Part 25: link


    “I’m sorry, Mr. Pendragon, I don’t know if I’ll be able to show those houses to you and your wife,” the realtor’s voice says over the phone. It’s clear he’s not exactly excited about speaking with Arthur.
    “Would you care to be a little more specific, Mr. Borden?” Arthur asks.
    “Well, it’s a problem of… neighborhoods, you see…” he starts uncomfortably.
    “Not any clearer.”
    “May I be blunt with you?” he finally says.
    “Please do,” Arthur sighs.
    “Those houses are all in, um, white neighborhoods, Mr. Pendragon.”
    “And?” I thought he was going to be blunt.
    “And if the neighbors see me showing their houses to the two of you, they may not like it…”
    “And, what, they put their houses up for sale? Sounds like you can only benefit from that situation, Julius.”
    “I’m sorry, my boss is advising against it.”
    “So find me some houses in colored neighborhoods,” Arthur suggests.
    “Um…”
    “What’s wrong now?
    “Well, the houses in the colored neighborhoods are… not up to your specifications, sir.”
    Arthur sighs.
    “I’m sorry I can’t help you.”
    “No, it’s not that you can’t help me, it’s that you won’t help me. There is a big difference,” Arthur says icily.
    “Well, you should have thought of these things before you married a colored girl,” Borden says curtly.
    Arthur pulls the handset away from his ear for a moment and stares at it, not believing what he’s just heard. “Listen here. One, you’re fired. I don’t know why my uncle thinks so highly of you, but rest assured that’s gon’ change. And two, the only recommendations you’ll be gettin’ from anyone in my family or in this office will be recommendations to not give you business.”
    He hangs up the phone and goes in search of Gaius.
    “Uncle?”
    “Arthur, my boy… what’s wrong?” Gaius looks up to see Arthur’s face looking like a storm.
    “Julius Borden is a racist piece of trash,” he declares.
    “What?”
    “Says he won’t show Guinevere and me the houses we wanna see because she’s colored.”
    “What?” Gaius is incensed.
    “I fired him and told him he’d be receiving no more recommendations from us.”
    “Good man,” Gaius nods. He goes to his Rolodex, fingers through the cards until he finds the right one. He plucks it from the file, tears it in half, and deposits it in the waste bin.
    Arthur sighs and runs his hand through his hair. “Now I gotta tell Guinevere…” he groans.
    “Good luck,” Gaius says, smiling weakly. “And I’m sorry. I didn’t have any idea.”
    Arthur looks at his watch. 3:30. “Mind if I take off early? I want to clear my head a bit before I talk to Guinevere.”
    “Go ahead,” he nods.
    Arthur drives, deciding to head towards the lake to watch the waves crash on the rocks for a bit. It’s a miserable, cold December day, windy with snow threatening. He parks his car for a bit, watching the choppy gray lake churn, sending up spray after spray as the waves come to shore.
    I wonder… he thinks, sitting bolt upright in the car and shifting it into gear again. He heads up the street, following the lake.
    Guinevere loves the lake.
    The road curves away from the water, and Arthur turns on a street, appropriately called Lake Drive. Then he sees it. Them. For Sale signs in front of nothing but an expanse of grass with the lake beyond.
    He drives slowly, checking out the lots. There are three. He reaches for his briefcase and scribbles down the number on the signs. Then he turns and heads home to his Guinevere, now with good news to follow the bad.

xXx

    “Arthur, you’re home early!” Gwen exclaims when Arthur appears at 4:15 instead of his usual 5:15. She goes over and takes his coat for him. “Can I get you anything? I’m just startin’ on dinner…”
    “Is it something that can hold? I’d like to take you out,” he says.
    “Um, sure,” Gwen says, putting things away that she had just brought out.
    “Come sit with me, darlin’,” he says, patting the couch.
    “We got some more cards today,” she says, hanging her apron back in the pantry cupboard and scooping up the cards to bring to Arthur.
    “Oh really? Who from?”
    She smiles. “Leon and Mithian,” she says. “They sent a check,” she smirks. “Honestly, did none of your friends know about your trust fund?”
    “Just Merlin,” he says, “Which is why we ended up enrolled in the Fruit-of-the-Month club.” He waves his hand in the direction of the box of oranges on the kitchen counter, the selection for December.
    Gwen laughs. “Percy and Vivian,” she says, raising her eyebrows and waving the next card at him. “They sent a package. It’s a toaster,” she giggles.
    Arthur looks at the card, reading the message inside. Congratulations. We wish you much happiness and hope you’ll be back to visit soon. Love, Percy Andersen and Vivian Johanssen. There’s also a crisp new business card inside bearing the name Andersen Paper.
    “They’re gon’ have some pretty blonde babies one day,” Gwen chuckles, taking the card when Arthur hands it back. She looks at him. “What’s on your mind, Baby?” she asks, stroking his cheek with her fingers. “Why’re you home so early?”
    “I talked to the realtor.”
    “Oh?” she asks, puzzled at Arthur’s dark demeanor. Things had sounded so promising when they met with him the day before.
    “He ain’t gonna show us those houses.”
    “Ain’t gonna? Like, he won’t?
    Arthur nods.
    “It’s because of me…” she whispers, frowning, looking down at her fingers.
    “No, Guinevere, don’t say that. This is not your fault at all. Julius Borden and the company he works for are all idiots.”
    “Gaius recommended him… I don’t understand…”
    “Uncle has torn up Borden’s Rolodex card. He’s out of the fold. And we won’t be using his services, obviously.”
    “So what do we do?”
    Arthur takes her hands in his, gently unwinding them from where they were clasped tightly in her lap. He lifts them to his lips and kisses them both. “We build ourselves a house,” he says.
    “Build? Arthur… oh…” she gasps. “Really?”
    He nods, grinning at her now. “Hand me my briefcase, please,” he says.
    She reaches behind her and hands it to him. He opens it and pulls out the number. “I left the office at 3:30 and went for a little drive,” he says, waving the slip of paper in the air. “Would you like to see, or do you trust me? It’s early enough I can still call today…”
    “I trust you, but I kind of want to see…” she says, biting her lip.
    “Guinevere,” he says, leaning forward to kiss her, “there are three lots, and they’re all overlooking the lake.” He says this quietly, against her lips as he kisses her.
    “The lake? The big lake? Lake Michigan?” she exclaims, pulling back. “You mean I’d get to look out my back windows and see the lake any old time I want?”
    He nods, knowing he’s just played his trump card. She throws her arms around his neck, squeezes him tightly, and kisses his cheek before standing suddenly.
    “Where are you going?” he asks.
    “Gettin’ you the phone,” she says, and he laughs.

xXx

    After dinner, Arthur takes her up to where he saw the lots earlier. It’s dark now, but she wanted to see. Arthur keeps a flashlight in his trunk, so he pulls that out and they walk around the frozen ground a bit, looking around.
    “I hope no one calls the police,” Gwen says.
    “Guinevere, there’s no one around at all,” Arthur says, completely unconcerned. He looks up a moment. It’s started to snow, just lightly, softly. Christmas snow, almost, like on a greeting card.
    Gwen has walked a fair distance back, towards the lake. “No beach,” she says. “I wasn’t expectin’ a cliff.”
    “Is that a problem?”
    “Well, it would be nice to have our own little beach, but… I do really like it,” she says, turning towards him.
    Arthur watches her, illuminated by the shaft of weak light from his flashlight, huddled in her parka with snowflakes landing in her hair. He smiles.
    “What?”
    “You look really cute right now, all bundled up, the snow in your hair,” he says quietly, stepping towards her to kiss her cold lips.
    “So do you have a preference?” he asks.
    “For which lot?”
    He nods.
    “Whichever is the biggest,” she grins. “Unless…”
    “What?”
    “Could be buy all three and then build in the middle?” she says, giggling.
    “Well, we could…
    “Arthur, I’m kidding. That would be kind of selfish, wouldn’t it? Hoggin’ up all the lakefront.”
    “Oh. All I could think was, ‘that’s a lot of grass for me to mow.’”
    Gwen laughs. “Let’s get back in the car. I’m cold.”
    “The lake is very cold, you know,” Arthur says. “I remember tryin’ to swim in it a few times. You go under water and it’s so cold it makes your head hurt.”
    “You’re just tryin’ to make me feel better about not havin’ a beach,” Gwen says, climbing back into the car when Arthur opens the door for her.
    “No, it’s the truth, you can ask Morgana if you don’t believe me,” Arthur says once he slides into the driver’s seat. He turns the car on and cranks the heater. “Come over here,” he motions her over and she slides across the seat. “Of course there are beaches for swimmin’ here, and I promise we’ll go next summer and you can judge for yourself,” he says, wrapping his arm around her shoulder.
    “Okay,” Gwen says, resting her head on his shoulder.
    “And there are tons of smaller lakes we could go to that might not be as cold, if you find that Lake Michigan is too cold for your delicate little self,” he teases, leaning down to kiss her forehead. “Maybe we’ll get a boat or something…”
    Gwen looks up at him. “Let’s work on gettin’ a house first, all right?” she asks.
    “Okay,” he agrees, then he kisses her. “So you like the lots?”
    “Mmm-hmm,” she answers, kissing him now. “Call the developer back on Monday and find out which one is the biggest of the three.”
    “Yes, ma’am,” he says, then he catches her lips fully, kissing her thoroughly, wrapping his arms around her.
    They are so wrapped up in each other that they don’t notice that a police car has pulled up and parked behind them until there is a knock at the window.
    “Whoops,” Arthur says, grinning.
    Gwen bites her lip and nervously adjusts her scarf.
    Arthur opens the window. “Sorry, officer, we were just leaving,” he says.
    “That’s right, you were,” the policeman agrees, peering into the car, shining his flashlight back and forth between them. “What’s goin’ on here?”
    “Well, my wife and I were just looking at these lots for sale. We’re fixin’ to buy one and build a house on it, and even though I told her it was too dark to see much, she really wanted to see them, and, well, I guess we got a little carried away here in our excitement over havin’ ourselves a house built.”
    Man can sure talk, Gwen thinks, watching the policeman carefully, trying to not be nervous.
    “Is that so?” the policeman says, skeptical. “You’re married, then?” He raises an eyebrow.
    “For nearly a week, yes,” Arthur says, grinning. “See, rings and everything,” he adds, holding up his left hand and then Gwen’s. “Anything else I can help you with tonight, sir?”
    I would never dream of talkin’ to a cop the way he does, Gwen says.
    “What’s your name, son?”
    “Arthur Pendragon, sir. And this is my wife, Guinevere Pendragon.”
    “Hello,” Gwen says.
    “Pendragon. You related to that lawyer?”
    “I am, and I am a lawyer myself. So I know you can’t be keepin’ us here for no reason, and since I really don’t fancy gettin’ myself a ticket for public urination, I’d appreciate it if you’d let us be on our way home.”
    Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh.
    “Oh. Um, yes, sorry. On your way, then. Good luck with the build,” the officer says, stepping away from the car.
    “Thank you, sir. Have a good night,” Arthur says.
    “You, too, Mr. Pendragon,” the slightly bewildered policeman says as Arthur rolls up his window.
    “What is it with you and the police?” Gwen asks once they are moving again.
    “What do you mean?”
    “The way you talk to them. Like you ain’t afraid of them. Then all of a sudden they’re the ones that are nervous.”
    “I’m not afraid of them. They’re just people.”
    “To you, maybe. Of course, you have no reason to be afraid.”
    “True,” he allows. “I mean, it helps to know the law inside and out, too, but I see your point loud and clear.”
    Gwen looks at him, furrowing her brow yet slightly amused.
    “What?” Arthur asks, seeing the strange look she’s giving him.
    “You see my point loud and clear, Arthur? You can see sounds? Do you smell colors, too?”
    Arthur laughs. “You know what I meant.”

xXx

    “We’ll need to find a builder,” Arthur says, tossing his keys in a dish by the door.
    “Obviously,” Gwen says, pulling her feet out of her shoes, stamping them a little in an attempt to warm them up.
    “Maybe the developer will have a recommendation. I’m a little gun-shy of askin’ Uncle now after the Julius Borden catastrophe,” Arthur says. He hangs up his coat and then takes Gwen’s coat and scarf to hang them up for her.
    “We can ask him. Can’t let one bad apple ruin the whole basket, Baby,” she says, rubbing her arms.
    “You cold, Guinevere?” Arthur asks, pulling her into his arms. She nods, snuggling him. “I can warm you up, you know,” he purrs, nipping her ear.
    “Mmm, I’m counting on it,” she says, lifting her face to his to receive his kiss, immediately open-mouthed, his tongue searching for hers as she winds her arms around his neck.
    His hands go roving, down to the hem of her sweater and back up again, on the inside, splaying his hands on her bare skin.
    “Why are your hands always so warm?” she gasps, pulling her lips away. Arthur just keeps kissing, along her jaw and down her neck.
    “Just lucky, I guess,” he mutters, shoving at her sweater.
    “Arthur, we’re still in the livin’ room,” she whispers.
    “I know,” he says, untroubled. He reaches up blindly, groping for the lock on the door. He finds it and locks the door. “There,” he declares, as if that’s supposed to make her feel better.
    “You’re not goin’ to…” she pauses as he pulls her sweater up over her head, “to take me to the bedroom?”
    “No,” Arthur says, kissing further down, dropping to his knees in front of her to open her jeans.
    Gwen feels his lips press her stomach, placing warm, wet kisses there. She also feels her jeans being pulled down and she realizes that though she is standing in the living room in her underwear, she’s not cold anymore.
    Arthur helps her step out of her jeans and pulls her socks off as well, then he yanks his own clothes off and pulls her down to the sofa with him.
    “On the sofa?” she asks.
    “On the sofa, on the kitchen table, in the shower… again…” Arthur starts ticking off a list.
    “Tonight?” Gwen asks, her eyes growing wide.
    Arthur chuckles. “Maybe not all tonight, but eventually.”
    Gwen giggles, reaching back to help Arthur with the clasp of her bra.
    “Still need to get the hang of that,” he mutters. “Guinevere,” he says, his voice suddenly soft and husky, “surely you know that I want to make love to you anywhere and everywhere I can.” He places soft kisses on her breasts, gently laying her back on the couch.
    “Oh, Arthur…” she sighs, squirming under his attention, his words burning into her, heating her from the inside out. Arthur deftly slides her panties down, slipping them over her shapely legs. He kisses her shin on his way back up, then her knee, then her thigh. Then he pauses.
    Do I dare?
    He decides to go for it, kissing her thigh again, this time more on the inside, gently nudging her legs apart. He kisses the other one now, and she moves her legs, likely thinking he’s going to keep making his way back up.
    “Arthur! Oh Lord…”
    Arthur smiles against her, feeling her hips jerk reflexively against his tongue’s gentle exploration. He hears her hands pound lightly at the couch, looking for something to grab on to, hears the small, sweet cries and whimpers exiting her lips.
    Gwen’s fingers clutch at the cushions as her body arches, Arthur’s tongue sliding around between her legs, circling that small sensitive button, driving her to the brink.
    “Oh…” she moans, feeling the sensations building, her body starting to quiver.
    Arthur kisses her softly one last time, then gently withdraws from her, kissing his way up her body now, settling between her legs as he does so.
    “You stopped…” she gasps.
    “Sorry,” he says, but he is grinning because she liked it. “I… I don’t know how to say it,” he pauses, kissing her, “but I like when we… you know… together.”
    “Oh,” she sighs, understanding. She kisses him deeper, wondering how she got so lucky.
    Gwen reaches down for him, her fingers dancing over his skin before she grasps him. She strokes his length softly a few times before positioning him where they both want him.
    Arthur slides easily into her with a groan, pausing a moment, just joined with his wife while they kiss softly for a few moments. Then he begins to move, slowly at first, building her back up, building both of them together, until she is gasping and writhing again.
    “Ah… oh…” Gwen clutches Arthur’s shoulders, pulling him closer as she winds her legs around him, wrapping herself around him as much as she can and still allow him to move.
    He is thrusting quickly, carrying her with him to the edge, and when she plunges off, crying out his name in a hoarse whisper, he tumbles after with a groan, burying his face in her neck.
    Arthur turns his head and kisses her neck, and she squeezes him.
    “We’re really gettin’ good at this,” he says after a moment.
    Gwen laughs. “Well, we’ve had enough practice now, I think.”
    “Never have enough practice with you, darlin’.”
    Gwen giggles and kisses his forehead because his head is still on her shoulder. “Can we go to the bedroom?” she asks, trying to move a bit.
    “Oh, am I squashin’ you?”
    “A little,” she admits.

xXx

    “Arthur?” Gwen asks, her voice sleepy as she snuggles against him in their bed.
    “Yes?”
    “Can we get a Christmas tree tomorrow?”
    “Of course we can,” he answers, kissing the top of her head. “Do we have any ornaments?”
    “I have some,” she says.
    “Well, we’ll just have to go shopping, then. Gotta deck these halls for our first Christmas together,” he says.
    “Okay,” Gwen says. I have no idea what to get him for Christmas, she thinks.
    I know exactly what I’m going to get her for Christmas, Arthur smiles to himself.

Part 27: link