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Battle of Britain--Chapter 10
matching clothing
Title: Battle of Britain Chapter 10

Rating: R (language and sexual situations)

Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue

Summary: Dominic meets Harry, crosses a boundary with Adelle and rails against a wall she erects.

Judith’s birthday had to be marked with some kind of celebration, of course, but Adelle didn’t believe gathering in one of London’s busier pubs to be the most intelligent choice.

Harry didn’t care for the number of men in their party. His natural reticence stiffened into pomposity and he watched his fiancé like a hawk, threatening to stifle her enjoyment of her party. Still, Judith’s charm and Adelle’s own efforts might have carried them through, but Captain Devon arrived and, as Laurence would say, all bets were off.

“Do you guys kill messengers when they bring bad news?” he asked, undoubtedly wearing his most charming smile. “Major Dominic is clearing up another Harding-related mess, so he sent me ahead to offer birthday greetings. Judith,” he lifted her hand and pressed it to his lips, “happy birthday. I’ve been assigned the enviable task of entertaining you until Dom arrives, which he promises won’t be long. I’ve already ordered a round of drinks and await your pleasure. We haven’t met,” he said, extending a hand to Harry, who hesitated before grudgingly accepting it. “I’m guessing you’re the infamous Harry. She’s a great gal, making you a lucky guy.” At that pronouncement Harry grew even more stiff but managed to mumble a response. The arrival of the drinks distracted from a very uncomfortable moment.

“What the hell is Judith doing with a guy like that?” Devon asked, as he fell into the empty seat opposite Adelle, fortunately lowering his voice.

“He loves her,” she replied, knowing she sounded censorious. “You will not interfere, Captain.”

“Yes ma’am,” he said with a slight shrug. “Since I’ve got you alone,” he continued loud enough for Judith and Harry to overhear, “what do you know about Dom’s mystery woman?”

Adelle smiled, secure in the knowledge that even after all of these months, Devon had no idea she was the woman in question. “Very little – Major Dominic is discrete and we talk mostly of our work.”

“Damn, you were my last hope.”

“I could, perhaps, make some observations, if you tell me what you do know?”

He took the bait so easily, she knew his curiosity must really be killing him. “She’s ‘respectable’ – he told me that much, apparently that’s why we aren’t allowed to meet her. She took control of things, rather than waiting for Dom to make a move.”

“Confident then,” Adelle observed. “And perhaps not without experience.”

“I guess – and she speaks French.” At her raised eyebrow, he said, “She wrote him a note in French.” He looked thoughtful. “Or had someone write it for her.”

“I see, and from your long friendship, what else would you conclude about a woman who could capture his interest and hold it for this long?” Genuinely interested in Devon’s view of the type of woman her lover would choose and oddly nervous about receiving the benefit of his knowledge, Adelle held her breath.

“She isn’t like the others. He won’t tell us anything about her.”

“That must be frustrating.”

“Look, we know what’s coming, so we have fun to keep from dwelling on it, but we don’t make promises we can’t keep. He’s the most ambitious out of all of us, so for him to admit to having something more significant, she has to be spectacular, but I’m not sure exactly what that translates into.” He was more perceptive than Adelle had expected, but then Laurence was his best friend. Smiling disarmingly, he asked, “What conclusion do you draw from all of that?”

“That he probably has a very good reason for keeping her a secret.”

* * *

“I am so sorry, Judith,” Laurence Dominic said, as he drew abreast of the tables her party had commandeered. Taking her hand, he helped her up and into a hug. “Happy birthday,” he said, kissing her cheek.

“Thank you, Laurence.” Judith beamed and Dominic’s neck and shoulder muscles loosened. He hadn’t ruined her party.

“You don’t thank me until after you’ve opened your present. It’s tradition.”

“You shouldn’t have.”

He laughed. “You expect me to believe that?”

Vibrant, blushing and wholly engaged, she admitted, “No.” Eyes suddenly calculating, she asked, “Did your lady help you pick it out?”

“My … lady?”

“Captain Devon says you’ve been with someone for months.” Judith pouted. “I’m hurt you haven’t breathed a word.” A hint of a smile emerged. “After all I’ve done to keep your overseas correspondence on schedule.”

“I do love how you say that word.”

“If you’re a very good boy, I’ll say it again.”

“You can count on it.” He glared at Devon who, true to form, refused to look away. “You shouldn’t believe anything the Captain says.”

“He solved the mystery,” she said, taking Dominic’s arm, steering him slightly away from the table, “of why you’ve been smiling so often of late.”

“That’s enough, Judith.” A young man lurched to her side and Dominic winced in sympathy for her outraged expression. “Sit down and … and stop.”

“Laurence Dominic,” he said, offering his hand to a man he fervently hoped wasn’t Harry.

The younger man looked discombobulated. “You fixed Mable back then,” he finally said, dashing Dominic’s hopes. “I’ve wanted to thank you.”

As the men shook hands, Judith formally introduced them. Afterward, she picked up the small package Dominic had brought. “What is it?”

“Open it and find out,” he challenged, sinking into a chair next to Adelle’s, worried about Harry’s reaction.

“Has the latest Colonel Harding debacle been addressed?” Adelle asked.

“Jesus, Devon, do you hold nothing back?”

“I have to compensate for you keeping so damn mum about the lady in your life.” He winked at Adelle. “Otherwise the universe would spin out of balance and nothing good can come of that.”

“I love her,” Dominic said, halting Judith in the process of unwrapping and maybe scarring Devon for life. Adelle slipped her hand into his beneath the table. “After the war, I’ll marry her if she’ll have me.” Her hand warm in his gave him a modicum of hope. “Is that what you wanted to know, Devon?”

“I was hoping for a name.”

“Open your present, Judith.” Dominic instantly regretted his tactic, when Harry glared at her ready compliance with the request that had undoubtedly sounded like an order.

“Oh my goodness,” she breathed, drawing the colorful silk scarf from the wrapping. “Laurence, this is beautiful and I suspect you had help in selecting it.”

“I did,” he admitted, running his thumb along the line of Adelle’s wrist, enjoying her unconscious shift closer. “I’m glad I can report the gift well received.”

While Judith wrapped the scarf around her neck expertly and turned to answer her fiancée’s question, Dominic maneuvered his chair closer to Adelle’s. “Is Harry always that tense?” he asked.

“He’s never seen Judith in the midst of a group of men who’d gladly take his place,” she said. “He’s having a bit of a shock, poor dear.”

“It’s about time,” Dominic said. “Someone’s going to pick up on her cues.”

“You got that right,” Devon said, startling Dominic. He’d forgotten Devon, never a smart move. “Up until you found yourself a respectable woman to go ass over teakettle for, the odds on favorite to pull that duty was you.”

Eyes tracking to Judith’s charming blush, he murmured, “Yeah.”


Devon’s voice dynamited Dominic out of his brief reverie and the look on Harry’s face made him hope the kid favored pistols, because he had no idea how to use a sword and didn’t relish getting up at dawn and dragging Devon along as a second. Realizing Adelle had stiffened, he vowed to kiss her fucking senseless at the next available opportunity. He’d proven over the last months that he was hers, heart, body and soul. God, the things they’d done to and for each other. If the woman didn’t know she had no competition, her uncanny ability to read people had deserted her. He didn’t let just anyone tie him to her bed with silk scarves. Yes, bondage had inspired Judith’s birthday gift, but no one needed to know that.

“Harry, can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked. Clearly wary, the younger man nodded and fell into step beside him. As they passed out into the night air, Dominic said, “I’m no threat, because I’m nuts over someone else, if I wasn’t, I would be.”

“I’m not certain I follow.”

“Judith is a beautiful woman who is curious about everything.”

“I know,” Harry said, rolling his eyes. “It’s quite maddening really, but charming at the same time, if you know what I mean.”

“I do,” Dominic said. “Permission to speak frankly.”


“Judith has been exposed to a lot of men during the course of her work at SOE.”

Glancing back toward the pub, Harry asked, “What is that supposed to mean?”

“In and of itself, nothing. She loves you. Lord knows why, when you treat her like a kid.”

“I do not.”

Dominic rounded on the slightly shorter but more powerfully built man. “Rent a room, take a handful of condoms and satisfy her curiosity about sex.”

“That simply isn’t done.”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, Harry. There’s a war on.”

“So you’ve taken your lady to a hotel and …?”

“We spend most of our time at her place, but I’ve had my way and she’s had hers.” Dominic smiled. “It’s been nice.”

“But she’s … Judith is … you know … a …”

“Virgin?” Harry nodded. “All the more reason,” Dominic said. “These aren’t the best of times, Harry. We have to make the best of them.”

“Her mother will kill me.”

Remembering Judith asking him this very question about Adelle, he said, “Do you plan on telling her?”

“Well, no, but—.”

“Judith won’t either, meaning your secret will be safe unless you get her pregnant so don’t.” The reeling younger man allowed Dominic to steer him back to the pub.

Judith looked frightened, until Laurence clapped Harry on the back and grinned at her. Sitting back down next to Adelle, he muttered, “I did my best.”

“I’ve found your best to be more than adequate, Major.”

* * *

“Moving on to the third item on the agenda,” Clive Ambrose murmured and Laurence Dominic suppressed a yawn. An hour into the meeting, bored nearly out of his mind, he poured himself a glass of water from the pitcher resting between him and the dour man to his left. Slumping back into his chair, he glanced to his right and, if he wasn’t mistaken, Adelle DeWitt hid a smile behind her hand, reminding him they’d channeled the pent up energy from the last joint meeting into amazing sex.

As if she felt the weight of his gaze, Adelle leaned toward him and murmured, “You’re amusing General Crane with your restlessness, Laurence.”

“I can feel my mind numbing,” he whispered. “It hurts. I thought numbing was painless.”

“It simply isn’t quite numb enough yet.”

“Am I boring you, Miss DeWitt, Major Dominic?” said the supercilious man who had the floor.

“Obviously not, Carter,” Adelle said, “as we were noting the profound ramifications of your detailed research to our work.

Harding rolled his eyes. Ambrose smiled. Crane raised his water glass to Adelle. Carter droned on with his chest puffed out in pride and Dominic snuck another peek at Adelle. Her calm attentiveness raised a red flag to his male bull. Recalling the fantasy he’d had before they became lovers, he cupped her left knee with his right hand. Adelle started but settled far too quickly and easily into her attentive posture to suit him.

Stroking along her inner thigh, he meandered to her hem line. Adelle tapped her pen on the pad of paper on which she had yet to take a single note. She darted a quick glance at him when he slid his hand beneath her skirt, caressing gently. He held her gaze and smiled. Adelle shrugged and looked away. Rolling his eyes at General Crane, he shoved her skirt up a bit to continue. He didn’t waver when forced to do it again, buoyed by her spreading her legs slightly to give him more room to maneuver.

His heart pounded, as he pressed his hand against her underwear. Her nostrils flared only slightly, so he pressed harder. She tilted her hips to maximize the contact and Dominic forgot himself and turned to her. Adelle’s eyes blazed into his and he began to harden. He allowed her to grind against his hand, hoping they’d get to agenda item four. They didn’t. Watching her out of the corner of his eye, he slipped a finger beneath her underwear and applied the stroke she’d shown him early on. A hint of uncertainty appeared on her face, inspiring him to work her relentlessly, wishing, for once, to give her an experience she’d never had. She bit her lip, closed her eyes, only to reopen and turn them on him. He smiled and drove two fingers deep within her. She gasped and dropped her pen as he maintained the stimulation. Her face reddened and her chest heaved as she, hopefully, rushed headlong to a climax.

“Adelle, are you quite all right?” Clive Ambrose asked when her body clenched hard on his fingers and she emitted a soft cry.

“She’s not been feeling well,” Dominic said, as he poured her a glass of water, even as he continued to stimulate her. “She carries on, of course.” He smiled at Ambrose, as Adelle dug her nails into his thigh. “You can imagine.”

“I can,” Ambrose said, affection apparent. “Perhaps you could escort her to her flat, Major.”

* * *

“That won't be necessary, Clive,” she said, shooting a furious look in Laurence's direction, “I'm quite recovered.”

“You appear to have a temperature,” Harding said, narrowing his eyes, “I hope you haven't been doing too much. Adelle?”

“I'm a little feverish,” she admitted, “but it will ease.” Smiling to reassure, she added, “Carry on Carter – I apologise for the interruption.”

“If you're sure you're well enough?” Clive inquired.

“I am.” Adelle hid her irritation at all the concern, because she knew some of them would wonder if she was starting to feel the strain of her role. She hated that they now had reason to see her as a vulnerable female. She wanted to tell them the man beside her had stuck his hand under her skirt and stroked her to a powerful orgasm in the middle of a bloody meeting. No wonder he looked smug. She, on the other hand, was mortified, furious and excited.

Finally convinced she wasn't going to faint, Carter resumed his presentation, allowing Adelle to contemplate the fate of Laurence Dominic. He needed to be punished, obviously. He couldn't treat her like that and expect to escape unscathed.

In the months of their increasingly passionate affair, he had proven to be remarkably open to experimentation and she had enjoyed broadening his sexual horizons. He had a far more fertile and inventive mind than she had realised and demonstrated a sense of daring she hadn’t anticipated.

As much as she was intrigued by this new discovery, revenge must be exacted. Thinking along those lines could only be termed unprofessional. If caught, there would be hell to pay, but Adelle understood and accepted her only option.

Laurence was the most responsive lover she'd ever had and she doubted that he had sat through giving her an orgasm in a roomful of other men without becoming aroused. He seemed to be paying attention and didn't react when she placed a hand on his thigh, thumb rubbing against the heavy material of his uniform trousers. Edging her hand higher, she leant forward and scribbled a few notes. Eyes downcast, she curved her hand over the bulge of his erection.

He adroitly turned his stifled gasp into a cough. Applying gentle pressure, she rocked her hand back and forth against him as Carter droned on and on. She smiled at the thought of keeping him hard for the duration of the meeting, leaving him with an interesting dilemma at its conclusion.

She scribbled something nonsensical while working her fingertips towards the fastening of his trousers. He'd lain down the gauntlet and she was prepared to be just as daring in response. Laurence stopped her before she could complete that particular aspect of her mission. Instead of removing her hand, he held it in place. She picked up on his demand, applying pressure and feeling him twitch in response.

Carter's presentation came to an end and they both needed to participate more. Though she paid attention, Adelle found opportunities to maintain her stimulation. Keeping Laurence aroused also made her body clamour for his touch.

He remained seated when the meeting eventually concluded and though she remained annoyed, she took pity on him enough to let her apparent frailty draw the attention of the rest of the participants. “Excuse me,” Laurence murmured, slipping out of the room while everyone fluttered around her.

“I thought Major Dominic was going to see you home?” Clive said, looking about. “I didn't notice him leave.”

“A matter demanded his attention,” she said, her face completely blank though the thought of what he might be doing sent a shiver through her. “I really am feeling better, Clive, I don't need to go home.”

He accepted her reassurance, perhaps relieved he wouldn't have to cover her workload, and departed for his next appointment. Left to herself, she headed towards the entrance of the building. half hoping that Laurence would have dealt with his 'matter' and be waiting for her. A hand darted out to clasp her by the wrist and pull her into the adjacent corridor and an empty office.

* * *

“You’re so gorgeous when you let go,” Laurence Dominic murmured, pinning Adelle DeWitt against the office door, reaching around her to lock it. “Why did you make us sit through that ridiculous meeting when Ambrose gave us an out?” She opened her mouth to respond, but he thrust his tongue inside and shoved his thigh between her legs. Desperate, he pursued her mouth when she freed it to take a breath and watched her angry eyes light with desire when he reclaimed it. He lifted his thigh into her crotch and relished her low helpless moan. “I have to have you,” he groaned. “I’m so damn hard.”

An expression he couldn’t interpret slid over Adelle’s face, as her hand slipped between his legs. “Shall I make you soil your clothing?” she asked, rubbing her hand over the obvious bulge. “I’m tempted to, Laurence.”

Panting hard, he asked, “Why are you angry? You enjoyed what I did.”

Relentlessly stimulating him, she snarled, “I didn’t enjoy becoming a fragile flower to everyone else in the room. They’re waiting for me to give way under the pressure and you made it look like I had.”

Feeling a very different sort of pressure building within him, Dominic moaned and backed away. Adelle moved with him, placing her hand where she wanted it, taking his lips and biting the bottom one hard when she pulled back. Shuddering with lust, he whispered, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean … I only wanted … to … to … God, Adelle, slow down.” When she made no move to comply, he grabbed both of her hands and pressed her into the door once more. Smiling nastily, she rubbed her lower body against his and Dominic groaned helplessly. The moment he caught his breath, he spoke quickly. “I just wanted to give you a new experience. That’s all. I didn’t realize it would make you seem vulnerable. Jesus, Adelle, you’re fucking killing me here.”

“Don’t stimulate me like that in public again,” she commanded, molding herself tight against him.

“I won’t.”

She wrapped herself around Dominic. “Take me and don’t hold anything back. I want you to reveal everything—your passion, desire and desperation.”

“Oh, God, ok.” He fumbled with his belt the instant she released him. Adelle’s sly smile, as she removed her underwear and pulled a condom from his pocket, made his fingers clumsy. Scanning the office for a likely surface, he undid his trousers.

“Up against this,” she suggested, caressing the wall with her fingertips, leaning back against it and opening the foil with her teeth. Her antics drove Dominic even crazier, although he couldn’t fathom why.

He lost himself in kissing her while she sheathed him. Her fingers tugging hard at his short hair raised his head. “Now, Laurence.”

Only then did he realize he’d have to lift her, meaning his hands would be occupied when he wanted to fondle her breasts. Swearing under his breath, he lifted Adelle into position and gasped when she slid down his length. Her aggressive kisses made it difficult to concentrate on lifting and lowering her. Sometime during their frantic coupling, Dominic began to suspect Adelle could help, but this made her point about touching her in public more forcefully. That was his last coherent thought for some time.

After they’d driven each other to orgasm, calmed a bit and set their clothing to rights, he caught her hand. “I’m sorry, Adelle.”

She smiled and his heart skipped a few beats. “You should be sorry more often.”

* * *

As the year moved towards its end, the war slowly turned in their favour and though Adelle couldn’t bring herself to be optimistic she conceded there was a glimmer of hope. Hope meant increased demand for agents in France and the concomitant pressure to recruit, train and place them.

There never seemed to be enough time. Although they spent hours together during the day and Laurence slept in her bed several nights a week, time together away from Baker Street when they weren’t too exhausted to do anything other than tumble into bed was rare.

In the earliest days of their relationship, they had gone to the cinema to watch the news reels. As time passed, it continued to be something they did together, even if they often didn’t have time to stay for the main feature. Adelle liked sitting in the dark holding Laurence’s hand, especially when the news seemed bleak or her mind remained at Baker Street where a crisis unfolded. The risk of anyone they knew seeing them was slight and she liked how they blended into the crowd.

She sensed his tension when the news told of US involvement in battles and though he never said as much, she imagined his frustration at being in London, sending civilians even women to fight, when he should be there himself.

Sometimes, she wondered why he hadn’t asked to be sent to France. They could have worked on his French accent. She doubted he would enjoy playing the waiting game, but he had the discipline to overcome that. However, his mind for strategy would have its natural outlet on a battlefield and she suspected the time would come when he’d be needed elsewhere.

Yet he was hers, for now. Their professional and personal partnership gave her happiness and strength, so much so that she often felt guilty at what she had, when so many others had lost everything.

Escaping for a few hours, they’d sat through a newsreel involving reports from the North African campaign and the second battle of El Alamein. Laurence had been quiet his mind in the desert, along with the Eighth Army . “How about some dinner?” she said afterwards, sensing that he was still preoccupied.

“Do we have time?”

“For something light and quick.” She guided him to a small restaurant in Piccadilly, somewhere she had often eaten over the years and where she was confident they wouldn’t be seen. Adelle let Laurence brood, respecting his frustration. She kept up the desultory conversation, even though he scarcely replied.

He ate the food set in front of him without seeming to notice it, which might be for the best though the chef did his best with limited resources. Deciding to wake him from his thoughts she announced, “Did I tell you Colonel Harding stripped naked and ran around Trafalgar Square singing Yankee Doodle Dandy?”

He looked up, blinking as her words penetrated wherever his thoughts had gone. “I’m a terrible date,” he said, “sorry.”

“You’re forgiven.” Watching him, she added, “I know you wish to do more; that it goes against your training to fight a war clandestinely.”

He sighed, shaking his head. “I understand why it needs to be this way at the moment. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept, though.”

She touched his hand. “The time will come when what we’ve put in place will be more than a minor irritant to the Nazis.” Suddenly it became imperative that she reach him, help him understand how deeply she cared for him. “I want you to feel you can talk about this or anything else with me.”

He nodded and squeezed her hand, gazing longingly at her before turning his attention back to his food. As they finished their meal, he made more of an effort, telling her a story about Devon and Bishop that made her laugh.

Stepping out into the night, intending to return to Baker Street for a final hour or so, she silently patted herself on the back for pulling him back from the brink.

“Adelle!” That could only be one person. Margaret’s strident tones pierced the autumn air.

Stepping away from Laurence, she turned toward her friend, managing a smile even though Lady Bashford was the very last person she wanted to see. “Margaret – this is a surprise!” Very aware of Laurence’s presence and recalling Margaret’s incredible rudeness to him, she added, “Major Dominic and I are just on our way back to Baker Street.”

“Come and have a drink with us; we’re having dinner at Luigi’s.” She gestured to the expensive restaurant across the road, her gaze flicking to Laurence before returning on Adelle “I’m sure the Major can find his way back without you,” she added dismissively. “I understand he is familiar with the back streets.”

Laurence’s body tensed. Adelle wanted to tell her friend that she hadn’t had a brief meal with a colleague, but had been stealing precious moments with her lover – a man she cared for very much. Unable to risk it in light of their work at the SOE, she turned to face Laurence and the hardness in his eyes.

“Major, I’ll be an hour or so longer.”

“Don’t hurry back on my account, ma’am.” His derision cut her to the quick, but she couldn’t ask for understanding. Margaret’s presence forced Adelle to hope her expression communicated that this wasn’t a rejection

* * *

“I didn’t expect you just yet, Laurence.”

Dominic shrugged at Judith, . In polite society, a man didn’t fantasize about taking his fist to an incredibly rude woman’s nose. He and Adelle rarely went out and Lady Bashford had damn well taken her from him. It wasn’t right or fair and he wasn’t going to stand for it, if only he knew how to avoid a repeat of tonight’s performance.

“Laurence? Are you all right?”

“I’m fine. Has anything come in?”

“Two communiqués from Madeline,” she said, offering him the documents.

Too angry to read, he asked, “Anything of note?”

Judith’s widening eyes nearly made him smile, but Dominic wasn’t ready to do that yet. “Caroline thinks she knows where Alpha is holed up.”

“Really? Where?”


“Jesus fucking Christ.” Judith’s small gasp recalled him to himself. “I’m sorry for my language. Adelle predicted Alpha wouldn’t stay in France when an invasion was imminent, but why would he go into the belly of the beast?”

“To join the SS.”

“I’ll be damned.” Going to Luigi’s to drop this bombshell appealed to Dominic.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Laurence?” Judith asked, voice small and plaintive.

“I didn’t know Alpha went off to join the SS.”

She shook her head. “About you and Adelle. That you’d become lovers.”

“Who said we’re lovers?”

“Adelle told Captain Devon that you must have a very good reason for keeping your lady secret and you never once mentioned seeing someone seriously to me. Those facts add up to you being together.” She took his hand. “Is your association so improper?”

He thought briefly about lying, but Judith had befriended him when it seemed like no one at the SOE would. “It would be viewed as unprofessional and all of the repercussions would inure to Adelle.”

“I won’t disclose anything you’ve divulged, Laurence. You know that.”

“I appreciate your discretion. Hell, you cheered me on from the beginning and I felt badly about not being able to let you know about us.” Unable to find another outlet for his excess energy, he grabbed her by the shoulders. “Judith, I just … want to be able to be with her in public sometimes, however discreetly.” The raw memory scraped against his psyche. “I want Margaret Bashford to choke on her own vomit.”

Judith look alarmed. “What does Lady Bashford have to do with this?”



Her stern tone coaxed a small smile from his lips, surprising the hell out of him. “Adelle and I spent time together tonight. Her friend appeared out of the fog and hauled Adelle off for drinks, making it perfectly clear I wasn’t welcome, and I couldn’t tell her to shove off, because Adelle and I were headed here for a little while and then to her flat where I’d do my damnedest to make her scream. I can’t tell my friends. I can’t tell my family. I’m in love and nobody knows it but you … and Adelle.”

Judith stomped her foot. “You’re angry and hurt because, I’m guessing, her behavior changed - she started referring to you as Major Dominic rather than Laurence and who knows what else. Tell her how that made you feel.”

“It just goes to show I’m not good enough—.”

“Stop that nonsense this instant!” Judith stepped closer than she ever had other than the one day he did his best to forget. “Adelle has decreed you good enough by taking you into her bed. Who are you, I or anyone else to say different?”

“Yeah, I’m fine for in the dark watching war news. I’m ok for restaurants where she doesn’t think anyone will recognize us. I’m good for work and her flat, but the moment, the very moment, someone from her past emerges, I’m the fucking help. I can’t stand it. I won’t. I damn well won’t.” Hoping Judith could understand, he said, “But I don’t know what I can actually do, because I need her. Hell, I practically asked her to marry me once the war is over.”

“You did?” The squeak in Judith’s voice made him laugh.

“She said no in a really polite way.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“Well, I heard her, loud and clear.” Unable to suppress his curiosity, he asked, “Why wouldn’t you believe it?”

“There are at least a hundred things the two of you do that show exactly how you feel about each other.” Smiling, she elaborated. “You stand too close to her and she doesn’t mind. Your hand is nearly always on the small of her back when the two of you are walking anywhere. Her hand is on your shoulder, forearm, elbow, upper arm—it doesn’t matter. She’s touching you.” Emulating Adelle, evidently, by putting her hand on his shoulder, Judith said, “She isn’t tactile, Laurence.”

“She certainly is.”

Smiling beatifically, she said, “With you.”

“Should I interrupt drinks with the Alpha news?” he asked, heart pounding in his chest.

“I would.” Judith latched on to Laurence’s upper arm. “Without so much as a glance at Lady Bashford. You can be the dutiful minion and lover at the same time and Margaret will never suspect.”

“I want her to suspect.”

“No, you don’t. She’s impossible. You want Adelle to get the message that you want and deserve better.”

“I’m not sure she could’ve done anything different.”

“She could’ve claimed a crisis in the making and have returned here with you.”

He took a breath. “When did you get to be so wise?”

“I was born this way, Laurence.”

They both laughed and he kissed her on the cheek. “Wish me luck.”

“You don’t need it.”

Dominic pondered the strange turns his life had taken as he walked back to Luigi’s. He’d never met anyone who tied him in knots like Adelle or who both pushed and pulled him as Judith did. Accepting those things, he wouldn’t have dreamed he’d like it. Arriving at the restaurant, he took a breath and stared at the open sign. When an older couple exited and the man graciously held the door, Dominic smiled, nodded and entered.

“Are you looking for someone, Major?” asked an employee, as if Dominic’s darting eyes hadn’t been a dead giveaway.

“Lady Bashford’s table,” he mumbled.

The man brightened. “Right this way.” Dominic followed, readying himself. “Here you are, sir.” Margaret Bashford, an elegant older man, Adelle and a guy Dominic didn’t like the looks of sat at the table.

“Ma’am,” he said, focused on Adelle, “there’s been a development.”

“Excuse me, Margaret.” Adelle stood and he steered her outside, ignoring Lady Bashford’s numerous protests.

“I’m sorry, Laurence,” she said, kissing him quickly. “Margaret didn’t give me room to maneuver. I know I ruined our evening. For what it’s worth, I’ve missed you every second.”

“You didn’t have to go with her.”

“Yes, I did,” she sighed. “You don’t know Margaret.”

“I know you and how strong you are. You went because you chose to.” Adelle’s eyes widened farther than Judith’s, which Dominic would’ve bet impossible. Shifting gears, he said, “Alpha’s joined the SS.”

“My God.”

“Pretty much.”

“Wait here. I’ll take my leave and accompany you back to Baker Street.”

* * *

The journey back to Baker Street hurt. They couldn’t discuss the situation with Alpha and Adelle accepted that her furious and upset companion wouldn’t discuss what had transpired between them.

He obviously viewed her actions as a rejection, but that hadn’t been her intention. Their relationship was secret out of necessity, not because she was ashamed of him. In fact, she was fiercely proud of this man, of what he had accomplished to date and what she knew he would achieve in the future.

For all of the languages at her command, she lacked the vocabulary to express her feelings and the single word he had used so easily would not come to her. She couldn’t speak it in English any more than in she could in French or Russian and now she had hurt him by her actions as well.

Telling herself she had more important matters to attend to than her personal relationship with Laurence didn’t help; their lives were entangled on so many levels that it was impossible to draw a line. She needed to try and get him to see her genuine sorrow.

Judith waited, watching them anxiously, picking up on their tension. Adelle cursed herself for allowing this to happen and summoned what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “Thank you for waiting, Judith,” she said, striving for calm and professional, “You can go home now.”

When they were alone, Laurence turned away. “The intel is in your office; I’ll leave you to read it.”

Reaching out to catch his arm, she said, “I am sorry, truly. I didn’t intend to desert you like that, but Margaret is my friend.”

“You have lousy taste in friends, Adelle.”

“That may be true, but I’m not so well endowed with them that I can afford to lose one. I don’t have your ability to make friends. I’ve always been too clever, too different, unwomanly. I’ve made decisions I regret because I had no one to turn to. For all her faults, Margaret has always been incredibly kind and generous to me; when she didn’t have to be, when no one else was.” Not wanting him to witness how upset she was, Adelle returned to what she knew. “I need to read the messages and check some other intelligence. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts – in an hour or so.”

“Yes ma’am.” She sighed at his need for distance but didn’t resist when he pulled out of her grasp.

She had no way of checking whether Alpha really was in Berlin. Her priority had to be preventing Caroline from heading there in his wake. It would be suicide and Caroline’s skills were needed in France, but it might not be easy to convince her of that.

Laurence looked up as she opened the door to his office. “Well?” he growled, clearly still angry. Tired of it all, she misliked her idea to change things for the better.

Squeezing herself into the small space, she rounded his desk and placed her hand on his shoulder. “I wish the SS well of Alpha. May he turn out to be more of a curse than they realise.”

“He’s a killing machine. He’ll be at home with them.”

“Alpha’s a sadist,” she said, leaning forward, speaking quietly as she pressed her body gently into his. “He lives to kill and though he will eliminate whoever he needs to, what he really enjoys is killing the people who trust him. He’ll turn on the SS, just as he turned on us.” She sighed, her chest rising and falling against Dominic. “Our task is to convince Caroline not to follow his trail to Berlin.” He lifted his head, looking startled at her proximity. His breath caught and he looked away, but not before she’d seen the hint of desire in his eyes.

“She has to stay,” he said firmly. “I know we agreed she could go after him, but Berlin is off limits right now.”

“I agree.” Adelle stroked her hand down his arm, trailing her fingertips over his hand and sighed, “But Caroline might not.”

“Stop.” His voice lacked conviction and she shook her head. “We agreed nothing would happen here. Hell, actually that was your rule and—”

“Sometimes I break rules,” she replied, “even when I am the one who made them.” Staring into his dilated pupils, she carried on stimulating him, intrigued by his struggle against his response. “I like to touch you,” she murmured, daring him to doubt her. “I like stroking your back,” she continued, matching her words and actions, “feeling how strong you are. Sometimes when you’re sleeping, I stroke the line of your flank and kiss the back of your neck. You make a sound, hovering between a sigh and a snuffle, and all I want to do is wrap you up in the sheets, lock the doors and tell the world to go to hell.” He closed his eyes, tightening his hand into a fist, exposing the chink in his armour. “Stop fighting,” she murmured into his ear.

* * *

“I don’t want to,” Laurence Dominic muttered as he stood and spun around to face her. Backing up a half step, he collided with his desk. Adelle smiled at his wince. “I’m angry.”

She placed her hand on his chest, slipping her forefinger between two shirt buttons to stroke the T-shirt he wore beneath. “You’d rather fight than indulge my desire to touch you, Laurence? You’re an uncommon man.”

“No,” he said, frowning as she sighed resignedly. “I wouldn’t rather fight. I … I just …” He took a deep breath and tried again. “I’m mad and I have a right to be.”

Abandoning his chest to stroke his cheek, she said, “I’ve been told anger, or even rage, doesn’t diminish the male sex drive.”

Her low tone slithered into his ear, taunting even as her touch tempted. “It doesn’t,” he admitted, “but I can’t stay mad at a woman, if I have sex with her.”

“I suspected that about you,” she said, as she planted a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth.

“So you’re trying to seduce me in order to avoid an argument about how you treat me in public, if anyone you know crosses our path?”

They faced each other and the moment dragged out and became increasingly charged. “Partly,” she said. “and also because I don’t want you to be angry with me anymore. Mostly, because I thought about having you the entire time I sipped cocktails this evening.” Toying with his shirt buttons, she said, “I carefully considered how I might make up for lost time.”

Dominic put his hands on her shoulders. “I don’t want sex with me to be … obligatory for you.”

“It isn’t.” Stepping inside the perimeter he’d established with his hands, Adelle laid a trail of kisses along the line of his throat. She shifted his collar to permit her to terminate the journey where his neck met his shoulder. He shivered when her teeth grazed his skin. “I could have chosen to vigorously defend my actions, thereby sparking an argument and allowing you to vent your anger,” she murmured. “I believe it more productive and far more enjoyable to channel the emotion in a more physical manner.”

“I know there weren’t a lot of options for you tonight,” he said, before drowning in expressive, more than slightly mischievous green eyes. “But it felt like you were agreeing with her, Adelle. That I’m just some lackey you order around.” Ire rising, he growled, “A warm body that pays for sex on a routine basis.”

“Laurence, I would certainly never agree—.”

“What else do you think the ‘he knows his way around the back streets’ comment meant?”

“It was meant exactly as you’ve interpreted it. The point I’m making is that I couldn’t possibly agree with her, because I know full well it isn’t true.” She framed his face with her palms. “You are no lackey. Judith asked me once if you were meant for great things. You are and deservedly so.”

“God, I just wanted to tangle my hands in your hair, kiss you breathless and let her chew on that for a while.”

“Do it now.”

“If I do, we’ll end up having sex with you sitting on top of that filing cabinet,” he said, gesturing behind her. “It’s the only way it’ll be remotely comfortable.”

Adelle laughed and Dominic couldn’t help but smile. “I see you’ve given this some thought.”

“The accommodations aren’t luxurious.” Her unguarded happy smile relaxed him and he felt his negativity slipping away. “Speaking of which, Judith knows.”

“About us?”

“I love that I don’t have to spell everything out for you. You have no idea how good that feels, Adelle.”

“Your work with Colonel Harding is undoubtedly trying.” Dominic froze. “Laurence? Were you not speaking of him?”

For the second time that evening, Dominic thought about lying to a woman he cared about. Since he hadn’t with Judith, he couldn’t with Adelle. “It’s a long boring story.” Adelle looked expectant and the words simply flowed. “A few years out of West Point, I met Ellen.” When he failed to elaborate, Adelle kissed him, lips moving tantalizingly against his, body following suit.

“Tell me,” she whispered, running her tongue along his bottom lip while gripping his ass with both hands to force even more intimate contact.

“Her father’s a general. Her mom’s a nurse. Ellen was the centerpiece of their picture perfect life.”

Adelle shifted to his side and Dominic put his arm around her. “Is she quite beautiful?”

“She’s pretty, knows how to keep a home and be a hostess but, God, she couldn’t make a decision to save her life.”

“Sounds perfect for an up and coming Army man.”

“My sister thought she was spectacular. My mom didn’t like her at all.” He sighed.

“Did your relationship have a sexual component?”

“I was her first and that didn’t go all that well. In retrospect, I understand she wasn’t ready, but she was such a damn tease, I ... Jesus, you don’t need to hear this.”

“I’m fascinated.”

“I tried to love her, but it was so exhausting just being with her sometimes. Ellen had so many questions about everything and vacillated forever.” Spearing Adelle with an intense gaze, he said, “Despite that, I would’ve married her, if someone else didn’t ask first.”

“Someone else asked first, because you didn’t truly want to marry her.”

Her observation felt right. Stunned, he said, “Maybe so.”

“Kiss me, gently to let me know you aren’t still angry.” Realizing he wasn’t, Dominic cupped Adelle’s throat very lightly in his right hand and kissed her according to her specifications. “I think I would’ve enjoyed knowing the wise young man who let the general’s daughter slip away.”

“Didn’t feel wise at the time. She swore to her parents and to the idiot who proposed she was still a virgin. I couldn’t believe it. She looked them all straight in the eye and lied. I didn’t know Ellen had it in her.”

“She wanted a husband. Most women will do what they deem necessary to attain one.”

“And you don’t want one at all,” he said. “How did I draw the short straw?”

“Are you quite certain that’s what you’ve done?”

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That was so good!

I love that Judith finally knows, I loved that Dom got to re-enact his briefing fantasy and that Adelle and Dom are finally working out their problems relationship-wise. Plus, Oh hell, Alpha joined the SS. That is all sorts of scary.

I'm so excited for the next update.

Where else could Alpha be than in the SS? That being said, we got a little scared by the idea too.

Glad you enjoyed and, yes, Judith had to eventually know (but Dom and Adelle had to be discrete as well, so it got convoluted).

Fantasies becoming realities are good! Working out problems would fall into that category too, if there weren't complications in the offing.

Will post again ASAP, but spring break and visiting ailing relatives beckons.

I love that we finally got to meet Harry. He was a bit hard, but I liked Dom's advice to him. :D

Oh and that scene in the meeting. Oh my!

And yes, I'm so glad they're finally getting it on in his office. LOL. I was waiting for when that'd happen.

Bloody brilliant as always!

Harry was a bit overwhelmed by seeing Judith in this environment. I think that's part of his hardness/stiffness. I think Dom gave good advice.

I loved that morgan72uk indulged my need to have the scene in the meeting. It was fun.

Dom had thought the office meets sex thing through. Good for him. Pays to be prepared.

Thank you so much for your kind words. Something this long needs a few nurturing comments.

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