I lie wrapped in the embrace of my lover’s wiry arms, listening to the wind rattling his bedroom window. Sated and drowsy from our exertions, my entire attention is taken up by watching my finger idly tracing patterns upon his chest; nothing else occupies my thoughts but a feeling of contentment and warmth. There is little else that could make this moment more perfect.
“Watson, where in the devil are you going?” Holmes grumbles sleepily.
I sit up and push open the window at the foot of the bed.
“I say!” he ejaculates sternly, diving to cover himself with the blankets.
But I have already closed the window, after drawing in a small covered jar.
Holmes frowns disapprovingly. “You are the only man I know,” he sighs, “who is mad enough to crave ice cream in late January.”
“I should think that a man who fills his sitting-room wall with bullet-holes is hardly in any position to judge,” I smile, propping myself up with a pillow against the headboard. “And there are plenty of people who enjoy ice cream in winter.”
“But not at two in the morning, and not in bed,” Holmes protests. “Mrs. Hudson is already understanding enough in the matter of our laundry.”
“Just a few spoonfuls,” I say, lifting the lid. “And I’ve never known you to refuse a taste after I’ve – oh, blast.”
“And what’s wrong with vanilla?”
“Well, it’s just so plain. It’s not really even a flavour.”
“My dear fellow, it is the second most expensive flavouring in the world, second only to saffron. And it is by far one of the most labour-intensive crops grown in the world. Did you know that it is an orchid?”
“Oh, yes, of course,” I said somewhat absently, casting about for a spoon. “A vine, isn’t it?”
“Yes. It is also epiphytic, so its roots hang upon the vine, deriving most of the plant’s sustenance from the air. Of all the vanilla species – and there are just over a hundred – only one, Vanilla Planifolia, can produce beans of a quality to be used as a flavouring. Sadly, they’re rather plain compared to other orchid species, a delicate shade of yellow-green. The blooms are extremely ephemeral, lasting only a day, and have to be pollinated by hand.”
“How are they pollinated in nature?” I roll over onto Holmes briefly, retrieve a spoon from the depths of the bedside drawer, and drop a light kiss upon his lips before returning to my own side of the bed.
“The species is native to Mexico, where it is pollinated by one particular species of bee. Most of the world’s crop is grown elsewhere, principally in Madagascar, where the vines are trellised upon palm trees, as Vanilla Planifolia flourishes in the dappled light that another plant provides.”
“Hmph, like grape vines choking out a larger tree,” I remark, digging my spoon into the cold white block.
“In fact, the plant is non-parasitic. As it requires live foliage under which to grow, it takes only support from its host, nothing more.”
“Why, Holmes, that’s almost poetic,” I grinned. “Do you care for a spoonful?”
“Thank you, no. In any case, the seed pods grow to nine or ten inches, roughly the shape of a banana, and –”
“Good heavens, Holmes!”
“Don’t be puerile, Watson. The pods are picked before they are ripe, and are cured by dunking them quickly in boiling – Watson, are you paying attention?”
I sit up at his side and whip the sheet away in a single motion to reveal his pale naked body beneath. “Of course I am. ‘The pods are picked before they are ripe –’”
“—and are cured by dunking them in boiling water, before baking them in the sun. What do you think you’re doing?”
I am holding the spoon just above his groin, watching as a single drop of melting ice cream gathers upon its edge. “Listening to you expound upon the production of vanilla,” I answer lazily. “Don’t let me stop you, dear fellow.”
His penis twitches once just before the drop reaches it, then again just as it falls upon the shaft. Smiling into my lover’s eyes, I lean over and lick the melted ice cream from his skin, softly kissing along the side of his rapidly-stiffening member, then sit back up again.
“You’re not going to stop there,” he breathes. Already his pupils are dilated, and his cockstand raises itself hopefully from its nest of curly black hair.
For answer, I merely smile and take another spoonful of ice cream from the pot. This time, I do not wait for it to melt; instead, I use the spoon to daub a small amount of ice cream upon both of his nipples, my smile widening as he shivers each time the cold metal touches his skin. Again I lean forward and enjoy the taste of vanilla on Holmes, my tongue teasing his flesh into response.
He groans as I sit up once more, this time licking my lips provocatively. “Well, I think I’ve had enough ice cream. And, as you said, we must be mindful of the sheets.”
“Watson,” Holmes whispers hoarsely.
I love to tease him, but I cannot tease him long. Not when he is looking so delectable. I sit up and open the window once more, replacing the jar upon the ledge and covering it with a handful of snow. I close the window and lie back down next to my lover, drawing his lips to mine.
“I have had enough ice cream,” I murmur in his ear, “and, besides, I have another treat I should like to consume more. But please –” I add with a wicked grin, as I grasp his buttocks with my snow-chilled hand, “I don’t think I need a dissertation upon the production of its flavouring.”
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