Thank you all for such lovely support for the last chapter! I love you guys! Please stay tuned for an important message at the end of the chapter :) Listen to:

Consideration - Rihanna (feat. SZA)

Enjoy :)

~ XXX ~

A distant siren pulled her gently out of sleep, and for a moment, Clara lay with her eyes closed, enjoying the warmth. She was enveloped in it, and one spot was warmer than the rest. The crease of her shoulder, where hot breaths were seeping into her skin.

Her eyes fluttered open.


She'd ended up half on top of him, nestled into his shoulder with one leg hooked over his hip, her arms wound around his neck. Sayre had her secured firmly against him, his arms tight around her waist even in sleep.

And this was the first time that she had to actually come to grips with the fact that they were completely naked.

Clara let out a shuddering breath, trying not to wake him even as she began to fully absorb the situation. She glanced down at their interlocked bodies, view partly obscured by Sayre's strong jaw. The sheets were a battlefield, pillows everywhere - clothes everywhere. Their legs were tangled together, partly uncovered, and Sayre's foot was rubbing up and down against hers in his sleep.

It sent gentle tingles up her spine.

The room was dimly lit - it was probably overcast - and if she could only lift her head the slightest bit, she'd be able to see the time on the alarm clock.

But Sayre was sleeping so peacefully, his gentle, heavy breaths making her rise and fall against his chest in a steady rhythm. She didn't want to wake him.


Her mind raced, images and sensations from the previous night bombarding her and affecting her in ways she wasn't prepared for. She felt like she could feel the remnants of every touch - every kiss. Everywhere his hands had been, her skin seemed to throb.

Holy shit.

An uncontrollable smile crept onto her face, and she felt her cheeks flush as she remembered his voice in her ear. All the things he'd said…

One thing in particular he'd said.

Clara's stomach dropped. Not in a frightened way. In that oh my god, here comes the drop roller coaster kind of way.

"And I am in love with you."

She was sure he'd said it. Her ears remembered, even if her brain didn't. And it made her heart pound and her smile widen.

She tucked her face further into Sayre's muscular shoulder - into that wonderful crevice between his collarbone and his neck - trying to cover the damn thing up. She hadn't smiled like this in years.

Carefully, she extricated one of her arms from around his neck, and she gently rested it on his chest, her thumb smoothing over his skin to feel the powerful muscle beneath. His brand was a couple inches below, and while she knew she shouldn't stare, she had to.

God, it looked so painful. Even after all these years, it was still angry and red, the flesh surrounding it tinted a light purple. And before she could stop herself, her fingers were tracing its bold outlines.

Sayre shifted almost immediately, his steady breathing breaking off, and a sleepy groan vibrated against her forehead. He tugged her in tighter, nuzzling her again as he slowly regained consciousness.

Clara had removed her hand with a start, frightened she'd hurt him, but Sayre mumbled something that resembled, "S'alright, dove," and gave a deep, contented sigh.

So she resumed her tracing.

"Does it hurt?" she murmured, voice raspy with sleep.




Clara laughed a little, turning her head so that her nose was pressed against the corner of his jaw. His arms tightened around her.

"Good morning," he said, voice deep and husky. Oh, she liked his sleepy voice very much.

"Morning." She shifted against him, readjusting herself to better see his face, and the instant she moved she felt the soreness. A deep ache between her thighs.

It brought the color right back to her cheeks.

"Are you alright?" Sayre asked.

"Mm…sore," she murmured, unable to stop the little, delighted giggle that followed.

Sayre looked far too good for a man who had just woken up. When she had managed to prop herself up enough to see him comfortably, his handsome face was tilted towards her, hair sticking up at all angles, concern clouding his sleepy eyes.

"It's a good sore," she told him before he could worry too much, and she leaned in to plant a lazy kiss on his swollen lips.

He shifted, letting her slide off of his body so that he could turn and lean over her, propping himself up with one elbow. They stared at one another in silence for a long moment, and he seemed to be searching her eyes for any ounce of regret.

Clara reached up, running her fingers through his soft, tangled hair and giving him a shy smile. "How's it feel to not be a virgin?"

His lips pursed, trying to fend off the wry grin that followed. "Humbling, my lady."


"Mm." His free hand slid up her body in a most distracting way, caressing the path between her breasts and gliding up to cup the side of her neck. "I have seen true beauty, and I am now certain I am not worthy. No man is worthy."

Clara laughed, tugging him down for a kiss. "They need you at Hallmark, Sayre. They really need you."

"Hallmark?" he mumbled against her lips, shortly before parting them with his tongue and jogging her memory a little bit. Reminding her exactly what he'd done to her last night.

She broke away with a gasp, "Nevermind," and dove back in, letting him bruise her already swollen lips a second time. That ache was now accompanied by a once more burning need, and Sayre did not have to prove he felt the same. She could feel it against her thigh.

But he was more patient than she was, and he pulled away, gently steadying her rocking hips.

She wanted to whimper, her lips and brows drawing into very pronounced pout.

"Oh, m'lady, don't look at me like that." Sayre ducked his head to suckle at her pulse point, speaking against her skin, "It is all too tempting, and I do not want to damage you further."

"Damage me?" she breathed, clutching at him as he bit down.

He hummed against her, murmuring something about having done quite a bit already, and then went suddenly very still.

Pulling away, Sayre clicked his tongue once, sweeping a gentle hand across her forehead and brushing away the stray locks. "I should not have bedded you out of wedlock," he said mournfully, brows drawn together.

Clara sighed at him, shaking her head with a small smile. "That's not how it works anymore, Sayre. The world has changed." She placed her palm against the side of his face, feeling the pleasant sensation of day-old scruff scratching against her skin. "There's no shame in this."

After a brief hesitation, he turned his head to kiss her palm. "If you say so."

Clara couldn't say exactly how long their blissful morning in bed lasted.

But she knew exactly how it ended.

Sayre had had her quite wonderfully trapped beneath him on the bed, and he'd been tracing the lines of the black swan tattoo on her ribs with his tongue, when the door to his room quite abruptly burst open.

"Sayre, get up. We're—oh, for fuck's sake!"

Right. They hadn't locked the door.

And Sam gave one horrified groan of disgust before slamming the door shut again.

Clara gasped, but Sayre moved more quickly than she did, sweeping the sheets up around them and shielding her.

Which was a good thing, too, because a few seconds later, after some muffled voices sounded from outside the door, it swung open again to reveal Liz.

"Oh my god!" She gave a little squeak, and once more the door was slammed.

For a moment, Clara and Sayre stared at one another in silence, their faces flushed. But when Clara tried to gather a breath, she couldn't hold it in, and her loud snort of laughter filled the quiet.

Sayre followed shortly after, dropping his head down on her chest as his warm chuckle soaked into skin.

"Do mom and dad want to have a peek too?" Clara called.

As expected, Sam was still outside. "Oh, yeah, sure! Very funny! Just hilarious!" His shouting was slightly muffled. "What a wonderful way to make everything more complicated!"

Liz said something on the other end of the door, but it was too quiet to hear.

"No - NO. I will not!" was Sam's response. "SAYRE - you have violated the most sacred law of the Bro Code!"

Sayre glanced up at Clara. "What's the—"

Clara shook her head dismissively, rolling her eyes.

"I warned you! I warned you, dude! And YOU, Clara! Just fucking brilliant - good idea. Really - great! Great idea! Einstein would be motherfucking proud, wouldn't he? Oh, yes I'll just hop into bed with some six-hundred year old dude I just fucking met for shits and giggles, because - hey! That's not going to make things weird or anything. It's not like my brother has to live with this guy! HA HA HA, oh yes, let's all just roll around on the fucking floor laughing. HA HA!" He started to pound on the door with every word. "Brilliant! What a great fucking plan! Ooh, and guess what!? Maybe now I have some weird, psycho-hybrid, past-present Back to the Future baby on the way! OH GREAT! WONDERFUL!"

"I'm on birth control, Sam!" Clara shouted over him.

He pounded twice, hard. "ACCIDENTS. HAPPEN."

Liz said something else.

"No, I do NOT want to teach SEX ED!"

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