As yet another unfulfilling evening drew to a close, Sarah couldn't help but think she was doing something wrong. A relationship with the Goblin King was proving to be something far different than she had ever anticipated.

The sexual energy between them was off the charts, the flirting and the kisses – oh god, the kisses – more of a turn on than anything she had experienced before. Jareth had a way of working her into a frenzy, nuzzling at her neck and pouring the filthiest of words into her ear … and then backing off entirely. It had been three months since their first date, and despite dozens of warm spring evenings spent getting hot and heavy in the castle gardens, she had yet to even see the inside of his bedroom. The Goblin King was always the perfect gentleman on the occasions she stayed over, escorting her to her own private set of rooms before leaving her alone for the night.

No matter how hard she tried to tempt him to join her, no matter how low she was willing to drop both her standards and her increasingly immodest necklines, he resisted. The one time she had managed to sneak herself onto his lap, hoping to feel a certain royal staff, he had almost tipped her onto the floor in his haste to get rid of her. He was a master in the art of the tease, and Sarah felt like she was slowly losing her mind. Never had she wanted someone so much; never had she even dreamed that she would be the one pestering the Goblin King, with his sultry stares, tight pants, and voice like silk, for sex.

If it wasn't for the battery operated friend she had taken to keeping in her purse, and the dogged persistence of her fingers, Sarah would have been totally lost.

As it was, she was starting to wonder if the otherwise unabashed Goblin King was keeping things from her.

Either way, it was time to get some answers.

The next time the couple found themselves on their customary walk through the castle grounds, savouring the cool night air and the pink moon that watched over them through the trees, Sarah put her plan into action. When Jareth slipped an arm around her waist, meaning to draw her close, Sarah broke away with a soft cry of delight, and moved to the opposite side of the cobbled path.

"Oh, the flowers are coming along so well! The smell is gorgeous, and they look so beautiful tonight. What did you say they were called?"

"Chocolate daisies." Jareth's hands closed in on her hips as he approached from behind. "And believe me, they're not half as gorgeous as you."

He swept her hair aside over one shoulder, moving in for the attack. Just as his warm lips touched the side of her neck, Sarah pulled free again.

"And those ones too! Moonflowers, I think you called them. I'd love to have something like that at home."

Undeterred, Jareth closed in once more. This time, he took the precaution of winding his arms around her stomach, in order to trap her against his firm body. "I'd much rather we savoured them here together."

With a crooked little smile, Sarah took a firm step backwards, the sturdy heel of her shoe 'accidentally' coming down on the bridge of Jareth's foot. He released her with a hiss of pain, and once again she drifted away.

"Oh, I'm so sorry, Jareth. Oh, but look at all the wonderful flowers!"

"Yes, yes … lovely," Jareth grumbled, as he bent to rub his injured foot. He caught her eye as he straightened, and approached her with a frown. "You know, I can't help but feel like you're avoiding me, love."

Taking her best stab at wide-eyed innocence, blinking at him like a startled doe in the moonlight: "Really? Whatever gave you that idea?"

Jareth cocked an eyebrow. "How about we begin with the fact that you'd rather assault me than let me put my arms around you? What's gotten into you tonight?"

Sarah batted her eyelashes. "Can't a girl just stop and smell the roses once in a while?"

"Seeing as the roses are on the opposite side of the garden, and I know you well enough to know you couldn't give two shits about gardening, I'd say … no."

She huffed out laughter. "Okay, fine. I just figured that since we're not being intimate and all, we should eliminate the temptation. After all, I don't want you getting blue balls or anything."

Jareth sighed and put an arm around her shoulders. "And there, put as unsubtly as ever, it is. Sit down, love. I think it's finally time we had a talk."

He steered her towards the nearest bench – a wide, flat slab of pale stone that, as needy as she was, Sarah wouldn't have minded for their first time. Hope and hormones surged up with glee, and she had to concentrate on Jareth's solemn face to keep from bouncing in her seat. Modern society dictated that it was polite to at least listen to your partner, before throwing oneself at them, pussy first. She forced an equally sombre expression across her twitching lips as Jareth clasped her hands in his.

"I think you've made yourself quite clear that you're frustrated. Now, to address your dissatisfaction: would it help matters at all if I ate you out?"

A sharp snort escaped her, and Sarah had to giggle her way through an apology. "Sorry … sorry. It was just so … you sounded like you were making a business proposition, and I could just imagine if that came up in your negotiations with the Elven King last month. Well, yeah, I guess it would, but … I don't want you to feel like you have to do that."

Jareth smiled and squeezed her fingers. "It wouldn't be a chore, believe me."

"Well that's good to know, but … seriously, Jareth? That's not how things work. You don't have to be pressured into doing anything sexual just because I'm …" She sighed. "Horny."

His rich laughter was balm to her ears. "Oh, believe me, you aren't the only one. I'm beginning to think I'll need a brace for my left hand, if things carry on the way they are. Every time I see you, every time I have you in my arms, I have to fight the urge to take things further."

Relief spread through her being and etched itself into her smile. "Then why are things the way they are? Why send me away to the opposite side of the castle every night when we could be working things out together?" She freed one of her hands from his so she could cup his cheek. "You know how much you mean to me, right? I don't want anybody else."

"Nor do I. It's just …" He groaned and turned his face up to the sky. "It's … theowlthing."

"Come again?"

Jareth sighed. "The owl thing."

Sarah only stared at him for a moment. "The … owl thing?"

"Yes, the owl thing!" Jareth hissed. His pale cheeks had begun to take on a noticeably darker tinge, even in the moonlight. "My other self – the part of me that can take flight at a moment's notice. It's always part of who I am in life … in love … and even in the bedroom."

A wobbly smile spread across Sarah's face. She had read more than her fair share about owls and their habits ever since her new boyfriend had taken to tapping at her bedroom window. "You mean because once they mate, they mate for life? Jareth, that's unbelievably sweet of you, but if you're not ready for that commitment, then I completely under-"

"No."

" … no?"

"No."

" … I don't-"

"The mating part doesn't come into it."

It was hard to push words past her confusion. "Jareth … I'm really not getting where this is going."

The Goblin King released her and rubbed an impatient hand across his face. His usual self-confidence had all but disappeared; even his proud shoulders were hunched. "I know. I know. It's just … it's me, all right, love? It's me when I come. There, I've finally said it. It's all about when I come. That's why we haven't been intimate yet."

"Is it …" Sarah paused for a moment to consider the best route to tiptoe around his ego. "Does it … um … happen a little sooner than-"

"I do not suffer from premature ejaculation, thank you very much." From the haughty look he shot her, it was clear that the very notion of it offended him, but he avoided her eyes as he went on. "It's just … when I get excited – and of course, climax would be any man at his most excited – I have a … uh … Well, I don't get too excited – not excited enough to come too soon, at any rate, but … ah …"

This time, it was Sarah who reached for his hands. "You're babbling. Just tell me."

Jareth looked into her eyes, and with a deep sigh, he pressed on. "When I get excited … when I reach climax … I have a … uh …"

Sarah leaned forwards and squeezed his hands, urging him on.

"I have a tendency to … hoot."

Immediately, Sarah clamped her teeth down over her bottom lip. It was worryingly close to curling upwards. "You … uh … hoot?" she asked, with utmost care.

"I hoot," Jareth admitted, with a small nod.

"And that's the only reason that you haven't wanted to take me to bed? That's the reason we keep teasing one another but never follow through?"

Jareth huffed through his nose. "Well it is a loud hoot." He was silent a moment as he gauged her reaction, and then he groaned again. "Oh, don't bloody laugh."

Sarah's smile was so wide that it hurt. "Why would I laugh? That's adorable!"

"I knew you'd say that! I don't want to be adorable in bed. I want to make you scream with pleasure."

"Hey, you can be adorable as well as sexy. You can make me scream with pleasure before the … uh … hooting takes place."

Jareth climbed to his feet with a sigh and turned back towards the castle, with Sarah right behind him. He reached out, and she slipped her hand into his. "Come on. Let's get you in my bed before I change my mind."

"If it helps, I'm sure it's a very masculine, sexy hoot."

"You're not helping, love."

"I want to hear it."

"Don't make me gag you."

"I want to hear it … owl night long."

"Consider this your last warning, precious …"

"Oh, don't be like that. You know I love you-hoo. And besides, I'm looking forward to finally getting a sneak beak at what's in those pants. Let's just wing it and see how we go. I'm sure we'll have a-"

"Don't you dare say it."

"-hoot."