Luca: yes, sir.Mature

My temper cools off quickly and I breathe an inward sigh of relief. I hate the way it just snaps on and off with no warning, but I s'pose at least it doesn't take forever for me to calm down.

"C'mon then, sleepy," I mutter, trying to pull away from her chest crushing hug. She has a really strong grip when she wants to.

"But, you're not tired," she murmurs into my shirt.

"No, but you are."

"Yeah," she nods, yawning, "I am." I kiss the top of her head and reach around behind me to gently break her grasp on me, taking one of her hands in mine.

"Then let's go to bed."

"Yeah," she mumbles again and I lead her up the stairs to our room, even opening the door for her and letting her in first. I might be a bastard, but I can still be nice when I want. I sit on the bed as she gets changed and the covers pull back for her as she shuffles over to her side of the bed. I don't climb in beside her, instead pulling the covers over her and laying on top of them next to her.

Gemme cuddles up to me, as best she can with the duvet between us and I put my arm around her, humming her the first song that comes into my head. I Need Something - Newton Faulkner. I played it to her on the guitar a while back; I'd lost my temper that day too. As I hum, she begins to drift off, mumbling a quiet "thank you".

"I love you," she whispers. I smile and don't stop humming. "I love you too," I mutter in my mind to her, but I don't know if she hears it.


"Well, I'm off, then!" Benny says. He's standing in the doorway with a rucksack slung over one shoulder, an excited grin on his face and an upset Gemme rushing forward to hug him one last time before the taxi driver starts getting pissed off.

"Remember and stay safe," Gemme mumbles at him and he nods, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Purple kimono, blue parasol. I got it covered," he smiles, patting her gently on the back before glancing out at the taxi. "But I gotta go. Take care of yourself for me. And Cancer?" he looks up at me, "play nice." By play nice, he means don't lose it and beat the crap out of her while I'm not here to stop you. Nice. Thanks for the vote of confidence, man.

"Of course."  She smiles, batting her eyelids innocently. "You play nice with the pandas."

"Oh, I will," he winks and lets go of her, turning, walking down the path to the taxi. Gemme waves at him from the doorway and I step forward, putting my arm around her waist, watching as he looks back at us. He waves back, grins and gets in the car. A moment later, he's gone, disappearing around the corner. She smiles, reaching up to kiss me.

"I hope he stays safe." She says as I close the door, wandering into the kitchen to get something to eat. Benny and safe are not two words you hear together in a sentence.

"He'll be fine." I mutter into the fridge as I look for something to eat. Toast. Toast is the answer to everything. I put the bread in the toaster and watch it intently. I have a habit of burning things. Even toast.

"So, care to sit for me again?" she asks as the bread - singed, as always - pops up. I pull it out, ignoring as it burns my fingers and shrug.

"Sure," I mumble through a full mouth.

"Naked?" she inquires as I try to swallow. I choke on the mouthful of toast. When I recover, I look up at her in disbelief. She giggles.

"Sorry, I just love seeing your face, every time." I scowl at her and take another bite of my toast.

"That's no reason to make me choke, though." I grumble, talking with my mouth full again.

"Don't talk with your mouth full then." She sighs and I swallow. "But I only need one last painting for my gallery."

"Sorry," I mutter with a half smile. But hey, things could be worse. I could talk with my mouth full and leave the toilet seat up.

"It's fine. Don't you remember what I said before?" She walks towards me as I finish my toast. "I don't need a painting to see you naked." She grins and I laugh. No, I didn't remember that.

"Touché." I smile, putting my arms around her.

"Because, I can make you strip, whenever." She pauses, kissing me, "I," she pauses again with a sly smile, "want."

"Can you now?" I grin. I don't need an answer; I already know.

"If I wanted to," she replies.

"Hah, well maybe later. I wouldn't want to distract from your painting again. Remember what happened last time?" I smirk.

"Yeah and I need to finish off my series. Then you have me all to yourself." Sounds like fun.

"C'mon then," I say, letting go of her, "upstairs with you, arty pants," I grin, pointing up at the stairs. She salutes me.

"Yes, sir!" she exclaims and marches off upstairs. I follow her, laughing and resisting the temptation to remind her just how much I like being called ‘sir'. At least, it's more fun in bed. Or wherever else we might happen to be at the time.

"Good girl," I wink as we go into her art room.

"You're not my master." She laughs, setting up her paints beside a fresh canvas as I sit on the chair in front of her.

"Hmm, maybe not outside of the bedroom, but..." I trail off suggestively, as I slouch, folding my arms across my chest.

"But?" She prompts, picking up a pencil and beginning to sketch.

"You know what," I smile, "you definitely know it inside the bedroom. I happen to remember one time you calling me your god," I smirk again.

"Oh and you are." She pauses for a second, before continuing with a wide grin on her face. "Definitely."

I think I can safely say my own grin matches hers, my ego stroked to perfection once again.

I only wish the same could be said about the growing problem in my pants. Hmm.



The End

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