A Trifling Affair, by Helen Patrick

This story first appeared in the webzine Oracnid, under the title Boots & Cream. Thanks to Vanessa Mullen, who tut-tutted at me (again) about my pathetic excuses for story titles, and suggested something better. The original editorial comment by Predatrix is reproduced below:

The following came out of an idle conversation at a slash con: me and Helen Patrick were discussing some of Val W.’s illos – and how to get her to illustrate new stuff. One of us pointed out that it would be lovely to see Avon dressed only in leather boots & about half a pint of whipped cream, pity it was so difficult to think of a story plot along those lines. At which point she went very thoughtful. And here we are! I don’t know how she thought it up, but I’m glad she did.

Incidentally, the artist left the whipped cream out, after all that, because she was not confident in drawing a hard-on covered in whipped cream so it looked like a hard-on covered in whipped cream rather than looking as if the man had some strange disease. Since the result is so delightful, we forgive her the artistic licence!

Startled by the alarm that had dragged him from sleep, Blake was too disorientated for a few seconds to remember where he was. This wasn’t his cabin, and that horrible racket wasn’t like any of the alarm systems he’d heard on Liberator. Then as the fuzz started to clear from his mind, he realised what was happening. They’d stayed in a hotel overnight, and that had to be the fire alarm.      Wonderful. Just what he needed, having to leave the building at …three in the morning?… when the hangover was already starting to get to him. Better get on with it then. At least he had actually bothered to read the ‘In case of fire…’ notice, and had some idea where to go.

Going through to the outer room of the suite, he found Avon on the other side of his door.

“What took you so long?” Avon demanded. “I thought I was going to have to come in and carry you out.”

Avon’s acerbic tone didn’t do much for his temper, so he carefully ignored the comment. “Come on, let’s get down to the assembly point.”

“Oh yes, take charge, as always. Even when you’re drunk.” Avon was already moving towards the door. Blake followed him, wondering if the smug bastard had ever had a hangover himself.

By the time they’d reached the exit from the building, Avon’s cheerful enjoyment of his discomfort had annoyed him enough that he asked the question.

“Yes. But then, I’m capable of learning from experience.”

“So you are experienced, then?”

Damn, he hadn’t mean it to come out sounding the way it had. Especially not after the previous evening…

There were perfectly good reasons to stay on Delmar for a few days. Perfectly good reasons to stay on the planet overnight, and to take Avon with him. He’d just hoped that he might have a chance to mix business with pleasure.

He wanted to find out if there was anything behind the way Avon behaved towards him. The man was a bundle of contradictions, including the verbal abuse combined with physical affection. Blake had had an idea that there might be a sexual component to the affection, but if there was, it certainly wasn’t showing any signs of surfacing.

So a break away from the stress and travail of the usual routine seemed in order. Preferably well away from the crewmates whose likely reactions would undoubtedly inhibit someone as reticent about his emotions as Avon.

Only it hadn’t quite worked that way, had it?

They’d settled their business for the day, settling Blake’s conscience, and returned to the hotel suite for the evening meal he’d arranged. An excellent meal which his hedonist companion had thoroughly enjoyed, to the point where he’d praised it with no more than one or two snide comments indicating his surprise at Blake’s good taste. And absolutely no indication that he was aware that a high proportion of the meal’s components were held by tradition to have aphrodisiac properties.

Avon had also refused to drink more than two glasses of wine, politely ignoring the third that Blake had insisted on pouring for him. So much for that method of loosening the arsehole’s inhibitions. Or his arsehole, for that matter.

He hadn’t been able to decide if Avon was being deliberately obtuse, or genuinely didn’t realise that a seduction attempt was in progress. In the end, he hadn’t had the courage to openly ask where a veiled hint had failed, and had resorted to pleasure of the alcoholic variety instead. It was a very good wine, and it would have been a pity to waste it. It was also a pity that he hadn’t been content with finishing the open bottle.

The sound of Avon’s voice dragged him back from his review of last night’s fiasco.

“In the pleasures of the flesh, and their unfortunate consequences?”

Oh yes, he’d asked if Avon was experienced. Distracted by the resumption of the conversation, he wasn’t entirely aware of where he was about to step, and yelped as his bare feet discovered how cold the ground was. Avon had paused briefly to enjoy the sight, before going on, “It only took me one week at university to decide that there was little point in having such a good time that I couldn’t remember it in the morning.”

“And what sort of good time did you have?”

Avon just smiled before commenting, “Do be careful. The assembly point is covered in gravel. I’m afraid your bare feet are going to find it uncomfortable.” He didn’t look in the least bit sorry about it.

Which was hardly surprising, Blake realised as he looked down. He might have stumbled out barefoot, but Avon had found time to put on his boots. The other thing he’d found time to put on was a heavy, ankle-length dressing gown that looked remarkably cosy from the point of view of a man wearing neither footwear nor gown, only light pyjamas.

A few minutes standing in the chill air convinced him. He was shivering when Avon remarked, “You know, you really should have had the sense to put some clothing on. It only takes a few seconds.”

“All right, I was too drunk to think straight and now I’m paying for it. The cold is enough to sober me up, and I think it’s punishing me quite adequately. You don’t need to add your bit. Especially as you dragged me out before I had a chance to put anything on.”

Avon looked slightly more sympathetic. “True. I would offer to share, but it’s not built for two. Still…” He stepped up to Blake, and pushed him gently round to face away from the wind before standing directly behind him and cuddling him.

Blake couldn’t believe this. He’d spent the entire evening angling for something like this, and now Avon did it for reasons that had nothing to do with sex. Still, he was grateful. He did feel slightly more comfortable with Avon’s body shielding him, and the trickle of heat through the heavy fabric of the dressing gown helped. He leaned back slightly, enjoying the support from behind.

“Better?” queried a voice in his ear. Damn the man, that would have been bloody erotic if he hadn’t been too cold to appreciate it.

“Yes. Thanks. I just hope it’s not for much longer.”

“It probably won’t be.” Blake could hear the grin, even if he couldn’t see it. “I think that huddle over there means an announcement is imminent.”

It was. The huddle broke up, revealing the hotel manager who announced that it had been a false alarm. It appeared that someone had decided to take a bath on getting in from the nightclub. A hot, steamy bath, and the hotel’s old and old-fashioned smoke detectors had gotten a little confused.

“I’d like to give him a bath. In ice water,” Blake grumbled.

“I noticed that the manager was not revealing the room number of the guilty party.” Avon let go of him and nudged him towards the door. “Back inside before you freeze. I don’t want to have to explain to Jenna why you’re non-functional.”

Blake was still too hungover to understand that little crack in time to respond to it with dignity. He stumbled inside, sighing with relief as he stepped on to warm carpet. “Come on, you’ll feel better once we get back to the room.” Avon had him by the elbow and was steering him, none too gently, in that direction. For once he was glad to let Avon take charge. Fortunately, the exercise warmed him, even over that short distance. It had been standing around that had chilled him.

He collapsed gratefully into a chair as Avon started the coffee percolator going.

“Nice thought, Avon. I could do with a hot drink.”

“You could do with the caffeine. What on Earth possessed you to drink that amount away from the safety of the ship? I’d expect it of Vila, but not of you.”

He couldn’t very well explain why, and he didn’t see why he should put up with Avon’s scolding anyway.

“And you’ve never done anything stupid in your life? Not even as a child?”

He looked at the remains of the dinner spread out on the low table in front of him – including a large, luxurious dessert.

“You wouldn’t, for example, have been involved in anything as childish as a food fight?”

The innocent tone alerted Avon, as he’d intended. And as intended, not in time for Avon to dodge the handful of cream. It landed with a satisfying squishing sound. Avon looked horrified.

“Blake…”, he started to protest, but another missile was on its way. There was a splatter of cream, and Avon looked mournfully at the state of his clothing.

“Do you realise how difficult this material is to clean?” Avon’s complaints fell on deaf ears. Blake just grinned at him and scooped up yet another handful of cream, then very, very obviously started selecting the next target. Avon hastily started untying the dressing gown’s belt, and Blake paused, curious to see what was under it. Presumably something more easily cleaned, since it was about to be sacrificed to save the expensive-looking dressing gown.

Avon had got as far as slackening the belt and pushing the gown partly off one shoulder before realising that the next handful hadn’t been thrown. He stopped, giving a nice flash of bare skin. He must be wearing something loose that had got pushed back with the gown.

“Have you sobered up, then?”

Blake considered this, long enough to admire the view and decide that he wanted to see more.

“No.”

He grinned and hefted the handful of cream suggestively. He intended to wait until the gown had come off, and then encourage Avon to remove whatever was underneath, but Avon wasn’t to know that. Avon promptly started trying to get the gown off again, and Blake waited until he’d got its belt undone and was pushing it off. He blissfully let fly just as the gown started to fall open.

Avon had managed to drop the gown to the floor while the cream was in mid flight.

He wasn’t wearing anything beneath it.

Anything, that is, except for a pair of calf high, black leather boots. It made a very erotic sight, at least until the cream landed.

Well, the ancients had fig leaves, Avon had a handful of cream. He hadn’t even jumped, quite a notable achievement given the temperature of the cream and the sensitivity of its landing site. Blake had to stuff his fist in his mouth to keep from laughing.

Avon looked at him solemnly, looked down at the offending foodstuff, then looked back at him.

“You know, Blake, I hadn’t realised that someone who has been mindwiped also regresses in age.”

He couldn’t reply, he was too busy trying not to laugh. There was a pause, allowing him to recover some degree of control, then Avon said, “I think you’d better clean this off. I’ll only drip cream everywhere, if I move.”

The potential innuendo in that didn’t do much for his self-control, but Avon’s lack of reaction sobered him. Avon obviously didn’t find it as funny as he did. He got to his feet, and walked past Avon towards the bathroom.

His path was blocked by an outstretched arm.

“And just where do you think you’re going?” the arm’s owner enquired silkily.

“To fetch a towel to clean that mess off you.”

“Who said anything about using a towel?”

He looked at Avon’s face. There wasn’t even a hint of a twitch on the mouth, but wicked mischief was dancing in the eyes. Oh gods, Avon meant exactly what he’d thought he’d meant. And to think he’d wondered if Avon had understood what was going on last night.

Then he realised that his subconscious had been jumping up and down trying to attract his attention for a few minutes now. He had signally failed to notice that a fig leaf wouldn’t have done Avon much good, because it wouldn’t have fitted. He must be more drunk than he’d thought.

But not too drunk to do something about it, now he’d finally realised. He dropped to his knees in front of Avon, and looked up at him.

“Get on with it then, I’m not standing here all night.”

How romantic. How very Avonish. Who cared?

He examined his cleaning job carefully. No point in getting himself covered with the gunk as well – although he was quite glad they were more than an arm’s length from the cream, he didn’t trust Avon’s devious sense of humour one little bit. Well, there was one way to discourage any ideas about startling him.

He leaned forward and gently licked the tip of the fine specimen of manhood that was vaguely visible under its decorative coating. That didn’t get a reaction, so he sucked the head into his mouth, running his tongue round as he did so.

He heard Avon hiss in pleasure, then suddenly felt hands clamp onto his shoulders. The tight grip suggested that it was only with a considerable effort that Avon had refrained from grabbing his head and forcing him to take the full length there and then. So much for the apparent indifference.

He worked his tongue over the head of Avon’s cock, making sure it was thoroughly cleaned, but didn’t try to use his hands. No point in getting them dirty, was there? When he was quite certain that bit was clean, he let go and started to lick down one side. He had to hold on to Avon’s thighs now to keep his balance, rather unfortunate that he had to use both hands for that. Never mind, he’d just have to suck at the occasional stubborn spot instead of rubbing at it.

Having worked down one side, he shifted round to work back up the other, wondering at Avon’s self-control. The occasional whimpering noise had been the only indication that the man was starting to crack. Blake decided to test whether he’d removed enough cream to be able to suck more than the head of Avon’s cock without smearing cream over his face. He closed his mouth over the tip and started to move down the shaft, sucking hard. No, he could feel cream starting to gather on his chin, he’d have to clean the top and bottom as well.

He pulled back, and started to lick and nibble at the underside, paying special attention to the sensitive ridge. Only a few seconds of that treatment, and a hissed “Blake!” warned him that he’d reached the limits of Avon’s restraint.

He stopped the teasing routine, and returned to sucking Avon properly, wrapping a hand round the base of the shaft this time. He really was getting cream on himself now, but it couldn’t be helped – there was a hand on the back of his head, not forcing him to take any more than he wanted, but not letting him back off completely. Not that he wanted to – the sweetened, slightly flavoured cream was better than any lubricant, and the taste of Avon underneath it was wonderful. Greedy for more, he leaned into his partner, and relaxed his throat muscles, swallowing down as much as he could get.

High on alcohol and lust, he didn’t realise at first that Avon was trying to push him back. Then he reluctantly let go, and leaned back to look at Avon’s face. Avon was flushed and breathing heavily, and clearly even more aroused than he was.

“Enjoyable as that is, that is not the way I want it to finish. Are you capable of standing up?”

He wasn’t that drunk, although he still took advantage of the proffered hand to get to his feet. There was something odd about the view and it took him a second or two to realise what it was. He was used to looking down slightly at Avon when they were standing this close together, but the additional height given to Avon by his boots had put him at the same eyelevel as a barefoot Blake. Although, Avon wasn’t actually looking at his eyes.

“You’ve got cream around your mouth.”

He started to lift a hand to wipe it off, only to have Avon grab him by the wrist. Then Avon leaned forward and delicately licked the cream off. The sensation sent a shiver down his spine. The next thing he knew, he was being kissed, and by someone who was obviously an expert in that particular aspect of the amorous arts. This wasn’t according to his planned script for the evening, but he wasn’t about to complain.

Avon let go of his wrist in favour of holding his body. He responded in kind, content for the moment to enjoy the close contact. It was only the feel of Avon’s hands working their way under the waistband of his pyjamas that reminded him it wasn’t skin to skin contact over much of his body.

He wriggled to help as the trousers were slid down over his hips, never breaking that astounding kiss. He finally understood a comment in an old, and highly contraband, novel he’d once read. “Mike gives a kiss his whole attention.” Perhaps not the whole of Avon’s attention, but remarkably close.

Then he sensed a slight drift in that attention, and felt Avon’s hands roam over his arse, gently at first, then kneading, and finally pulling the cheeks apart. He suddenly realised what Avon was after.

This very definitely was not in his script for the evening! What the hell was Avon playing at? Shocked, he pulled away. Before he could speak, Avon said,

“What a pity you were so efficient at cleaning that cream off. It would make a good lubricant.”

“For what?” he spluttered.

“For fucking you, of course. I said I didn’t want to finish it that way.”

“But….”

“But you had intended to fuck me?” There was that smile on Avon’s face, the one he used when he knew you weren’t going to like the next bit of the conversation, and was enjoying the idea.

“Yes!” Indignant now, he couldn’t imagine why Avon would assume otherwise.

The smile grew a shade more malicious.

“What with?”

A finger gently stroked the length of his cock. He looked down, and realised that although his mind was raring to go, his body hadn’t managed more than half-mast. In fact, half was being generous.

He was mortified. This hadn’t happened to him in years, he couldn’t understand why it had happened now.

“I told you you shouldn’t have drunk so much.”

Oh.

“So do you prefer to stand or lie down?”

Neither, actually, under the current circumstances, but one look at Avon’s face told him not to say that out loud. He was certain Avon wouldn’t try to force him if he refused to go any further, he was equally certain that refusal now was a refusal for all time. If he wanted into Avon’s arse, he was going to have to let Avon into his first. Frightening thought.

His instinct was to stand, he didn’t want to be trapped under the other man’s weight. But – there’d been no pushing beyond his limits when he’d been sucking cock. He should rely on that, trust Avon not to abuse him.

Sighing, he dropped to his knees and said, “Better to lie down.”

“Before you fall down?” was the sardonic reply. Well, he deserved it, after his performance tonight. Then Avon went on, “Will you be all right kneeling?”

That sounded better than lying prone.

“Yes.”

“We’ll do it like that, then.” Avon knelt behind him, and encircled him with his arms to tackle the buttons on his pyjama shirt. That made Blake feel even more of a fool, that he’d gotten so carried away that he hadn’t thought to undress, yet he couldn’t get it up. The buttons dealt with, he leaned forward slightly and put his arms back so that Avon could slide the top off. It was unceremoniously dropped in front of him. Then Avon shuffled back and pulled away the trousers which by now were round his ankles.

“Cream,” Avon muttered, and stood up to get it. The table was several feet away, giving Blake plenty of time to enjoy the view. Avon had a superb arse, it was worth going through with this. Yes, it really was a very fetching outfit, black leather boots and nothing else. Although the cream did make a rather nice accessory. He was disappointed when Avon stopped on the way back to sit on a chair and pull the boots off. Having resigned himself to the proceedings, he’d been working up a nice little fantasy based on those boots. Maybe next time…

Shocked by the direction his thoughts were taking, he hadn’t realised that Avon was back kneeling behind him, until his attention was drawn by the further shock of a handful of cream being slapped between his buttocks.

“That’s cold!”

“I know.”

Ah. Yes. Well, he couldn’t really blame Avon for taking revenge.

He wasn’t asked to lean forward, and he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it of his own accord. As he dithered, Avon sneaked an arm round his waist and pulled him down so that his arse rested over his heels. It wasn’t a position he’d have thought of, but it was a good one. It spread him for Avon’s hand, without making him feel undignified. For the second time that night he leaned back slightly against the sturdy support behind him, and tried to relax as a finger slid inside him.

They’d been right – the thickened cream did make a good lubricant. There was no discomfort, and he resisted the urge to clamp down against the intrusion. Then he realised that it felt good, much better than he remembered. Maybe the difference was who he was with.

A second finger joined the first, as Avon said in a low voice in his ear,

“Are you all right?”

Oh yes, it was very erotic when he wasn’t too cold to appreciate it. He nodded in reply.

“Good.” Then Avon bent to nuzzle his neck and shoulders, while working still more cream inside him. He hardly noticed when it became three fingers, other than to start wishing for it to be a cock instead.

As if Avon had heard him,

“I think you’re ready. I know I am.”

The fingers withdrew, leaving him feeling oddly empty. Avon let go of his waist, and pushed his shoulder gently. He leaned forward obediently, supporting himself on his hands and knees. Avon’s hands gripped his hips, and a few seconds later there was a blunt pressure at the entrance to his body. He leaned back against it, and Avon’s cock slid easily into him, gliding on the slick cream. He obviously had been ready. There was only a pleasant pressure filling him up, no pain.

Avon must have pushed right in, he could feel balls resting against the skin under his hole. They held that position briefly, then Avon began to move inside him. Long, slow strokes at first, where he was aware of every centimetre as it was pulled out almost to the last, then back in again. It gave him the chance to shift about, find exactly the right angle to rub his prostate the way it wanted. When he’d settled, Avon picked up speed, with shorter more urgent thrusts, and he nearly collapsed in bliss. He obviously wasn’t the only one, he could hear Avon’s harsh breathing, even louder than his own, picking up tempo as their thrusting did.

Then Avon’s weight came down on top of him, not abruptly, but enough to force him down on his belly rather than take the weight on his hands. As he collapsed, Avon wrapped both arms round him, using his weight to force his cock in as deep as possible. It was no longer quite the right angle for Blake, but it still felt incredible, especially as his own cock was now rubbing on some material on the floor beneath him.

A few more thrusts deep inside him, then Avon’s body jerked, and he clutched Blake around the chest even tighter than before. Blake could feel the spasms as Avon jetted semen inside him, then they both collapsed in a heap.

A minute or two later, Avon had untwined his arms and rolled off to lie sprawled on his back at Blake’s side. His chest was still heaving for air as he flopped a companionable arm across Blake’s back. There was no doubting that he’d had a good time. Blake, on the other hand, was feeling slightly puzzled. He’d been unable to perform, yet he felt contented. It wasn’t something he was inclined to grumble about, but it was curious.

They lay there for a few minutes, getting their breath back. Then Avon clambered to his feet, and stood swaying slightly. Hardly surprising, seeing as they’d been at this after being woken up at three in the morning. You didn’t need to be drunk to be a little unsteady under those conditions.

Blake rolled over to look up at him, and enquired,

“Now what are you doing?”

“Now I am off to bed, which is where we should have gone before starting this. I’m getting too old to do this on the floor. Why, what did you want me to do?”

“Suck me?” he enquired hopefully.

“Why should I?”

“Because I set out to seduce you, and wound up getting fucked by you, with nothing to show for it myself.” It sounded rather self-pitying, even though he hadn’t meant it to. Well, maybe he had, just a little.

Avon looked at him, glanced to one side, and grinned. Then he turned and walked towards the bedroom, saying,

“Well now, it will be a lesson for you, Blake.”

He sat up, wondering what the hell Avon was on about now.

“What?”

“It will teach you not to trifle with my affections.”

Blake stared at him for a bemused second, then lunged for the bowl of pudding. By the time he’d scooped up a handful of the custard, jelly and sponge lurking beneath the remains of the cream, the only sign of his target was the peal of laughter from behind a hastily slammed door.

He dropped the trifle back in its bowl, and shook his head ruefully. Then he smiled.

Got you, Kerr Avon.

Try playing on Avon’s emotions, and you’d meet a blank wall. Appeal to his greed, of one sort or another, and you’d be taken for a ride. The weak point in his defences was elsewhere, and Blake had just found it – the wicked sense of humour that normally only manifested itself in the dry wit displayed on the flight deck. Charm the playfulness, the sense of fun, out of hiding, and Avon was putty.

Shaking the last of the mess from his hand, he stood up and headed for the bathroom to clean up. While he was there, he rummaged around for the painkillers. He felt a lot better now, but he’d still thank himself for it in the morning if he took a couple of these and some water now.

He wandered back to the main lounge to look for his clothing, finding it scattered on the floor. The top was wet and sticky, some of the cream must have got on it. No, it wasn’t cream…

No wonder Avon had laughed at him when he’d complained about not having a good time. He’d been so wrapped up in the feel of Avon coming that he hadn’t noticed his own feeble effort. That hadn’t happened to him for years, either. No doubt it was for the same reason. Well, he wasn’t wearing this now. He picked up the trousers, and headed for his room, wondering if he had anything to serve in place of the top. A muffled noise from the direction of the bathroom suggested that Avon had come out of hiding.

So why bother with pyjamas when you could have a hot water bottle instead?

He waited a minute or two for Avon to go back to bed, then went to join him. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” his hot water bottle asked as he slid into bed and cuddled up behind him.

“I just want to be ready for an early start in the morning.”

“In your state, I doubt you’ll be fit by late afternoon.”

Tough luck, Avon. There was one thing that he’d never found affected by booze.

“I have never been so drunk that I didn’t wake up with a morning hard-on. As you will find out in a few hours.”

“Promises, promises,” Avon said in a coy tone, while wriggling his arse back for a snugger fit against him. So he wasn’t going to be chucked out then. He’d been a little afraid he might be.

He put his arm around Avon, shifting to fit as tightly against him as possible. He’d always enjoyed a nice cuddle afterwards, and was happy not to be deprived. He’d almost deprived himself of the whole thing. Drinking like that had been an idiotic thing to do. It was his own fault too, he’d starting drinking even before they’d sat done to eat, he’d been nervous about Avon’s reaction and wanted something to calm himself down.

Then he’d just kept on drinking, while Avon had taken it slowly and stopped while he was still sober. No wonder he hadn’t had any trouble getting it up. He’d obviously realised early on and thought ahead…

And hadn’t said anything to Blake. On purpose, judging by what had happened later.

The bastard had deliberately sat back and watched while he’d made himself incapable! Why? It was a mean bloody trick to play on someone, it meant that he’d had to just lie there and take it, when he’d intended…

When he’d blithely intended to fuck Avon, without considering whether that was the way Avon liked sex.

His conscience prodded him with the memory of what Avon had said during the fire alarm – “Oh yes, take charge, as always. Even when you’re drunk.” If that was the way Avon saw him, no wonder he’d let Blake give himself a handicap. There was no doubt that that was the way Avon saw him, the frequent fights attested to that.

As for what had happened outside, when he’d assumed there was nothing sexual about it because he simply hadn’t visualised them having sex that way round…

He couldn’t blame Avon for objecting, not this time. Even what he’d said afterwards was evidence that his attitude hadn’t changed. He was damned lucky Avon hadn’t kicked him out.

“Avon?”

“Mmm?”

“That was bloody wonderful. Please do it again, when I’m sober enough to appreciate it properly.”

Avon took hold of his hand and pulled it up to where he could kiss the palm gently. Message received and understood. Blake shivered slightly, both from pleasure at the sensation of lips brushing his palm, and from wondering how receptive Avon would have been tomorrow night if he hadn’t apologised.

Another shiver ran through him as Avon sucked one of his fingers.

“And is that a promise too?” he asked.

“If you don’t shut up so that I can get some sleep, Roj, I am going to brain you. You won’t even be offered the option of going back to your own bed.”

Gave yourself away there, Kerr.

On the other hand, he sounded quite serious about wanting some sleep. Better shut up.

He didn’t feel particularly sleepy himself, but kept quiet and didn’t move about. Avon fell asleep within minutes, judging by the quiet, even breathing. Well, it hadn’t gone the way he’d planned, but it had still been quite a night. Just a pity that he hadn’t had the courage to go through with it last evening.

On the other hand, since they were staying here tomorrow night as well, he did have the opportunity to do something he’d considered and backed down from, afraid of causing offence.

The menu he’d selected the meal from had one or two items that could only be classed as “obvious.” Including the dessert that had been rejected in favour of the trifle.

He was really looking forward to seeing Avon’s reaction on being presented with this particular chef’s version of a banana split.

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