Beautiful Player [Beautiful Series]

Chapter 14

It had been so long since I’d cuddled on my couch with a woman, I forgot how awesome it was. But with Hanna, it was borderline blissful to simultaneously enjoy a beer, a basketball game, some nerdy science talk and nice lady with curves at the ready. I finished my drink with a long swallow and then looked over at Hanna, her eyes glazed as if she was on the cusp of a nap.

I was disappointed that I’d backpedaled after seeing her reaction this morning. But as I was quickly learning, I’d do anything for her. If she wanted to keep things casual, then that’s what we’d do. If she wanted us to be friends with benefits, I could pretend. I could be patient, I could give her time. I only wanted to be with her. And as pathetic as it sounded, I’d take what I could get.

For now, I was okay being the Kitty.

“You good?” I murmured, kissing the top of her head. She nodded, humming, and wrapping her hand more firmly around the beer bottle in her lap. Hers was still mostly full and, at this point, probably pretty warm, but I liked that she had one anyway.

“Don’t like the beer?” I asked.

“This one tastes like pinecones.”

Laughing, I pulled my arm out from behind her neck and leaned forward to put my empty down. “That’s the hops.”

“Is that like what they make marijuana clothes from?”

I bent over farther, laughing harder. “That’s hemp, Hanna. Holy shit you’re amazing.”

When I looked over at her, she was smiling and I realized, of course, she’d been fucking with me.

She patted my head patronizingly and I shrugged away from her hand, saying, “I like how I forgot for a minute there that you’ve probably memorized the name of every plant, ever.”

Hanna stretched, her arms shaking slightly over her head as she hummed in pleasure. Naturally I took the opportunity to check out her chest. She also happened to be wearing a totally badass Doctor Who shirt, I hadn’t even noticed earlier.

“Are you looking at the goods?” she said, opening one eye and catching me, slowly lowering her arms.

I shook my head. “Yes.”

“Are you always such a boob man?” she asked.

In what was clearly becoming a pattern, I ignored the implied question about other women, deciding I wasn’t going to address anything about that entire taboo conversation again . . . for now. Beside me, she grew still and I knew she felt the same unspoken question settle back between us: is this conversation over?

We were saved by the bell, or in this case the buzzing of my phone on the coffee table. A text from Max lit up my screen.

Headed to Maddie’s for some pints. Coming?

I showed the phone to Hanna, in part wanting her to see that it wasn’t a woman texting me on a Tuesday night, and in part to see if she’d be up for coming along. I raised my eyebrows in silent question.

“Who’s Maddie?”

“Maddie is a friend of Max’s, who owns and runs Maddie’s, a bar in Harlem. It’s usually pretty empty, and it has great beer. Max likes it for the horrible British pub food.”

“Who’s going?”

Shrugging, I said, “Max. Probably Sara.” I stopped, considering. It was Tuesday, so Sara and Chloe would probably be testing to see if I was with Kitty. It was all probably a quasi-causal ruse to check up on me. “I’m betting Chloe and Bennett are coming, too.”

Hanna tilted her head, studying me. “Do you guys go out to bars on weekdays a lot? Seems strange for all of these serious business career people.”

I sighed, standing and pulling her up with me. “I think they’re trying to track my sex life, to be honest.” If she knew Saturdays had been my nights with Kristy, then she may also know Tuesdays were usually reserved for Kitty. May as well be up front with her about how meddling my friends could be.

Her expression remained unreadable, and I couldn’t tell if she was irritated, jealous, nervous, or maybe even just listening neutrally. I wanted so much to know what was going on in her head, but I couldn’t possibly start the talk again and have her freak out. I was a man; a man perfectly capable of accepting sex from a woman even under the murkiest of emotional circumstances. Especially when that woman was Hanna.

I bent to pick up both beer bottles.

“Will it be weird if I’m there? Do they know about us?”

“Yes, they know. No, it won’t be weird.”

She looked skeptical, and I put my hands on her shoulder. “Here’s a rule: things are only weird if you let them be.”

As the bar was roughly fifteen blocks from my apartment building, we decided to walk. Late March in New York was either gray and cold, or blue and cold, and luckily the snow had finally disappeared and we were having a pretty decent spring.

Only a block from my apartment, Hanna reached for my hand.

I threaded my fingers with hers, and pressed our palms together. I’d somehow always expected love to be primarily a mental state, so I still felt unaccustomed to the physical manifestation of my feelings for her: the way my stomach would grow tight, my skin would start to feel hungry for her touch, the way my chest would press in, my heart pounding blood hard and fast through my arteries.

She squeezed my hand, asking, “Do you actually like doing sixty-nine? I mean, really.”

I blinked over to her, laughing and fuck, falling even harder for her. “Yeah. I love it.”

“But, and I know you’re going to hate what I’m about to say—”

“You’re going to ruin it for me, aren’t you?”

She looked up at me, tripping slightly on a crack in the sidewalk. “Is that even possible?”

I considered this. “Probably not.”

Opening her mouth, she started to speak and then closed it again. Finally, she blurted, “Your face is basically in someone’s ass.”

“No, it isn’t. Your face is on someone’s cock or someone’s pussy.”

She was already shaking her head. “No. Let’s say I’m on top of you, and—”

“I like this hypothetical.” I kept waiting for her to take charge and ride me. In fact, I wanted it so much that as soon as I pictured it, I had to take a moment to discreetly adjust myself in my jeans with my free hand.

Ignoring my hint, she continued, “So that means you’re under me. My legs are spread over your face, so my ass is . . . it’s like eyeball level.”

“Fine with me.”

“It’s my ass. By your eyes.”

I let go of her hand and reached up to tuck a stray hair behind her ear. “This won’t surprise you, but I have zero aversion to asses. I think we should try it.”

“It’s not awkward?”

Pulling up short, I turned her to face me. “Have we done anything yet that feels awkward?”

Her cheeks went pink, and she blinked down the street, mumbling, “No.”

“And you believe me when I say I’ll make everything good for you.”

She looked back up at me, eyes soft and trusting. “Yeah.”

I took her hand in mine again, and we continued walking. “It’s settled then. There will be some sixty nine in your future.”

We walked in silence for several blocks, listening to the birds, the wind, the sound of traffic in bursts organized by the streetlights.

“You think I’ll ever teach you something?” she asked just before we reached the bar.

I smiled down at her, growling, “Without a doubt.” And then I opened the door to Maddie’s for Hanna, gesturing that she lead us inside.

My friends, seated at a table just to the side of the little dance floor, saw us as soon as we walked in. Chloe, facing the door, noticed us first, her mouth forming a tiny, surprised O that she almost immediately tucked away. Bennett and Sara turned in their seats, each of them deftly hiding any reaction. But fucking Max had an enormous shit-eating grin spreading from ear to ear.

“Well, well,” he said, standing to walk around the table and give Hanna a hug in greeting. “Look who’s here.”

Hanna smiled, greeting everyone alternately with little hugs and waves, and then pulled up a chair to the end of the table. I made Max move down so I could sit next to her, and didn’t miss his amused laugh, and under his breath, a guffawed “Smitten.”

Maddie herself approached our table, tossing down a couple more coasters in front of us and asking what we wanted to drink. She listed the beers on tap, and because I knew she wouldn’t like any of them, I leaned close to tell Hanna, “They also have regular bar drinks, or sodas.”

“Soda is expressly forbidden,” Max chided. “If you don’t like beer, there is whiskey.”

Hanna laughed, making a face. “Would you drink a vodka and 7-Up?” she asked, anticipating our usual routine where she ordered the drink and I was the one who actually drank it.

I shook my head and made a face, leaning into her, our foreheads practically touching. “Probably not.”

Humming, she thought about it some more. “Jack and Coke?”

“I’d drink that.” I looked up at Maddie and said, “Jack and Coke for the lady, and I’ll have a Green Flash.”

“Ooh, what’s that?” Hanna asked.

“It’s a really hoppy beer,” I told her, kissing the corner of her mouth. “You wouldn’t like it.”

Once Maddie left us, I pulled away from Hanna and glanced around the table, finding four very interested faces looking back at us.

“You two look rather cozy,” Max said.

With a little wave of her hand, Hanna explained, “It’s our system: I’ll only have a few sips of my drink and then he’ll finish it. I’m still learning what he orders.”

Sara squeaked out a tiny, thrilled noise and Chloe smiled at us as if we had turned into a photograph of two cuddling baby sloths. I shot them a warning look. When Hanna asked where the restrooms were, then headed in that direction, I leaned in toward the group, meeting each of their eyes.

“This is not going to be the Will and Hanna show, you guys. We’re in a weird place. Just act normal.”

“Fine,” Sara said, but then narrowed her eyes. “But for the record, you two look really cute together and since we all know you guys have been hooking up, she’s really brave for coming out with the entire group tonight.”

“I know,” I mumbled, lifting my beer when Maddie had delivered it and taking a sip. The sharp bite of the hops mellowed almost immediately into a warm, malty finish. I closed my eyes, moaning a little while the others began chatting.

“Will?” Sara said, quieter now, so only I could hear her. She turned, looking behind her before turning back to me. “Please only do this with Hanna if you know it’s what you want.”

“I really appreciate the meddling, Sara, but stop meddling.”

Her face straightened and I registered my mistake. Hanna was a bit older than Sara had been when she started dating the douchebag congressman in Chicago, but I was exactly the same age he had been: thirty-one. Sara probably felt it was her duty to look out for other women who could fall into the same situation she was in for so long.

“Shit, Sare,” I said. “I get the meddling. Just . . . it’s different. You know that, right?”

“It’s always different at first,” she said. “It’s called infatuation, and it will make you promise anything.”

It wasn’t as if I hadn’t been infatuated with a woman before; I had. But I’d always kept my head about me, knowing how to let myself take as much as I could physically, while taking the emotional side more slowly, or pushing it aside entirely. What was it about Hanna that made me want to shed that model and dive straight to the bottom, where things were the most tender and terrifying?

Hanna returned, smiling at me before sitting down and taking a sip of her drink. She coughed and looked up at me, eyes wide and watery as if her throat were on fire.

“Right,” I said, laughing. “Maddie makes the drinks on the strong side. I should have warned you.”

“Keep drinking,” Bennett advised. “It gets easier once your throat is numb.”

“That’s what he said,” Chloe quipped.

Max’s laugh boomed across the table, and I rolled my eyes, hoping Hanna stayed oblivious to their banter.

She seemed to be, taking another sip and coming out of it with a more normal reaction. “It’s fine. I’m fine. Holy crap, you guys must feel like you’re watching someone have her first drink. I promise you I drink sometimes, just—”

“Just not very capably,” I finished, laughing.

Below the table, Hanna’s palm covered my knee and slid up to my thigh. She found my hand there and curled her fingers around it.

“I remember the first drink I ever had,” Sara said, shaking her head. “I was fourteen, and I went up to the bar at my cousin’s wedding. I ordered a Coke, and the woman next to me ordered a Coke but with some kind of booze in it. I accidentally took hers and went back to my table. I had no idea what was wrong with my drink and why it tasted so funny, but let me tell you it was the first time this white girl ever tried to bust out some break-dancing moves.”

We all laughed, particularly of the image of sweet, reserved Sara doing the robot or some spin drunk. Once our humor died down, it seemed as though our thoughts all drifted to the same topic, because we all turned to Chloe almost in unison.

“How’s the wedding planning going?” I asked.

“You know, Will,” she said, wearing a sly smile. “I think that’s the first time you’ve ever asked about the wedding.”

“I spent four days in Vegas with these sad bastards.” I nodded to Bennett and Max. “It’s not like I don’t know it’s happening. Do you want me to tie ribbons on the flower arrangements or some shit?”

“No,” she said, laughing. “And the planning is going . . . fine.”

“Mostly,” Bennett muttered.

“Mostly,” Chloe agreed. They shared a knowing look and she started laughing again, leaning into his shoulder.

“What does that mean?” Sara asked. “Is this about the caterer again?”

“No,” Bennett said, before taking a sip of his beer. “The caterer is settled.”

“Thank God,” Chloe interjected.

Bennett continued, “It’s just unbelievable the things that families do around weddings. All kinds of drama comes out of the woodwork. Swear to God, if we manage to pull this off without a quadruple homicide we will both deserve a fucking medal.”

Reflexively, I gripped Hanna’s hand tighter.

After a small pause, she squeezed back, turning to look at me. Her eyes searched mine, and then lightened into a little smile.

I was thinking about her, and me. I was thinking about her family, and how, over the past twelve years, they’d become my surrogate east coast family, and how in this tiny desperate breath I could even see this future—falling in love, getting married, deciding to start a family—for myself down the road.

I released her hand rubbing my palm on my thigh and feeling my pulse explode in my neck. Holy fuck, what happened to my life? In only a couple of months, almost everything had changed.

Well, not everything. My friends were still the same, my finances were fine. I still ran (almost) daily, still caught basketball on TV whenever I could. But . . .

I’d fallen in love. How often does anyone see that coming?

“You okay?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m good,” I whispered. “Just . . .” I couldn’t say anything. We’d agreed on just-friends. I’d told her it was what I wanted, too. “It’s just crazy to see friends going through this,” I said, gesturing to Chloe and Bennett, covering myself up that way. “I totally can’t relate.”

And with that, everyone was looking back to us, eyes soft and fucking invested in every single look or touch that passed between me and Hanna. I glared at each of them quickly and then stood. My chair squeaked across the floor, making my awkwardness even more evident. I was okay with being the center of attention within this group, whether I was teasing one of them or the other way around. But this felt different. I could laugh off the jokes about my scheduled hookups or colorful past with women, but right now I felt fucking vulnerable in this new place with Hanna, and wasn’t used to being on this side of the knowing looks.

I wiped my sweaty palms on the thighs of my jeans. “Let’s . . . I don’t know.” I looked around the bar helplessly. We should have just stayed on my couch, maybe fucked again out there in my living room. We should have stayed put until things were slightly less up in the air between us.

Hanna looked up at me, amused expression in place. “Let’s . . . ?”

“Let’s dance.”

I jerked her out of her chair and out to the empty dance floor, realizing when we got there that it would be even worse than what I was escaping. I’d taken us from the pack-safety of the table and onto what was essentially a stage. She stepped close to me, pulling my arms around her waist and running her hands up my chest and into my hair.

“Breathe, Will.”

I closed my eyes, taking a deep breath. I’d never felt more awkward in my life. Come to think of it, I’d never really felt awkward at all before.

“You’re a mess,” she said, laughing into my ear when I pulled her close. “I’ve never seen you so discombobulated. I have to admit, it’s really kind of cute.”

“It’s been a really fucking weird day.”

Maddie was playing some mellow indie shit, and this particular song was only instrumental. It was sweet, almost a little melancholy, but just the right speed for the kind of dancing I wanted to do with Hanna: slow, pressing. The kind of dancing where I could pretend to dance but really just stand and hug her for a few minutes away from the table.

On a slow spin, I turned and could see that my friends weren’t even looking at us anymore; they had returned to their conversation. Chloe was speaking animatedly about something, arms flapping above her head and I was almost positive she was reenacting some wedding-related fiasco. Now that the weird Will Inspection moment had cleared, I was torn between staying put, here with Hanna, and heading back to the table so I could be kept up to date on the increasing number of shenanigans Bennett and Chloe were dealing with. I could only imagine they were pretty epic.

“I like being with you,” Hanna said, breaking back into my thoughts. Maybe it was the lights in the bar, or maybe it was her mood, but her eyes had more blue in them today than they normally did. It made me think of spring being released full bore into New York City. I wanted winter gone. I think I needed everything around me to transition so it didn’t feel like I was the only one going through something.

She paused, and her eyes focused on my lips. “I’m sorry about earlier.”

Laughing, I whispered, “You said that already. You apologized with words. And then with your mouth on my dick.”

She laughed, tucking her head into my neck, and I could pretend we were alone, just dancing in my living room, or bedroom. Only, if we were there, we wouldn’t be dancing. I clenched my jaw, trying to keep my body from reacting to this fresh reminder that she was pressed against me, had given me the blow job of my life earlier, and that it might be possible to convince her to come back to my place again later. Even if she just wanted to curl up and sleep, I’d be completely down for that. After all the drama of the day, I didn’t really want her to go home after this.

“I guess I don’t really know what to do,” she admitted. “I know we talked earlier but things still feel kind of weird.”

I sighed. “Why is it complicated, though?” The lights from the dance floor ran shadows across her face, and she looked so fucking beautiful, I felt like I was losing my mind. The question filled my throat like smoke until I felt too full. “Isn’t this good?” I smiled so she might think I knew it was; maybe she would believe for a second that I didn’t actually need the reassurance.

“It’s actually amazing how good it is,” she whispered. “I feel like I didn’t know you at all before, even though I thought I did. You’re this brilliant scientist, with these really amazing, meaningful tattoos. You run triathlons and have this close, sweet relationship with your sisters and your mom.” Her nails scratched lightly down my neck. “I know you’ve always been sexual, really sexual. From the first time I met you when you were nineteen, to now, twelve years later. I really like spending time with you for that reason, too, because you’re teaching me things I didn’t know about my body, and what I like. I think what we have right now is actually really perfect.”

I was a second away from kissing her, running a hand up her side to feel the shape of her ribs and her spine. I wanted to pull her down onto the floor and feel her under me. But we were at a bar. Fucking idiot, Will. I looked away, and inadvertently over at my group of friends behind her. All four of them were back to watching us. Bennett and Sara had actually turned their chairs so they could see us without having to crane their necks, but as soon as they noticed I had noticed them, they snapped their attention elsewhere: Max to the bar, Sara up at the ceiling, Bennett down at the watch on his wrist. Only Chloe continued to stare, a big smile on her face.

“This was a bad idea, coming here,” I said.

Hanna shrugged. “I don’t think so. I think it was good to get out of the house and talk a little.”

“Is that what we did?” I asked, smiling. “Talked about how we don’t need to talk about it?”

Her tongue peeked out to wet her lips. “Sure. But I think I just want to go back to your place and do things while we talk.”

I pulled my keys from my pocket, sifting through them to locate the right one. “You’re not coming up here to grab a cup of tea and then head home.”

She nodded. “I know. But I do need to go to lab tomorrow. I don’t think I’ve ever just not shown up like I did today.”

I unlocked my front door, pushing it open and letting her lead us inside. She headed straight for the kitchen.

“Wrong way.”

“I won’t leave after tea,” she said over her shoulder. “But I do want some. That drink made me sleepy.”

“You had two sips.” We’d left her mostly full Jack and Coke on the table while Bennett and the rest did their best to convince us to stay and not only finish the one, but have another.

“I think there was the equivalent of seven shots in those two sips.”

Stepping up to the stove, I grabbed the kettle and then turned to fill it with water. “Then you’re a pretty boring drunk. If I had seven shots I would have been stripping on the table.”

She laughed, opening my fridge, rooting around, and finally pulling out a carrot. She walked over to my counter and hopped up on it, swinging her legs. Even though this was so new, it seemed like she’d been coming over here for years.

Her hair had started to come undone and a few pieces fell in small curls next to her face and down the back of her neck. The warmth of the bar, or maybe the two sips of her drink, had left her cheeks flushed, her eyes bright. She blinked slowly as she looked over at me and I smiled.

“You look pretty,” I said, leaning against the counter beside her.

She snapped into the carrot. “Thanks.”

“Think I might fuck you senseless in a few minutes.”

Shrugging and pretending to look nonchalant, she murmured, “Okay.”

But then she reached out with her legs and pulled me closer, between her thighs. “Despite that whole ‘work’ thing I mentioned, I think you could probably keep me up all night again, if you really wanted.”

I reached forward with one hand and slipped the top button of her shirt free. “What do you want me to do to you tonight?”

“Anything.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “Anything?”

She reconsidered, whispering, “Everything.”

“I love this,” I said, stepping closer and running my nose up the column of her neck. “This kind of sex where I get to learn everything you like. I discover all of your sounds.”

“I don’t know . . .” She trailed off, waving her carrot in a vague circle next to my head. “Isn’t sex with someone you’ve been with forever the best kind, though? Like she’s in bed, falls asleep, he comes in, and she just instinctively rolls to him, you know? And it’s like, her face in his warm neck and his hands all up and down her back, then her pants come off and he’s pushing inside her before her shirt is even off. He knows what’s under there. Maybe he can’t wait to be inside her first. He doesn’t have to take things off in order anymore.”

I pulled back and stared at her as she snapped another bite of her carrot. She had quite the vivid image of such a moment. I personally would never have said familiar sex is the best kind. A good kind, sure. But the way she said it—the way her voice dropped and her eyes kind of closed—fuck, yes, it sounded like the best kind. I could see that life with Hanna, where we shared a bed, and a kitchen, and finances and fights. I could see her getting angry with me, and me coming to find her later and making it up to her in whatever sneak-attack ways I had learned over time because she was mine and, being Hanna, she couldn’t help but let every thought and desire slip out of her mouth.

Damn. She wasn’t sexy in any of the ordinary ways. She was sexy because she didn’t care if I was watching her chow down on a carrot, or that her hair was in this half-assed ponytail she hadn’t bothered to fix since we were lounging on the couch earlier. She was so comfortable in her skin, so comfortable being watched—I’d never known a woman like her. She would never assume I was staring and judging. She assumed I was staring because I was listening. And I was. I would listen to her ramble about familiar sex and anal sex and porn films forever.

“You’re looking at me like I’m food.” She held out her carrot, grinned wickedly. “Want some?”

I shook my head. “I want you.”

She moved her hands up, unbuttoning her shirt now, and slid it off her shoulders.

“Tell me what you like,” I said, stepping even closer and kissing the hollow of her throat.

“I like when you come on me.”

I let out a quiet laugh into her neck. “I know that. What else?”

“When you watch where you’re moving in me.”

Shaking my head, I said, “Tell me what you like that I do to you.”

Hanna shrugged a little, running her fingertips down my chest before reaching for the hem of my shirt and pulling it up and over my head. “I like when you throw me around a little, have your way with me. I like when you act like my body is yours.”

The teakettle whistled, screeching in the quiet kitchen, and I moved away just long enough to grab her mug and pour some hot water over a tea bag. “When I’m touching you,” I told her, putting the kettle down, “your body is mine. Mine to kiss, and fuck, and taste.”

She lifted her eyebrow and smiled at me. “Well, when I’m touching you, your body is mine, too, you know.”

My mind went completely, directly into the gutter when she leaned across the counter, reached for the honey, and drizzled some into the mug.

Taking the honey wand from her, I swiped some excess on the lip of the jar then ran the stickiness across the top swell of her breast. She watched me, her tea apparently forgotten.

“So take control,” I told her, kissing her jaw. “Tell me what to do next.”

She hesitated for only a beat. “Suck it off.”

I groaned at the quiet command, licking across the honey before sucking her skin into my mouth with such force I left a small, red mark. “What else?”

Her hands slipped behind her, unlatching her bra just as I ran my tongue over her skin. I moved to her nipple, blowing lightly across the peak before sucking her into my mouth. Gasping, she whispered, “Make it wet.”

I leaned forward, doing exactly what she asked, licking her breasts, sucking them deeply, laving her skin with my tongue until it glistened. “These will be fucked soon.”

“Teeth,” she whispered. “Bite me.”

With a groan, I closed my eyes, biting small circles into the swell of her breasts, finding small traces of honey remaining on her skin. My hands slid lower, to her jeans, and I worked them and her underwear down her hips so she could kick them to the floor.

Her hands ran over my shoulders, legs spread open. “Will?”

“Mmmm?” I teased down her ribs, lifting both breasts in my hands. I knew her tone; knew what she was about to beg me to do.

“Please.”

“Please what?” I asked, pressing my teeth carefully into her nipple. “Please hand you your tea?”

“Touch me.”

“I am touching you.”

She let out an angry little growl. “Touch me between my legs.”

I dipped my finger into the small bowl of honey, and pressed it against her clit, rubbing it across her skin as I pressed my teeth into the delicate flesh of her breast. She moaned, head falling back, and pulled her feet up onto the counter, legs spread wide.

Crouching, I ran my tongue over her, not teasing, not even able to. The honey was warm from her skin, and tasted fucking amazing. “Holy fuck,” I whispered, sucking gently on her small fold of nerves.

Her hand ran into my hair, pulling, but not for pleasure. She raised me up to her face, leaning forward to kiss me. She’d put honey on her tongue, too, and I knew in a hot pulsing heartbeat that I would now associate this flavor with Hanna forever.

Her quiet little moans filled the space between our lips and our tongues, echoing mildly, growing tighter when I reached between us, slid my fingers over her skin, playing where she was slippery and hot. The counter was a little higher than my hips, but I could make it work if she wanted to fuck in the kitchen.

“Let me get a condom.”

“Okay,” she said, pulling her fingers from my hair.

I turned, padding in bare feet down the hall, unbuttoning my jeans. I pulled a packet out of the box in my drawer and moved to return to the kitchen, but Hanna was standing just inside my bedroom.

She was completely naked, and without saying anything, walked over to my bed and climbed to the middle. Resting back on her heels, she sat with one hand on her knee. Waiting for me.

“I want to be in here.”

“Okay,” I said, pushing my jeans down my hips.

“On your bed.”

I got it, I thought. It’s pretty obvious you want to have sex on my bed, what with the nakedness and condom in my hand. But then I realized she was actually asking me something. She was wondering whether my bed was off-limits, whether I was that kind of playboy, who never brought girls home and took them into the inner sanctum of the bedroom.

Would it always be like this? Her unspoken questions, uncertainty about what I was giving her that was new and special? Wasn’t it enough that I was secretly giving her the chance to break my heart?

I joined her on the bed, beginning to tear the condom packet open with my teeth before she reached up and took it from me.

“Fuck,” I mumbled, watching her duck down to run a tentative tongue across the tip of my dick. “Holy hell. I just love your fucking mouth.”

She kissed the tip, running her tongue up and over me. Drawing me into her mouth.

“I like watching you,” I babbled. I was so fucking tight and the vision of her doing this . . . I wasn’t sure I could hold out. “I feel like I’m going to come.”

“I’m barely touching you,” she said, clearly proud of herself.

“I know. I’m just . . . it’s a lot.”

She took the condom and rolled it over me, laid back on the bed. “Ready?”

I hovered over her, looking down the length of our bodies before I positioned myself to slide into her. She was so warm, so slippery, and I wanted to last, draw this moment out just a tiny bit longer. I pulled my hips back slightly, tapping my cock gently against her clit.

“Will,” she whined, hips arching up.

“Do you realize how wet you are?”

With a shaky hand, she reached between us, touching herself. “Oh God.”

“Is that because of me? Plum, I don’t know if I’ve ever been this hard.” I felt my pulse reverberating down my length, pounding.

She gripped me then, and inhaled sharply, whispering, “Please.”

“Please what?”

Her eyes opened and she whispered, “Please . . . inside.”

I smiled, enjoying her sweet, urgent agony. “Does your pussy ache a little?”

“Will.” Beneath me, she moved, searching with her hands and hips. I brought her fingers to my mouth, sucked each into my mouth to taste her sweetness.

Then I reached between us, circling a finger around her slick opening. “I asked you, does it ache right here?”

“Yes . . .” She tried to push up, to get even my finger inside but I slid it up and over her clit, making her moan loudly. I dragged my finger back down, dipping into the unbelievable wetness. “Does it ache in your thighs? Are these sweet little petals right here—” I bent, sucking her nipple into my mouth and playing a little with my tongue. “Are they tight and aching, too?” Fuck, her breasts. So fucking soft and warm. “God, Plum,” I whispered, feeling desperate. “I’m going to make it so good tonight. I’m going to make you feel so fucking good.”

She arched off the bed, hands in my hair, down my neck, scratching along my back.

Drawing my finger down across her pussy and lower, I pressed it against her backside. “I bet I could make you do anything right now. I could fuck you right here.”

“Anything,” she agreed. “Just . . . please.”

“Are you . . . begging me?”

She nodded urgently and then blinked up to my face, eyes wide and wild. Her pulse thrummed in her throat. “Will. Yes.”

“So those girls in the porn movies you so love,” I whispered, smiling as I rocked my hips. We both groaned when the crown of my cock slid over the taut rise of her clit. “The ones who beg. Say they need it . . .” I tilted my head, jaw tight as I resisted the urge to sink into her, pound her into the bed. “Would you say right now you need it?”

She groaned, fingernails digging into my chest just below my collarbones and dragging down so roughly she left a trail of fire-red marks from my sternum to my navel. “I’ll do whatever you want tonight, just make me come first.”

Unable to tease any longer, I rasped, “Put me inside.”

Her hands flew to my cock, wrapping around me and rubbing over herself before sliding me inside, pushing her hips off the bed to take me deeper. My skin flushed warm, and with a grunt, I met her movements, sinking in deep and pushing her legs to her sides so I could press all the way in, so I could rub her right where she needed it.

I closed my fists around the sheets on either side of her shoulders, struggling to control myself. She was so wet. She was so fucking warm. I squeezed my eyes closed, blood thundering in my veins as I pulled back and pushed in again, and again, hard and deep.

Her noises—sweet moans and growls that it was good, so good—made me want to dive deeper, press harder, make her come over and over until she could never imagine feeling anyone else inside her like this. She knew now I would go all night, and it wasn’t just that first night we shared. I would always keep her up for hours. With Hanna, I would rarely let it to be over quickly.

She was perfect, and gorgeous, and wild—hands on my face, thumb in my mouth, begging me with little noises and her wide, pleading eyes.

But when those eyes rolled closed I stopped, groaning loudly and rasped, “Watch me. I’m not going to be gentle tonight.”

She looked up at my face—not down at my cock—so I let her see every single sensation as it passed over me: the way it wasn’t enough even with my punishing thrusts and savage hands rasping over every inch of her skin; the way I relished how she began to jut up into me, and it started to be just right, just fucking right, and I laughed through a growl, watching her chest flush and her first orgasm sneak up on her, tearing from her screaming and frenzied; the way I wanted to slow down, enjoy the long drag of my cock in her, the warm, perfect hum in my blood, run my finger between her breasts and feel her sweat, slow down enough to make her beg again.

She pulled at my shoulders, begging for faster.

“So demanding,” I whispered, pulling out and flipping her over to lick down her back, bite her ass, her thighs. I left a pattern of red marks across her skin.

I pulled her down to the edge of the bed, bending her over the mattress, and sank back into her, so goddamn deep it made us both cry out. I closed my eyes, needing that sense of distance. Before, with every woman, I had watched everything. I’d needed that layer of visual stimulation when I was ready to come. But with Hanna, it was too much. She was too much. I couldn’t watch her when I was close like this, the way her spine arched, or how she’d look at me over her shoulder, eyes full of question and hope and that sweet adoration that spiked me right between my ribs.

I felt her begin to tighten around me, and lost myself in the way she got even wetter when I gripped her hair, roughly gripped her breasts in my hungry hands, and smacked her ass to hear a sharp crack, which was followed by her eager moan. Her sounds morphed from sharp cries to tiny gasps of breath as I bit her shoulder and told her to fucking come, Plum. And when she started to, I tried to hold on, tried to block out the image of us together, the way we must look. My hand tightened on her hip, the other on her shoulder as I pulled her forcibly onto me with every thrust until I was so close, could feel it barreling down my spine.

She said my name, pushed back into me and suddenly it felt like I was falling, spinning into darkness. My eyes flew open, both my hands gripping her tightly for support as I came, filling the condom with a groan. I continued to thrust into her, fucking her through her orgasm as my head swam, my legs on fire. I felt like I was made of rubber and could barely hold myself up.

I pulled out and discarded the condom, watched as she slid down onto the mattress. She looked so fucking perfect in my bed, her hair a mess, her skin bite-marked and flushed and sweaty, a glint here and there from the honey that still clung to her. I climbed on the bed, collapsing behind her and wrapping my arms around her waist. There was something so familiar about this. It was the first time she’d slept in my bed and yet it felt like she’d always been there.