Authors: Alyse Zaftig
All I Know
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ndreas was walking
down the street when he passed a coffee shop and did a double take.
There was a girl in the window, a girl who was drawing a jagged heart with her finger on the window pane. His eyes lit up for the first time in what felt like years. He couldn't remember the last time when someone had captured his attention like this. Sure, there were plenty of girls — girls everywhere — but none like this one.
The girl in the coffee shop reminded him of some kind of modern-day Snow White because of her hair cut. She had dark hair which was sharply cut on an angle that just touched her shoulders. She had luscious lips that were spread in the most beautiful smile he had ever seen.
He ran his hands through his hair, trying to check that everything was lying flat. He didn't want to look like a dork when he met this lady for the first time. He took a deep breath before he went through the coffee shop door, making the bells jingle. He stood in line and ordered some kind of caramel macchiato drink before he pretended to survey the store. To his satisfaction, every seat was full.
"Hello," he said, walking over to the girl's table near the window.
"Hello," she said, her smile broadening as she looked at him.
"Every seat is taken. Would it be okay if I sat at your table?"
He could see the book that she was reading.
Her cheeks flushed as she said, "Yes."
"You like paranormal romance?" He had never read any of Gena Showalter's books, but he knew that some people liked that kind of thing.
"How about for our first date, I take you into a bookstore and buy you any book that you want?"
She blinked for a few seconds. "You would do that?"
"Do you want to have our first date right now?" She licked her lips and eyed his pecs. "I've never had anyone offer that to me."
She slipped her book into her tote bag, which said "Real Woman. Real Men. Real Romance." on it, and then she walked towards the door. Andreas had his cup of coffee in his hand, but he dumped it in the trash as he left. The coffee mattered very little; he had only purchased it to have an excuse to talk to her.
ONE YEAR LATER
ndreas was bemused
to find himself in an apple orchard. Phoebe had asked for an apple-picking date. He had never done anything like this — not a big nature guy — but he was very surprised to find that he liked it. Phoebe kept asking him to pick her up so that she could reach apples on higher branches. He loved the excuse to touch her curvy body.
"Eek!" Phoebe said, big drops of water landing on her shoulders and leaving big marks where they landed.
Andreas shrugged off his coat and raised it over both of their heads, drawing Phoebe close to him.
"Let's run for it!"
Phoebe wasn't as fast as Andreas, but then, she didn't train for lethal speed. He was careful to run at her pace. She was laughing joyfully while they ran for the closest shelter, which was the edge of the roof of the main building.
When they got there, Phoebe turned to Andreas, slipping her arms around his neck and tugging him downwards.
"My hero," she said, the light of laughter still in her eyes.
Andreas leaned down to kiss her, putting his hands on the small of her back and pressing her small body against his larger one.
Phoebe broke the kiss. "We left the apples."
"We can get them when it stops raining."
"How should we pass the time?"
"I think I have an idea." He turned swiftly so that she was in his arms, then he pressed her body against the wall. He explored her mouth thoroughly as they waited for the rain to stop.
An eternity later, he told her “I think the rain stopped a while ago.” His voice was low.
“Why don’t we go back to your place?” Phoebe’s hand trailed low on his back.
Running for the apples that they had picked and the potatoes that they had bought when they arrived, Andreas held them in his arms. His hands were still free. Andreas pulled her towards the car and broke every speed limit on the way home.
ONE HOUR LATER
an you set the table
Andreas looked down at the skillets that he had on the stove. Those apples that they'd just picked were frying in some butter and cinnamon on the stove, filling the kitchen with their scent. He had some potatoes from the same farm baking in the oven. He'd rolled them in salt and pierced them with forks; the nice thing about baked potatoes was that they tasted nicer the less that you did with them. He had another skillet with a bunch of mushrooms cooking in some beef stock to give them a savory flavor.
He knew enough about cooking to maintain his cover. As far as Phoebe knew, he was a highly skilled chef. Even without a restaurant of his own, or even a branded cookbook, he'd sold the lie. He could do interesting things to entrees, and Phoebe laughingly called him her food whisperer. He'd never tell her about the hours that he spent testing food to make the best version of her favorites.
a lot of noise on the stairs so Phoebe could hear him coming up the stairs. He liked to spoil his wife. He walked slowly enough for her to wake up. The tray was heavy, a sturdy wood that could handle two heavy plates of food and two mugs. One had coffee for Andreas; the other had hot chocolate for Phoebe, since the doctor had told them that she needed to stay away from caffeine while she was trying to get pregnant.
Andreas and Phoebe had been trying to have a baby for a few months now. They hadn’t sued any contraception at all, and Andreas knew that Phoebe was getting a little stressed out about not being pregnant yet. He didn’t mind all the practice, though; Andreas knew that the time would come. They just had to be patient.
Phoebe had been very quiet for a few days, so Andreas decided that today would be a bacon kind of day.
“Good morning, darling.”
“Good morning,” Phoebe said. She beamed at him. “Is that bacon I smell?”
“Yep.” Andreas put the tray down on the nightstand. “I don’t work for free, you know. Pay up.” He leaned in close to his wife. Phoebe got on her knees so that she could kiss him, twining their tongues together in the way that Phoebe knew that he liked. She was the best wife in the whole world.
Picking up a fork, Andreas carefully fed the rest of her breakfast to her, cutting her pancakes, scooping up her scrambled eggs, and hand-feeding her the rest of the bacon. He didn’t care about his breakfast.
When her plate was clean, Andreas grinned at her before diving in for another kiss. Andreas tugged at the strings of her bathrobe. He kissed the slopes of her breasts, then he made his way down the center of her body to find her core. The tray of food was forgotten as her hands settled in his hair, guiding his head where she wanted it to be.
He licked her delicate lower lips carefully, humming in pleasure at the sweet taste. Her smell was unique, and he totally loved going down on her. It was his favorite activity in the bedroom, bar none.
He spread her thighs a little bit further apart as he delved more deeply into her body. His nose stimulated her clitoris while his tongue searched the soft lips of her slit. She was shuddering beneath him, crying out, trying to move her hips, but his hands kept her in place. She screamed as her body contracted again and again.
Before she had stopped, Andreas was pushing himself into her, a hand on her clitoris to keep her orgasm going on and on. She was panting, gasping for breath, and Andreas slammed into his wife again and again, plunging into her as deeply as he could, trying to plant the seed that would grow into their baby.
Her head went from side to side and her hands were gripping the sheets when she cried out as she went over the edge a second time. Andreas grunted when he felt her body squeezing his. Then he released inside of her, collapsing on her body with the intensity of his orgasm. He felt as if the top of his head would blow off.
When he could think again, he rolled to the side so that he didn’t crush Phoebe.
“Good morning, darling,” he told her. She wiggled so that her head rested on his chest.
“Good morning,” Phoebe said, her arm going around his body. “You can give me breakfast in bed anytime.”
“I will.” He pulled one of her hands into his and kissed the back of it. “You know I will.”Andreas opened the package that arrived in Chung’s kitchen. When he heard chimes, his eyes flicked up to check that Mei Lung was still talking to the wealthy customer who always asked about trying blowfish. No matter what Mei told him, he never opted to get it. He always got something safer in the end. Andreas smiled to himself. That guy had made a serious ritual out of inquiring about blowfish and never actually getting the nerve to try it.
Pulling a small envelope out of a bag of flour in the delivery box, Andreas looked around the whole kitchen to make sure that he was alone. Biting his bottom lip, he carefully opened the envelope.
Inside of the envelope, there was a small card with a name at the top of it: George Hebus. The card also listed the kills and crimes against humanity that had brought the man to the Agency’s attention. He was a dead man walking now.
Tucking the card into his back pocket, Andreas removed the bags of flour from the box and put them in the right spot in the pantry. Grabbing the vial tucked into a satchel at the bottom of the box, he tucked it in the same pocket as the card, removed his apron, and headed out to run some initial surveillance on his next target.
ndreas checked his watch
. George should be walking out in the next minute. Right on time, George walked out of the restaurant. Andreas knew that it was time. The setting fit the request, and his employers always like for the symbolism to strike at the heart of their enemies.
Andreas punched in seven digits, the seven digits that made up George’s office’s number.
“Hello! Marley speaking. How can I help you?”
“Hello, Marley. My name is Drake. I would like to set up a meeting with George. I’d like to talk to him over a dinner meeting.” Andreas had another identity as Drake Vanderhoff, a nondescript businessman who had enough documents to back him up.
“I see, Mr. Drake. Could I ask what you’d like to talk to him about?”
“It’s a matter requiring some discretion.”
“I see.” The receptionist paused.
Andreas’ eyes went to the picture of his beautiful wife dangling from his rearview mirror. He had to tear his eyes away. His line of work wasn’t sustainable at all, but he couldn’t think about Phoebe at the moment. Soon they’d have a baby on the way, and Andreas needed to do more jobs to pull together the capital which would mean that he could settle into a quiet, idyllic life where his major concern was raising their kid. Just a few more jobs before he could retire from the business, going dark. He’d become an actual chef and focus on his catering front so he could turn it into a real business. The infrastructure already existed. He’d done enough for the moment. He drove towards his house.
When he finally got home, Andreas counted his breaths as he slowly breathed in and out. Outside of the house, he always shed his work persona like a snake shed skin. The artichoke rangoons that he whipped up in Chung’s kitchen were in a bag on the floor on the passenger’s seat. The smell of the oil filled his car. He always brought something home for Phoebe; it was necessary to maintain his front.
When he was as calm as he was going to get, he walked out of his car and up the steps into his kitchen.
Phoebe was wearing an apron and pulling a cookie sheet out of the oven. He admired the curve of her hips.
“Oh, Andreas! You’re a little early. I wanted the cookies to cool down before you came home. I tried something new — I added double the amount of peanut butter and put in a little pudding mix.”
“Pudding mix?” Andreas was a better cook, but Phoebe was a phenomenal baker.
“For texture. One of my friends told me about it — she swore that she wouldn’t make cookies without pudding ever again.”
Andreas shrugged. Phoebe put the cookie sheet down on a rack to cool. As soon as it was out of her hands, Andreas quickly prowled across the kitchen to draw his sweet-smelling wife into his arms and leaning her back for a hard kiss.
He finally put her back on her own feet.“Good evening, Phoebe.”
“Hi,” she said, her arms around him. “Phew. You kiss me like that every day, but I never get used to it.”
He kissed her temple. “How was your day, sweetheart?”
“Well, I got a record number of sales today!”
“Yeah! Double my best day so far. I have so much work to do! I barely regret giving up the troupe for a little while.”
Andreas and Phoebe had talked about her performance schedule. If she was going to have their baby, she needed to take some maternity leave for a season, maybe two, maybe more. Her boss had let her go; there were always more girls who were eager to dance in their troupe.
Phoebe had turned her attention to her doll business, Destiny Dolls. They were soft ballerina dolls that she made with love and sold on Etsy. Dance was Phoebe’s core, and she had to tap into it one way or another while she was on hiatus. She would go crazy otherwise.
“That’s wonderful, babe.”
Andreas went to the wine cabinet, pulling out a small Copa di Vino to grab some merlot and a small plastic bottle of Welch’s grape juice.
“We should celebrate.”
Even though Phoebe wasn’t pregnant yet, it was never too early to start taking some common-sense precautions. Andreas poured his wine into a glass and poured her grape juice into another one. The two glasses were nearly identical.
He turned around and gave her the glass of juice.
“Cheers for your business’ success, Phoebe!”
They clinked their glasses and took a sip each. Andreas touched Phoebe’s stomach. It looked a little bigger than usual, though he’d never tell her that.
“I have some news,” she said, clearing her throat.
She took a deep breath before saying, “I’m pregnant.”
Andreas immediately put down his glass and pulled Phoebe into the air, spinning her around.
“Andreas! You spilled my juice!”
“I’ll clean it up later. Right now, there’s something that needs a little more attention.”
He didn’t have the time to take her upstairs to their bed. He swept Phoebe off of her feet and put her gently on the couch. He stole her wine glass from her and put it on their coffee table.
“Are you wearing underwear?”
“No,” she whispered.
He bit her thigh, pushing her dress up to her waist. “Dirty girl.” Andreas knew that she’d anticipated his response to her announcement. He was over the moon about their child, and he’d make sure that she knew it in her bones.
The couch limited some positions, but he’d make it work. He knelt on the ground beside the couch and let his five o’clock shadow rub against the juncture of her thighs. She moaned and bucked her hips.
He bit the inside of one soft thigh and then the other.
“More,” she demanded, jerking her hips upwards.
“Greedy girl,” he told her. But he lowered his tongue to her slit anyway.”
“Ah,” she breathed.
Now Andreas brought one of his hands to rub her clit, circling it again and again until she was going wild beneath him on the couch, wet enough to make a puddle on the couch. He’d fix it, just like the juice, later, but right now he’d bask in masculine pride from giving his woman pleasure.
He drank down all of her juice that he could by meticulously licking every bit of her inner parts as she shook through one orgasm and then another.
When he was a little concerned about her running out of oxygen, he rested, one cheek against her thigh.
“That was amazing,” she panted.
“You’re amazing, babe.” He lifted his head and met her eyes. “I’m so happy about the baby.”
Andreas pulled her into a sitting position and then sat down on the couch beside her before pulling her into his lap, her legs straddling his. He bit her ear hard, making her gasp.
“I’m glad that you’re taking a break to focus on your business and the baby.”
“Is there anything you’d like now that we have the baby?”
“I want to have dinner with my parents.”
Andreas felt like Phoebe had dumped a bucket of ice water over his head as part of the Ice Bucket Challenge. His blood, which had been running hot after eating her on the couch, cooled to subzero temperatures.
He internally sighed, already exhausted by just the mention of Phoebe’s FBI agent father.
An uncomfortable silence settled between them for a moment.
“This time, I’ll make sure that Daddy is nice. He’ll come around and accept you into the family eventually, you know.”
“You keep telling me that, sweetheart, but it hasn’t happened yet.” He put his hands in her hair and pulled her in for a fast kiss, ending the conversation. “Now how about we go upstairs and spend some time in a big, soft bed, hm?”
Phoebe kissed him back in response, which was everything that he needed. He carried his pregnant wife up the stairs in record time before dropping her on the bed and climbing on top of her, biting her neck before doing other delicious things.