Agape gives Lot a warning.

Read part one of today’s double bill here.

Hastings – 1844

‘I didn’t say you had to emotional intelligence of a mayfly. I said, it was insulting to a mayfly.’ I gave him one of the sweet expressions my face was bizarrely well made for. ‘They could be highly empathic and emotionally intelligent for all we know, have you ever asked one?’

He sucked his teeth. ‘Someone so young shouldn’t be so cunning.’

I smiled, backed him up against the wall, and tucked the tips my fingers into the waist of his trousers. ‘I could apologise right here,’ I whispered and stroked my thumb down the front of his trousers.

He moaned against my ear and bunched my jacket in his fists. ‘Cheater.’

‘It’s not my fault you’re sex-addled,’ I said.

He chuckled and nuzzled the side of my face. ‘It is.’

I kissed his cheek. ‘You’re an easy mark.’

Agape came in. ‘Oh Gods, can you stop thinking about your dick for five minutes?’

‘I’m not thinking about my dick,’ Josef said. ‘I’m thinking about what Charlotte could do with it.’

She rolled her eyes.

I turned around to face Agape and leaned back against Josef. ‘I’m very imaginative.’

Josef put his arms around me.

‘I’ll bet,’ she muttered and sat down at her desk. ‘Rache isn’t in the hotel and no-one knows where she might be.’

My jaw twitched and Josef’s grip tightened. I reminded myself that Bran was home and Rache would have to be very foolish to challenge him, it was one thing to call someone names it was another to toe-to-toe in a fight. Besides, she’d taken the indirect approach, going to the house was far too direct. So I told myself.

‘Marly is nowhere to be found either, but he was never one for family gatherings,’ she added. ‘You have no proof so I can’t endorse this.’

‘We’re not going after her, we’re investigating,’ I replied, playing my fingers over the back of Josef’s hand. ‘Could we have a look at her room?’

‘And leave your scent all over it so she knows I allowed you to breach the sanctity of my protection?’ She tutted. ‘Angry as I am she may have caused Josef harm I still have a responsibility to protect her until there’s proof in my hands.’ She gave me a look that dared me to challenge her.

‘Seems fair,’ I said.

She raised her hand. ‘Josef, stop rubbing your dick against her back while we’re talking.’

‘I’m hugging her.’

‘Humping more like,’ she muttered.

‘Who’s talking about people, not at them, now?’ I asked.

Josef cleared his throat. ‘I still wasn’t humping you.’

‘That’s true.’

Agape’s expression said she didn’t believe it. There was a thread of arousal in Josef’s scent but he didn’t even have an erection for her to be annoyed about.

‘People will start thinking you’re jealous,’ I said.

Agape gave me a look.

I shrugged. ‘It’s what they’ll think. We’re women and there’s some strange notion women have nothing better to do than argue over men.’

She sighed and rolled her eyes. ‘The wonder of a penis is greatly overrated.’

‘Often true.’ Josef kissed the top of my head.

I looked up at him. ‘You do prefer some real wood to them.’

He laughed. ‘The best sort.’

‘I remember your thoughts on the matter,’ Agape’s a tone suggested it wasn’t her cup of tea.

‘Besides,’ I said. ‘I’m a bit short for humping upright.’

Agape snorted. ‘You really do say what you think, don’t you, girl?’

‘It’s my greatest flaw.’

‘I think most would say the murder was worse,’ Josef said.

‘Given they stick people in the workhouse to torture them to death but are scared of women talking about more than dresses I think they lack perspective.’

He nodded. ‘Point taken.’

‘Hm, Josef Mathers conceding, there’s a rarity.’ Agape sighed and rubbed her temples. ‘It’s like a nursery for overgrown children.’

I raised my hand. ‘In fairness, I’m more of a child-sized adult.’

She chuckled. ‘Smart and funny, you’ll be keeping those boys busy.’

‘Oh, I always keep them busy.’

She laughed then sobered. ‘You understand if you move against Rache without proof she’s a traitor I will stop you.’

‘As long as you understand that if she did something that put Josef at risk I’ll tear her limb from limb.’

She smiled. ‘Bring me proof and I’ll help you.’ She glanced at Josef. ‘You were right, I do love him, despite his many, many flaws.’

Having suddenly discovered silence could be helpful Josef said nothing, a rare event. I put my hand over his.

Agape steepled her fingers. ‘It interests me you mention the threat to Josef but not that, if it was her, she was likely after you.’

‘If she wants to go after me, do it. I can respect directness. Don’t bring my family into it.’

She whistled. ‘You’re like an angry porcelain doll, you’ve even got the pretty curls. Terrifying.’

I smiled. ‘She should be terrified.’

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Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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