Chapter 4

She smiled and squeezed him, and to his horror, Vincent finally lost control. Sinking his claws into the couch for balance, he thrust wildly into her fist, ignoring both the chafing and the voice in the back of his mind screaming "Stop it! Stop it! You're behaving like an animal!"

His climax came with humiliating speed, filling him more with embarrassment than relief. Forgetting the triumph he'd just felt in loving her, falling back on a lifetime of hiding and withdrawing, he would have jumped up, gotten dressed, and run back to the tunnels as fast as he could. Except that there was no way he could go anywhere while Catherine kept that painfully firm grip on a very sensitive portion of his anatomy. He made two abortive twitches in the direction of freedom and then gave up, panting and defeated, afraid of what he'd see on his beloved's face.

So Catherine finally had to cup his chin with her free hand and drag his head up to make him look at her.

"It's okay, I kinda figured it would happen that way the first time," she said softly. "I TOLD you the books get it wrong."

"I certainly never read anything that discussed the need to steam clean the couch afterwards," Vincent admitted ruefully.

"Well, none of them ever discuss trying to sleep in the wet spot either, which is why we're out here in the first place," Catherine told him. "And rug burn is an overrated pleasure. I would have put a slipcover on the sofa, but I was afraid you'd panic."

Vincent's fear and shame were receding in the wash of her loving acceptance, so his sense of humor made him admit honestly, "I seem to have already done that."

She feathered kisses all over his face as she spoke. "Are you okay now? Can I get up and get a couple of towels without you leaving skid marks in your rush back Below? Because I want my turn."

Yes, he was, he wanted her to touch him some more. No, he wasn't, and his penis HURT and would she please let go of it now? Yes, he was, he would do anything to please her. No, he wasn't this was all too much, too fast!

Vincent finally shrugged wordlessly, and Catherine chuckled. To his relief, she did let go - but when she got up, she stole his pants before he could grab them back.

"Just to make sure that you don't go running off before my turn!" she laughed, waving them at him.

When she came back into the room his pants were missing, replaced by a couple of large, fluffy towels, a black bottle, and a pair of wineglasses. She poured him a glass and he stood to drink it. It was that chocolate thing she'd been drinking earlier; he luxuriated in the rich taste... and in the sight of his beloved's naked body in motion as she spread the towels over the sofa.

When the towels were tucked in she sat down and reached for him. "My turn now?"

Wary, yet eager, Vincent put his glass down. "Your turn now."

With the sunniest smile he'd ever seen, Catherine leaned forward, nuzzling cheek, shoulder, and hands along the pelt on his chest and back. "Ohhh, I love the way you feel," she crooned. "All hard muscles and soft fur. I can't touch you enough."

An odd, old memory bubbled to the surface of his mind. He'd been five, maybe six, swimming naked in the falls with the other children. Tunnel society wasn't as prudish as Above; it couldn't be, what with the lack of doors and general lower level of privacy. Children were taught that nudity wasn't a bad thing.

Except for him. His fur had been coming in, and the other kids, curious, were stroking him like a cat. Father had been furious, and tried to ban the swimming. All these years later, Vincent could look back and realize that Father had only been trying to protect him after all, that he was trying to teach the children not to think of him as a pet. But all that tiny child had learned back then was that there was something wrong with his body. Something wrong with the way he'd liked the attention. He'd cried that night, curled up in his bed with the pillow stuffed in his mouth so Father and Mary and Devin wouldn't hear, wondering why it was so bad to like being touched.

Now he was getting all the attention he could handle, and after a moment's surprise at the return of the old memory - and its attendant feelings - he found himself relaxing. For a glorious moment he was six again, the center of attention. And this time, Father wouldn't burst in, yelling. It was all right.

Better than all right, as Mouse might put it. One of Catherine's hands sank low, into the rougher fur of his pubic hair. Better than better.

Now he could be touched like this any time he wanted!

Sated with stroking him, Catherine came back up and kissed him, then ducked her head to start working on his nipples. Vincent gasped, arching underneath her, but she broke contact all too soon. Forgetting himself again, he reached to capture her head and pull her back, but Catherine ducked him, chuckling.

"Not in such a hurry to run away anymore, are you?

"No," he admitted with a smile. "But I am in a hurry to see what you'll do next! Surely you're not stopping now?"

"Of course not!" She winked at him. "But I had an idea, and it is my turn to play."

Trying to be patient, Vincent watched her pick up his wineglass and take a sip. It wasn't until she bent her head back to his chest that he realized that he hadn't seen her swallow.

Ice cold alcohol dribbled on one of his nipples and Vincent nearly shot through the roof. Catherine pounced on him then, trying to pin him down as best as she could as he bucked beneath her slender body. The burning ice sensation turned to heat and back to cold as she breathed in and out several times over his sensitive flesh. With a final nip that was barely more than the faintest scrape of teeth over tip, she leaned back to take another sip and start all over on the other side, finishing the delicious torture with another deep, open-mouthed, chocolate-y kiss.

It took him three tries before he could talk, but Vincent finally managed to say, "Two can play that game, you know." He picked up the wineglass and Catherine leaned over to top it off, practically sticking one of her breasts in his face to do so. So of course he had to nibble at it. It was the gentlemanly thing do to, to partake of what is offered to you.

One particular suck of his almost made her drop the bottle, which gave him an evil inspiration. After all, the couch had to be cleaned anyway...

Catherine caught his eye and his thought, rapidly putting the bottle down before he could rattle her again. "Take your drink," she said with coy politeness, sitting back to give him room.

He should have seen it coming, should have picked up her mischievousness through the bond. After all, it was his idea first! But he was taken completely by surprise when he lifted the wineglass in a toast to her -- and she deliberately knocked it all over both of them.

Vincent blinked as streaks of brown dripped down her chest and off her taut nipples, shivered as those drips splattered across his penis and scrotum.

"So," Catherine asked him wickedly. "Who gets to lick who off first?"

Vincent grinned at her, knowing he was showing all his teeth and not caring. "Let's make it a race!"

He won, and his prize was where Catherine started licking last - a long, slow, mind-shattering suck along his penis, which had finally recovered enough to take a new interest in things. Too much of an interest, and he didn't want a repeat of that first embarrassment. It took all his strength of will, but as she went to gulp a new mouthful, he took her shoulders and gently pushed her backwards, until she was lying beneath him.

"Catherine, I don't want to play anymore." Before she could misinterpret his words, he bent to kiss her, stroking the fur on the back of a hand across her breast.

Suddenly serious, she looked up at him with wide eyes. "Are you sure? I don't want to you to feel pressured."

He had to laugh, looking down at the new erection bobbing between them. "I feel rather a lot of pressure, but no, I don't feel forced. I feel ready. Are you?" 

She twined one arm behind his neck, pulling him down to her lips while the other hand reached between them to guide him. "Vincent, I've been ready for ages!" She kissed him deeply, stroking him below. "Happy Winterfest, dearest."

"Happy Winterfest, my beloved Catherine."

She was right - the books left a lot out. It took a while and a certain amount of maneuvering to find the right angle to bury himself in her, and there were times when he fell out, and even once when they almost fell off the couch. Or they bumped noses when they kissed, or caught a lip on a tooth, and there was even the point when he started to get a back cramp and they had to stop everything and find a new position.

And still... their first time really was perfect.