Summary: Wine drunk + dancing= a very entertained but annoyed Rio
A/N: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BEA 💖 @starrynite7114 thank you for being such a great friend. I hope your day is filled with joy 😘 love you, babes! P.S. this was so hard to keep a secret from you lol
I highly recommend listening to these while reading:
Today you were on a high. You woke up feeling good and the day just kept on getting better. Your friends came over for drinks and gossip. During that time the playlist that was playing in the background had hits after hits, causing y’all to be singing dancing fools.
Eventually, the girls had to leave because it was a school night, but it was perfect timing because as soon as they were leaving Rio came back home.
“You have fun, mama?” He kissed you tasting the wine on your lips. You started getting bolder, nibbling on his lips and neck. Oh, it was about to be one of those nights, Rio thought.
Rio pulled away from you and went to the refrigerator for a water bottle. “Not right now. I wanna watch the game.” He explained, plopping down on the couch.
You tried to hold in your whining. It wasn’t often that Rio got to relax, so left him be. “Do you mind if I play music while I clean up?”
“Nah, you do you. I don’t wanna hear the commentators anyway.”
With his permission you turned the music up. It was a little mix of everything so when Crush started playing you got hyped since you haven’t heard that song in forever.
It's just (aah) a little crush (crush)
Not like I faint every time we touch
It's just (aah) some little thing (crush)
Not like everything I do depends on you
Rio side-eyed you as you began to sing and dance like every white girl in a 90s movie. “Really? You jamming out to this mess?”
“Rude.” You continued singing and dancing along while you were wiping down the counter. Then the next banger came on and you had to rope Rio in.
Motownphilly's back again
Doin' a little east coast fling
Boyz II Men going off
Not too hard, not too soft
Before you were in the kitchen singing and dancing, but with this new song you migrated to the living room dancing in front of Rio. “What you know about this?” You taunted him while doing the running man.
Rio secretly loved that you were dancing like a fool. You were the sunshine in his gloomy life.
He tried not to crack a smile at your silliness, but he couldn’t help it. “Come here,” he crooked a long finger at you.
Continuing to dance, you shook your head no. He wasn’t about to rain on your parade. “Come here.” Rio repeated with more authority in his voice.
This time you complied and stood between Rio’s legs. Grabbing onto your hips Rio pulled you into his lap. For awhile he massaged your scalp while he just stared at you lovingly.
Rio was the king of building up tension. Usually, you would snap and tell him to hurry up, but that would only make him prolong it. However, you were enjoying it this time. His nose rubbing against yours, his breath tickling your face, his hands running along your body.
Eventually, his lips graced yours. He held your chin as the kiss got a little messier. But as usual it was magical. “I love you,” he smiled at you.
“I love you too.” You kissed him once more before you got up. He smacked your ass as you walked away, enjoying it ripple before he got pulled away by the game. “Be ready as soon as the game is off.”
“Okay, daddy,” you giggled and went off to finish cleaning.
As you continue to clean you continued dancing. During commercial breaks you would dance in front of Rio causing him to roll his eyes like he wasn’t enjoying it. Mostly it was silly dancing, but then the twerk songs started coming on and you couldn’t help yourself.
Damn, I want all three (come here), ooh
Ashley (ayy), ooh, Ashley (ayy)
I get hard when she walk past me (look at that ass)
'Cause she thick (thick)
Thi-thi-thi-thi-thick, she make me stutter
Thankfully it was a commercial break because Rio probably would’ve pushed you out of the way when you started twerking in his face. Instead he gripped a chunk of ass and told you, “Aye, chill with all that.”
“Oh, so Jake from State Farm is more interesting than me?” Rio didn’t say anything for a bit. He just rubbed his bottom lip while his eyes roamed your body. “Girl, you better move before you have my full attention.”
Rolling your eyes you moved out of the way and grabbed you a glass of wine. Fine, if he didn’t want to play, you’ll have fun on your own.
Two wine glasses later and you didn’t give one fuck. You were all up in Rio’s face rapping along with lyrics about using men. Even though, Rio was mostly expressionless you still caught his little quirks of reactions.
“He always asking do I love him? I always be tellin' him, "Uh-uh" I told him he pushing his luck, he better be happy I fucked him.”
“Watch it,” Rio lowly warned you. As usual you paid him no mind and played the next song.
Got more milkshakes than Kelis
Ain't met a nigga who can handle me
I think I should be in museums (hey hey)
'Cause this body a masterpiece (yeah yeah)
Can I fuck ya to a trap beat? (huh huh huh)
He said girl you tryin' to trap me? (Huh huh huh)
Ah hell nah, nigga no I ain't (what what? Uh)
You can hit that door, here go ahead leave (what what? Uh)
Rio couldn’t focus on the game. Between you twerking and rapping in his face, basically saying ‘fuck him’ had him hard as fuck, but he wasn’t about give into you. However, your determination was stronger than his. The last straw though was when you got on the couch popping over ass cheek at a time while looking at him “innocently.”
I wanna bust it on your face
He wanna see my shit squirt like he squeezed it
He finna die by this pussy, he need it
He wanna keep it like lock it and key it
I tell him to bring me my money then beat it
Give a nigga back to the streets, ayy
Even though the song wasn’t your words, it was still a challenge to him. You were directing all that energy to him and you about to get it back ten-fold.
While you were in Meganland, Rio was able to pull your shorts and panties to the side. He didn’t have the time so he pulled his dick out of his pants.
“Rioooo,” you reached back to grab onto his wrists when you felt him split you open. “Nah, what you running for? Remember you were gonna ‘leave this dick up in a casket’?”
Rio loved this song. The moment when he sees the brattiness dies and you become a compliant whimpering mess. Only he could do this. Only he could make this independent, strong woman weak.
“Come on, baby. I thought you ain’t met anyone who can handle you. This sure looks like I’m handling all this shit.” Rio smacked your ass as he looked at your conjoined bodies.
It was too much and too little at the same time. Rio was giving you those long, slow strokes that had you near the edge, but could never quite push you over.
“Please,” you begged, trying to flatten yourself. “Nah, you gonna take this.” Rio pulled your hips up and got a tight grip on them to make sure you weren’t going anywhere.
“Please let me cum, Rio. I’ll be good. I promise.” Your man chuckled, making you want to cry. He either wasn’t in a forgiving mood or he was gonna make you work for it.
Grabbing you by your chin, Rio turned your face towards him. Instinctively, he stuck some of his fingers in your mouth. “You want cum, huh?”
“Mmmhmm,” you nodded, gently sucking on his fingers.
“Why should I? You wouldn’t let me watch the game.”
“Because I’ll make you feel good, daddy.” Rio smiled at you before he bent down and kissed you while wrapping his arm around your body to start rubbing your clit. “Cum on this dick, bitch.” He whispered into your ear.
Rio sped up his pace a bit and you were going crazy, yelling out his name. “Rio, Rio, tak-, tak-, take me to the room. I’m gonna squirt.”
“So?” His voice was strained letting you know he was close to finishing. “I’m gonna ruin the couch.”
“Fuck this couch. I’ll buy another. Now cum on this dick. I’m trying to finish the game.”
With his permission, you soaked Rio’s clothes and the couch and not too long after you felt his seed coat your walls.
“Shit, I love you,” you smile tiredly as you laid your head against the armrest.
“Uh-huh, get up and take all your clothes off.” Rio pulled out of you and smacked your butt. You were about to object, but when you saw the look on his face, you quickly undressed.
For a moment, Rio forgot what he wanted you to do. Your body always hypnotized him. He just stared at you with his lip tucked in between his teeth. “Come sit on this dick, mama.”
Ugh, he wanted you to ride? You didn’t have the energy for that, but you listened anyway. Facing the tv, you sank down on his dick causing you both to moan in unison.
You began to bounce up and down, but Rio stilled your hips. “Nah, you ain’t gotta do all that.” Thank god, he was gonna do all the work. “You’re gonna sit here and be still while finish watching the game.”
“Huh?” He couldn’t be serious.
“Yeah, you heard me,” Rio closed your dropped jaw. “And if you move I’ll watch the next game even though I don’t give a fuck about that team.”
Rio didn’t give you a chance to object. He turned on the tv and ignored. Guess you should’ve chilled out earlier.
How were Paige, Mandy and Kate's 1st reactions to the Seed bros or if they were to meet Vaas from FC3??
All 3 Winchesters have met the Seed bros (individually) at 3 different times.
Mandy meets Joseph her first reaction to him was that she needed to protect him. She sees John as a child who needed a mothers love, and Jacob she completely avoids because she recognizes him from her past.
Kate meets John and her 1st reaction was "Oh he's very hot, and everything but he'll never give me the time or day" and boy oh boy was she wrong. Joseph makes her a little uneasy so she avoids him, and Jacob scares the living shit out of her.
Paige gets captured by the Cult and is taken to St Francis. Why? Because Jacob wants her to be a part of the Project because she's a hunter, a professional hunter. Her 1st reaction to Jacob was "Great, but its better than being taken by baby boy Johnny Appleseed". Uncomfortable with how close Joseph stands next to her, and John just pisses her off, and she loves to piss him off because she finds it funny as Hell.
I haven't play FC3 but I've seen the playthrough of the whole game but that was years ago and I haven't seen it ever sense and I don't remember much from the game. 😅😅😅
Paige meeting Vaas, she'll most likely think he's 1000% reckless, and often gets annoyed by his unpredictableness. I think Vaas would probably MAYBE, the slightest possibility that he might fall in love with her. Because she is indeed a strong woman, and she knows how to hold herself. Vaas would find that very attractive, that and her curves, maybe her butt 😂😂😂.
Kate meeting Vaas, she would be lowkey scared of him because of how reckless, and how unpredictable he is but she won't show it. Vaas on the other hand would be very flirty with her, touching her arm or moving her hair away from her face. But with Paige stepping in and protecting her would only boost his hornyness for Paige 😂😂😂😂.
Mandy like her daughters would think he's reckless as well, and that all he needs is a parent figure to help him. Vaas would see her as a mother figure because of how sweet she can be, but he is also lowkey scared of her because she is very strong for her size (she's 5'3), and isn't afraid to put a bullet in someone's head.
warnings: a lot of swearing nothing major, it gets worse as the series goes on.
It's just another day in Hope County, Montana, everyone is doing their own thing.
25-year-old hunter Paige Winchester-Smith is out on a hunting trip on her own, it's after 1:00pm it's an overcast day, which she prefers this kind of weather especially when she's out on her hunts. She's been hunting small to medium size animals rabbits, ducks, pronghorns and small deer.
She has the corpses of the smaller dead animals hanging from her backpack, and has the deer and pronghorn over her shoulders.
She heads back to her pick up truck, puts her kills in the flatbed of her truck, she counts 5 rabbits, 3 ducks, 2 pronghorns and 2 male deer.
She always hunts in the Whitetail Mountains region because that area has a lot more wildlife, and the scenery is beautiful.
She's out there by herself there's no other vehicles driving by but she senses something isn't quite right.
She hears a truck off in the distance; it doesn't sound like any of the locals trucks "Shit" she says to herself, she quickly closes the flatbed door, not taking off her backpack and hides in some nearby bushes.
She's glad she didn't get in her truck and start it up because she wouldn't have enough time to get her keys out.
The truck that drives by is to the Project of Eden's Gate, she goes down lower in the bushes. Three men in the truck, two in the front and one in the back all from Eden's Gate. "Fucking peggies" she whispers to herself.
They come to a stop, and get out of their truck, one of the peggies checks the inside of the truck while the other two check the back "What is it?" one of them ask
"Just some deer and rabbits. Nothing good" the second says
"They're still fresh, the wounds look recent" the third man says to the other two
"Probably went back for more kills" the first peggie responses.
Paige is trying to figure a way to get back to her truck, she slowly moves over to the right while maintaining her balance and trying not to step on any twigs to alert the peggies. As she's moving she hears voices from behind her.
"Sounds like more peggies" she whispers to herself. Two more peggies walk through the forest behind her "Shit" she whispers, she moves forward while remaining hidden.
"Hey, you find anything?" one of the forest peggies ask to the other three
"Just this truck. Has some kills in the back" the first peggie says to the other two. They stay there for a few more minutes talking. Paige who is still hiding in the bushes hears the angry cry of a moose in the distance.
"Ahh great" she says to herself. The peggies hear it and they look around trying to find the 7-10 foot cervidae. Then out of nowhere the giant moose getting chased by a pack of wolves runs by.
Practically jumping over her. The impact of the moose running causes the peggies to fall and move out of the way.
Paige sees her chance and runs out of the bushes to her truck "There she is!!!!" one of peggies yells out, she gets in and slams on the gas pedal, not bothering to pull on her seatbelt or to take off her backpack.
One of the cultist calls for reinforcements
"It's Paige, blue pick up truck heading towards the F.A.N.G center. Alert Jacob" Paige drives down the road going 65 in a 35 zone, she sees 2 cult trucks creeping up on her "Shit" she yells, and slams on the gas going 75.
She makes multiple turns down side roads an upcoming vehicle makes her swerve onto a field. She goes back onto the main road and after a few minutes she notices a plane following her with the Cults logo
"Are you fucking serious!!?!!??" she yells.
She makes another turn into a wooded area under some thick trees, she parks the truck until the plane goes away.
After 25 minutes have passed she looks at her phone, it’s after 2pm. She received a message from her husband Kenny saying "When will you be back??" delivered at 2:09pm she left on her hunt at 11am she looks back to look at her kills. She replies back saying "All done, I'll be home within the hour" and she sends.
She puts her phone down, and starts the truck, pulling out of the wooded area. She's a few miles away from leaving Whitetail Mountains region, when a black SUV pulls out of the treeline and tailgates her almost pushing her off the road
"What the fuck asshole" she yells and stomps on the gas. The SUV pulls next to her, the window rolls down and a man with an assault rifle aiming at her.
"Fuck" she yells slamming her foot on the gas, he starts shooting at her, she ducks her head while trying to keep the vehicle on the road.
One of bullets hit her on the shoulder "Fuck" she screams in pain while clenching her shoulder, with her other hand on the wheel.
"A fucking bliss bullet?!?!!" she yells, her vision starts to get blurry, and she pushes on the brake pedal. Hitting a tree in the process but doesn't cause much damage, she crawls out of the passenger side door and runs into the nearby wooded area.
She's practically running blind through it "She went this way" a man yells. She gets hit with another bliss bullet on the leg
"Fuck" she screams in pain, and falls to the ground slowly crawling away.
The men follow behind, too weak to move forward because of the bliss she passes out.
"Is this her?" a male voice asks. "Yeah, bring her" another male voice replies.
The men drag her to their truck, put her in back and drive off, leaving her truck there abandoned.
Her phone starts to blow up 7 missed calls from her husband, 4 missed calls from her sister, multiple with messages from them asking.
"Where are you?" sent at 3:27pm
"Are you on your way home?" sent at 3:55pm
"I'm starting to get worried, where are you??" sent at 4:22pm
"Did you get into an accident?? Where are you??" sent at 4:58pm
"Hey what time will you be home??" sent at 4:09 pm
"It's getting late, where are you???" sent at 5:52pm
"All of us are worried!!, where are you???" sent at 6:34pm
Back at Paige's home her husband Kenny and her sister Kate are in the kitchen
Kate sitting at the table Kenny standing at the kitchen window "She should've been back by now" he says with a worried tone.
"I know she texted you saying she was on her way" she says
"Yeah I know that was after 2 o'clock she should've been home by 3:00" he says
"As much as I don't want to say or think it, do you think she was captured?" she asks.
He hesitates to answer "I-I don't wanna think about that. I-I don't want to even think about the Cult capturing her".
Their friends Mark and Nate come downstairs to the kitchen.
"Anything from her?" Nate asks
"No nothing" Kenny says
"Where did she say she was gonna go hunting?" Mark asks
"Near the F.A.N.G center, around the Fort Drubman area" Kate says.
Kenny's facial expression changes, he turns to Kate and says "Wait wait wait Fort Drubman?? isn't that in the Whitetail Mountains area??"
"Yeah? Why?" she asks, confused.
"That's Jacob Seed's region" he yells.
Her facial reaction changes her eyes wided, she turns to Nate and Mark who are also in shock "Son of a bitch" she yells in shock. "We have to put out a search party" she exclaims, Kenny starts to pace back and forth.
"Wh-why-why would she go in that area?? She knows that Jacob's area" he says panicking.
"I'll send out a message to everyone we know to keep an eye out for her" Mark says
"I'll do the same thing" Nate says.
Kate reaches for her phone and calls Page again, it once again goes to her voicemail "Hey Paige it's me AGAIN, WHERE ARE YOU WHY DID YOU GO TO THE WHITETAILS??!??! THATS JACOB SEED'S REGION. WE'RE ALL WORRIED PICK UP YOUR FUCKING PHONE!!!!!!"
Kenny takes the phone from her "Hey honey, seriously why would you go in that area. THATS JACOB'S FUCKING REGION, where are you?!?!"
Kate takes the phone from him
"DID YOU GET TAKEN BY THE CULT??? CAUSE I WILL KILL THEM ALL IF THEY DID" he takes the phone away from her again.
"You don't have the guts to kill anyone" he argues with her.
"I have more balls to kill anyone than you," she says to him.
"Oh please you don't even know how to use a gun" he says to her
"Bitch yes I do" she says
And they both start to have an overlapping argument while still leaving a voicemail to Paige's phone.
Mark and Nate come back into the kitchen, overhearing all the yelling. Trying to get their attention "Hey guys!!!" Nate yells trying to be louder than Kate and Kenny
"Hey hey hey stop stop stop it" Mark says "HEY" Nate yells from the top of his lungs. The arguments stop Kate takes her phone from Kenny's hand
"And we left my sister a very lengthy voicemail of us yelling at each other. Great" she says.
"We made some calls they're sending out Amber alerts to everyone in the area" Mark says
"And I made a few calls to some friends that live in the Whitetail Mountains, they said they'll keep an eye out for Paige" Nate says. All their phones vibrate, and they all get Amber alerts on their phones saying.
PAIGE W. SMITH
LAST SEEN NEAR
F.A.N.G CENTER AND
FORT DRUBMAN AREA LAST SEEN
DRIVING A BLUE PICKUP TRUCK ON 05/19/20
"We have to-we have to go look for her, we have to go to those areas and find her" Kenny says
"It's already too dark, we can go early in the morning to search for her" Kate says
"I won't be able to sleep tonight. I can't she has to be here" Kenny says, panicking.
Mark grabs him by the shoulders "Kenny calm down, we will find her" he says to him trying to calm him "No no she has to be here, I need her here I can't raise Cristina on my own I can't" he says starting to tear up
"Damn it Kenny!!" Nate yells, and he slaps him "Was that really necessary?" Kate asks.
Nate shrugs "We will find her, it's too late now but we will leave in the morning we'll get a crew together and find her" he says to Kenny
He continues "We all love Paige, we'll look for her, we just need to be positive okay?" Kenny nods his head "Okay, okay" he says.
Paige wakes up with a mild headache, after the bliss wear off she sits up and notices she's in a cage. She tries to adjust her eyes in the dark, and stands up but falls back immediately when a wolf in the next cage over lunges itself at the fence
"Fuck" she yells as she falls back on to the ground, getting covered in mud. The wolf claws and swipes at her but is unable to reach her. Freaking out and trying to find a light source
"I know who you are" a soft but deep male voice says in the dark, "Huh?" she says disoriented, looking around.
"You claim to be one of the best hunters" the voice says. She looks around in the dark but sees nothing not even lights out in the distance can be seen.
"You're here to prove that" then Only You by The Platters begins to play over the intercom. Paige who is confused tries to figure out where she is
"Get some rest, you have a lot of training tomorrow" the voice says.
She starts to get light headed, vision goes blurry and red then she passes out.
Kenny who is in his and Paige's room holding their 6 month old daughter Cristina.
She's making her typical baby sounds
"It's okay baby girl" he says softly to her while gently padding her back he kisses the side of her head.
He looks over at the clock that reads 10:56pm, he puts Cristina in her crib, he goes to sit on their bed he reaches over and grabs a portrait of him, Paige and Cristina from their bedside table.
The photo is from the day Cristina was born "November 17 2019" it reads, tears start to form in his eyes he wipes away the tears "We will find you" he says to the photo.
34: “Remember when we used to leave the house? Fun times”
Apparently I can only write fluff at the moment. Must be a reaction to the shitty timeline we’re in :/
As lockdown entered its second week, Belle found that she was settling into her new life quite comfortably. Bae had improved each day, and was restless and energetic. She had him helping her with baking and pulling weeds in the garden to burn off some of the excess energy. A call from Mary Margaret Nolan, Neal’s mother and Bae’s teacher, announced that lessons would be resuming over Zoom, and Belle cleared a space at the kitchen table for Bae to participate on his father's laptop.
“I’m hoping this works,” confessed Mary Margaret, having explained her idea for the format of the lessons. “Redesigning the lessons for remote delivery and trying to think of ways to keep them engaged has been driving me nuts.”
“If you need a break, I’d be happy to do a story hour with them,” offered Belle. “Maybe we could collaborate on something; a story hour on a book you want them to read, followed by some sort of art project based on that.”
Mary Margaret beamed.
“That’s a great idea!” she said. “We could continue once lockdown ends, too.”
“I’m trying to recall what life was like before lockdown,” said Belle, with a wry grin. “Remember when we used to leave the house? Fun times.”
“Yeah.” Mary Margaret chuckled. “I guess I’m better off than most. The farm still needs work, the animals still have to be fed. I feel for those going stir-crazy in their apartments.”
“That would have been me, if I hadn’t ended up staying here,” said Belle, and Mary Margaret looked curious.
“How did that happen?” she asked. “I was wondering.”
“Completely by chance,” admitted Belle. “Rum and I kind of had a spat over the last packet of paracetamol at the store, and somehow I ended up moving in.”
“Huh." Mary Margaret pursed her lips. “Not your average meet-cute, but these are unusual times.”
Belle gave her a level look.
“He was sick, and I wanted to help.”
“Oh, ignore me,” Mary Margaret assured her. “I’m a hopeless romantic, and Storybrooke needs more happy endings.”
“Hard to be romantic when you literally can’t touch one another.”
“Then you’ll have to be very inventive.”
“Speaking of inventive,” said Belle, feeling herself blush and wanting to change the subject. “Let’s talk more about working together. I was intending to set up some after-school clubs for different age groups at the library. Any input you and the other teachers could give would be great.”
“I’ll email the staff and ask them for their thoughts,” said Mary Margaret. “Sounds like the kind of integrated program we’ve been wanting to introduce in Storybrooke. If we can get the Mayor’s approval we should be able to get more funding.”
“Does the Mayor have kids?” asked Belle, and Mary Margaret gave her a knowing smile.
“She has a ten-year-old son. Something tells me this town will be very supportive of more activities for kids after trying to entertain their own for three weeks.”
The Zoom lessons started well, with only a few technological teething problems, which meant that Bae spent much of his days learning and chatting with his friends, leaving Belle free to do chores and read. The first story hour was due to take place that Friday, and Belle and Mary Margaret had already discussed ideas for complementary lesson-planning. It made Belle feel as though she was achieving something in her new position, despite not having set foot in the library in almost two weeks.
Gold, alas, was still in bed.
Belle had not tried to hide how much he was worrying her, with his rattling cough and the high fever that came and went. Already thin, he was now almost gaunt, and she and Bae tried their best to tempt him with homemade cookies and cakes, along with more substantial meals from the freezer. She told herself repeatedly that at least he didn’t seem to be getting any worse, and that his quietly stubborn nature would surely help him pull through.
On Wednesday evening she took him some tea and found him sitting on the edge of his bed with his elbows on his knees, staring at the floor.
“Hey,” she said.
Her voice made him look up. His eyes and cheeks were hollow, his cheeks and chin covered with almost two weeks of stubble, but there was a determined glint in his eyes. She put her head to the side.
“I’m getting up,” he said decidedly, gesturing with a finger. “I’m getting my arse up, and I’m going down the bloody stairs.”
Belle hurried to set down the cup of tea on his nightstand.
“Let me help you.”
“No no, it’s fine, I can do it.” He waved her away. “I have to do it. Bloody sick of being a dead weight around this place.”
“And I won’t get better if I let this fucking thing keep me horizontal,” he said shortly, and sighed, running his hands over his face. “Sorry. I’m not angry with you, just this virus.”
“Anger is good in this instance,” she said, and took a step back from him. “Okay, up you get.”
Gold nodded, reaching to the side for his cane and using it to push himself upright. His legs wobbled, and he leaned hard on the cane, but after a moment he seemed to relax a little, although his smile was more of a grimace.
“Okay,” he whispered. “I’m taking a shower, and I’ll see you and Bae downstairs in ten minutes.”
“In that case, I’ll take your tea down with me,” she said. “We can all sit around the table and eat some of the fruit loaf Bae and I made.”
Gold nodded, his knuckles tight around the cane handle.
He made it downstairs, much to Bae’s delight, and sat quietly at the table while Bae drank his suppertime warm milk and told him all about the lessons he had done that day. Belle warmed some soup through on the stove, setting it in front of Gold with bread and butter from the supplies that had been delivered.
“That’s fantastic, Belle, thank you,” he said, picking up a spoon. “I think perhaps my appetite’s coming back.”
“There’s plenty more, if you need it,” she said. “And more bread.”
“The bread tastes weird, Papa,” said Bae, wrinkling his nose. “It’s the same one they have at the school cafeteria. Paige says it’s made of polystyrene and fluff from the inside of the teachers’ pockets.”
“I have to admit that I’ve thought that myself,” she said. “It certainly doesn’t come close to any of the delicious bread I’ve eaten since I came to this house. But it was free, which counts for a lot.”
“Quite right,” said Gold, dipping a piece of the bread in his soup. “We have to appreciate the kindness of those that gave it, Bae. Whether or not you think it tastes good.”
“Okay.” Bae looked a little despondent. “I was just kidding.”
“I know that.” Gold put down his spoon and pulled Bae close for a hug. “You’re a good lad. And a thoughtful one.”
“Belle and I didn’t make bread, though,” said Bae. “Maybe we should have, and then we could use this for something else.”
“We were concentrating on making your dad some treats, right?” said Belle, stroking his hair. “Making him feel better was very important work.”
“And something you both did excellently,” said Gold, turning back to his soup. “See? I’m already up and eating dinner again.”
Bae grinned, flopping back into his seat, and Gold blew on his soup to cool it.
“Go on, then,” he said. “Tell me more of what you learned about birds today.”
Something woke Belle.
She yawned, snuggling in her blankets on the couch, her body warm and comfortable. Something had disturbed her sleep: a soft, distant thumping noise that she couldn’t place. Her eyes fluttered and opened, and the noise came again. Glancing at her watch, Belle groaned to herself and sat up, swinging her legs out of the blankets and getting up to head for the kitchen. She could hear the low sound of Gold humming, and assumed it was he that was making the noise. If he was already up and about at just after six in the morning, perhaps he was feeling better.
Her sock-clad feet made no sound as she padded across the floor, and she entered the kitchen silently, hands curling around the door frame. Gold was standing at the counter in T-shirt and jeans with his cane leaning beside him and a dish towel tucked into his belt, his forearms covered in flour. He was kneading dough, one hand grasping, folding and turning before pushing down with the heels of his hands. Two bowls sat on the table with towels draped over them, with a third standing empty at his side. He hummed as he worked, the rhythmic slap and thump of his hands against the dough in time with the beat, and Belle smiled a little as she watched him.
“Couldn’t face the polystyrene and pocket lint bread again, huh?” she asked, and Gold started, turning to face her with the dough ball in his hands.
“Ah,” he said, looking down. “Well. You both said you liked my bread better, so I thought it was probably time to make some.”
“You didn’t have to get up at six in the morning to make it,” she said, and he shrugged, turning back to his kneading.
“That was always my usual habit, before I came down with the virus,” he said. “I usually set the loaves aside for first rise, then do the rest of my chores. I bet the garden’s just choked with weeds.”
“I hope not, Bae and I have been working on it,” she said, coming into the kitchen properly. “Tea?”
“I’ll make it. You’ve done more than enough this past ten days.”
“Don’t burn yourself out,” she warned, crossing to the sink to fill the kettle. “I can make the tea. The last thing we need is you falling over again. Take it slow.”
Gold gave her a slanting grin, and bowed his head.
He gave the dough a final press, then worked it into a ball with swift passes of his hands and dropped it in the empty bowl. Going to the sink to wash his hands, he flourished the dish towel to dry them off, and draped it over the bowl before wiping down the work surface.
“Wholemeal, mixed seed, oat and honey, and black olive,” he explained, as Belle looked questioningly at the bowls. “We’ll eat some and freeze the rest. Just in case.”
“You’re very well prepared.”
“I try to be.”
He grasped his cane, almost falling into one of the kitchen chairs with a sigh, and Belle shook her head.
“You’re still not well,” she said, and he opened his eyes, a tired smile back on his face.
“You’re stubborn, is what you are,” she said severely.
“One of my few redeeming qualities.”
“Stubborn and self-effacing,” she remarked. “It’s almost adorable.”
Gold’s smile grew.
Belle put her hands on her hips, feeling heat rise in her cheeks. For an awkward moment she found herself recalling what he looked like with a small towel around his waist, and told herself to concentrate.
“I very much doubt the virus cares how adorable it is,” she said loftily. “If it knocks you on your ass again and you end up spending another week in bed, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
He was grinning now.
“A good thing I have such a competent housemate,” he said. “I’ll miss you when this is over, Belle. Bae and I will miss you, I mean. Both of us.”
She was definitely blushing now, and that image would not leave her mind, but she couldn’t help grinning back.