:: previous – Grim Paper
It’s nighttime at Grim Ranch, our home away from home. Coming here always fills me and Mili with happiness.
Although saying goodbye is never easy, we know that we’ll always carry the memories of this place with us, lighting up our days even when we’re away.
Luckily, we’re not leaving yet.
“Thanks again for helping me get rid of those dead birds.” Mili tells me. He takes a sip of his beer and sets the mug on the little table between our lounge chairs. “I know that wasn’t ideal.”
“No worries. I couldn’t watch you do that alone. There were so many after that storm, I lost count. Poor little cuties… How did they fall from the sky like that?”
“I wish I knew. That’s the second time it happened… But at least we weren’t on the road yet. They would’ve cracked our windshield.”
A firefly drifts past and I catch it, watching the tender glow within my palm before letting it free.
We look out at the water. It’s peaceful outside. Above us, the moon, shimmering stars, and half of the hourglass illuminate the pool water. Without the atmospheric phenomena, it would be a beautiful night.
“Ugh. Everything feels weird. Like, different. Changed. You know?”
“Can’t deny that.” Mili folds his hands behind his head, laying back on his chair. “We’re okay though.”
The crazy thing is, I believe him.
I just want the lingering fear to leave.
It’s odd. Some days I feel great and other days… it’s hard to look out of the window. Other times I’m so busy I forget the stupid hourglass is up there.
That’s the key, I guess. Stay busy. Stay distracted.
“How’s work, honey?” Mili asks. He’s all eye contact with me.
“It’s pretty good.”
“And Paper, he’s alright working there with you?”
“Yeah. He’s always nice to me.”
“I ran into him when I picked you up. He helped me find the accountant book.”
“He said you were in a briefing… Did you get an assignment?”
“Yeah, but I’m only assisting. It’s hourglass exploration for the Crown. They assigned us different subjects for our independent research. I’m looking into King Barasa Wolf.”
“King Resolut’s grandfather, huh? The last of the true Kings. That seems huge. I’m surprised you didn’t tell me sooner.”
“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The hourglass gives me the creeps… the last thing I expected was to be assigned to something like this.”
“Well, they picked you for a reason, and this assignment will help you fight that fear. You’ll do great.” He reaches over to my chair, squeezing my hand reassuringly. His fingertips are still wrinkly from the water.
“Thank you.” I love how he encourages me. “How’s Redemption of the Accountant going? Did you start?”
“Three chapters in so far. Did you know the author uses a pseudonym? Something about burying bees?”
“Uh huh.” I nod.
“Beesbury. That’s the name. I never understood anonymity. If I wrote a book, all of existence would know. What’s there to hide?”
Mr. Paper’s friendly smile pops into my mind. As usual, he’s sitting on his porch with a paperback in hand, immersed in a story.
I shrug. “Some people enjoy the shadows.”
“So they can be whomever they want, when they want.”
I smile and look around, feeling like I suddenly lost something.
“I saw it dancing inside with Lux not too long ago.”
“Oh yeah, when she was playing her guitar. It loves her tunes. I’ll find it and head in for the night… I’m getting a little tired, anyway.”
“I’ll swim a quick lap and I’ll be in too.”
I head for the main house.
In the distance, I hear Emilian dive in the water and stop to watch his smooth backstroke. He’s such a natural.
A velvety voice purrs behind me.
I turn around to the pool house. The front door is cracked open, filled with light from inside.
Careful not to make a sound, I approach, peeking through the crack.
Inside, West is a naked God. He’s standing at the edge of the bed in front of Tehanie’s spread legs. She’s on her back with closed eyes and a satisfied grin as West moves in and out of her.
Lux stands on her knees on the bed beside Tee. She twists and pulls Tee’s nipples with one hand as she massages between her thighs with the other, keeping rhythm to their slow, seductive pounding.
For a moment Tee’s belly swells as West tips his head back, groaning aloud. He even sounds like Emilian… His strong tan calves and muscular ass clench hard as he grips her pretty ankles high in the air.
Her belly flattens back to normal, and West gently runs his big hand over it as their lips collide. They’re frantic kisses. So much so I can see their tongues twisting.
I can’t believe I’m seeing this!
Tee moans in ecstasy, recovering from what appears to be a release of her own… West pulls out and his mighty cock sways, dripping with his inky black release.
Just like Emilian.
Lux scurries onto her back to take Tee’s spot. Her glistening brown legs open fast, welcoming a rock hard West as he approaches her.
They go at it instantly. Rougher. Faster. Soon after, he gets Lux onto her knees, taking her from behind.
I look over at Tee casually laying on her side watching them.
She looks up at the door.
Wait… Can she see me?
She winks and waves in my direction, making West’s head spin around.
I leap away from the door.
Did West see me?
Will Tee tell him?
“Ah!” Me and Emilian bump into each other. He’s soaked from his swim and my back is all wet again. “Sorry!” We say at the same time.
“No worries.” He smiles, rubbing a towel through his hair. “Where’s sunflower? Find it?”
In the moonlight, I watch the tiny beads of water trail down the thin, dark hair on his chest. Not too muscular. Not too lean.
“Yes…” Lux purrs from inside the pool house. A mighty whipping sound follows, accompanied by her squeal and West’s dark laugh.
Emilian must not hear. Or he’s ignoring it.
You didn’t see anything. You didn’t see anything.
“Yeah, I did.” I lead Mili away from the pool house.
His looking around makes me nervous. “Where is it?”
Dummy! “Oh, I-I meant, no. I gotta—I can’t find our room. Your dad is enor-err-Grim Ranch is enormous.”
He seizes my hand with his dazzling smile. Those lips I love to kiss…
“Come with me.”
. . .
Emilian comes to bed wearing nothing. He’s built exactly like his dad, making the visual of naked West, Tee, and Lux return.
I’ll never get that out of my head.
Mili turns off the lights then slips beneath the covers. His strong, long legs rub against mine as do his arms, hugging me from behind.
I look over at sunflower sprawled across the edge of the bed, sleeping like a baby safe and sound…
Tee’s swollen belly pops into my mind again. The way she and West kissed, like they shared something so powerful, so special, if only for a moment. Makes me think of that creepy curtain in the empty room. It was like a balloon breathed within it in uneasy silence…
“Mili?” I whisper. He couldn’t have fallen asleep yet.
“Yes, Misa?” His voice is muffled in my hair, and I feel his arousal growing against my back, but he seems too tired now to do anything about it. Swimming always exhausts us.
Spit it out!
“Do you… want kids? One day?”
He sits up on the bed quickly, like he’s ready for a proper conversation. Half of his face lingers in shadow, the other half moonlit.
“Yes. If you want them.”
My heart races.
“We can take our time.” He adds. “There’s no rush… Kids bring a new level of responsibility and focus. There are the financials to consider— but the scenarios I ran with our numbers… we’re solid.”
I bite my lip, nodding. “Yeah, no rush.”
He leans down, kissing me sweetly. “No rush.” He repeats against my lips.
I imagine him standing beside the large window in his study on a firefly evening like tonight, rocking a cooing blanketed bundle in his arms to sleep.
Emilian, the father.
My eyes tear up at the thought.
How can something that hasn’t happened yet feel so strong? So special?
Mili moves closer to rest his head on my chest.
The wind blows softly at the window.
Soon after, Mili’s knocked out.
I smooth his dark hair back with my hand and remove his glasses, setting them on the nightstand.
“I love you, Emilian Grim.”