The little cottage was dark as they made their way inside, kicking off their shoes at the door--a pair of brogues and some low-heeled Mary Janes--and then heading towards the kitchen.
“Tea?” Mac asked, flicking on the overhead light; the brassiness of her hair glowed under the electric bulb.
“Please,” said Frankie, watching Mac shrug off her suit jacket and place it on the back of a kitchen chair. “After dinner coffees just aren’t the same; I’m desperate for a cuppa.”
Frankie watched Mac grab the kettle from the stovetop.
“Dinner went well,” she said. “Not a single murder all evening.”
“I thought it might be close,” Mac said dryly, filling the kettle. She glanced disapprovingly as Frankie hopped onto the kitchen side, swinging her legs with cheerful abandon.
“Oh, the only injury was to Margaret Fisher’s pride, and that’s proven remarkably resilient. It was almost boring.”
Shaking her head, Mac turned away to fire up the range. Water set to boil, she got down the teapot and rinsed it with hot water. Then she gave Frankie a disapproving look.
“The tea is on the shelf behind you,” she pointed out.
“Is it?” Frankie asked innocently, leaning back on her hands and giving Mac room to reach the shelf.
Mac stepped closer, coming to rest between Frankie’s deliberately parted thighs. Laying her hands on Frankie’s legs--over the skirt, which was a pity--Mac moved in to kiss her. Frankie shifted off her hands, reaching up to pull the hairpin from Mac’s hair.
“Mmm, that could be lethal,” she said, pulling away to carefully regard the pin. “It’s better if you lose it.”
“Having heard of an actual murder committed with one, I’d have to agree.”
Frankie laughed and tossed the pin towards the kitchen table--she heard it bounce off the floor, but they’d find it later--and returned to loosening her lover’s hair, tunnelling her fingers into the soft tresses and kissing her again.
There was something intoxicating about Mac’s kisses, assertive and cherishing in equal measure, with a hint of the sardonic nature that had first drawn Frankie to her. Slipping her hands from Mac’s hair to glide downward, past the tweed of her waistcoat and straight into the back pockets of her trousers, Frankie gave Mac’s arse an appreciative squeeze and pulled their bodies flush, giving a low moan of pleasure.
“This isn’t tea,” Mac murmured, hands gliding up Frankie’s thighs.
“I should hope not,” replied Frankie, “or I’d have a lot of questions about what you and Phryne get up to when I’m not around.”
“Sadly,” Mac said, moving her lips from Frankie’s to nibble her earlobe, “my best friend is utterly and completely stuck on men.”
“A tragedy,” Frankie agreed, shifting so her skirt began a slow and tantalising rise. “But I suppose that means you’ll have to settle for me.”
Mac’s hands slid down from Frankie’s thighs, resting against the back of her calves instead.
“This is most certainly not settling,” she growled, hands moving up again to move beneath the skirt.
Frankie smiled and tugged at Mac’s cravat. Once free, she tossed it aside and began to work on Mac’s waistcoat. Mac’s hands continued their exploration upwards, ever cautious and slow.
“Mmm, definitely not,” Frankie said.
She felt Mac’s hesitation a second before she felt Mac’s smile against the skin of her throat.
“Elizabeth Joan Franklin, please tell me that you did not spend your entire evening speaking with Mrs. Stanley about the importance of funding medical research while not wearing knickers.”
Frankie shucked Mac’s waistcoat from her shoulders and laughed.
“I could, darling… but I’d be lying.”
Mac pulled away to look Frankie in the eyes.
“I am so utterly in love with you, you madwoman.”
“Which is very fortunate.”
“Because you love me too?” Mac asked, and Frankie kissed her again.
“Because my parents are coming to visit next week and I forgot to tell you?”
Mac tensed slightly, then sighed.
“We’ll have to clear the medical journals off your bed.”
Frankie’s bedroom--ostensibly let from Mac as a colleague at the university--had in fact become the receptacle for any and all extraneous items. Including their extensive collection of medical journals.
“They wouldn’t believe it if we did,” Frankie laughed. “Luckily they are far more accepting than your mother.”
She felt the tension disappear from her lover’s body. No doubt the knowledge that they would not need to hide their relationship was a small reassurance; to the world at large they were two women sharing a house, but to their family they were accepted. It was a rare thing to have. Frankie leant forward, catching Mac’s bottom lip between her own, offering up a distraction. A distraction that Mac took advantage of, her fingers tracing whorls against Frankie’s thighs as they kissed--Frankie was two seconds away from saying “Sod the tea” and dragging Mac to bed when the kettle boiled.
The piercing whistle seemed to bring Mac to her senses, because her hand darted from beneath Frankie’s skirt to grab the canister of tea leaves and pull away in a split second. She gave Frankie a victorious smile.
“Tea, was it? Absolutely desperate, I think you said...”
“Ohh,” Frankie said, eyeing her lover’s dishevelled state. “Absolutely.”