His Burden

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Chapter Twenty-Three

Waking up to the surrounding sounds and smells of the countryside was as much relaxing as it was an inconvenience. It made leaving the bed that much harder but with Spencer clearly on a mission to destroy his kitchen, I didn’t have much of a choice. The clattering of plates could be heard a mile off, prompting me to hurry into my pyjamas and assess the situation.

“Are you wrecking the place?” I asked, joining him in the kitchen.

With a whisk in one hand and eggs in the other, I couldn’t help but smile. He was shirtless, which was a risk in itself. One splash of oil and he’d be the victim of a fuck-me burn; named after the famous phrase uttered upon receiving one. Whilst they weren’t particularly dangerous, FUCK ME, did they hurt!

“Baby, in order for breakfast in bed to work, you need to be in bed.”

“Is that right?” I asked, hugging him from behind.

I sighed my contentment and kissed each sharp shoulder blade, enjoying myself far too much. He tensed at the action and swung around to offer my lips a clumsy kiss.

“Hmm. Although I must admit, I could use a hand.”

“Struggling?”

He shot me a smirk. “A little. It would seem scrambling eggs is hard when you can’t see.”

I took the spatula from his hand and kissed each of his cheeks, checking on the eggs sizzling away behind him.

“You’ve done a good job so far, Mr. Michaels. These eggs are scrambled to almost-perfection.”

“And by almost-perfection, you mean…”

“Their burnt to shit. Let’s start again.”

He laughed at my abruptness and passed me fresh eggs, kissing my hairline as he went. He was too relaxed to worry about burning breakfast and instead, offered to brew some tea. He set about doing so instantly, leaving me with the task of serving up edible food and slyly appreciating his topless form from afar.

“How are you feeling today?” he asked, gathering two mugs for his cupboard.

“Good, you?”

He set the kettle to boil and slowly made his way towards me, cementing my back to his front.

“I meant how are you feeling? About your mum. About us? We’ve not spoke much about it.”

“Too busy reuniting?” I smiled, leaning further into his embrace before letting slip a small sigh. “I feel okay-ish. Still a little out of sorts but much better now that I have you back.”

“About that…” he began, sauntering back towards the kettle to stop it from progressing.

He’s learning!

“I’ve spoken to Malcom. He knows we’re back together. No more secrets.”

“How did he take it?”

“Fine. He will alert Isabelle’s lawyer later today,” he explained, still formally addressing his ex-wife. “Leila is coming tomorrow. She can’t wait to see you.”

I beamed my response.

“Oh, Spencer, I can’t wait to see her!” I stated, turning off the heat as a sudden thought occurred. “Do you think we could squeeze in a visit to your mum and dad?”

It was obvious he hadn’t been expecting my suggestion and certainly didn’t hide the shock on his face. I hadn’t seen either of them in a while and felt I owed the pair an explanation of sorts.

“Any particular reason why?”

I stalled, thinking through my reply before sharing it.

“Once Alister gets wind of us being back together, he’ll no doubt want to spill the beans on my past. Scott already knows but I’d rather your parents find out from me.”

“You told Scott?”

Again, his shock was prominent.

“Yeah, yesterday when he found out about my mum. He kindly demanded my company for coffee,” I revealed, smiling to myself. “And by kindly, I mean he wouldn’t take no for an answer.”

For a moment, all I got in retort was amusement in the form of a deep chuckle.

“That sounds about right. He was looking out for you then?”

Filling the mugs with boiling hot water, he continued with his manly laughs.

“Per your orders. He told me I was family. I think he approves.”

“He does. Rosalie too,” he smiled, pausing mid action to wince at his words. “By the way, she’s worried about you. She thinks you hate her.”

I proceeded to plate up our scrambled egg and quickly buttered some bread, satisfied once done.

“I don’t hate her. I’ll give her a call,” I suggested, reaching for my phone but soon stopping upon hearing Spencer dishing out some advice.

“Do it later.”

He carefully encouraged me towards his dining room table and upon sitting down, offered me some cutlery.

“How’s your dad and Sam doing?”

“They’re okay. As good as one gets while grieving.”

“And the funeral? It’s all been paid for?” he asked, holding my hand from across the table.

His concern was clearly troubling him.

“Yeah. It was pretty low-key.”

“I wish I could’ve been there.” He squeezed. “For you.”

“I wish you could’ve too. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I thought I was doing us all a favour.”

“I know you did, baby. It’s okay. You’re here now and I’ll look after you,” he promised, fixing me his signature smile. “Can I ask you something?”

His tone turned suddenly serious, forcing me to put down my knife and fork.

“I think I know what you’re going to say.”

“Oh?”

“You’re going to ask how I found last night,” I guessed, strangely unnerved.

“Well? How did you find it?” He smirked, continuing with his food.

I left my seat at the table and eased myself onto his lap, needing his closeness more than ever. Last night was huge, monumental and above all else, exciting. I never expected to feel the way I did. So powerful. So free.

“Wonderful,” I whispered, wrapping both hands around his neck. “I am and always will be your little mouse but I’d like to play your queen again if you’ll let me?”

“I think that can certainly be arranged,” he laughed, popping a hand on each hip. “And in case you’re wondering what the term is, you’re a switch.”

“A what?”

“A switch. You switch from being submissive to a dominant.”

The room fell silent.

“I’m not a dominant though. I enjoyed last night but you were still very much in control.”

“Not towards the end, I wasn’t,” he reminded me, lightly tapping me on the nose.

“Maybe not but I still don’t think one night makes me a switch. I think I prefer being your submissive above everything else.”

“And that’s fine, topolina mia. All I’m saying is keep an open mind. We can slowly explore things and see where it takes us,” he suggested, positioning a slice of bread in between us and encouraging me to take a bite.

He took one at the same time as I did, reminding me of that scene in Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti. Crumbs fell to our knees but we didn’t care. Gatto would no doubt resolve the issue. The thing was part cat, part hoover.

“Are you a switch?” I asked, feeding my curiosity the answers it required.

He shrugged. “Maybe ninety percent dominant, ten percent submissive.”

I let slip a snort. “Good to know.”

I pulled firmly on his hair and threw out an idea I was so sure he’d approve of. “How about we go back upstairs and do a little exploring?”

He offered up a grunt. “I wish we could but we have somewhere to be.”

“We do?” I asked, unaware of such plans.

“Hmm. I’ve arranged for everyone to meet us at the pub in town. I was planning on keeping it a surprise but I can see getting you out of the house may be a struggle.”

I couldn’t believe it. His kindness was overwhelming. “You did that for me?”

He knew I wasn’t able to tell my friends about Mum and likely guessed how hard that was. Him arranging this was so much more than just a simple meet up. It signified his love for me. His dedication.

“That’s the kindest thing anyone has ever done,” I expressed, caressing his jawline. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” He grinned, pecking my lips. “Now, let’s finish eating and perhaps we can share a quick shower?”

~~~~

Upstairs, I showered (accompanied by Spencer) and changed into a pair of thermal leggings and a jumper, aware of February’s brutality. Today was particularly cold out, requiring at least two layers of clothing if I wanted to spare myself from such savagery. Spencer wore his usual jeans and jumper combo. He paired it with brown boots and a waterproof coat, prepared for any eventuality weather wise.

“Will you be my eyes?” he asked, doing our usual bit by the front door.

“Always,” I replied.

He held out his hand for me to take and I did so instantly, feeding my fingers through his. Behind us, I locked up and fired Gatto a quick, “We’ll be back soon, kitty.” surprising us both.

“Admit it, you missed him,” teased Spencer, pulling on my sleeve.

I admitted nothing of the sort. “No comment.”

“HA! That’s a yes!” he snickered, loving every second of this.

I tugged on his hand and led us both down the garden path, towards his local pub. It was a pleasant stroll no more than ten minutes but just what I needed. Often, I required clarity after a traumatic experience and the lush green scenery offered exactly that. The air was crisp, biting at my exposed skin and the sun, surprisingly bright. I had no idea how I’d react to seeing everyone again but knew I would manage it just fine with Spencer by my side. Last night, he described me as being the light in his life but little did he know, he was exactly that for me too. In a world full of wrongs, he was my right. It took a special type of man to come sweeping in and save me from a loneliness I didn’t even know I was suffering from. But low and behold, he did. And I couldn’t have been happier. I thought telling Spencer about Mum would lead to the downfall of our plan but I was wrong. We both were. The idea to break up in the first place was a mistake. We were strongest when together and should’ve been using that to our advantage all along. Fighting separately was stupid and would get us nowhere. Our main priority was getting Leila back and we stood a better chance of that standing side by side. I had been too wrapped up in my need to fix my wrong doings and because of that, I jumped straight to our last resort. I didn’t even stop to question other options. I was blinded by my desperation and suffered tremendously as a result. We both did. I would never forgive myself for putting Spencer through that but if one thing was for certain, I had learned my lesson.

I was lucky enough to find a man who brought out the best in me so why not use that in our fight? I wasn’t perfect and neither was Spencer. Making mistakes was part of what being a parent was. We would likely fuck up and no doubt have days were we felt like the world’s worst role models. But did that make us incapable of looking after Leila? No. It meant we were human and at the end of the day, wasn’t everyone? Neither of us would let any harm come to her whilst in our care and those who truly thought otherwise were wrong. That little girl meant everything to us and getting her back was of utmost importance. She was top priority but that didn’t mean we had to sacrifice our own happiness. We were entitled to be together and to experience love. And we would. Starting now.

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