Part 39: link
“Feeling better, Love?” Gwen asks that night while they eat dinner.
“Quite a bit, actually. Should be right as rain سے طرف کی the end of the week,” he says.
“Do آپ want to go over to your place after رات کے کھانے, شام کا کھانا and bring some مزید things over?”
“Yeah, okay,” he says. “I need the rest of my clothes, definitely. And my records.”
Their conversations since Sunday have been somewhat stilted. She really wants to ask if he’s دیا any مزید thought to her suggestion about the painting and his father, but she doesn’t want to push. She knows him well enough سے طرف کی now to know that he needs to be left alone to make his decision and if she pushes, he’ll retreat. Though I’m dying to know what Merlin said,
she thinks. She picks up the meat fork. “More roast?”
“Yes, please,” he lifts his plate and she places another slice of roast beef onto his plate, over which he ladles some شوربہ, یخنی from the pan. “You are a really good cook, Guinevere,” he tells her.
“Thank you,” she smiles, wondering if he is going to tell her this at every meal she cooks for him.
“Morgana was here today,” he says, “she came to the gallery.”
“Oh, I’m sorry I missed her,” she says, genuinely disappointed.
“Well, she’s still in town. Not going back up till tomorrow. So naturally she’s over at Gwaine’s tonight.”
“No usual look of disgust?” she asks, noting that he doesn’t seem to mind anymore that his sister is sleeping with Gwaine.
“Well, it was an interesting day,” he says. “Turns out Gwaine actually loves her.”
“We found out that he
bought her portrait.”
“Yeah, and while we were staring aghast at him, he just casually announced that he was in love with her, as if it were obvious.”
“What did Morgana do?”
“She completely melted, of course. Lance and I almost had to turn a hose on them.”
Gwen laughs, but she is genuinely happy for them.
“Good thing Merlin stays over at Freya’s most of the time now, anyway, now that he and Phil have traded flats.”
“Goodness, everyone is moving around, aren’t they?” Gwen smiles. Phil and Merlin finally gave up over the weekend, hauling things back and forth across the hall, her stuff in with Leon, Merlin’s in with Gwaine.
“Merlin’s things are still probably all in their boxes,” Arthur laughs. “Except for his typewriter.”
“It’s good. I’m glad everyone is pairing off,” she smiles.
“Except Ox, poor chap. And Lance,” Arthur grins again. “Gwaine agrees with me, سے طرف کی the way.”
“Yeah, but Phil agrees with you,” he scowls.
“I wouldn’t worry too much about Ox,” Gwen says. “Dad tells me there is a young lady at the station that has been making eyes at him. She’s one of the emergency operators. آپ know, جوابات the 999 calls?”
“Don’t know her name یا anything – yet – but Daddy says that Ox turns bright red whenever he sees her. So it’s really only a matter of time.”
Back at Arthur’s, they fill a laundry basket with his clothes. Gwen sorts through them mercilessly, throwing away socks that have holes and t-shirts with مزید stains than print.
“I can still use those for painting in, آپ know,” he protests.
“They look like you’ve been using those for painting with.
“Perhaps I have,” he says waggling his eyebrows at her.
Gwen opens another drawer. “Lord have mercy, the man owns pants!” she declares, holding up a pair of boxers.
“Told آپ I had some,” he calls from the bathroom, where he is gathering toiletries. “I just don’t bother wearing them most of the time.”
of the time?”
“I’ll wear them if it’s really cold out. Metal zippers, آپ know.”
Gwen pulls them out, folding them before placing them in the basket, since they were just in a jumbled pile.
“What on earth?” she says, pulling out a pair of men’s bikini briefs, red, with flames all over. “Um, Arthur?”
He walks back into the bedroom, and sees her holding the red flame underwear.
“Something I should know about?” she asks, dangling them from her finger, letting them سوئنگ, جھول back and forth.
“Um. Yeah. Those. They were… a gift. Yeah, a gift.”
“A gift? Ex-girlfriend?”
“Mmmmaybe…” he says, advancing towards her now.
She steps back, away from him. “Why so shy, Arthur? Embarrassed? Have I found the one thing that embarrasses you?” she teases.
“Give me those!” he lunges and reaches, but she is ready for him, ducking and laughing.
“Come on, I want to toss them…” he says, trying to nab them from her hand.
“Nuh-uh,” she says, still laughing, bounding across his بستر now. “I gotta see these on آپ first.”
“Not for a million pounds,” he says, intercepting her and grabbing her around the waist. “Gotcha.”
She squeals, roaring with laughter as his hand closes over hers, his long fingers easily engulfing her hand.
Gwen’s grip is solid, though, and he is surprised to find that he is unable to wrench the knickers from her hand.
“Guinevere,” he purrs, leaning over to speak low in her ear.
“Nope,” she stubbornly says, ignoring the sensations distracting her now. His arm around her waist and his voice in her ear are doing their job, just as effectively as her soft curves pressed against him, though, and a moment later Gwen finds herself beneath him on the bed, his lips on her neck.
“Oh, God,” she moans as his hand that was around her waist finds her breast, squeezing.
“You don’t have a bra on,” he mutters against her skin, sliding his hand down and back up, beneath her t-shirt now. He strokes her nipple with his thumb, teasing it stiff while he plunders her mouth with his own.
Sufficiently distracted, she allows him to pull the underwear out of her hand. He throws it carelessly to the side, busy with other things now.
Gwen slips her own hands under the hem of his shirt, running her hands over the skin of his stomach, his chest, his back, as she works his شرٹ, قمیض up and off.
He follows suit, pulling her شرٹ, قمیض off as well, leaning back to place both hands over her breasts, gazing down at her as he caresses them lovingly.
“I’ll deliver the painting,” he says suddenly, his face soft and unguarded, an expression only she gets to see.
“That’s great, Arthur, but… why are آپ telling me this now, exactly?” she says, reaching up to his face.
“I have no idea,” he answers, then moves his hands to the button at the waist of her jeans, opening them and pulling them and her panties off all at once.
Gwen scoots further onto the bed, glad that they hadn’t taken the sheets off yet. Not that that would have stopped us,
she thinks, watching as Arthur removes his own jeans before joining her on the bed, lying اگلے to her.
Arthur drops his head to a breast, latching on to it, teasing it with his tongue. His hand delves below, fingers slipping between her legs, drawing a sigh from her lips.
She reaches for him, groping blindly until she finds him, firm and warm and perfect. She wraps her fingers around him and slides her hand, stroking him.
He kisses up her neck to her ear, nibbling the tender flesh there, his hot breath caressing her as well.
“God, I want you,” he growls, then turns her on her side, her back to him.
“What are you…” she exclaims, but he wraps one arm around her waist, his other cradling her head, pulling her close against him.
He takes her thigh in his hand and lifts it slightly and she reaches down and helps him slide into her from behind.
Gwen sighs as his girth fills her, completes her, makes her whole. He slides back slowly, then pushes forward, and she groans.
Arthur’s hand slips down between her legs again, rubbing small circles, adding to her pleasure.
“Arthur,” she breathes his name, leaning آگے slightly to improve the angle, turning her face against his hand that she is leaning against.
He continues moving, thrusting and touching, whispering soft words that she can only just barely hear.
“Oh,” she whimpers, capturing his index finger lightly with her teeth, nibbling it, sucking on it as he drives into her.
Her lips and tongue teasing his finger as he moves within her makes him groan and his eyes roll back in his head, and he thrusts harder, faster.
“Yes,” he mutters his approval, curling his fingers against her face. She moves to his middle finger now, kissing it, biting lightly. He growls and thrusts again, his other hand still stroking her.
Gwen is adrift in a flood of sensation, her soft cries slightly muffled سے طرف کی his hand, but he hears them all the same, a small smile playing about his lips as he again lets his eyes drift closed, ghosting his lips on her shoulder blade, her neck, as he rides the wave with her. He feels her sink her teeth into his finger and whimper loudly as she comes, slamming her hand over his to make his fingers stop.
Arthur comes at almost the exact same time, wrapping his now-free hand tightly around her waist and burying his face into her neck.
He sighs heavily, then sniffles once.
“Don’t snot on my hair, please,” Gwen mumbles, reaching back to caress his face.
He laughs and slides out of her, turning her back towards him so he can kiss her.
“I love you,” he says, resting his forehead against hers.
“I love you, too,” she answers, kissing him again. “And I still want to see آپ in those pants.” She smirks at him now.
“Just once,” he says reluctantly, kissing her back. “Since I’m already naked and all. But then they go in the bin.”
is where آپ live?” Annis asks the following week, stepping gingerly into Arthur’s basement flat.
“In the process of moving out, actually,” he says.
“Oh? Shacking up with your little muse?” she asks, smirking.
“Yep. You’re actually lucky I am moving out, else آپ might have been accosted سے طرف کی my cat.”
“Accosted?” Lance asks, looking around, distracted سے طرف کی the walls.
“He’s a bit unpredictable. And very opinionated,” Arthur attempts to explain.
“So, a normal cat, then,” Annis says simply.
“Yeah,” Arthur laughs. “He actually likes Guinevere better than he likes me.”
“We all feel that way, mate,” Lance teases.
“Shut up,” Arthur says, still laughing. “Okay, so, this is what I have left,” he goes to the closet while Annis joins Lance looking at the murals.
“Drag, what will become of these walls when آپ move?” Annis asks, walking over to the hall where Arthur is lining up the few remaining paintings.
“I have to paint them back to white,” he answers, digging out the sketchpads and the rest of the drawings of Guinevere.
“Oh, that is not going to be happening,” she declares, striding outside. She returns a moment later, the For Rent
sign in her hand.
“Is your phone still working?”
“Yeah, haven’t cancelled it yet.”
“Good,” she lifts the phone and dials the number on the sign.
“What are آپ doing?” Arthur asks.
“I’m renting your flat,” she says. “Hello, I’m calling about the flat آپ have to let? The basement one?”
Arthur and Lance just stare.
“Yes. How much is the rent?”
“No, that won’t be necessary, I’m standing in it right now.”
“No, he won’t. He is not to touch these walls and neither are you.”
“Yes, I can.”
“No, I most certainly am not intending to live here. I am renting it for Mr. Pendragon and he will continue to use it as a studio space to do his painting.”
“I don’t care. And as long as آپ get paid, neither should you.”
“Very good. I shall be up presently to do the necessary paperwork.”
She hangs up the phone.
Arthur is dumbstruck. Humbled. Shocked. “Th… thank you, Annis,” is all he can think to say.
“Wow,” Lance echoes.
“Nothing at all,” she waves her hand dismissively. “An artist needs his space to do his work. I daresay poor Gwen has probably been wondering where she is going to find the space for all your art supplies anyway.”
“Well, she hasn’t said
anything…” Arthur says, rubbing his hand on the side of his head.
“Of course she hasn’t. But she’s been thinking about it,” Annis says decisively. “Now. Let’s see what else آپ have here.”
“Shouldn’t آپ go up and see Mr. Jarvis?” Arthur asks.
“He can wait,” she says, completely unconcerned.
“I want to be like آپ when I grow up,” Arthur says, still awestruck سے طرف کی her presence and all that she’s doing for him.
She laughs and turns her attention to the paintings. “Interesting, interesting. Is this your cat?”
“When he was a kitten. That one was just a lark, really,” he says, grinning.
“What’s his name?”
“After the musician, I presume,” she states, surprising both men with the fact that she knows this.
“Um, yeah…” Arthur says, chuckling.
“Why weren’t these two in the show?” Annis asks.
“Ah. Um, those aren’t really meant for the public.”
Lance hangs back, listening. He’s seen the paintings, but he is still very curious about Arthur’s strange relationship with his father.
“Your mother?” Annis asks, stooping to study the lovely blonde سے طرف کی the بان bushes.
“Yes,” he says.
“You look just like her,” she states. “What happened to her was a tragedy.”
“Thank you, I know,” Arthur جوابات quietly.
“Does it bother آپ to speak of it?”
“A little. Mainly because I just wish that I could have at least known her a little,” he admits, surprised that he is able to be so open with her.
“I understand,” she says, standing and moving close to him, taking his hand in hers. “I lost a child once. Died within hours of being born.”
“I’m so sorry,” Arthur says.
“I imagine it is much the same feeling. Always wondering, feeling helpless.”
She pats his hand, turns to the اگلے painting, and the spell is broken. “And this one?”
“Indeed,” she raises her eyebrows. “He looks very sad. آپ were able to capture his grief spectacularly even though we cannot see his face.”
“Thank you. Guinevere کہا the same thing.”
“Was this shortly after your mother died?”
“No, ten years later. That one,” he points to the painting of his mother, “I painted from a photo. This one I painted from my own memory. Our tenth birthdays, mine and my sister’s, and the tenth anniversary of her death.”
“Hmm,” Annis looks at it.
“Our birthday parties were a riot growing up,” he says sarcastically. Lance snorts.
“Well, both paintings are fabulous, but I understand. آپ painted these for you, not for anyone else.”
He nods. “Sketchpads, and مزید Guinevere drawings,” he says, picking them up and carrying them to the table.
Annis smiles, following. “You always call her Guinevere,” she observes.
“I prefer it, yes.”
“I can tell سے طرف کی the way آپ say it, my boy,” she says offhandedly, paging through the stack of sketches.
“You’ll never guess, Sweet,” Arthur is waiting for her at home, jumping around like an excited little boy.
“What?” she drops her پرس, تھیلی and crosses to him, where he picks her up and spins her.
“Arthur! What is going on?”
“I met with Annis today,” he says. “We went over to my old flat so I could دکھائیں her the rest of my works, and she decided that she
is going to rent the flat for me so I can use it as studio space!”
“Arthur, that’s wonderful! Amazing!” she jumps back into his arms, squeezing him.
“I know. She saw all the painting on the walls and کہا that she couldn’t allow me to paint over it and destroy it.”
“Wow,” Gwen says.
“I have my own studio,
He cuts her words off with his lips, crashing down over them, kissing her unreservedly in his joy.
“You know what this means, don’t you?” he asks, once they come up for air.
“I don’t have to try and make room for all that shit here?” she asks, grinning at him.
He laughs, “No. Well, yes, but no. This means we need to go celebrate.”
“Pub?” she asks.
“No. A proper restaurant. Let me put on a decent شرٹ, قمیض and we’ll go.” I cannot wait to tell my father,
Gwen thinks, finding that she is getting some slight enjoyment out of proving him wrong.
“She loved all the sketches, too,” Arthur tells her over dinner, winding سپتیٹی, اسپگیٹی around his fork.
“Of course she did,” Gwen says, finding that she isn’t troubled سے طرف کی Annis viewing all
“She had an interesting idea for a painting from them,” he says. “She chose three of the drawings and placed them side سے طرف کی side. Told me I should paint all three on one wide canvas, side سے طرف کی side as a set. A triptych.”
“Which ones?” Gwen says.
“I’ll have to دکھائیں you. Oh my God, I completely forgot,” he digs into his pocket and gives her a key. “For you.”
“Thank you,” she says, a little puzzled.
“Just in case. I want آپ to have access to my studio,
” he grins, clearly enjoying saying it. I want آپ to have access to everything I have,
he thinks, but holds his thought inside.
“Thank you,” she says again, tucking it into her purse.
“Oh, and آپ know what else?” he says.
“Annis told my landlord that if he ever wished to sell the building, she might be interested in buying it.”
“Really? How much money does that woman have, anyway?”
“I’m beginning to think that her wealth rivals my father’s,” he says, chuckling.
Gwen enters the gallery on Friday, taking her lunch گھنٹہ to stop in.
“Oui… oui… non…” Lance is talking to someone on the phone, his face clouded.
Gwen walks slowly up and he waves at her. “Je suis vraiment désolé. Oui. Merci.”
He hangs up the phone and sighs. “My mother,” he says simply.
Gwen knows he wasn’t talking to
his mother, but about her. “Is something wrong?”
“She’s apparently forgotten that she speaks French.”
“Well, آپ کہا that she thinks she’s seven. She wouldn’t have known French then, would she?”
“No, but it’s making things difficult for the staff at the hospital. They only have a couple people that speak Spanish.”
“Will آپ have to اقدام her?”
“I hope not. But I’ll have to go down there soon and see what I can do.”
“Sorry,” Gwen says, reaching over to hug him.
“Thank you,” he says, then shakes his head slightly, as if physically clearing his mind. “So, to what do I owe the honor of your presence in the middle of the day, my lady?”
“I want to take this one early,” she points to the storm painting.
“I want to have it framed before delivery.”
“Arthur’s going to deliver it to his father himself. It’s… a touchy situation,” she says, biting her lip.
“I’m learning that. آپ don’t have to tell me,” he says. “It’s not my business.”
“Wasn’t going to,” she says, smirking. “Not my story to tell, sorry. All I’ll say is that we were all surprised he came and shocked that he bought. They haven’t spoken in several years.”
“Ah. So آپ think his coming and buying was a way of…”
“Reaching out, yes. So Arthur is going to make the اگلے اقدام and see where it goes.”
“That must have been what he wanted to discuss with Merlin on Monday,” he guesses.
“Probably. So can I have it?”
“Lance, darling, I’m on my lunch گھنٹہ and the framer’s isn’t open tomorrow. I want to make sure that it gets done in time.”
“Fine,” he sighs, stepping over to take it down for her.
He wraps it in heavy brown paper for her and carries it to her car.
“Thank you,” she says, climbing in and driving off.
“Back again, I see,” the man behind the counter at the framer’s says when she enters.
“Yes, hello, I’ve got one مزید for you,” she says, lugging the painting in and setting it on the counter.
“Let’s see it, then,” he says, unwrapping it. “Is this the same artist?”
“Yes, he just had his first gallery opening last week at Galerie Etienne.”
guy. I saw the flyers. Wasn’t able to make it, unfortunately.”
“His paintings are still up, آپ should stop over. They’ll be up for another week.”
“Why is this one here, then?”
“I’m having it framed for the buyer.”
“Oh, right, obviously,” he chuckles. “This is brilliant. A dark frame, I think?”
“Yes. Black, یا close to.”
“You have an eye, young lady.”
“So how is it that آپ had two paintings of his before
his big opening?” the framer asks, curious, as he pulls a few samples from the shelves behind him.
“He’s my boyfriend,” Gwen says. “So I get perks.”
He laughs and brings the sample pieces over, holding them up اگلے to the canvas.
“This one,” she points, immediately knowing which one is correct.
have an eye. Are آپ in the art field?”
“No, publishing, actually,” she smiles. “When will this be ready?”
“Hmm…” he checks the log. “Wednesday do for you?” He passes her a slip to fill out so she can claim it later.
“That will be fine, thank you.” She fishes into her پرس, تھیلی for a card from the gallery. “Here,” she hands it to him. “His دکھائیں closes a week from today.”
“Thank you,” he takes the card and places it in the pocket of his leather apron.
Part 41: link