Title: Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Pairing: Nathan and Kristin romance
Summary: A little holiday matchmaking.
Notes: The poem Nathan reads, “A Divine Rapture” by Francis Quarles. The song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, written by Frank Loesser and performed by K.T. Oslin and Barry Manilow.
“That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” Nathan Bridger scowled across the wardroom table at Lieutenant Krieg.
“Come on, sir! It will be fun! Morale is my job after all. If the UEO is going to throw us this big Christmas party we should at least try to enjoy ourselves!”
“But that!?!” Nathan’s face grew darker.
“Captain, I’ve heard you complain about ‘boring official functions’ too many times to believe that you are really opposed to Ben’s attempt to liven things up a bit,” Doctor Kristin Westphalen stared at him over the reading glasses perched on the end of her nose.
“I don’t like official functions… why do we have to do anything at all? How many people are going to be willing to get up in front of their colleagues and make fools of themselves anyway?”
“So, that’s it!” Kristin tugged her glasses off and tossed them on the table. “You’re afraid YOU might have to get onstage and make a fool of yourself. What an excellent idea!”
“No!” Nathan came out of his chair, hands planted firmly against the table as he leaned over it toward her.
“Yes!” Kristin matched his stance. “As Chief Medical Officer, I fully support the morale officer’s suggestion.”
Nathan looked around the table at his command crew. “I am not going to win this one, am I? Well, I refuse to have anything to do with it.”
“Of course you will,” Kristin laughed in triumph as she sat back down.
“I think that we all should, sir. We can let the crew volunteer but as a show of support I think the entire command crew should participate. We can pair up… draw names and come up with skits or songs or even a magic act. Anything that you want to do.”
“I don’t want to do anything. I don’t intend to do anything. Look, I have to go to that damned conference before the party anyway. That should exempt me.”
“I have to attend that same conference, Captain, and I’m not using it as an excuse. You will participate, you need the relaxation.”
“I see nothing relaxing in this whole hair brained scheme.”
“Captain,” Kristin crossed her arms and stared at Nathan; he experienced a sinking feeling as he finally conceded defeat.
“Well… maybe I could be the MC or something.”
Ben looked up from his quick scribbling. “That’s great, Captain. Why don’t you draw the first name,” he thrust a handful of paper strips at Nathan.
He sighed resignedly and grabbed a slip. “Oh joy, I get to be partnered with Doctor Westphalen!” He announced facetiously.
“You lucky boy,” Kristin retorted, a malicious gleam in her eye. Nathan began to be very worried. “Since you are so excited, I think that we should begin working on our presentation tonight.”
“Flossing your teeth? I happen to know that you are not busy so we will be discussing your participation in the Christmas party. Expect me at eight.”
Nathan shot Ben a ‘you are going to pay for this’ look. Ben grinned and continued his pairings.
Katie was next in line to draw a name and she frowned as she stared at the slip of paper in her hand. “Ben… now how did I know that I was going to draw your name? I think you…” her voice trailed off as Ben cleared his throat and inclined his head toward the captain. “I think you had better have some very good ideas.”
“Oh, honey, you wouldn’t believe some of the ideas I’ve had about you,” Ben quickly moved around the table to avoid Katie’s foot flying at his shin.
“Break it up and pick a name,” he announced to the group of men huddled together in front of him. Lucas glanced up.
“Just a min,” they whispered together a few moments more before breaking apart. “We don’t need to pick. We already have an idea that we are all gonna do together.”
“If I have to be on stage then every damned one of you better be up there too or I will bust you so fast,” Nathan announced to the cadre of smiling males.
“Just so long as the words ‘full monty’ aren’t involved,” Kristin muttered as she raised an eyebrow at the group. Lucas gave her his extra special boyish grin. Tim, Miguel, Crocker and Ford simply sat, unreadable looks on their faces.
“We aren’t saying,” Ford finally announced.
“We should all keep our presentations a secret. Add to the mystery,” Ben stated.
“Like I would be telling you people in advance how I was going to embarrass myself,” Nathan answered.
“Oh no, my dear Captain… embarrassing you is my job!” Kristin smiled sweetly at Nathan as she stood. “Eight o’clock. Be there or I will hunt you down and demand you report for your yearly physical,” Kristin gave Nathan a pointed look and coughed while squeezing her hands together before she pranced out of the room.
Nathan stood and watched her go then turned to Ben. “Well, Mr. Krieg… I hope that you really enjoy this Christmas party because let me promise you that once it is over with I am going to enjoy making your life a living hell.”
Ben wisely kept his mouth shut as Nathan exited the room. Once he was sure the captain was out of range he turned back to the group and punched his fist in the air with a loud ‘Yes’!
“Do you think it worked?” Katie asked, a worried note in her voice.
“Of course it did. Now they will have to spend time together. The more time they spend together the more likely they are to realize what we already know… that they are perfect for each other,” Lucas answered.
“You’re lucky the Captain chose Dr. Westphalen’s name,” Jonathan commented.
“Luck had nothing to do with it!” Ben flashed his patented brilliant smile as he opened his left hand, revealing a fist full of paper strips, each bearing the name of Kristin Westphalen.
Kristin knocked at the door to Nathan’s cabin a second time. “I know you are in there, Captain, so open the door.”
Ben and Lucas hovered around the end of corridor, worried looks on their faces. Finally the door swung open and Kristin stepped through. “Nice try but we are going to discuss this tonight,” they heard her say before the door shut firmly behind her.
“You are absolutely brilliant,” Nathan murmured into her mouth as his body pressed hers against the cool metal. “The perfect excuse to spend all this time together with no one being the wiser.”
“Mmm… but you are going to participate…”
“Even if I do this?” Nathan’s hands had found the fastener to her jeans and opened it so that his hands could creep inside. His palms moved beneath her lacy underwear to cup the firm globes of her rear, his fingers creeping between her thighs to tangle in her damp curls. “I wonder if the crew would ever believe that the aloof Doctor Westphalen wears such sexy lingerie underneath her uniform.”
“Or that their Captain tends to walk around commando,” Kristin replied as her hands insinuated themselves into Nathan’s now open zipper.
“No choice… my underwear has become much too confining over the last few weeks. Ever since you got stuck in that damned hurricane and came back on board with that wet tee shirt clinging to your luscious body.”
“I’m so glad you took it upon yourself to warm me up that night,” Kristin’s warm breath brushed his ear as she moved to nibble his neck, one hand snaking up to shade the viewing window in the door.
Nathan captured her lips in a voracious kiss as his hands pushed her jeans free of her hips. Kristin responded in kind with lips and hands as they staggered toward the bunk, kicking their shoes and pants free as they moved.
“Wait… I think we should talk…” Kristin tried to stop Nathan before the situation could get completely out of hand.
“Stop… NOW?!” Nathan stood before her aghast, naked from the waist down, his rampant erection tenting the bottom of his half-buttoned shirt.
“I think that we should talk about what we are going to do at the party, don’t you?”
“Absolutely,” Nathan pulled Kristin back into his arms. “We should absolutely talk about the party,” his fingers nimbly slipped the buttons of her blouse from their holes.
“Mmm… we don’t have that much time to decide what we are going to do.”
“I know exactly what I’m going to do,” Kristin’s blouse hit the floor. Nathan slid his hands back below her panties to caress her butt cheeks, his head falling forward to run his tongue across the edge of her lacy demi bra.
“Ooh… as much as I love your idea, I don’t think that I like the notion of performing this particular act for your crew. We have to think of something…”
Kristin felt her body fall to the bunk, realizing that somehow Nathan had managed to relieve her of the rest of her apparel. She smiled as he stripped off his shirt then stretched out over her on the bed.
“So… we need to talk about this damned party, huh?” He lowered his hips into her feminine cradle and rocked against her.
Kristin moaned as darts of pleasure shot through her body. “We’ll talk later,” she murmured as she wrapped her arms around him.
“So… what do you think?”
“I think I can’t wait till this damned conference and party is over so that you can spend the whole night here,” Nathan replied, watching as Kristin pulled on her blouse.
“I know, honey,” Kristin said, stepping over to him. She placed her hands on his shoulders and stepped between his spread legs. “I can’t either.”
“I want to sleep the whole night with you in my arms,” Nathan nuzzled her neck, sliding his hands up under her blouse along her bare back.
“Mmm… nowhere else I would rather be,” Kristin told him. “It won’t be like this for much longer.”
“Good,” Nathan pulled back to smile at her. “As for your idea. I like it.”
“Really?” Kristin looked at him carefully. “You’re not just saying that?”
“Kris… haven’t you realized by now that there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you?” Nathan asked. “I love you.”
A brilliant smile lit up her face. “I love you too, my captain.”
They shared a loving kiss before Kristin pulled out of his arms and began buttoning up her blouse.
“I should get going,” she said quietly, tucking her blouse into her jeans. She moved over to the head to quickly check her appearance in the mirror before walking to the cabin door.
Nathan joined her, pulling her back into his arms for another deep kiss. “Sweet dreams, baby,” he whispered against her lips.
“You too,” Kristin whispered back. She stepped out of his arms and opened the door, turning back to wink at him. “You’d better think of something by tomorrow, Captain.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Nathan’s voice followed her out into the corridor. “Why don’t you think of something? I didn’t want to do this in the first place.”
Kristin turned back to face him, catching a glimpse of two sets of eyes peering around the corner as she did. She indicated with her eyes that they had an audience. “Because, Captain… I happen to have a very large needle with your name on it if you don’t.”
“Fine,” Nathan frowned. “I’ll think of something.”
“Good,” Kristin smiled. “Then we’ll meet here again tomorrow. Same time.”
Nathan nodded. “Good night, Doctor.”
“Good night, Captain,” Kristin replied then turned and headed down the corridor.
Nathan looked up at the soft knock on his door and called out for the person to enter. A large smile lit up his face as Kristin walked in, closing the door behind her and shading the window.
“Hi, baby,” Nathan stood and walked over to her. He pulled her into his arms, covering her mouth with his in a welcoming kiss. At her half-hearted response, he pulled back and looked at her. “What’s wrong, Kris?”
Kristin sighed and buried her face in his chest. “Bad day,” she murmured into his shirt. After a couple minutes she pulled back and looked up at him. “Would you be upset if I told you that I wasn’t in the mood to fool around tonight?”
Nathan shook his head. “Of course not,” he told her, leading her over to his bunk to sit. “There’s more to our relationship than just sex…” Nathan flashed her an impish grin. “Even if it is the best sex I’ve ever had in my life.”
Kristin chuckled and smiled tiredly at him, lifting her hand to his cheek. “For me too, sailor.”
“Have you eaten?” Nathan asked.
Kristin nodded. “I grabbed something earlier.”
“So… what do you want to do?”
“Would you hold me?” Kristin asked. “It was just one of those days… and I would like nothing more than to be held in your arms for a while and not have to think about anything outside of this room.”
Nathan smiled and kicked off his shoes. “Of course I’ll hold you,” he told her, climbing up onto the bunk, rearranging and sitting back against the pillows. He held his arms out to her. “Come here, sweetheart.”
Kristin quickly removed her shoes and climbed in to join him, letting Nathan guide her into his lap so that he was cradling her against his chest.
“Comfy?” Nathan asked into her hair.
Kristin shifted. “Not quite,” she shook her head as she sat up, reaching back behind and inside her shirt to unsnap her bra.
Nathan watched with a bemused smile as it went sailing across the room to land on the sextant sitting on his desk. “Good shot,” he shook his head. “How the hell do you women do that?”
“Get that contraption undone so easily and removed without taking your top off?”
“Years of practice,” Kristin grinned and settled back against him with a deep sigh of relief.
“Mmhmm…” Kristin laid her head against his chest; the steady beat of his heart sounding comfortingly in her ear. “Much.”
They snuggled together for quite a while; Nathan rubbing Kristin’s back and stroking her hair while she played with the corner of his shirt, rolling the end between her fingers.
“Wanna talk about it?”
“Not really much to talk about,” Kristin said told him. “I woke up late, which put everything else behind schedule. I think my staff decided that today was the day that they were forgetting how to do the simplest of tasks and on top of all that, I’m crampy and PMSing.”
“Sorry you asked?”
“Nope,” Nathan said, pressing a kiss to her forehead as she tilted her head back to look at him. He gave her a loving smile. “So, what else, other than holding you, can I do for you?”
“No… ooh…” she closed her eyes, laying her hands on her lower abdomen as the muscles there seized up in a strong cramp. When the cramp eased, Kristin buried her face back in his chest.
“That felt painful,” Nathan said, feeling the tension in her body when the cramp hit. “Isn’t there anything you can take for it?”
“I have already…” Kristin answered. “But it’s not working.”
“Is there anything else that can help?”
Kristin lifted her head from his chest again, giving him a thoughtful look then smiled and nodded. “As a matter of fact… there is something you can do.”
“What? I’ll do anything. I hate seeing you in pain.”
Kristin’s smile became affectionate as she shifted in his lap, moving so that she was now sitting between his legs, her back to his chest. “Did you know,” her hands moved to the button on her blue jeans, releasing it and undoing the zipper. “That one of the best… remedies… for cramps is an orgasm?”
“You’re not serious?”
“Oh yes…” Kristin nodded, pushing her pants down off her hips.
Nathan placed his hands over hers, stopping her. “Kris?”
“It’s okay, Nathan…”
“But earlier you said…”
Kristin turned her head back to smile at him. “I know… and I’m still not in the mood for sex. But…” she blushed slightly and laced her fingers with his, pulling his arms around her. “I want to feel your hands on me… touching me…”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh yes…” Kristin tilted back and pressed a kiss to the underside of his chin. “I’m sure. I love your hands, Nathan and what they do to me.”
Nathan smiled as she guided his hands inside her jeans to rest on her lower stomach. “If you’re sure…”
“I’m sure,” Kristin told him.
“Leave your panties on,” he whispered in her ear as she started to push off her pants, the two of them working the denim the rest of the way off her legs and tossing them onto the floor. “Anything you don’t want me to do?”
“Stop,” she answered as he began to gently circle his hands on her stomach. “Don’t stop till I tell you.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Nathan replied, his fingers slipping beneath and running along the band of her panties; teasing the soft curls. “Just lay back and let me take care of you.”
“Mmm…” Kristin settled back against his chest and closed her eyes, concentrating on Nathan’s hands as they caressed her bare flesh.
For several long minutes, Nathan did nothing more than circle her lower abdomen, his fingers gently massaging the tight skin until he felt Kristin’s body relax into his embrace.
“That’s it… relax, baby…” Nathan murmured against her ear as he slipped his hand further beneath her panties, cupping her sex, smiling at the damp curls he encountered. “Feel okay?”
“Mmm… yes… feels wonderful…” Kristin sighed happily. “Don’t stop…”
Nathan nodded and flexed his fingers against her then slowly drew his middle finger up along the line of her lower lips before slipping the long digit between them, finding and pressing softly on the tender pearl of her desire.
“Nath…mmm…” Kristin moaned quietly as a spark of sensation shot up through her body.
Nathan smiled at her response and circled his finger once over her clit before dipping it inside her heat, stroking her slowly in and out then removing the digit to once again rub her swollen flesh.
Kristin’s hands fell to Nathan’s thighs as he repeated his caresses to her tender flesh over and over until her body was vibrating with pleasure. “Oh… yes… that feels so good…” she told him breathlessly, arching beneath his hands. “Nathan… please… please… I… ooh…”
“That’s it, baby…” Nathan urged her, increasing the pressure of his fingers against her. “Give in… let yourself go…” he slipped two fingers inside her, his other hand moving in to circle her clit. “Let go, Kris… I’m here…”
“Na… than… I… oh…” Kristin gasped, her body tightening suddenly and then shuddering against his as an intense orgasm rocketed through her body, followed by another and yet another wave of pleasure.
Nathan’s fingers continued to stroke Kristin, until she lay quiescent in his arms, her hands moving slowly to cover his. “Stop…” she whispered, stilling his movements.
Nathan slipped his fingers out of her body and pulled his hands out of her panties. He brought his hand up to his mouth, slipping the glistening fingers between his lips to clean them off. “Mmm…”
“My sentiments exactly,” Kristin said in a low, husky voice. She shifted back against him, not surprised to feel his arousal pressing against her. “Your turn…” she moved to turn but found herself locked in his embrace. “Nathan?”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“No buts,” Nathan lowered his head and nuzzled her temple. “It’ll go away… tonight was for you.”
“Aah… it’s okay, Kris,” Nathan reassured her, pulling her closer. “Just relax… let me hold you. Nap if you want…”
“I don’t want to nap,” Kristin told him, turning her head back to look at him. “Would you read to me?”
Nathan smiled. “You want me to read to you?”
“Mmhmm…” Kristin nodded. “I love the sound of your voice.”
Nathan chuckled. “What would you like me to read?”
Kristin pointed to the book of poetry on his nightstand.
Nathan reached out and grabbed the book, snagging his reading glasses as he did so. “Anything in particular?”
“No… I just want to listen to you.”
Nathan smiled, leaning closer and pressing a soft kiss to her lips before slipping his glasses on and flipping through the book. “Ah… here we go,” he said upon finding one he wanted. “Ready?”
Nathan cleared his throat and began to read…
“E'EN like two little bank-dividing brooks,
That wash the pebbles with their wanton streams,
And having ranged and search'd a thousand nooks,
Meet both at length in silver-breasted
Where in a greater current they conjoin:
So I my Best-beloved's am; so He is mine.
E'en so we met; and after long pursuit,
E'en so we joined; we both became entire;
No need for either to renew a suit,
For I was flax, and He was flames of fire:
Our firm-united souls did more than twine;
So I my Best-beloved's am; so He is mine.
If all those glittering Monarchs, that command
The servile quarters of this earthly ball,
Should tender in exchange their shares of land,
I would not change my fortunes for them all:
Their wealth is but a counter to my coin:
The world 's but theirs; but my Beloved's mine.”
“That was beautiful,” Kristin murmured, shifting around so that she was lying on her stomach, curled up against his side, her head on his chest above his heart, while her legs straddled his thigh. “Read some more,” she urged, snuggling closer.
Nathan smiled down at her and began reading. After a few more poems, he looked down to see that Kristin was sleeping, a contented smile on her lips. Nathan grinned and closed the book, placing it back on his nightstand; glancing at the time as he did.
It was getting late.
And as loath as he was to disturb her, Nathan knew that he’d have to wake her soon so she could go to her quarters.
But not just yet.
He shifted and pulled her closer, thoroughly enjoying the feel of her in his arms. He would never tire of this and truthfully was looking forward to the conference, if only so that he could sleep the whole night through holding her in his arms.
After what felt like only minutes, but was actually longer, Nathan realized it was time to wake her.
“Kris…” he shook her gently. “Baby… you gotta wake up.”
“Mmm… dowanna…” Kristin muttered, burying her face in his chest. “…nastay here…”
“I want you to stay here too, baby. But you know we can’t do that yet.”
Nathan felt her whole body sigh before she slowly lifted her head and nodded. “I know.”
“Won’t be too much longer,” Nathan said.
“Good,” Kristin replied, shifting her body over his and pressing him back into the pillows. “Because it’s getting harder and harder to leave here every night.”
They smiled then shared a loving kiss before Kristin climbed off him and began to pull her jeans on. “Why did you want me to leave my panties on?”
Nathan grinned. He’d been waiting for her to ask. “Because doing what I did to you was one thing. Seeing myself doing it… watching my fingers move against and inside you…”
Kristin watched his body shudder at the mental image, her eyes drifting down to the very noticeable bulge forming in his pants. She smiled then met his eyes in understanding. “I will make it up to you,” Kristin told him.
“Nothing to make up,” Nathan said. “Trust me, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
Kristin laughed and pulling on her shoes, she moved to the door. “Same time tomorrow?”
“Want me to bring dinner?”
Kristin reached up and cupped his cheek. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Nathan replied, lowering his head to hers for a sweet kiss.
Kristin broke off the kiss then with a tender smile; she left his cabin, closing the door behind her.
Nathan sighed and turned to head for the bathroom and a cold shower when something caught his eye. He walked over to his desk and with a large grin, lifted Kristin’s bra off his sextant. Unable to help himself, he brought the garment up and buried his face in the lace, deeply inhaling her scent.
“Just a few more days,” he told himself, chucking her bra across the room onto his bed before turning and heading into the washroom.
“You are sure that you know what to do?” Nathan asked Jonathan as the two men approached the launching area.
“Yes, sir. We will complete this survey and then proceed
to the naval yard at
“You have my numbers if anything should go wrong? And the conference times?”
“Yes sir,” Jonathan answered again politely.
Nathan started to ask another question but Ford stopped him. “Sir, I feel like I am sixteen years old and being given permission to drive the car on my own for the first time.”
“Captain! If you don’t come on we are going to be late,” Kristin insisted as she began to climb down the ladder. “And you better have packed everything!”
Nathan grinned and patted the bag on his shoulder. “Got the lube and chocolate body paint right here!”
Kristin blushed and glared at Nathan for a moment before smiling sweetly. “And I’ve got the handcuffs… so move it!”
Nathan’s face turned beet red as Kristin’s head disappeared and stifled laughter rumbled through sea deck. “That woman is going to be the death of me… at least Kreig had better hope so because if she isn’t I’m going to kill him for this idea.”
“I am sure that you and Dr. Westphalen will have an excellent performance,” Ford replied with a grin, secretly dying to know what exactly the duo had planned.
“I am sure that I am going to expire of embarrassment. I can’t believe that I agreed to do this. Wait… I didn’t agree. That woman bullied me into it!”
“Captain Bridger!” Kristin’s voice drifted up through the opening.
“You and Dr. Westphalen have been spending a lot of time together preparing, sir. I thought that perhaps the two of you might be getting along a bit better.”
“I get along fine with the woman, except when she is being so bloody-minded… which is most of the time. Kristin Westphalen can be the most exasperating woman I’ve ever met. But,” Nathan conceded grudgingly with a smile on his face, “she is also the most brilliant scientist I’ve ever worked with. And she’s not half bad to look at, either.”
Blue eyes rolled as Nathan heard him self being beckoned yet again. “Barring murder, we shall see you in three days, Mr. Ford.”
The door to the launch clanged loudly as it slammed shut and Nathan turned the lock. “All is secured back here,” he toggled the intercom and informed the pilot. “Give Dr. Westphalen and myself a couple of minutes to get strapped in and we are good to go.”
“Yes, sir. Our travel time is estimated at about an hour. I’ll let you know if we encounter any difficulties.”
Nathan flipped the switch to the off position. “What do you want to bet that Ben or Lucas put him up to this. Who ever drives a launch on a routine delivery with the cockpit door closed?”
Kristin glanced toward the front of the launch to make sure that the door was indeed secure. “Do you think they are listening?”
Nathan quickly scanned a row of buttons and twisted one to the off position. “They aren’t now. We’d better get settled.”
Nathan moved to a corner seat and sat down with a sigh. “Just one more hour…” he murmured.
“You don’t think they’ve discovered us?” Kristin asked as she sat next to him, scooting as close as possible.
“I don’t think so… although we have been under surveillance. They think they have been so clever, forcing us to spend time together…” Nathan snapped the seat belt over Kristin’s waist and pulled it tight, his fingers dipping to trace the curve of her hip as he did so.
“Just one more hour…” Kristin smiled as she mimicked his earlier words. “We wouldn’t want to get caught with our pants down, now would we?”
“Honey, if you tell me that it’s okay for us to make love again I would perform in front of the whole damned crew just to be able to touch you.”
Kristin snickered. “You are going to be performing for the entire crew in just a few days, remember?”
Nathan shot her an evil look as she continued.
“However… I called a friend who works for the conference center. That friend has made sure that our rooms will be next to each other. So once we get this silly introductory gathering over with this evening…”
“We get to spend the entire night in each other’s arms. Oh, baby. I can’t tell you how forward I am looking to that.”
With another quick glance at the door Kristin turned and leaned slightly in to Nathan to brush her lips across his. Nathan’s hands moved to grab her face, holding it to his as his tongue demanded entrance to her mouth. She gave it willingly and their tongues tangled wildly as the launch slid quietly into the silent black ocean.
“Nathan! Glad to see you made it. I was worried that you might suddenly find yourself lost at sea!” Bill pumped his friend’s hand enthusiastically.
“If I could have…” Nathan grumbled beneath his breath but the smile on his face tempered his words. “Good to see you too, Admiral.”
Kristin stood patiently beside Nathan until Noyce was finally forced to acknowledge her. “Doctor Westphalen… welcome.” He held out a stiff hand.
Kristin took his hand and shook, her own equally stiff. “Thank you, Admiral. Now if you gentlemen will excuse me, I would like to freshen up a bit before the boring cocktail party starts,” she moved to the desk to get her key.
“What do you do, Nathan? Just spread your cheerful attitude to everyone you meet?”
“Ha ha!” Nathan said then gestured after Kristin. “I think I’m gonna follow suit and go clean up a little before the party.”
Bill nodded. “Just don’t go getting any ideas about skipping out.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” Nathan said, leaving his friend and heading for the front desk to get his key then following Kristin to their rooms. He stopped with her at the door to her room. “Need any help?”
Kristin turned to see Nathan grinning at her, an impish glint in his eyes. She smiled and leaned closer, placing her hand on his chest. “If I let you… help me… we’ll never make the party.”
“Kind of the idea,” Nathan replied.
“But you love me anyway,” Nathan retorted.
Kristin’s hand moved up to cup his cheek. “Very much.”
Nathan smiled and lowered his head towards Kristin but the sound of voices approaching stopped them. Kristin gave him a wry smile then before he could stop her, she opened her door and slipped into her room.
“Tease,” Nathan called out to her before the door shut on her amused laughter.
Kristin gazed at her appearance one last time in the mirror and smoothing her hands down the front of her dress, she turned, grabbed her purse off the counter and walked towards the door.
She opened it and smiled at the sight of Nathan standing there with his arm raised, about to knock.
“Damn you look gorgeous!” He remarked with obvious approval in his voice.
“Thank you, Na… mmm…”
Before she knew what was happening, Kristin found herself being pushed into her room and backed up against the hotel room door, Nathan’s body pressed tightly to hers as his mouth plundered hers hungrily.
Kristin moaned, dropping her bag as her hands came up to clutch at his waist, responding ardently to Nathan’s kiss. After several long minutes, she broke out of the kiss with a gasp and met his gaze; feeling the heat rise in her body at the passion she saw clouding his blue eyes.
“I’m sorry,” Nathan whispered, resting his forehead against hers. “I couldn’t help myself. You just look so… and it’s felt like forever since I last held or kissed you and I…”
Kristin pressed her finger against his lips. “It’s okay… I needed to feel you too.”
“We have a party to go to…” she told him, keeping her finger over his lips. “But later…” a sensuous smile graced her lips. “Later… is for us.”
“You in my arms all night?” Nathan asked.
“Oh yes…” Kristin nodded.
Nathan’s smile grew. “Then what do you say we go get this damned meet and greet over with?”
“Lead the way, my captain,” Kristin told him.
“One last thing before we go,” Nathan said and before Kristin could protest, he covered her mouth in another deep kiss.
“I was afraid you were going to cut out,” Bill told Nathan again as he handed him a glass.
Nathan sipped the scotch and nodded his approval. “I would have if I thought I could get away. You would have had the owner of this snazzy castle send out the hounds to track me down.”
Bill hooted with laughter. “Mingle a little… play nice. It won’t kill you will it, as a favor to me? Look, even Westphalen is playing along and she is known for her hatred of all things political.”
Nathan turned to look at his CMO with a bland smile on his face, his brain trying to keep his lower extremities from reacting as they normally did when he looked at her. “Kristin Westphalen is not so bad, Bill. She’s really a nice woman and a hell of a good scientist. She makes life… interesting.”
“Mmm… being the unintentional leak of classified information… attempting to outmaneuver a master game player like Reuben Zellar… getting caught in the middle of a class five hurricane. Yep, very interesting.”
“Saving our butts from that giant squid with her quick thinking… finding a cure to the Liberté plague and may I point out that she did more than attempt to outmaneuver Zellar… she succeeded. I hardly think that you can blame her personally for Hurricane Sheila.”
“Sounds like you are becoming Westphalen’s biggest fan,” Bill teased.
“You’re the one who wanted me to be the bridge between
military and science so don’t get at me for admiring
one of the best scientists I’ve ever met.
She’s brilliant. Yes, she can be
very single-minded in pursuit of her research, but then I’ve never met a
scientist who wasn’t. Think
Bill groaned and held his hands up in defeat. “Okay… you are right. I guess I’m just an old sailor who is going to have to learn that things change.”
“We are doing some amazing research on the seaQuest, Bill. The entire science team has been a big asset… Kristin Westphalen most of all.”
“But she’s just so… I suppose that some men might find her beautiful but she seems so cold… emotionless.”
“I think it’s called being professional. I am sure that a woman with her looks has trouble being taken seriously sometimes. What’s wrong? Do you want to bed her? She turn you down?”
Bill stared at Nathan aghast. “What! Of course I don’t want to… Geez, Nathan! Janet would castrate me if I even thought about another woman.”
Nathan smiled and waved across the room at Janet Noyce, who had looked up from her conversation to stare at the two men as if she sensed she was the topic of their discussion. “I don’t think you’d get off that lightly, my friend.”
A sheepish grin crossed Bill’s face as he realized that Nathan was teasing him. “Some days I wonder why I ever dragged you, kicking and screaming, off that island…”
“Some days I wonder that myself but most days… I owe you a big thank you,” an enigmatic smile curved Nathan’s lips. “Ah… I think that is the call for dinner. Moving right along.”
“You just want to get dinner over with so that you can
“And people wonder about your powers of perception. So go get your wife.”
“Go get your chief scientist. The two of you are sitting at our table,” Bill chuckled as he moved toward his wife, feeling Nathan’s glare drilling into his back.
“Can I get you anything else, Captain? Anything at all?” The pretty young waitress batted her eyelashes at Nathan, her invitation obvious to everyone at the table except Nathan.
Nathan smiled kindly. “I would like another cup of coffee, if it isn’t too much trouble.”
“I’ll be right back with that,” the girl hurried away, an extra sway in her hips for Nathan’s benefit, but he didn’t seem to notice.
“Nathan… that girl was coming on to you!” Bill whispered.
“What… no… she’s young enough to be my daughter. She wouldn’t be interested in an old man like me.”
“That’s rubbish, Nathan. You are a very handsome man. Any woman would be interested in you,” Janet spoke up. “Don’t you think so, Kristin?”
Kristin nodded absently. “I suppose that the captain is attractive… in a rugged sort of way. He’s also fairly well known… a celebrity of sorts. Yes, I think the child was coming on to him.”
Nathan swallowed hard at the feather light touch that brushed over his crotch. His response was immediate. Then he realized that Kristin was checking to see if the waitress had caused a reaction. He turned to Kristin, sitting at his right and stared. “Thank you for your honest assessment of my charms, Doctor,” he widened his legs and lifted his growing erection into her touch.
Kristin smiled, her hand cupping him for a moment before moving back to her own lap. “You’re welcome, Captain.”
“Here’s your coffee, Captain,” the waitress appeared at Nathan’s side again, the steaming cup in her hand.
“Thank you,” Nathan replied, frowning slightly as she brushed up against him to place the cup on the table. He glanced at Kristin to see a bemused smile touching her lips.
Ignoring the retreating waitress, the group began to talk over coffee until all the tables in the room had been cleared away and soft music began to drift across the room. Slowly, various couples began moving out onto the small dance floor.
Taking a sip of his coffee, Nathan chanced a look at Kristin to see her doing the same.
~ If I could… ~ his eyes told her. ~ I’d have you in my arms right now… ~
~ I know, ~ her eyes replied.
~ Later, ~ he promised her silently.
Small smiles graced both their lips and they turned to watch the couples swaying about to the music. A movement out of the corner of his eye caught Nathan’s attention and he turned to see Bill standing and reaching out a hand to his wife. He smiled.
“You could always ask the good doctor to dance,” Janet said to Nathan as Bill led her away.
Nathan met Kristin’s eyes and he grinned, holding his hand out to her. “So, you up for a spin around the dance floor?”
Kristin glanced around. “Are you sure?”
“Oh yes,” Nathan replied, pulling her up beside him and out onto the dance floor. He pulled her into his arms; not as close as he would have liked, but close enough that he could feel the heat of her body against his. “Besides, Janet told us to.”
Kristin laughed softly as she lightly stroked her fingers up and down the back of his neck, moving effortlessly with him. “Mmm… you’re pretty good on your feet, my captain.”
“How does this compare to our horizontal dancing?”
Kristin smiled brilliantly at him, shifting in his arms and pressing her body against his for a moment. Her lips brushed his ear. “No comparison. Your skills in the bedroom are unparalleled.”
Nathan grinned as she once again put a small distance between them and they continued to sway to the music. Before too long the song ended, and with a heavy sigh, Nathan released her and led her back to their table.
“Soon…” he heard her whisper and smiled.
A small yawn escaped from behind Kristin’s hand. “Oh, forgive me,” she told her table companions. “Late night last night.”
“Maybe you should turn in,” Janet said as Kristin yawned again.
“I think you’re right,” Kristin nodded, slowly pushing her chair back. “If you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll head back to my room.”
“Will we see you tomorrow for breakfast?” Janet asked; having liked Kristin from the moment they sat down for dinner.
“I would like that,” Kristin smiled at Janet, then turned to Nathan. “And, Captain, please try not to make too much noise when you finally turn in.”
“I’ll try,” Nathan told her; biting back a smile at the humour he saw swimming her eyes.
“Good night, all,” Kristin said then grabbed her purse and left the hall.
“What was that about making noise?”
“Oh… our rooms are right next to each other,” Nathan answered his friend’s question, taking a sip of his coffee and surreptitiously peeking at his watch. “So, how long is this conference tomorrow supposed to last?”
Thirty minutes later, having finally made his escape, Nathan made his way down the corridor towards his room. He paused outside Kristin’s door for a moment then quickly hurried to his room to change before trying to sneak into her room.
Unlocking the door, he stepped into the room and stopped as something hit him square in the chest. He caught the projectile before it could fall to the floor and grinned at the scrap of black lace in his hand as he lifted his eyes towards his bed.
Nathan groaned, his body responding immediately to the sight before him.
The lights in the room had been dimmed; the blankets on the large bed had been turned down, and in the middle of his bed… Kristin lay reclining back on her arms, her long bare legs peeking out of the strategically placed sheet draped over her very obviously naked body.
“You going to stand there all night,” Kristin shifted a little, bending one leg and causing the sheet to slip down off her breasts. She smiled at his sharp intake of breath. “Or…”
“Definitely or…” Nathan said, lifting her panties to his face and inhaling deeply before lowering his hand and quickly beginning to remove his uniform.
With each step he took towards the bed, Nathan dropped a piece of clothing to the floor, his eyes never leaving hers. By the time he reached the bed, he was as naked as Kristin.
Kristin sat up when Nathan knelt on the bed before her, straddling her outstretched leg and leaning over her as she eagerly reached for him, pulling him against her.
Their mouths came together in a searing kiss, lips parting and tongues tangling as they tumbled back onto the bed.
“Ooh… I’ve missed you…” Kristin moaned into his mouth, relishing the feel of Nathan’s body on hers and his bare chest rubbing against her breasts.
“I’ve missed you too,” Nathan murmured against her skin as he broke off their kiss, moving his lips in a fiery trail down her jaw and over her throat to her breasts; capturing a hard, rosy peak between his lips.
“Nath… mmm…” Kristin arched beneath him, one hand clutching his ass, the other holding his head to her chest.
“Just let me grab Captain Bridger and we’ll be right down.”
“Nooo…” Nathan groaned, releasing her nipple and raising his head to look at the door. “I’ll kill him…”
“Did you lock…”
“Oh shit!” Nathan exclaimed as the knob began to turn. He looked at Kristin who suddenly pushed on his shoulder, knocking him onto his back.
They heard Bill’s laughter through the now slightly open door followed by the muted laughter of whomever he was talking with.
“Get rid of him…” Kristin whispered hoarsely, reaching out to grab the blankets.
“Trust me…” with that, she scooted down, laid her head on his stomach and yanked the blankets up over her head while cuddling up as close to him as she could.
Nathan pulled the blankets up his chest, bending his left leg and tenting the covers while Kristin wrapped hers around his right just as Bill swung the door open.
“Nathan, there’s…” Bill stopped mid-step. “What the hell are you doing in bed already? You only just left twenty minutes ago!”
“What can I say, I’m tired,” Nathan responded with a yawn then looked up at his friend. “What do you want, Bill? And haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”
“Oh, sorry about that… but I honestly didn’t think you would be in bed already. As for the door… I’m surprised it wasn’t locked,” Bill replied, glancing back at the door then back at Nathan. “You went to bed without locking your door?”
“What do you want, Bill?” Nathan asked again, feeling Kristin move against him.
“Oh yes… some of guys have put together a poker game and…”
Nathan shifted slightly as he listened to Bill drone on about the public relations value of participating in the hastily organized game, more conscious of the wet curls that he could feel pressing into his calf.
“Bill, I’m really tired and…”
“Oh come on, Nathan. You could use some rest and relaxation. A good poker game is just the thing…”
Nathan felt warm air flow around his rock solid shaft and knew what was going to happen just an instant before it actually did. The moan that escaped his mouth as Kristin’s wet lips locked around him stopped Bill’s words.
“…you okay, Nathan? You look funny.”
Nathan moved his hand over the heavy down comforter, trying to convince Kristin to stop but she was enjoying herself far too much. His eyes bulged when he felt her hips rock against his calf, coating it with her moisture.
“I’m fine, Bill. I just need to get some rest,” he moved his knee in, changing the angle of the tenting so that Kristin’s movements were better covered.
“Are you sure? Maybe I should go get Dr. Westphalen.”
Nathan felt rather than heard Kristin’s chuckle as it reverberated through the erection she had buried in her mouth. Her fingers slid down between his legs to lightly caress his tight sacs, reminding him that he had more important things to do than talk with Bill.
“I don’t need Westphalen, Bill. And I don’t need to play poker.”
“Well… if you are sure… what!?!” Bill caught himself as he stumbled, sticking a hand down to break his fall. “I don’t remember you being such a slob. The way your clothes are thrown around the room you’d think that you…” Noyce’s voice trailed off as he stared at the garment he’d stumbled over and that he now held in his hand. His eyes cut from the black lace thong adorned with candy canes to the tent in Nathan’s bed.
“You… NO!” At that moment a decidedly feminine giggle drifted quietly from beneath the covers and Nathan’s hips jerked up involuntarily.
“I don’t mean to be rude but do you think that you could…” Nathan flicked his fingers at the door. “And lock it on the way out.”
“The waitress, huh?” Bill mouthed at Nathan, an amused grin plastered across his face.
“GET OUT!” Nathan’s body jerked off the bed again as he yelled at his friend.
“Better keep the noise down. Dr. Westphalen will be furious if you wake her up,” Bill flipped the lock on the door as he stepped into the hallway and pulled it firmly shut, laughter finally escaping as he shook his head in awe of his best friend. “Didn’t notice, my ass!”
Nathan groaned in protest as Kristin’s warm mouth released him. Her head popped out from beneath the covers to stare at him with amusement. “So… you don’t need me… I guess I’ll just make my way back to my own room then,” she shrieked as Nathan’s arms locked around her waist. “Unless… you would like for me to continue what I was doing?”
“Oh, sweethear! You are so evil for doing that to me… with Bill standing right there! Do you realize how close I was?”
Kristin smiled wickedly. “Do you realize how close I am? Why don’t you let me finish? I believe that I owe you,” her words broke off as Nathan threw her back to the mattress and climbed on top of her.
“Mmm… later… right now I want to be inside you. I’ve missed you so much these last few days.”
With those words Nathan positioned his hard member and slowly buried himself within her warm depths.
Bill reached out to punch the down button to summon the elevator and swore when he realized that he still held the lacy black panties in his hand. He turned and walked back down the long hall toward Nathan’s room, shoving the cloth into his pocket when he heard another door along the way open. Once he reached his destination he stood in front of the door a moment debating his options.
~ I can shove them under the door… or hang them on the doorknob… no, Nathan would kill me for that… oh well, best get it over with. ~ He raised his hand resolutely as he fisted his fingers.
His hand was a millisecond away from contact when a loud, distinctly feminine moan stopped him, a moan of completion. He turned and moved away from the door as fast as he could.
“Oh GOD! NATHAN!” Kristin’s body convulsed as Nathan’s hard thrusts pushed her over the edge. Her nails dug into the flesh of his shoulders as he continued to move against her, prolonging her release as he strove for his own. He came suddenly, his essence rising from his heavy balls through his shaft to spew out in heavy jets. The warmth of his semen bathing her womb brought Kristin to her peak yet again and their bodies rocked together as they slowly floated back to earth.
Janet Noyce looked up in surprise as her husband came through the door of their room. “I thought that you and Nathan were going to pull an all-nighter schmoozing the money men at some big poker game.”
The grin on Bill’s face told his wife that he had news he was dying to tell her. He didn’t disappoint.
“I went to get Nathan, walked in his room and found him already in bed. He’s gonna be pulling an all-nighter all right but not at the poker game.”
“The waitress from dinner that he said he didn’t notice… she was there.”
“You saw her? What did you do? Just barge in?”
“The door wasn’t locked,” Bill answered defensively. “And I didn’t see her… exactly.”
“Then how do you know it was the waitress?”
“Who else could it be? He was charming her right in front of us!”
“Bill, if you didn’t see anyone how do you know that Nathan wasn’t alone?”
“Because both of his hands were on top of the covers but there was some definite movement going on underneath. Then there was the female giggle… and these,” he pulled his hand out of his pocket and showed Janet the panties. “Definitely not Nathan’s size.”
“William Noyce! You stole the woman’s panties!”
“It was an accident, I swear! I tripped over them and I picked them up as I was untangling my feet. That’s when I realized that Nathan wasn’t alone, that the waitress was there with him. I just forgot to drop them. I went to take them back but… I decided it best that I not interrupt. Maybe you could return them to her tomorrow.”
“And what if they don’t belong to the waitress?”
“Who else could they belong to? Nathan hasn’t had time to score with anyone else. Did you see him with someone at the cocktail party?”
“No… he spent most of the evening with us… and Dr. Westphalen.”
“See! It has to be the waitress!”
Janet shook her head in amazement. ~ What is this man I married… blind? ~
“What was that look for?”
“Oh… I was just wondering how anyone could actually wear those things.”
“Well…” Bill leered at his wife. “I think you’d look damn sexy in them.”
“Mmm…” Kristin sighed happily, stretching out over Nathan as he rolled onto his back, taking care to hold his length inside her body. “That was… wonderful.”
Nathan reached up to brush her hair out of her face. “Yes, it was.”
Kristin smiled down at him as she lowered her mouth to brush a soft kiss over his lips before settling more comfortably against him, propping her chin up on her elbows.
“So… not that I’m complaining,” Nathan said, trailing his hands lightly up and down her back. “But how did you get in here?”
“See that,” Kristin pointed over to a door in the east wall of the room.
“It connects to my room,” Kristin told him. “Told you I have friends.”
Nathan grinned, shifting beneath her and pulling her closer. “Remind me to send your friend a thank you note.”
Kristin laughed softly, dipping her head and nuzzling his skin. “I already did.”
“Good,” Nathan replied, lifting his head to nibble on her shoulder, his hands sliding down to massage the globes of her rear. “Now… how about we get back to the business at hand?”
“And that would be?” Kristin asked, raising her head and giving him an impish grin.
“Making love properly this time,” Nathan told her.
“Properly?” Kristin arched an eyebrow. “Are you saying earlier wasn’t…”
“Not at all,” Nathan shook his head. “Earlier was fantastic.”
“I’m just saying that now, I would like to make love to you,” he flipped them over, rising up on his arms to gaze down at her. “Slowly. I want to kiss every inch of your body before burying myself deep inside you and rocking with you until we’re both too exhausted to move,” Nathan paused to kiss her ardently. “After that, I want to sleep for a bit, holding you tightly in my arms then wake up and do it all over again.”
Kristin murmured her approval, feeling him lengthen and harden within her. She shifted, changing the angle of her hips so that he sank deeper inside her. “Nath…”
Nathan covered her mouth with his as he slowly rocked his hips against hers, smiling inwardly at her low moan as he plundered her mouth, his tongue mating with hers. He broke off the kiss, moving his lips down her jaw, over her throat to her collarbone; licking his way down to her breasts, pulling her left nipple into his mouth.
Kristin moaned, arching and pushing her breast further into his mouth as his left hand moved up to cup and knead her right breast; his thumb brushing over and teasing the taut peak. “…Nathan…”
“I love your breasts,” Nathan murmured as he released her left nipple, trailing wet, open-mouthed kisses down the swell of her breast to the smooth skin between the two luscious mounds. “I love the feel of them,” his right hand came up, pressing the soft globes against the sides of his face as he continued plying the valley between them with kisses. “The taste…” his tongue darted out to flick against her skin before inhaling deeply. “The smell of your skin… I can’t get enough of your breasts… of you…”
Kristin closed her eyes, pushing her head back into the pillow and clutched her fingers in Nathan’s hair as his lips closed around her right breast; bestowing on it the same sweet torture as he had her left nipple. “Mmm… ooh… yes…” she moaned, holding his head against her.
Nathan groaned when he felt Kristin’s inner muscles began to rhythmically contract around his hard length and instinctively thrust against her, sending tendrils of pleasurable vibrations coursing through their bodies. With a final, easy thrust Nathan slowly pulled out of her body.
Kristin whimpered with the loss, reaching out to clutch at his shoulders. “Nath…”
“S’okay, baby,” Nathan murmured, his lips trailing down over her stomach as he shifted lower in the bed. “I won’t be gone long,” he whispered against the smooth skin of her outer thigh.
Kristin’s hands fell to the bed, clutching in the sheet as Nathan brushed his lips against her damp curls, pausing only long enough to flick his tongue against her tender bud before continuing to move down her legs.
“Nathan… please…” Kristin fidgeted before him, her legs moving restlessly, trying to coax him back between them. “I need you…”
“Patience, my love…” Nathan said, nipping gently at the sole of her left foot, his hands caressing sensuously up and down her well-toned leg. With her impatient tug of her leg, Nathan gave one last nip to her heel then lowered her leg and shifted closer.
“Nath… oh yes!” Kristin cried out softly when she felt his lips on her sex, his tongue slipping through her slick folds to tease her clit before dipping into her wet passage, stroking her. One of her hands clasped his head as she arched up into him, wanting more.
Nathan smiled at Kristin’s response as he made love to her with his mouth, quickly bringing his fingers into play. He felt her squirm beneath him as he slid one then a second finger inside her, moving them slowly in and out of her as his lips closed around her clit.
“Oh… GOD…” Kristin arched off the bed as he sucked hard on the sensitive bundle of nerves. “Nathan… oh yes… I’m going… oh please…”
“Come then…” Nathan spoke around her clit, laying a heavy arm low on her belly as she suddenly bucked against him, screaming his name. Nathan groaned as he happily lapped at her juices, his fingers and tongue coaxing another powerful release from her body.
“Nath… oh, Nath…” Kristin sobbed his name as the intense feelings of her orgasms continued to course through her body.
Nathan pressed one last lingering kiss against her slick sex before crawling up and over her, bracing himself on his elbows above her.
“Be with me…” Kristin reached up to cup his cheek. “I want to feel you inside me…”
Nathan slid into her warmth seamlessly, seating his hips firmly against hers while watching her face. Kristin’s head fell back and she gasped as her wet sheath stretched and conformed around him.
“Yes… oh yes… this is what I need… what I crave…”
Nathan slowly flexed his hips, pushing even further into her before slowly drawing back until he was barely inside her.
“Again!” Kristin gasped.
This time Nathan lowered his face to brush his lips lightly across hers as he pushed back inside, inch by agonizing inch. Kristin was moaning in protest by the time he was fully seated again.
“Enjoy, my love… relax and enjoy,” Kristin stared into Nathan’s eyes, her gaze captured by his as they moved leisurely together, allowing the sensation to build slowly. Gradually her hands began to move up and down his back and rear in feather-light caresses. Nathan’s mouth played with her body, teasing erect peaks, nipping over her neck, his warm breath bathing her skin.
Kristin finally reached her breaking point and moved her hands down Nathan’s slick sweaty back to cup his firm cheeks. She planted her feet against the mattress and thrust her hips up, meeting his down stroke with a tight clenching of her inner muscles.
“Time for more?” Nathan whispered into her ear.
“Mmm… for both of us,” she answered as she felt the increased power in Nathan’s next stroke.
“Oh, honey…” Nathan slid his forearms beneath Kristin’s shoulders. He held tightly to her and increased the rate of his movements until they were slamming into each other frantically.
Their release came together, both of them screaming the others name as their bodies convulsed and their juices mingled, bathing both of them with their mixed essence.
Nathan fell on top of her with a grunt, his body too heavy to hold up any longer. Kristin wrapped her arms and legs around him tightly, locking him in her embrace as the aftermath of their shared climax continued to roll through both of their bodies.
Kristin mewled softly when Nathan finally found the strength to lever his torso away from her. He smiled, noting that she was more than half-asleep, a sated smile on her face.
“It’s getting cold,” he whispered as he pulled a pillow beneath her head. He pulled the heavy down comforter up over them then, pulling Kristin back in to his embrace, he lay down on his side.
“This is nice,” she murmured, trying to hide a small yawn. “So cozy…”
“Sleep now, sweetheart. We’ve got all night.”
Kristin snuggled deep into his chest and gave in to exhaustion, Nathan quickly following her.
Sunlight filtered through the frost covered windows to slowly lighten the room. Nathan felt the brightness on his face and woke with a smile, shuddering at the waves of pleasure coursing through his body. He reached for the woman next to him but found the spot empty.
Blue eyes popped wide open as he felt Kristin’s tongue slide down the ridge on the bottom of his length, suddenly realizing where the pleasurable sensations were originating. Nathan threw the covers back to find Kristin on her knees over him, her mouth moving to engulf his throbbing manhood once more. His hand slid into her tousled auburn curls, unsure whether to pull her away or beg her to continue.
She glanced up at his face, her warm brown eyes laughing at him as she continued her oral ministrations. He tugged gently on her hair but she shook her head, causing him to gasp as her teeth lightly abraded his tender flesh.
~ Two can play at this game! ~ Nathan noted the position of Kristin’s body and shifted his right knee out to increase his mobility. He lifted his foot to the feminine thigh nearest it and rubbed, sliding slowly up and down, taking special care to wiggle his toes over her firm bottom.
Kristin moaned but Nathan’s actions only served to increase her own. A gleam of challenge came into Nathan’s sapphire eyes as he moved his foot beneath her body and lifted up, driving his big toe straight into her cleft to rub her sensitive bud.
Kristin’s eyes widened as she whelped, the sound reverberating through her throat and down Nathan’s length. Then she saw the gleam in Nathan’s eyes. The suction her mouth was generating increased as her hand slid between his legs to massage the swollen sacs hanging there.
This time Nathan gasped, knowing that his release was imminent. He twisted his foot and pushed all of his toes into Kristin’s wet sheath, wiggling them back and forth as her hips began to push against them.
“Kris…” Nathan’s voice carried a warning tone. “I can’t take much… I’m gonna… oh, God!”
Nathan’s back arched off the bed as his body reached the pinnacle and released itself into Kristin’s warm mouth. She continued moving on him until she’d taken everything he had to give then released him with a loud slurp. Her forehead fell to his stomach as she gave rein to her own desire. Nathan turned his foot sideways and ran its entire length along her cleft as she gasped and came, her juices coating his foot.
Nathan let his foot fall back to the bed, moments before Kristin’s body followed, falling to straddle his leg.
“Oh… Lord that was incredible,” Kristin moaned into his stomach, unconsciously rocking herself against his limb.
“Definitely a great way to start the day,” Nathan quipped, massaging her scalp. “Why… dammit!”
The ringing of the phone interrupted him. He frowned and reached out to answer it.
“Good morning, Nathan.”
“Good morning, Janet.”
“Did I wake you?”
“No, no… s’okay, I was already up…”
Kristin snickered and buried her face in his stomach to smother her laughter.
Nathan gave her a dirty look before turning his attention back to the phone. “What can I do for you, Janet?”
“Bill asked me to give you a call to remind you about breakfast.”
“Did he think I’d forget?”
“Well… he did say something about you being… occupied last night.”
Nathan laughed softly, glancing down at Kristin who’d lifted her head from his stomach and gave her an affectionate look. “Yeah… you could say that,” he replied, his eyes widening at the sudden mischievous gleam that entered Kristin’s sable eyes.
He tried to pay attention to what Janet was saying but was distracted when Kristin slowly began to crawl over him, brushing soft kisses against his chest before laying out on top of him and burying her face in his neck. Nathan moaned softly when she nipped his skin then moved her lips to his free ear.
“I always knew you were good with your hands, sailor,” Kristin whispered in a husky voice. “But I never thought you’d be just as good with your feet.”
“What was that?” Janet asked.
“Nothing…” Nathan coughed as Kristin laughed softly against his ear.
“Nathan? Are you all right?” Janet’s voice sounded in his other ear.
“Yeah… yes, I’m fine. Sorry, Janet, what were you saying?” Nathan asked, trying to ignore the feel of Kristin rubbing her body gently against his; her hips circling slowly over his, her damp curls teasing his semi-erect member.
“I was saying…” there was a pause then Nathan grinned as Bill’s voice could be heard mumbling something in the background.
“What’s Bill going on about?”
“As usual,” Nathan chuckled, then groaned as Kristin slipped a hand between their bodies to grasp his now fully erect manhood, circling her thumb over the sensitive head.
“Sorry, Janet… had a cramp.”
“Sure…” there was another pause then Janet continued in a quiet voice. “Oh yes, you can tell Kristin that I’ll give her back her panties at breakfast.”
“Su… what?” Nathan moaned as Kristin stroked his hardened flesh. “What are you talking about, Janet?”
“Nice try, Nathan,” Janet said. “I know Bill thinks you’ve scored with that young waitress, but I know you’re already involved with your pretty submarine doctor.”
“Uhm…” Nathan tried with his free hand to stop Kristin as she continued to stroke him, her lips licking and kissing his chest. “Janet…”
“Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me.”
“Thanks, Janet,” Nathan breathed a sigh of relief.
“You’re welcome,” Janet replied.
“How did the uh…”
“Bill tripped on them last night when he went to leave your room and didn’t realize until he was already gone that he still had them in his hand.”
“Ah. I see. And how did you…”
“I could see it,” Janet replied. “I could see it in your eyes when you looked at her and in hers when she looked at you.”
Kristin chose that moment to lave her tongue over his nipple, sucking gently on the small peak, causing him to moan softly.
“Now,” Janet chuckled softly. “I’ll let you get back to… your activities. Just don’t be late for breakfast.”
Nathan laughed and hung up the phone.
“What’s so funny?” Kristin asked, kissing her way over to his other nipple.
“Bill thinks I scored with that waitress from last night,” he told her, his hands gliding down her back.
“Why would he think that?”
“Oh gee… I don’t know,” Nathan commented. “It wouldn’t have anything to do with the giggle he heard coming from beneath my sheets last night… or the scrap of black lace you used as a sling shot…”
“Bill saw my panties?” Kristin lifted her head to meet his eyes.
Nathan nodded, enjoying the blush that crept over her face. “Not only saw them, but… he took them with him when he left here last night.”
Kristin buried her face in the crook of his neck and groaned. “Oh no… if Janet knows…” she mumbled against his skin.
“She’s not told Bill.”
Kristin lifted her head again. “Really?”
“Really,” Nathan answered as he slipped a hand between them to wrap his around hers where it was still grasping his firm member. “Now, what say we get back to business?”
“Mmm… round two,” Kristin smiled, squeezing him gently before covering his mouth with hers, her tongue thrusting past his lips to tangle with his.
Nathan groaned as she ground her sex against his aching shaft, their tongues foreshadowing the dance their bodies would soon be joined in. He suddenly rolled them over, pushing her body into the mattress with his.
“Nath…” Kristin moaned against his lips when he grabbed her hands and pinned them above her head.
“I’m not only good with my hands…” he nuzzled her ear. “And with my feet…” his lips trailed up over her jaw to brush her lips. “I’m good… great in fact… with my lips.”
Kristin moaned again.
“Would you like me to demonstrate?”
“Look who I ran into in the hallway… the always punctual Dr. Westphalen.”
Kristin shot Nathan an evil look as he casually pulled out her chair at the breakfast table before falling into his own.
“I would have been early if I hadn’t been kept awake all night,” Kristin glared at Nathan as she carefully scooted her chair to the table. “Someone certainly made a great deal of noise,” she stared pointedly at Nathan.
He grinned back and shrugged his shoulders while Bill glanced at Janet knowingly. “Why whatever do you mean, Doctor?”
“You know perfectly well what I mean, Captain? Shall we eat? I’m starving.”
Janet choked back a giggle at the exchange, smothering it with a cough while Bill eyed her curiously.
“Can I take your orders, please?” The group looked up to see their waitress from the previous night. She moved quickly to Nathan’s side. “Good morning… Captain!” The girl punctuated Nathan’s title as her eyes roved his body. She smiled seductively. “And what can I get for you this morning?”
Nathan blushed beneath her close scrutiny. “I’ll just have… the breakfast bar,” he stammered, closing his menu and shoving it at her. The pretty girl moved to take the proffered menu, making sure that her hand brushed over Nathan’s palm.
“Just help yourself… sir,” she quickly took the other orders, Bill joining Nathan’s choice at the breakfast bar while Janet and Kristin opted for omelets. “I’ll be back with your coffee in just a minute.”
Both Bill and Nathan stared as the waitress sauntered away, her hips swaying seductively. Nathan pushed his chair back abruptly.
“I’m going to fix my plate,” he moved in the opposite direction from the waitress to the table of food by the wall. Bill quickly followed.
Janet rolled her eyes once the two men were out of earshot. “Boys will be boys. I believe that I have something that belongs to you.”
Kristin blushed lightly. “Janet… I’m sorry…”
“Well I’m not! You can’t even begin to know how happy I am that you and Nathan have found each other. He’s crazy about you. I can see it in his eyes… just like I can see your feelings for him reflected in yours right now.”
“I do care about him… I love him. It’s just that… with the positions we both hold on the seaQuest we can’t be… obvious about our feelings.”
“Stupid military rules. I bet Nathan has been a much better commander since the two of you became involved… more relaxed… dare I say, more confident.”
Kristin laughed. “He’s an excellent Captain under any circumstance. I just wish… but this is the way things have to be for now.”
“You know that my husband is convinced that the owner of this little package just took our food orders.” Janet pushed a tiny tissue wrapped bundle into Kristin’s hand. Kristin quickly tucked it into her pocketbook.
“I know that you aren’t the type of person to keep things from your husband…” Kristin began tentatively.
“But this isn’t my something to tell. I can’t be blamed for being perceptive, now can I?”
“Thank you, Janet.”
“Just make him happy. My sweet lonely friend isn’t lonely any more. That’s all the thanks I need.”
Bill looked around the room furtively. “Was she good? Huh… she obviously was with the way you were reacting. Was she as fantastic as she looks like she would be?”
Nathan shook his head and grinned. ~ If you only knew, my friend. ~ “I am not going to stand here discussing my sex life with you!” He hissed at his older friend.
“But… you gotta tell me… when I walked in last night… she was… you know… doing you… wasn’t she?”
“Bill! I can’t believe you!” Nathan glanced around the room this time before lowering his voice. “She was absolutely fantastic. Best I’ve ever had!”
“Damn!” Bill slapped Nathan on the shoulder. “I knew you still had it in you!
“Could you keep it down? Someone might hear you!”
Bill lowered his voice. “If I’d just spent the night with a gorgeous woman like that I’d be telling everybody.”
“And Janet would be subjecting you to torture the likes of which I don’t even want to imagine.”
“You’ve got a point there.”
“My personal life is just that, Bill… personal. So let’s get through this damned conference, let me make a complete ass out of myself performing at this party the UEO so generously decided to throw for us, and skulk back to my sub to lick my wounds.”
“If you play it right I bet she would lick them for you!”
Nathan ignored Bill’s last remark as he turned away with his full plate of food. He had just reached the table when the waitress returned with a hot carafe of coffee. She moved in behind him as he sat.
Kristin knew something had happened by the way Nathan’s eyes bulged but his body blocked her view so she didn’t know exactly what. Once he was seated she slid her hand under the tablecloth and laid it gently on his knee, squeezing it to reassure him. A few minutes later his hand joined hers.
Kristin dared a glance while Bill was getting settled, her eyebrows arched in question.
‘She groped me’ he mouthed quickly, hoping Kristin would understand. She did, a gentle grin touching her lips as she turned her attention back to Bill’s discussion about the day’s topics.
Nathan had little interest in attending the conference in the first place and his attention soon wavered.
“You look bored,” Nathan heard Janet whisper from his left side.
“I look exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep,” he whispered back out of the side of his mouth.
“Now who’s fault was that?”
“I went to my room like a good little boy. I didn’t know that I had a present waiting.”
“What was that?” Bill’s ears picked up the thread of their conversation.
“Nothing, sweetheart. I was just asking Nathan how he could possibly eat that much food. He told me he was ravenous.”
“From the sound of it the captain worked up quite an appetite last night,” Kristin interjected wryly, taking a sip of her coffee.
Nathan merely smiled and quietly ate his breakfast.
“Eat up,” Bill said. “The conference starts in thirty minutes.”
Nathan yawned as he left the room. “Damn… that was the most boring five hours I’ve ever spent in my life.”
Kristin nodded her agreement.
“It wasn’t that bad,” Bill said from behind them.
Both Nathan and Kristin turned to glare at him.
“That’s because you snuck away for half of it,” Nathan groused.
“Advantages of rank, my friend,” Bill chuckled.
Nathan shook his head and glanced at his watch. “Well, I think I’m going to go take a nap before dinner.”
“And I think I’m going to go soak in a nice hot bath,” Kristin said, biting back a smile at the sudden desire she saw flare in Nathan’s eyes.
“In that case, I’m going to go find my wife and see what she’s been up to,” Bill told them. “See you both at dinner.”
Nathan watched his friend walk away before turning to Kristin. “Want some company in that bath?”
“Definitely,” Kristin smiled at him then crooking her finger, she headed off towards her room.
Nathan followed with a grin.
“Mmm…” Kristin sighed happily, cuddling back against Nathan’s chest. “This is wonderful.”
“Mmhmm… very nice,” Nathan replied, nuzzling her temple and sliding his hands over her stomach beneath the water.
“Better than a nap?”
“Hey… I’ll have you know… napping with you in my arms is pretty damn wonderful too,” Nathan told her as she giggled. He lowered his head, kissing her bare shoulder. “Anytime I’m holding you is wonderful.”
“But you know… if we stay in here too much longer, we’re both gonna look like a couple of prunes,” Nathan said.
“We still have time before dinner…” Kristin said, turning to look at him.
Nathan grinned and waggled his eyebrows at her. “Yeah… I know.”
“You, Nathan Bridger, have a one track mind,” Kristin couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yep. And this one track leads only to you,” Nathan told her, leaning in to give her a loving kiss. “Come on, my love… I want to hold you some more.”
Kristin smiled and then together they climbed out of the tub, toweled each other off then moved into Nathan’s room where they snuggled under the blankets and fell asleep.
“Did you have a nice bath?” Janet asked Kristin as they entered one of the hotel’s sitting rooms and made themselves comfortable on a large over-stuffed couch in the far corner while their men slipped off to play a few rounds of poker.
Kristin smiled. “Yes, I did.”
“So, I take it then that the tubs here are big enough for two?”
Kristin’s smile grew. “Oh yes.”
Janet laughed. “I should have known…”
“Oh… we didn’t fool around,” Kristin interrupted.
Janet looked at Kristin and arched a curious eyebrow.
“Really,” Kristin said and a soft smile formed on her lips. “We just… soaked.”
Janet grinned. “And then…?”
“We slipped back into his room and curled up in his bed,” Kristin answered.
“And we slept,” Kristin told her. “Honest, Janet… that’s all we did.”
“I believe you,” Janet said, taking a sip of the coffee she’d brought with her. She took a moment to contemplate her new friend. “So…”
Kristin laughed softly. “We’ve been together for just over a month now… thanks to Hurricane Sheila.”
“Oh God, that’s right! You were out in the middle of that thing!”
Kristin nodded. “Later that evening, Nathan showed up at my door… after pacing around my cabin for fifteen minutes, he finally told me how worried he’d been… about me and not being able to show it. Although… if you ask Nathan, he’ll tell you it was my wet tee shirt.”
Kristin grinned and continued. “And then before I knew it, I found myself on the receiving end of a very passionate kiss,” she smiled at the memory. “We then both admitted to having fallen in love with each other and one thing led to another…”
Janet smiled at the dreamy look that came to Kristin’s face. “And that was the first of many nights you spent together.”
Kristin shook her head. “Last night was the first night we spent together.”
“You’re kidding, right? You mean last night was the first time you and Nathan… but you just said…” Janet looked confused. “I thought…”
“Oh… we did make love that first night, and have several times since then,” Kristin said with a grin. “But because we’ve been trying to keep our relationship under wraps, we’ve not been able to ‘sleep’ sleep together.”
Janet nodded in understanding.
“When we first heard about this conference and that we both had to attend, the first thought that entered our minds was that we would finally be able to sleep the whole night in each other’s arms,” Kristin turned to look at the flames in the fireplace. “Last night… last night I spent the entire night wrapped in Nathan’s arms. The whole night…”
Janet watched Kristin and the emotions playing across her face.
“And when I woke up, I was still in his arms,” Kristin said, sighing happily. “I know we still have to be careful over the next few days and can’t be as open as we’d like to be… but that is a small price to pay to be able to sleep in his arms again tonight and every night that we’re here.”
“And when you get back to seaQuest?”
Kristin looked down at her hands in her lap. “I don’t know… we’ve talked about it… but…” she shrugged her shoulders. Kristin brought her eyes back up to meet Janet’s. “But even if we can’t… work something out for back on the sub… I don’t care. I will be with him anyway I can,” Kristin smiled, her eyes suddenly bright and misty. “I love him, Janet. I love him so much…”
Janet smiled. “I can see that you do.”
The two women fell silent as they sipped their coffees and watched the fire in the fireplace. After several minutes, Janet turned to Kristin.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“How are you and Nathan doing it here?”
Kristin raised an eyebrow and a small grin lit her face. “So far… just in the bed…”
“Kristin! That’s not what I meant!” Janet exclaimed in a scandalous voice as she blushed. “And you know it.”
“How are you two managing to sneak around to each other’s rooms… without getting caught?”
Kristin smiled, glanced around the lounge then leaned closer to Janet. “I know someone and made sure, when we were booking our rooms, that we got a connecting door.”
“I thought so,” Kristin said. “Plus, I figured it would help for when the crew gets here for the Christmas party the UEO is throwing us.”
“Don’t remind me!”
The women turned to see Nathan and Bill standing behind them. Kristin blanched slightly.
“How long have you two been standing there?” Janet asked, having seen the fear flash in Kristin’s eyes.
“Not long,” Bill said, moving around to sit on the arm of the couch next to his wife. “Just walked in. So what about the party?”
Nathan scowled as he sat in the only other available spot, the arm of the sofa beside Kristin. “Noth…”
“Lieutenant Kreig came up with the wonderful idea to have the senior staff put on a series of small skits…” Kristin said, speaking over Nathan. “We drew names for partners…”
“Who’d you get, Nathan?” Janet asked, thinking the scowl on his face was because he’d been paired up with someone other than Kristin.
“Kristin,” Nathan replied, glancing down at the woman next to him.
“And what are you two doing?”
Kristin shook her head and smiled. “Not telling.”
“All skits have to be kept secret until the party,” Nathan said in a monotone, eliciting a bemused yet irritated look from Kristin.
Janet bit back a grin, seeing the twinkle in Nathan’s eyes as he frowned down at Kristin and realized that the two were simply putting on an act. She watched Kristin’s eyes sparkle back at him then peeked at her husband to see if he’d noticed the loving glance that’d passed between their friend and his CMO.
~ How can he not see the love between them? ~ Janet thought, turning her gaze back to her friends.
“Bet you’re glad a lot of the brass won’t be hanging around then, eh, Nathan?” Bill asked with a smile.
“Oh yeah,” Nathan nodded then looked at his watch. “Damn, I didn’t think it was that late.”
“What time is it?” Janet asked with a knowing grin pulling at the corners of her mouth.
“Almost eleven thirty.”
“Oh… time flies when you’re having fun,” Kristin said with a smile at Janet. “I think though… that I should head back to my room and go to bed.”
“Good idea,” Nathan said, nodding. “I think I’ll do the same. After all, gotta be all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the next exciting round of the conference.”
Bill laughed. “That’s right, you do.”
Nathan gave his friend a dirty look then turned to Kristin. “Since we’re going the same way, can I walk you back to your room?”
“That would be nice, thank you,” Kristin said, placing her cup on the coffee table and then standing. “Good night, Janet. Admiral.”
“Night,” Bill and Janet replied together.
“Gee… wonder if Nathan’s gonna hook up with that waitress again tonight,” Bill murmured to his wife as he stood and offered her a hand up. “She grabbed his ass this morning, you know.”
Janet frowned at her husband.
“Alone at last,” Nathan’s arms wrapped around Kristin’s waist and pulled her body flush against his the second the elevator doors closed.
“Mmm… and in just a few more minutes, we can lock away the world,” Kristin murmured, turning her head to meet his feral kiss.
The elevator chimed once then slid to a stop. Nathan’s hands froze just over Kristin’s chest and he swore loudly before stepping away from her as the doors slid open. An older couple, the husband a UEO scientist attending the conference, joined them. Recognizing Kristin, he quickly engaged her in a discussion about one of her published papers while his wife smiled indulgently. Nathan moved to the other side of the car as he willed the reaction Kristin’s body had caused to diminish before it was noticed.
The ride to their floor seemed to take forever and Nathan had to stifle another oath when the couple disembarked with them.
“Good night, Doctor,” he muttered as he moved to his door, willing the elderly gentleman to be quiet, but the conversation continued unabated.
~ Okay, Bridger, take this negative and turn it into a positive. ~ Nathan dug through his suitcase and pulled out the special bag he had prepared. He’d intended to use it the previous night but the surprise of finding Kristin waiting naked in his bed, coupled with Bill’s abrupt visit had made him forget about it. He dropped a specially prepared CD into the small player in the room, smiling as sensual jazz music filled the air.
A trio of lavender scented candles soon burned away on the desk, their aroma filling the small room. Nathan turned back the bed covers then stripped away his uniform jacket and shoes and socks. He moved to the connecting door and peeked through it but Kristin’s room was still dark. Nathan frowned and stepped back into his room, walking over to the cozy fire already burning in the fireplace as he had requested.
Inspiration struck and he moved to the phone beside his bed, quickly punching in Kristin’s room number. He heard the phone begin to ring insistently then smiled when he heard Kristin’s key scrape in the lock. He quickly hung up and sat on the edge of the bed facing the door.
A few moments later the door slid open and Kristin moved into the room.
“Very clever, Bridger.”
Nathan waggled his eyebrows at her. “It’s amazing what you can come up with given the right incentive.”
“I love what you come ‘up’ with,” Kristin stepped toward the bed but Nathan held up a hand to stop her. A surprised look crossed her face as her eyebrows raised questioningly.
“I’ve had this fantasy for months… will you indulge me?”
“Will you undress for me?”
Kristin smiled. “I’ve undressed for you before.”
“No,” Nathan shook his head with a smile. “We’ve undressed each other many times but I want to watch you. Will you?”
Kristin didn’t answer, just lifted a hand to the dresser to steady herself as she raised her left leg and carefully slid the black pump covering it off before repeating the gesture with the right foot. Her fingers then moved to the buttons of her blouse, nimbly freeing each one then shrugging the garment off.
“You are so beautiful,” Nathan breathed at the sight of Kristin’s full breasts straining against their delicate lacy confinement, a hint of dusky nipple peaking over the low cups.
Kristin winked saucily as her hands traveled down the sides of her body to her hips. She grasped the fabric of her knee length skirt and began to pull it upwards, stopping only when bare flesh was revealed at the top of her stockings. She carefully popped each clip from the suspender belt holding them up then bent at the waist and carefully rolled the nylons down. When she finished she moved closer to Nathan and casually tossed the sheer fabric over his shoulder.
Nathan reached for her but Kristin grabbed his wrists to stop him then pushed his hands back down. She took a step back and smiled coyly as her hands moved behind her back to the fastener on her skirt. Seconds later her black garter belt joined the stockings. A few tugs and a quick twist of her hips left the skirt pooled on the floor at her feet.
“You do have the most wonderful taste in lingerie.”
Kristin’s breasts popped free as she unhooked her bra and slid it slowly down her arms. Nathan was pleased to see that her nipples were hard; she was as aroused as he was.
He gasped, his eyes turning midnight blue with desire as Kristin slid her hands up her abdomen to cup her own breasts, her thumb and forefinger moving playfully over their pointed peaks.
“You like?” She whispered seductively.
“Oh, honey… I like…” Nathan’s arousal was painfully hard and he unconsciously opened his pants to relieve some of the pressure. “Please…” his eyes fell toward the only piece of clothing remaining.
Kristin’s fingers slipped into the strings crossing her hips and started to push them down then stopped. A wicked grin crossed her face as she shifted her right hand to the center of her body and pushed down. Nathan groaned as he watched her fingers play through the thin material. He began to rub his erection absently as he stared at her, his breath ragged.
Kristin pulled her fingers free and held them out to Nathan, the dampness on them glistening in the candlelight. He leaned forward and grabbed them with his mouth, his tongue quickly cleaning her essence away.
Nathan was so aroused that his stiff member had begun to push out of his regulation boxers, the purple head peeping out, to Kristin’s delight. She pushed her panties away quickly and stood before him, gloriously nude as he devoured her body with his eyes.
“So… how about you get naked and come play with me, sailor?”
Nathan stood and stripped his shirt away as his pants slid slowly down to his ankles. He yanked his boxers down then stepped out of the last of his clothing, pausing a moment to let Kristin enjoy the view before moving in front of her, their bodies within an inch of each other, the only contact where his rigid staff pushed against her lower abdomen.
“Have I told you lately how completely in love with you I am, Doctor Westphalen?”
“I never tire of hearing it, Captain.”
Nathan held his hand out to Kristin and with a smile she laid her hand in it. He tightened his grip and stepped away pulling her toward the crackling fire. When they stood on the soft rug before the fire Nathan stepped away again to stare. The flickering firelight played across Kristin’s creamy skin, casting shadows that lured Nathan forward. His fingers reached out to trace the edges between light and dark, across the valley of her breasts, down the flat plane of her stomach.
Nathan stepped closer and lowered his head to Kristin’s shoulder, his lips tracing the path behind his fingers. Her hands came up to clutch his head, her fingers threading into his salt and pepper hair as she struggled to stay upright, her body trembling from the pleasure his touch was eliciting.
The path of light and shadow continued over Kristin’s legs and Nathan fell to his knees before her. His nose lightly brushed her auburn curls as his lips nibbled across the curve of her hip. One strong hand moved between her knees to stroke her inner thigh, gradually parting her legs as it moved up.
A series of soft breathy kisses across her hip brought Nathan level with the center of Kristin’s desire and he pulled her apart with his fingers, opening her dusky dampness to his gaze and his touch. He locked his lips over her swollen center, bringing a low moan to her lips.
“Nat… I can’t…” Kristin swayed, her hands gripping Nathan’s head tighter.
“It’s okay, my love. I’ve got you,” Nathan slid his hands to her hips to brace her body as she slid down. He guided her to straddle his thighs as his lips caressed her descending flesh. Kristin was whimpering by the time she came to rest, her hips bumping his, a length of hardened steel caught between them.
“Love me,” the huskily accented whisper sent a rush of pleasure through Nathan’s body and he reached between them to probe Kristin’s damp depths with his fingers, making sure that she was ready for him before levering her hips up. She clung to his shoulders, gasping as he slowly lowered her back down, filling her with his arousal.
“I love you every second,” Nathan answered back as his lips captured hers. Kristin opened to him, her tongue dancing against his as they enjoyed the feel of their bodies pressed so intimately together.
It was Nathan’s turn to gasp as Kristin’s hips began to undulate against his, moving of their own accord. Her head fell back as wave after wave of pleasure shot from her core throughout her body. The movement thrust her breasts up and Nathan was once again captivated by the play of light over the valley and mounds of her generous curves. He couldn’t resist their lure, didn’t even try. He lowered his head and teased one rosy nipple then the other before finally filling his mouth with her soft flesh. Kristin arched even further, her whole body moving in time with her hips and his thrusts.
“Plea… please… oh God… NATH… AN!” Kristin’s movements became more demanding as she hovered on the edge. Nathan released her breast and grabbed her hips to support her as he rose up slightly on his knees and increased the force of his own thrusts.
“NATH… oooh… BLOODY HELL!” Nathan was shocked by Kristin’s scream as she came with an overwhelming force, her body convulsing against his as her nails dug into his shoulders.
Nathan didn’t notice her blood drawing grip as his own orgasm loomed. He slid his arms along Kristin’s back and pushed forward, lowering her to the floor. She took no notice of the change; her arms still locked on Nathan’s shoulders as her body continued to spasm around him. He raised his torso and, using his arms and elbows to give leverage, began to push and pull against Kristin’s clenched muscles frantically.
Nathan was undone as Kristin screamed out again, his movements having brought her to a second climax. Her name tore from his lips over and over and he felt monumental relief as his essence rose from his heavy sacs and burst out to wash her womb.
He fell against her, her breasts cushioning his chest as he struggled to breathe. Shock rippled though him once again as a smaller climax washed over him. Kristin moaned at the feel of his juices entering her body once again and wrapped her arms and legs around him, holding him tightly to her.
“I’m smushing you,” he finally managed to gasp, his face buried against the curve of her neck.
“I like you smushing me. I love the feel of you on top of me… inside me…”
“Nonetheless…” Nathan rolled away from the fire, taking care to keep Kristin locked onto him as he settled on his back.
“What?” He asked, slightly surprised when Kristin began to giggle against his chest.
“Nothing… I was just thinking. If Janet asks tomorrow how we are doing it, I can’t say just in the bed anymore.”
Nathan pulled his head back to stare into her eyes. “I don’t really think I want to know… nope… I am sure I don’t want to know.”
The embers of the fire glowed in the grate when Nathan opened his eyes. He brushed his lips across the fiery hair lying against his chin. “You awake?” He whispered and received no reply. ~ That’s okay, my love. You deserve your sleep. ~ The thought of their earlier love making, both the first round and an equally vigorous second round, brought a smile to his face as he carefully shifted the sleeping woman.
Kristin whimpered in her sleep as their bodies separated for the first time in many hours.
“It’s okay, sweetheart,” he whispered as he pushed up onto his feet then slipped his arms beneath Kristin.
Nathan lifted her effortlessly and Kristin snuggled into his arms as he moved toward the bed and deposited her on the soft mattress. He tried to pull away from her but even in sleep she refused to release her hold on him. He slid into the bed beside her, shifting both of them to the center then pulled the warm covers over their naked bodies and drifted back to sleep.
The sound of soft thumping in her ear pulled Kristin out of the very pleasant dream she was having. A smile formed on her lips at the realization that the sound was Nathan’s heart beating steadily beneath her head. A happy sigh escaped her lips at the feel of his arms wrapped around her, their legs tangled together and his body pressing tightly against hers.
“Nathan?” She called softly, opening her eyes as she rubbed her hand gently over his chest. Getting no response, Kristin snuggled closer and simply enjoyed the feeling of being in his arms.
Closing her eyes, Kristin concentrated on the sound of Nathan’s steady breathing; smiling as with each exhale, his warm breath washed over her, ruffling her hair and tickling her cheek.
After long enjoyable minutes, lying happily in Nathan’s arms, Kristin heard the change in his breathing and realized that he was beginning to wake up. She smiled when she felt his arms tighten around her and pull her closer.
“Good morning, sweetheart,” Nathan said in a quiet, sleepy voice, his lips brushing against the top of her head.
“Good morning,” Kristin replied, turning and pressing a kiss to his chest before shifting herself up so that she could meet his lips in sweet kiss. “Mmm…” she murmured as the kiss ended and snuggled back into his arms, burying her face in his neck. “I like waking up in your arms, my captain.”
“And I’m liking waking up with you in my arms,” Nathan told her, shifting them so that they were lying on their sides, face to face; legs still tangled and arms holding each other securely. He brought his hand up, tracing his fingers over her lips. “I could get used to this.”
Kristin smiled, her fingers playing in his chest hair. “I already am,” she paused, closing her eyes briefly then opened them to meet his. “I don’t want to give this up, Nathan.”
“We won’t be giving anything up,” Nathan told her, his fingers slipping into her hair, pulling her closer, his lips nuzzling her temple. “I promise you.”
Kristin sighed and wrapped her arms around him, cuddling in closer to him. “I’m going to hold you to that.”
“I’m just going to hold you,” he replied, sliding his hands down her back. “For the rest of our lives.”
Kristin pulled her head back and met his eyes, the love she saw swimming in his blue orbs reflected in her own. She smiled. “That sounds heavenly.”
“Yes it does,” Nathan agreed and then he grinned. “You feel up to playing hooky today?”
“Oh… I would love to,” Kristin told him. “But you know we can’t.”
Nathan sighed and nodded.
“But… I tell you what,” Kristin shifted closer, pressing her chest against his. “As soon as the conference is over, we’ll come back to the room and lock ourselves away until tomorrow morning.”
“I like that idea,” Nathan smiled, his hand slipping down over her hip to smooth down her thigh, urging her leg up over his as he shifted closer, pressing his length against her curls. “But how are we going to do that and keep Bill and anyone else from bothering us?”
“Oh, that’s the easy part, lover,” Kristin answered, rubbing herself against his erection, loving the feel of his hard flesh against hers. “When we get out of the conference this afternoon, I am going to drag you, kicking and screaming, back here to practice some more of our skit.”
Nathan grinned and then rolled them, pinning her to the bed, his body pressing tightly against hers. “Sounds like a perfect plan to me.”
Kristin bent her legs up, shifting beneath Nathan so that he could settle closer against her as she wrapped her arms around his back. “I thought you’d like that.”
“Mmm… I do…” Nathan nodded and lowered his head so that his lips just brushed hers. “And I know something that I would like even more.”
“And what would that be?” Kristin asked with a coy smile, sliding her feet up the back of his legs until her legs were wrapped loosely around his hips.
Nathan shifted, rubbing his engorged member against her sex until he was resting between her folds. He moaned softly at the heat and moisture he felt. “I would very much like to make love to you,” he whispered against her lips.
“Well… I’d say you were off to a good start,” Kristin replied, arching beneath him and tightening her legs around him.
“But not here,” Nathan pressed a quick kiss to her lips then slipped his arms beneath her body and rolled them over so that Kristin was lying on top of him.
“And just where would you like to make love?” Kristin asked; pushing herself up on her arms, taking care to keep his arousal trapped against her body.
“The shower in my bathroom is huge…”
Kristin laughed at the hopeful grin on his face. “Bigger than the one on seaQuest?”
“Yep. And,” he reached up to cup her breasts. “I just love the way your skin looks when it is all wet.”
Kristin leaned back down until her face was mere centimeters from his. “And I yours, my captain. So…” she brushed a quick kiss over his lips then quickly climbed off him and out of the bed. “Last one in the shower… aaah… Nathan!”
She squealed when Nathan jumped out of the bed, grabbed her by the waist and hauled her up over his shoulder as he headed for the shower. “Safer if we go in together,” he laughed, his free hand caressing the smooth skin of her rear.
“Put me down,” she laughed and swatted his ass.
“Ooh… you’re gonna get it for that.”
Kristin giggled and swatted the firm cheeks again. “I’m counting on it.”
Nathan laughed as he stepped into the bathroom.
As the efficiency expert the UEO hired to head the conference continued to drone on, Kristin glanced over at Nathan who was sitting to her left and bit back a small smile as she realized that he was starting to fall asleep.
She glanced at her watch and seeing that this last session only had thirty minutes left, she decided to have some fun with her lover and began scratching out a message on the pad of paper sitting in her lap.
Nathan glanced over at Kristin when he felt her bump his leg with hers. At her slight nod, he let his eyes drop to the note pad she was angling toward him.
‘I’m not wearing any panties.’
“Oh shit…” Nathan groaned.
“Nathan, are you all right?” Bill whispered, turning his head back to look at his friend.
Nathan nodded, shifting in the chair. “Uh, yeah… I’m fine, Bill,” he answered quietly, gesturing for him to turn back around. He glanced back at Kristin to see her scribbling another message on the pad. Seconds later, she angled it for him to read.
‘I’m horny… and wet… imagining your lips on my body.’
Nathan swallowed hard, feeling his body respond. He looked up to see her eyes twinkling merrily. “You’re bad,” he mouthed at her.
Kristin merely grinned as her pen once again began to move over the paper.
‘I wish I was in your lap right now… both of us naked…’
“Kris…” he hissed, reaching down to adjust his now painfully hard member before snatching the pad away from her. He grinned at her as he pulled the pen out of his pocket and began to scribble a note of his own.
‘I wish I was on my knees before you… my face buried between your creamy white thighs…’
Kristin read his note and felt her cheeks flush. She looked up and met his eyes, inhaling sharply at the just barely concealed desire burning in the blue orbs; holding his gaze until he looked away to write another note.
Nathan finished with a flourish and held the pad so she could read, his eyes watching her, grinning even more as he watched her nipples tent the satin of her blouse.
‘Your scent… your juices… all around me as I make you come again and again with my mouth…’
“Oh… God…” Kristin gasped softly, feeling a shock of desire rush through her body and pool between her legs. She shifted in her seat and waited with quiet desperation to see what he would do next.
Nathan flashed her a conspiratorial smile then tossed his pen onto the floor in front of her. “Damn,” he swore quietly for effect as he slipped off the chair to his knees, thrusting the note pad into her hands.
Bill turned around to glare at him.
“Sorry, Bill,” Nathan said quietly. “Dropped my pen.”
Bill shook his head and turned back to the speaker.
Nathan grinned as he looked up at Kristin, slipping his pen into his shirt pocket. Seconds later, she gasped when she felt his hand on her knee; his fingers slipping beneath the material of her skirt and slowly creeping up her leg.
“Na…” Kristin shook her head as his fingers moved over her inner thigh.
“Yes…” Nathan whispered and moved his hand further up her skirt.
Kristin bit her lower lip, stifling the moan that rose up in her throat as his fingers made contact with her curls. She watched his eyes flash in triumph as he probed her slick sex and fought to keep from thrusting herself against his hand when he slid a finger inside her, his thumb circling over her clit.
“Haven’t you found it yet?” Nathan heard Bill ask and turned to see his friend had only tilted his head back slightly.
“Yeah… I found it all right,” Nathan answered, still moving his hand against Kristin, having slipped a second digit into her hot center.
“Then I suggest you get back in your seat and pay attention.”
Nathan made an affirmative sound and sensing that she was right on the edge, he gave her clit a couple quick, harder rubs and smiled when he felt her inner muscles spasm around his fingers.
Kristin’s eyes widened and she inhaled sharply when she felt the small but intense orgasm roll over her. Her eyes locked on Nathan’s face and she watched the desire in his eyes grow as he slipped his fingers out of her and pulled his hand from under her skirt. She smiled at his low moan as he placed his fingers in his mouth, licking away her juices.
With his fingers still in his mouth, Nathan took his seat; turning his attention back to the speaker as he carefully adjusted his painfully hard member, counting down the minutes left until he could take Kristin back to his room and love her properly.
He glanced over at Kristin, smiling at the obvious flush on her skin, noting the way it tinged down her neck and into her cleavage, his smile growing at her still hard nipples straining against the material of her blouse; loving the effect his touch had on her.
Aware of his eyes on her, Kristin reached down with a shaky hand to begin writing on the note pad still lying in her lap. Just as her pen reached the paper, the auditorium filled with applause, signaling the end of the presentation. He watched Kristin rip the top couple of sheets off the note pad and fold them up, slipping them into the pocket of her skirt.
They slowly made their way with the crowd toward the auditorium doors, Bill right behind them.
“What was going on with you, Nathan? I’ve never known you to be so fidgety during one of these things.”
“I was bored,” Nathan replied, catching the bemused smile tugging on Kristin’s lips.
“Well, come to think of it… Elliot was kind of monotonous today,” Bill admitted as they stepped out into the hall. “So, Nathan, what do you say we try to rustle up a poker game…”
“I’m sorry, Admiral,” Kristin interrupted. “But Nathan is going to be busy.”
“The good doctor informed me on our way into the presentation that she would like us to do some more practicing on our skit,” Nathan glanced back at his friend.
Bill frowned. “I thought you guys have been practicing for the last couple weeks?”
“Actually,” Nathan answered. “Only for the last week… it took us a week to decide what to do.”
“So we need to practice more,” Kristin said with a small smile, glancing at Nathan to see the same little grin on his lips.
“What you need is some fresh air,” Bill said, stepping in between them. “Between the seaQuest and this hotel… I think getting outside for a bit would do you a world of good,” he paused. “Both of you.”
“It snowed last night, Bill,” Nathan pointed out.
“So go make a snowman,” Bill countered. “Or at least take a walk around the castle. For me. I could make that an order,” Bill grinned. “In fact, I’m about to go grab Janet and suggest the same thing to her.”
Nathan grumbled as he watched Bill move ahead of them then disappear into the elevator. He turned to Kristin to see her smiling and knew in that moment that he would be going for a walk in the snow. “The things I do for love…”
Kristin beamed at him. “Come on, sailor. Let’s go find some suitable coats.”
A thin blanket of snow, just a few inches thick, covered the grounds of the castle conference complex. Nathan grimaced slightly, not really enjoying the cold, but he had to admit that the scene was beautiful. He shoved his hands into the pockets of the thick jacket Kristin’s friend had found for him to borrow and smiled at the woman next to him.
Kristin smiled back, her eyes aglow with happiness at the prospect of a walk through the snow. Auburn curls peeped out from around the emerald green scarf she had wrapped around her head, the hand smoothing a curl from her face covered with a matching glove.
“Come on. We’ll have fun,” she laughed, noting the skepticism in Nathan’s face.
“I moved to the ocean to get away from snow. At least it isn’t piled in drifts.”
“If we don’t get out of here Admiral Noyce and Janet are liable to be joining us for our walk.”
That statement made up Nathan’s mind. “Let’s go.” With a quick glance behind him he grabbed Kristin’s hand and pulled her out the door.
The snow crunched beneath their feet as they moved away from the complex and into the forest that bounded one side of it. They were both breathless by the time they entered the covering of trees but that didn’t stop Nathan from grabbing Kristin’s waist and pulling her into his embrace.
Kristin laughed as her arms slipped around his neck, the scarf sliding down the back of her head. “See! This isn’t so bad now, is it?”
Nathan tightened his grip, crushing her body to his. “Not bad at all,” his lips captured hers, cold skin quickly warming as they melded together.
Kristin pulled away when she felt Nathan’s hands slid beneath her jacket and top. “Naughty, naughty! We’ll be back in our room before long. I think that the elements might act as a deterrent at the moment,” her fingers skimmed lightly over the bulge in Nathan’s trousers.
“So let’s get some damned fresh air then go lock ourselves in our room,” Nathan told her, a slow grin spreading across his face. “I’ve got some wonderful ideas on how we can… warm up!”
Kristin held out her hand and they moved off down the path at a brisk pace. After covering a few hundred yards the forest ended and they found themselves on the edge of a flat meadow. An evil twinkle entered her eye as Nathan moved onto the pristine field of snow and she bent down and scooped up a handful of the fluffy white powder.
Her free hand moved to the zipper of her borrowed jacket and pulled it halfway down then undid the top three buttons on her blouse. Her skin flushed as the cool air kissed it and she felt her nipples pucker tightly.
“Hey, sailor!” Her sultry voice echoed over the meadow as Nathan turned, his eyes blazing when he saw her bare skin, flushed from the touch of winter. He moved back toward her only to be greeted with a large snowball barreling toward his face.
Kristin laughed merrily as she took off across the field, yanking her jacket zipper back up as she did so. She hadn’t gone more than a few yards when a pellet of snow hit her back. She stopped and turned, catching the second ball square in the face.
“You are SO dead, Bridger!”
“You started it!”
They romped across the meadow firing handfuls of snow at each other until they were both breathing heavy.
“Truce?” Nathan finally called.
Kristin dropped the snow in her gloved hand and nodded, smiling as she moved toward him.
“Why don’t we go back to the hotel and… Krist… oomph!” Nathan landed flat on his back as Kristin tackled him. She straddled his body and lowered herself until she was sitting on his hips.
“I thought we had a truce,” Nathan whispered, enchanted as he watched her slowly pull the zipper of her coat down. A few more buttons had worked their way free and her breasts spilled completely out of the almost non-existent bra she wore.
“I’m very cold. See…” she gestured at the hard points of her nipples. “Wanna warm me up?”
Her scarf flew down her back as Nathan jerked her forward; his mouth closing over one peak while his hand palmed the other. “Oh God…” she moaned as cold air and warm breath rushed over her.
The sound of their names being called brought Nathan to his senses before he could follow his instinct to flip them and bare enough skin to drive into her.
He swore softly as he glanced around Kristin’s body to see Bill and Janet moving toward them from the edge of the forest.
“We’ve got company, honey. How are we gonna explain this?”
Kristin sat up and yanked the zipper to her neck. “Fight me,” she commanded as she grabbed a hand of white powder and tried to shove it down Nathan’s shirt.
By the time that Bill and Janet reached them Kristin was on her knees over Nathan’s chest, his hands holding her wrists as he laughingly coaxed her to stop.
“I thought you were a better man than that, Nathan! Being bested by a woman… really.”
Nathan neatly flipped Kristin off of him onto her bottom and deposited a handful of snow in her hair. “Who is being bested by a woman?”
“Well it certainly looked that way to me!” Bill’s words faltered as Nathan beaned him with the snow in his other hand then took off running. Bill quickly gave chase.
“Look at them, like two little boys,” Janet grinned as her husband scored a hit on Nathan. “Great cover by the way.”
“The trying to shove snow down Nathan’s shirt thing. I could hazard a guess as to what you were really doing. Which reminds me… Bill thinks that you dragged Nathan out before we were ready this afternoon, to hound him about practicing. He also thinks that Nathan is just putting up with you because the teenybopper waitress is on duty. Sometimes I wonder about my husband.”
Kristin giggled. “As long as he doesn’t suspect that Nathan and I are more than just colleagues right now, I don’t care what he thinks.”
“He is going to try and rescue Nathan from you this afternoon.”
“Trust me, Nathan has no desire to be rescued,” Kristin blushed slightly.
“So I take it that plans call for a very… active afternoon?” Janet shared Kristin’s giggle.
“Actually, I would love nothing more than to go back to Nathan’s room, climb into bed with him and a cup of hot chocolate to cuddle and warm up. Maybe watch an old movie with the fireplace roaring.”
“I didn’t say that… the afternoon is still young, after all, and we have all evening and all night,” Kristin turned to look at Janet. “There is more to our relationship than sex… much more.”
“I know that, Kristin,” Janet reassured her. “I was just teasing you. I see how the two of you feel about each other. You love each other. What I can’t believe is that my husband can’t see it.”
“So, are you going to help distract Bill so we can get away?” Kristin waggled her eyebrows as she spoke.
“How am I going to do that?”
“Janet Noyce! Be creative!”
Nathan was closing in on the women, having scored another direct hit with Bill in hot pursuit. Kristin gave Janet a little nudge and stepped away. A gleam entered Janet’s eye and she moved in front of Bill at the last possible moment. The two of them tumbled to the ground, Janet eventually ending up on top in much the same position Kristin had been in earlier.
“What the hell?” Bill sputtered, his expletive dying away as Janet rocked her hips against him. “Oh…” his hands drifted to her hips. “I think… we’re gonna go back to the hotel now. It’s much too cold out here.”
The couple untangled themselves and stood, holding hands as they waved good-bye and took off toward the woods.
“Alone at last,” Nathan stood behind Kristin and wrapped his arms tightly around her, the fingers of his right hand drifting toward the tug of her zipper. Her hand moved to stay his.
“Bill’s right. It is rather cool outside… at least for this sort of thing. Especially when we have a warm bed waiting for us.”
“Race you back to the hotel!” Nathan took off at a fast trot.
“No fair! You got a head start!” Kristin was hot on his heels.
Nathan slowed once he reached the other edge of the woods and waited for Kristin to catch up with him. “Are you really gonna make me practice again?”
“Of course I am.”
“But I thought… maybe we could spend the afternoon in more… productive pursuits. After all the crew will be here tomorrow.”
“I didn’t say what I was going to make you practice, now did I?” Nathan broke into a huge grin at Kristin’s seductive smile.
“At least we don’t have to dodge Bill all afternoon.”
“No, Janet took care of that very nicely, I thought.”
“You two planned that?”
“I asked her to keep Bill occupied. The method was hers alone. Besides, why shouldn’t Janet have some fun, too?”
“Stop right there. Don’t want that mental image in my head!”
They’d reached the hotel and Kristin leaned back sexily on the side entrance door, her fingers toying with her neckline. “What image would you like in your head?”
“Oh, it’s already there, baby. My room… now!”
Kristin giggled as they stealthily made their way to the elevator. The second the doors slid closed Nathan had his arms around her, his hands rubbing her firmly from shoulders to bottom and back. Luckily the elevator went straight to their floor. The halls were empty so Nathan took a chance and waved Kristin into his room, grumbling loudly about another practice session just in case anyone was listening.
“Oh my…” Nathan closed the door and turned to see what had caused Kristin’s exclamation. “When Janet and I were talking a few minutes ago I told her that I’d like to come back to the hotel and snuggle in bed with you and a cup of hot chocolate, a warm fire and an old movie.”
A fire crackled merrily in the fireplace, the case of ‘White Christmas’ was propped in front of the player attached to the small television and two cups of steaming liquid were on a small tray on the bedside table.
“Janet is a good friend,” Nathan observed quietly. “The only thing left for us to do is snuggle.”
Nathan sat up with a start, not sure exactly what had woken him up, but immediately aware that Kristin was no longer beside him in the bed. He quickly eyed the room, made bright by light from the three-quarter moon outside, but he was alone.
“Sweetheart?” He called out anxiously.
The door to the bathroom swung open and Kristin stepped out wearing his hotel issue robe. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”
Nathan shook his head as he eyed her slowly moving toward him. “You didn’t. I just missed you.”
“I wasn’t gone long enough for you to miss me,” she replied but Nathan could tell from her smile how pleased she was at his explanation.
“A single second is long enough. Why don’t you come back over here and join me?”
“Why, Captain! Could it be that you are having immoral thoughts about me?” Kristin laughed coyly, her fingers slowly loosening the belt on the robe.
“Most definitely! Want to know what they are?” Nathan shifted the covers away from his hips and bounced them up and down on the mattress.
“I think I have a pretty good idea,” a roll of her shoulder sent one side of the robe sliding down Kristin’s bare arm. The other quickly followed. Kristin eyed Nathan’s erection slowly growing from a nest of graying curls. She shifted her arms to allow the robe to slide lower, revealing the tops of her breasts, dusky nipples barely peeping out.
“Kris… come back to bed,” Nathan held out his hand to her.
A few steps found Kristin at the side of the bed, touching Nathan’s hand. She pulled it up and laid it on her chest. “What would you like to do to me, my captain?”
Nathan wrapped his free arm around her waist and pulled her onto the bed and into his lap, the textured robe rubbing enticingly against his arousal.
“I want to make you come.”
“You’ve already done that several times this evening. Not that I’m complaining… you do it so very well.”
Nathan grinned. “I love to watch you but this time… I was wondering if I could do it just by…” his voice trailed off as he slid his hands down her arms, taking the robe with it. His eyes glittered as he stared at her naked torso accented by silvery moonlight.
“You could probably make me come just by speaking to me. What did you… OH!”
Nathan’s fingers moved to cup her breasts, his fingertips moving in a gentle massage around the swell. Kristin wrapped her now bare arms loosely around Nathan’s neck and arched slightly into his touch.
“Mmm… that feels so…”
Nathan increased the pressure of his touch slightly at her words, his fingertips slipping closer to the dark pink centers but not touching. Kristin tilted her head and licked her lips slightly. Nathan accepted her invitation gladly and leaned forward to brush her mouth with his, his lips teasing in the same manner as his fingers.
“Mmm… that feels wonderful!” Kristin murmured against his lips, unwilling to break the contact between them.
Nathan pulled away from her with a loud smack then licked his lips hungrily as he stared at her chest. The tips of his index fingers finally moved to caress the erect tips, causing a sigh to emerge from Kristin’s throat. She surged forward, craving more contact as she rocked her hips against his.
Nathan acquiesced; his thumb and forefinger wrapping around Kristin’s nipples and tweaking them while his other fingers continued their gentle massage.
“Oh please!” Kristin gasped, her forehead falling to Nathan’s shoulder as pleasure shot through every nerve of her body.
“Whatever you want, my love,” Nathan shifted Kristin’s head back against his left hand, his right still twisting and pulling at her left nipple, then lowered his head and captured the free peak between his lips.
Kristin’s breath began to come in gasps. “Nath… I need… you. Oh, I need you!”
The pull of his lips on her breast grew stronger and Kristin began to whimper, her hands moving behind Nathan’s head to clasp him to her. He broke his hold with an audible pop, his hands and mouth changing places to allow him to feast on her right breast in the same manner.
Nathan felt the tension build in Kristin’s body, her muscles tightening with every gasp. He brought his hands together, her breasts pressed between them until the nipples were almost touching each other. He pulled both tips into his mouth, his tongue working them furiously while his teeth pressed lightly against the creamy flesh.
Kristin’s arms clamped around his neck like a vise and she buried her face in his shoulder to dampen her scream as she shattered. He held her tightly until the trembling in her body began to fade then twisted them both so that she was pressed to the mattress with his body cradled on top of hers.
“I love watching you,” Nathan whispered into her neck.
“I can’t believe that you made me… from just touching my breasts… you are so…”
“Horny… if I can’t have you right now I’m going to explode,” Nathan pushed his hips forcefully against her.
“Then have me,” Kristin twisted beneath him, rubbing his rock hard erection against her wet curls.
Nathan positioned his erection and sank into Kristin’s warmth then stilled, allowing her body to stretch around him. His brow beaded with sweat as he struggled to contain his own desire until Kristin was ready.
Kristin clasped his face in her hands and captured his gaze with her smoky brown eyes.
“I love you, Nathan Bridger! In a meeting or in a snow covered field… or listening to you sing ‘White Christmas’… badly. I know what a wonderful captain you are but I’ve loved seeing this human side of you. Thank you for making these last few days possible.”
Kristin captured his lips with hers as she rolled her hips against him, signaling her desire for him to move.
There was so much that Nathan wanted to say in reply but the movement of her body around his overrode all rational thought as he began to plunge in and out of her. Kristin met his movements, her own need as great as his.
Nathan’s hands slid into her hair as he trailed breathy kisses over her mouth. “I love you… I love you, Kristin,” he murmured over and over as his thrusts grew more powerful. “…love… Kris… oh… KRIS… TIN!”
They crested and fell together, their bodies tensing then collapsing in a tangle as they rode the waves of an exquisite climax. Kristin came back to herself, pulled by the tickle of a whisper in her ear. She concentrated on the buzz, overwhelmed with tears to hear the words still flowing from Nathan’s lips. “…love you… only you, Kris… so much…”
Kristin awoke to the comforting feeling of being cocooned in Nathan’s arms, one of his hands resting between her breasts, cupping one full mound; the other laying comfortably low on her stomach. She sighed happily and snuggled back against his chest.
“Morning, sweetheart…” Nathan murmured in her ear as his arms tightened around her, the hand on her breast squeezing gently while he pulled her closer.
“Mmm… good morning, my captain,” Kristin replied.
“Sleep well?” Nathan asked, gently nibbling on her earlobe.
Kristin nodded then shifted in his embrace, rolling onto her back to smile up at him. “You?”
“Holding you, how could I not?”
“Hmm… I love you too,” she replied, reaching up to pull his head down for a loving kiss. They parted breathlessly long minutes later and lay quietly in each other’s arms, simply enjoying their closeness.
“What’s on your mind?” Nathan asked quietly some time later, his fingers brushing a lock of auburn hair away from her face. “And don’t tell me nothing. I can see it in your eyes.”
A smiled pulled at the corner of her mouth. “I’ve just been thinking.”
“I can see that. What about?”
“What’s going to happen when we get back to seaQuest? How are we going to continue? Are we going to continue sneaking around? How and when are we going to tell everyone about us?”
Nathan placed his fingers against her lips. “We are going to be together when we get back to seaQuest… no sneaking around. I want you in my bed every night and in my arms every morning,” he told her. “As for telling the crew… we can do that tonight at the party. Besides I figure our performance alone will clue them in.”
“And if it doesn’t? If they don’t clue in?”
“Then my crew are not as smart as I think they are,” Nathan replied.
“And what about Bill?”
“If Bill can’t handle our being together… then he can find a new captain for the seaQuest,” Nathan told her.
“No…” Kristin moved to sit up but Nathan’s hand on her shoulder stopped her.
“Yes,” Nathan nodded then smiled at her. “I love you, Kristin. You. And you are far more important to me than that damn boat. So the brass is just going to have to accept that we are a package deal… if they don’t like it…”
“Then we walk,” Kristin finished with a smile. “I love you so much, my captain.”
Nathan grinned as he lowered his head, his mouth covering hers in a loving kiss that Kristin quickly deepened, pulling him on top of her so that he lay cradled between her thighs.
“Now…” Kristin pulled out of the kiss. “How about a proper good morning?”
“Oh yeah…” Nathan’s grin grew as he reclaimed her mouth.
“That was, without a doubt, the best start to a Christmas Eve I’ve had in years,” Kristin whispered to Nathan as they stood in the lobby of the hotel, waiting for the crew to arrive off the launch.
Nathan grinned, his fingers brushing hers. “You made my eyes cross…” he said in a low voice. “I’d say it was a damn good start to Christmas Eve.”
Kristin’s laughter rang out through the lobby. “Wait until you see how it ends!” She winked at him.
“Oh, you have plans? Anything you’d like to tell me about?” Nathan glanced around the lobby as he whispered then shifted a little closer.
“How do you feel about playing Santa?” Kristin asked, her fingers surreptitiously slipping over Nathan’s buttons.
“For you? Anytime!”
“Good, then you wouldn’t mind hurrying down my chimney tonight.”
Nathan gasped at the mental image Kristin’s comment elicited and reached for her without thinking, his need to touch her overriding his common sense.
“Nath…” Kristin gasped as he pulled her close.
“NATHAN! What the…” Bill Noyce’s voice echoed through the lobby as Kristin sagged in Nathan’s arms.
Bill and Janet rushed to Nathan’s side as he struggled to maintain his grasp on Kristin. With Janet’s help he swung the unconscious woman into his arms and carried her to a padded bench nearby.
“What happened?” The desk clerk had rushed over to offer her help.
“I don’t know,” Nathan sat beside Kristin and placed his fingers on her neck to check her pulse as he explained. “One minute we were talking, waiting for the crew, the next she was out like a light.”
“She’s coming around,” Janet observed.
Kristin’s eyelids fluttered rapidly for a moment then settled in the open position, a stunned look on her face. “What… ooh, the room started to spin,” she struggled to sit up but Nathan placed a restraining hand on her shoulder.
“Lay still until your head clears. Do you feel sick?” Nathan asked, concern tingeing his voice.
“When was the last time you ate?” Janet asked. “You probably had Nathan practicing so hard last night that you forgot to eat dinner.”
Kristin nodded as she shrugged off Nathan’s hand and sat up slowly. “We were waiting on the crew to arrive to eat breakfast. I guess my blood sugar must have fallen too low. I’m all right now.”
“We could call a doctor up from the village, madam,” the desk clerk said.
“No, thank you. I’m a doctor myself. I feel perfectly fine now, really.”
The lobby doors burst open admitting a blast of cool air along with a throng of crewmen from the seaQuest. Leaving Kristin sitting with Janet, Nathan and Bill made their way toward Commander Ford.
“That was a smooth cover-up. I thought Bill was going to pop a vein when he saw you in Nathan’s arms. You fainted at just the right moment… Kristin… is something wrong?” Janet noticed her friends’ distraction.
“Mmm… no… nothing’s wrong. I was just… I think that Ben and Lucas must be giving Nathan a difficult time about the performance. They planned this, you know.”
“The show? You told us it was Ben’s idea.”
“It was… but the whole thing was a ruse to force Nathan and I to spend time together. Ben rigged the drawing so that Nathan would pick my name. They don’t know that we know.”
“So your crew doesn’t know that you and Nathan are already… together?”
“Oh no. We’ve been very careful. I should go over there,” Kristin stood and took a deep breath before moving over to greet the group.
“So… did you and the Captain get a lot of ‘practicing’ done?” Ben asked, his eyebrows waggling suggestively.
“Of course we did. I’ve been very pleased with the Captain’s ‘performance’,” Kristin replied with a mischievous grin on her face.
Ben choked back a laugh at the dark look on Nathan’s face. “Perhaps you’d better go see to your room, Mr. Kreig, before you end up sleeping in the stables. You’ll find out how much I’ve been forced to practice at the party tonight.”
Ben popped a smart salute. “Yes, sir!” and turned toward the desk.
Nathan slammed the door to his room firmly behind him and leaned back against it, a deep sigh escaping his lips at the first moment of peace he’d had since the arrival of his crew earlier in the day. He spent most of the morning and a good part of the afternoon helping set up a stage and sound equipment for the party, continuing his good-natured grumbling all the while. He’d barely seen Kristin since breakfast.
With this in mind he made his way toward the door that joined their two rooms and pushed it open.
“Kris?” He called quietly but received no answer.
Janet had told him that Kristin had come upstairs for a few moments of quiet before the party so he stepped through the door and looked around. A smile touched his lips at the sight of his lover curled up beneath her comforter, fast asleep. He slipped off his shoes and climbed in beside her, pulling her into his arms.
“Mmm… love you,” Kristin murmured as she snuggled deeper into his warm embrace.
“I love you, too. I hate to bother you but we don’t have much longer before we have to be downstairs.”
“Just a few more minutes, mummy…” Nathan felt her smile against his neck.
He rolled her to her back and climbed on top of her, kissing her ferociously as his hands roamed her body. “How about a quickie?”
“A quickie sounds wonderful,” Kristin giggled as she flipped them and began to strip Nathan’s shirt off. “I have been dying to lick your nipples all day long.”
Nathan grinned and gave up on the buttons of Kristin’s blouse and pulled it from her waistband to whip it off over her head. Her bra quickly followed. Kristin lifted her hips and unbuttoned Nathan’s trousers while he tugged her skirt up around her waist. Once she had freed him from his briefs her hands wrapped around him to stroke gently as she leaned forward and ran her tongue across his peaked chest.
Nathan groaned as he slid his hands up her smooth thighs to cup her smooth center. His fingers slipped beneath the barrier of her panties to stroke her into readiness, finding her already wet and wanting. He moved the silk to the side and pulled her down, impaling her with his hard length.
Kristin immediately began to move on him and Nathan responded in kind, his hands on her hips as his thrusts met hers. Release came abruptly for both of them and Kristin collapsed on top of Nathan, their bodies still trembling as they held each other.
“That was a nice interlude.”
“Just a little appetizer for tonight. Maybe we could skip the party…”
“Oh no you don’t, Nathan Bridger. You are not wiggling out of this one.”
Nathan jiggled his hips. “Not trying to, hon. That was an inspired move this morning, by the way. I can’t believe that I forgot we were in public but your little fainting spell was right on the nose. Bill didn’t suspect a thing.”
Kristin shifted her upper body slightly then began to stroke his chest. “About Bill,” she asked in a halting voice. “If the crew figures out about us tonight then the Admiral is bound to as well.”
“I’ve been thinking about that. I’ll talk to Bill; tell him about us after the performance. I owe him that.”
“And if he reacts badly?”
“Then we deal with it. If he can’t accept us… we walk. I was serious about what I said this morning.”
They lay together quietly, kissing and caressing, for several minutes before Kristin reluctantly pulled away. “As much as I hate to interrupt this, we have a party to get ready for,” she glanced at the clock. “We are probably going to be late as it is. Luckily dinner is a buffet.”
“Umm… so we save time by showering together,” Nathan flashed her a devilish grin.
“Then we’ll end up being really late,” Kristin laughed as Nathan scooped her up and headed toward the bathroom.
“Are you okay, Kristin? You didn’t eat very much?” Janet asked as they placed their plates on the discard table.
“I’m not feeling very hungry… nerves I guess.”
“I’m sure that you and Nathan are going to do a fantastic job.”
Kristin smiled and nodded. “Yes… he’s going to be wonderful. I’m not worried about the performance, just what happens afterward.”
Janet was surprised. “What do you expect to happen?”
“After we are done… our… relationship… might be a lot more obvious to everyone.”
“But you told me that your crew wanted you together, orchestrated this entire evening in an effort to… oh… it isn’t the crew you are worried about. It’s Bill.”
Kristin smiled wanly. “The repercussions might be severe. Nathan says that he will walk away before he lets them remove me from the seaQuest and I believe that he means it. But I know how much that boat means to him…”
“You are afraid he might come to resent you,” Janet responded knowingly.
“It is a possibility,” Kristin voiced her fear.
“It won’t happen. Nathan Bridger knows his own mind. Yes, the seaQuest is important to him, but not as important as you are. That is very obvious to me.”
“Nathan is going to talk to Bill tonight. He feels like he owes him the courtesy of telling him about us. I’m just worried.”
“Well don’t be. Bill is first and foremost Nathan’s friend,” Janet laid a hand on Kristin’s arm. “Everything will work out.”
An introductory strand of music sounded from the large ballroom attached to the smaller eating area, causing both women to glance up.
“Sounds like things are about to kick off. Perhaps I’d better go find Nathan and make sure he doesn’t do a runner,” Kristin laughed.
“I saw him with Bill over by the bar. Where are you in the program?” Janet asked as the two women made their way across the floor.
“We are last… another inventive little trick of Mr. Kreig’s. I think he wants to make Nathan suffer until the last possible minute.”
“I’m sure he wants to make me suffer,” both women jumped as Nathan and Bill came up behind them. “I’m just not sure what punishment is severe enough for this offense.”
“Captain, you can’t punish the lieutenant for putting us last on the schedule.”
“No…” Nathan conceded. “But I can keep this in mind when I devise the punishment for his next stupid stunt. You look lovely, Janet, very festive.”
Janet smiled her thanks at Nathan’s compliment then subtly placed an elbow in Bill’s ribs.
“Oh… you look very nice as well, Dr. Westphalen. What is that on your dress… snowflakes?”
Kristin wore a sleeveless black dress with a low neckline and a flared skirt that hung to just above her knees. The hem of the skirt was lined with beaded and sequined snowflakes.
“Thank you, Admiral,” Kristin shared a little smile with Janet as the other woman shrugged her shoulders. “Luckily the Captain and I don’t have to change for our skit.”
Just then Joshua Levin stepped out onto the stage and tapped the microphone. A squeal ran through the system causing everyone to block their ears as it came through the speakers.
“Sorry about that folks. We’re about ready to get this show on the road,” Levin cracked a few jokes before moving on to the main event. “So let’s have a nice round of applause for our first number, Lieutenant Commander Katherine Hitchcock and Lieutenant Kreig!”
A roar went up from the assembled company as Ben stepped into the spotlight clothed in bell-bottom jeans and an open front white shirt with a long furry vest. A leather band was tied around his forehead and a cheesy moustache graced his upper lip. Katie was right behind him, wearing a long black wig, a very slinky shiny dress and platform shoes.
The piano player hit the opening chords of ‘I Got You, Babe’ and the couple began to sing. Katie flipped her hair and Ben slouched so that he appeared shorter. The crowd clapped long and loud as they finished and took their bows. They laughed even louder when Ben laid a hand on Katie’s back and the mic picked up her whispered threat of broken fingers.
Levin stepped out on the stage and opened his mouth to speak when a loud scream came from back stage. He quickly dived behind the curtain, appearing a minute later with a grin on his face. “Not broken, folks… just sprained a little.”
Several very good acts followed in rapid succession. Both the military and science staff had risen to the occasion and a variety of musical, comic and magic acts were offered before Levin returned to announce the second of three offerings by the command crew.
“You are in for a treat now, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s give it up for the seaQuest Studmuffins!”
“Oh my God!” Kristin groaned. “They wouldn’t!”
The guys came on to the darkened stage single file; their bulky forms moving into place. The lights snapped to full intensity just as the loud disco music filled the room. Jonathan Ford, dressed as a construction worker, stepped forward to take the lead as they all began to sing ‘Disco Santa’.
The crowd hooted as the group of five danced in sync back and forth across the stage to the peppy music; Lucas dressed as an Indian chief, Ortiz as a policeman, O’Neill as a cowboy and Chief Crocker as a policeman. They finished with a flourish and the lights went black to thunderous applause.
“Thank God,” Kristin whispered to Janet. “I was afraid that they were going to… oh nooooo…”
The opening strains of ‘You can leave your hat on’ blared from the speakers as the lights came back up to reveal the same five men, their heads now wearing Santa caps. Kristin rolled her eyes as clothing began to be shed.
“I am not watching this!” Kristin turned to face Nathan. “I warned them… they wouldn’t… Lucas is underage!”
“Just watch,” Nathan gently turned Kristin back to the stage just as five pairs of pants were whipped off to reveal an array of red and green silk boxers embellished with Christmas scenes.
“Take it off! Take it all off!” A yell came from the clapping crowd.
“Don’t you DARE!” Kristin responded, loud enough for the men on stage to hear. With a final bow the seaQuest Studmuffins exited, Lucas pausing just long enough to whip off his Santa hat and toss it to her.
Levin stepped back on the stage. “Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to take a short break here to set up the stage and then we will be back with our final performance of the evening.”
“That’s our cue,” Kristin stood and gestured to Nathan to lead the way. He glared at her and grumbled as he got up from his chair. “I want it noted for the record that I didn’t want to do this!”
Kristin rolled her eyes and gave his shoulder a push. “Move it, Captain.”
A light rose on the stage just enough so that the outline of furniture could be seen. A large comfortable looking sofa with its back to the audience dominated the scene. A window frame hung behind the sofa, a sprinkling of manufactured snow falling behind it. Orange lights and scarves made a passable makeshift fireplace.
Gradually the lights became brighter until the heads of a couple could be seen over the top of the sofa, locked in a passionate embrace. The woman pulled away and stood, as the scene became more visible. The audience gasped as they realized that the couple consisted of their Captain and CMO.
The sounds of a jazzy bass filled the air as Kristin smoothed her dress and turned to Nathan as he stood, lipstick covering his generous mouth. “Well, honeybun… it’s been fun, but I gotta run.”
Nathan responded in kind, the bass continuing in the background. “Oh, sweetlips… stay a little while longer, won’t you?”
“No… it’s very late, baby… I really gotta go.”
Nathan caught her around the waist and led her toward the window. “But look at the weather. You’ll catch cold out there and I would never forgive myself.”
Kristin laughed knowingly. “Oh ho ho… you…”
Nathan tugged her back toward the sofa. “Come on, just one more nightcap?”
Kristin resisted. “No… I shouldn’t… no… well…”
Other instruments joined in as Kristin began to sing in a husky voice. “I really can’t stay.”
Nathan joined in counterpoint. “But, Baby, it’s cold outside,” his tone pleading.
“I’ve got to go ‘way.”
“But, Baby, it’s cold outside.”
“This evening has been…”
“Been hoping that you’d drop in.”
“So very nice.”
“I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice,” he laid her hands on his chest and began to draw lazy patterns on them with his fingers.
“My mother will start to worry,” she argued.
“Beautiful, what’s your hurry?” He countered.
“And father will be pacing the floor,” she pulled on her coat and positioned a hat on her head.
“Listen to the fireplace roar.”
“So really, I’d better scurry…” she sounded more adamant.
“Beautiful, please don’t hurry,” Nathan pulled a hand to his mouth, his lips caressing the palm.
“Well…” she wavered. “Maybe just a half a drink more.”
“Put some records on while I pour,” Nathan directed her to a table with a small phonograph on it while he splashed liquid into two glasses, taking care to mix a larger amount in the glass he turned to give Kristin.
“The neighbors might think…” Kristin started to argue again.
“Baby, it’s bad out there.”
“Say…” Kristin sipped from the glass in her hand then stared down at it. “What’s in this drink?”
“No cabs to be had out there,” Nathan shook his head sorrowfully, his eyes gleaming with delight.
“I wish I knew how….”
“Your eyes are like starlight now…” Nathan moved in close to gaze into Kristin’s whiskey brown orbs, as he took her drink and sat it beside his on the table.
“To break this spell,” Kristin was a woman bewitched.
“I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell,” Nathan murmured as he swept the cap from her head and tossed it back over a chair. He took her back into his arms.
“I ought to say no, no, no, sir,” Kristin used one hand to push away from his chest but the other slid up his neck and into his hair.
“Mind if I move in closer?” Nathan move a hand up her back, gently pressing their bodies back together.
“At least I’m gonna say that I tried,” Kristin gave in and pressed her chest to his.
Nathan smiled sexily at her. “What’s the point in hurting my pride?”
“I really can’t stay,” Nathan’s lips brushed across her neck.
“Baby, don’t hold out.”
Their voices joined together. “Ahh, but it’s cold outside.”
The bass continued to pluck its sultry tune as they sank back down on the sofa, their heads locked together just out of sight of the crowd. The musician plucked through one chorus then a second one and even started the third before the couple separated and sat up straighter.
“Well, I must say, this couch is very comfortable,” Kristin spoke as she ran her hand along the edge of the sofa and back into Nathan’s tousled hair.
“It’s not a couch, puddin’ pop. It’s a looove seat.” Nathan drawled the word out as he waggled his eyebrows at her.
“Oooh hooo hooo… how you talk,” Nathan chuckled as Kristin continued. “Oh, Nathan…”
The other instruments joined back in as she began to sing again.
“I simply must go.”
“But, Baby, it’s cold outside.”
“The answer is NO!” The audience could see Kristin move Nathan’s hand away from her body somewhere below the sofa back.
“But, Baby, it’s cold outside.”
“The welcome has been…”
“I’m lucky that you dropped in.”
“…so nice and warm.”
“Look out the window at that storm,” Kristin stood and walked to the window, Nathan close behind, and watched, as the snow flurries grew heavier.
She turned unwittingly into his embrace. “My sister will be suspicious.”
“Gosh, your lips look delicious,” Nathan bent in closer until only millimeters were separating them.
“My brother will be there at the door,” Kristin stared at Nathan’s mouth as if she wanted to devour it.
“Like waves upon a tropical shore,” Nathan ever so delicately touched her lips with his.
“My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious,” Kristin’s protests weren’t fooling him.
“Gosh, your lips are delicious,” Nathan moved back for a second taste.
“Well… maybe just a cigarette more,” Kristin pushed away and picked up the packet of cigarettes, slipping one out and sliding it to her mouth.
“Never such a blizzard before,” Nathan finished, taking the cigarette from her lips and tossing it across the room as he gave her a fierce kiss.
“I’ve got to get home,” Kristin pulled back to plead with him.
“Oh, Baby, you’ll freeze out there,” Nathan argued back.
“Say, darling, can you lend me your comb?” One hand moved up to stroke through her auburn curls, smoothing them back into place.
“It’s up to your knees out there.”
“You’ve really been grand…” Kristin laid her palm on top of his.
“I thrill when you touch my hand.”
“But, don’t you see?”
“How can you do this thing to me?” Nathan begged, need evident in his voice.
“There’s bound to be talk tomorrow,” Kristin stated emphatically.
“Think of my lifelong sorrow.”
“At least there will be plenty implied.”
“If you caught pneumonia and died.”
“I really can’t stay!” Kristin protested once more as Nathan moved her back toward the sofa.
“Get over that old doubt,” Nathan pushed her down on the sofa and stared at her as their voices joined together once again.
“Ahh, but it’s cold outside.”
The bass once again continued to pluck away as Nathan sat down next to Kristin, his hand draped along the back of the couch so that his fingers could play in her hair.
“Well… I don’t know… I gotta go home…” she mumbled slightly as if arguing with herself.
“Hey, look… it’s starting to snow!” Kristin stretched and glanced out the window as the fake flakes began to fall furiously.
“Oh… you arranged that, didn’t you?”
“See…” Nathan told her with a smug look on his face. “Now you gotta stay.”
“Well… I guess I won’t be able to find a cab…” Kristin began to justify her staying.
“There are no cabs,” Nathan stated emphatically as he moved closer.
“And the buses… they’re never on time…”
“They’ll never run in snow like this, let me take your coat,” Nathan quickly pulled her arms out of the long sleeves, Kristin seemingly never noticing as she continued her ruminations.
“True… tomorrow is Sunday, isn’t it? And I don’t have to go in to work…”
“See, isn’t that better?” Nathan tossed the coat to the nearby chair then slipped his arms around her.
“…and who knows how long it will keep snowing…”
“It could snow for a long time, Kristin,” Nathan’s head fell to Kristin’s neck as he slowly began to lower her down on the sofa and out of the audience’s view.
“What are you doing…” Kristin’s voice drifted up from behind the sofa. “…ooh… well now…” soft giggles could be heard. “… yes…”
The bass played through one last chorus as low moans from each of them floated up from behind the sofa. A feminine foot rose and hooked over the back of the furniture, a black pump swinging wildly from the toes before falling to the floor with a loud thump. Nathan’s arm appeared, a bra swinging from his fingertips as he twirled it a few times and released it toward the audience. The musician hit his final note with a flourish and the audience rose to thunderous applause.
Levin stepped back to the corner of the stage with his microphone. “What a great number! Let’s hear it for Captain Bridger and Doctor Westphalen!” He gestured toward the sofa where a black stocking clad foot still rubbed the upper edge. Catcalls began to rise from the audience.
Levin made a tiny gesture at the light man and the spotlight moved away from the stage to swing across the audience before coming to rest on Admiral Noyce. Bill was standing, staring at the stage in bewilderment, a black bra draped across his head. The audience erupted in laughter as he realized and grabbed the garment off of his head.
The spotlight swung back to the stage as Nathan finally stood and offered Kristin his hand. She appeared from behind the couch, her fingers carefully smoothing the corners of her mouth as Nathan raked his hands through his tousled hair. With a smile to each other they moved forward and offered a small bow and curtsey to their appreciative audience. Their smiles faltered just a moment as their eyes lit on Admiral Noyce staring at the garment in his hands, a strapless black lace bra… adorned with red and white candy canes.
The couple glanced quickly at each other and Nathan squeezed her hand in reassurance as they moved off stage. Members of the command crew quickly surrounded them to offer congratulations.
Janet watched her husband closely as he continued to stare at Kristin’s undergarment, realization slowly beginning to dawn.
“This matches… it’s the same as the panties… but that was the waitress… he told me… no, I assumed…” he looked up at Janet, bewildered.
Janet tilted her head and Bill turned to find Nathan and Kristin standing before him, their hands still tightly clasped together.
“Could I have my bra back, Admiral?” Kristin asked in a polite but firm tone.
Bill handed the garment back as he stared accusingly at the two of them.
“Bill, I think maybe we should talk…” Nathan began but Bill abruptly turned and stalked away.
“I’ll talk to him,” Janet quickly reassured the couple then took off after her husband.
“I guess that we have been outed,” Kristin whispered, a worried note in her voice.
“I didn’t think we’d stay a secret after that performance. Everything will be fine,” Nathan reassured her. “Now why don’t we find a quiet place for you to put this back on?” He touched the bra she clutched in her other hand. “I think we’ve given the crew enough of a thrill for the evening.”
“What happened to the one that we had planted beneath the cushions?” Kristin asked as they skirted the room.
“I have no idea. Thank God that you are able to get out of that contraption so efficiently,” Nathan stuck his head into a small anteroom and found it empty then guided Kristin in. He leaned back against the door to bar any unwanted entrants and grinned. “So… I can’t wait to see if you can get back into it as easily.”
Kristin smiled sexily at him. “It doesn’t quite work that way. Getting it on is a little more difficult, unless… I could use some help.”
“I know a man who’d be happy to volunteer,” Nathan grabbed a small chair and shoved it under the doorknob then moved towards Kristin with lust in his eyes.
“Now now, my captain,” she shook her finger at him. “None of that,” she turned her back to him. “Unzip me.”
Nathan quickly grabbed the tug at the nape of Kristin’s neck and pulled it down then slipped his hands beneath the gaping fabric to cup her bare breasts. “Maybe we could just… go upstairs now?” His heart leapt as Kristin twisted her shoulders and slid the dress down her arms to pool at her waist. “Or maybe stay right here?”
Kristin turned slightly and held out her hand. “My bra, please?”
Nathan wasn’t about to give up without a fight. His mouth moved to the back of her neck to trail breathy kisses down her spine while his fingers increased their pressure on her breasts.
“Nath… oooh…” Kristin’s head fell back to his shoulder as she gave in to his ministrations, allowing her body to fully enjoy Nathan’s touch for just a few moments before drawing her hands up and covering his to still them. “Not now, darling.”
“No one can come in,” Nathan’s hips pressed into her rounded bottom, his rigid erection making its presence known.
“But what if Admiral Noyce decides to… this would only make him madder. You do need to talk… we both need to talk to him…”
Nathan reluctantly dragged his hands down to Kristin’s waist as his lips stilled. “You’re right… I don’t want you to be right… but you are,” he pulled the bra out of the pocket he had stuffed in and handed it to her. “I need you so much.”
Kristin turned her head and smiled. “I need you, too. It won’t be much longer. Would you fasten me, please?”
She held the bra in place while Nathan grabbed the ends and tugged them together to catch the hooks in the eyes. His fingers trailed over her naked shoulder blade in a tender caress before he helped her get her arms back through the dress then drew the zipper up.
Kristin turned in his arms and rewarded him with a loving kiss. “Let’s get this situation resolved so that we won’t be worried. When I get you alone again I want all of your attention focused on me.”
“Oh, it will be, my love. I guarantee you that,” Nathan gave Kristin another breathy kiss then reluctantly pulled the chair away from the door and opened it. “After you, doctor.” He bowed gallantly as she reentered the main room then followed her.
“You know,” Kristin said as they moved away from the door. “I still don’t understand what happened to the bra that we had planted under the cushions… it was one of my favorites.”
The shadows around the door shifted as the couple moved away and Ben Kreig stepped out into the light, a knowing smile on his face as his hand fingered the lacy garment in his pocket.
“Ben! I’ve been looking for you,” Lucas said as he approached the older man. “Did you find the Cap and the Doc?”
“I found them. They are sitting at that table over there. I’ll be right back, kid.”
“Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“Uh… I’ve got to get rid of some incriminating evidence. Did you see where they took that couch from the last skit?”
Janet glanced around the small lounge to make sure it was empty then dragged her sputtering husband in and closed the door firmly behind them. She flipped the lock on the door and made it to one of the soft chairs before Bill finally exploded.
“How in the hell could Nathan do this to me? Doesn’t he know how much trouble he is going to be in? How much trouble I am going to be in?”
Janet sat down calmly in the chair and watched as Bill continued to rant.
“He’s the captain, for God’s sake! He can’t get involved in a physical relationship with a member of his crew! It just isn’t done! It puts the entire command structure in jeopardy. Suppose Westphalen gets mad when he dumps her and uses her power to relieve him of command.”
“Kristin wouldn’t do that,” Janet interjected quietly.
“Of course… Kristin wouldn’t do that… she’s a saint… how in the hell do you know that… you KNEW!?! They told you but not me? And you didn’t tell me either?”
Janet took a deep breath then forged forward. “First of all, they didn’t tell me anything.”
“Oh sure… you just divined it!” Bill answered sarcastically.
Janet stood and faced her husband, her eyes hard as flint. Bill knew at that moment that he was in very big trouble.
“Sit down and shut up!” Bill did as he was told, meekly following Janet’s pointing finger to the chair she had just vacated.
“Neither Nathan or Kristin told me about their relationship. They didn’t have to. I could see it… you can feel it whenever they are near each other. This isn’t just about sex, Bill. These two people are in love.”
“That’s sill…” he shut up quickly as Janet glared at him.
“Okay, I’ll bite. Why is that silly? What is so silly about a man and a woman falling in love?” Janet folded her arms, staring at her husband in challenge.
“Nathan was crazy about Carol. He’ll never get over her. If he were able to fall in love again it most certainly wouldn’t be with someone like Kristin Westphalen. The woman has ice in her veins. She’s a royal bitch!”
“Nathan loving Kristin doesn’t diminish what he felt for Carol. It’s because they loved each other so much that he is able to love Kristin so strongly. And why is it that when a man is opinionated, stands up for himself, he is viewed as a strong person but when a woman does the same thing she is called a bitch? Kristin is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met… and one of the most intelligent. She’s also very beautiful.”
“Intelligent I’ll give you… but I don’t really see the other. She’s cold, single-minded… look how she’s been pushing Nathan into all that practic… oh, they weren’t really… that was their excuse… am I blind?”
Janet smiled slightly. “I’ve been wondering that myself. It doesn’t matter what you see, Bill. What matters is what Nathan sees and he sees the woman that he loves. Remember how you described Nathan to me when you went to get him off the island? My heart broke over your description of that lonely bitter uncaring man. Even after he agreed to stay on the seaQuest Nathan still had an air of remoteness about him, like he was scared to let anyone get close. That’s gone now. He is happy, Bill. Can’t you see that?”
Bill closed his eyes as he thought back over the last few days. Finally he nodded. “Yes… Nathan is a changed man, maybe Westphalen did have something to do with that,” he stood and began to pace the room. “He’s going to be so angry when she is transferred off the ship. It may even drive him back to his island.”
“Transferred? But why? I remember when you first hired Kristin… you said she was the best person for the job… the only person on the planet with every credential you needed. She can’t leave.”
Bill sighed. “She can’t stay. A captain cannot be involved with a subordinate. I’m just afraid that Nathan will leave as well.”
“That’s silly, Bill. Look, when you and Nathan first began to plan for the seaQuest, when he began to build it, you remember what the plans were? If Carol were alive today…”
“We wouldn’t be in this situation.”
Janet rolled her eyes in annoyance at her husband. “The plans were for Carol and Robert to be on the sub with Nathan, living there as a family. Other crewmembers would have their families on board as well. Carol was a scientist. She would have been part of the sub’s science team, wouldn’t she?”
“I guess,” Bill conceded grudgingly. “But she wouldn’t have been in charge! And Nathan isn’t married to Dr. Westphalen.”
“No… not yet.”
“Yet!?! How long have they been… well… you know.”
“Since Kristin and the others got caught in that hurricane. You are trying to change the subject. The bottom line is that if Carol were still alive she would be living on the seaQuest, sharing the captain’s bed and serving as a member of the science team. Kristin is not Nathan’s subordinate in the military sense of that word. She isn’t military at all so she shouldn’t be bound by military rules.”
“You don’t understand.”
“I understand that you are throwing up obstacles. They have been together six weeks with no problems. You haven’t heard a single complaint from the crew. They’ve been discreet. They will continue to be discreet. What do you think that they are going to do? Have sex on the bridge?”
“Probably. They’ve apparently had… oh Lord! THAT’S what he was doing this afternoon!” Bill colored at the realization. “What happens if they can’t handle it?”
Janet sat down on the low table in front of Bill and placed her hand on his knee. “Trust your instincts. Give your friend enough credit to realize that he would be the first one to back away if it all becomes to much?”
“And if he backs away from her? How does that effect their working relationship?”
“No, Bill, if he backs away from command. Nathan won’t be backing away from Kristin. Promise me that you’ll give this some thought before you rush in blindly, speak without thinking… open your eyes to the possibilities… not for the captain of the seaQuest but for your friend… please?”
Bill nodded thoughtfully. “I’ll think about it. You go back and join the party. I’m going to stay here for a few minutes.”
Once Janet had left the room Bill slumped down in the chair, running his hands over the sparse hair on his head. ~ Dammit, Nathan! I didn’t drag you off that damned island for you to do this! ~ Then he heard the little voice in his head answer back. ~ Then why did you drag him off the island? ~
Bill stood and began to pace, then stopped to address the empty room. “I dragged him off the island so that he would remember what it was like to be a human being. I wanted him to rejoin the human race… to be happy… be happy. For some unknown reason Kristin Westphalen makes you happy, doesn’t she?”
Suddenly Bill needed to see the couple together again, watch them interact with each other and the crew before he made his decision. He exited the lounge and returned to the main ballroom, slipping through the door behind a crowd of people and moving into the shadows along the wall.
Nathan and Kristin were together, as they had been for the entire conference, Bill now realized. They twirled gracefully around the dance floor, talking quietly as they moved, standing neither too close together or too far apart. Nothing in their behavior or manner could be deemed in the least bit inappropriate.
Out of the corner of his eye Bill saw some of the members of Nathan’s command staff approaching and pulled further into the corner shadows. Jonathan Ford, Katherine Hitchcock and young Wolenczak stopped a few feet away from him, completely unaware of his presence.
“Do you really think it worked?” Lucas asked with eagerness in his voice. “They looked pretty cozy but they could have just been acting.”
Katie rolled her eyes at the teenager’s words. “Some things you just can’t act, Lucas. Our plan worked. I think they are definitely a couple now.”
“Then why doesn’t he hold her closer? Aren’t people who are in love supposed to be all huggy and kissy an’ stuff?”
“Captain Bridger is still an officer in the UEO navy and Doctor Westphalen is a respected scientist. If they are really obvious one of the higher ups is bound to get a bug up his ass about regulations,” Ford said. “We want the captain and the doctor together on the seaQuest, not separated or both gone.”
At that moment Ben Krieg slid to a stop in front of the group. “Am I brilliant or what? Let me remind you that this whole show and partnering idea was mine. And that it worked brilliantly!”
“What are you talking about, Ben?” Katie asked, a disgusted look on her face.
“I’ve been talking to the desk clerk. It seems that Captain Bridger and Doctor Westphalen’s rooms are right next door to each other.”
“So?” Ford replied, his perpetual irritation at Ben bubbling through.
“So! No sneaking up and down hallways and stairwells. All they had to do was wait until the coast was clear then sneak eight feet to the other one’s room.”
“It is an interesting coincidence, Jonathan,” Katie admitted.
“How can we be sure?” Lucas interjected.
“I have one more idea,” Ben held up his hand and showed the group what he was holding. “This should tell us yay or nay.”
Bill couldn’t see the item in Ben’s hand and the group soon moved away so he turned his attention back to the couple on the dance floor. Nathan’s hand rested at Kristin’s waist but Bill noticed that his fingers trailed lower every so often for a quick grope when he thought no one was looking.
~ So maybe it is more than just physical. ~ Bill thought… and then he saw it. The smile… that quirky little smile that Nathan seldom showed the world; the smile that meant Nathan was completely happy, content… and utterly in love.
Kristin looked up to see Bill standing before her and Nathan.
“May I have this dance?”
To say she was surprised was an understatement, but even still, Kristin nodded and stood; taking Bill’s hand and letting him guide her out onto the dance floor.
Nathan watched nervously as they began to dance. He’d seen the look in Bill’s eyes when he and Kristin had retrieved her bra after their performance and had known in that moment that Bill had figured it out. And he could tell that his oldest friend hadn’t been pleased with the discovery either.
“Oh please…” he whispered, glancing heaven-ward. “Please…”
Bill and Kristin swayed to the quiet music, a strained silence between them for several minutes before Bill spoke, surprising Kristin with his question.
“Do you love him?”
A brilliant smile lit Kristin’s face, her sable eyes growing bright, and in that moment, Bill knew the answer before she even opened her mouth.
“Yes I do. Very much,” Kristin answered without hesitation, meeting Bill’s gaze directly.
“And he loves you,” Bill said. “I can see that… now,” he admitted with a wry grin. “Speaking as his oldest friend… I am delighted that he has found happiness… found love again…”
“Even with me? The ice-queen of the sea?” Kristin asked with a wry grin.
“I never… well, yes, I will admit to thinking that you were…” Bill looked uncomfortable as his voice trailed off. “But I was obviously wrong. I know Nathan… and there is no way he would be attracted to someone who wasn’t as passionate as he is.”
“I can’t believe I didn’t see it… I guess I was just blind to the thought that Nathan could love anyone other than Carol. He loved her so much,” Bill said.
“I know he did… he still does,” Kristin said with a smile. “A part of his heart will always belong to Carol… and that is as it should be. Just as part of my heart will always belong to my first husband.”
“What I’m trying to say, in my own round-about-way, is that I am happy Nathan found you… that you two found each other,” Bill told her. “And as a friend, I have no problem with the two of you together on the sub…”
“But as an admiral…”
“As an admiral…” Bill began. “You’re not military, so technically the frat rules don’t apply. However, you are the chief medical officer and you have the power to relieve Nathan of command…” he paused, looking thoughtful. “But I know Nathan, and when Nathan is on duty, he’s on duty. And while I don’t you well enough yet, I do know, from your reputation, that you are a professional,” Bill stopped at her nod of agreement. “I overheard some of the crew talking. It seems they are in favour of a relationship between you and Nathan. So, I guess if they have no problem with it, and as long as you both maintain the professionalism you’ve obviously already shown the last month and a half, I see no reason why you can’t continue to pursue a relationship.”
Kristin smiled. “Thank you, Admiral.”
“You’re welcome,” Bill said with a smile. “Just please… no fooling around on the bridge.”
“Is the mag-lev okay?” Kristin asked with a straight face then burst out laughing at the look on Bill’s face.
Bill soon joined in, realizing in that moment that the woman he was dancing with had a wicked sense of humour. ~ A perfect match for Nathan. ~ He admitted to himself.
“Rest assured, Admiral, Nathan and I will confine our off duty activities to our cabins,” Kristin told him.
“Please, call me Bill,” Bill said. “And thank you, I know you will.”
At that moment, the song ended and Bill escorted Kristin back to the table. Nathan watched them approach, his eyes locked on his lover, trying to gauge what she was thinking.
He stood as she got to the table and was surprised when she slipped her hand in his. Nathan glanced down at their entangled fingers then met her gaze. Kristin merely smiled at him and looked over at Noyce.
“Thank you for the dance, Doctor.”
“Kristin,” she said with a smile.
“Thank you for the dance, Kristin,” Bill said with a grin, watching Nathan looking back and forth between the two of them, a slightly confused look on his face. “Quite the dancer your CMO is, Nathan.”
“Yes… she is,” Nathan answered cautiously.
Bill bit back a chuckle, knowing his friend was beginning to chomp at the bit wanting to know what had happened. He gave Nathan a serious look. “I have just one question for you. Are you happy?”
Bill watched Nathan as he turned to look at the woman beside him and saw his eyes sparkle as a large smile spread across his face.
“Yes, Bill,” Nathan answered, his eyes still on Kristin. “I am very happy. Happier than I’ve been in a long time thanks to this beautiful woman,” he said, lifting his hand to caress her cheek before turning back to Bill. “I love her.”
“I can see that,” Bill smiled. “I’m going to tell you what I told Kristin. Personally, now that I’ve had a chance to digest it, I’m happy for you and have no problems with the two of you seeing each other,” he paused. “And as your superior officer… my advice is to keep it low key when you’re on the sub and I don’t see any problems.”
Nathan nodded. “Sounds fair to me.”
“Just no sex on the bridge,” Kristin told Nathan, shuffling a tad closer.
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to restrict ourselves to the mag-lev,” Nathan said with a wink at Kristin.
Kristin burst out laughing as Bill groaned.
“What?” Nathan asked.
“Your girlfriend said the exact same thing not five minutes ago,” Bill said, watching the grin grow on Nathan’s face as he joined in their laughter.
“What’s so funny?”
The three turned as Janet joined them.
“I’ll let Bill explain,” Nathan said, squeezing Kristin’s hand. “I would like to dance with my love one more time before we turn in.”
“He really does love her,” Bill said, watching as Nathan escorted Kristin onto the floor then pull her into his arms, holding her closer than he had previously.
“Yes he does,” Janet confirmed, slipping her arm through his and leaning close to place a kiss on his cheek. “And I love you.”
Bill smiled and wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist. “I love you too,” he pulled her closer and gave her a loving kiss. “Would you like to dance?”
“Now this is more like it,” Kristin murmured, resting her head on this shoulder and wrapping her arms around him, resting her hands just above his rear.
“Mmm… oh yes,” Nathan replied, his hands sliding down her back to rest at the swell of her backside.
“Now that’s more like it,” Lucas said with a grin.
Jonathan, Katie and Ben’s smiles matched Lucas’ as they watched the couple on the floor, holding each other close and swaying gently to the soft, romantic Christmas song that was now playing.
“See… told you it’d worked,” Ben said with a grin. “Score one for Kreig!”
The others rolled their eyes.
“Noyce must know,” Ford said, glancing around to see the Admiral dancing with his wife.
“Well, the Admiral did share a dance with Kristin,” Katie said. “And then the three of them were talking… besides, Admiral Noyce and Captain Bridger are friends. And I think behind the hard-ass admiral persona, he really does want the captain to be happy. Why else would he have dragged him off the captain’s island?”
“I think you’re right,” Jonathan agreed, his smile growing as he turned his attention back to his captain and the woman in his arms. He chuckled. “Look…”
“What do you say we try and sneak out of here?” Nathan inquired softly against her ear.
“I say… lead the way, my captain,” Kristin smiled as she lifted her head from his shoulder.
Nathan brushed the quickest of kisses over her lips then stepped out of her arms, grabbed her hand and slowly led her through the crowd towards the entrance to the ballroom. Just as they reached the doors, the music stopped and they heard a voice call out to them.
Nathan and Kristin stopped and turned towards the crowd, Nathan’s eyes searching out his second in command, who had been the one to call out to them.
“Look up,” Lucas called out, a big grin on his face.
Nathan and Kristin tilted their heads back and grinned. There, hanging from the doorframe was a large sprig of mistletoe.
“I think we’ve been set up, sailor,” Kristin said in a quiet voice.
“I think you’re right.”
“So what say we give them a good show?”
“Ooh, yeah,” Nathan nodded as he slipped an arm about her waist and pulled her closer, his other hand sliding into her hair and angling her head as he lowered his mouth to hers in a devastatingly thorough kiss.
Kristin moaned, sliding her hands up his chest, over his shoulders and into his hair as she responded to his oral caress with equal passion, her tongue tangling madly with his. She felt Nathan’s arms tighten around her and smiled against his lips, as she knew what was coming next.
“All right!” Ben hooted before sticking his fingers in his mouth and whistling.
“Oh wow!” Katie gasped.
“Go, Captain!” Jonathan grinned.
“How the heck are they doing that?” Lucas asked.
“He really does love her,” Bill said, his arms tightening around Janet’s waist as they watched their oldest friend dip the woman he loved while continuing to kiss her passionately.
“And she loves him,” Janet replied, covering Bill’s hands with her own and leaned back against him, smiling as Nathan and Kristin continued to kiss. “Think they even remember that they have an audience?”
Bill grinned and pulled her closer. “Nope.”
Kristin clung to Nathan, losing herself in their kiss as he dipped her low, his arms locked tight around her as he continued to kiss her ravenously; his tongue tangling madly with hers.
After several long minutes, Nathan straightened back up, the passionate kiss slowly giving way to a series of breathy kisses before stopping.
“Wow!” Kristin gasped breathlessly against his lips then blushed as the sound of clapping and catcalls finally registered.
Nathan smiled sheepishly at her. “Well, you said to give them a good show.”
“Yes I did,” Kristin said then gave him a sensuous smile. “Now, let’s say good night to these people and go back to our room for a private performance.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Nathan grinned and then turned to face his crew, holding firmly to Kristin’s hand. “Enjoy the party everyone, you deserve it.”
With that, he turned and left the ballroom, pulling Kristin with him, applause from the crew erupting again and following them into the lobby.
“So…” Ben began with a grin. “Think they’ve got much of the chocolate body paint left?”
The door to Nathan’s room swung open and the couple, locked in a heated embrace, slowly shuffled into the room. Nathan kicked the door shut then found himself pressed up against it, Kristin’s body moulded tightly to his front.
Kristin pulled out of the kiss with a gasp, burying her face in his chest for a moment to catch her breath before she moved out of his arms.
“Kris?” Nathan reached out for her, catching her hands.
Kristin smiled at him as she let him pull her back into his embrace.
“Where you going?” Nathan asked, lowering his head to nuzzle her neck.
“To my room,” Kristin answered, her smile growing when his head snapped up, his eyes meeting hers.
“Your room? Why? I thought…”
Kristin laid her finger against his lips to still them. “To change, love,” she explained. “I have no intention of sleeping alone but I do have a surprise for you…”
Nathan smiled against her finger and nodded. “Actually, I have a surprise for you too…”
“Well, while I’m changing, why don’t you put some more wood on the fire and get changed yourself,” she ran a hand down his chest, tugging on his shirt. “And I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Nathan nodded and let Kristin step out of his arms. He watched her move across the room with an appreciative smile on his face and only when the door separating their rooms closed behind her, did he spring into action.
Fifteen minutes later, Nathan glanced up at the sound of the door creaking open and felt the breath leave his body at the sight of Kristin in the doorway. He swallowed hard as he stood before the now roaring fire and watched her approach.
Kristin walked slowly towards him, the full skirt of her nightgown swirling about her feet. Nathan couldn’t take his eyes off her and when she stopped within arms length of him, he let his eyes drift down her body.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispered softly, his hand lifting to finger the bright red bow she’d tied around her torso like a sash. A smile formed on his lips. “I love the bow.”
Kristin blushed. “Thank you…” she replied, her hands reaching out to his waist to tug on the waistband of his silk boxers. “I love yours too,” Kristin traced the red bow that was imprinted in the black silk.
Nathan moaned softly as her fingers traced over the bow, which was strategically placed right above his growing erection. He grabbed her hand and brought it up to his mouth, pressing a kiss to her palm. “Come on… we’ve got some other gifts to open first.”
Kristin laughed softly and allowed him to pull her closer to the fireplace where a small pile of gifts lay on the white bearskin rug they’d made love on the night before.
“When did you…” she gestured to the gifts.
“This afternoon,” Nathan answered. “I found some time and ran into the village.”
Kristin smiled as she sat beside the gifts and watched as Nathan moved over to the bottle of champagne chilling in a bucket of ice next to the overstuffed chair and opened it.
“One for you,” Nathan said, handing her one of the fluted glasses. “And,” he filled the second glass. “One for me.”
He quickly returned the bottle to the bucket then joined her on the rug.
“So…” Kristin eyed the wrapped packages. “Can I…?”
Nathan laughed. “Go for it.”
Kristin grinned and reached for the package closest to her, pulling it into her lap. She glanced up at Nathan to see him watching her with a bemused smile on his face. “What?”
“Nothing, sweetheart,” Nathan told her. “I’m just watching you. Open away.”
Kristin smiled and tore into the wrapping paper, tossing it to the side then paused before opening the box. “What about you? Aren’t you going to open one?”
“These are for you, honey,” Nathan said.
Kristin shook her head as she reached out and gabbed one of the smaller packages and handed it to him. “Check the tag.”
Nathan looked down at the box in his hand and grinned. “When did you…?”
“This afternoon…” she grinned at him. “I also found some time.”
“I thought the pile looked a little bigger,” Nathan chuckled and quickly removed the pretty paper. “Oh cool! I didn’t know there was a video store in the village,” he looked down at the copy of ‘White Christmas’ in his hand and smiled. “Definitely one of my new favourites.”
Kristin smiled at him then at his nod, she opened pulled the lid off the box and lifted the tissue paper out of the way to reveal a white silk nightgown. “Oh, Nathan…” she lifted the gown out of the box. “Oh, Nathan, it’s beautiful.”
Simple and yet elegant in its simplicity with a halter style top trimmed with lace to the full skirt, Kristin found herself running her hands over the smooth material.
“The moment I saw it in the window, I knew it would look perfect on you,” Nathan told her.
“You’re welcome,” Nathan said, then pushed another box at her. “Open this one next.”
Kristin placed the nightgown back in the box, put it aside then grabbed the box Nathan had indicated. She quickly ripped off the paper, lifted the lid and gasped as she pushed aside the tissue paper.
“And when I saw that one…” Nathan’s voice was low and husky as Kristin pulled out a black lace bra with an intricate gold pattern followed by a matching thong and garter and hose. “And pictured you in it, with your black heels… it got awfully hard… to walk.”
Kristin blushed slightly, but seeing the heated look in his eyes, she knew she’d wear it for him. “It’s gorgeous,” she told him, running her fingers over the design as she placed it back in the box. “Open that one,” Kristin gestured to the brightly wrapped one closest to him.
Nathan nodded and grabbed the box and within moments had the paper off and the box open. A heartfelt laugh burst from his lips as he lifted out a blue denim shirt.
“I figured since I’d appropriated yours…” Kristin smiled sheepishly at him.
“And you look so good in it too,” Nathan said. “Thank you.”
They looked back to the remaining two boxes and sharing small smiles handed each other their gifts.
“You first,” Nathan said.
Kristin quickly removed the wrapping paper to reveal a bottle of her favourite perfume. “Nathan! How did you?”
“You will never know how many different perfumes I had to smell to find the right one,” he laughed. “But I knew the moment I smelled that one that it was the scent you wore.”
Kristin shook her head in amazement. “You are a wonderful man. Thank you.”
Nathan smiled and quickly opened his gift. “Oh, Kris…” he murmured, turning the hardcover book over in his hand. He traced his fingers over the letters in the spine, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Other Great Poems’. Nathan looked up at her. “Thank you, sweetheart.”
Kristin returned his smile. “You’re welcome,” she said. “But I do have to admit that I gave you that for selfish reasons…”
Nathan’s smile grew. “And I will gladly read it aloud to you every night for the rest of our lives. And speaking of…”
Kristin watched as he suddenly put the book down and reached behind him. Nathan crawled towards her, and then sat back on his haunches before her, reaching out to take her left hand in his.
“Kris… I know we’ve only known each other for a short time and been lovers for even less… but I have fallen so deeply in love with you that I can’t imagine a day without you in it,” Nathan said, his thumb circling slowly over the palm of her hand. “You are the other half of my soul and you complete in ways I have never known.”
Kristin held her breath as he paused, taking a deep breath before continuing.
“I loved Carol… I loved her very much,” Nathan told her. “When I lost her, I thought I would never be able to go on, but then Bill brought me to the seaQuest and I saw you,” a smile formed on his lips at the memory. “All fire and brimstone… I didn’t know it then, but I was lost in you in that moment.”
“You have brought joy back to my life, your love has filled the hole in my soul,” Nathan said as he brought his other hand out from behind his back and held up an antique emerald ring. “What I’m trying to say, is that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Holding you, talking with you, loving and making love to you. Kris… will you please marry me?”
“Oh… Nathan…” Kristin exhaled the breath she didn’t know she was holding as tears rolled down her cheeks.
“Yes! Oh yes, I’ll marry you,” Kristin told him, laughing through her tears as he slid the ring on her finger.
Once the ring was safely on her finger, Nathan pulled Kristin into his arms, crushing her chest to his as his mouth covered hers in a passionate kiss, his tongue mating lovingly with hers.
Kristin moaned, her hands sliding up into his hair as Nathan eased them down, pressing her back into the soft fur of the rug and covering her body with his.
Nathan broke off the kiss and rolled onto his side, propping up on his elbow as he reached out to undo the red bow still tied around her torso, slowly pulling the satin material out from under her, he tossed it aside before turning his full attention to her.
Kristin moaned as he reached out and cupped a silk covered breast, his thumb circling her nipple until it pebbled beneath his touch. She arched when he suddenly leaned over and took her other breast in his mouth, suckling her through the silk of her nightgown.
“Nath… mmm…” she moaned again at the combination of his hot mouth and the now wet silk moving over her breast; the sensations from it shooting through her body.
Nathan smiled as he released her breast and began to ease the thin straps off her shoulders to tug the top below her generous bosom, revealing her to his hungry eyes. He licked his lips and once again captured a taut nipple between his lips, humming softly as he suckled the rosy tip.
As he continued to lave her breasts with his lips and tongue, Nathan’s hands began to gently push her nightgown down her body as far as he could reach. Kristin whimpered when he abandoned her breasts, trailing his lips down over her stomach until he reached the barrier of her nightgown. Nathan glanced up at her, smiled then pressed a kiss to her silk-covered curls before pushing the nightgown down off her legs and tossing it onto the chair behind him.
“Nathan…” Kristin called out to him as he moved and knelt between her legs, his hands caressing her smooth, bare legs. “Nath…” she moaned, arching beneath his hands as they stroked up her inner thighs, the tips of his fingers just brushing the damp curls.
“I want you,” Nathan told her in a husky voice, crawling over her so that his face was hovering just above hers.
“I want you too,” Kristin replied, her hands sliding up his arms to rest on his shoulders and bending her knees.
Nathan grinned as he lowered his hips to hers, settling into the cradle of her legs. All of a sudden, he found himself on his back with Kristin above him, straddling him. He grasped her waist as she shifted, rubbing against his silk-covered erection.
“Before we go any further,” Kristin said in a husky voice, combing her fingers through the hair on his chest. “There’s something I… I have another gift for you.”
“What more could you give me, Kris? You’ve already given me everything I could ask for when you said you’d marry me.”
Kristin smiled lovingly down at him. “Well… there is a slight catch…”
“What kind of catch?” Nathan asked, curious about the sudden nervous yet hopeful glint in her eyes.
Kristin covered his hands with hers, sliding them from her waist to her abdomen. “You’ll have to wait seven and a half months before you get to… hold this one.”
Nathan’s eyes widened, moving up and down between her eyes and where his hands were placed. “Kris?” His hands caressed her belly. “Kris… are you… you’re pregnant?”
Kristin nodded; biting her lower lip as she waited for the question she could see swimming in his eyes.
“How?” Nathan asked. “I mean, you… last week you had your period…” he shook his head, his confusion evident.
“I only spotted,” Kristin admitted quietly. “I was waiting for it to hit me fully, but it didn’t… and since my mother and grandmother went through early menopause, I… I figured that maybe I was starting to as well.”
Nathan nodded. “Then what made you suspect otherwise? And when did you find out?”
Kristin shrugged. “I don’t really know. My breasts seemed to be more tender, more sensitive than usual…”
“Your nipples have also gotten darker,” Nathan pointed out, brushing his thumbs over them then shrugged at her raised eyebrows. “I noticed that a couple weeks ago. I do pay very close attention to your breasts.”
Kristin smiled, reaching down to caress his cheek tenderly. “I know you do.”
“So, what else tipped you off? I haven’t noticed you getting sick the past few weeks.”
“I haven’t been. No morning sickness with this one,” her hands splayed out over her belly. “Thank God. As for other symptoms… I’ve been so tired lately and was putting it down to all the hours in the lab and then spent with you in your cabin the last couple of weeks, and realized that when we weren’t practicing, and not fooling around, I was sleeping,” Kristin said.
Nathan nodded, remembering the nights over the last couple weeks, when Kristin, even with him not in the bed holding her, had fallen asleep.
“As for when I found out…” Kristin bit the inside of her lower lip. “Remember last night…”
“When I woke up and you weren’t in bed…” Nathan said, his hands returning to cover hers on her abdomen. “You were in the bathroom…” he lifted his hands back to cup her breasts, a small smile on his face as he circled her nipples with his thumbs. “And here I thought it was all me that made you come like that.”
Kristin laughed softly and leaned down over him, brushing a kiss against his lips. “It was all you,” she told him then straightened back up. “But if you want, once this little one is born, you can give it a whirl again.”
“If I want?” Nathan grinned and gently squeezed the full mounds in his hands. “Oh, honey… you know me and a challenge.”
“Yes I do.”
“So you found out last night? Does that mean you suspected before we left seaQuest?”
“And you didn’t say anything?”
Kristin pulled her lower lip between her teeth. “I wanted to be sure before I said anything,” she told him then met his eyes; her own filled with apprehension. “I… I know we never discussed children… are you… are you happy about the baby?”
Suddenly, Kristin’s world tilted as she found herself being flipped over then lifted in the air and carried across the room. Moments later, she was tossed gently onto the bed. Before she had time to react, Kristin felt the mattress dip and then Nathan’s body was covering hers.
Nathan’s lips covered Kristin’s in a hungry kiss, his tongue foraging deep inside her mouth, exploring and tasting. After several long minutes he broke their oral connection.
“…Nath?” Kristin whimpered at the loss of his mouth as he plied kisses down her throat and to the top of each breast before shifting lower. Kristin lifted her head and watched as he rained soft, almost reverent kisses to her belly.
“Hello, my little love…” Nathan whispered against her stomach. “I’m your daddy…” he paused to look up at Kristin and smiled at the tears he saw in her eyes. “Your mommy has just told me about you,” Nathan returned his attention back to the life nestled in Kristin’s womb. “I can’t wait to meet you but for now, I want you to stay nice and safe in mommy’s tummy…” he pressed more kisses against her skin. “Now… daddy is going to go show mommy just how very happy he is to know about you and just how grateful and how much he loves her.”
Nathan slowly kissed his way back up Kristin’s body to capture her lips, pouring all the love he felt for her into the kiss. “I love you,” he whispered against her lips. “And I am very happy about the baby.”
Kristin smiled, happy tears spilling down the sides of her face.
“Let me show you…” Nathan murmured, lowering his mouth back down to hers. “I am going to love you so slowly… and so tenderly…” he told her, his lips moving up to kiss away her tears. “And then, so passionately…”
“Nathan…” Kristin reached for him, grasping his face between her hands. “Just love me… now. I need you so bad…”
Nathan grinned. “First thing’s first,” he said, brushing a soft kiss over her lips. “First… the slowly…”
Kristin sighed as he once again began to kiss his way down her body, nipping and suckling at her breasts for several minutes before continuing to move lower.
Settling between her legs, Nathan urged Kristin to spread her thighs more, opening her more fully to his hungry gaze. He inhaled deeply, his eyes closing in sheer delight as the scent of her arousal washed over him. Nathan opened his eyes and licked his lips as he wrapped his arms around her thighs and using his fingers, gently opened her, groaning at the sight of her glistening, pink flesh.
“…love you…” he whispered just as he covered her sex with his mouth.
Kristin cried out his name as Nathan thrust his tongue inside her; kissing her lower lips with as much passion and love as he kissed her mouth. “Oh… Nath… an…”
Nathan smiled against her, continuing to move his lips and tongue against her, alternating between delving his tongue into her core to circling and twisting around her swollen clit. He kept this up until Kristin was writhing beneath him, her hips circling up against his face, begging him not to stop.
“Mmm… oh… oh yes…” Kristin moaned, clutching at the sheets as the sensations Nathan was creating coursed through her body in ever-growing waves. “Nath… an…”
Sensing that she was close, Nathan slowly unwrapped an arm from around her thigh, his fingers caressing over her smooth skin before moving up and pressing them inside her; thrusting as deep as possible while keeping constant pressure on her sensitive flesh.
“Ooh… GOD… NATHAN!” Kristin screamed his name as the force of her orgasm consumed her; wave after wave of liquid fire washing over her as Nathan continued to move his mouth against her.
Nathan kept his mouth against her sex, happily and greedily lapping at and consuming her essence as Kristin’s body continued to shudder beneath him. When she finally quieted, he pressed one last loving kiss against her then slowly crawled back up until he was hovering over her like he had been earlier.
Kristin opened her eyes, a satisfied smile forming on her lips as she looked up at him. “What happened to slow?” She asked in a husky voice.
“I’m sorry,” Nathan replied. “I got lost in you…”
“Nothing to be sorry about,” Kristin grinned, reaching up to pull him down to her, moaning softly at the feel of his body covering hers. “You certainly don’t hear me complaining do you?”
Nathan laughed softly and shook his head.
“Now, lover…” Kristin ran her hands down his back and grabbed his ass, holding him tight to her as she rubbed herself against his hardened member. “Make love to me…”
“All night…” Nathan told her, swooping down to capture her lips in a passionate kiss.
They kissed each other with everything they had, neither one holding back; hands, lips and bodies caressing and arousing until both were crazy with need.
Kristin moaned as Nathan’s mouth moved over her breasts, his lips and tongue licking and kissing every inch of the full mounds several times over before pulling her hard, dusky nipples into his mouth.
“Yes…” she uttered, the word almost sounding like a growl as she arched, trying to push more of her breast into his mouth; moaning against as his tongue swirled over the tender tip. “Just like that…”
Nathan smiled against her breast as he continued to suck and nibble and like he had earlier, he began to hum; knowing the vibrations would drive her mad. He wasn’t disappointed when Kristin’s body curved beneath him, her feet sliding up and down the backs of his legs, her hands clutching at his rear.
Kristin reveled in the sensations his touch was creating within her body, but suddenly it wasn’t enough. She needed more…
“Na… Nathan… please…” Kristin moaned, one hand reaching between them to grasp his erection and stroke its length. “I need you…”
Nathan let her nipple slip from his mouth, kissing his way back to her mouth, his tongue dancing wildly with hers as he reached a hand between their bodies, his fingers finding and stroking through her wet curls, dipping into her core for more of her juices and spreading them around her clit.
“Oh… God… Nathan…” Kristin bucked beneath him as his clever fingers manipulated her swollen bud. “God… I love your fingers…”
Nathan grinned as he continued to circle her clit, bringing her closer and closer to the edge with every press of his fingers. He faltered a moment when her grip tightened, her strokes speeding up slightly then slowing down again.
“Kris…” he groaned, burying his face in her neck when she pushed his hand away from her and began to run the head of his erection along her slick folds, coating him with her arousal. “Oh God… baby…” Nathan moaned again, his hand returning to the juncture of her thighs, his fingers once more locating and stroking her clit.
They panted against each other’s shoulders as they continued to tease and stroke each other, bringing themselves closer and closer to the edge with each passing moment.
“Nath… an… please…” Kristin pleaded, bringing the head of his manhood to her waiting entrance and arching beneath him.
Nathan nodded and slowly, with her hand guiding him, pressed his length inside her.
“Oh… yes!!” Kristin cried out when Nathan was completely buried within her and wrapped her legs around his waist, moaning as the shift in position allowed him to press even deeper.
Nathan lifted his head and met Kristin’s eyes as he languidly began to circle his hips against her then eased his member almost completely out of her, stopping when just the head of his shaft remained locked within her.
Kristin gasped, her legs tightening around him, trying to push him back inside her. “Nathan… please… don’t tease…”
Nathan smiled and thrust back inside her, groaning as her warmth surrounded him once again. “More…” he heard her growl softly and rocked his hips against her, moving in and out of her with excruciating deliberateness.
“Oh… Nathan…” Kristin moaned as Nathan continued his slothful pace, feeling every inch of him slide into her with every plunge of his length inside her.
Despite his body screaming out for him to move faster within her, to drive himself deep inside her with every thrust of his hips against her, Nathan continued his slow and steady pace, wanting their lovemaking to last as long as possible.
He lowered his lips to hers, his tongue moving as leisurely in her mouth as his stiff member moved in her body, exploring, tasting and dancing with her tongue until the need to breathe became overwhelming.
“…Nath… an…” Kristin clutched at his shoulders, her legs moving restlessly against his; her feet once again running up and down the back of his legs before rewrapping the long limbs around his waist, and arching beneath him. “Nathan… please… I need…”
“I know, baby…” Nathan breathed against her lips then rose up on his arms as he began to drive harder and faster into her.
Kristin groaned her approval, her hands trailing up and down his sides and back, her fingers massaging the hard muscles. “More… oh please… Nath… more…”
“Yes…” Nathan replied in a strained voice, his own need becoming too unbearable. “Kris… oh God, baby…” he moaned loudly as he felt her inner muscles begin to clench around him.
“Close… oh, Nathan…” Kristin told him, clutching at his shoulders as her legs tightened around him. “…Nathan… love…”
Nathan shifted to his elbows, sliding one hand between the close press of their bodies, his fingers seeking out and finding her clitoris, circling the swollen nub in time with the thrusting of his shaft into her.
“Ooh… oh yes… Na… YES!” Kristin cried out, her body suddenly convulsing beneath his as her orgasm washed over her, the powerful sensations spreading out from the center of her being and coursing throughout her body. “Nathan… oh, Nathan… Nath…”
His hips still moving against her, Nathan watched as Kristin shattered in his arms. Assured of her pleasure, Nathan he slid his arms under her back, grasping tightly to her shoulders as he buried his face in her neck and began to thrust heavily into her; striving to attain his own release.
Kristin moaned softly, clinging weakly to him as Nathan’s hard body pounded into hers. She rhythmically contracted her inner muscles around his rigid shaft as he drove it in and out of her wet sheath, doing all that she could to help him find his release, her lips moving against his ear.
“Come… Nathan…” Kristin urged him in a husky voice. “Come for me… love… in me…”
“Oh God… Kris… TIN!” Nathan’s head lifted from her shoulder to yell out her name as he came, his orgasm erupting in a violent explosion, his seed splashing against her womb in hot spurts. He dropped his head, once again burying it in her neck as he trembled in her arms.
Kristin held him close, her legs sliding down to tangle with his, moaning as a soft tremor shook her body. She lightly caressed his sweaty back, murmuring soothing, nonsensical words in his ear.
“Kris…” Nathan whispered, slowly kissing his way up her jaw to her lips. He covered her mouth, moving his lips over hers in a gentle, loving kiss. “Kris…” he murmured against her lips. “I love you… I love you so much…”
“I love you too,” Kristin replied, her fingers moving over his face, pushing his damp hair out of his eyes. “With all that I am…”
Nathan smiled down at her before moving to withdraw from her.
“No…” Kristin slid a leg up to rest across his rear. “Stay… please…”
Nathan nodded and then with a wink, he rolled so that Kristin was lying on top of him, his softening member still locked within the heat of her body. “Can you reach the covers?”
Kristin glanced down the bed, and with a little maneuvering; she caught the edge of the blanket with her foot and managed to pull the blankets up, Nathan grabbing them and covering their cooling bodies.
“Mmm…” Kristin snuggled down against him. “This has been the best Christmas I’ve had in a long time.”
“Me too,” Nathan replied, one hand stroking her hair, the other her back.
“So…” Kristin heard the smile in his voice as he began to speak after they cuddling under the blankets. “You did say the little one is my Christmas present, right?”
She lifted her head from his shoulder and looked down at him. “Yes, I did.”
“Does that mean I get to name her?”
“What makes you think it’s a her? It could be a him,” Kristin said with a smile.
“Oh… it’s a girl,” Nathan said matter of factly. “And she will be as beautiful as her mother. Fiery auburn hair and bright sable eyes.”
Kristin chuckled softly and shook her head. “So… what would you like to name her… if it’s a girl?”
“Noelle,” Nathan told her softly. “Noelle Elizabeth.”
Kristin smiled. “That’s beautiful.”
Nathan returned her smile.
“But what if it’s a boy?” She asked, placing her finger against his lips to stop the protest she knew he was about to utter. “Just consider the possibility.”
Nathan gave her a thoughtful look. “If it’s a boy, and I firmly believe it won’t be… how about the name Nicholas?”
“Nicholas Hale Bridger,” Kristin nodded. “I like that.”
“Actually… so do I,” Nathan replied. “But I still say we’re having a girl.”
Kristin laughed and then kissed him. “You’re incorrigible but I love you anyway.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” Nathan said. “Cause you’ve agreed to spend the rest of your life with me,” he told her. “And speaking of… when would you like to do that?”
Kristin met his eyes. “As soon as possible.”
“How soon is soon?”
“Before we go back to the boat,” Kristin told him hesitantly.
A broad smile stretched across Nathan’s face. “Oh, sweetheart… you read my mind.”
Kristin returned his smile.
“We’ll talk to Bill tomorrow about getting a license and sorting through all the red tape to make it happen as quickly as we can,” he told her, pulling her back into his arms and turning so that they lay on their sides, their bodies still intimately joined. He brought a hand up and caressed her cheek. “There is nothing that will keep me from making you Mrs. Nathan Bridger… my wife.”
Kristin gave him a loving smile and leaned closer to kiss him then snuggled closer, burying her face against his chest. “I can’t wait…”
“Me either…” he said quietly, slipping a hand between them to rest on her belly. “Me either…”
Soft contented sighs sounded from both of them as they fell into a peaceful sleep, wrapped tightly in each other’s arms.
Blue eyes opened to find sleepy sable eyes smiling back at him.
“Merry Christmas…” Nathan whispered, reaching up to stroke his fingers across her cheek.
“Mmm… Merry Christmas,” Kristin echoed softly, leaning closer to claim a morning kiss.
She startled when he gently pushed her onto her back then lifted the blankets away. “Nath… oh…” a smile formed on Kristin’s face as Nathan scooted down and placed a series of soft kisses to her belly.
“Merry Christmas, my little Noelle…” Nathan spoke quietly to the child nestled in his lover’s womb and placed a few more kisses against Kristin’s warm skin before crawling back up beside her, pulling the covers with him and smiled down at her. “What are these for?” He asked, wiping away the tears streaming down her face into her hair and pillow.
Kristin shook her head. “I…” she gave him a watery smile. “I’m just happy.”
Nathan smiled affectionately at her as he leaned in and brushed her lips with his. “Well then, happy tears are definitely allowed,” he smiled as he lowered his mouth down to hers for a deep kiss.
Kristin moaned into his mouth and pulled him on top of her, shifting beneath him until he was cradled between her thighs, his morning erection pressing nicely against her core, her hands trailing down to grab his ass.
“You realize…” Nathan told her as he broke off the kiss. “We’re going to be late getting down for breakfast, don’t you?”
Kristin flashed him a brilliant smile and nodded. “Oh… yes. I’m very aware that we’re going to be late,” she answered, reaching a hand between them to grasp his arousal and guide him inside her. She moaned as Nathan slowly sank into her. “And I don’t care…”
“Even knowing that Ben will probably be watching his watch?” Nathan asked, gently circling his hips against her.
“Lieutenant Kreig can go hang,” Kristin said, pulling his mouth back down to hers to stop any further conversation.
Ben looked down at his watch significantly. “It’s after nine and no sign of Captain Bridger or Doctor Westphalen. It would appear that someone had a very… tiring Christmas Eve.”
Katie glared at her ex-husband. “Okay, Ben. The Captain and the Doctor are an item. You came up with the idea that pushed them into each other’s arms. You deserve all the credit. Now SHUT UP!”
The other crewmembers sitting at the table struggled not to laugh as Ben stuck his tongue out at Katie. They were all surprised when Admiral Noyce’s wife stopped at their table on the way back from the breakfast buffet.
“Actually… Mother Nature deserves the credit. Remember Hurricane Sheila? Sorry to burst your bubble, lieutenant,” Janet smiled and moved away as Ben began to sputter.
“But… but… that was weeks ago… they haven’t been… they couldn’t have been… Lucas, remember how we saw them arguing in the hallway about the skit? They wouldn’t have…”
Katie nodded knowingly as she thought back over the last few weeks. “Yes, they would have. Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t see it. You gave them the perfect excuse to spend time together, Ben.”
The sputtering stopped and Ben grinned. “So I do deserve the credit.”
“In some form or another, Mr. Kreig, we do owe you thanks.”
All the heads at the table turned toward the sound of their captain’s voice.
“We didn’t see you come in, sir,” Ford told the couple, noting how close they stood together, their arms around each other.
“Obviously,” Nathan grinned. “Doctor Westphalen and I caught on to your little scheme from the start.”
“Sir, Ben was just…” Nathan waved Lucas quiet.
“Don’t give me that ‘Ben was just’. Mr. Kreig may have conceived this brilliant idea but he had a hell of a lot of help pulling it off… namely the six coconspirators sitting with him at this table. Kristin and I bought into it because it gave us a legitimate excuse to spend some time together."
“But, sir, if you knew… wouldn’t it have been simpler to just tell us that the two of you were together?” Katie asked.
Nathan and Kristin shared a smile. “It isn’t as simple as it sounds,” Kristin replied. “We wanted some time to ourselves before we became the talk of the boat. There was also the question of the fraternization rules and we wanted to hold off on that particular battle as long as possible.”
“But Admiral Noyce knows now… everything is okay?” Ford questioned.
“Everything is okay… as long as there are no complaints from the crew and we remain relatively discrete… we both stay on seaQuest. If problems ever do arise… we both leave seaQuest… our choice, Commander Ford.” Nathan saw his XO start to protest. “Kristin and I don’t intend to be separated again.”
The group at the table nodded in understanding. “We are all very happy for you both,” Ford spoke for the cadre.
“Thank you, Jonathan. Thank all of you. Who knows? Your plan might have worked,” Kristin smiled as she spoke. “Ben… what are you looking for?”
The lieutenant dragged his eyes away from Nathan’s wrist to meet her gaze. “I was just looking for the handcuff marks.”
Nathan choked as Katie turned to her ex-husband and punched him in the shoulder. But Kristin simply smiled.
“Mr. Kreig,” she said as she shook her head. “I am a doctor. I heal hurts, not cause them.”
Ben looked slightly abashed. “I’m sorry, Kristin. I was just joking.”
“You’re forgiven,” a mischievous grin crossed her face as she leaned in toward Kreig and winked. “Besides, I used the padded cuffs.”
“Okay! We’re gonna go grab something to eat so we will catch up with you guys later, okay?” Nathan nodded and moved away from the table with Kristin by his side. The group smiled as they noted that the couple each had a hand buried in the back pocket of their partner’s blue jeans.
“That’s not a bad idea. I think I’ll go grab seconds,” Lucas jumped up and took off after the couple.
“Isn’t Kristin wearing the Captain’s shirt?” Katie observed as they continued to watch the couple.
“The Captain has a blue denim shirt but he’s wearing it. Can’t you see that?” Ben smarted back.
“His is new. You can still see the fold lines. I bet she stole his shirt then bought him a new one for Christmas.”
“They are still watching us, you know,” Kristin whispered as she and Nathan reluctantly parted to grab their plates.
“I suspect that we’d better get used to it from now on,” Nathan grinned then leaned forward and brushed his lips across Kristin’s.
Nathan quickly piled his plate high with food then added more to Kristin’s when he saw how little she was getting. “You are eating for two now,” he whispered. “You aren’t getting sick so you need to eat more.”
Her reply was lost as Lucas approached the couple. He stared at the floor for a moment and then began to mutter. “I just wanted to say…”
Kristin reached a hand out and caught the boy beneath the chin, pulling his gaze up to meet theirs. “You can talk to us, Lucas.”
The boy took a deep breath. “I just wanted to say that I’m glad… that the two of you are together… “
“We both love you, Lucas. That doesn’t change because we are a couple now. You have nothing to worry about,” Nathan told him, having read the boy’s worry in his face.
Lucas grinned and nodded, accepting Kristin’s hug gracefully, then turning back to the food table. He grabbed a gooey pastry and plopped it on his plate.
“I don’t think so,” Kristin pushed the pastry back onto the table. “I suspect that you’ve already eaten at least one of those this morning. This time you get some real food… eggs, toast, fruit…”
Lucas clamped down on the laugh that threatened to erupt as Kristin continued her nutrition lecture. Suddenly she found herself in Lucas’ arms as he hugged her fiercely. “I love you too, doc,” he told her then took off toward the other end of the table.
Nathan laid his free hand on the small of Kristin’s back and guided her toward the small table where Bill and Janet were waiting for them. They had barely touched their seats before a loud squeal erupted from Janet’s lips.
“KRISTIN! Is that what I think it is?” Janet grabbed her hand and dragged it across the table to stare at the lovely antique emerald firmly ensconced on Kristin’s left ring finger.
Kristin glanced at Nathan who simply smiled. “Yes,” she confirmed. “Last night Nathan asked me to marry him and I accepted.”
“I wonder what’s going on over there,” Katie muttered as she stared across the room at the Admiral’s table. “Mrs. Noyce is very excited… she’s hugging Kristin…”
“…Pblysawteting…” Lucas said, his mouth full of scrambled eggs.
“Come again? And this time swallow first,” Katie told him.
Lucas dutifully chewed his food and swallowed, chasing it with a large swig of milk. “I said that Mrs. Noyce probably saw the ring.”
“The ring? Kristin has a ring on?”
“Yeah, a big green one. It’s probably an engagement ring.”
“Why didn’t you say anything?” Katie demanded.
Lucas shrugged. “Like she wasn’t gonna get one? After all the lectures I’ve gotten from the Captain about waiting for the right person… I’m surprised it took him this long.”
The rest of the table turned to watch the events across the room closely as Lucas shoveled more food into his mouth.
“This ring is gorgeous, Nathan! Where ever did you find it?” Janet asked.
“It belonged to my grandmother. She passed away not long ago and she willed it to me. I thought that it would be perfect for Kristin.”
“It is perfect. I love it and I love you,” Kristin murmured as Nathan leaned in to her. They shared a long loving kiss.
“So… how long do I have to soften the blow?” Bill asked. “WHAT!?!?” He turned to glare at his wife who had obviously just kicked him beneath the table.
Janet leaned in and whispered furiously in his ear.
“Okay… okay… Nathan, Kristin… Janet and I are both very happy for you and we offer you our heartfelt congratulations.”
“Thanks, Bill. That means a lot,” Nathan replied, the tinge of sarcasm in his voice softened by the grin on his face.
“So… how long do I have to soften the blow? Maybe once the powers that be have gotten used to you being a couple the marriage won’t be quite as shocking.”
Janet glared at her husband. “You couldn’t let us celebrate for one day, could you? Not even an hour!”
Nathan reached out and patted her hand. “It’s okay, Janet. Actually the question is a very valid one. But you’d probably do better just presenting the marriage as a fait accompli. We are getting married before we go back to the boat.”
Bill sputtered into the coffee cup at his lips. “You’ve been engaged half a day and you are already getting married? Isn’t that a little quick? Would you please stop kicking me?” He turned to glare at his wife.
Nathan glanced at Kristin. She smiled back and nodded slightly.
“Well, it is a little quick but everything about this relationship has been quick. Meeting, falling in love, knocking her up, getting engaged… all inside of six months. Why not go…”
“WHOA!” Janet interrupted him. “Wait just a minute… go back… repeat what you just said.”
Nathan paused a moment. “Well, it is a little…”
“No… after that.”
“All inside of six months?”
“Meeting… falling in love… “
“Nathan!” Janet was getting angry.
Nathan pretended not to notice. “… Knocking her up…”
“You… dog!” A massive grin broke Bill’s face as he reached over and slapped Nathan on the back.
Janet moved to embrace Kristin. “A baby… you’re pregnant! Then yesterday morning wasn’t a ploy? You really fainted?”
Kristin nodded a bit sheepishly.
“Why didn’t you tell me? You didn’t even hint!”
“I wasn’t sure until yesterday and I wanted to tell Nathan first.”
“You can’t be very far along.”
“About six weeks.”
“If it’s a girl we might call her Sheila,” Nathan joked with a smile at Kristin, reaching out a hand to lay it on her stomach, leaning closer and whispering softly. “Just kidding, Noelle.”
“Oh boy… the brass is gonna love this!” Bill shook his head, unable to wipe the grin off his face. “But if you’re going to have a baby of course you have to get married… what the hell did I deserve that kick for? At this rate I hope Santa brings me a pair of shin guards!”
“Bill, just for the record, the proposal came before I found out about the baby,” Nathan interjected. “We were going to get married anyway. Finding out about the baby was just icing on the cake after Kristin accepted my proposal. And while we realize that our marriage is going to have to be made known, we told our closest friends about the baby. We would like for that to remain our little secret for just a while longer,” he glanced at the table where his command crew sat, happy to note that it was far enough away that they couldn’t hear the conversation.
Bill pushed back from the table. “Well, if you are going to do this you are going to do it right.”
“What do you mean, Admiral?” Kristin questioned.
“I mean no sneaking off to the registrar’s office. There was a pretty little chapel down in the village so let’s go get you married there.”
“But it’s Christmas Day. We can’t get a license,” Nathan protested.
“Just a formality. It’s the ceremony that’s important, right? Tomorrow we’ll arrange for a license and if the vicar won’t sign it you can go have a civil ceremony. Some of those people at that table over there are headed home on leave this afternoon. They worked too damned hard to get you together to miss the wedding.”
Nathan turned to Kristin. “What do you think, babe? You want to get married today?”
“Well… you’d never forget our anniversary. Why not?”
“Okay, let’s get this show on the road. I’ll go find out about the church and the preacher.”
Janet stood. “Let’s go see if we can’t find you something pretty to wear, Kristin. You did bring your dress uniform didn’t you, Nathan?” He nodded. “Well go get in it.”
By this time Bill had reached the table where the seaQuest command crew sat. He halted and hit the table with his fist in a resounding thump. “Why are you people just sitting around? We’ve got a wedding to plan… NOW! Hitchcock, you’re in charge of the music, Kreig, flowers…”
The stunned group jumped to their feet and trailed after him.
Nathan shooed the entire assembled company out of the lobby then began to pace nervously as he waited for his bride. The ancient lift finally dinged and the doors opened to reveal Janet fussing with an errant strand of Kristin’s hair. She saw Nathan approach and drifted around him to join her husband waiting on the steps outside.
Kristin smiled almost shyly as she stepped out of the elevator.
“You look gorgeous,” Nathan told her as he stared at Kristin in an elegant suit of winter white.
“And you look very dashing,” she reached out to wipe a speck off of one of his shiny brass buttons. “Are you sure about this? Things kind of snowballed when Bill stepped in. We don’t have to get married today if you’d rather wait a bit.”
Nathan wrapped his arms around her waist and laid his forehead against hers, his blue eyes boring into her brown ones. “We are going to get married today if I have to pick you up and carry you to that church myself. Luckily we have a car waiting.”
“I love you, Nathan,” her hand slipped around his neck.
“I love you, Kristin,” his lips bent to capture hers in a gentle kiss.
“Come on, you two,” they broke apart to see Bill standing in the doorway waving them forward.
Kristin was almost to the door when Nathan caught her arm and held her back. He grabbed up a wool coat from the bench by the door and swung it over her shoulders.
“You might need this,” Nathan grinned at her. “Because, Baby… it’s cold outside.”
Merry Christmas, 2003, everyone!!