The Renovation

Erika Lynne Fitzpatrick
12 mins read
Published over 3 years ago

 Her house was a two-hour drive up the Hudson River from Manhattan. Despite the peeling paint and curious sloping floors, Olivia fell in love with it the moment she laid eyes on it. In its glory days, it was an elegant early-18th century farmhouse. Now, after years of neglect and weather, it was reduced to a shell of its former self.  

But Olivia, as she always did, saw through the façade. She still saw its understated elegance. It struck the perfect balance between the decorative twists and curls of the woodwork and the strong linear utilitarianism of its structure. It was truly a rare beauty in a world of McMansions.

As she drove up the hill to the front entrance, Olivia felt as if she was reuniting with her love after a long separation. She was eager to be back in its embrace. And with its long, slow restoration, every reunion revealed new surprises.

Last fall, Olivia had painstakingly hired a builder. After endless consultations and tours, she had finally chosen Mark, much to her husband’s dismay. Always a pragmatist, Andrew disapproved of hiring someone whom he considered a novice.  Although Mark had previously worked under more established builders, his own business was new. But his passion for Olivia’s home and his ability to share her vision won her trust. She had not regretted her decision. 

As she stepped out of her car, she was filled with the smell of the country air. Even in the late afternoon, its crispness was in sharp contrast to the heavy city air that she breathed for weeks at a time. But here, in the openness of her seventeen acres of fields and woods, she felt cleansed and whole.  

Olivia unlocked the front door with the old-fashioned keys that still kept the house secure. She had not yet chosen new hardware for the doors with Mark, so the security of the house was as it always had been. That is to say, not very. But here, Olivia felt safe and locking the door was a rarity. 

Inside, the house was cool. She felt the dampness that always filled the house when it was empty for a time. Before leaving, she always set the antiquated heating system to 55 degrees, which for April was right where the daytime temperatures outside often lingered. Putting her overnight bag down, Olivia went to the thermostat in the kitchen, now in mid-renovation. Next to the thermostat, a note was pinned. Call before turning on.

Mark hadn’t mentioned anything the last time they spoke, but that had been several weeks ago. It was just past five in the evening—not too late. Olivia rang him. As she looked around the kitchen waiting for Mark to pick up,  she supposed she should have called Andrew to let him know that she had arrived safely. Truth-be-told, though, she would choose chatting with Mark over talking with her husband most of the time, these days. Andrew could wait.  

As Olivia listened to the distant ring of Mark’s phone, she thought about her conversations with Mark. Together, they had made a plan for her home, walking through the rooms and envisioning the rebirth of each space. Lately, when she thought of the house, Mark was always there. And while that should have instilled a certain amount of guilt, it didn’t.

Finally, Mark’s voicemail answered, and Olivia left her message. It was just a few quick words: Just got in for the week; the kitchen looks great; saw the note you left about the heat. She hoped that he would call soon, or even better, stop by. It was chilly in the house, and she had a deadline looming. Warm fingers would be a perk.  

As she waited, she wandered through the house. Most of it was empty, except for a few lonely things. Olivia found little reason to furnish the spaces until all the rooms had been renovated and restored. The lack of furniture gave the home a rustic Scandinavian minimalism that she found cleansing. The wood of the rooms, bathed in the golden afternoon light, made the spaces warm and inviting, even in their bare states. She loved it this way. 

The one exception was the master bedroom. Olivia had found an antique shaker-style bed that she had fallen in love with shortly after buying the house. She built the room around the lean-lines of the four-poster bed, letting nothing else overshadow its elegance. The simplicity of it all wrapped her in a peaceful serenity that was elusive in the city. Here, she easily fell asleep to the quiet sounds of the old house, often dreaming of her next project with Mark.

Mark. Over the past several months, Olivia had begun to realize that when she was in the house, it was Mark she thought about. Here, he was the one who made her happy. His intense brown eyes understood her. He bore the mark of someone who had worked in manual labor his entire life: his fingers blunted and calloused from years of using tools, his back strong from lifting and hauling. Mark had a careless sexiness that Olivia loved. On more than one occasion, she had grazed his body just to feel him against her. And that feeling was feeding a growing fantasy that she returned to again and again.


Olivia’s thoughts retreated to the corners of her mind at the echo of his voice in her house.

“Hey,” she called. As she descended the grand center staircase, her stocking feet slid over the smoothed indentations of the pine plank flooring. Mark was revealed to her from his worn leather work boots up to his old oiled-canvas jacket. Seeing him, a smile spilled across her face that she knew must have told more than just, please turn on the heat. Just having him in the house spread a warmth through her body that canceled her previous need for heating.

“Sorry,” Mark beamed at the sight of her, too. “I knocked, but you didn’t hear. I guess we need to get on that new hardware thing soon. Locks, a door knocker, small necessities,” he joked.

Meeting him at the bottom of the stairs, she gave him a hug. Bathed in the evening light that passed through the sidelight panels of the old cherry door, Mark was an alluring combination of grit and refinement. Her lingering thoughts of him, now mixed with their embrace, made her wonder if she was crossing a boundary.

As she let go of him, she said, “No problem. I’m happy you are here.” The words tumbled out of her, as though they were trying to hide what truths lay beneath. “I picked up some Thai food for dinner. Will you stay?” she asked.

“Sure,” Mark said, as he followed her to the kitchen. “My supplies for my other job are delayed until next week, so I have some extra time for you,” he teased.

My God, he knows, Olivia thought. She blushed as she turned to unpack the food. “The heat?” she asked, changing the subject.

“It’s complicated,” he said. “With the new lines for the kitchen, we need to rework the connections that lead to the upstairs part of the system, so for the next week or so, no heat up there. I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were coming this week.” He was truly apologetic, maybe fearing the wrath of any unhappy clients. “But, you are OK with heat downstairs, and you have the fireplace in your bedroom, so you should be set. I know it’s not ideal, but…”

“No problem. I’ll be fine,” she said. “I guess I have always wanted to try the bedroom fireplace. Now, I have a reason to.” Again, without meaning to, Olivia realized the suggestiveness of her words. Or maybe, they weren’t. Right now, everything was innuendo to her. She was flustered.

If Mark read anything into her comments, he gave no indication.

Olivia brought the food to the dining room. “We’re eating in your favorite room,” Mark said, following her with the paper plates and utensils. The muraled walls, illuminated by the antique chandelier, were one of her most adored parts of the house. The walls, depicting scenes from 18th-century life village life, never ceased to reveal new secrets with each look. 

As Mark made himself comfortable, Olivia thought about the fact that he had spent more time in her house than she had. “I know. I find it hard to work in here. The murals still distract me,” she said, walking back into the kitchen. “They’re amazing, or maybe it is just my ADHD.” She laughed. “Wine or beer?” she asked, opening the refrigerator.

“Whatever you are having,” Mark called, as he began making plates for both of them. 

Olivia brought in a bottle of wine and two small juice glasses. “We’ll start with wine.” She smiled when she saw that Mark had set two places for them at the corner of the table.

As the two ate, their talk drifted from plans for the house to the local happenings in town. Olivia knew that Mark was single from previous conversations and nothing new led her to believe otherwise. She knew that he was devoting everything to his company, which left little time for anything else. 

Except for tonight, when he seemed to have plenty of time for her. 

Opening a second bottle of wine and feeling freer, Olivia leaned close to him and said what she had been thinking all night, “You know, this house is really yours and mine. We are the ones who have dreamed about it. No one else.” Her voice was soft and smoky. Uninhibited, she put her hand under the table and caressed his thigh. “I want to share it with you.” 

Now she had left nothing unsaid. She waited. If she had read him wrong all these months, she would be looking for a new builder tomorrow.  

Mark sat motionless, staring at the mural. Finally, he turned to her and kissed her gently. “I want that, too.”  Then, taking her head in his hard hands, he kissed her deeply. The pent-up attraction between them escaped in a fury of movement. The two stood, still locked in a deep kiss, their bodies pushing into each other for the first time. Mark’s hands began their exploration of her body, but then he stopped and asked, “Are you sure?” His lips, though, still traveled the arc of her neck.

“Yes,” she sighed. “You are the one I think about here. No one else.”

Mark’s hands slid down to her ass and gently felt its curves before lifting her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist, feeling the flexed muscles of his torso. Through his jeans, she could feel his excitement. She longed to see him standing before her, naked, his hard cock beckoning her. She pushed her hips into him and whispered in his ear, “Take me upstairs.”

Wordlessly, he honored her request and climbed the staircase to the bedroom. As they reached the top, Mark lowered Olivia down and let her lead him to the bedroom. He didn’t want to assume that they would go into her room. “It’s cold. I’m sorry,” he apologized, as they walked into the room. He pulled her close and kissed her again.

Olivia smiled. “This is your fault, so I think you need to fix this,” she said playfully. “Maybe you need to go out and get a few log bundles for the fire.”

“As you wish,” Mark replied, begrudgingly letting her go. 

“And, who knows? There may be further repercussions for your shoddy workmanship,” she said, following him out the door. She pulled him close one last time, biting his lip as he tried to leave.

When Mark returned with two bundles of firewood, Olivia was standing in the middle of the room, wrapped in a heavy woolen blanket. A blade of light from the bathroom cut through the darkness and illuminated her figure. She was looking out of one of the windows. The shadows of the tree branches nearby were barely visible in the black of the night. 

“I thought you may have changed your mind,” Olivia said, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

“I thought about it.” Mark untied the twine from around the wood bundles and began stacking them in the fireplace. “But, I was worried I wouldn’t get paid if I didn’t come back.”

He smiled at her, as he lit the fire. They watched the fire slowly crawl around the logs, licking the bricks of the fireplace as the flames grew stronger. “It will be warm soon.” He stood and pulled her to him. 

“Thank you,” said Olivia. Mark’s hands explored her curves through the blanket. “I am glad you are here.” She looked up into his eyes and saw the fire reflected in them.

Kissing him once more, she took a step back and faced the fireplace. Feeling the warmth of the flames on her face, she dropped the blanket.  She stood in the center of the room, her body naked, exposed and absorbing the growing heat. The orange light danced off her moon-pale skin and gave the appearance of movement, although there was none.

“You are so beautiful,” Mark’s eyes locked on her body. Olivia didn’t know if he was struck by her body or her boldness, but she loved the power that her body wielded over him. 

She smiled and stepped over the blanket that lay in a soft puddle on the floor. The cold of the floor raced through her feet and up her body with each step. She ignored it though, focusing instead on Mark’s expression of wonder. She knew that to him, she was the woman with whom he had spent hours debating window restoration and pine planking, the woman whom he had only ever seen in jeans, baggy oxfords, and dark rimmed glasses. And now, she stood in front of him, laying bare the parts of her that she had long desired to share with him. As she thought of this contradiction, she flushed with a roaring need to take him. 

But, for now, she would control herself.

“Do you approve?” she whispered, close enough to him that her nipples grazed the fabric of his shirt. 

“You know I do.” He reached for her body, but she pushed his hands down to his side.

“No?” he asked. “I have thought about you since the first time I visited you here. It was summer, and you were in a little sundress. You met me in the yard with bare feet. I will never forget.” Mark tried again to touch her.

Again, she resisted his touch.

“I will take care of you tonight,” she whispered, running her hand up his thigh to his hard cock, which fought against the stiffness of his work pants. “I promise to give you a new memory to never forget,” she said, as she unbuttoned his shirt.

Mark stood motionless, accepting her orders and her promise. Olivia watched him close his eyes to everything. His body absorbing her ginger touch. She slid his shirt off and took in the contours of his chest, shoulders, and arms. Her fingers traced the lines of his muscles, following a path down to his waist. There, Olivia stopped, teasing him. Her fingers explored just below his pants’ waistline. She felt his coarse hair and twirled it with her fingers.

“I want you,” he begged.

“In time,” Olivia circled behind him, her thin pale body glided across the floor like an apparition in the flicker of the firelight. She kissed his back, her lips barely touching his skin. She felt him shudder as a low moan escaped his body. She knew that he was fighting a desire to take her right there. Watching him was enough to make her come, but she controlled herself, only echoing Mark’s groan of pleasure.

Still standing behind him, her body pressed into his, Olivia opened his pants. Roughly now, she shoved them down beyond his ass. She pushed her forehead into his back and explored his cock with her hands. She felt its heaviness and imagined its strength. She played with the head and felt the softness of the skin. Her fingers traced the ridges and valleys of the veins in his shaft, and she squeezed.

“I’ve wanted to touch you for so long,” she murmured, stroking his cock. As she did, Olivia imagined that it was her own cock she was holding. Her body responded accordingly.  Her wet pussy pressed into his warm ass, and she began to move with her hand.

“I feel your wet,” Mark said, reaching back and grabbing her ass. For a moment, she let his hands explore, before stepping in front of him.

“Soon,” she said. She took his hand and led him to the bed. Obediently, he followed. “Lay down and close your eyes.” She watched as he laid back on the white comforter, still plump on the bed from the winter months.

Olivia picked up the two pieces of twine that had held the firewood into neat bundles. Softly, she took each of Mark’s hands and kissed them before wrapping the rope around his wrists and attaching each to one of the slender posts at the top of the bed. With each pull of the knot, she felt herself falling deeper into the well of pleasure that had been building for so long.

As she finished tying his hands, a smile broke across Mark’s face, but he kept his eyes closed. He remained silent.

Now, with only the fire crackling in the room, Olivia straddled Mark’s torso, as she kissed him. This time, hard and deep. 

She let her mouth slide down his body and find his cock. As her tongue explored the warm head and traced the thick veins down his shaft, Mark begged, “I want to touch you. Please.”

“You will,” she said. She took his cock deeply into her mouth. His hips matched the rhythm of her mouth, and he pushed himself deeper into her. 

Olivia felt herself growing full with ecstasy. Just the graze of her pussy on his leg was enough to bring her ever closer to climax. But she would not let this go, yet. She had dreamed of Mark for too long for this to be over so quickly.

Pulling herself away, she sat up and straddled his hips. With her pussy at the base of his shaft, she held his wet cock in her hands. Slowly, she jerked it, again holding it as if it was her own. Her hips moved with each stroke of her hand. She threw her head back and let her body ride him as she jerked him hard.

Mark, now watching Olivia, strained against the twine that bound his hands. His muscles tensed as he fought to control his lust for her. His breath became shallow and fast. 

Now, she would give them what they both wanted. She grabbed his cock and rubbed its thickness against her engorged clit. “Is this what you want?” She teased him, though her playfulness was giving way to her growing focus on her own pleasure. Her wetness dripped around his cock, making his hair glisten in the firelight. 

“Please, Olivia, let me touch you,” Mark begged, his hips arching in the air, his cock seeking the soft warmth of the inside of her pussy.

Falling forward, Olivia kissed him. Lacking the use of his hands, Mark’s tongue attacked her mouth with a fury that surprised her.  

Quickly, she untied the twine from his wrists.  A bright red imprint left its mark where he had been resisting against the bindings.  

With his hands free, he grabbed her ass, pulled her close and flipped her onto the bed. “I need to be inside of you. Now,” he said with a strength and power new to her.  The contrast sent her reeling with longing, and she nodded her consent.

Lacing his fingers in hers, he held her arms above her head and sunk himself into the heat of her swollen pussy. For a moment, he stopped and held himself deep inside her, relishing the moment. “God, you are so fucking hot,” he moaned, as his slow rocking penetration began to take on a growing urgency.

Knowing that she was finally giving him what he wanted, Olivia let go. With every plunge of his cock, she let herself draw nearer to the flames of her orgasm. 

“Olivia, Olivia, Olivia.” Her name saturated his hot breath on her neck. She let herself fall. She felt her body seize as she came. The wave of heat and vibration filled her body. She relished her power as she rode her climax to its conclusion and as Mark began his. Olivia watched as he gave his body over to his own pleasures.  As she felt herself fill with his warm come, she squeezed her pussy tighter around his cock, making him shudder with one final jolt of ecstasy.

Collapsing onto her, Mark let go of Olivia’s hands. He took her head in his hands and pulled her close for one final gentle kiss. She stroked his hair and gazed his eyes. In them, the flames of the fire that warmed the room reflected.