Playing Hooky (Dax & Harlow)

This story happens after Dax and Harlow’s wedding.

“So which of you two did it? Because I don’t need to take a peek under the hood to know that one of you did something, but it will make my job easier if you just told me. So who did it, huh? Was it you?” I narrow my eyes at the blonde with the killer smile. “Y tu?” This, to the brown-haired ladykiller who definitely takes after me.

The two of them look up with their big blue eyes and giggle. They giggle! How dare they? I roll my eyes just as the door behind me opens and a man wearing a gas mask walks in. He’s holding a container of wet wipes in one hand and a pair of bright yellow gloves in the other.

“Okay, I think I’m ready,” the masked man says, his voice muffled as I grab the wet wipes from his hand and pull out a few sheets.

“Sawyer, it’s not that bad. I can’t believe you’re being such a prima donna about this.” The only reason I know it’s Sawyer is because he’s got the most arresting blue eyes I’ve ever seen on anyone. And it’s not like I check other guys’ eyes or anything, but when you end up passed out drunk one night and wake up to see a pair of eyes glaring back at you and demanding you get your shit together or else, you simply don’t forget. It can scare any man sober, and man, did I ever need that wake-up call after Mama died and I almost drank myself to death. As soon as I got myself cleaned up and sober, Sawyer helped me build the Pearl.

“It’s bad, man. I don’t know what you guys feed them, but it’s bad,” Sawyer mutters. I can’t believe he’s doing this. He’s going to get into trouble if Harlow sees him like this. He’s probably pulled the same act on the twins before because they just gurgle happily, not the least bit scared although one of them is more preoccupied by her toes.

“Homegrown breast milk, what else? And there’s more where that came from,” I reply. “Any more questions?”

“Um, nope.”

The door opens again and Harlow walks in. She frowns when she sees Sawyer in his headgear and he sheepishly pulls it off his head, revealing a clean-shaven face. He abandoned his crazed mountain man look the moment Harlow came back with me from New York over a year ago although he maintains a neat trimmed beard now and then. “Is everything okay in here?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Sawyer replies.

I hand him the container of wet wipes. “You still want me to do the honors or you think you can handle it? It’s only one of them. I don’t think both of them pooped.”

Harlow sniffs the air. I don’t get how it doesn’t faze her in the least but then she’s probably smelled worse things in the operating room. Still, Sawyer is right. Some days, it does smell toxic, especially when Harlow’s eaten anything with cauliflower or Brussel sprouts in them. “I think they both did. When one goes, the other usually follows. Why don’t I do it? It will be faster anyway.”

Sawyer and I do our best to tell her that we can handle it like the big boys that we are, but Harlow kicks us out of the nursery anyway, and we walk out of there to the chuckles of Nana and Sarah standing in the hallway.

“You took too long, mijo,” Nana says as Sawyer and I follow her to the living room.

“It’s my fault. I had to bring in extra gear.” Sawyer brings up his gas mask as Nana and Sarah shake their heads in mock disapproval.

“It’s only poop, you know, and once upon a time, you must have done the same,” Sarah says.

“Alright, alright. Can we talk about something else besides the obvious?” I ask, stopping by the front door where I had set the two weekend bags. I’d been on my way to the truck but volunteered to change the twins’ diapers while Harlow was in the office. It’s usually a quick affair but with an Earthship filled with friends and family out to distract me today, it proved to be a challenge. I can barely pay attention with everyone talking all at once.

It’s not as if we’re going away for a long time. It’s only for two days. Harlow’s got a conference in Santa Fe and I’m tagging along. Tomorrow, she stands onstage with a colleague to do an important presentation. But work or no, it’s also the first time for us to get away since the twins’ arrival four months earlier. It’s why everyone is here to take care of them while we’re gone. Not that I need a whole cavalry to do it, but the moment Sawyer and Todd—who is out in front checking the solar panels with Benny and Dyami—heard that Nana was bringing her famous barbacoa, they’ve found reasons to come by. Even Gabe is on his way.

“You two have a great time, okay?” Sarah says as she follows me outside to the truck and I store the bags in the back seat. “Tell Harlow not to worry about the twins.”

“I’ll try, but you know how she is,” I say as I shut the truck door and we make our way back into the Earthship. 

“You’re starting to worry as much as she does.” Sarah smiles. “The twins will be fine with us, Dax. It’s only two days.”

“I know, but she’s never been away from them before.” Harlow’s also nursing and she’s worried about her milk supply. So I’ve made sure that we have everything she needs in that department for this trip. Breast pump – check. Those little bags to store milk in even if she’s supposed to toss it out in case she decides to have a glass of wine or two – check. Cooler with tons of ice packs even though I reserved a 2-bedroom suite with a refrigerator in case Harlow decides not to dump her breast milk — check.

Funny how life changes in a blink of an eye; I would never have thought twice about such things a year ago. Now, Harlow and our babies are all I think about. Well, and my work, of course. Except for a brief lull when I had to move my base of operations from Flagstaff to Taos, I’ve never been this prolific with my custom designs. I even get to give Harlow and the babies twenty kisses each before I leave the house for the office a few mornings a week. It usually takes about twenty minutes, maybe more especially when Anita P and Dax Jr. grab my beard and there’s nothing like babies gurgling happily as they drool all over you.

“They’ll be alright, mijo. We’ll see you soon before you know it,” Nana says as she folds one of the twins’ onesies and places it on a pile next to her. 

While the Pearl is ideal for medium sized groups of people, it had never been tested for its use around babies—specifically pooping babies. While Taos has more than enough sunlight to help with the drying of the colorful cloth diapers Harlow bought online, water is a big problem. With the region hardly experiencing rainfall throughout the year, we’ve had water trucked in every week although Nana manages to sneak some of the laundry back to her home and then bring them back washed and neatly folded. Still, that’s the whole reason I built the Pearl even if the twins prove to be a challenge. It’s an ongoing lesson in sustainability.

My phone beeps to remind me of check-in time. We’re also supposed to meet her friend and fellow doctor, Addison Rowe, at the lobby before the meet-and-greet. “Let me go get Harlow.”

I find her giving the twins tummy kisses, the usual twenty I give them every day. Raspberries, by the sound of them as the twins squeal with glee. If there weren’t a whole cavalry outside of the nursery making use of the Pearl’s maximum capacity features, I’d be giving the twins kisses of my own, too, and we’d never leave the earthship. 

I stand behind Harlow and wrap my arms around her waist. She’s always been self-conscious about her post-pregnancy body, and there’s now a treadmill in the part of the Pearl that’s become her office where she’s manages to write her papers while walking on it. Despite her misgivings about the changes in her body, I love everything about Harlow, even the stretch marks that she constantly worries about, applying lotion to them morning and night hoping they’d go away quicker. Once she told me that she’d read about how breastfeeding changed a woman’s breasts. 

At the rate I’m nursing the twins, they’re going to sag down to my knees one day, Dax, she said.

And I’ll love you just as much as I love you now, Harlow, I’d told her then. Besides, my balls would probably sag all the way down there, too.

She laughed. God, I sure hope not. At least, there are breast lifts for women, but scrotal lifts? 

You mean ball lifts.

Okay, okay, she’d paused, shaking her head as she chuckled. She’s yet to get over all the medical jargon. Ball lifts? No, I don’t think so.

Now you’re breaking my heart, Dr. James.

As I lean my chin lightly on her shoulder and gaze at the twins on the changing table, I can tell Harlow is nervous. I don’t blame her. I’m nervous, too, and I’m not even the one who’ll be standing onstage tomorrow morning, talking about immune suppression therapies among pediatric patients post-kidney transplant… or something like that. She’s the one with the big words while I just say things as they are.

“We need to get going, mi amor,” I murmur in Harlow’s ear as she sighs, her hands resting over mine.

“I know.”

“They’ll be okay.”

“You’re right. I’ve only been agonizing over this moment because it’s one of the things I do so well. Worry.” She lifts Dax, Jr. in her arms, gives him a kiss and turns to look at me. “But I’m also looking forward to be alone with you, Mr. Drexel. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the bed department. Something about new positions I’ve discovered online.”

Oh no. Harlow and her sex positions… not that I’m complaining. I’ve done my fair share of research, too, because I sure as hell don’t want to pull a groin muscle the next time we get adventurous. 

“Well, I have been working on my yoga poses so I won’t pull a muscle.” I scoop Anita Pearl in my arms before turning to look at Harlow. “But whether we try those new positions or not, I can’t wait to be alone with you, too, Dr. James. I’ve missed us.”

* * *

During the drive to Santa Fe, we talked about the twins and her presentation at first, before conversation shifted to the things we wanted to do after she finished her presentation and networked with her colleagues. A dip in the hot tub, a couples Thai massage, and a walk around the area to explore the latest art. 

By the time we arrive in Santa Fe, Harlow is relaxed. The hotel right off the Plaza is a grand place, and right now, it’s teeming with doctors and surgeons from the world over, all here for a conference. This one had been planned more than two years earlier, right before Harlow started her road trip. She’d actually assumed the organizers had removed her from the roster of speakers in light of her lawsuit against Miller General and, of course, the fact that Jeff was also one of the speakers. So she never gave it any thought until she received the conference schedule eight weeks ago which just about sent her into a panic. She hasn’t seen him since she left New York. That’s why also I’m here. I’m not about to leave her alone with that man in any capacity.

Two hours later, we’ve checked in, met Addison in the downstairs lobby for tea and even ran into three of her colleagues on our way to the elevator. Now we’re back in our suite freshened up and dressed for the cocktail hour, or as Harlow calls it, the moment of truth where her colleagues get to see how she’s really doing after Jeff.

I watch her pace the hotel room, her brow furrowed as I slip on my watch. I’m wearing a dark blue dress shirt that Harlow says highlights the sky in my eyes and trousers she swears showcases my ass. She looks stunning in her linen pink and white top and matching white pants that’s further complimented by a long billowy scarf. But perfection aside, I want nothing more than to walk right over to her, kiss her and take off every piece of clothing before dragging her into bed for the rest of the day. 

Play hooky.

But I don’t. Maybe she’s collecting herself for her appearance among her peers, the same group of men and women who questioned her professional ability when word got out that she’d allegedly shacked up with a man thirteen years her junior. Suddenly her credibility went down the toilet, a new job position was withdrawn, and people looked away when she’d enter a room. Yet she stood firm on her decision to come home with me to Taos and become the wife and mother she’d always wanted to be. 

I adjust the collar of my shirt, leaving the top two buttons undone since it’s supposed to be an informal affair. I could probably get away with wearing one of my favorite fitted t-shirts but I also know I have to make a good impression. If not for myself, for Harlow.

I bring my hand to my face, rubbing my beard absently. I shaved it off a few weeks ago, wanting to surprise her but that backfired royally. Even the twins couldn’t stop staring—and crying—probably wondering where their Daddy went. Worse, Harlow didn’t like it one bit and made me promise never to shave my beard off again, not even for ‘trimming’ purposes. 

“Hey,” I murmur as I approach and she finally stops and faces me. “I’ve got an idea.” 

Her face brightens. “What is it?”

“Do you really want to go down there?”

“I don’t know. I mean, it’s not like I won’t see them tomorrow,” she says, sighing. “But outside of Addy, I also haven’t seen them in over a year, Dax, not since I left New York… with you.”

My breath hitches in my chest. How can I forget the night I told the woman I’d only been with for five days that I loved her? I stayed one more week in Manhattan then, seeing customers during the day and spending every night with her in that tiny studio apartment, loving every moment we spent in that king-sized bed with Frette sheets. We snuggled under the covers talking about anything we could think of. Every secret she’d held back was out in the open and I loved her even more for it. 

She told me about growing up without anyone there for her and learning how to fend for herself in the end. She told me about wanting children more than anything in the world because then, she could show them the things she never experienced—love and family. 

I helped her pack up everything she owned after that week. Some things went into storage and others to Taos. I did my best not to feel so bad for Kathy, her office manager, who couldn’t believe Harlow was really leaving New York when she just got back. But it hasn’t been as bad as Kathy initially thought; she’s flown in four times in the last eight months alone, and she loves the break from New York more and more every time.

“You must miss all this, being with your peers,” I say.

“In a way I do, but it’s not like I abandoned them,” Harlow says. “I still write my papers, study and analyze results like I used to, and just like before, via email or phone. I mean, I haven’t exactly left that life behind, Dax. I just changed my scenery for something better. And then there’s the office. I’m still technically part owner of the practice.”

“There you go,” I say. “Yet you’re nervous right now.”

“Jeff might be there tonight,” she says. “He’s one of the key speakers this weekend.”

“You’re one of the key speakers, too, Harlow. You and Addison,” I remind her. Addison co-authored the research paper they’ve been asked to present. I just hope the organizers were tactful enough not to put Harlow and Jeff onstage at the same time. At least, their divorce is final. It only took another year to get every demand countered until even Jeff’s lawyer had to concede that they were all running around in circles. Harlow kept the Hamptons property while Jeff kept the Upper East Side apartment.

Since then, I haven’t followed any news about her ex-husband although I know he’s supposed to come back to Santa Fe for another presentation, a smaller one, and fortunately, Harlow isn’t part of that one. Still, just the mere thought of him and the hell he put Harlow through before—and after—I met her makes me want to punch something. It’s why I still punch the bag at the home office and go a few rounds with the guys at the gym. Though Harlow doesn’t talk about it, I know that Jeff still hasn’t given up on making her life difficult—her professional life most of all. 

“Addy told me that he’ll be in a different hall the whole time. The organizers made sure of that,” Harlow says, breaking through my thoughts. “But not at the cocktails tonight. It’s social hour and knowing Jeff, I’m sure he’ll be there.”

“So what if he’s there? I have a feeling he’s just jealous.” I force a smile. “What’s that saying? Success is the best revenge?”

“Yes, and that’s something he can’t take away from me.”

I tilt her chin so she’s looking up at me. “You want to know what’s an even better form of revenge, Dr. James?”


“Happiness” I reply. “I’d like to think you’re happy with me. With us.”

Harlow kisses me lightly on the lips, my beard grazing her lips and chin. “I am. I’m very happy.”

“May I make a suggestion then?”

She nuzzles her face against my neck. “Hmm… of course. The suggestion box is open.”

This time, I don’t speak. I’m more of a hands-on type of guy anyway, and it’s just the way Harlow likes it. I kiss her, pulling her closer, the feel of her breasts pressed against my chest driving me crazy. I want to lift her in my arms and toss her on the bed. I want to have my way with her right now; I’ve only been holding myself back ever since we left the Pearl. When you have newborn twins demanding all of your waking time, making love sometimes ends up at the back seat. That and another C-section incision that needed more time to heal. So yes, I’m fucking horny right now.

Harlow pulls away, pouting playfully. “It’s a great idea, but we’re going to be late.”

“I thought you weren’t too thrilled to do the meet-and-greet, to be honest. You wanted to come here, show the audience you’re still as good, if not better than you were before, and leave them in the dust. And that’s exactly what you’re going to do… tomorrow.” My hands stroke her back, stopping to rest just above the curve of her buttocks. Then I give her perfect ass a squeeze and she squeals, laughing.

“You’re right. I really didn’t want to go downstairs, but that was before Old Harlow stepped in and said, you have to show them, Dr. James.” She pauses, laughing. “But you’re right, Dax. I can show them that Old Harlow never left tomorrow.” Her hand slips down from my neck and slips between our bodies down to front of my pants. Her eyes widen. “Dax, you’re hard.”

“Of course. It’s only been three days since our last quickie. And it was a quickie.”

She rolls her eyes. “Half an hour is not a quickie. Not by a long shot.”

“Oh, too long? So you’ve been timing it?”

She swats my chest playfully with her hand. “No, I was not timing it, but you said so yourself then, Dax. ‘We only have thirty minutes before Nana comes back with the twins.’ So no, thirty minutes was not a quickie,” she pauses, her hand leaving my crotch and I groan. “Did you know the average length for sex is about seven minutes?”

“Seven minutes?” I look at her incredulously. “I wonder how they went about testing that hypothesis.”

“They have their methods. But get this, about 43 percent are completed within two minutes,” she adds, emphasizing the word two like it’s a challenge. She’s a veritable treasure trove of information, important facts like the average length for sex being seven minutes and trivial facts like Michael Fassbender getting married in Ibiza.

“Two minutes is even worse than seven, mi amor. Too bad the researchers didn’t poll us. We could have told them the average length of sex is thirty minutes.” But only when the twins are spending time at their grandmother’s house.

Harlow giggles. “Oh, and did you know that ten to thirty minutes was considered too long by many of the respondents?”

“Then they have the wrong partners,” I say, narrowing my eyes as Harlow starts unbuttoning my shirt. “So does that mean I take too long?”

She pulls my shirt open, sliding it off my shoulders. “Oh no, Mr. Drexel. As a matter of fact, you’re perfect.” She starts to unbuckle my belt. “So perfect you have me wanting to prove every single one of those people surveyed wrong.”


She kisses me lightly on the lips before pulling away, our breaths intermingling. “We’ve got thirty minutes.”

“Aren’t you afraid we’re going to disappoint the experts by going ‘too long?’” I ask. “You know, in case we make it to thirty.” 

“Screw the experts,” Harlow says, laughing. “They haven’t met you.”

Minutes later, our clothes are strewn all over the hotel room floor and we’re on the bed. I’m in the middle of a meeting with the only expert I trust to judge my sexual skills, and right now, we’re beginning with my lingual skills on her body, starting from her mouth down to her swollen breasts and then lower still to her belly and the liquid heat that awaits me between her legs.

She’s my goddess, my Queen and right now, she’s muffling her cries in the pillows as I lick and suck her slick folds. Before long, an orgasm rips through her body and Harlow gasps, her body trembling before me as she lifts her hips off the bed.

“Oh, fuck! Dax!”

I keep going, waiting for her to beg me to stop and fuck her and when she finally does, after two more orgasms force her to cover her face with the pillows, I crawl over her body and toss the pillow aside. Gasping for breath, she pulls my head down toward her, our mouths and tongues meeting, sparring, tasting each other as her hand drifts lower to wrap around my cock. She strokes me, her palm rubbing along the sensitive head of my dick that my breath emerges in ragged gasps and I rest my forehead against hers.

“Fuck me,” she whispers as she guides the head of my cock toward her slick center. 

I love it when she talks dirty and takes charge. Hard to believe there was a time when she couldn’t even say the word, not when Dr. James was always at the helm, never giving the woman underneath all the credentials and licenses to emerge. But somewhere along the way, professional and personal Harlow must have struck a deal because not only can she talk dirty with all her medical terms and jargon that turn my head around, but she can talk real dirty in bed, too. The kind of dirty I like.

“I want your cock inside me, Dax,” she whispers. “I want you to fuck me hard.”

Like that.

I thrust my hips, sinking deep into the throbbing heat between her legs, her pussy tightening around my cock. Hell, I don’t even know if I’ll last thirty minutes because I can’t remember if our informal rebuttal of the findings started from the time we landed on the bed or the moment of entry. If it’s the latter, then I’m in trouble.


I pin her arms on the bed, my face buried in the crook of her neck and giving her a good case of beard burn she won’t be able to hide from her colleagues. Her legs wrap around my hips. “What?”

“I think we’re good on time,” she whispers playfully between gasps perfectly times with my movements.

“Please don’t tell me you’ve been watching the clock,” I groan before nibbling the skin between her neck and shoulder blade. She can hide the mark with one of her silk scarves tomorrow.

“We’re not going to make the meet and greet,” she says between gasps. “They can meet… and greet me tomorrow.”

I raise my head and look at her. Heavily lidded eyes gaze back at me, her lips swollen from my kisses just minutes earlier. I haven’t stopped fucking her although at that moment, I bury myself deep inside her, my mind intent on multitasking because I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop now to talk. She feels too good for me to make any intelligent conversation.

“Good, because you’ won’t be able to walk a straight line after this anyway. I’ve got other positions in mind for the rest of the evening, just like we planned,” I say, our breaths mingling in the little bit of space between our faces. I love everything about her, from the scent of French roses in her hair, the sounds she makes, the moans and the whimpers as I speed up, her pussy walls pulsating around my cock as her orgasm nears. Her fingers dig into the skin of my back as my balls tighten. She’s close. 

Fuck, I’m close, too.

Her pussy grips me, its intimate walls fluttering around my shaft. She’s there. “Come for me, Harlow.”

And she does, no longer muffling her cries with pillows or sheets this time. We don’t care if we wake up the guests next door. They can put headphones on, or ear plugs. We need this. We want this.

When my release comes, it hits me hard, waves of pleasure starting from my balls radiating all the way to the tips of my toes. I cry out Harlow’s name before claiming her mouth with mine. It’s a connection like nothing I’ve ever felt before, to be so close to the one person who makes me whole.

I never thought of myself as a love-at-first-sight guy until the day I fell for her outside the Pearl, when I found myself unable to think of anyone else but her and her smile, her eyes, and the way she allowed herself to be vulnerable with me—and she still does. Or the way she looked with daggers in her eyes that first day we officially met face to face, even as she tried to poke a hole in my chest with her finger accusing me of being the courier of bad news. How I loved seeing that fire inside her, especially when she’s angry. Ah, but when she loves, she loves deeply. Such things don’t happen to a guy like me everyday.

“Te amo, mi amor.” The words tumble from Harlow’s lips to mine and I smile, kissing her again. Soft kisses that start from her lips to her chin, her cheekbones, and her eyelids before moving down her neck to that place behind her ear that leaves her trembling as she clings to me. She knows the words that make me melt, too, and I kiss her again, feeling her breasts rise and fall beneath me, her skin flushed and gleaming with light sheen of sweat.

Time seems to stand still and I couldn’t care less about the survey, or whether it’s two minutes or ten… or thirty. In the end, it didn’t matter. What matters is this, moments of vulnerability and connection where we’re both left catching our breaths as we search for a foothold back to reality that sometimes isn’t so kind… or considerate, given the meet and greet downstairs that we’re blowing off.

“I love you, Dr. James. Mi amor. Mi vida,” I murmur as I gaze at her. My love. My life.

She smiles, a blush creeping along her cheeks. “I love it when you talk dirty to me, Mr. Drexel.”

I chuckle as I roll onto my side of the bed and she rests her head on my shoulder. “So did we prove the experts wrong?”

“I think we did.”

I look at her. “You did not look at the clock.”

“I didn’t.”

A few minutes later, I have a feeling that she did. Harlow James is all about data. “Liar.”

“Thirty-nine minutes,” she whispers, grinning. “Forty-two if you count the kissing part.”

I pull her to me, kissing her temple. “Why don’t we shoot for fifty minutes after dinner? Three positions.”

“Okay. If you can last that long.”

“Is that a challenge, Dr. James?” I ask. “Or are you finding a way out because you do have a big presentation tomorrow.”

“No, just being realistic,” she says and there’s a mischievous glint in her eyes. “For your sake.”

“Oh no, you didn’t just say that.” I tickle her and Harlow shrieks just as the hotel phone on the bedside table rings and her eyes widen with that, oh-no-it-must-be-a-complaint-that-we’re-too-noisy look before I reach of the receiver.

“Are you guys done yet?” asks a familiar voice on the other line.

“It’s Addy,” I whisper as I hand the receiver to Harlow.

Her eyes widen. “Crap! I forgot to tell her that we were not making the cocktail hour. She’s probably downstairs.” She takes the phone and brings it to her ear. “I’m so sorry, Addy. I forgot to text you that we weren’t going to make it.”

“I figured as much,” I hear Addison say, laughing. I’m not eavesdropping but since I’m still on top of Harlow mid-tickle, I can hear everything. From what I remember, Addison hadn’t been keen on going to the meet-and-greet, not when she’d just flown in from New York and she’s also in her second trimester. It was a big surprise, her deciding to be a single mother, going to a sperm bank instead of finding herself a man the old-fashioned way.

“I’m sorry,” Addison says, covering her eyes with her free hand. “It’s not like me to bail on these things.”

“I know it’s not, but it’s okay. Really. I’m binge-watching Breaking Bad. That series that’s set in Albuquerque? Figured I’d find out what all the fuss was about this show while I am in New Mexico,” she says, laughing. “And it’s not like I’m not spending the whole day with you tomorrow and after this, I’m staying at your place. Besides, sounds like you guys are busy…”

“I’m so–” Harlow says again before she pauses, frowning. “Wait. What do you mean, sounds like?”

“Oh, I thought you knew about the room arrangements,” Addison says. “I’m right next door to you, guys. Like, literally, next door.”

* * *