Enemy to Husband (Short Story)

Enemy to Husband cover art

ENEMY TO HUSBAND
by Anna Zabo

Wednesday morning

Usually, when I go to an academic neuroscience convention, I don’t wake up with a hangover and a wedding ring on my hand. But today? Fuck, did my head hurt. And there was definitely a gold band on my left ring finger. I clicked it against my teeth just to make sure.

Yeah, it was real.

Next to me, Dominic groaned and opened his eyes. “Fuck, Val. What time is it?”

I peered over at the hotel clock. “Almost noon.” We’d missed the morning sessions, but neither of us was presenting today, so it was all good. Tomorrow would be a different story, but today we had time to get our shit together.

Dom pressed his face into his pillow. “We did Jäger shots last night, didn’t we?”

“Yup.” After downing several glasses of champagne. The Jäger was tradition, but usually happened at the end of the convention. The bubbly wasn’t a regular thing at all. I ran my thumb over my wedding ring.

Holy shit. I had a husband. “Dom, I think we got married yesterday.”

He pushed himself up and smiled at me, blond hair going every-which-way. “You don’t say.” He was all perfection and beauty, even sloppy with sleep and worn from being well fucked.

And I had fucked him incredibly well last night. After all, I’d married him. In Las Vegas, even.

I started laughing and didn’t stop until Dom crawled on top of me and kissed me to shut me up. After that, I really only cared about moving inside him and making him scream my name.

Dom had won, but I claimed the prize.

♠︎♣︎♥︎♦︎

Monday night, two days prior

“We should get married.” Dominic whispered those words into my ear before nibbling at the lobe and moving his hot mouth down my neck.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” We were rivals. Enemies. Yes, we were also both naked and in my bed, erections thrusting hard against each other. Still, that didn’t change years of professional competition, or that he’d just stolen my research and my thunder with his damn presentation today.

“I’m serious, Val. We should.”

I kissed him to put an end to that nonsense and slid my hands down his sides. Warm flesh, velvet over taut muscles. He moaned into me and ground harder, sending a bolt of desire straight up into my brain. God, I’d wanted to fuck him for so long, and I was finally getting my chance.

But marriage? Well, it was Vegas, and people did stupid shit like that here. Hook up, get married, then divorce thirty-six hours later when the booze wears off and the regret sets in. But I wasn’t that man. And I didn’t think Dom was, either.

So of course, I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind.

Breaking off the kiss, I murmured against his lips, “I want to be inside you.”

“Please.” Fingers tangled in my hair and scraped deliciously along my scalp. “God, I knew you were a top.”

I was a switch actually, but with Dr. Dominic H. Miller? After he’d taken every paper I’d put out, every drop of research, improved it, and eclipsed me? Tonight, his mind-numbingly gorgeous ass was mine. “Hands and knees.”

His frown was endearing and made my chest ache. “But I want to see you.”

Oh, Dom, sweet Dom. I caught his face between my hands. “Do you honestly think I’m only fucking you once tonight?”

His gasp for air and the way he arched against me? Bliss. Pure heaven.

I took his mouth again until I’d teased out a whimper. “Now, do what I say.”

He swallowed, nodded, and moved. I scrambled to find my condoms and lube. Hey, it was Vegas, after all. I’d thought I might get lucky. I never dreamed I’d hit the jackpot. Good God, this beautiful man in my bed, wanting and willing and finally doing what I said? I dug out the bottle and grabbed a strip of foil squares while celebratory bells and lights went off in my head.

Dominic made my mouth water and my brain skip neurons. He always had, with his lanky frame, tight ass, and vivid brown eyes. Sexy, smart, exactly my height, and a complete shit about everything I did. The first time we’d met, at another academic conference like this one, he’d marched up to me and expounded on how I should be researching molecular neurobiology. The cocky little shit had a mouth I wanted to kiss or fuck or both. I’d done one tonight. I was betting I’d get a shot at the other before breakfast tomorrow.

I turned back, and slapped him hard on the right asscheek.

His yelp and wiggle was a thing of utter beauty. “I can’t believe you’re in my bed.”

He laughed and sank to his elbows. “Me neither. I’ve only been trying to get into your bed for years.”

Really? I’d missed that, somehow. I made short work of putting a condom on and lubing myself up. “Should have been more obvious.”

“Yeah.” He looked back at me, grinning like he’d just won the big prize, too. “You were always a bit obtuse.”

I slapped the other cheek, and he moaned, then pressed his forehead into the mattress. “Damn it, Val. Stop teasing.”

“Sorry, Dr. Miller.” I spread his cheeks apart and poured lube down his crack, “No can do.” His whole body shuddered when I massaged his ring and pressed my finger into him. “Teasing is my specialty.”

“God, don’t I know that,” he murmured into the bed.

That mouth. More than anything right then, I wanted to slam my dick into him, but his hiccuped and hitched breathing, the way he fucked himself on my finger…Dom begged to be teased and frustrated, then fucked into oblivion. I was more than happy to oblige. I made sure I hit his prostate ever so gently each time I slid my digit into his tight hole. Over and over until he was panting under me.

“You—shit—please!” He arched his head back and trembled, hands tangled in the top-sheet of the mattress. “You’re gonna make me come.”

“That’s the idea.” I slipped my finger out of him and pressed the head of my cock against his hole. “You want this?”

He groaned and pushed back, and I slipped in.

Oh God, yes, Dom wanted it. Holy shit. I grabbed his hips, thrust forward, and we both gasped. He was tight and hot, and seeing my dick disappear into Dom was utterly perfect. I pulled back and thrust in. And again. Dom bucked back as if to bury me even deeper into his ass than physically possible. Putting all my weight on him, I pressed him down into the mattress and fucked him through years of annoyance and frustration and his quirky, lovely smile. The bed frame rocked against the wall, but I didn’t care. Given Dom’s moans, he didn’t either.

“Fuck…Val.”

I slowed. “Yeah?”

“Harder,” he said. “Fuck me as hard as you can. ’Cause if this is going to be it, I want it all.”

Something in my chest seemed to swell and crack and moisture pooled at the corners of my eyes. One night of Dom? I wanted so much more than that.

But I had no issues with fucking Dom hard and heavy until neither of us could think. I slammed into him, harder than I had with anyone else, and kept going until his moans turned into staccato cries of God, fuck, and yes. Dom wanted it all, and I gave it to him. Every breath, every bit of the years between us, all of my desire until he came with a deep moan that shook my bones. Feeling him tremble around and under me pushed me over the edge, and I tumbled too, into a haze of pleasure, pain, and light.

When I could form a coherent thought again, I rolled off Dom, careful not to let the condom slip. “You okay?”

Something between a laugh and a groan came from Dom. “Best damn fuck of my life. I’m more than okay.”

Well, that made two of us. I couldn’t help the laugh. “It was pretty spectacular.” I paused before slipping off the bed. “I’ll be right back.”

I ditched the condom, washed my hands, and grabbed a hand towel. Somehow, we’d managed to be smart enough to fuck on one side of the bed. That gave us plenty of room on the other for sleeping without either of us having to deal with a cold, wet spot. I handed Dom the towel, then crawled next to him and collapsed.

“Just spectacular?”

I cracked open an eye. “That’s pretty damn good.”

“Pretty damn good,” he deadpanned, and raised an eyebrow.

Self-assured little…but he was right. “I used to daydream about what it would be like to fuck you, usually while you were picking apart my research during one of your presentations.”

He raised the other eyebrow.

“Nothing I ever imagined—and I have a vivid imagination—came close to the reality. You’re…” My voice cracked. I didn’t even know why, but seeing Dom next to me, feeling his warmth, breathing in the deep scent of our rough sex—it twisted my heart and stole my breath.

Dom’s smile was almost sad, almost happy, and I didn’t know what to make of it.

He held up his arm and whispered, “Come here.”

I did, and he wrapped me in his arms and warmth. “Long time coming, Val. I’m glad we made it.”

I nodded into him. So was I. I just couldn’t say it.

♠︎♣︎♥︎♦︎

I think we both drifted in and out of sleep for a while that night. I woke to Dominic stroking my hair.

“You’re getting some gray.” He kissed my temple.

“So are you.” Harder to see in his sandy blond hair, but there were a few strands there, a product of time and age. We were both thirty-five, but my gray stuck out against my black hair. I’d probably end up looking older than he did soon.

I don’t know if he read my expression or what, but he huffed a laugh. “It’s just a few.” This time he kissed me on the lips, and I deepened it. I pulled him down and rolled him onto his back, our hard dicks brushing against each other.

He flinched, lips twisting against mine. “Stupid wet spot.”

I stole a kiss. “Figured here, in case we make it wetter.”

Oh, the look in his eyes. I didn’t even bother to ask if he wanted to go again. I found the condoms and lube.

Dom arched and moaned when I slid into him, and his eyes flickered closed for a moment. “You feel so fucking good,” he said.

“You feel amazing.” He met my gaze. “Better than amazing,” I amended, and he smiled that brilliant, stunning smile of his. All I wanted to do was make love to him for as long as I could.

So I did.

This time, I took Dom slowly and sweetly, over and over while he kissed me and moaned and babbled incoherently. I don’t know how long we fucked because time got screwed up like it did when I’d had one too many shots of Jäger, only I was completely drunk on Dominic and he tasted better than anything in the world.

“Oh God, Val. Don’t stop. Don’t—” He shuddered and came, hot semen dotting both our chests.

Seeing him in bliss stole every thought. I’d done that to him. I’d done that for him—then I was there, too, moaning out his name over and over until I’d spent myself inside him.

It was Dom who nudged me into motion. “Hey, you’re going to go soft.”

I groaned and pulled out carefully. “I get myself tested every six months.” And if I had to bet—

“So do I.” Bingo. “Still. It’s good practice.”

And bingo. He was right. Another stumble to the bathroom and another hand towel.

Once more, we shimmied over to the side without the wet spot. Thank God for king-sized beds. Dom nestled next to me, half on me, legs twined together. I’d never felt more relaxed in my life.

“God, I love you,” he said in his sweet, sex-slurred voice.

I shivered as every nerve fired in me. “Love me? You hardly know me.”

“Valentin Clark, I’ve known you for years and years.” Dom pressed his lips against my throat and I swallowed. “And you know me.”

He stroked my chest, lingering for a moment on my nipple. My skin tingled as I squirmed under his gentle touch. If I hadn’t already fucked him twice, I’m sure I would have been ready to go again. I wanted to—desperately. Because I wasn’t sure I’d ever get enough of him.

“I don’t.” But the creeping sensation I got every time Dom bested me swept through my body.

He propped himself up on his elbow. “What’s my favorite movie?”

Casablanca.” We’d talked at length about our mutual love of that film two conferences ago.

“Best memory?”

I exhaled. We’d run through those last year, after too much wine in Orlando. “Watching a meteor shower while floating in a pool in Mexico when you turned thirteen.” He’d been born in December and that trip had been the only time he’d ever had a chance to swim outdoors during the winter. The meteors had been an astounding bonus.

And he knew mine. Or had—because my new best memory was in the process of etching itself into my brain. I blinked, eyes suddenly misty. “Stop.” I let go, my whole body relaxing into the mattress. “Just—all right. You win. We do know each other.”

Really fucking well after seven years and more than a dozen conferences. Hundreds upon hundreds of emails.

He chuckled. “Of course I win. I always win.”

“Snot.” I reached over and turned off the light.

“You love it.” He snuggled next to me.

I did. I always had, even when he infuriated me, which was most of the time. Still, there was no denying that we had gotten to know each other quite over all these years.

But love? I should have laughed at the thought, but I didn’t. I didn’t.

Because there was a little part of me that adored Dominic Miller to pieces and never ever wanted to let him go.

I stared up into the darkness and Dom’s whispered words from earlier in the night came back to me.

We should get married.

Oh my God.

♠︎♣︎♥︎♦︎

Tuesday morning

We barely made it to breakfast the next morning, but the buffet was well enough stocked, and our gang of colleagues made room for us at a table. No one said anything about us arriving together.

I wondered if they even noticed. I stole a glance at Dom and he shrugged lightly, then sipped his coffee.

His lips were still a bit full and pink from sucking me off in the shower. How right I’d been about that mouth. So incredibly talented, and not just for talking smack at me.

I suppressed a shiver and nursed my own coffee.

“So, plans for the day?” Brenda toyed with a grape on her plate.

“I haven’t even looked at today’s agenda.”

“Really?” Brenda slid the conference booklet over to me and tapped on a presentation that had been circled.

I stared at it until the words made sense, then stared at it a bit longer. Holy shit. “Dom…”

He’d already grabbed the booklet. It took him a moment, then he leaned back in his chair. “That little shit. He’s using our research!”

Our. His and mine. “This I’ve got to see.”

“Likewise.” He fingered the page. “We’ve got twenty minutes.”

I chugged the rest of my coffee. “Let’s go.”

We strode toward the conference room side by side, and the entire table followed us.

Behind me, Raphael spoke. “Told you they’d join forces.”

Brenda snorted. “They joined forces a long time ago.”

Had we? I glanced at Dom and he winked back. Maybe we had. Hell, so much of my research was to one-up Dom, and I had no doubt his was the same. We’d jointly pushed the field of neurobiology forward every year just by hating each other.

Except I didn’t hate Dom. My stomach tumbled and I swallowed the lump in my throat. I had never really hated him at all.

And there it was again, like the blinking lights of a slot machine. Or a Las Vegas wedding chapel. We should get married.

Jesus.

We entered the hall, and I grabbed Dom’s arm and steered him away from the front row. “We can’t talk shit if we’re on top of him.”

“Point.”

Somewhere along the line, our fingers had ended up entwined. By the time we sat, we were definitely holding hands. “Do you mind?” he murmured close to my ear.

“No.” I didn’t. It made me giddy and happy and I wanted to take on the whole world. Especially the jackhole who was using our research. If any of our colleagues noticed our sudden closeness, they didn’t say a damn thing.

Which was a bit odd. “Hey Dom?”

“Yeah?”

“When did we start dating?”

His laugh was bright and his smile brilliant. “Last night. Or seven years ago. Take your pick.”

Behind us, Brenda chuckle-snorted.

Oh. Well, shit. Maybe I was obtuse. Dom squeezed my hand, and the hall filled up around us.

A few minutes after Dr. Sanderburg started talking, I regrettably let do of Dom, but my brain was churning, and I needed to get these ideas down. The jerk was on to something, but he’d veered off in the wrong direction. He didn’t know my research like I did, so he hadn’t seen it.

But I had. And more, too.

Dom leaned over and looked at what I was frantically typing into my phone. “Oh,” he said. “But if you—”

“Later. We can talk later. Figure it out.”

He took a breath. “Right.” A moment later, he was taking his own notes on his phone. By the end of the presentation, he was flush. “Val.”

“I know.” We stood and made our way out of the hall.

He’d seen what I had, what Sanderburg had missed. It would take time and a lot of research to see if we were right, but if we were…major major breakthrough.

“I need to move to Pittsburgh.” I needed to be in the same city as Dominic. We had to work together—not just chase after each other’s research.

“Yeah, you do.”

“Pitt’s been hounding me to join their bio department.” Three years they’d been after me, but I’d been comfortable in Indiana…and Dom was down the road from the University of Pittsburgh, at Carnegie Mellon and I hadn’t wanted to be that close to my rival.

But now?

His smile was slight but wicked. “Who do you think recommended you, Val?”

“You little…” I pulled him out of the way of the throngs of scientists and practically into my arms. “You are such a shit, you know that?”

“Yeah.” His grin was all teeth. “But you love me.”

I struggled to breath, because those words took all the air from my lungs.

I do. I did.

Dominic Miller always had the better of me, was the better half of me. I trembled and the room was suddenly too hot.

“You’re right.” The world slipped away from my feet and I fell and fell for those honey-sweet eyes and all the damn intelligence packed behind them.

He cocked his head. “That you should take the job at Pitt?”

“No. Well, yes. That too. But that’s not what I meant.” I took both his hands. “We should get married.”

Ding ding ding ding ding. Dom was gold and light and he kissed me, right there in that sea of fellow scientists.

No regrets. None. I wasn’t even drunk.

♠︎♣︎♥︎♦︎

No one was surprised when we told our colleagues what we were doing.

“You guys argue like an old married couple. Have for years. It’s about time you made it official.” Wei took a drag from his beer bottle.

I seemed to be the only one blindsided by the whole thing. But being knocked over by something Dom did wasn’t anything new at all.

Brenda was thrilled. “Finally. I’ll be your maid of honor. Or matron. Or whatever.”

“Doctor of honor.” Dom lifted his rum and Coke—sans rum—to her.

Like Dom, I wasn’t drinking, not yet. Once everything was said and done and we actually went through with this crazy wonderful plan, then I would order up a nice huge something strong and go to town. But I wasn’t getting married while drunk.

Neither was Dom. When we’d stolen away to talk in private, he’d kissed me hard, then pulled back. “I’m completely and utterly serious about this. And it’s going to work, Val. You’ll see.”

Knowing him—and I did know him far too well—it would work. I’d spend the rest of my life with him. And you know? That prospect made every bit of my body sing—mind, heart, and dick. Pretty much in that order, too.

We’d put together all the paperwork. Even bought rings. We had a chapel scheduled, and the clock was ticking down.

“Are we there yet?”

He patted my leg. “Soon.”

♠︎♣︎♥︎♦︎

Tuesday evening.

The whole Vegas wedding thing ran like a well-oiled machine. We were in at our appointed time. They had us walk up to the front and stand before a man with a book who looked vaguely religious, as we’d opted not to get married by Elvis.

“Do you, Dominic Henry Miller take Valentin Bede Clark to be your husband?” the officiator intoned.

Dom had the same grin he always had after one of his presentations. Smug bastard. “I do.”

“And do you, Valentin Bede Clark take Dominic Henry Miller to be your husband?”

I swallowed and looked into Dom’s eyes. “I do.” I did. For better or worse. For as long as we both lived. We slipped rings onto each other’s shaking hands, and all the other best moments in my life paled and vanished in the wake of Dom’s misty eyes and perfect lopsided smile.

I didn’t hear the rest of it, the whole pronouncing us husband and husband and all that, because I pulled Dom to me and kissed the shit out of him. He might have won in the end, but he was mine. To have and to hold, and I planned to do a lot of holding and having in the future. Repeatedly, until he screamed my name.

When we came up for air, we were shuffled out of the chapel to make way for the next couple. Our friends were all around us, laughing and cheering.

“My mom’s gonna kill me,” Dom said. “She loves weddings.”

“Oh, mine too. But I’m Catholic, so it’s not like I’m going to get the big church wedding any time soon.”

He snorted. “We’ll make do, somehow.” He held up his hand and his gold ring shimmered in the neon lights of Vegas. I matched his motions and stared in wonder.

I was married. To Dom, my best enemy. “Right,” I said. “Let’s go get drunk.”

“A plan.” Dom took my arm and we headed back to our hotel. “After that, let’s go win a fucking Nobel Prize.”

An even better plan. With Dom by my side, I’d lay odds that we would, too.

It was Vegas, after all. You had to gamble on something.

Copyright © 2015 Anna Zabo
All rights reserved.

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