“I’m doing this wrong,” she says. “I knew I would be awful.”
“You haven’t done anything yet,” I tell her with a smile. “You can’t be awful at nothing.”
“Don’t baby me,” she snaps. “If you’re going to teach me, I want you to do it right. I want to be the best.” She waves me on, her eyes pinned below my waist with challenge and more delight.
If that doesn’t get me hard…fuck. I grow, and her eyes begin to widen, probably wondering how she’s going to fit it into her mouth now.
“You will be the best, darling,” I say. “Hold onto it.” I want to start this way for her. And then I want to do it my way.
She grips the base in that same delicate manner.
“That’s strange,” I say.
“What?” She frowns.
“You threaten to castrate men ten times a day but yet you hold my c*ck like you want to tuck it into bed.”
Her grip immediately tightens, and my lips part from the sudden sensation. I laugh into my next words. “You’re an excellent pupil so far.”
“I graduated with highest honors,” she says. Yes, I know. I attended her graduation. I saw her walk across the stage and accept her diploma. I was able to witness the look of accomplishment and freedom from four years of hard work and educational slavery. Those memories I hold close.
“You’re a conceited little honor graduate.”
“Little?” She raises her eyes.
“You are shorter than me,” I remind her. “It’s time for you to shut the f**k up and put my c*ck back in your mouth.”
Her eyes grow hot at my words, but the rest of her body reacts differently. She presses her thighs together. Wanting. Ready.
To make me come.
She takes me inside her mouth again, slowly, not yet halfway before she nearly chokes. With one hand on her head, I readjust Rose and shift my h*ps so the position is more comfortable for her. This angle works better, and she shuts her eyes while she eases me in a little further. She’s not horrible, but she’s not fantastic either.
She stares off, hesitating.
She’s drowning in her beautiful f**king mind. I don’t want her to think about whether she’s doing something wrong or right. I just want her to feel.
“Take your hands off.”
She glares and tries to pull back to yell. I know she wants to try—to prove to me that she can do it, but that’s not what needs to happen. I hold the back of her head tightly, keeping her here.
“You want to please me? Then do as I say.”
Her eyes narrow, but she releases me. And I use one hand and my h*ps to guide myself further into her mouth. Fuck. That feels good.
She gags once, and her hands fly to my ass, gripping me hard.
“Rose,” I groan. My strokes are shallow and then they become deeper…deeper until tears seep from the corners of her eyes, her body shaking.
Her legs slowly give out, and her back rests against the warm tiles, the water showering our bodies. I drive into her, my pelvis rocking, having complete control on how much of me she takes between her lips.
Her legs squirm, her toes curling and her chest lifting as I quicken my pace.
“That’s it, darling,” I say with a tight breath. “You’re safe with me.”
After a few minutes, I come and slide out of her quickly.
“Spit,” I tell her, sitting on my knees.
She turns her head and does as I say. She wipes her lips, her breathing heavy. I collect her in my arms, holding her while she digests what happened.
Her own arms wrap around my neck, and she presses her forehead to my collar.
I rub her back, the water slowly turning lukewarm. As she rests on my lap, something strong grips my heart. I’ve never been so possessed by another person before. She consumes my body and mind in ways that I can’t articulate.
I comb her wet hair away from her face.
Right now, I want to kiss the place between her legs more than she can possibly understand. I want to taste her and watch her back arch. To see her reach a peak like I just did. After a couple minutes, I begin to readjust her, spreading her legs on either side of me.
She puts a hand to my chest almost as soon as her ass hits the tiles. “No,” she says, disentangling from me. She stands.
I stay on my knees and frown at her change of heart. I’m confused—and that doesn’t happen often. “You can’t deny what your body responds to. You liked it, and that’s all right, Rose.”
“I know.” She nods with more assurance. “I just don’t need you to give me anything in return. That was for you.”
“I want to make you come.” And I’m going to f**king do it. I hold her ankle and kiss her knee. “You’ll love it. Trust me.”
“I don’t care.” She pries my hand off her leg.
I stand up now, my gaze harsh on hers. “I f**king care.”
“This wasn’t quid pro quo. I wasn’t going to blow you so you could get me off.”
She’s jumped on a new page of our book, and she’s left me to find which one that is. “You’re aroused,” I tell her. “Lie to me and tell me you aren’t going to go back to our room and touch yourself.”
She raises her chin, not backing down.
I could shove her against the wall, watch the breath leave her lips, watch her body respond in vicious hunger. She’d let me please her. But I don’t want to push her to that place without understanding her sudden reservations.
She takes one step towards me and says, “I don’t need you to make me come.” Fear swims to the surface of her piercing eyes.
And it clicks. Just like that. I see the ocean beneath her words, the deeper meaning to everything. I bring her into my arms. I don’t care that her limbs are stiff.
She tries to push me away, and I hold her to my chest in a tight hug. My lips skim her ear as I say forcefully, “Vous avez tort.” You’re wrong.
Her body flushes, and I abruptly release her, shut off the water, and find a towel nearby. I wrap her in the soft cotton while she stares at me, questioningly, wondering if I’m going to elaborate.
She finally says, “I’m not wrong.”
“You think your virginity is a prize that I want to win and run away with. Am I right?”
“Don’t manipulate me.” She shakes her head. “I don’t need you to tell me what I want to hear just so you can win that much easier.”
She’s crazy to believe such a horrible f**king thing. I want to hold her longer, tighter, to calm her with my words. “I’m not manipulating you, Rose. You’re smart enough to understand me. And if you truly believe I’d manipulate a woman just to f**k her, then you don’t know me very well.”
“Don’t lie to me.” She points to her chest, her eyes wild. “I’m a pit stop to you. I’m the halfway mark until you find a woman who will kneel in and out of the bedroom.”
“If I wanted a wallflower out of the f**king bedroom, then I’d never even talk to you, Rose.” What gets me off is the way a strong woman can give herself to me the moment she passes through a door, the minute I can overpower a girl during a fit of passion. And then we can go back matching each other once again. Why would I want someone who can’t keep up with me? What enjoyment is there in that?
She shakes her head, not believing me. Why can’t she f**king believe me? It’s the goddamn truth!
“You need someone who will be by your side twenty-four-seven,” she says. “Who has no greater obligations that will divide her attention from yours. I have been a ten-year-long chase for you, Richard. Nothing more.”
I try not to expose my hurt, but it literally tears at my face, too livid to conceal. She’s driven something hard and cold inside of me. “No,” I force. “No, Rose. You’re so f**king wrong.”
She breathes heavily, clutching the towel with a firm grip.
I near her, cupping her face with large rough hands. I stare down into her yellow-green eyes. “You’re not a pit stop. You’re my finish line. There’s no one after you.” I kiss her powerfully, my tongue parting her lips, and she responds. But not as much as I hoped. So I break apart and add, “I want you for eternity, not for a brief moment in time.”
I don’t understand why every time I speak it sounds like an empty pickup line.
I can’t lose her.
Not because of this.
I try to imagine a life without Rose and I see something gray, something motionless—a world without time and a place without color. I see mundane and dreary and lackluster.
I can’t lose her.
Not for anything.
She places a kiss on my cheek. “I want to believe you, and I’m going to trust you, but just as a forewarning, it may take more than words in the future.” With this, she opens the shower door and she leaves me with a new challenge. But I’d be with her without all the tests—all the hoops she makes me jump. I do enjoy them.
But I enjoy her more.
[ 16 ]
I f**king hate that I’m late. Even with my legitimate excuse—five hours of Wharton lectures and another two hour business meeting at a New York City restaurant—I’m still unnerved. Time is obstinate, constant, and undeniably aggravating. No matter how hard I try, time will not bend to my will.
The traffic on my commute from New York to Philly resurfaces my frustration. A man in a green truck lays on his horn to my left, as if noise will magically part the congested freeway. I hold back the urge to roll down my window and remind him that he’s not Moses and magic does not exist.
I pinch the bridge of my nose as I reread the last text from Rose.
It’s on soon. I’ll tape it just in case. – Rose
The first commercial for the reality show airs tonight. And Rose is already preparing for me to miss it. For most, being late for some stupid thirty-second television promo spot wouldn’t be a big deal. They’d shrug it off.
But it’s not okay.
All it takes is one time. One single moment where I walk through the door ten minutes late and everything could change. The what ifs in life aren’t impossibilities. What ifs are parallel paths that could happen—that could be. In one moment, a what if can be fact.
Scott Van Wright is a what if.
If I hadn’t heard the shower turn on, the pipes rumbling through the walls and ceiling, then I would have never gone upstairs. If I had no desire to tell Rose to go back to bed, to take a shower later, then I would have never heard Scott’s voice through the door, tangled with hers.
What if I never entered the bathroom to break apart what could have been?
Scott forcing himself on Rose is an image that cripples all the others in my head—it’s what makes my spot in this car and not with her so painful.
Another honk fractures my thoughts. I accelerate and close the small gap to appease the a**hole behind me. My eyes shift to the exit signs and the words blur together, almost unreadable. I blink and try to focus, but it barely helps.
Don’t worry. Do not f**king worry, Connor.
I’m starting to feel the effects of 36-hours without sleep. The night is my graveyard shift. Proposals for class. Business emails for Cobalt Inc. Everything and anything that needs my attention. I’ve pulled all-nighters before, sure, but I have a rule to never exceed the 36-hour mark. Sleep deprivation promotes brain inefficiency.
This is what I get for ditching my limo. I could have taken a nap in the backseat while Gilligan drove me to Philadelphia. But as soon as filming began, I opted to drive myself in a silver sedan. I may have been granted luxury, but I work hard. And if I’m videotaped being carted around in my limousine, all anyone will see is a lazy son of a bitch.
My eyes sag, and I feel the exhaustion weighing on my muscles. I make the conscious decision to carefully pull off the next exit and park in front of a drug store.
I take out my cellphone and walk inside.
“I need you to prescribe me Adderall,” I into the receiver. My loafers clap against the tiled floor and the attendant gives me a narrowed look. With my black slacks and white button-down, I look better suited for Wall Street than some drug store off a freeway.
“No.” Frederick doesn’t even hesitate. “And next time you call, you can lead with hello.”
I grind my teeth as I stop in front of the boxes of decongestants. Frederick has been my therapist since my parents’ divorce. My mother’s words: I can hire someone if you need to talk. So I spent weeks combing through potential psychiatrists to give the whole “talking” thing a go.
Frederick was on the college fast track, and I met him when he graduated med school at just twenty-four. He had this air about him. He was hungry for knowledge, and that kind of passion was lost in the other thirty and forty-year-old shrinks that I had interviewed. So I chose him.
He’s been my psychiatrist for twelve years. I would call him my best friend, but he constantly reminds me that friends can’t be bought. He earns a staggering sum from me every year, and I overpay for these moments—the ones where I call him up at any hour of the day and he gives me his full undivided attention.