precisely what it was that Gloria was holding, and he dived across the room to grab it from her. It was too late, she'd already smoothed it out and was scanning the words there on.
"I thought I'd got rid of that," he muttered, pinching the bridge of his nose and watching Gloria's reaction as she read. It was not particularly encouraging. She started out wary, but then her expression gradually changed until it was worryingly... predatory. There was a glint her eye that had more than once led to some very mutually satisfying sessions between the sheets (and not between them), but in the current context, Nick was more concerned than aroused.
"You're a dark horse, Nicholas," she said. "How come I didn't know about this?"
"Because it's completely ridiculous, that's why," Nick muttered.
The piece of paper that had attracted Gloria's attention had been given to him in his office at the university two days prior by a very enthusiastic and very annoying member of the college charity committee and Nick did not know what had possessed him to keep the thing rather than fling it straight in the shredder where it belonged. He had been solicited, for want of a better word, to be part of a calendar for charity involving pictures of various science faculty members.
"Oh Nick, it's for a good cause! And whoever's organising it evidently has excellent taste since they’ve asked you…"
Nick snorted and Gloria gave him her look. The "you know I'm right" look that he had been at the mercy of ever since they first began their relationship.
"No," he said shortly, deciding that the direct approach was going to be his only way out of this one.
"Why not?" Gloria teased. "This could be the beginning of a whole new career for you."
"It could also be the end of my current career, one I'm very happy in, thank you. I have no desire to leave the university in embarrassment."
"Really Nick, you don't have anything to be embarrassed about, and I do think that mine happens to be an expert opinion." Gloria's voice was something akin to a purr, and Nick followed her eye line down to his crotch, shaking his head in despair.
"No," he repeated, coming back to the couch and sitting down again, trying to focus on what on earth he could have been trying to work out when he'd ended up using treble clefs instead of numbers. Gloria leaned into his side.
"I dare you to," she whispered.
"Gloria, I am not taking my clothes off and having people take pictures of me for even the best of causes! I'll be a laughing stock! I'll never be able to teach again!"
"Don't be ridiculous," Gloria said, her voice matter of fact. "I think that this is a perfect opportunity."
"Well..." Gloria leaned over and began to undo his shirt buttons. Nick watched her with one eyebrow raised, but he made no move to stop her until she was one button away from his naval, covering her hands with his own. “Naturally, you’d need to practise your posing,” she said, slipping out of his grip and sliding her hands inside his open shirt. “And naturally, I’d be more than happy to help you with that.”
“No.” Nick was slightly ashamed of the croak in his voice. It made it sound like Gloria was slowly breaking down his resolve by method of seduction. She was doing exactly that, but she didn’t need to know that in quite such an obvious fashion.
“Oh Nick…” Gloria unbuttoned the rest of his shirt and spread the halves open. “Don’t you want to share this beautiful spectacle with the world?”
Nick shook his head, not quite trusting himself to speak at that moment in time.
Gloria sighed. “Such a shame,” she said, and before Nick could protest any further against the idea, she had shifted over to sit in his lap, hooking her arms around his neck. “I had such an excellent incentive for you as well.”
Nick quirked an eyebrow, snaking his arms around his wife to pull her in closer against him, and she wriggled happily in his embrace, leaning in for a readily provided kiss. What was intended to have been just a peck on the lips ended up deeper and deeper, Gloria’s fingers carding in his hair, noses bumping and glasses dislodging. Nick brought one hand up to cup her cheek, and she leaned in to his palm as they finally broke apart and she smiled down at him, lips plump from kissing and her face glowing in the late afternoon sun. For a moment, Nick forgot what he was going to say.
“And what might that incentive have been?” he finally asked.
“Well, I’m not entirely sure that it would have worked now,” Gloria said with a feigned tone of sadness. “Since you seem so dead set against the idea.”
“Try me anyway.”
Gloria untangled her hands from his hair and unceremoniously pulled her top off.
“If I was going to be helping you perfect your posing I thought we might start with a level playing field, so to speak.”
Nick could only laugh. “If you take all your clothes off too then I don’t think we’re going to get any practising done.”
Gloria appeared to give this thought serious consideration for a moment then shrugged. “A risk I’m willing to take in the name of getting you into a sexy scientists calendar,” she said nonchalantly.
Nick rolled his eyes and pulled her in close again, running his fingers down her spine to her bra fastening. “Why did I marry you again?”
“Do you want the reasons alphabetically or thematically?”
“Oh, come here.”
Gloria did as bid, wrestling him out of his shirt with a fierce kiss. For the moment, all thoughts of calendars and faculty embarrassment was forgotten as they settled into the rhythm they’d found and perfected over all their years together. Nick knew exactly why he had married Gloria. They were two sides of the same coin in so many ways, she artistic whilst he was scientific, she the privileged English rose to his Glasgow pauper. So different, and yet the same in so many ways as well. Driven, determined, passionate about their life’s calling… Gloria could be just as ruthlessly focussed as he could be when she was practising for concerts, despite her lecturing him to spend more time sleeping than working.
And then there was this, of course. He wouldn’t deny that sex with Gloria was absolutely wonderful. It had been one of the things he’d missed most when she’d been ill, not that he had ever admitted that to her. At the time he had been too worried about her to really think about it, but looking back… The first time they’d made love after she’d recovered had felt like a balm to his soul, like something missing had been returned.
He finally succeeded in his battle against her bra fastening and Gloria arched her back under his touch as he kissed his way down her jaw, neck, collar bone…
Neither of them really noticed when they toppled off the couch, content to continue on the floor.
“We probably ought to get up and have dinner.”
Despite the declaration, neither Nick nor Gloria made any move to actually get off the study floor. Gloria had pulled the throw off the couch and they were sprawled out beneath it in the dark, evening having well and truly fallen in the interim.
Gloria nuzzled closer in against his shoulder and danced her fingertips across his chest, tracing patterns in the sheen of cooling perspiration.
“Will you at least consider it instead of dismissing it out of hand?” she asked.
Gloria laughed, her breath ghosting across his skin. “I can’t believe I’ve fucked you so thoroughly that I’ve scrambled your brains.” She grazed her nails over a nipple and Nick gave an involuntary rumble of appreciation in the back of his throat.
“Keep talking like that and you might well do,” he growled. There was something about hearing the filthy words he’d grown up in the midst of tumbling from Gloria’s perfect mouth in her perfect accent that did things to him.
She propped herself up on one elbow, shaking her hair out of her face and reaching across to smooth a couple of strands of his behind his ears.
“You know what I’m talking about,” she said. “Your opportunity to be immortalised in print forever.”
Nick sighed and rolled over onto his stomach with a groan, staring at the door so that he wouldn’t have to look at her, because in that moment he wouldn’t be able to deny her sneaky and sexy little smile anything. “Really, Glo…”
He felt her shift beside him and pull the throw off, and a moment later a warm hand was running down his back to grab one arse cheek. Finally he turned his head to face her again.
“No,” he said, but he could already feel conviction wavering.
“Even though you know I’d make it worth your while?” She gave his bottom a gentle squeeze.
There was a long silence.
“I’ll consider it.”
“You know, I can’t believe I actually agreed to this.”
“Neither could most of the committee, to be honest. We’re glad you did though.”
“Why did I agree to this?”
“I don’t know, Dr Rush. But the camera's ready to go whenever you are.”
“I can already tell that I’m going to regret this…”
Nick almost thought nothing of it when a slim cardboard envelope was delivered to his office one afternoon a few weeks after his escapades, escapades that he had done very well at putting to the back of his mind and never speaking of again. Well, he had spoken of the experience once after Gloria’s questioning became too much and he admitted to her that yes, he had done it and no, he was not going to talk about it. Ever.
He thought so little of it that the cardboard envelope remained untouched on his desk all day and he only just remembered to take it home with him when the time came to leave, where it sat untouched on the kitchen table for three days until curiosity finally overcame the house’s other occupant.
“Are you ever going to open this, Nick?” Gloria asked one evening as they were washing up after dinner.
“It’s probably just advertising for some new journal or another,” Nick said absently, his mind somewhat preoccupied with the problem he had set the first years that afternoon, wondering whether any of them would get it right.
“I still think that it needs to be opened, though.”
Nick glanced across at his wife, who was fingering the corners of the envelope with a barely disguised need to open it, and he chuckled.
“Go on then, if you’re that worried about it. Don’t be too disappointed though.”
Gloria ripped the envelope open without further ado and as soon as she saw the contents, her eyes lit up, a grin of Cheshire Cat proportions appearing on her face.
“Oh no, Nicholas, I am most certainly not disappointed.”
It was at that moment that Nick caught a proper glimpse of what Gloria was holding, and his heart both sank and started performing loop-de-loops at the same time.
Berkeley Sexy Scientists 2005.
Gloria just quirked a provocative eyebrow and proceeded to pull the plastic wrapping off, flicking through the pages with impatience until she found him.
“Definitely not disappointed,” she purred, and she looked up at him in the flesh.
There was a moment then when Nick’s brain was composed of two warring halves, neither gaining control and thus leaving him standing in the middle of the kitchen, holding a damp tea towel and looking a little bit like a particularly gormless statue. Part of him wanted to go over, grab the calendar out of Gloria’s hands, and destroy it in the most impressive manner known to man. The other part wanted to go over, grab the calendar out of Gloria’s hands, toss it aside and kiss her smirking little mouth senseless, and if that happened to end up with them having acrobatic sex on the kitchen table then so much the better. Physically at least it seemed that the latter part was winning. Well, it was as far as the lower portions of his anatomy were concerned.
In the end, Gloria made up his mind for him, moving towards the kitchen door.
“I know just where to put this.”
If she was planning on putting it anywhere other than in a fire, there was going to be trouble.
There was going to be trouble.
Movement returned to Nick’s legs and he panicked and took off after her.
“Gloria, if you put that thing up in our bedroom…”
“Where else am I going to put it, dear?”
He had chased her to the bedroom door by this point, trapping her against it with both arms. Gloria was completely unperturbed by this, clutching the calendar close to her chest and still smiling her maddening smile. He leaned in to kiss her, to distract her and hopefully grab the offending article and get away with it, but it was clear that this was not going to happen. Gloria opened the bedroom door, neatly side-stepping out of the way as he lost his balance and ended up on the floor.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he groaned as he watched Gloria take down a small picture hanging on one wall and put the calendar in its place.
“I kid you not.” She sat back on the bed to admire the view.
“Please, Gloria, it’s bad enough that I actually did it, I don’t need the reminder of my lunacy.”
“It’s not lunacy. It was very brave of you. And also you look incredibly sexy.”
“I look idiotic. I’m going to be the laughing stock of the department.”
“You do have eleven colleagues who are likely all to be thinking the same thing, you know. And your hair obscures your face so no-one will recognise you.” She cocked her head on one side, studying the photograph with a critical artistic air. “It’s very nicely shot,” she said, as if she were looking at a display in a gallery. “The lighting is perfect and it’s very tasteful.”
Nick sat down beside her and forced himself to look at the picture. He was sitting in one of the empty offices which had been dressed up for the occasion (his own had been deemed too incredibly messy to use as a set), the open text book in his lap covering the necessary. True, he was looking down so his face could not easily be seen, but all the same...
“You recognised me,” he muttered.
“That’s because I am your wife and I have an extremely intimate knowledge of your naked body.” Gloria’s voice would have been matter of fact were it not for the purr with which she said the word intimate. It sent a tingle down Nick’s spine that spread to certain other regions. Oh, she was so kissable right now.
He pushed the thought down.
“It’s not staying there,” he said flatly.
“Oh but Nick, this is the best place for it.”
“No it is most definitely not. The best place for it is in an incinerator.”
“No, the best place for it is here because every time I look at it, it makes me want to do things to you.”
Even though she was not looking at him, Gloria’s hand had snaked its way across the bed and was squeezing his thigh, slowly working its way higher towards his crotch. Nick swallowed hard.
“What kinds of things?” he asked, trying not to sound at all affected by her ministrations.
“All kinds of things,” Gloria whispered huskily, turning to him and licking her lips. “All kinds of naughty things that are best kept in the bedroom, my very handsome, very sexy husband.” She reached his crotch at his point, palming his half-hard cock through his jeans. “It makes me want to explore what’s under that text book.”
Nick swallowed again as Gloria slipped off the bed and settled herself between his legs.
“Oh good grief,” he said faintly as she undid his belt and fly.
Gloria had magical fingers. Nick had known that for a very long time, since the first moment he saw her play her violin and watched the way her fingers moved over the strings and deftly glided the bow. The way her hands could produce music was nothing short of wondrous, and she knew how to use those brilliant fingers elsewhere. When she slipped her hand into his underwear, Nick was powerless to resist her. She could play him like her violin, and his body would sing for her every time, never an untrue melody or harsh note. She danced her fingertips up and down his length, delicately running her thumb over the silky head and eliciting the first drops of liquid from his tip before licking her fingers clean with little laps like a cat.
“Oh Gloria,” he murmured, closing his eyes as her hand slid down to cup his balls. “My perfect Gloria.”
She just laughed, and a moment later he felt her warm mouth close around the head of his cock, her tongue echoing the pattern that her fingers had taken. Nick curled his fingers into her hair, his brain not quite able to form coherent speech to tell her just how wonderful she felt, and it was all he could do to choke out the words as she continued to lick and suck him.
“Gloria… I’m close, I’m…”
He came hard, flooding her mouth, but she didn’t let him go, swallowing him down until she’d milked every last drop before releasing him and wiping the corners of her mouth with a smile.
Nick flopped back against the bed covers with a sated groan of happiness, and presently he felt Gloria crawl up his body until she was straddling his tummy, her hair tickling his face. He opened his eyes and looked up at her, smiling down at him like the cat who’d got the cream; incredibly pleased with herself considering that he was the one who’d just had a mind-blowing orgasm.
“Are you slightly more positively inclined towards it now?” she asked with a grin.
Nick shook his head. “I think I need further persuasion.”
Gloria shook her head. “No, I think it’s time you persuaded me to your opinion.”
That was a challenge, and it was one that Nick was all too happy to rise to. It was time to return the favour, after all – although he was going to need a couple of minutes to stop feeling quite so spaced out.
“With pleasure,” he growled eventually, pulling her down for a kiss and tipping her over onto her back. Gloria wrapped her legs around his hips, rubbing up against him.
“I’m counting on it,” she replied breathlessly as he finally released her lips and moved down, unhooking her legs and pushing her skirt up to pool at her hips, and stroking her cleft through the already damp gusset of her panties.
Going down on Gloria was never a chore. She always smelled and tasted delicious, and the noises she made, like everything else about her life, were positively musical. His fingers were clumsy beside hers, but he knew how to use his tongue. He had a silver tongue, Gloria said. He’d certainly used it to talk himself out of tight spots on more than one occasion. The only person he could never lie to was her, but with Gloria, his tongue had a far more satisfying occupation.
She was so wet tonight, as he pulled her knickers down and licked a stripe along her slit, so ready… Was it really his picture that had got her so hot?
Perhaps he had been a little harsh in his first estimation of it.
Much later, curled up beneath the covers with Gloria’s arms around him in a tight embrace, Nick looked at the dark shape of the calendar on the wall.
“You know, I can foresee a distinct problem with your latest addition to our bedroom decorations,” he said.
“Let’s not start this again,” Gloria mumbled sleepily against his chest. “I’ll persuade you again in the morning.”
“It’s not its presence in and of itself that I’m talking about. Although I’m never averse to morning persuasion.” He kissed the top of her head. “The problem is that it’s October and the calendar currently shows April.”
Gloria laughed, her breath soft against his skin.
“Well, it just so happens that April is far more visually appealing than October. I think it ought to be April all year round, personally.”
It was Nick’s turn to laugh.
“I’ll admit to being rather glad to hear that.”
As Gloria’s breathing evened out beside him and her body relaxed into sleep in his arms, Nick thought that perhaps, just maybe, he might have been persuaded.