Monday morning, 6.15, my body clock nudged me awake, despite the fact that I hadn’t fallen asleep till nearly 2 am. I tensed, then relaxed. Neither of us had to go to work, and Ryan was back with his father and his adoring grandmother in Ealing. I turned my head. Jill was fast asleep on her front, hair splayed out over the pillow, face relaxed and with the hint of a smirk. Hardly surprising after the marathon sex session we had had last night.
It had been a hectic but satisfying weekend. Jill, as Kathy and Steve had, of course, predicted, totally won Margarethe, (“Everyone calls her Maggie”), Ryan’s grandmother, over to the charms of same sex relationships, well, one in particular. Maggie was a young-looking 70, slim and spry with naturally grey, short cropped hair. She favoured simple but classic clothes and was always impeccably groomed. She had met Ryan once before, when Steve and Kathy had taken him to Latvia for a long weekend and I had had to go away on a course. To be honest, I hadn’t been that keen to meet her, thinking I might be in the way. However, I needn’t have worried. Maggie was sweet and warm, greeting me with a strong hug and telling me how pleased she was to meet her grandson’s mother after so long, and exclaiming over “modern relationships”, while Kathy and Michelle rolled their eyes as Kathy translated. Introducing Jill had been a delicious moment. I gathered that Steve had omitted to tell his mother that I was in a same -sex relationship, and you could see the cogs whirring as she tried to figure it out. But Jill was her most relaxed and natural self. She had dressed in skinny dark denim with a loose, dusty pink cashmere sweater, and added earrings, a bracelet and some very sexy cologne, giving her a timeless, classy, English look that had Maggie swooning. That, and her apparently flawless German that left me very much in the shade, and had Kathy and Steve smirking and high fiving each other behind everyone’s back.
Jill might have had the task of charming the pants off Maggie with her own magnetic allure, but she also talked me up in a very positive way, aware that Steve’s father had been a Chief of Police in Riga before his untimely death from a heart attack. Steve whispered a translation as Jill explained to Maggie that I was a senior detective who had caught many bad guys single handed, especially using my special kampfkunst (martial arts) skills. Maggie’s eyebrows were up to her hairline by the time she had finished and I was trying hard not to laugh. I was glad, however, that she left out all the really dangerous bits where I had been injured or narrowly missed being killed.
On Saturday night, after a happy family dinner (English roast beef for us and nut roast for Steve and Michelle), we decided to trade nights and take Ryan with us so that Maggie could settle in and rest before tomorrow. It was a good decision. Ryan was asleep when we took him to the car and when he woke up in the morning at his usual impossible hour, it was to find a strange cat on his bed swishing her tail in annoyance. We had left the door ajar in case he called out to us, thinking that Missy, who hated strangers, would just stay in our room. Ryan was anything but afraid of animals and he sat up and began stroking her. By the time I came in to see how he was, he was hugging a rather uncomfortable-looking Missy and talking to her in Latvian. I sneaked back to grab my phone because that was a picture I just couldn’t miss.
Ryan of course loved Jill’s house. Mine was just a modern semi, a box with compartments, as Steve called it, whereas Jill’s refurbished terrace had charm and lots of old fashioned nooks and crannies that provided hours of entertainment for a four year old. And everywhere that Ryan went, he wanted Missy to go. By the time we left to join the family for some London sightseeing, Missy was visibly pleading for mercy.
Jill and I had come back to her house alone at seven, crying off dinner and opting for a homemade carbonara and a bottle of Pinot Noir on our own. We both knew what we wanted to do. As soon as the dishwasher was turned on, we headed upstairs. A long bath, sex, bed, more sex, lots of talking, more sex and so on until late. I must have come four times by then and could hardly keep my eyes open. I had managed to reciprocate twice, but Jill was tireless and devoted. Every time she looked at me in a certain way I felt the leap of my response and one thing followed another. We had not had any further discussions about Bella or Jill’s previous experiences, and the topic remained hanging. I knew now with absolute certainty that Jill was all about restraint when it came to voicing her own needs. Always willing to go the extra mile for anyone else, and especially for me, she still hung back when she could have asked for what she wanted. I was learning her, inch by inch, unspoken word by unspoken word. I had always been fairly uninhibited in my sex life, willing to try things, learning to take what I needed. The fact that I now had someone who had conditioned herself to give and not take was a new challenge and it was one I was determined to conquer.
Jill stirred beside me and I thought she was waking, but she shifted onto her back and pushed the duvet away, feeling hot, no doubt, as the heating had kicked in a while ago. I watched her as she resettled in the new position, and as my eyes travelled down her body I realised with a little shiver that she had left her knickers off after the late post-sex shower. Her T-shirt had rucked up and between it and the edge of the duvet was a creamy expanse of firm belly and the first curling wisps of hair. My heart gave a little flip and desire surged. Would I dare?
Very carefully, I inched the duvet down until her sex was exposed, then scooted down the bed a little until my face was level with her thighs. She smelled delicious. I began gently with small kisses to the insides of her thighs, noting the relaxation of muscles that allowed her legs to part a little more. I was desperately holding back from diving straight in, wanting to be sure of her arousal before I took that step. She murmured a little in her sleep and I froze, but then she fell silent and I resumed my barely there little kisses, finally blowing on her sex very softly. I felt her twitch so I paused and then blew again and this time heard a tiny moan. She had not shown any sign of waking but I could smell her arousal and feel her restlessness. Moving so that I was between her legs, supporting myself on my arms planted either side of her hips, I lowered my mouth and swiped my tongue gently along the length of her sex, and again, just brushing the base of her clitoris each time. Her legs were opening wider and, emboldened, I pushed a little deeper with my tongue, relishing the taste and texture, so fascinated by my exploration that I was barely aware of her moans until my arms tired, and I dropped them to hold her hips which were moving, rotating, her pelvis pushing up into my mouth as I increased the pace, nudging her clit with my nose. I remembered how she had used her fingers with me, so I did the same, sliding in two fingers as I sucked on her clit, hearing and feeling her come apart all around me. Still I didn't stop, until I felt her hand on my head, stilling me. We stayed like that for a few moments, my head resting on her thighs. Then I heard her say.
“Come here, you.”
With some trepidation I moved up to her mouth and she drew me into a deep kiss, pulling my body flush against hers, her hand squeezing my buttocks as I panted, almost coming myself from the exquisite sensation of having conquered that final barrier. I pulled my mouth away, needing to breathe.
“Oh God,” I said, “that was so, so amazing, you’re amazing…and I’m sorry if I had to take advantage of you to get there.”
“No, you’re not”, she smiled against my lips. “Nor should you be. I trust you absolutely, and you did the right thing. I woke up to the best feeling ever. Thank you, thank you, I love you,” and she kissed me again until we were both breathless and finally moved her hand to where I needed it.
It was a dull, grey, cold November morning in Hillingdon with a promise of rain, but it was the best day of my life. I hadn’t realised that freedom from anxiety could unlock this door to happiness in such a way. We had a day off together, our only plan to visit Delgado and Quinn in hospital again.
As I flipped pancakes and Rachel poured coffee, I suddenly remembered what I had heard Maggie say to Stefan in German as we all sat together on the Thames river cruise, while Rachel and Michelle were pointing out landmarks to Ryan. Somehow I had forgotten – well, I had been massively distracted after all.
“Here you are- blueberry jam or Nutella? And have you ever been to Riga?”
“Need you ask?” she laughed , reaching for the Nutella, then “What?”
I repeated the question about Riga.
“Because it seems the wedding plan has changed. Stefan and Michelle will do registry office here and the big wedding thing in Riga. Her family are going, and we, of course, are invited.”
“Right”, she said, spreading Nutella thickly on her pancake and rolling it up. Then she stopped. I was sitting facing her across the table, not speaking. She slowly cut a chunk from her pancake and lifted it to her mouth. My eyes tracked every move but still I didn’t speak. She put her fork down.
“When is this exactly? I keep losing track.” She was trying to keep her voice casual, but I knew.
“February. The fourteenth. The registry office in the morning and flight to Riga in the afternoon.”
“And you’re thinking…?”
“Finish the thought for me.”
“That we might ….on the same day?”
“See, I knew you were a mind reader”, I said smugly.
“God, that’s so corny”, she said, finally pushing the pancake into her mouth and chewing. “And,” she waved her fork at me, “Riga will be fucking freezing in February.”
“So what do you think, DI Bailey? Meteorology and corniness aside, would that be something you might …consider?”
She dropped her fork and came around the table to sit on my lap, winding her arms around my neck and twisting strands of my hair between her fingers.
“Ask me again, and ask me properly”, she said. “But the answer is yes, of course, yes, yes , yes.”