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Prudence, Chapter 48

Mark shook Kristen gently, but she didn't open her eyes. He could see that she was quite low on energy... not to the point of starvation, as he'd seen once before, but not too far from it either. He shook her again. "Wake up, love."

She shivered, and her eyes opened for just a second, then fluttered closed again.

He kissed her forehead. "Come on, love." She turned her face against his chest and didn't respond, so he tilted her head back and kissed her lips. "Please, Kris..."

She whimpered, her forehead wrinkled in pain. "Mark?" her voice was very weak, as if it hurt to talk."

He stroked her hair. "I'm here, love. Wake up for me, now."

She moaned again, and opened her eyes finally, blinking up at him in confusion. "What happened?"

"I'm.... not a hundred percent sure," he said. "But you need some more energy."

"But... this weekend... I mean, I had to hide it under the sweater today!" she protested.

He nodded. "Yeah, I know, baby. But I think there was... something like a short-circuit. Or something."

"I feel like I'm burned or something," she said. "Everything hurts. Every single bit of me."

He lay his cheek against her hair, holding her tightly. "I'm not certain what happened. But I don't really want to discus it until you've got more energy, love." He didn't want to push her, but... there was no way she could make it through the day. She looked far worse, already, than she had the day she passed out at school. "Kristen, you have to have more energy. You'll pass out."

She swallowed hard. "Okay," she whispered. "But it... it will hurt. You're right, though. What do you want me to do?"

"What would you like to do?" he asked.

"Curl up and die?"

He caressed her cheek. "Not an option, sorry."

"Then... something gentle," she said. "I really feel awful. I mean, I think my veins hurt. Like someone ran acid in them instead of blood."

"I'm sorry, love," he said. "Maybe a blow-job?"

She smiled up at him. "Okay. I think I can do that." She looked around at the office. "Here? She left?"

He reached over and locked the office door. "She left," he confirmed. "So here is probably the safest place."

She bit her lip nervously, but nodded. "Okay," she said, and slid off of his lap into the floor between his knees. She gasped, clutching at his legs and laying her forehead on his thighs.

"Love?" He reached out to steady her.

"Hurts!"

Feeling anything but turned on, Mark stroked her hair. "Maybe the energy will help."

She nodded tiredly as he unzipped his pants. When she nuzzled him, her lips were cool, almost cold.

He caressed the side of her face, and for the first time since he'd stopped fighting his attraction, he wasn't willing and eager for her to touch him. Something just felt wrong about it, sick. But she needed the energy.

She closed her eyes and sighed, then slid her mouth around the head of his cock. Even the inside of her mouth wasn't really any warmer than room temperature. She was slow, too, much slower than usual, and somewhat clumsy. If he hadn't been looking at her, he would never have known it was her, and the difference was great enough, and disturbing enough, that he was having a really hard time getting and staying aroused.

He closed his eyes, letting his mind wander back to the previous weekend, and the delicious, delightful things they'd shared. He remembered her laying between Kayla's legs, licking the cum out of the girl's cunt while he slid into her from behind, and his cock hardened, his breath coming faster. As soon as he started to enjoy the feel of her lips around his cock, she seemed to recover a bit, moving more smoothly and wrapping her arms around his hips. She slid her mouth up and down, her tongue still moving slowly, but caressingly, as she let him slip down her throat. She maintained her slow, steady rhythm until he stiffened, shooting cum down her throat.

Then she pulled away and fell onto her side, wrapping her arms around herself and curling up, whimpering.

He slid to his knees and gathered her up in his arms. "Are you okay?"

She writhed against him, whimpering with pain. "It burns!"

Closing his eyes, he checked her aura. Her energy levels were higher. High enough to last her at least until lunch, but he couldn't tell what was hurting her. "What burns?"

"Everything, all over!" But she'd stopped writhing, and was just tense and stiff in his arms. "Like I was full of fire!"

He held her, stroking her hair. "Are you going to be all right?"

She shuddered, taking a deep breath. "I think so. It's fading some."

"I'm sorry," he said. "I love you."

"I... I'll be okay. Mark, what happened?"

He kissed her, then stood up. He fixed his clothes and offered her a hand up. "I've got a suspicion, love, but I really don't want to talk about it yet. I've got a bad feeling that doing so could possibly make it happen again. Please... try not to even think about it much."

She frowned. "When do you think it'll stop?"

"I think it will fade pretty fast," he said.

She sighed. "I hope so. If it kept hurting to touch you, I think I'd just die."

"Yeah." He hugged her tightly. "Ready to face the world?"

She looked at the clock that hung over the closed door. "God. All this and school hasn't even started yet. This is going to be one hell of a day." She gave him one last, tight hug. "I don't think I'll ever be ready, but we'd better go out anyway."

He bent and kissed her lingeringly. "Good girl. Let's go."

***

It was close to time for first period when they stepped out into the hall. Most of the buses had arrived, and the halls were thick with students and teachers. The crowd went dead quiet when they caught sight of Mark and Kristen, a wave of silence spreading out from them to fill the hallway.

She trembled, clinging to his hand as if it were the only thing keeping her from running away. He squeezed her hand comfortingly. "Love you," he whispered, and she gave him a weak smile.

Mark led her towards her class, purposefully ignoring the attention they drew, and she followed his lead, but with some difficulty. Her cheeks flamed, and she still trembled, just slightly.

Many of the looks Mark was getting from the boys were hostile, but two pairs of eyes regarded him with betrayal as well. David and Kevin stood talking by the lockers, and as soon as they saw him, they looked at him as if he were the world's biggest liar and pointedly turned their backs and continued their conversation, as the hall slowly regained its previous noise level.

Mark paused. He hadn't actually lied to the boys, but he did mislead them. It had been necessary at the time, but they had a right to feel betrayed. "David, Kevin, could we speak to you for a moment?"

Kevin shrugged, awkwardly, seeming embarrassed, but David glared at Mark angrily. "I don't see why. I can't think of anything you'd have to say to us."

Mark sighed. "I can." He tilted his head towards his classroom. "But in there, rather than out here."

"What?" David asked. "You feel bad about making fools out of us with this many witnesses?" He shook his head, looking disgusted. "Fine. Whatever. Why the fuck not." He headed to the classroom with an angry stomp without waiting for an answer, Kevin trailing uncomfortably behind.

Mark followed them into the room, still holding onto Kristen's hand, and closed the door behind him. "Guys, I'd like to apologize. I didn't lie to you, not exactly, but I did mislead you. I'm sorry about that. I would rather not have had to do it, but I didn't have the option of telling you the truth yet. I had hoped to find you and tell you myself this morning, before the news got out, but apparently I misjudged the speed of rumor."

"We would have kept it secret," Kevin said, sounding more hurt than angry. "You didn't have to lie to us."

"Maybe you could have," Mark said. "But I didn't know that, then. I didn't know you that well, yet. Like I said, I'm sorry."

"Kris knew us that well!" David said. "I thought she did, anyway. Apparently I was wrong about a lot of things."

She flinched, and Mark put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer. "Kristen didn't make that decision, guys. I did." He hesitated for a moment. "Look. There was some other stuff going on, stuff I can't talk about yet for legal reasons. I'm not sure when I'll be able to talk about it. The situation was fairly different a week ago."

"We just couldn't take the chance," Kristen said quietly. "I'm sorry guys. I wanted to tell you, but it just wasn't possible."

David sighed and looked at her. "Couldn't you have at least told us first? We're your friends. Hearing about something like this from that bitch Karen is more than a little shock-- 'Hey, Dave, looks like your little whore got knocked up!' Not a way I want to start the morning, y'know?"

She looked down at the floor, embarrassed, and Mark grimaced. "I'd hoped to," he said. "I'd have told you yesterday, but I was afraid it would mess up the school board's decision if word got out beforehand. I had no idea word would get around this fast." He looked at the boys steadily. "She's not, you know. That's not why I married her."

"It's not?" Kevin asked, surprised.

Mark shook his head. "Nope. I married her because I love her." He smiled down at her.

"Oh," Kevin said, and blushed. David stared at Mark intently, as if he were trying to see into his mind.

"What?" Mark asked, looking at David.

"Trying to decide whether you're lying again," the boy said, flatly, and Mark winced.

"I deserved that, I suppose," he said. "I'm sorry, David."

David sighed again. "I guess we'll see, anyway. Hell, you wouldn't have taken that kind of risk unless you loved her. We know that. But... man, we've been defending you for weeks now-- 'it's perfectly innocent, he wouldn't take advantage of her, he's not stupid, he's just concerned 'cause of those assholes who won't leave her alone, he's just a nice guy'--shit, do you know how stupid that makes us look?"

"It was all true, David. I didn't take advantage of her, not in the slightest," Mark promised.

"That true, Krissy?" Kevin asked.

She nodded. "Very. I love him, too, you know."

"Okay, then," Kevin said, looking up at his friend. "That's what's important. Fuck what people think. Right?"

David hesitated, but nodded. "I guess, yeah. Don't worry, Kris, we'll set the rumors straight. But a lot of guys are going to be even more disappointed than they were before."

"Guys... thanks," Mark said. "I appreciate what you've done-- and I appreciate you taking care of her for me."

David shrugged. "We didn't take care of her for you. We took care of her for her. And we're gonna keep taking her to classes, 'cause I don't think people are going to leave her alone just because you married her."

"Some will," Kevin said. "But the real assholes won't."

"I know," Mark said. "But you took care of her when I couldn't. Thank you. She means... she means everything to me."

"Yeah, well..." David met his eyes. "Just be careful, 'cause if you hurt her, we'll beat the shit out of you as fast as we would anyone else, got it? But if she's happy, then I'm okay with it, even if you did lie to us."

Mark nodded. "I'd want you to. And I'm sorry, I really am. I wish I hadn't had to."

"Forget it. It worked out okay," David said, and glanced at the clock. "Now, we'd better take your wife to her art class and get to our own before the bell."

He nodded. "Thanks, guys."

Kristen hesitated, reluctant to let go of him. "I love you," she said, looking up at him, her green eyes frightened.

He kissed her gently. "I love you, too. It'll be all right, love."

She hugged him tightly, then took a deep breath, nodded, and headed for class.



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