Chapter Notes: Written for the schmoop_bingo prompt "Playing instrument".

Inamorata: Chapter 4 :: Mardi Gras
By A. Magiluna Stormwriter

++ Dana ++


The discordant squeaks and squeals echo in the apartment until I'm ready to scream. And then they just… stop. Blessed silence descends and the sharper edges of the tension headache begin to fade away. Heaving a sigh of relief, I return to the report I've been trying to proofread for Monica for the last three hours. Monica is going to regret the day she gave William that damned recorder. Hopefully she can get it away from him before I have to shove it into very inappropriate places as punishment.

Soft footfalls on the hardwood floor alert me to my partner's presence behind me. She makes her way into the kitchen to start a pot of tea from the sounds of it. Tea sounds absolutely fabulous right now. Actually, coffee would be even better, but I've made a promise to give it up for Lent and, while I'd like to be quaffing it like there's no tomorrow, the caffeine withdrawal headaches would make me a serious bitch to deal with. Six weeks without coffee is either going to kill me or cure me of that habit.

"Hey, baby," Monica murmurs, moving to stand behind me again. Her hands rest gently on my shoulders for a moment. "The tea maker's brewing up some really nice chamomile and ginger green tea. Should be ready in a few minutes."

Closing my eyes, I lean my head back against her stomach. "Thank you. Is it gone by the way?"

"I buried it in a box on the top shelf of our closet. I'm really sorry about that, Dana. I thought I could teach him an easy song, like the older kids learned." She strokes one hand across my forehead. "You're pretty tense. Headache?" When I nod, she sighs softly and reaches down to tug at my hand. "Come on."

"But your report--"

"Can wait a few more hours," she cuts in smoothly, leaning over to save the file before tugging me to my feet.

Suddenly more tired than I thought I'd be, I follow her willingly, shuffling into the bedroom to face plant on the bed. Monica's amused snicker is soft, but I still hear it. She pulls back the covers before turning to tug off my sneakers. With gentle hands, she works off the over-shirt and jeans I've been wearing today, leaving me in t-shirt and underwear. A moment passes in silence, and I feel I could almost fall asleep right in this position, regardless of the fact that my calves and feet still dangle over the end of the bed.

Warm hands envelop my left foot, massaging in long even strokes that leave nothing untouched. After a few moments of this, she switches to repeat the same moves on my right foot. Her fingers unerringly find and subdue sore spots I didn't even know could be in my feet. Surprisingly enough, I can feel the knots in my skull starting to loosen the longer she continues. Eventually, she begins to work her way up my calves and thighs. This isn't her typical sensual massage; rather than being turned on, I find myself relaxing more and more, practically falling asleep in my spot. Those beloved fingers move up under my shirt, subjecting my back to the same delicious torture. And then they move up to my neck and scalp. Oh god, I seriously want to just melt into the mattress right now.

"Dana?' she murmurs, close enough that her breath stirs the hairs against my cheek. "Come on, baby, let's get you up into bed."

"'M okay where I am."

Her delighted chuckle sends a lazy thrill down my spine. "I'm sure you are now, but when you wake up, you'll hate me."

I can't deny the truth to her words. Grumbling softly, I roll over and gingerly sit up. Just a little bit of vertigo accompanies the movement, and my neck cracks loudly in the otherwise quiet room. "Oh, that's better," I sigh happily, rolling my head back and forth a couple of times.

"Get yourself settled in bed and I'll bring in your tea," Monica says with a smile, pressing a quick kiss to my forehead. "In fact, I think I'll join you. You're still feeling a little tense."

"I feel fine," I mutter, but plan to do as she's requested.

Monica slips out of the room to get the tea as I crawl backwards up the bed. It takes a moment to get the covers pulled up over my legs, particularly after the pounding resumes for a few seconds inside my skull. Damned headache! Leaning back against my pillows and the headboard, I rub at my temples in an attempt to quell the drum solo.

The heavenly scents of chamomile, ginger, lemon, and honey waft over to my nose, and I sigh happily. Blinking once or twice upon opening my eyes, I watch Monica bring the tray with our mugs of tea over to the bed. Hers goes on her nightstand before she holds mine out to me. Fingers wrapping around the warm ceramic, I pull the mug closer to my face, letting the steam and fragrance soothingly surround me until my eyes close again. I don't even want to take a sip of the tea yet.

Some small part of my brain keeps track of Monica, so I'm not wholly startled when she sits next to me a few moments later. "Hey," she whispers, fingers stroking down my cheek to get my attention. Once she has my notice, she holds out two pills in her palm. "Take both of these. They should help with your headache."

As I take them, knowing them instinctively for the painkillers they are, she pulls out a small vial and rubs the roller tip against my temples and a swipe under my nose. The immediate pungency of peppermint and lavender briefly wars with the tea's heady aromas before they blend into a wholly organic and comforting blend. Sipping at the tea, I sigh happily.

"Thank you, amante," I murmur with a grateful smile.

"You're welcome, but I'm not done with you yet," she says and sets my mug on the nightstand.

Leaning in to press a light kiss to my lips, she begins a slow massage of my face and scalp. The movements, combined with the heady scents in the air, quickly cause me to grow even sleepier. If I didn't know that she gave me painkillers, I'd almost wonder if she slipped me some sort of sleeping pills. In next to no time, I feel my head falling forward, forehead resting against her shoulder. She's murmuring something under her breath as her fingers continue to massage scalp, neck, and shoulders. I've no idea what she's saying, and couldn't really give a damn right now.

"Okay, let's get you down into the bed," she finally says in a volume that I actually hear and understand.

Following her suggestion, I ease down and curl up on my side, hand slipping up under my pillow out of habit. My eyes are practically shut as my head hits the pillow. I must lose a moment or two then because I don't feel Monica getting up and moving to crawl in on her side of the bed. The next thing I know, she's curling up behind me, spooning her long body up against mine.

"Love you, Mon," I mumble.

"Te quiero, mi corazon (I love you, my heart)," she replies, pressing a light kiss to my temple.