“Major Wolfe! Fancy seeing you here!”
Bernie turns around and smiles when she recognises her old commanding officer.
“Colonel Andrews!” Bernie exclaims, before she spots the extra stripes. “Or should I say Brigadier? Congratulations, Sir.”
Colonel Andrews has not changed. He still sports a very impressive moustache and looks like a rugby player that has spent time in the desert. His skin is leathery and rough, and his hair is cropped close to the skull, almost completely white now.
“None of that, Bernie. Call me Peter. God knows you’ve earned the right.”
Bernie flushes. She always liked Colonel Andrews. He was a fair officer and a competent one. She’s about to enquire about his regiment and the reason why he’s present at an NHS fundraiser, when a woman slides next to him with two champagne flutes.
She can’t be a day over 30. Bernie can feel her head tilt in askance.
“My daughter, Lucy. My wife passed a few years ago. So, she gets to accompany me to these things now,” the Brigadier says gruffly.
Bernie offers quiet condolences that are waved away awkwardly. They both avoid the other’s eyes until Lucy clears her throat and thrusts her hand forward.
“Pleased to meet you…?”
“Bernie. Bernie Wolfe. I used to serve with your father.”
“The finest surgeon I ever worked with, Lucy. You should have seen her operate in the field. A bloody marvel,” the Brigadier praises.
Bernie scoffs self deprecatingly, still uncomfortable with compliments. Lucy shakes her hand and seems to step closer.
“I can believe that,” Lucy says, her eyes dragging up and down Bernie’s body.
The Brigadier is called away by an acquaintance, and Bernie is left alone with Lucy, who seems thrilled.
“So, trauma surgery you said? I would love to hear your thoughts about field equipment. I’m a civilian contractor for the RAF out of Kabul, and our doctors are always clamouring for more of everything!”
Bernie smiles and nods, always happy to help her fellows in the field. The party has just started and she was early anyway. Serena is tied up at work with RTC injuries, and so Bernie is on her own for now, much to her disquiet.
Serena has always been better at this. The small talk, the flattering, the charm. She is like a beautiful butterfly that dazzles and entertains, while Bernie is far more factual and reserved.
Lucy doesn’t seem to mind when Bernie talks about sterilization and accessibility, and before Bernie knows it, they are backed into a quiet corner and Lucy is standing very close to her. Maybe the noise is bothering her. Bernie raises her voice a little just in case.
“And that’s why equipment modernisation should be a top priority,” Bernie says, quite proud of the points she made.
Lucy nods eagerly.
“Fascinating, Major. You should come talk to my staff sometime. Why don’t we exchange numbers?”
Bernie thinks that’s sensible. She is quite passionate about the issue.
“Sure. Um, I’ve got my phone somewhere.”
“That’s a cute clutch, by the way. Compliments your outfit nicely. It’s a very striking suit.”
Bernie preens a little, because she’s happy with the way she looks. She’s wearing a black suit made of a satin like material, with a starched white shirt, and she feels good.
“Oh, thank you. It’s my first time wearing it.”
Lucy takes a step forward.
“Hopefully not your last.”
Her voice sounds strained. Maybe she’s getting a cold. The air conditioning in the reception room is on quite high, after all. She’s about to suggest a hot drink, maybe a tea, when she finally finds her phone in the mess she already created in her clutch.
“Why don’t I put it in myself?” Lucy suggests.
And Bernie is happy to go along with that. She’s a bit hopeless with touch screen technology. Always sends auto correct fails that make Serena gasp with laughter.
“There you go! All done!”
Bernie grabs her phone back and Lucy is about to say something when her father calls her to his side and she has to go. She looks pretty upset. Perhaps she doesn’t like these functions. Bernie can’t blame her; she doesn’t like them either.
“It was so nice meeting you, Bernie. I hope you call me soon! Really, anytime. Anytime at all.”
Bernie smiles, a little confused, and she watches as Lucy reaches her father.
“And who is that?”
Bernie jumps a little, a hand on her heart. She smiles when she smells the familiar perfume, and turns to see Serena, beautiful in a deep burgundy dress.
“Oh, that’s my old commanding officer, Brigadier Andrews. We served together in Afghanistan. You’d really like him,” Bernie explains.
She is already drawn to Serena, can’t help standing next to her, close enough that their shoulders are touching.
“No, darling. I mean the young woman who can’t seem to tear her eyes away from you.”
Serena’s voice is dry and sharp, and Bernie turns in confusion. Lucy is indeed looking at her.
“Oh, uh, that’s his daughter. We were talking about field equipment.”
“You gave her your number?”
“Yes, she wants me to talk about my experience to her staff. It sounds really exciting.”
Serena stares at her for a second with what looks like disbelief, and then she laughs and laughs, her pretty eyes sparkling. Bernie is more and more confused.
“Darling. She was flirting with you,” Serena says slowly.
Bernie scoffs. That’s preposterous.
“What? No. No, Serena. She’s so young.”
Serena steps even closer and now their hips are touching too.
“Did she laugh a lot at everything you said?”
“Well, yes, but I am extremely funny, Serena.”
“Did she bat her eyelashes?”
“I’m sure she had something in her eye.”
Serena’s mouth twists in an almost smile.
“Did she touch you a lot?”
“Yes, but you used to do it too, when we were just friends,” Bernie says proudly, because surely she’s just found a loophole in Serena’s argument.
Serena arches her eyebrow and waits patiently. Bernie’s face suddenly changes.
“Oh. Oh! She was flirting with me!”
“And the penny finally drops. Seriously, Bernie, I can’t leave you alone for more than 10 minutes before the female population of Holby fawns at your feet.”
Bernie squawks a little, ready to defend herself, but Serena holds up her hand and starts counting on her fingers.
“This week alone: the cashier at Sainsbury’s who admired your tomatoes, and I’m pretty sure that was a euphemism. The lady at the dentist’s who stroked your arm and asked for your fitness routine. And now this young slip of a woman who drapes herself all over you!”
Bernie’s mouth hangs open. Surely Serena is exaggerating. She’s the one that draws people in like moths to a flame. At least Serena doesn’t seem angry with her.
“Well, I think it’s high time I showed everyone just who you belong to,” Serena continues with a finality in her tone that makes Bernie shiver.
With anyone else she would bristle at the term ‘belong’, but Serena’s eyes are burning and she feels cherished rather than owned.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t have time to ask Serena what she has in mind, because they are called for dinner. Bernie doesn’t remember what this soiree is for. Some fundraising effort, surely, but the details are a little fuzzy.
They are seated next to each other, and by pure coincidence, at the same table as Brigadier Andrews and Lucy.
Serena grins like a shark about to pounce on her prey. Bernie shivers.
It starts innocuously enough. They are eating their starter when Bernie feels Serena’s foot gently graze hers. Serena is having an intense discussion with her other neighbour, an obstetrician of some renown, and she does not let on that she is essentially playing footsies.
By the time their main is served, Serena’s hand is on Bernie’s thigh, the blunt nails scratching lightly, barely there, but oh so very present. Bernie shifts on her seat, and Serena takes advantage by curving her fingers just so, centimetres away from being extremely inappropriate.
Bernie feels herself grow warmer and warmer, and the conversation around her becomes garbled. Serena is laughing, and being her charming, loveable self. Bernie is dazzled by her smile and her dimples and the way her eyes sparkle in the low light. She is finding it hard to concentrate, her gaze drawn to Serena’s cleavage and to her graceful neck.
Serena’s hand is still on her thigh, higher than before, and her thumb is making small circles on her skin, and Bernie can’t help but imagine other places those circles would be welcome. She almost chokes on her glass of water, and mumbles something inane to her other neighbour, who’s been trying to engage her in conversation without much success.
There is dessert. There are speeches that Bernie doesn’t hear, too enthralled by Serena’s perfume and the way she has styled her hair. It looks soft and inviting and Bernie wants to bury her hands in it and pull until Serena gasps.
All throughout the long speeches and the award ceremony - Bernie doesn’t even know what is being awarded or who won - Serena keeps her hand on Bernie’s thigh and her fingers become more daring and insistent.
At one point, using applause as cover, Serena leans over, puts her lips right by Bernie’s ear.
“As soon as I get my hands on you, I am going to make you scream my name.”
Serena’s voice is low and deep, and Bernie feels it like a caress. She stutters and heat pools between her thighs, her mind full of the ways Serena has at her disposal to make good on her promise.
As Serena draws back to her original position, her face the picture of cockiness and confidence, Bernie is struck by how attractive this aspect of Serena is.
At work, Serena is confident, yes, but also kind and gentle. Her patient care is exemplary. Her mentoring of junior doctors is shown as a model throughout the hospital. At home, Serena is a considerate and loving partner. She is a doting great-aunt to Guinevere.
All of this is extremely attractive to Bernie.
And then there is this part of Serena. The part that sometimes likes to pin Bernie’s wrists above her head. That likes to drag her teeth down the sensitive skin of Bernie’s inner thighs. Likes to tell Bernie exactly what she wants and how hard. To make Bernie come so hard that she forgets her own name.
Bernie loves it. She loves that Serena trusts her enough to let go and to show that side of her. From halted conversations, Bernie gathered Serena’s previous partners had either not reacted well, or hadn’t even experienced the joy that is Serena like this in bed. Fools, the lot of them. Serena is a gift to be cherished endlessly.
Judging from the energy radiating from her, Bernie knows she’s in for quite the ride.
The speeches finally end with a burst of applause that Bernie joins mechanically. The band sets up in a corner of the room and starts with a popular pop number. Lucy stands and is at Bernie’s side the second the song begins.
“Would you like to dance?” She asks, smiling.
Bernie never did introduce Serena as her partner. There was no time before dinner, and then conversation ran away form her. She’s about to decline and explain when Serena appears next to her as if by magic. Her teeth are startlingly white against the blood lipstick she’s sporting. Bernie imagines it all across her throat and her thighs and bites her lip to stave off a moan.
“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. Bernie’s promised all her dances to me.”
Serena’s voice is low and teasing, and it thrums though Bernie like a jolt of electricity. She sounds anything but sorry, and Lucy looks at the two of them, her face slowly changing from confused to understanding to mortified. Bernie offers her a smile in apology. Serena winks at her.
“Darling?” Serena says with her hand outstretched and a frankly indecent look in her eyes.
Bernie gulps and nods. They make their way to the dance floor. It’s already full of twirling coupes in various stages of inebriety. The band is good; they know which song to play to a crowd of middle aged doctors on a Friday night.
Serena turns to Bernie when they find an empty spot.
“Will you lead? These heels are just a bit too tall.”
Bernie follows Serena’s gaze downwards and sighs in appreciation at the leopard print stilettos.
“Ah, yes. Still your favourite?” Serena drawls.
Bernie huffs out a laugh. Serena knows they are. They adopt a classic dance stance and Bernie leads them around the floor, careful not to bump into other couples.
It’s always a joy to dance with Serena. Their movements are fluid and effortless, and having Serena in her arms is never a hardship.
Well, it usually isn’t. Tonight, however, Serena is doing her best to distract her. She has a hand on the back of Bernie’s neck, and her fingers are caressing the fine skin just below her hair line. She presses her cheek to Bernie’s and kisses her cheekbone, her temple, the underside of her jaw. Bernie breathes out shakily and narrowly avoids colliding with an elderly couple doing a spirited fox trot.
“Serena,” she says, her voice full of warning.
Serena arches her eyebrow, presses closer until their bodies are flush together.
“I am hardly doing anything,” she says with an innocent face.
Bernie snorts, then laughs when Serena kisses her neck as they twirl.
The evening is a blur of dancing and laughter, and even though Serena keeps her hands to herself a bit more, Bernie is almost shaking with want by the time they get to the taxi rank. The evening air is cool, but it does nothing to soothe the heat coursing through Bernie’s veins. Serena, the minx, the temptress, does absolutely nothing to help.
In fact, she has a hand up Bernie’s shirt as soon as the cab rounds the first corner. Bernie’s protests are lost and forgotten as they kiss and kiss, hands in each other’s hair, and Serena ends up straddling Bernie’s lap, her hips driving into Bernie’s stomach.
If the drive to their house was only a little longer, Bernie thinks she would have come just at the sensation of having her hair pulled and her neck sucked on, with the delicious pressure of Serena’s thighs bracketing her own.
But alas, the cab arrives in front of their door and the driver clears his throat loudly. The tips of his ears are pink when Bernie thrusts money at him, and they stumble out, eager to get inside.
The house is dark and quiet, but Serena wastes no time in turning on lights. She grabs Bernie by the lapels of her blazer and pushes her against the wall by the closed front door.
“You looked amazing tonight. That suit should be illegal,” Serena says against Bernie’s lips.
Bernie’s usual shyness regarding compliments melts away in the heat of Serena’s eyes, and she feels desired and wanted, and she’s already so ready to come.
Serena slips her hands in her hair and kisses her, deeply, wantonly, as if the world is going to end right this second. Serena never does things by half and to be on the receiving end of her undivided attention is always thrilling.
The blazer ends up on the floor, as do Serena’s coat and bag. They do an awkward backwards shuffle and get to the living room, where Bernie spends a few glorious minutes pressing open mouthed kisses along Serena’s neck.
Her perfume is making Bernie dizzy and she wants nothing more than to strip Serena naked and worship her with her tongue until Serena can’t form words anymore.
It becomes clear, however, that Serena has other ideas. She drags Bernie up to their bedroom and pushes her down on the bed with shaking hands.
“I want to touch you so badly,” Serena says, her voice so low Bernie feels it vibrate in her belly.
She nods at the unvoiced question and Serena’s eyes gleam.
“You are so beautiful. My beautiful Bernie,” Serena says.
Bernie flushes and spreads out on the bed. Serena rucks up her dress and that action alone makes Bernie’s heart speed up. Serena is wearing those lacy stockings she loves, and a small whimper escapes her lips. Serena chuckles, the sound almost obscene.
The bedroom is dark but there is enough light for Bernie to watch as Serena slowly lowers herself onto Bernie’s lap. Bernie hears the lace of Serena’s underwear rasp against the material of her trousers and she bites her lip at the sound.
Serena wriggles around a bit, but tuts when Bernie wants to reach for her waist.
“Oh no, no. You are far too distracting. I want you to keep your hands to yourself.”
Bernie’s heart stutters and she moans when Serena brings her arms above her head, kisses her wrists ever so gently. Serena sits back and her eyes are dark and full of desire.
“You look so good like this. So eager and wonderful. And all mine.”
Bernie whimpers at the words, already too far gone to reply, but she is. She is Serena’s. Just as Serena is hers. There will never be anyone else for her, ever. They seldom speak those words out loud but it is there nonetheless. The possession is not what thrills Bernie, but the belonging does. Knowing that this wonderful, fearless woman will be by her side for the rest of her life makes her head spin and her heart thud.
Serena slowly undresses herself. The top part of her dress peels away to reveal a very flattering bra, and then the rest disappears until Serena is only clad in her underwear, smooth and glorious.
All throughout, Serena does not break eye contact. Her eyes smoulder and tease, and Bernie is left painting, desperate to touch.
“Don’t worry, Ms Wolfe. We have plenty of time.”
And they do. The night is still young. And they have the next day. But Bernie wants to kiss and lick and bite.
So consumed she is by these thoughts that she misses Serena’s hands on her shirt. The buttons come undone, one by one, and Serena opens the lapels slowly, her hands on Bernie’s skin the next instant.
Bernie’s back arches when Serena cups her breasts. She is already so sensitive, and Serena’s mouth quirks into a knowing smirk that spreads fire in Bernie’s belly.
Serena lowers her head and suddenly she has a nipple in her hot, wet mouth and Bernie keens.
“Gorgeous. All of you. I am going to taste you everywhere,” Serena whispers in her ear.
Bernie nods a little desperately, her arms straining above her head. There are no winners or losers in this little game of theirs, but Bernie still wants to do well, to give herself to Serena who thinks she is perfect.
Serena nips and sucks and licks and Bernie’s breasts feel tight and heavy. She thinks she could come like this, just with the sensation and the visual of Serena’s wet lips and burning eyes, but Serena shows mercy and slithers down her body.
They make quick work of her trousers, but Serena doesn’t remove her underwear, simply settles between her thighs and blows softly. Bernie jerks. Serena smiles and blows again.
“Please. Please, Serena,” Bernie whispers.
Serena likes it when she talks, when she begs.
Serena puts her mouth on her, her tongue pressed against the fabric and licks. Bernie trembles, the sensation strong even through cloth, and she digs her nails into her palms to stop from coming too soon. She wants this to last as long as possible.
When Serena raises her head and sees how barely she’s holding it together, she smiles and kisses Bernie’s trembling inner thighs.
“I’m going to make you feel so good, my darling,” she murmurs, her teeth glinting in a sensuous smile that takes Bernie’s breath away.
It’s a testament to Bernie’s character, forged under the harsh sun of exotic lands, that she doesn’t shout when Serena removes her underwear and takes her clit into her mouth for the first time. Instead, her hips jump from the bed and Serena has to lay an arm across her stomach to hold her still.
Serena works her tongue, makes Bernie gasps at fanciful swirls, and then pulls away when her moans get more frantic.
“Oh god. Please, Serena. Please.”
Bernie knows her voice is higher than usual, but she can’t stop the note of desperation from creeping in her tone. Serena bites the skin just above her knee.
“Patience, my love,” she drawls.
Bernie nods, her lips pressed together. Serena kisses her way back along her thighs, and Bernie can see the lipstick marks dotting her pale skin, and her breath hitches.
Serena hums when she sees how wet Bernie is, drags her fingers through the heat she finds.
“All for me?” She asks in a false coquettish voice that makes Bernie writhe.
“Yes. Always,” Bernie replies, breathless.
Serena smiles a loving, predatory smile she reserves for Bernie only, and Bernie’s heart soars. Serena makes sure she has Bernie’s full attention as she lowers her head again and licks. Bernie moans at the visual, at seeing Serena’s lovely face between her thighs, at the sight of Serena’s tongue lapping at her.
Serena builds her up again and again. Bernie’s body is covered in sweat, and she’s pretty sure she’s drawn blood on her palms from trying to keep her hands where they are. She loves it, though. Loves the sensation of reaching a peak and then having it taken away, knowing that Serena will take her there again.
And Serena is so skilled at reading Bernie and her body. She keeps her eyes on Bernie’s face and watches with awe and wonder in her eyes as Bernie whimpers and moans.
Finally, after what feels like a lifetime but also mere seconds, Serena slides her hands on Bernie’s thighs, her palms warm and solid, and sucks Bernie’s clit into her mouth.
This time, Bernie does shout. A raw sound from her throat. The pleasure that has been building all night is now white hot and blinding, and her back arches off the bed when she comes, muscles taut like a bow.
Bernie doesn’t remember much of the next seconds. She’s only aware of the languor in her limbs and of how fuzzy her brain is. Serena takes her in her arms and kisses her temples, her cheekbones, her lips.
“I love you. You wonderful woman. I love you,” Serena whispers in between kisses.
Bernie’s heart is so full she thinks surely it will burst. She lies in Serena’s embrace, their legs intertwined, and slowly gets her breath and bearings back.
“You are amazing,” Bernie says finally, wonder colouring her tone.
Serena preens a little, obviously smug and pleased, and it makes Bernie laugh. They kiss softly, Bernie moaning at the taste of Serena’s lips, and suddenly Bernie is very aware of how keyed up Serena is. She is practically vibrating with unreleased tension, and Bernie knows how much she’s been restraining herself to wring out every last ounce of pleasure from Bernie’s body.
“Tell me. Tell me what you want,” Bernie asks in Serena’s ear.
Serena moans, her eyes closed, as if overwhelmed by all the possibilities.
“Tell me. Serena. You can have anything you want,” Bernie continues.
Serena huffs out a slightly desperate laugh, and Bernie pushes her hip in between Serena’s legs and smiles at the gasp she hears.
“Everything. Please. I…I’m not going to last long.”
And this admission spurs Bernie on, fire in her veins once more, eager to make Serena feel good. She slips on top of Serena, notes how far gone she already is by the look she gets, full of longing and desire, and revels in being able to touch all of her, finally.
When she thinks of Serena’s body, she thinks of smooth, fragrant skin and delicious curves. She thinks of generous breasts that love to be bitten and sucked. She thinks of how Serena tastes, heady and perfect. Serena is a feast for a woman like Bernie, who was starved for so long.
She knows Serena won’t appreciate being teased, so she does what she likes to do when they are pressed for time, when Bernie surprises Serena in the shower, or when the bed suddenly seems too far. She drags her teeth along the column of Serena’s neck, bites the strained tendons and sucks at the pulse point until Serena gasps and bucks and holds on tightly to Bernie’s hair. She slips her hand in Serena’s drenched underwear, doesn’t waist time removing it, and slips in two fingers.
Serena groans, spreads her legs, asks for a third. Bernie smiles against her neck and obeys, and grinds her palm against Serena’s clit, again and again.
“When you come,” Bernie says, and Serena jerks and moans at the words. “When you come, I’m going to make you come again.”
Serena throws her head back and wails, and her body shakes and Bernie can feel it on her fingers, delicious flutters that make her head spin with pride and love.
She kisses Serena, hard, and doesn’t let her come down from her high before she sucks a stiff nipple in her mouth. Serena’s hands are still in her hair and they tighten and pull and Bernie has to concentrate. She nips and licks and Serena’s breathing becomes harsh and laboured.
“Your mouth. God, Bernie, I want your mouth,” Serena whines, her body shaking.
The words thrill Bernie. She loves hearing Serena. Could listen to her talk all day, but especially like this, low and desperate.
She complies and slides down the bed, drags Serena along until she’s at the edge and Bernie is kneeling on the floor. Serena manages to sit up, because Bernie knows she likes to watch.
Bernie puts on a bit of show. She drags Serena’s underwear off with her teeth, a move she’s particularly proud of and that Serena seems to take great pleasure in.
Bernie sits back on her heels to admire what she’s uncovered. Serena is wet and swollen and beautiful. She tells her so between open mouthed kisses to her shaking thighs.
There are nights when Serena likes things to be drawn out, to be perched on the edge of an orgasm for hours. But tonight, Bernie knows Serena has been ready for the whole evening.
So she buries her face into Serena’s wet heat, moans at the taste, gasps at the sounds she creates. Serena pulls on her hair and it makes her wet again and she rubs her thighs together to relieve some of the tension. Having Serena like this is such a turn on that Bernie’s been known to come just by grinding her hips into mattress and by listening to Serena’s cries.
Serena’s breathing gets harsher and harsher, so Bernie gently takes her clit into her mouth and worships it with broad strokes and swirls, and then tighter and tighter circles.
There is a breathless second when Serena has her head thrown back and her mouth opened in a silent scream and then Bernie watches as she comes and sobs, her hips bucking into Bernie’s mouth.
She is beautiful. She is everything Bernie could possibly want and more.
Bernie gets up from her knees, wincing slightly, and envelops Serena in her arms. She can feel her frantic heartbeat against her skin.
“Christ. You are so very good at this,” Serena mumbles in her neck.
“I aim to please, my love,” Bernie replies, dipping her head in a bow.
Serena chuckles and burrows deeper in their embrace.
“I love you,” Bernie whispers as Serena’s heart beat get back to normal.
Serena tightens her arms around Bernie’s middle and she kisses Bernie’s neck.
“Me too, my darling. So much.”
“And I’m sorry I don’t realise it when people flirt. I just don’t…I don’t even think about it.”
Bernie doesn’t know how else to say that the very idea of anyone else is preposterous and wrong, but Serena’s answering smile shows that she understands.
“You really don’t, do you?” Serena replies in amazement.
Bernie shakes her head.
“Well. I am ever so lucky to have you, my darling,” Serena says.
She places a kiss on Bernie’s heart and tucks herself against her, ready to fall asleep after a long and exciting day.
Bernie kisses her forehead.
“We are both lucky,” she says, smiling at how quickly Serena’s breathing deepens.
Very lucky, indeed.