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Chapter 48: Felicitations
Storm
palladian23 wrote in superwebnovel
Author's Notes/Warnings: Freaking out about something everyone else saw but our hero didn't, momentous questions and decisions, difficult discussions, explicit sex

Hello to my lovely readers! We go in a bit of a different direction in this chapter, so I hope you like it.

Thanks, as always, to my editor-in-chief, gwoman for helping me to improve this chapter, and this story in general. :D


Back to Chapter 47

Lex fidgeted in front of her mirror, wondering why she felt so nervous. After all, she reasoned to herself, she and Rolf had been out to dinner a large number of times, sometimes even to fancy places, and it had never bothered her before. As she looked in the mirror, however, she realized that it had been a long time since she'd dressed formally for dinner, and memories of Kurt began to flash through her mind.

Shaking her head, Lex tried to throw them off. She looked at her reflection again and came back to the present moment as she saw her black dress and its simple lines in patterned silk: a tank-like top with a fitted torso dipping to a skirt that flared out as it fell to her legs, the skirt height in the front shorter than the back, but all of it higher than her simple black heels. Lex studied herself for a moment, feeling the cool smoothness of the silk under her hands as she brushed at her skirt, then picked up her small black bag and considered that it had remained hot enough that she shouldn't need a jacket. She'd grumbled the day she'd been out with Serena and her friend had picked out the dress for her, arguing that a woman should always have at least one formal outfit to wear, since you never really know. Now, however, she felt grateful Serena had done so and resolved to contact her friend as soon as she could to thank her.

Lex's breath hitched as she heard the doorbell ring, and she left her room, shutting it up and hurrying to get to the front door. By the time she arrived, she saw that Casey had already answered it. She stepped back as she saw Lex, but everything seemed to stop for a moment when Lex spotted Rolf. He'd dressed in a short black jacket and black slacks with a starched white shirt and a bow tie. He smiled as he saw Lex and she swallowed, her throat suddenly dry and her stomach seeming to flutter with something other than nervousness.

Casey said nothing, although both of her eyebrows had shot up, and Lex could feel her friend watching the two of them greet one another. Casey pulled the door open wider as Lex went outside, reaching out to take the hand that Rolf offered.

“Have fun tonight, you two,” Casey said, and Lex turned and gave her friend a small smile and watched her wave goodbye to the two of them.

Lex calmed somewhat as she settled into Rolf's car, but her nervousness seemed to grow again once they arrived at the restaurant. She noted that they'd constructed it from a three-story townhouse, but inside they'd erased any similarities to a home. They'd covered the walls in a champagne-colored fabric, and the oriental carpet that covered most of the wood floors was a deep crimson shade for the most part. The hostess showed them through the elegant dining rooms lit with sparkling chandeliers on the first and second floors and finally seated them at a corner table on the third floor that had been placed further away from all the others. The woman who showed them to their table helped push Lex's chair in and then left with a murmur about getting them some drinks.

“I hope you don't mind, but since we haven't come here before and I wasn't sure what to expect, I called ahead to order something I knew you could eat.” She found Rolf looking at her expectantly, and Lex managed to call a small smile to her lips in spite of herself.

“That sounds fine.” She tried to keep smiling but felt overwhelmed by the flood of memories from her time with Kurt, remembering past experiences in places like this. After the server brought their food, placing it on the table with a flourish, and they’d been eating for a while, Lex realized that she hadn't tasted any of her meal and only seemed to be half-listening to Rolf's story about something he'd worked on that day because she felt so distracted. She began to wonder why Rolf had wanted to come to this place in particular, and kept coming up with a question mark instead of an answer. He hadn't mentioned anything about what he'd wanted to talk with her about, either, their conversation not too different than usual.

Lex took a deep breath just before her next bite, willing herself to focus, to forget about Kurt, their life together, and any of those memories for right now. Instead, she focused on tasting the bite of food in her mouth: a dish of roasted vegetables, pears, and walnuts over orzo cooked in some sort of fragrant broth. The exotic taste made her really smile for the first time that night, and after that she felt she could finally focus on Rolf. She thought he looked amazing in the suit he'd chosen, and she felt lucky to be there with him to enjoy some time together. Settling into the feeling, she laughed at his story about being requested to track someone by scent, remembering what Kate had told her about the problems with that a while ago.

Rolf seemed to relax as she laughed with him about that story, too, and she felt the tension in the air dissipate as they finished their dinners and swapped stories about work and other times when their abilities had been requested for ridiculous reasons. When Lex's dessert, peaches poached in orange sauce with spices, and Rolf's coffee had arrived, she could feel the tension reappear, however. About halfway through, Lex put her fork down and looked at Rolf.

“Is something wrong?” Lex asked in a low tone, watching him fidget with his cup. “You know, we can talk about it—”

She stopped in bewilderment as suddenly he knelt down on the floor in front of her. “Lex, I've been thinking about this for a while, and I can't think of a good way to say it other than to just ask. Will you marry me?”

Suddenly, she found herself staring dumbly at the small box he held out to her, and her confusion seeped away to be replaced by more nervousness. Taking it in numb fingers, Lex fumbled with the box before setting it down on the table and opening it. Her throat seemed to close up as she stared at the ring inside. She could see that he'd chosen it for her, since the band looked slightly flattened and the large stone had been bezel set rather than done with some sort of showy prong setting. Her mind took in a few more details about the ring and she stared in disbelief at what appeared to be a platinum setting enclosing a stone of a very deep purple.

Lex looked over at Rolf then, and he gave her a smile that looked somewhat painful. “Although it's not as rare as you, it is one of the rarer stones in the world, tanzanite. I hope you like it.”

She just looked back at the ring then, knowing that this simple-looking ring was probably worth several of the garish gold and diamond type that Kurt had given her, and a wave of overwhelming feeling washed over her, striking her with amazement, fear, humility, love, and anxiety all at once. After a few moments of thought, however, she looked to see Rolf still kneeling on the floor, waiting for her to say something. She forced herself to smile and replied, “Rolf, this is beautiful.”

He smiled then, looking relieved, and just the look made Lex's heart pound with anxiety. Memories of Kurt and of other fancy restaurants began to crowd her mind, and Lex couldn't even think of anything more to say. Panic seemed to rise up in her chest like a tornado until she took a deep breath, then stumbled through some words. “It is very beautiful, but I need some time to think about this before I give you an answer. I hope that's all right.”

The expression on his face as she responded hit her like a knife blow to the heart; he wiped away his look of disappointment and near despair so quickly, however, that she wouldn't have seen it if she hadn't been watching him closely. She reached out for him, pulling him up into his chair and pushing her own chair nearer to his. Lex still felt shaky and confused but wanted to say something, anything, to let him know that what was going through her mind was all her own stuff, but as she opened up her mouth to speak, Rolf turned to her. “Of course that's all right, Lex,” he said in a low voice, then, after a pause, “Would you like to get the check and go home now?”

She smiled, feeling relieved as he said it. “Yes, let's do that.”

All the way home Lex tried to think of how to word what she wanted to say to let Rolf know how she felt, to let him know that she didn't feel upset so much as confused and in need of time to put her thoughts together, but her mind raced so fast that she couldn't seem to put the words together. Finally, as he turned the corner to her block, Lex blurted out, “Rolf, I really appreciate what you did. Everything was so lovely, and I could see all the trouble you went to. I'm sorry that I'm so...damaged that—”

“Don't you ever say that about yourself,” Rolf broke in, meeting her eye with an intense look as he came to a stop. “I know that you've had to live through some fucked up things, but don't you ever say that.”

Lex found herself cringing as she heard him swear, since she'd only ever heard him do it once or twice in the whole time she'd known him, and then under extreme provocation. She kept looking him in the eye, though, even though she'd started to feel shy under his gaze.

“You are one of the strongest women I've ever met, and I'm proud to call you mine. I will wait as long as you want me to for your answer, forever if need be. I love you, Lex, and I want to be with you, in whatever way you're comfortable with.”

Lex could feel tears running down her face, but she couldn't help smiling at the same time. “Thank you, Rolf. I love you so much, and I won't make you wait forever.”

They pulled each other close then, and Lex felt drawn to his lips, hungry for his touch and taste. They kissed desperately for a moment, open-mouthed, and Lex felt herself blush as her moan became audible in the otherwise quiet car. She rested her forehead against Rolf's as their lips parted, panting and wondering if her heartbeat would ever go back to something calm.

“Get some sleep,” Rolf said a moment later, his hands slow to let her go.

Lex found her own hands reluctant to move from their perch on his back, but she straightened up and brought her arms back to her side. “Good night, Rolf. We'll talk more tomorrow,” she said, shooting him a final serious glance before getting out of the car.

She turned the key in the lock of the front door and slipped inside, but felt surprised to find the kitchen still lit up instead of just the light on over the stove, as Casey usually left it at night. Lex poked her head into the room and felt her eyebrows raise as she spotted Casey and Lou sitting at the kitchen table with steaming mugs in their hands, Casey looking at her expectantly.

“So, how did it go?” she asked, a grin breaking out on her face.

Feeling her shoulders slump, Lex watched as Casey's expression turned to one of concern. “Oh, Casey, I just fucked it all up. I'm such an idiot.”

“What happened?” Casey asked in a soft voice, standing up and bringing Lex to one of the kitchen chairs.

Sighing, Lex related what had transpired. “I just feel so ridiculous,” she said as she finished the story. “I mean, most women would be completely blown away by what happened, but it only made me feel bad because all I could think about was being humiliated by Kurt. Also, it just made me wonder, too...I mean, it's just me, after all. Did he really think he needed to go to all that trouble just to ask?”

Lex had brought the small box out of her bag as she'd finished the story, turning it over in her fingers as she thought about the evening’s events. “Let me see,” she heard, and looked up to see Casey reaching for the box. Smiling sadly, she handed it over.

Casey's gasp caused Lex to look up again, and she watched her two friends look the ring over. “It's gorgeous,” Casey said as she handed the box back to Lex. “It's just your style, too...looks like something you could wear and be as active as you are without having to worry about breaking it.”

Lou gave her a piercing look then, and Lex gazed over at him, wondering why. “You know,” he said after a long moment, “although at the moment I don't have any experience in proposing...” He paused then as Casey looked away, her cheeks coloring. “I think it's one of those things that's harder than it looks,” he continued. “From what I know of Rolf, he'd try to do whatever he could to make everything special, and since he's kind of old fashioned, I could see where he might lean towards ideas that might be sort of out of date.”

Lex felt tears spring to her eyes as she found herself thinking of what Rolf had done to set everything up the way he had, but she forced herself to look up and smile at Lou anyway. “You know, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks, Lou.”

“So what are you going to say to him?” Casey asked, then bit her lip as Lex looked over at her. “You don't have to answer that if you don't know,” she said, looking repentant.

Shaking her head, Lex replied, “I don't mind, but I don't know yet. Everything just seems so crazy in my head, you know? I need some time to think about it. And then, I need to figure out how to explain to Rolf about how everything here works, all of that.” Lex gestured between all three of them, and Casey raised an eyebrow.

“You didn't talk with him about that yet?” she asked with a raised eyebrow.

Lex tilted her head to the side in an almost shrug. “Well, we've kind of talked about it. I mean, he knows that we're all living together here and stuff, but I've never gone into detail about how we’ve arranged things between all of us, like our money and all of that stuff.”

Casey nodded. “He's pretty smart, you know. I bet he's figured out more than you realize.”

“You're probably right,” Lex replied with a small smile.

They talked for a while longer before they split up to get ready for bed, but even when she slid between the sheets, Lex found her mind still thinking in circles and couldn't sleep. After about an hour of that, she got up, put some sweats on, and went upstairs to go through some of her forms. She felt her mind begin to quiet as she got to some of the more advanced forms. Pausing for a moment to sip some water, Lex tilted her head to the side in surprise as she heard noise outside the gym. She crossed the room and peered out the door, only to see the light on in the lab across the hall. Cursing at herself for having so lost track of time, Lex stretched out for a couple of minutes before she toweled herself off and headed for the lab.

She saw Riss and Victor inside, working on the remaining parts of the arm to be completed. Riss glanced up and removed her goggles as Lex came into the room. “We were wondering if that was you,” Riss said with a raised eyebrow. “What's up, Lex?”

Lex looked away for a moment and then back at her friend, wondering if she felt like talking about everything again that day. “Well, something unexpected happened,” she said, shooting a glance at Riss and Victor to see if that would satisfy them. She sighed as she noticed them both giving her interested looks. “Rolf asked me to marry him.”

“How would you classify that as unexpected?” Victor asked, his expression going blank, and Lex felt amazed to see Riss look away as if trying not to laugh.

As Lex stuttered through trying to come up with an explanation, Riss interrupted her. “Lex, the only person that would be a surprise to would, apparently, be you. Did you give him an answer yet?”

“No, I'm just...things are really confused in my mind,” Lex responded, sighing at her own inadequacy at explaining.

“What's bothering you?” Riss said in a soft tone, meeting Lex's eye with a calm expression.

Lex struggled for a few seconds to figure out how to put what she felt into words. “I'm worried that he won't want to join us, that I won't be able to explain everything right. Also, he took me to this really fancy place to ask, and I'm still feeling weirded out because it reminded me of my last boyfriend. None of that makes any sense, I know.”

She hung her head for a moment, feeling pathetic, before she got the courage to look back up again and see Riss and Victor, both with serious expressions, waiting for her to continue. When she didn't, Riss said, “I don't know what I can say about the last part, but in case you've forgotten, the reason we made that financial arrangement in the first place was to help all of us. Over the time we've been together, I've kept track of who made what contributions to the money we have as a group and an approximation of how it’s grown, in case anyone needs to leave our group. It would be nice if it doesn't come to that, but it can be done.”

For some reason, that seemed to lift a weight from Lex's shoulders. “Thanks. I should have suspected, but I didn't know that.”

“No problem,” Riss said, a small smile on her face. “I hope he does decide to join us, though. Never hurts to have another source of strength in the house.”

Lex turned to find Victor nodding in agreement. “It would be an asset to have him here. Plus, since you two seem to like to go everywhere together, there'd be an automatic escort with you when you leave the house.”

She couldn't help but smile then, and his earlier comment made her feel like teasing him. “Well, nothing wrong with having another man around the house, is there? Even if he is here more than just weekends.”

He gave her a sharp look then, which she couldn't help but smile at and try not to laugh, but she noticed him struggling to keep a smile off his face as he put his goggles back on.

The next day, Lex ended up doing something that she hadn't since they'd arrived in Brussels and began work for the Special Forces: she called in and took the day off. As she'd woken up, she had remembered it was Friday and so things would likely be quiet that day, so she didn't feel too guilty. Lex sent an email to Rolf so that he wouldn't worry, explaining that she needed some time to think and that they'd talk that evening, and then she packed a small lunch and went to what had become her favorite park in the city, the Bois de la Cambre.

She spent a long time walking through the woods by the lake and trying to calm down enough to sort out her tangled feelings. It took a while and a lot of deep breaths of air perfumed with a forest scent for her to shake the memories of being dragged around and shown like a show pony by Kurt. Once those feelings had gone, Lex felt a lot less shaky but still confused about what to do. Later that afternoon, once she'd found a perch on a rock shaded by tall trees and overlooking the water, she unpacked her lunch and her thoughts began to slide into place.

As she munched her peanut butter sandwich, she knew the things she worried about most were repeating her parents' fighting, arguing, hateful relationship to make them both miserable, and that Rolf would want children. She was still nervous about the idea of having something as permanent as a marriage, since her last experience had left her with a bad feeling about it, but the more she thought, the more she realized that it would be OK with Rolf.

Thinking it over, she could find little in common between the relationship she had with Rolf and that of her parents. In retrospect, they didn't seem to have much in common besides sharing the same roof, and so they often ended up battling and screaming when they did see one another. In contrast, she and Rolf shared large portions of their lives already and many of each other's interests, so it seemed only natural to her that they'd want to share more time together. When they did disagree, he and Lex both waited until their anger had cooled down to discuss things and figure out solutions rather than fight and scream.

Lex packed the rest of her food back into the lunch bag, feeling happy. Since she'd determined that it seemed unlikely she and Rolf would be recreating her parent's unhappy marriage, she began to consider the question of children as she continued walking around the lake. Lex couldn't remember when she'd decided, but long ago she'd realized she never wanted children. She figured that her instincts for raising them had been ruined but had felt no real interest to begin with. Over the years, she'd had some trouble finding men to date who felt the same way she did. Even Kurt, who'd been enthusiastic about her idea at first, seemed to change his mind the longer they'd dated. Lex smiled as she found herself glad not for the first time, as if she'd dodged a bullet.

After a while, Lex decided to stop thinking and head for home, knowing she'd need to talk with Rolf about it. They hadn't discussed the topic yet, but Lex felt hopeful, realizing as she thought more that she'd never seen Rolf show any particular interest in children. Before she called him, however, she needed to do one more thing first.

Casey, Lou, Kate, and Mr. Chen looked like they had walked home together, so Lex caught them at the front door and asked them all to come to the living room for an impromptu meeting. She cleared her throat as she leaned against the wall near the TV a few minutes later, once everyone had finished putting their things down or getting a drink, and then started to speak.

“I wanted to let everyone know that Rolf asked to marry me,” she said, trying to silence the quiver she heard in her voice, her efforts unsuccessful at calming her racing heart.

Kate whooped. “That's great news! Congratulations, Lex!”

Lex hung her head for a moment. “Well, you might want to hold onto that until later. There's still a few things we need to talk about, and the arrangement we have between all of us is one of them. I just wanted to check with all of you to be sure that it was OK that I tell him about it, and ask him to join us if he wants to.”

Kate frowned at her. “I can't believe you'd think I wouldn't want him with us. Of course I think that's OK.”

Casey just shook her head as Lou smiled. “Don't look at us like that,” Casey replied. “You already know what we think.”

Turning to Mr. Chen, Lex tried not to bite her lip as she waited to hear what he had to say, realizing in that moment that the idea made her nervous in a new way. She felt a huge wave of relief as she looked at the calm, proud smile he had on his face. “He seems like a fine man, Lex. I think everyone in this house would be happy to have him here.”

The group in the living room paused then, hearing the front door shut and footsteps coming to the living room. Lily and Ron appeared then, and Lily looked at all of them with her eyebrows drawn together. “What did we miss?”

Kate grinned in her direction and said, “Rolf finally asked Lex to marry him.”

Lily nodded and looked as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. “So, when's he moving in?” she asked after a pause, the curiosity plain in her tone.

Lou looked away, a smile on his face, while Casey and Kate just started laughing. After a few moments of chaos, during which Ron seconded his mother's question and asked when his new uncle would be moving in, a number of people requested to see the ring Rolf had chosen for Lex, so a group broke off to go to Lex's room. In the middle of having the ring box passed around, however, Lex realized that she hadn't called Rolf yet to let him know what to expect that evening.

“Don't call him,” Kate said, handing Lex things to help her pack a small overnight bag. “Just go over. I figure he's sitting around waiting to see you, anyway.”

“But shouldn't I just call so that he won't worry?” she asked, zipping her bag up and looking around her room to see if she'd forgotten anything.

Casey shrugged, handing the ring box to Lex with a gesture for her to put it into her purse. “He'd probably just worry more if you told him there are things you wanted to talk to him about that you couldn't discuss over the phone. Maybe Kate's right.”

Lex nodded and hugged her friends before grabbing her bag and heading out onto the street. Taking the quickest method she could think of to get to Rolf's, she walked two blocks to a nearby hotel where cabs would wait and took one to his apartment building. She felt like she might hyperventilate by the time she got to his front door, so she took a number of deep breaths before knocking, but when he answered after a minute, she felt all of her effort fly out the window.

One look told her Rolf had come from the shower and looked only about half-dry as he stood at the front door in black sweatpants, a few stray water droplets running down his furry chest and his dark hair wet and slicked back. It took Lex a moment to gather her thoughts, but she smiled then and asked a similarly stricken Rolf if she could come in.

They both gravitated towards the comfortable couch in the living room, and Lex turned as she sat so that she faced him before she started speaking. “First, I didn't mean to worry you by calling in today, but I had a lot to think about.”

She looked at his face, serious and grave, and she couldn't help but reach out and take his hand, which seemed to cause something in the tense way he'd been holding himself to relax. “I know you've probably had a lot of time to think about this, but asking someone to decide at least part of how they want to live the rest of their life needs time to consider.”

Lex smiled then at Rolf's tentative smile, seeming to acknowledge her words and waiting for her to continue. She cleared her throat before saying, “When I thought about it, I realized I needed to tell you a couple of things before I gave you my answer.” Her heart seemed to flutter as she paused, realizing that her next sentence might end their relationship, but Lex opened her mouth to speak anyway. “First, I don't want to have children, now or ever.”

“OK.”

“Now I know that—” Lex continued, trying to explain, but then paused to meet Rolf's eye as his response registered in her mind. He returned her gaze squarely. “So, you're all right with that?” she asked, needing to confirm what she thought she'd heard.

“Yes. Actually, it's probably a good thing,” he replied, the expression on his face serious. “Since I can't have children anyway.”

Unable to do anything other than blink at Rolf for a moment, Lex tried to calm her spinning thoughts to get them together enough to give a sensible response. After a long pause, the words just erupted out of her mouth due to her curiosity and confusion. “That's excellent, well, I mean that you don't mind, but how do you know that?”

Blushing as she realized that she probably hadn't made any sense, Lex felt relieved when Rolf responded. “I know up until now I haven't said a lot about my family, and I want to thank you for not pressing me about them. Part of the problem was that I couldn't tell you some things because I'd sworn not to, but now that situation has changed since you're my intended.”

Lex felt herself blush harder as Rolf looked into her eyes, but the heat this time came from the intensity of his gaze, the gold-like burnished fire. “Do you remember me telling you about when my grandmother died and my parents sent me off to boarding school?” he asked. Lex nodded in return, feeling her stomach clench in anticipation of what she'd hear next. “They did several things before they sent me off, however. One of the family traditions is that only the eldest child in the family reproduces, and so they had me sterilized. So, I find it lucky that you don't want children.”

She could only stare for a moment with her mouth open before she could get her thoughts together enough to say anything. By the time she did, she'd moved to hug him close. “I'm so sorry,” she breathed, her mouth near his ear. “Did you ever want children?” Lex asked, pulling back enough so that they could see one another again.

Rolf shrugged. “Not really, but it would have been nice to be able to make the choice on my own.” He shook his head. “It's worse for my younger brother, though. I think he would have liked to have had children, but of course he can't.”

A wave of sadness seemed to wash over Lex. “I'm so sorry. What kind of people would do that to their kids?” she asked, not expecting a response, but she could see a brief angry look in Rolf's eye before his expression softened.

“All right, enough of that for the moment. What else did you want to talk about?”

Lex looked up at him, trying to gauge Rolf's feelings, and he met her eyes with a firm gaze. She took a deep breath before she began. “I know that you know that my friends and I bought that house together, but there's more to it than that.”

She explained how she, Riss, Lou, and Casey had thrown their lots in together, and then how their stake had grown as they'd acquired more group members and their investments had appreciated. “At this point,” she concluded, “we have a number of projects we've invested in, as well. I talked to everyone, and they're all happy with the idea of you moving in and joining us, but Riss has figured it so that I could leave the group as well if you're not into the idea.”

Pausing then, Lex looked up for the first time in a while, trying to gauge Rolf's reaction to her news. He seemed thoughtful, his head tilted to one side, and he nodded. “That makes sense that you'd do that to survive, and it sounds like it ended up turning out well enough that all of you decided to keep the arrangement. Let me think about that for a day or so and I'll give you an answer, all right?”

Lex smiled and nodded, happy that he didn't seem opposed to it. She swallowed a moment later as Rolf began giving her an intense look once more. “So, it sounds like you've made up your mind about what I asked you.”

Blushing and somehow surprised that he'd remembered that she hadn't answered that question, Lex laughed, a sound that seemed too loud in the quiet room. “I have. I'd like to stay with my friends and have you join us, but I've given it some thought, and I want to be with you, so I'll go with what you decide. But,” she said, giving him an intense look of her own, “I don't know if I deserve to be able to say yes to you, yet. After all, I haven't accepted all of you the way you have with me.”

He looked at her with real surprise now, and Lex could feel her blush heat up again. This had come to mind while she'd been thinking of whether or not she wanted to marry Rolf and she still didn't feel quite sure of how to discuss it. “What do you mean?” he asked, looking at her with a confused frown.

“I've been thinking, even more so now that you explained that you've been sterilized” she said, pausing to swallow against her dry throat before she continued. “You've shown me that you love me just the way I am, but I haven't done the same for you yet. I want to, though.”

She looked into Rolf's eyes then, willing him to understand, but he still looked uncertain as to what she meant, so Lex took a deep breath before she asked, “Have you ever had sex in your wolf form before?”

He just stared at her for a moment, then blushed bright red and looked away as he replied, “No, but it's just not possible.”

Lex stared at him in surprise. “Why not?”

Rolf shook his head, still not looking in her direction. “When wolves mate, something...strange happens.”

“Strange? Like what?” Lex persisted, trying to get him to meet her gaze.

“This is really embarrassing to talk about,” he muttered, turning back in Lex's direction enough to show that he still had a bright red blush.

“If we do get married, you're going to end up having to talk to me about way more embarrassing things than the mating habits of wolves,” Lex pointed out, shaking her head. “So what's the problem?”

He sighed and turned to face Lex again, his blush starting to fade. “Apparently, at some point during mating, the two wolves become locked together. What happens is that the base of the male's penis swells enough so that it's impossible to remove it from the female wolf, sometimes for up to a half-hour.”

Lex blinked in surprise, letting her mind digest the new information. “It seems odd,” she commented after a pause. “I mean, wouldn't something come along and eat them during that time?”

“I guess it became a survivable trait because wolves are at the top of the food chain in a lot of the places they live,” Rolf replied with a shrug. “Otherwise, it probably would have died off long ago.”

Her mind still working on the information, Lex couldn't help but grin. “OK, so that's why you think this can't happen? I mean, I appreciate the heads-up, but the idea doesn't bother me much since I know what to expect; I think I'll need to have something to lean on, though, because I don't know if my arms will hold me up for that long.”

Rolf gave her a look of surprise, then frowned before he replied, his blush starting up again. “Are you still considering this? I don't think it's a good idea. You could be hurt and then we'd be stuck for who knows how long before we could do anything about it.”

Lex smiled in reply. “Rolf, you’re forgetting that women are designed to be able to accommodate big things. If it ends up being uncomfortable, I’ll tell you and just try not to move a lot until it’s OK again.”

He looked away then, still flushing and Lex moved closer to take his hand. “If you don't want to, that's OK. I mean, it was just an idea, so if you don't like it—”

She broke off as he tightened his grip on her hand and turned to face her, his eyes dark and fathomless. “That's not it at all,” he said, his voice deep and husky like it usually only sounded in bed, and Lex felt a sharp spike of heat run through her. “I really do want to; it's just that...I can't believe you even...”

He trailed off to lean in to her lips, and Lex could feel what he'd left unsaid as they kissed, care and concern warring with arousal and disbelief that she'd even suggested what she had. She could feel Rolf panting as they separated, and Lex smiled savagely to see how undone he'd become in a matter of seconds.

“If you want to back out, Lex, I understand,” he said, his voice so low it sounded almost like a growl. “You've got to tell me now, though.”

She kissed him again in reply, long and hard, and the desire he showed in response made her heart pound in delicious anticipation. “My idea, remember?” she asked, surprised how low and turned-on her voice already sounded.

Leaning forwards, she ran her hand down Rolf's stomach and in under his waistband, watching with a grin she couldn't help as he shivered and threw his head back. She moved her hand down farther, sliding it around to grasp his already hard cock. “I guess you liked the idea, though,” she murmured in his ear as she pushed his sweatpants down past his hips.

Her breath stuttered against his lips as he turned to kiss her again, and she felt his hands at her waist, freeing the edge of the t-shirt she wore and pushing it up to splay warm hands across her stomach that then stole farther up. She shivered as one of his hands moved to her breast, cupping her at first and then sliding his thumb across her nipple. He hissed as she ran her tongue along his lower lip at the same time she wrapped her hand around his cock again and began to stroke it.

“You look so good just when you come out of the shower,” Lex said as she pulled back enough to look into his eyes, now the color of tarnished brass with pupils so big she thought she'd drown in them. “So good that I want to eat you all up.”

She'd moved to running her hands over his chest now, feeling bone and tensed muscle just under Rolf's heated skin as he lay back on the arm of the couch and watched her. She could almost feel his intense look burning into her as she chuckled and moved over him, her hands wandering down his thighs as she licked his cock from base to tip, relishing the way it jumped up towards her mouth. Lex moved in between his parted thighs and leaned forwards, breathing on his now wet cock and catching it by the base as it jerked in her direction, then taking just the head in her mouth, her tongue tracing every ridge and dip as she took her time.

She continued to move slowly, taking him in bit by bit and hoping she could make him forget his concerns so that they both could enjoy what lay ahead, but a moment later she found herself taken by surprise, pushed over to the other side of the couch. Lex moved her head to help get her t-shirt off as she found it being stripped from her and couldn't help but smirk as she saw Rolf once the t-shirt had been thrown away. His eyes seemed even darker as he leaned in to kiss her, and then she found her hands scrambling to help his get rid of her jeans and underwear.

Lex wondered at the wicked glint in his eye as he looked her over once all her clothes had been thrown to the floor in a messy pile. She smiled back with a sly smile of her own as she stretched, leaning her head back to expose her throat for a moment before she brought her chin down to meet his heated gaze again. Rolf let out a growl before he kissed her once more, then worked his way down her neck before moving his lips by her ear. “I think you need to be as relaxed as possible before we start this,” he said, fixing her in place with his dark eyes before his lips began moving down her chest. Lex allowed her eyes to half-close, hoping that he meant what she thought he did and hearing her own breath hiss out when his tongue touched her clit.

She let her eyes close so that she could savor Rolf's actions, but they flew open after a moment as she realized that he wasn't starting slow like he usually did. Lex's head fell back and she found she couldn't control her breath as Rolf held her in place and pushed her to her limits faster than she wanted, his tongue dancing over her in ways she recognized, feeling him using everything he knew to bring her over the edge hard and fast.

“Slow down,” she hissed, but he growled against her and only paused to put two fingers into his mouth to wet them, studying her reaction with dark eyes before he bent his head again.

Lex gasped, the feel of him back against her clit almost too much as he slid a finger inside her at the same time. Unable to stop the way her hips had started to move, Lex moaned as he stepped up the pace again and she felt another finger join the first. She could feel her impending orgasm now, starting to trip up the nerves in her spine, but as Rolf swept his tongue over her just right and crooked those two fingers in her, Lex came hard enough that the cry she wanted to make got stuck in her lungs. She only vaguely heard Rolf's chuckle, but she felt it quite well.

Still panting by the time she opened her eyes a few moments later, she somehow didn't feel surprised to see that Rolf had changed and now stood before her as a wolf, black coat immaculate and his eyes the same color of tarnished brass as they had been. Sliding off the couch, Lex moved to a kneeling position and hugged his chest. “You're just as gorgeous like this, you know,” she said, leaning back to catch his eye. She smiled as he dipped his head and looked away, and she took the opportunity to run her hands over his fur from head to tail, marveling at the depth and softness of it, until curiosity got the better of her and she ran her hands a little lower.

She leaned back to see his cock as she stroked him, noting the differences in how he looked, but she stopped when Rolf used his head to push at her shoulder, nudging her towards the couch. Lex raised an eyebrow, realizing that the furniture was what he'd thought of for her to lean on, and smiled.

“Hang on, let's get this out of the way first,” she said, pushing the coffee table as far away from the couch as she could before she turned to face it.

Leaning on the couch with her folded arms, Lex had to admit it felt pretty comfortable as she rested her chin on the back of one of her hands. As she spread her legs and arched her back, Lex turned her head so that she could see Rolf. “How's this?”

Her sly grin fell away as she gasped, way too conscious of the wet nose that brushed her ass. Lex hissed as she felt small puffs of air against some of her most sensitive skin. “Are you...sniffing me?” she asked, trying not to squirm against the ticklish feeling.

Suddenly, that didn't seem so important compared to trying to remain upright as something warm and wet brushed across the length of her and made her thighs shake. Lex tried not to moan as he did it again, licking her with his big tongue, taking his time caressing her folds and making her want much, much more. Rolf paused for a moment, breathing in her essence again before he gave her another long lick and Lex couldn't hold back the noise that sprang from her throat this time as she laid her head on her arms and closed her eyes.

After a while of this sweet torture, Lex couldn't take any more. “Rolf,” she said, lifting her torso to turn around a bit and fix him with a murderous gaze, “now.”

If a wolf could smile, he was, but she smiled herself when she noticed that his pupils looked even bigger than before and his tongue lolled out while he panted. Then he moved and she could feel his paws on her hips, and she turned her head forwards but reached back to grab his cock and guide him in. She threw her head back with a groan as he pushed forwards and she angled her hips more, her whole body shaking with how good the first thrust felt.

He growled and moved his hips again and Lex pushed back to meet him, a bolt of hot sensation flashing through her as they connected. She angled her hips up a little more, relishing how soft his fur felt against her skin and how full she felt as Rolf thrust towards her. It felt somewhat different than usual, but Lex couldn't be sure since they hadn't taken that position often in the past. Her thoughts fell away as she heard a growl in his throat and felt Rolf start to move faster. Closing her eyes, Lex used her arms on the couch to push towards him as he thrust in, enjoying the intensifying sensation as she felt the heat in her guts condense and then spread outwards.

The shivers that ran down her spine as she felt a long, wet tongue follow that line made her realize that Rolf sounded even further gone than she did. She heard him making noises in his throat and thrusting into her harder in a way that felt just right. She began murmuring to him, encouraging him until he slowed and then stopped after a while, panting over her shoulder. Lex turned her head to check on Rolf, only to giggle as he licked her on the cheek. Straightening up a few moments later, Lex gasped at a particularly pleasurable twinge and rested her head on her arms again, reminded of Rolf still inside her.

Her sudden movement and the clenching of her abs that had accompanied it sent a blazing bolt of heat through her, however, and Lex moaned in response. Shaking now, she looked backwards as she heard Rolf give a whine that sounded worried.

“I'm fine, just...something about the position we're in is very right. I hope you don't mind if I move some, even though I know you're not going to let me go just now,” she said, giving Rolf a sly smile.

He gave a low growl then, and as she saw his eyes large and dark, Lex smiled, enjoying the feel of his soft fur against her back. She dropped her head again and rotated her hips, gasping as Rolf's cock hit just the right place again. “So good,” she moaned, fingers digging into the couch cushions as she did it again. It didn't take long before she was grinding against him in earnest, her clit rubbing against the cushions, unable to hold back any of the sounds she made or think about anything other than how fucking good she felt and how badly she needed to come again. Lex thought she might have heard Rolf howl before blazing white overtook all her senses and she tried not to scream.

Sometime later, Lex found herself still resting on the couch when her senses started returning, and even though a test movement confirmed she and Rolf were still joined and made her hiss with sensitivity, she couldn't find it within herself to do anything other than chuckle and grin, reaching back to dig her fingers into the fur on Rolf's side and then smooth it down. He replied with a slow lick to her shoulder and a sigh that sounded tired.

Lex realized she must have dozed for a while after that, because when she opened her eyes again, she saw Rolf beside her, naked and human once more, helping her to her feet. His expression seemed serious as he looked her over, but she felt him relax when she smiled and leaned into him.

“Shower then bed?” he suggested.

She smirked. “And here you'd already taken one just in time for me to show up and get you dirty again.”

“It was worth it,” he said, silencing her with a kiss.

“So, you want to come with me to the meeting tomorrow and let everyone know what we decided?” she asked, squinting as she looked over at him.

He grinned in return. “I wouldn't miss it for anything.”

Forward to Chapter 49
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Comments about anything you liked or that you thought could be improved are extremely welcome!






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