I have written entire stories in less time than it took to do this chapter. Extenuating circumstances and all that aside, thanks for sticking with this. We're back to business as usual, I hope. - Juliet
Nora’s nine-to-five job gave Claude and Genevieve plenty of time to hang out together. She figured “my boyfriend is so hot that everybody wants him” was not a reason she could give for missing work.
Maybe if they knew it was Claude....
It was better, really. Nora felt more stable about Claude’s friendship with Genevieve when she didn’t have to watch it in action. They had only spent one afternoon together, and most of it had been accompanied by the Brieres. Nora reminded herself that Genevieve had been in Claude’s life for a long time and would likely be sticking around. It wouldn’t do to make enemies when she should be making friends.
There was also Claude to consider in all this. Nora was usually a confident, happy person. Letting Genevieve make her into something else would only serve to let her win. Of course Nora wanted to chaperone them constantly - the curiosity was killing her! But if she couldn’t get through him spending time with a close friend, how could she get through long road trips where he could be doing anything? She needed to show some faith.
“Hey,” Claude said when he finally called her after 9 PM on Genevieve’s second night in town, “how was your day?”
“Good,” Nora said in an even voice. He didn’t have to call her every day. Right? “Busy at work, the usual.”
“I meant to call you earlier, but Genevieve and I went shopping late and then we were hungry and she wanted to see that Ben Affleck movie. It’s not good, anyway.”
“Oh.” Shopping and dinner and movies? It sounded like date night... or it sounded like what friends did when they hung out. Except the shopping part, if they’re guys. “Buy anything?”
“She helped me pick out some stuff, she’s always had a good eye for it.”
Nora swallowed a remark about plaid suits like a pill. “Can’t wait to see how you look.”
“She made me promise to wear the suit to the game tomorrow. Would it be okay if she sits with you? I don’t want you to feel like you’re babysitting but she doesn’t know....”
“Of course.” Nora smiled so he would hear it in her voice. A plan was forming in her mind. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. It was time to find out what, if anything, Genevieve had been before Nora came on the scene. “Put us with the wives and girlfriends, if you want. It’s about time I started meeting them.”
“Thanks, babe. You’re the best. Maybe after the game I could leave Gen the house and stay at yours? My bed seems empty without you.”
Now Nora’s smile was real. “And you won’t need any new clothes for that.”
A few hours later he texted her to say goodnight, and she sent him back a picture of her legs, in bed, saying she missed him. The reply was a cheesy photo of him giving a thumbs up.
Working, she thought.
At lunch the next day, Nora drove to the nearest sports store. One whole wall was Flyers merchandise from floor to ceiling. It was all so orange - it searing Nora’s eyes. She couldn’t believe she was even thinking about giving in so soon. But Genevieve had sensed a weakness when she heard Nora wasn’t a Flyers fan and other WAGs, to an extent, would see it too. While Nora had no intention of becoming a Philly cheerleader, it might be a good idea to get off on the right foot.
They’d be wearing sweaters and boots, heels and jewelry. They’d be carrying thousand dollar purses and certainly never put them on the beer-covered floor. Nora was sure she could take the WAGs down in a catfight, but that was not the goal. She wanted to fit in. And she knew Genevieve would have no problem.
Three racks in, she found it: a simple fitted black t-shirt. The orange writing was two shades below nuclear. Across the chest in a slight curve it said GIROUX and beneath that, 28. That was it. A tiny NHL trademark at the end of the number was the only insignia - it didn’t even have a Flyers logo. She held it up in front of her reflection and laughed, then bought two.
“Please text me what Genevieve is wearing,” Emily rolled out the name in a thick French accent, far more dramatically than Claude’s correctly soft burr of “zhahn-vee-ev.” Nora felt foolish doing that, and knew she’d butcher it anyway, so she stuck to the American “Jenna-veeve.”
“I’m not calling her that! I sound like Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, she’ll like I’m making fun of her.”
“I hope you’re all the way down near the glass so she falls off a spike heel and tumbles down the stairs.”
“Em! This is his best friend! I have to like her and more importantly, she has to like me. Imagine what she’s saying to Claude when I’m not around.”
“That’s exactly why I want her in traction.”
Nora checked her reflection in the visor mirror when she parked. Her short, dark hair was tousled nicely. She wore regular makeup, maybe a little extra eyeliner, and thought she looked like someone meeting a date at the game, not trying to pick one up. Walking from her car, she felt a little foolish for the low-heeled slouchy boots she’d worn over her jeans. If her father saw her walking into a hockey game like that he’d fall over laughing. Nora smiled to herself - a guy would never understand. This was no time for flats.
Remember, their husbands are Flyers. You feel a little bad for them, she told herself.
She followed the instructions Claude had given her, through a staff entrance and to the family lounge. People were moving through the hallways with a purpose and no one looked twice at her. She wondered if that would change once they knew who she was there to see. Finally reaching the lounge, Nora took a deep breath and pushed the door open.
The room was half-full. Kids were climbing chairs and swinging from tables, playing underfoot. A few teens occupied a couch with a plate of treats from the catering stand. Everyone else in the room was a young-ish, attractive female and most of them were blond. Nora suddenly felt very dark.
Okay, I should have waited. I should have come here with Claude. Everyone in this room looks like Genevieve. Nora checked again - Genevieve wasn’t even there. Nora was instantly annoyed, mostly with Claude.
“Hey, are you Nora?” A smiling woman with shoulder length blond hair and bangs detached herself from a conversation and crossed the room. “I’m Clancy Carle, Matt’s wife.”
Nora shook hands, willing her heart rate to calm down.
“Claude told me you’d be here. Such a guy, isn’t he? They’re all the same. Like you want to walk in here not knowing anyone.”
Clancy started introducing Nora, helpfully naming the player counterpart for each wife, girlfriend or kid. Nora smiled a lot and tried to remember their faces. She wondered which had seen her at Casino Night, sneaking too of fromt the elevator with Claude. Which had been friends with Sylvie Briere, if any still were or might react to her the way Sylvie had. Clancy didn’t shout out Nora’s attachment, but then again she didn’t have to.
“Nice shirt,” said a young woman in a low-cut top with platinum blond hair and an armload of bracelets. Nora caught the note of sarcasm in her voice and just smiled. She had a ring on almost every finger, but none where a wedding band would be.
Pick your battles, Nora reminded herself.
“Nora. I heard you saved the day with one of Danny’s boys,” Kristen Laviolette greeted her warmly. Nora told an abridged version of the story, acutely aware of people in the room watching her, sizing her up. Maybe Claude never brought girls here, maybe he brought different girls all the time. Nora squared her shoulders, telling herself either way that would change now. She was in the middle of speaking when the door opened.
Everyone turned. Nora’s presence set the table for Claude’s dramatic entrance. Now he came rolling in, dressed almost comically in Under Armor pants, high white socks and a bright orange Flyers t-shirt. The color was exactly the same as his hair, and it actually made Nora’s heart skip. A baseball cap was crushed over curls that tufted out the sides.
Fuck it all, I’m a mess, she thought.
Genevieve was on Claude’s arm like they were strolling into a party. She looked as she had at the airport - expensive, overdressed, gorgeous. Her tiny frame was cased in black pants and a drapey bright blue kimono-sleeve sweater that set her light hair off wonderfully. She wore the same super-fashionable high heeled booties and carried a black satchel purse with a golden Michael Kors emblem swinging from a leather strap. She was mid-laugh, as if the people in the room were somehow interrupting her. If Nora hadn’t just claimed to be his girlfriend, there would be no doubt who Genevieve was.
Nora turned her glare to the floor. Easy, girl.
Because when she glanced up, Claude was looking right at her. He was moving right toward her, slipping out of Genevieve’s grasp, and he didn’t stop until his hands were on Nora’s waist and his mouth was on her mouth.
It kicked so hard Nora gasped, that electricity she’d felt meeting Claude that first night. The charge that had mellowed into a gently buzz since then; enough to charge a battery, not short a circuit. Tonight it was back in full force. The sound she made was lost in his kiss - one that left no doubt who was who in this episode of Three’s Company.
“I’ve never seen you looking better,” he twisted his fingers into the hem of her branded shirt. Nora was too lost in the circle his thumb was making on her bare side to form a tart remark, so she just kissed him again. Claude got the message.
“Hi, I’m Clancy,” Clancy Carle stepped up to Genevieve, rescuing another girl Claude had left to fend for herself. Nore ignored them for another moment of his soft hazel eyes.
“I miss you,” he practically growled. He hadn’t realized how much until he saw Nora looking date-ready in a pair of jeans that begged to be torn off, only to leave her boots on. All that and his name stretched across her breasts - Claude knew it wouldn’t be much of a date, since they’d never leave his room.
“Miss you too,” she admitted. It was stupid how much that was true. Another close moment of staring at each other and they’d be on the floor, audience be damned.
“Claude,” Genevieve pronounced it perfectly. He turned and Nora did too, setting herself to the task at hand. A minute later he had to head back to the locker room. Genevieve gave Claude a hug. Claude gave Nora a kiss. Then Nora set about making Genevieve welcome in the club she herself had just officially joined.
Nora thanked heaven for Clancy and a few of the other WAGs who sat near them during the game and kept the conversation flowing. Nora found it easy to talk with them, and even with Genevieve. For her part, Genevieve was charming and casually mentioned a thousand things she knew about Claude that Nora did not, things they’d done long before Nora and Claude met. It was so artful and seamless that Nora was forced to admire her skill. With every story, Genevieve made it obvious that Nora and Claude had known each other no time at all.
True, Nora had to concede. So she listened for details - things Claude liked, places he’d been - tips that Genevieve didn’t even know she was giving away.
Whenever the conversation lulled, a stony silence settled between them. Even the game was barely enough distraction. Nora hated the feeling this was building toward something, because she wasn’t ready to control it. She argued with herself internally - half of her wanting to just have the conversation already and the other half desperate to know what would be said. Nora wanted to be wrong about Genevieve more than she wanted to assert her place with Claude, despite every fiber of her being screaming in protest.
In the first intermission, Nora returned quickly from the restroom. Genevieve was back a minute later, and right behind her were Clancy and a woman Nora hadn’t met.
“This is Lauren Pronger,” Clancy said. “This is Nora, Claude’s girlfriend.”
Nora shook Lauren’s hand and tried to be nice. “And this is Genevieve, Claude’s best friend from home.”
“It’s Genevieve,” she re-pronounced her name in French. Her tone was mocking, as if Nora were impossibly stupid and couldn’t be expected to say it right. “And we’ve met.”
Genevieve captured Lauren into some trumped up story of the time they’d seen each other at some Flyers event Claude had invited her down to attend. Maybe it was last year’s casino night - it didn’t matter because Nora wasn’t listening. She was politely nodding while judging how hard she’d have to shove the little blond to put her through the glass.
Zhan-vee-ev, Nora’s inner monologue was sing-song and scathing. It’s not like I called her Bob. Of course you’ve met Pronger’s wife. You’ve known Claude for two hundred years. You’ve seen all his favorite movies and built a fucking snowman together.
There are a few things I know that you don’t. And one of them is obviously how to get in Claude’s bed and stay there.
Genevieve was still talking. Nora straightened her posture and zeroed back in on the conversation.
“That’s a great bag,” Clancy complimented the black Michael Kors Genevieve was practically cradling.
“Thank you! Claude bought it for me today. It isn’t necessary but he always insists, he’s so generous.”
Nora looked at the American flag and prayed for strength.
She sat through the second period trying to calm her mind. The insults all night had been sharp and surgical - just enough to wound, to bleed. Yes she was hyper-sensitive, but Nora was now also quite sure that Genevieve wanted nothing but to see her out of Claude’s life. Whether it meant ending up with Claude himself, that remained to be seen.
You and him, or just not me and him? Nora wondered.
The Flyers were down by a goal going into the second intermission. Nora didn’t get up at the buzzer, and wasn’t surprised when Genevieve didn’t either. It would have been impossible to miss the tension. When she finally began, Nora knew there were really two conversations going - the one spoken and the one implied.
“We haven’t gotten to see much of you,” Genevieve chose to say, when she really meant, Claude obviously doesn’t have you around much.
“I wanted to give you guys time to catch up, I know it’s been a long time since you saw him,” Nora said nicely, without adding, He has you around far less.
“Just two weeks, eh? Claude seems taken with you.” Why, I cannot imagine.
“Yeah, it’s been a surprise for me too.” He approached me, remember?
“He always falls too quickly, before he really knows someone.” You’re just another gold-digging starfucker out for the name on his jersey.
“Some things you can’t know until after you’re involved,” Nora said wisely. Which you would know if you’d ever been involved with him.
“It blinds him, for a while.” He’ll realize you’re not good enough for him.
“You must have seen quite a few girls come and go.” I’m no fool, I know he could have anyone he wants.
“None I really remember,” Genevieve smiled to herself. They’re not worth noticing.
“Then I’m glad we’re getting to spend time together,” Nora’s tone was a bit sharp. So you’ll know exactly what to think of when you remember me.
“Me too.” Genevieve’s smile would have fooled Claude. It would have earned her one of his easy, innocent grins in return. But Nora saw it for what it really was, just as she heard the conversation for what it really meant:
If you want him, you’re going to have to take him.
The game ended in a Flyers’ loss to match Nora’s mood. She felt edgy and aggressive, as if she’d been fighting all night and gained no ground. Really she’d been fighting the urge to tell Genevieve to go to hell. To make everything worse, Genevieve was headed home with Claude and Nora would be going home alone. But not yet.
“Hey, I know you.” Scott Hartnell entered the lounge in his post-game suit, looking as neat as he ever managed. Nora was dissecting a cookie while Genevieve prattled to someone nearby about the last time she’d visited Claude in Philly.
“Hi Scott. Sorry about the game.”
The huge forward shrugged. “Can’t win ‘em all.”
Nora gave him half a smile. “I’m telling the Bruins you said that, so they know you’re easy.”
They were talking when Claude walked in the door. Nora’s eyes went right to him and locked; Hartnell laughed and conceded defeat, then pushed her toward Giroux. She almost tripped. His suit was dark gray with a vest, over a crisp white shirt and a red, black and white wide-striped tie. The perfect tip of a red pocket square daubed his chest. It was like Mad Men, only updated forty years and dipped in testosterone: classy, sophisticated and begging to take you home.
Of course this is the suit Genevieve picked out. But that would have to wait.
His hair was wet and his eyes were a little sad. Nora realized she’d never seen him right after a loss and had no idea how Claude handled the small but crushing blows that came often with his profession. He played like every game was a playoff game, so he must feel that way to lose. She wrapped her arms around his neck.
He shrugged, holding her around the waist.
“Can’t always win,” he said, decidedly less convinced. Claude felt acutely that he’d never lost in front of Nora before, and that it stung a little bit extra. It did feel incredible to fold himself against her though, and rest for a moment.
The goodbyes were brief, the atmosphere tainted by the loss. Nora walked with a group toward the parking lot. Danny hugged her goodbye, as did Clancy. Genevieve didn’t bother to say a word before strutting over to Claude’s car and climbing into the passenger seat like she was giving it a lap dance. Nora rolled her eyes. Oblivious, Claude pulled her in for another hug.
“I feel bad losing when you’re here,” he joked quietly but honestly. “I’m trying to impress you.”
Nora’s heart squeezed, and out went all the bad things she’d been thinking all night. “Don’t tell anyone, but I feel kind of bad too. I wanted you to win.”
Claude smiled genuinely for the first time since the game ended. “I knew you’d come around.”
Nora turned the key in her door and wasn’t surprised to find Emily sitting on the couch, halfway through a bowl of popcorn, watching Pretty Little Liars on the DVR.
“Just make yourself at home,” she joked, dropping her coat and bag onto a chair.
“You’re never here and my roommate is a slob. If you were messier, I wouldn’t come over.”
Nora kicked her friends feet out of the way and took a seat, Emily turned off the TV. Then she told everything that had happened.
“Ugh, that bitch! He bought her a Michael Kors? That shit was probably a thousand dollars.”
“That’s not really a lot for him...,” Nora said with no idea why she was defending it.
“It doesn’t matter. A gift is one thing. She only wanted it so she could tell everyone he bought it for her.”
Nora had thought the same thing. She went on to explain how Genevieve had an endless supply of ‘Claude and I this’ and ‘Claude and I that’ stories, and how she had corrected Nora’s pronunciation of her name.
Emily laughed. “I told you so! You’re being way too nice to her!”
With every recounted word of her very backhanded conversation with Genevieve, Nora felt less comfortable with the situation. It wasn’t any specific word Genevieve had said, but so much a feeling of being undermined at every turn. Nora’s mood was darkening by the moment.
“The girl is only here for a week, how much damage can she do?”
“What did you and Claude do in your first week?” Emily deadpanned.
Nora slumped forward and face-planted into the couch, fighting the urge to scream. She stayed that way, answering Emily’s questions in a muffled voice, until suddenly there was a knock at the door.
“Nora?” a voice called.
“Oh for fuck’s sake!” Emily scrambled over the back of the couch, presumably running for something nicer than the sweatpants she’d been wearing. Still in her outfit from the game, Nora opened the door.
Claude stayed in the doorway, looking at her with a slightly sad tired expression. He still wore his game suit, hair dry now, and managed to be even more devastatingly sexy than he had an hour ago. Nora’s knees wobbled - so she let herself fall right into his arms.
“I missed you,” he said, feeling better for only a moment’s contact. His cologne was the exact scent of a really good night’s exhausted sleep. The scruff of his chin brushed hers as his lips found their target. She sighed.
Claude’s face brightened. “‘Allo, Emily!”
Emily rushed out of the bedroom to find her best friend looking faint in the arms of Philadelphia’s most eligible bachelor.
“Yikes, nice suit,” she said appreciatively, whistling under her breath.
“Do you mind if I kidnap Nora for the evening?”
Nora’s eyes went not to Claude’s, but to Emily’s. Where would Claude take her but his house? And where else would Genevieve be? In her foul mood, Nora felt like fighting and her ride to the boxing ring had just arrived.
“Nope,” Emily quickly answered. “I’ll hold down the fort here.”
Nora grabbed a toothbrush and her sexiest underthings that Claude hadn’t seen yet, stuffed them in her purse and turned to leave, catching her reflection in the mirror. For a second she thought about changing out of her GIROUX shirt. Then she had a better idea and left the lingerie behind. She wouldn’t need it after all.
“Where’d Genevieve go?” Nora asked when they were in the car. She pronounced it the American way and Claude did not correct her.
“She said she wasn’t up for going out, so I dropped her at home. I wanted to see you.”
Nora nodded, picturing in her mind how that had really gone. Claude suggested going out, Genevieve declined so they would go home together. Then Claude left her there. No question he had not mentioned a surprise cameo appearance by Nora.
Oh, this is going to be good.
“Are we going out then?” she asked.
“No, I was going to invite myself over to yours. But my place is good, as long as you’re in that shirt.” He squeezed very high up on her thigh and Nora curled toward him as much as the sports car seat would allow. For the quick drive across town, every time his hand wasn’t on the gear shift it was on her body.
The house was quiet. Nora half-expected Genevieve to be sprawled on a bearskin rug before the fireplace wearing nothing but pearls... except that Claude didn’t have a bearskin rug or a fireplace. No doubt Genevieve hadn’t packed either item, figuring she wouldn’t need any tools of seduction.
She thought wrong, Nora smiled. Not wanting to appear rude, they tiptoed toward his bedroom, luckily at the opposite end of the hallway from the guest room. Genevieve must have been asleep. Nora considered quite a few sounds that would wake her up.
Claude didn’t really care if Genevieve knew Nora was here - he’d had roommates before, and Nora was his girlfriend not some slut from a bar. He did feel a little bad they hadn’t gone out, because staying in was what Genevieve had suggested. The fact that he was doing just that, but with someone else, gave him a twinge. But Genevieve would understand, surely, that he missed Nora even after only a few nights. He closed the bedroom door softly behind them as Nora turned on the bedside lamp. In the low light, her slender figure was nearly a silhouette against the background of his bed. Claude could just make his name stretched perfectly across her breasts.
How am I going to do this quietly? he wondered, then thanked God for such a problem.
Nora saw the look in his eyes, the opportunity to have a little extra fun courtesy of Claude’s horrible house guest. Instead of waking Genevieve, Nora would take the prize from right under her nose. She pressed one finger to Claude’s soft lips. His eyes flashed in understanding, then he kissed that finger softly.
Together they removed his suit coat and Nora hung it over a chair. Next she opened the buttons of his vest one-by-one, admiring the way the fitted garment looked when full of his body. “I like this,” she said so softly that another person in the room wouldn’t have heard. Then it was gone, followed by his tie and, slowly again, the buttons of his crisp dress shirt. “Very handsome.”
Claude watched her face - her dark lashes casting shadows on her cheeks as she looked down at her work. Nora’s lips parted slightly in silent breaths and he fought the urge to kiss them, bite them, to feel them against his own. It didn’t matter they were being silent, he had no words for what he was feeling anyway.
When he was shirtless, Nora moved to the belt and pants. She barely touched his skin, going until there was nothing more than shorts between her and everything Claude had. Then she pressed her finger to his lips again, looking into his eyes. In the low light they were golden, melted caramel brown or honey-colored, and they never left her face. She stepped out of her boots and shimmied off her jeans, leaving just her black cotton panties and a shirt with his name on it.
Claude shook his head in amazement as he picked her up, wrapped her legs around his waist and carried her three steps to the bed. Nora clung to him as he kneeled, then gently lowered her onto her back. In the same fluid movement, he kissed her.
Nora expected it this time. It wasn’t borne of a simple touch but by the way his tongue slipped into her mouth, promising the way his body would slip into hers. All the things he could do to her were in that kiss, and all the things she could ask.
Claude felt it and smiled. Kissing Nora should be like liking a light socket for all the ways he drew power from her. He’d felt a new way tonight, when he craved her after a loss. It wasn’t even sex he was after, though he knew he’d get it now, but comfort. So much of Claude’s self-worth was tied up in the way he played, he put such a premium on giving everything to every game. When he lost, a little voice said no one would want him now. With Nora, that wasn’t true.
Hell, she probably likes me more when I lose, he almost laughed.
Nora pulled at Claude’s shorts and he tugged at her panties - both of their feet were still tangled in discarded clothing when he pushed inside her. Nora dropped her head back and closed her eyes, struggling to stay silent as he took the breath from her lungs. Finally when his thighs pressed her heavily to the bed, she breathed into his ear.
“Fuck, I missed you.”
His mouth moved to her neck, her shoulder. He lifted her breasts and rolled already hard nipples beneath his tongue to silence himself as he worked deeply into her warm, forgiving body. It was all-consuming, cathartic and erased any self-doubt from his mind. When she moved with him, giving up herself in return, he felt pride where he’d felt frustration only a short time before.
They were slow without being careful, drowsy without being tired. Nora felt the tension still in his muscles and wondered how long it took Claude to come down from any game, good or bad. Something she’d have to learn. Judging by the way his strong hands held fast to her hips, this was helping a great deal.
Nora almost forgot about Genevieve down the hall, remembering only when she had to twist fistfuls of the blanket and bite her lip to keep from moaning. Claude chuckled softly and moved that way again, plunging deep into her body, never giving her a moment’s rest.
Claude couldn’t stop. He could wait, but only when forced by a road trip or other circumstance. To know Nora was nearby, alone and asleep, was torture. When he woke dreaming about her for the second night in a row - not even a wet dream, just a restful one - he knew he was in trouble. Now that she was beneath him in that very bed, he had to keep going.
Nora fought to keep her eyes open, but she was starting to boil. He knew it too - knew just what to do. She bucked beneath him, twisting along his shaft and he groaned softly. Already his breathing was ragged. She caught him looking down at her, the kindness in his face always so disarming. At that she gladly let go of the fear and jealousy, the worry she’d been holding in and, she realized, holding against him. Nora grabbed a handful of his curls, captured his mouth and came. Her surrender was his signal, and he gave everything to one last push.
It rolled over her like an avalanche, gradual and stunning, until she was flattened and breathless. Claude put his face into her neck and exhaled, low and slow, as he filled her with heat. It made him dizzy to drain so hard. Nora whimpered and fell still. Claude stayed there, his lips on her throat, until the pulse pounding beneath them began to steady.
Don’t say anything, Nora told herself.
Because I’m going to say something crazy, Claude finished in his own head.
He killed the light, pulled the comforter over them and was asleep before he closed his eyes.
Nora woke in the darkness, hungry. She couldn’t remember if she’d eaten anything at the game. Claude was wrapped around her like a koala in a tree, and the blanket was weighted down by his arm around her middle. She careful wiggled free, loathe to disturb his deep sleep. Finding some semblance of clothing was nearly impossible, so she settled for his shorts rolled over twice at her waist and her GIROUX t-shirt. The combination of wearing his name and his boxer-briefs made her giggle. She padded quietly from the room and down the stairs.
The night’s finish clouded her mind. Claude had been so quiet and fierce at the same time, intensely passionate without so much as a word. It didn’t seem possible. Nora wondered if she were soaking up his feelings or imagining things. The hands on her hips, in her hair, the mouth at her neck - those had been very, capably, liquifyingly real.
Lost in thought, she wasn’t listening. Nora turned the corner and nearly walked into the open refrigerator door. She jumped in surprise... and so did Genevieve.
Nora had forgotten Genevieve was in the house. All that worrying for days and an hour with Claude had wiped her mind like the Matrix. Now the blond girl stepped back, leaving the refrigerator door open and light spilling out, wearing nothing more than skimpy panties and a thin camisole, her hair tumbling over her shoulders and her small feet bare.
They started at each other for a second, but Nora was quicker. She lifted an eyebrow.
“Guess it wasn’t me you were hoping to run into.”
“What are you doing here?!” Genevieve hissed in a low voice.
“Sleeping at my boyfriend’s house,” Nora said conversationally. “Or, more accurately, sleeping with my boyfriend.”
Genevieve clutched a glass of water in her hand. “I knew he would go to you. He always did like a warm bed after a bad game.”
Nora’s anger flared like a mushroom cloud. Had Claude been with Genevieve after such a game? Had he ever sought her bed in comfort? It seemed even more unlikely than ever now that Nora saw just how hard Genevieve was trying. She went with her gut.
“Guess your bed stayed cold, even with you in it.”
Genevieve looked ready to pounce and scratch, but Nora was stronger. She was also wearing Claude’s underwear. And she was right.
“Enjoy it while you can,” Genevieve sipped her water like she was tired from giving advice. “I am the only girl he’s ever kept around.”
Wild assumptions flew to Nora’s tongue, outrageous claims like she would be sticking around and Claude would be keeping her for a long time. At that moment she felt they were true. But she didn’t really know Claude and he didn’t really know her. Nora suspected his charmed life was full of pitfalls and booby traps for the leading lady. She would not have her words getting back to him, not like this.
Nora was no longer hungry. She tossed her messy, obvious sex hair back and glared at the girl before her. “So what does he keep you around for?”
Genevieve huffed but no response came. In that instant Nora knew she had never been with Claude. That she’d just been thinking about it for a long, long time. Nora allowed the hint of a smile to curl her lips.
“Something for you to think about tonight, while I’m busy enjoying him.”
She spun on her heel and marched upstairs, not caring if she woke the worms in the ground. It wouldn’t matter now. Her fists tapped on the bannister. Claude was of course still asleep - he’d rolled onto his back and was snoring lightly. Nora smiled at the sight as she whipped off her clothes and climbed on top of him.
“Hey,” he mumbled, eyes barely open. It took less than a heartbeat for him to register a beautiful, naked girl straddling him in bed. His hands found her thighs as if to hold onto this very promising night vision.
“Don’t move,” Nora said, gliding her slit along the underside of his cock. “But feel free to scream.”
He was too asleep to understand her words, but his body was wide awake. She stroked him hard, knowing the amber in his eyes glowed brighter with her every move. When he was ready she fitted him to the spot and let her body take his, instead of the other way around. Claude did not object. Nora rocked back and forth until she had all of him. Then she arched her back and thrust forward, lifting and dropping with the roll of her hips. His fingers greedily dented her skin, adding more force to her movement. Nora lifted her arms and let him run them over her whole body. When she pressed her hands to his bare chest, pushing back hard for leverage and pounding him deep, Claude groaned loudly before he cut off the sound.
Nora leaned down. “Don’t be shy.”
He was awake, but rational thought was long gone. Wake a man up like this and the one track mind becomes a bullet train speeding toward only one destination. Claude grabbed her thighs then lifted his hips. Nora yelped.
“Don’t be shy,” he teased.
Her knees were locked at his sides, though it felt he could easily toss her off. She bucked again, ramping up the pace until she was riding him hard. Still she seemed to get the worst, or best, of every punishing thrust.
“Claude,” she whimpered.
“I can’t hear you.” His smile could be heard through the dark.
Nora wondered if he knew. If he knew Genevieve wanted him, wanted Nora out of the picture. Could he possibly have brought her here for this? The idea of Claude inviting her to claim her spot made Nora ferocious. She’d damn well fight for it.
“Claude!” She cried out, half-strangled, like a woman dying a thrilling action movie death. .
“Mmmmm, you like that?” He lifted again, like he would go right through her. Nora rag-dolled in his lap.
“Fuck, you’re so hot. You shouldn’t do this to me.”
Nora gave him a sassy smile and twisted her hips like a pole dancer. His eyes rolled back. “I think I should do this more often,” she countered.
“Yes,” he managed.
“I can’t hear you.”
He gave her the glare he gave Crosby right before he knocked the guy on his ass. Nora blew him a kiss and shoved so hard he bottomed out inside her like hitting a long, deep line drive home run. They both groaned in pleasure.
“I want you,” she said. As if he could ever doubt it. But the way he’d acted after the loss told her he might like to hear it anyway. “I want to make you come so hard.”
He was close to doing just that. She lifted and fell as hard as she could, it wasn’t enough, he kept going. Nora moved, Claude moved harder. He’d been holding back on her this whole time and she was tired of it..
“Fuck me, Claude. Like you mean it.”
A long growl reverberated through gritted teeth. Things with Nora had been dangerous from the moment he saw her. This had always been building. Even in two weeks of constantly being with and near and inside her, he’d been holding back. It was self-preservation - checking thoughts that got ahead of themselves. But he’d been holding back physically too, because he was already vulnerable. This was the only part of his life truly private, though by definition he had to share it with someone. Every one of those girls left with a story to tell, or to sell. But they couldn’t give away what they didn’t have, because he always kept part of it for himself. Now Nora asked for it. She wanted it so badly she was willing to take it from him, so badly she wore his name on her body like it said ‘Property Of’... well he should give her something in return.
She was on her back in a heartbeat. He thrust so hard Nora bit his shoulder and still she screamed. He’d put her through the bed, he’d put them both through the wall. He’d put everything into this because he wasn’t afraid for her to see him after, when there was nothing left. Another hammer strike and he was amazed to feel her ankles lock together behind his back.
“Come on, baby,” she purred.
Claude went for the finish line in a dead sprint. His cock pounded with urgency and ecstasy. Then all at once, it was gone. Like running straight off the edge of a cliff, legs still wheeling, nothing but space beneath your feet. Nora moaned loudly enough for the newspapers to write a headline about it. The clench of her pussy and arch of her back grabbed Claude’s throbbing erection and ripped the orgasm right out of him. He roared and every drop of hot, sticky determination pumped into her body until he was destroyed.
It was ages before he could form a sentence, by then he was sure she was asleep.
“You are the sexiest woman I have ever known.”
He was surprised when she answered.
“And you never fail to impress me.”