I have been working hard on Jemma and Phin's story entitled Stepping In (releasing at the end of May if all goes well) Here is an excerpt from their story. The entire gang has taken a trip to Vegas to blow off steam. Phin has been trying to rope in Jemma since the death of her mother. Keeping her from making a mistake has proven to be a huge undertaking until a brilliant plan pops into his head at the club...this is the next morning. Enjoy!
Jemma groaned as she rolled over. She attempted to open her eyes only to discover that the small amount of light in the room hurt far too much. Grabbing a pillow she buried her head beneath it. Dear God, I promise to never drink again if you make the bed stop spinning. Jemma prayed.
Just as she was starting to fade back into sleep, a snore sounded next to her. Slowly she slid her hand over to the other side of the bed. Within a few seconds, her hand hit hard muscle; hard male muscle. Desperately she tried to push through the fog that was her brain and remember the night before. Nothing. Her mind was a blank from the time she yelled at Phin before walking off with another man until now. Did the hard chest she was caressing mindlessly belong to the man she danced with?
She tried to smile at the thought that she had brought the handsome stranger back to her hotel room – she hoped it was her hotel room and not his – but the smile would not come. She didn’t want some random stranger she wanted Phin. Maybe she could slip out of bed and into the shower and when she got out the stranger would be gone and she could pretend she didn’t just have sex with some random stranger.
Although now that her brain was starting to wake up a bit she realized that she was still completely dressed, panties and all. And the hand still stoking the stranger’s chest was not met with the feel of skin. No, she felt cotton beneath her hands. So that meant no sex? She did not even think they had a heavy make out season since her lips did not feel swollen? Maybe they came back to the room with every intentions of screwing around but passed out first?
“Are you going to keep petting me or are you going to let me go back to sleep?” A familiar masculine voice asked.
Jemma threw the pillow to the floor and bolted to sitting position. “Phin?” She gasped. “Ouch!” She grabbed her head in both of her hands; sitting up so fast was not a good idea when one had the hangover to end all hangovers.
“Let me grab you some Tylenol and some water.” Phin said sweetly. He returned a moment later handing her the pills and the water. “After you’ve showered and are feeling a little more human, we…,” he looked down to the floor, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand, “we need to talk.”
Talk? Damn it, if I slept with Phin and don’t remember it I am going to have to kick my own ass. “Ok.” Jemma squeaked out.
Needing answers to what the hell happened last night – yet still needing to jump start her brain and body - she rushed to the bathroom. Turning on the water in the shower she took a minute to breathe. Placing her hands on the counter, she closed her eyes to stop the room and her mind from spinning out of control; she suddenly noticed a piece of jewelry on her left hand.
“Phin!” She screamed.
A minute later the bathroom door flew open, Phin looking panicked. “Are you ok?” His eyes touched every part of her body in search of an injury. She was equal parts grateful and disappointed she still had her clothing on.
“I’m fine. Can you please explain to me why I have a wedding ring on?” She bit out, holding up the hand with the offending piece of jewelry. Again he rubbed his neck, looking passed her instead of at her. Having no memory of the night before and worrying she had done something incredibly stupid, patience was not a virtue she had at the moment. “Phin, answer the question.”
Giving her his best innocent boy smile, he simply held up his left hand in response. She choked a little in response and stumbled back until her butt hit the counter. “We’re mar…married?” She stuttered.
“For better or worse, baby. Take your shower, I’ll order room service and fill in the blanks in your memory.” Phin replied, leaving the bathroom with no other explanation.
“Shower? Breakfast? No, you’ll explain now!” She yelled as she stocked after him. He was already him sitting casually at the small desk in the corner of the room perusing the room service menu as though he hadn’t just completely flipped her life upside down. This right here, made her understand why Izzy was always threatening to kill her husband. Men are all insane.
Glancing at his watch he grimaced. “Actually we will have to grab a bagel or something on the way to the airport, we only have enough time to pack. You go back to your room and pack, I’ll get my stuff together and we can head to the lobby to meet up with everyone to go to the airport.” Phin announced, closing the menu he stood grabbing his luggage from the closet, and he started to pack. Again he was far calmer than she was.
“Our friends can wait.” She insisted.
“The plane won’t.” He walked casually over to her and placed his hands on either side of her face and kissed her forehead. “Everything is going to be fine.”
“It is a private plane! Derek will make them wait for us. Especially when he finds out that we were late because you had to explain to me why I woke up married to you!” Jemma’s patience was gone and she was now yelling at the top of her lungs.
With a resolved sigh, Phin collapsed onto the bed behind him. Pulling his phone from his pocket he hit a few buttons and placed the device to his ear. With his eyes locked on Jemma he spoke once the other person answered. “Derek, can you hold the plane for thirty minutes?” He paused for an answer. “No, no everything is fine. Jemma and I had a late night of drinking and have some issues come up that we need to discuss.” He paused again. This time he was shaking his head as though Derek could see him. “Calm down. Jesus. Not like those types of issues. I will explain everything as soon as we are on the plane.” Again he paused. Jemma wanted to rip the phone out of his hands and stomp on the damn thing. “Got it, see you there. Thanks man.” Finally he put down the phone.
“Jemma, come sit.” She scowled at him; he grimaced and added, “Please?”
Shaking with anger and need to understand, Jemma sat. “Ok, I’m sitting now talk. Were we drunk and just made a mistake?”
“You were drunk and I…I took advantage of that fact to get you to marry me.” At least he had the courtesy to look embarrassed for his actions.
Jemma’s mind was unable to catch up with the rapid changes he was causing in her life. “I…I don’t understand. Why would you need to trick me into marrying you?”
Turning toward her, Phin took both of Jemma’s hands in his. His eyes were a brighter shade of green than she had ever seen them being before, telling her how serious he was at the moment. “When your mom died, and you started showing up at work with pink hair and miniskirts no one said a thing. We all knew you were grieving so deeply that you were searching for something to make you whole again.”
Phin paused, watching his thumb run over her knuckles intently. “I still don’t understand what me trying to find myself after my mother’s death has to do with why you married me.”
His eyes met hers again, an angry fire seeming to burn within the vast green. “You started to change. You have been acting as though you were some college girl out to have a good time instead of the woman who believes in true love.”
“So? I was trying to let go, relax a little for a change. My mother told me to go enjoy my life before she died so I was trying to have some fun, break out of my shell.” She explained quietly. “Nothing that you boys haven’t been doing for the past oh I don’t know a decade!” She added with a scowl.
“You can’t honestly believe that your mother’s version of you having fun would include you sleeping with some random asshole who doesn’t give a shit about you? And it’s different for us guys; we have no morals.” He tried to laugh. “You’re a good person and would have regretted any and all random bar hook ups you had. You were on a destructive path, so I stepped in the way. I know you won’t break your marriage vows, which means no regretful one night stands.”
There was no way Jemma had heard him correctly. He married her to protect her? Not what a girl wants to hear on the morning after her wedding. Marriage was supposed to be about love and respect, with a healthy dose of lust thrown in for good measure. Marriage was not about some act of chivalry. As she continued to attempt to wrap her brain around the situation, Phin stood and pulled his bag out of the closet.
"So you married me to keep me from having sex with some random bar guy?"
"Yep." He didn't even look at her as he spoke the one word answer. His attention was squarely on packing.
“So if we are married, why did I wake up with my clothes on? Don’t most couples make love on their wedding night?” Jemma pondered out loud.
Sighing, he looked up at her before quickly turning his attention back to his packing. “We won’t be having sex. We will have a marriage based on friendship. No sex, no kissing. You and I have far different experience levels when it comes to sex. I don’t want to take advantage of your innocence.”
"So you won't sleep me with because we are friends and I am too innocent?"
"Yep." Again with the one word answers! She was about to stuff her new husband into the small overnight bag he seemed so fixated on.
"So you plan to what 'love, honor and cherish' me until death do us part; while never having sex with me or another woman?" She was pacing the hotel room now, her frustration with the stupid man bubbling over.
That was the last straw. Marching over to the bed, she slammed the small suite case, almost catching his fingers in the lid in the process. Dragging in a deep breath, Jemma used all of the patience she had left to get out the next few sentences. "Phin, not to be a bitch, but you my dear husband," the word felt like acid on her tongue, "are the king of the manwhores. You cannot actually believe you can be happily married to your friend and never having sex again? You love sex! You love women. I have never seen you go more than a few days without finding some girl to fill your bed for the night. Please let's just get an annulment and have a good laugh over this crazy situation." Her eyes were large and pleading. No woman wanted to be married to a man who had zero sexual attraction to her. She wanted what Roni and Izzy had, a man who loved her with every bone in his body.
Phin stood in front of her, arms crossed and an indiscernible look on his face. He tilted his head one way then the other. He walked to the closet and pulled out his garment bag with his suit, zipped it up and went into the bathroom, without a word. She could hear him collecting his things. She was sure she had finally gotten through his thick skull. He was realizing he would never have sex again if they stayed married. It broke her heart and made her want to cry that he didn't find her attractive enough to screw.
He returned a moment later, with his toiletries bag. “I am not giving you an annulment and before you even think it, I won’t divorce you either. Don’t worry about me; sex isn’t a priority you are. Now you better get your ass packed I won’t ask Derek to hold the plane again. I’ll meet you in the lobby in 15 minutes.”
With a hard glare at her new husband she stomped out of the room slamming the door behind her.