Fatima sat at the bar of the club running her finer around the rim of her margarita glass. She sighed, bored out of her mind and tired of the loud music. “Hey what’s your name?” A young woman asked as she flopped down next to her.
“If you’re a lesbian, I’m not into women.” Fatima answered bluntly.
“I’m a bisexual and that’s to bad.” She held out her hand. “My name’s Sicily.”
Fatima sighed and took her hand, shaking it. “Fatima Hicks.”
“Wow, like of the Rosewood Hicks?”
“Sexy, now I’m really sad you’re not into women.” She winked.
Fatima found herself laughing and turned to face Sicily. “Sorry to disappoint you.”
Sicily looked her up and down as if imagining what she looked like naked. It made Fatima blush and feel a little annoyed. “So, why aren’t you dancing?”
“I’m not a fan of being groped by strange men. I broke a guys arm once for grabbing what he shouldn’t have. He’s lucky Lombard wasn’t here or he would have been dead.”
“Is that your boyfriend?”
Fatima wished he was. She shook her head. “No, just a really good friend.” She finished her drink and was ready to go home. She wanted to spend some time listening to Lombard read instead of listening to this obnoxious music. “Anyway, I’m going to call my driver. I have stuff I have to do tomorrow.” She stood and fished her cell out of her pocket. She called Keith and explained over the music that she really needed to get home.
“Well that’s to bad.” Sicily said with a pout. “Any chance I can come hang out?”
Fatima wasn’t sure if it was the booze on her system or the fact she just didn’t want to argue, but she told Sicily to grab her purse and follow her. They waited out front and and Keith pulled up an hour later. He opened the door and they slipped in the back. Fatima made sure there was some space between her and Sicily. She wasn’t homophobic, but Sicily had showed a lot of interest and Fatima didn’t feel like getting groped. The pulled into the driveway and Fatima couldn’t get out of the car fast enough. She headed inside with her new aquatintence close behind. Lombard stepped out of the library and she ran across the room and jumped into his arms, giving him a nice long hug.
“You’re back early.” He said with a smile.
“I hate clubs, I don’t know why I went.” She replied.
“Because your mother called from Peru and told you to go out and do something fun.”
“Oh yeah, I almost forgot.” He looked over her head and she turned to see Sicily standing there staring open mouthed. “Oh, this is Sicily I met her at the club. Sicily, this is Lombard my best friend and butler.” She couldn’t help but catches the subtle wrinkling of Sicily’s nose at the idea of being friends with a butler. “She’s staying with us tonight. Would you mind taking her to one of the guest rooms?”
“Not at all. Please follow me. Good night Miss Hicks.” He said with a slight ow and then moved passed her. She waited until he and Sicily had disappeared upstairs before huffing in irritation. She cursed herself for attracting the snobby ones.
Lombard wasn’t one for hating people, but he found himself not so fond on Sicily. He took her to the guest room, stepping in to show her the bathroom. He turned to leave and she had closed the door and had her back pressed against it. “You are incredibly hot.” She said and crossed the room to stand right on front of him. “How did Fatima ever get a thing like you?”
“She inherited me.” He replied as she grabbed his shirt.
“You seem like you’re more than just friends. Naughty, naughty banging the boss. Butlers should know their place even if they are sexy.”
“Could you let me go and move please?”
“Are you gay?”
“If I say yes will you leave me alone?” He really wanted her to get her hands off of him. He was ready to slap her if he had to. “I am a brain eating zombie though.” She jerked her hands away as if he had pured scalding water on her. He wished he had.
“Get out of my room.” She said and he willingly obliged. He wanted to shower before going and reading to Fatima, but she was already coming up the stairs.
“Is everything alright?” She asked concerned.
“In your room.” He ushered her in and closed and locked the door. He rested his back against the cold wood and took a deep breath. “Your new friend just tried seducing me. I guess she thinks she’s irresistible.” He saw a smile flit across her face and frowned. “What’s so funny?”
“She did the same thing with me. Apparently she’s bisexual. She’s a funny little thing isn’t she?”
“Funny ha ha or funny crazy?”
“Both.” She took her jacket off then tossed it then sat down on the end of her bed and pulled her heels off. She flexed her feet and wiggled her toes. “Would you rub my feet please? Those damn heels are a nightmare.”
“Lay down.” He commanded softly and she scooted up on the bed then lay down. He sat next to her and pulled her feet into his lap. He rubbed one, moving up her calf and then back down again. She flexed her other foot, rubbing her toes against his groin so heat pooled there, immediately making him hard. He put her first foot down and grabbed the other one, praying she had not noticed. He rubbed it then moved her feet back to the bed.
“Would you like to get in our regular reading position?” She asked and looked at him. “Are you alright?”
“Yes of course, could you do me a favor? Could you rebraid my hair? It not seems to stay when you do it.” He answered and then cleared his throat.
“Sure, then you can read to me.” She got on her knees and moved behind him. She pulled the ponytail holder off the tip of the braid and ran her fingers through his hair to loosen it. “I need my brush.” She jumped off the bed and hurried into the bathroom then came back. She brushed his hair the handed him the brush. He sighed in contentment as she parted and braided his hair. He closed his eyes, enjoying he warmth he could feel moving between them. She tied it off then kissed his cheek. “There now, I have two books tonight. Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty?”
“The original Sleeping Beauty?”
She looked at the book. “Uh yes.”
“Then we’ll read Cinderella.”
“The original Sleeping Beauty has the prince raping the princess and leaving her pregnant.”
“Oh, okay then.” She handed him Cinderella and patted the bed. He took a deep breath and crawled up to the top. She sat between his knees with her back against his chest and he flipped open the book, hoping she didn’t notice he was rock hard and ready to take her right that second.
Fatima forced herself not to make a joke about him being happy to see her. She had deliberately rubbed her toes against him to see what he would do. Apparently he had immense amounts of self control. He would be the first. He wouldn’t grope her or whisper lewd things to her in the middle of a club because no one could hear him. He held back, ignoring the fact that his erection was pressed against her lower back. That made her love him even more. She wanted desperately to straddle him and rip his clothes off. As he read his erection went away, his mind obviously focused on her favorite part of the night. She started to drift off, unable to keep her eyes open no matter how hard she tried.
Lombard waited until she lay limp against him before closing the book and setting it down. He couldn’t stay with her tonight. He would do something she may to like him for if he stayed. He shifted her slowly onto the bed then kissed her forehead before standing and walking out of her room, closing her door quietly behind him. He hurried to his room, leading the door cracked. He pulled his clothes off and climbed into bed. He stared up at the ceiling for what seemed like ages. He couldn’t fall asleep no matter what he did. He needed her in his bed, needed to run his hands over her skin. He knew it was soft and warm. He was beginning to worry he was losing control of the situation. There were times he thought of quitting, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. He needed her in his life. It was three in the morning by the time sleep claimed him. He fell into dreams of her, the smell of her, the feel of her and her soft voice.
Fatima woke to her phone buzzing. She sat up, a little sad when she didn’t see Lombard. She swung her legs over the edge of her bed and stumbled over to her jacket that lay in a heap in front of her closet. She dug in the pockets until she found it and flipped it open.
“It’s five o’clock in the morning, what do you want?” She asked irritated.
“Calm down Fatima. I have work for you.” Rick said.
“Where are they this time?”
“The sewers again, on the west side.”
“Alright, thirty minutes, bye bye.” She flipped her phone shut and pulled off the dress she had worn to the club. She found her black turtle neck and a pair of athletic pants. She pulled on a pair of socks and then her climbing boots. She pulled her hair up in a bun and then made her way out of her room and downstairs to the utility closet. She flipped the light on and started looking for her sunscreen. She couldn’t find it. “Damn it.” She whispered angrily.
“Looking for this?” She spun around. Lombard stood there with his hip propped against the door frame in his sweats. He held out her bottle of sunscreen and she took it from him. “I put it behind the paper towels so no one mistakes it for regular sunscreen.”
“Thank you.” She rubbed some on her face and neck then her hands.
“Yeah, more zombies trying to munch on people.”
“Would you like me to accompany you?”
She shook her head and smiled. “No, I need you here to take care of the house and have me a nice big mug of coffee ready when I get back because I am going to be tired.” She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and moved passed him.
“If you need anything make sure you call.” He said, grabbing her arm and making her turn back to him. The love in his eyes was almost overwhelming. She wondered how he could not see the same in her own. Was he really that oblivious? She thought.
“I will, I promise.” He let her go and watched her walk away, already beginning to worry.
Fatima had Keith drive her to the west side of town. It took an hour to get there and by that time she was almost asleep again. She hated these early morning jobs. There seemed to be more and more of them. She was going to have a talk with Rick at some point. Maybe she would threaten to drain him dry again. Keith rolled to a stop and Fatima got out of the car. “Just stay here unless one of the creepers comes crawling out of the sewer.” She ordered softly.
She had him pop the trunk and she grabbed her gun. She slipped it into the waist band of her pants and then grabbed the crowbar and went over to the manhole and pried it open. She dropped down, landing on the cement walkway. She had done this so many times that she had learned how to block out the smell of sewage. She could see perfectly in the dark confines. She listened intently, not wanting to get snuck up on. While mad zombies were not overly intelligent, they had amazing animal instincts. It was almost impossible to hide from them. They had the nose of a blood hound. She walked quickly, but quietly. Her soft breathing and the light tap of her boots were the only sounds in the cool darkness. She heard the moaning and slowed. She peeked around a turn in the tunnel and saw two of them. They raised their heads and turned to face her. She fired at one and then the other, hitting them both in the head. She checked to make sure they were dead.
The only sign she had of another zombie was a light shuffling behind her. She turned, raising her gun, but the monster was already on her. They rolled across the ground and then fell right into the nasty sewage water. It pushed her under, its hands gripping her clothes. She had it by the throat with one hand to keep it from biting her while she bashed it in the head with her gun. She finally hit it hard enough to knock it back and she surfaced with a gasp. She waded to the edge and started to haul herself out. The zombie grabbed her shirt and she kicked at it then turned and shot it in the head. She got out then pulled its body out so Rick could send someone to clean up. She walked back through the sewer cold and covered in stinky slime from head to toe. She made it back to the manhole and climbed out. Keith stood by the car and reflexively covered his nose.
“Sorry to make you smell me.” She said as he opened the back door.
“It’s quite alright ma’am.” He got in and drove quickly home.
Lombard was helping Trisha dust the shelves in the library when Fatima came home. Sicily was sitting on one of the chairs reading a book. Lombard was actually shocked to see her read anything but a children’s book. The girl didn’t seem very intelligent, but he guessed being smart and being literate were not universal. They all heard the front door open and both he and Sicily hurried to the entryway. Sicily stopped and covered her nose while Lombard walked right up to Fatima.
“What happened?” He asked and started to hug her. She held up her hand and he stopped.
“Please, no hugs until I get a shower. I’m covered in sewage. Would you mind throwing these out when I get them off?” She said, sounding exhausted.
“Why were you rolling around in sewage?” Sicily asked.
“I was killing zombies, not ones like Lombard, but mad zombies. One of the buggers rolled me into sewer water because he wanted a bite.”
“Why would you do a job like that. You own a business, run that instead.”
“My friend Donnie runs my business and makes me quite a bit of money. I kill zombies to make this world a little safer. Speaking of, Lombard give Rick a call and tell him to send someone to clean up the sewer.”
“Yes Fatima, would you like breakfast after your shower?” He asked.
“God yes and some blood too please.” He gave her a bow and she hurried upstairs, wanting to be out of her sludge covered clothes.
Fatima scrubbed her skin and hair, rinsed then scrubbed and rinsed again. She heard the bathroom door open and she popped her head out of the shower. It was Lombard. He froze and they just stared at one another. He had a garbage bag in his hand. “Come for the clothes?” She asked and pulled her head back in. The glass was fogged so he couldn’t see her, but it made her blush anyway.
“Yes, I thought I would throw them away before you got out.” Lombard replied as he used the bag to pick up the clothes then tied off the top. “I’ll clean up the floor in a minute.”
“Thank you very much. Please tell Sicily I’ll be down in a minute. I want to make sure I get all the stink out.”
“Is there anything else you need?”
“Just something delicious.”
He left the bathroom and carried the bag of dirty clothes outside to the garbage can. He found Sicily and delivered Fatima’s message. He found some cleaning supplies, letting the new cook Edwin know Fatima wanted something good for breakfast as he passed. He hurried back upstairs and into the bathroom, thinking she was still in the shower. The look on her face when he walked in on her naked was one of shock. He dropped the spray bottle of bleach and the paper towels. She snatched up a towel and he backed quickly out, pulling the door closed behind him. He didn’t know what to do so he just sat down on her bed. He heard the bathroom door open and he ducked his head, keeping his eyes on his shoes.
“Lombard are you alright?” She asked. He was still too embarrassed to speak. “Lombard, look at me.” His eyes jumped to her face. She was wrapped in a towel, her face was red.
“I’m sorry, I should have knocked.” He finally said.
“It’s alright. I know I’m blushing, I can feel it, but I’m not embarrassed. You’ve helped me with clothes many times.”
“You tend to still be in your underwear. I thought you were still in the shower. I should have been paying attention.” She crossed over to him and he forced himself not to move. If he ran it would hurt her feelings and he couldn’t bear to see her cry. He kept his eyes on her face, but no matter how polite he was trying to be he couldn’t get the image of her out of his head.
“I’m not angry or anything, I promise. Stop looking so shocked. Would it make you feel better if you were naked too?”
He blinked and a smile flitted across her lips. She was teasing him even now. He found himself smiling back and then laughing. He shook his head and buried his face in his hands. “Dear lord the mouth on you.” He stood and pulled her into a hug. “No man is going to be able to survive that.”
“You seem to do just fine.” She looked up at him and smiled.
“I’ve had fifty years to get used to it. By the way, you smell just fine. Not a hint of sewage.”
“Good, thank you. Now, I need to get dressed and eat something before I collapse. I think I’ll go riding this afternoon, maybe see if Sicily knows how. Would you like to come?”
“I’d love to.”
“Good, now get back to work lazy.”
He smiled and left, still a bit shaken, but feeling better thanks to her sense of humor. He went downstairs and checked on her breakfast. Edwin had just finished with the sausage gravy when he walked in. The food smelled wonderful as always. He grabbed a bottle of blood out of the freezer and picked up the plate on the way out. He carried them to the table and sat them down. Fatima walked in, looking gorgeous and smiled at him brightly. She winked at him and he cleared his throat. Sicily sat down next to her. She had already eaten something.
“I can’t believe you’re a zombie hunter.” Sicily said, breaking the silence.
“I get that reaction from most people. I’m surprised you haven’t seen it in the paper or on TV. Everyone talks about it. They call me a hero.” Fatima replied and then took a bite of food.
“You are a hero Fatima.” Lombard said, making her smile.
“Don’t you mean Miss Hicks?”
They both frowned at her snotty retort. “He is free to call me whatever he wishes. I told you before he is my friend.”
Sicily rolled her eyes. “Men who freely use their boss’s name tend to be more than just friends.”
“Fatima and I are just friends. I helped raise her.”
She rolled her eyes again, but that was the end of it. Fatima was able to eat the rest of her breakfast in silence. Lombard cleared the table when she was finished, leaving her with the annoying young woman with the low cut top. He had been annoyed by very few people in his life, but Sicily was one he hoped he wouldn’t have to see again.
“So we’re going riding at noon, would you like to come?” Fatima asked and took a sip of blood.
“We? You mean the butler?” Sicily asked.
“Yes, he goes with me almost everywhere. He’s my bodyguard as well as my butler.”
“I guess, but I don’t have anything to wear.”
“You can borrow some of my clothes.” Sicily nodded even thought she had not been riding in years. She had never been a big fan of horses.
Noon rolled around and Lombard met Fatima and Sicily in the barn. He retrieved Fatima’s horse Tipper first, bringing him out to her and helping her with the saddle. He then got a young mare named Ginger and brought her to Sicily. He had to saddle her horse since she had no idea what to do. The last horse he brought out was a large male he had named Macbeth. The horse was coal black with bright blue eyes. He lifted on the saddle and then took his jacket off and draped it over the stall door. He swung up into the saddle and patted the horse on the neck. They waited patiently as Sicily struggled into her saddle and then road off into the woods.
Fatima loved the outdoors and spent more time roaming around the cool shadowed interior of the forest that grew behind the house since her mother had left to travel the world a year after her father’s death. Lizzie, May, and Rodrigo had left soon after to go on their own adventures. Lombard had hired Trisha, Sue, and Edwin to fill their positions. It had saddened her when they all left, but she knew it was time for them to move on and see something new. She reached out and Lombard took her hand, his horse close to hers. She could see Sicily wrinkle her nose out of the corner of her eye, but she didn’t care. She was just enjoying her time with her closest friend and the man she loved more than life itself. They made their way to the smalle lake hidden deep in the woods and got off their horses. They tied them up and then sat by the water. Fatima rested her head in his lap and closed her eyes, enjoying the fresh air and bird song.
“This is a very beautiful place.” Sicily said, sounding bored.
“I come here all the time. It calms me.” Fatima replied.
“We should swim.”
Fatima opened her eyes and looked up at Lombard’s face. “Would you like to run back to the house and grab some shorts?”
“No,” he said with a smile, “you go ahead and get it. I’ll sit with the horses.”
“Okay, as long as you’re sure.”
“I am, I just want you to have fun.”
Fatima and Sicily stood and stripped down to their panties and bras. Lombard kept his eyes on Fatima. She waded into the water and he swallowed. Gorgeous and wet again. He watched as she swam and played with Sicily. They splashed each other, giggling. She dove under the water and then camed back up, flipping her hair back so water rained down on him. “Sorry.” She said with a smile. They stayed in the water for a couple of hours, missing lunch. They finally got out and Fatima came over and lay in the grass next to him. She closed her eyes and he let his own drift over her. He itched to touch her skin, to run his fingers over her skin and trace the trails the water drops had made. He glanced over at Sicily who was trying to catch both of their attention. It wasn’t working. He was completely focused on the goddess laying peacefully next to him. Her eyes opened and he looked away, staring out over the lake.
“We should be getting back. You haven’t had lunch.” He said.
“I’m not hungry, not after such a big breakfast. Lets explore a little until dinner time.” She touched his arms and he looked down at her. “Please then you can read to me tonight.”
“Read to you?” Sicily asked confused.
“Yes, he reads to me until I fall asleep and then stays with me until I wake.”
“What if people found out. You could be ruined.”
“I don’t care about status.”
Fatima got to her feet and pulled her clothes on. The way she shimmied into her jeans was almost his undoing. He cleared his throat and stood. She looked up at him, knowing the effect she had on him. There were times she felt horrible for it, but it made her feel good that he saw her as desirable rather than just a friend. She wished he would just tell her he loved her. She wanted to hear the words come out of his mouth. She smiled at him than pulled her boots on. They untied the horses and walked them through the woods. Fatima pointed out to Sicily all the birds and plants, giving her the names. She had spent so much time out here that she almost knew every one and if she didn’t she looked it up.
“You’re such a tomboy.” Sicily said, a hint of disgust in her tone.
“It’s fun, freeing. I enjoy getting down and dirty with the boys. That’s not some innuendo either. I just enjoy dirty clothes and wrestling in the mud.” She replied and took Lombard’s hand.
“Yuck, not me. I prefer to look at sexy as possible. You’ll never get a man covered in sewage.”
“It’s okay, I don’t need a man.”
“Everyone needs a man or woman. Even if it’s to release some tension. Seriously, find a hot guy and then get down and dirty between the sheets.”
“I prefer to do it with guys I love, not random strangers that mean nothing to me.”
Sicily rolled her eyes. “How many have you had sex with?”
“Just one and he broke up with me after his cousin tried to rape me. He did it for my protection. He’s been happily married for almost twenty years and has two daughters.” She answered, feeling a bit irritated.
“Only one guy your entire life. You must not get out.”
“Lombard’s right, we should get home.” She said as she stopped and climbed onto her horse’s back.
They rode back in silence and left the horses with the two college students they had employed to take care of the horses. The young men were amazing with the animals and enjoyed their job. Fatima had insisted on paying them quite a bit to help them pay off any loans they had. She walked hand in hand with Lombard, ignoring the weird looks Sicily kept giving them.
“We should go out tonight after dinner.” Sicily said with a smile.
“Out where?” Fatima asked, suspicious of that smile.
“To this club on the other side of town.”
She looked sidelong at Lombard who looked suddenly very worried. She sighed, remembering promising her mother that she would get out more. “Sure, okay.”
Sicily clapped happily. “Is it okay if I borrow some of your clothes?”
Fatima nodded. Dinner time came faster than she wanted. Lombard left to get their plates. Fatima ate the home made pizza happily. She loved pizza. She offered a bite to Lombard who shook his head and left the room. She watched him go sadly, wondering what was wrong. She finished eating and let Sicily drag her up to her room. The both went through her big walk in closet and found what they wanted to wear. Sicily insisted on doing her hair and make up. She sat down and let her go to work. When she saw her reflection she couldn’t help but think she looked a little whorish. She preferred subtle to eye catching and her make up and hair were very eye catching.
“You look hot, now come on.” She pulled Fatima to her feet and out the bedroom door. They passed Lombard in the hall and Fatima promised he would still get to read to her. She was pulled downstairs and out the front door to the car. Keith’s eyes widened at the sight of her and she felt very embarrassed. He opened the door and let them in. “To the Hell Hound on North Oak.” Sicily ordered and he pulled out of the driveway.
The Hell Hound was a very dark club save for a few dimmed lights here and there. There were dancers up on platforms with strobe lights flickering beneath them. Sicily took her to the bar and ordered for both of them. The bartender poured them shots of whiskey which Fatima had never had. She took the shot, grimacing and the order a cranberry and vodka. She gulped it down, wanting the taste of whiskey out of her mouth. She was starting to feel fuzzy. Sicily ordered her another drink and told her to hurry and drink it so they could dance. She drank it as fast as she could and let Sicily pull her onto the dance floor. She lost herself in the music, eyes closed as she moved to the beat. She felt a pair of hands grip her hips and pull her back into a rock hard body.
When she opened her eyes she was pressed against a wall and there were lips moving against hers. She had not remembered being taken into the bathroom. She pushed against the man’s chest until he pulled back. She didn’t know him nor did she want to. She shook her head and hurried out of the bathroom. She had to get home. She made her way outside, not bothering to see where Sicily was. Keith was waiting outside and she climbed quickly into the car. She noticed he was on the phone, but didn’t hear what he was saying. She closed her eyes again and this time when she opened them Lombard was lifting her out of the car. He carried her upstairs and into her room, laying her on the bed. She grabbed his shoulders and tried pulling him down into a kiss.
“No Fatima, you’re drunk.” He said and pulled her hands off of him. He wanted to kiss her, to feel the softness of her lips against his, but not while she was being influenced by booze. He also knew he would not be able to resist taking her. He would wake up in the morning feeling guilty for taking advantage of her. He slipped her heels and jacket off then helped her out of her dress. He found her a long t-shirt and slipped it over her head. He covered her and kissed her forehead then left her room. He hated that little bitch for taking her out and getting her drunk. He went to his room, closing and locking the door. He didn’t want Fatima stumbling in and trying anything. He was determined to protect her reputation and to keep her from hating him.
She dreamed he was making love to her. Her legs were wrapped tightly around Lombard’s waist as he thrust into her hard and fast. She moaned, raking her nails across his back. His mouth was at her breast, biting and sucking so she gasped. “Harder.” She whispered and he gripped her hips, slamming into her. Her cries were loud screams of pleasure. She heard a voice calling her name, hands gripped her shoulders and she was being shaken. Her eyes snapped open and she found herself looking into his strange blue eyes. She blushed from head to toe.
“What were you dreaming about?” He asked. “I heard you screaming.”
She covered her mouth with her hand, her face growing hotter by the minute. “It was just a nightmare. I can’t remember what it was about. I’m sorry I woke you.” He was in nothing but his sweats. His hair fell loosely around his face and down his back. She wanted to tangle her fingers in it and kiss him. It wasn’t fair how sexy he was.
“You scared the crap out of me Fatima. It sounded like you were being murdered.”
“What time is it?”
“Six in the morning. How are you feeling?”Â She remembered drinking a little to much and then kissing a strange man. She remembered being home and in Lombard’s arms. She inhaled sharply. She had tried to kiss him too. She covered her face with her hands, wanting to jump in a hole. “Are you okay?” He sounded so worried.
“I’m so sorry I tried to kiss you. Never let me go drinking with Sicily again. I made out with a stranger too. God I need to brush my teeth. I don’t want the taste of some dude in my mouth.” She manged to get to her feet and too her bathroom. She grabbed her tooth brush and toothpaste and scrubbed her teeth and tongue. She spit and rinsed then did it all over again. She was disgusted at the image that played over and over in her head of him kissing her, his tongue in her mouth. She shivered and brushed a third time. “Never, ever again Lombard. No matter what do not let me go.” Another thought suddenly occured to her. She had broken her promise to him. She felt tears pool in her eyes as she rinsed her toothbrush. She had broken a promise to the man she loved.
“Fatima, what’s wrong?” He asked worried. A tear slid down her cheek and he pulled her into his arms. “Tell me.”
“I broke my promise to be back in time for you to read to me.” She said sadly.
He smiled, but didn’t let her see. “I can read to you tonight. It’s okay, I promise.”
“I should keep my word. I love when you read to me. It’s so relaxing and makes me happy. I know it makes you happy too.”
“I’ll read to you tonight. Don’t be so upset, it’s really okay.”
She pulled back to look at him and he smiled warmly down at her. She wiped her face and smiled back. “Okay. I am so hungry.”
“Let me take you downstairs and get Edwin to make you something.” He lifted her in his arms and carried her out of her room and downstairs. He sat her in the library instead of the dining room. She looked a little confused, but didn’t say anything. “How does fruit salad sound?”
“Sounds amazing.” She answered. He went to the kitchen and helped Edwin put it together. He put some in a bowl, grabbed a spoon and headed back to the library. He handed Fatima the bowl and then grabbed a book of poetry off one of the shelves. The poem he had dog eared was in there and he wanted to read it to her. It was his way of professing his love without looking like a fool.
Fatima ate slowly as he read to her. She loved how he sounded when those words slipped past his lips. She could feel his love for her. It washed over her like a warm wave. She wondered how he didn’t see the look of adoration in her eyes for him. That poem always went straight to her heart. It wrapped itself around her, making her feel truly needed. She rested her head on his shoulder as he finished the poem. He was still in just his sweats so she took the opportunity to press her cheek against his bare skin. He was so warm. Someone cleared their throat and she sat up, looking over at Sue.
“There is a Miss Sicily Owen here to see you.” Sue said.
“Shit, I haven’t even had time to get dressed. Oh well send her in.” Fatima replied in exasperation.
“I should put a shirt on.” Lombard said and started to stand.
He couldn’t say no so he stayed seated. Sicily came walking in, dressed in a pair of tight jeans and a low cut blouse. “How did your night go? I saw you with that guy.” She asked as she sat across from them.
“I didn’t sleep with him. I left him when I realized we were kissing.”
“Why in god’s name?” Her eyes suddenly widened when she realized the were both still in their pajamas. “Did you come home and fuck him?”
“No I didn’t. He actually put me to bed and then went to his own room.” Fatima answered.
“He changed your clothes?”
“Yes he did and kept his hands and mouth to himself. I tried to kiss him last night and he wouldn’t let me. He’s very polite, a real gentlemen.”
Sicily shook her head. “We should go out again and maybe actually get you laid.”
“No thank you Sicily. I don’t mind you and I being friends, but I am never getting drunk again.”
“Come on.” She whined.
“The answer is no.”
“Fine, you’re no fun. Keep your butler then. I’ll take all the hot men.” She pouted, but Fatima refused to relent.
“Go ahead, have fun.” Sicily left a few minutes later still pouting and whining. Fatima took a deep breath and rested her head back on Lombard’s shoulder.
“I promise to never let you go out with her again.” He said and she looked up at him.
“Thank you my Sir Lancelot, my brave knight.” She laughed and he brushed her hair behind her ears.
“I will always be your knight dearest Fatima. I will protect you from anyone, even crazy young women who want to party every night and try to get you laid.” They laughed together and then hugged. Fatima felt better with how happy he made her. She clung to that feeling, kissing his cheek and smiling at how much he loved her.