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"Castrate you?" I mumbled, already dozing off, too comfortable on his lovely warm torso.

"Erm... yeah, he threatened me... again. I’ve never been challenged so much by such a small guy. He said if I didn't come here pronto he would cut my balls off, a threat he apparently learned from you?"

I nodded in confirmation. "Yup! You don't get brought up on a farm and not learn a thing or two about how to geld a stallion."

He shuddered. "Shit, remind me never to piss you off near a pair of shears!"

"Oh, I can do it with less than shears. A small pair of tweezers would do the trick. Now close that gaping mouth and grab my phone, and let’s call the big g*y queen before he gets his too-tight G-string in a twist!"

Chapter 17

I just called, to say…

Over the next two days, Tudor turned into a beefed-up version of Florence Nightingale. He gave me my tablets and kept me fed and watered. He even changed my sheets after I managed to sweat out nearly a gallon of water during the spike of my fever.

When I was feeling slightly better and I could once again manoeuvre, albeit slowly, he even helped me take a bath. He was a true gentleman and never once took advantage, much to my disappointment. I maintained my modesty by being tightly wrapped in a towel when he dropped me in the tub and once again when he helped me back out.

Tink was on the phone constantly. After speaking to him in depth the first night, he called every two hours for updates. It took a lot of persuasion on my part to stop him from flying back and cutting his vacation short. He cried and blamed himself for not being there, but Tudor and I assured him that I was doing better every hour and that he should take advantage of Vancouver while he could.

In true Tink fashion, he had emailed a PDF instruction list of how to care for me during one of my ‘Shit! Wilbur’s Hormones Have Gone Nuts!’ episodes, as he had so aptly named them, and insisted that Tudor send my temperature and heart rate readings to him frequently using the spreadsheet he had devised for emergency occasions.

Tudor had been a sweetheart through it all and, as promised, treated me like a close friend. He slept next to me in bed, but assured me it was only so he could keep an eye on me at all times. He would, on occasion, sneak over to my side of the bed and spoon, but, to save us from any awkwardness, I played possum. After all, we had agreed to be just friends. Plus, I liked him being wrapped around me – I was like the meat in his fajita!

He cleaned the condo while I dozed, and when I was awake never once left me alone. Underneath that moody and hard exterior was a kind and gentle man. I tried not to get too used to this new and improved Tudor, especially the familiar warm feeling of having him with me constantly. It'd hurt too much when he left.

It was obvious that he had personal problems, or at least something was happening in his life to cause him worry, and he called his mother several times a day. He had finally told Pamela where he was and why, and even admitted that we had seen each other a few times through Tink and Tate’s courtship. It still frustrated me as to why he could never just say we were friends on our own accord. But I didn’t question him about it. I didn’t want to hear the answer.

After spending Thursday and Friday in living hell, I woke up early on Saturday morning with the bright winter sun peeking through my curtains. I stretched, and for the first time in many hours I felt good. I tested each muscle with tiny non-jerky movements, and there was no pain. I gently moved to sit up, waiting for the nausea to hit, and to my delight it never came. I rolled my shoulders and clapped my hands silently in glee. I was turning over to tell Tudor the good news when I heard soft rhythmic breathing coming from next to me. There he was, fast asleep, looking all tousled and sexy, still fully dressed, his arms tucked under the pillow, snoring lightly through slightly pouted lips – my hulking guardian angel. He had done so much for me in the last couple of days, and our turbulent relationship seemed to be improving with each passing hour, so I probably owed him a lie-in.

In celebration of my dormant hormones, I decided that I would treat myself to a shower. An entire tub of brown sugar body scrub later, I dressed and scurried into Tink’s room to style my hair and apply my much-missed shovel of make-up. I looked into the mirror and grinned; my locks were once again shiny and smooth, flowing down my back with a gentle curl at the ends, and my trusty Mac make-up collection had replenished my lackluster pallor. I had put on my red-tartan wool shorts with black tights and a black, fitted long-sleeved top that accentuated my figure, and I felt bloomin’ great.

I made my way to the kitchen and began to make a proper English fry-up in honour of feeling healthy and as a big food-based thank you to Mr. Hollywood – not ‘The Blade Reaper’ but ‘The Domesticator’! I opened the kitchen blinds, letting sunshine flood into the front room, flicked the stereo onto a country radio station and set to cooking bacon and eggs to the soothing tones of Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum.

As I was plating up the delicious morning feast, I heard a commotion coming from my bedroom. I turned my head to hear better, when Tudor came barrelling into the kitchen shouting my name and halting on the spot when he found me at the cooker, spatula in hand and dolled up in my novelty apron depicting Botticelli's, 'The Birth of Venus' in all her naked glory.

“Tash? What are you doing out of bed?” he yelled.

I smiled and shook my head. “Good morning to you, too! And for your information, Mr. North, I am feeling one hundred percent better,” I twirled around and gave an enthusiastic grapevine step, showcasing my resurrected kinetic abilities.

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