I’m waiting for Ella outside when she pulls up. She texted me to say that she’d like help hanging onto the dogs while they meet the puppies, so they don’t get too excited and accidentally bowl one over or something.
It’s fucking freezing out tonight, and darker than sin because there’s a new moon. Ella pulls up closer than usual, right into the golden nimbus spread over the top of my driveway by the floodlights. The engine cuts off, and she opens the door and hops nimbly out from the truck. I take the porch stairs down and head over to greet her.
“I am wearing the world’s ugliest underwear,” she announces.
“I thought I would go ahead and throw that out there now, since you said yesterday that you don’t think, uh…” she pauses, looks at me, shifts her gaze toward my belt, and then gestures back and forth between us several times, her hand at crotch level, “this is a good idea.”
I start to smile, but then see that her expression is dead serious.
I will not laugh. I will not laugh.
“Anyway, I feel like there was some tension at Jane’s earlier, maybe, and after everything you just talked about, I’m not sure if you’re emotionally vulnerable right now, and I don’t want to take advantage of that or anything.”
I’m not emotionally vulnerable right now, but it’s sweet of her to care so much about my mental state that she’s trying to sabotage herself with mention of hideous panties. And yet, somehow, it makes me want her even more. How to tell her that her plan is backfiring?
She turns away before I can, and unbuckles the dogs. They leap down, sniff me once in greeting, and then race out into the night, crashing through the snow.
“Is your underwear supposed to be a deterrent then?” I ask her, unable to keep the teasing edge from my tone.
She shuts the truck door and turns to me. “Yes. Or, they would be, if you saw them.” Her eyes squeeze shut for a second. She looks like she might be wincing. “They’re, like, Great Aunt Muriel level ugly.”
I smile down at her. “I don’t have a Great Aunt Muriel.”
“Then picture the largest, plainest pair of threadbare women’s underwear you possibly can.” She holds out her hands in demonstration of their size. Impressive. “Now cover them in paint stains – long story, please don’t ask.” I want to ask. So bad. “And imagine them on the oldest woman you know.”
Can’t do that. My head is too full of her to think of anyone else. “And you’re wearing them because?” I ask.
“I found them in the way back of my underwear drawer. They were the last clean pair. It was either them or nothing.”
My mind comes screeching to a halt. I suddenly hate these underwear even more than she does. If not for them…
“I really don’t like doing laundry,” she continues, unaware of my internal struggle. “You should know that about me. Like, if we stay friends for long enough, I will eventually try to lure you over to my house with the promise of tasty treats and then withhold them until I can convince you to wash my clothes for me.”
“Tasty treats?” I ask, my gaze roaming over her. My mind is stuck in the gutter. All I can think of is what would have been if not for these allegedly hideous undies. “Are we talking food or something else?”
She looks up at me, eyes wide in surprise. “Food,” she says, the word sounding like a question.
“You sure?” I ask her, taking a step closer.
The dogs come barreling back into the spotlight, squeezing between us, doing their damndest to ruin the mood with their whining and panting.
“We’d better go in,” Ella says, breaking eye contact and stepping back so she can lean down to pet Fred. “I swear I heard howling at Jane’s when I left.”
I decide to drop it, for now. “Really?” I ask, turning to lead the way.
“Yeah. One of Dave’s friends is a ranger, and he says the wolves are back.”
I stop at the door and glance down at her. She’s close, like she might be trying to hide behind me. Those blues eyes of hers shift from right to left searching the darkness beyond the safety of the porch.
“Not a fan of wolves?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “They’re right up there with bears when it comes to predators I’d least like to meet in person.”
“I saw a grizzly from a car once. Damn thing was nearly as big as the vehicle.”
“Thankfully we don’t have them here. Ours are smaller. But they’re even better at climbing trees because of their size, and they can run faster than a human could ever hope to.” She looks up at me, expression grim, voice low. “Plus, razor claws of doom and machete teeth.”
“Gee, thanks for the nightmares.”
“Just trying to share the misery.”
“Right, we need puppies.”
“Agreed. Only baby floofs can help us now.”
We step inside, towel off the dogs, shed our winter layers, and head toward the sitting room, where I corralled the puppies while I waited for her. The sounds of their muffled crying echoes from inside, and the dogs take off toward the closed door and start frantically trying to sniff them underneath it. Every few seconds, Fred straightens and looks back at Ella like, “Mom! Puppies, Mom!”
“I know, bud,” she says, stepping next to him to take his collar. “But we have to be gentle because they’re little.”
I do the same to Sam, and when they’ve calmed some, Ella opens the door a crack, just enough so that we can all see each other. Fred and Sam lose it, pulling against their collars and whining like I’ve never heard before. They work each other up until they’re howling.
Boots, on the other side of the door, plops down on his butt, tips his head back, and lets out a prolonged, answering squeak.
Fred and Sam stop to stare at him in confusion.
“Is he…” Ella says, stifling a giggle. “Is he trying to howl?”
“Uh, yeah, I think he is,” I say. Come on, little dude, you can do it.
“This is the true test, Ben,” she tells me, her face lit up by her smile. Jesus, she’s beautiful.
“To see whether or not one can actually succumb to cuteness overload.”
Sam howls again, and Boots throws back his head and squeaks some more in response. Beside him, Doodle seems to concentrate, really hard, and then utters a little whine-growl as if he’s testing it out before he lifts his muzzle skyward and lets forth a high-pitched a-roo-roo-roo-roo-roo sound. Boots pauses, then mimics him, and soon all four dogs are howling together.
Ella and I manage to live through it, proving that no, you cannot be killed by cuteness.
We let the dogs greet each other in stages from there. Ella told me this isn’t Fred and Sam’s first time meeting puppies, and they’ve been good with them before, but you never know how the puppies will behave, whether or not they’ll be aggressive and cause a reaction in the older dogs you didn’t expect.
Everything goes pretty well, considering their size difference. The dogs sniff and dance around the puppies once we let them freely intermingle. Fred splays out his front paws and drops down, butt still in the air, and then springs upward and away like he wants Doodle to play chase with him. Doodle, surprised, runs away in sheer terror instead, cowering behind my left foot.
I scoop him up and hug him. “You’re okay,” I tell him, giving his ears a ruffle.
“You’re really good with them,” Ella says. “I’m glad you decided to keep them.”
“Me too,” I tell her. “And thank you again. I feel like I owe you so much. For the dogs, and all the help you’ve put in with the house.”
She grins, the look lascivious. “You can pay me back in tasty treats.” She waggles her brows, just in case I missed the innuendo.
I nearly drop the puppy.
“Ella!” I say, setting him down.
“What? You started the flirting! Are we not doing the flirting?”
“I thought you didn’t want to take advantage of me,” I tease.
“Who said it had to go beyond flirting?” she says in a huff. “Fine, I’ll stop.”
I close the distance between us and raise my hands to cup her cheeks. Her hair is loose tonight, and my fingers slide easily into the silken strands, coming to rest at the back of her head. “More flirting, please.”
She lifts her gaze to meet mine and leans into me a little. Her own hands wrap around my arms, just above my elbows, and her right one slides up until her fingers reach the edge of my tattoo. Goosebumps rise in their wake as they trace the bottom of the design.
“How far up does this go?” she asks.
“Stay the night and I’ll show you,” I tell her.
Her lips part in shock. “Ben, I thought you didn’t think this was a good idea.”
“That was before I knew how well you could handle all my shit,” I say, stroking my thumbs over her cheeks.
“It’s not shit,” she says, adamant. “And none of it is your fault.”
A well of emotion bubbles up within me. Hope. Longing. Appreciation. Desire. It’s almost like I can actually feel my heart swelling in response to her words. I like her. I want her. Brian said he thinks that I’m ready for this. I think I’m finally ready to agree with him.
“Ella,” I say, stroking a thumb over her bottom lip. “I want this.”
She leans in even more. Her hands disappear from my elbows and come to rest on my shoulders. They bunch in the fabric of my t-shirt as she rises up on her toes and presses her lips gently against mine.
I nearly groan into her mouth.
One of the puppies starts yipping like a maniac, and we break apart to see Doodle running circles around Fred, who is spinning in place, trying to keep the puppy in sight while Doodle attempts to leap up and grab his tail.
“That won’t end well for you,” Ella says, stepping away from me to scoop Doodle up.
I stare at her profile, my gaze lingering on her freckles before moving downward, tracing the outline of her breasts, the narrowing of her waist, the swell of her hips.
“Stay,” I tell her.
Her focus remains on the puppy, her fingers scratching under his chin. “Okay,” she says, softly.
Her answer ricochets through me. I want to scoop her up, fireman style, and sprint up the stairs with her. Instead, we calmly separate the dogs, careful not to touch each other on the off chance that it sets off some unstoppable chain reaction. I tell her where the puppy food and spare bowls are. She takes Fred and Sam across the hallway into the library to get them set up, while I get Boots and Doodle settled in here.
We meet at the bottom of the stairs a few minutes later. I take her hand and wordlessly lead her up them, forcing myself to keep a normal pace. My pulse is thrumming, adrenaline and lust gathering in my limbs. I turn left at the top of the stairs, open my bedroom door, and let go of her hand so she can go in first.
She pauses just inside, inspecting the room. I shut the door gently behind me and go to her, wishing she was wearing leggings instead of jeans.
“This is nice,” she says.
“You’re nice,” I tell her.
She laughs, a little nervously, and starts to turn.
I put my hands on her hips to stop her, thinking back to the fantasy I’d dreamt up last night and wanting to experience it for real. She stills in my grip, and I pull her backward to wrap my arms around her waist and drop my lips to her neck. This isn’t a fantasy, though, so of course her hair is in the way. She impatiently pushes it aside, exposing a long line of creamy skin.
I brush my lips over it.
She jerks away in response, snorting. “Your beard.”
“Are you ticklish, Ella?” I ask, angling my chin toward her and wiggling my jaw as I lean in.
“Yes!” she says, trying to squirm out of my grasp.
I let her go, chuckling, giving up on replaying that fantasy. This is more fun anyway.
She comes to a stop near the foot of the bed, her hair a little disheveled, the neck of her shirt pulled sideways, her chest rising and falling as she sucks in heavy breaths. Her eyes are wild when they meet mine, pupils blown out from lust.
I walk over to her, pick her up under the armpits, and toss her onto the bed.
She shrieks mid-air, then laughs when she bounces off the mattress. Her hands go to the hem of her shirt and she sits up so she can tug it up and off. The bra she’s wearing is beige and entirely unremarkable. I’m thankful for that, because I don’t want anything to distract me away from the sight of her toned stomach, her defined shoulders, that long, swan-like neck.
I put a knee on the edge of the mattress and then crawl toward her on all fours. She remains sitting, her blue eyes dancing as she watches me come. I get within touching distance, and she grabs my shirt to pull me closer. I brace my hands on either side of her thighs and lean forward to kiss her. She meets me halfway, covering my mouth with her own. Her lips part almost immediately. I open mine to let her in. She’s taking the lead, and I couldn’t be happier about it. To me, there’s nothing sexier than a woman who knows what she wants and peruses it with such single-minded intensity.
Our tongues brush. She moans into my mouth, hooks an arm around my shoulders, and drags me down on top of her. I let most of my weight rest on my forearms to keep from smothering her. Beneath me, her legs spread as wide as her skinny jeans will allow, our hips pressing together. As her tongue continues to ply mine, I shift my pelvis forward, so she can feel how much I want her.
She breaks off the kiss, gasping. “Too many clothes.”
I push myself off of her, leaning back on my knees as I start to tug my shirt off. The hem isn’t even halfway up my stomach before Ella is scrabbling up to sitting so she can press her hands against my stomach muscles. I rip the shirt the rest of the way off and toss it to the floor. The open hunger on her face as she traces the lines of my abs makes every sit-up I’ve ever done more than worth it.
Her hands freeze as her gaze rises, taking in the tattoo that climbs up my left bicep, whorls over my shoulder, and snakes down to cover both of my pecs in a series of stylized enatas, tikis, ocean waves, spearheads, and shark fins, the spaces in between swathed in bands of black.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispers, her tone reverent.
“Thank you,” I say.
Her eyes move from my chest, back toward my stomach. “You could do my laundry on these things,” she tells me, tracing the outline of an ab.
“In exchange for tasty treats?” I tease.
She grins up at me. Then her nimble fingers slide down, nails tracing over my skin in a way that makes me shudder, before finally coming to rest on my belt. I watch as one hand starts working to undo it, while the other keeps going, lower, coming to rest on the bulge beneath. Her palm slides down my length, then back up again.
I need these pants off. Now. Hers too.
I reach out and fumble at the button on her jeans, my fingers trembling. God, what she does to me.
Her hands immediately disappear from my waist and clamp onto my wrists, stopping me. “Oh, Christ, no. I forgot about the underwear,” she says, staring up at me in horror.
Oh my fucking God, she was serious. The laughter just pours out of me. I have to lean my head on her shoulder to keep from toppling us both over. “I thought you were kidding about them.”
“No. I wish. Ben, they are so bad.”
“Okay, now I really have to see them,” I say, straightening, my fingers going back to work.
She closes her eyes in resignation and releases me. I get the button undone and then start to slide her zipper down, curiosity making a strange bedfellow with the lust still coursing through me. More of her skin is exposed, and while I could spend hours staring at it, or dropping kisses on it to find out just how ticklish she is, I’m distracted by the frayed elastic band of her underwear. They’re cotton, the fabric a mottled taupe that leans more toward brown in the darker areas.
What the hell?
I move the zipper lower, and a splotch of orange is revealed. Lower still, a dab of blue-green-gray that reminds me of drowned things. I reach the end of the line, then spread the sides of her pants open. A Rorschach-style kaleidoscope of colors stares back at me.
“How the fuck did you even do this?”
She groans and covers her eyes with her hands as if hiding. “I used a folded up rag to wipe up paint one day, and the underwear was stuck inside it from static. I tossed them in the wash with the rest of my paint rags and they came out looking like this. I was going to throw them away, but then I had a vague idea of doing something with them, making some sort of artistic statement full of ennui and existential angst. You know, because I’m so dark and moody. I threw them into my underwear drawer afterward so I wouldn’t forget about them, then promptly forgot about them. Until today.”
I raise my gaze back up to hers, then lift my hands and gently pull hers from her face. Our eyes meet. “You’re going to need more than an ugly pair of panties to make me not want to fuck you right now.”
Her mouth pops open in response, and she looks like she’s frozen in surprise for a second. Then her eyes darken and her lips lift in a downright indecent grin before she straight up launches herself at me. I catch her and spin us, one arm around her back, the other braced on the bed so I can lay her down on the comforter. Our mouths crash together, almost violently. I drag myself away from her and grip the band of her underwear and pants and drag them both off. She squirms out of them, arching her back so she can reach behind herself and unhook her bra. It comes off a second later, leaving her gloriously naked before me.
“I want to trace your tattoo with my tongue,” she says, her gaze running up my left arm.
“Funny. I was just thinking about doing the same to your vagina.”
She barks a laugh, and then spreads her legs, exposing herself to me, just as unselfconscious as I hoped that she would be. I drop to my knees, hook my elbows beneath her legs, and tug her to the edge of the bed. Her pubic hair is a few shades darker than the hair on her head, trimmed so that I have an unobstructed view of the folds of her sex, of the moisture that already glistens there.
She slides her legs up to rest her calves on my shoulders, then chuckles darkly. I pause to look up at her.
“My legs fit into the divots in your shoulder muscles exactly like I imagined they would.”
“You imagined this?” I ask, turning my head so that I can kiss the inside of her knee.
She lets out a shaky breath. “Yes.”
I should take my time, trace my way up her leg, lick and kiss and bite the inside of her thighs until she’s begging for it. But I do none of those things. Instead, I spread her wider and lean forward to suck her clit into my mouth.
“Ben,” I moan, arching up off of the bed, my amusement forgotten.
I want to look down at him, watch him, thread my fingers through his hair. But I can’t, because holy fuck is he good at giving head. He knows exactly where a clit is, just how to tease and taunt, lavishing it until I’m almost over stimulated and then dragging his mouth lower so he can slide his tongue into me.
I dig my hands into the covers, spreading my legs even further, giving him whatever access he wants. His mouth returns to my clit, and a finger slicks into my wetness, replacing his tongue.
“You’re tight,” he says, voice so low I can feel it vibrating into me. “And so wet.”
“You’re going to talk me to a climax,” I warn.
His finger dives deeper, mouth returning to my aching flesh.
“You taste so good,” he mutters into me.
I sway my hips up to meet him.
“Do you want to come like this, Ella?”
“Yes,” I say, panting. “And again with you inside me.”
He groans and redoubles his efforts to send me over the edge.
My heels press into his back, giving me more leverage. I bunch the sheets in my fingers, my nails digging in. His hand and his mouth set a rhythm that my body quickly catches, and soon my hips shift back and forth with every pass of his tongue. The heat from it seems to move into me, spreading outward from my core to light my nerve endings on fire.
“Ben,” I gasp. “I’m so close.”
How am I already this close?! God, what this man does to me.
He latches his lips onto my clit and sucks, and it’s like someone poured gasoline on the fire. White light flashes behind my closed eyes as pleasure explodes through me. I lose the rhythm, giving myself over to it as wave after wave drags me under.
I’m still reeling when Ben pulls away to stand. Normally, after an orgasm, I’m sated, damn near lethargic, but the sight of him pulling off his jeans and then boxers shoots a thrill of adrenaline through me that has me immediately looking forward to round two.
“Are you on birth control?” he asks.
“Yes,” I tell him. “And it’s been eight months since I’ve been with anyone. I got tested afterwards, so I know I’m still clean.”
He grins. “I have you beat. It’s been a year, and same.”
My gaze slides down his body. His dick is proportional to the rest of him, so, it’s huge. I’m suddenly thankful I came first, because its been so long since I’ve done this that I’m not sure if I’d be able to stretch comfortably around him otherwise.
“Condom?” he asks.
I raise my gaze to his, taking my time. He is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever known. The muscles, the tattoo, the face, the eyes, the empathy, the humor, the kindess. Everything about this man is gorgeous.
When our eyes meet, I shake my head. “No condom.”
“How do you want it?” he all but growls.
“Literally however you want to give it to me,” I tell him. I’m desperate for him right now.
“Missionary then. I want to see you come this time.”
I move backwards on the bed, watching him crawl toward me, relishing in the sight of his shoulders bunching and flexing as he prowls closer. My head hits the pillows and I collapse down, shifting my legs apart to make room for him.
I was wrong. I was so wrong. I thought because we were clinical and respectful when we disagreed that there’d be no passion between us in the bedroom. It was a lie I told myself to keep from thinking of this. To attempt to put him once and for all into the category of “friend”.
I want him now with a fierceness that actually shocks me. It’s primal, this feeling, some completely unevolved need that is straight up cavewoman in nature. The look on Ben’s face as he lowers himself down to me reflects it, which drives me even wilder.
Our hips meet, and he slides his dick down over my folds torturously slow before fitting his head to my opening. Ice green eyes stare down into mine, his brow furrowed in concentration. He shifts his hips forward, barely, just enough to push inside. We both moan in response.
I lift my face to his and kiss him. He takes the lead now, where I had earlier, his tongue sliding against mine as he works himself deeper into me. I feel a pressure, like my body doesn’t know whether or not it can accommodate him, and I break our kiss to lay back down and force my muscles to relax.
Ben can feel the resistance, and so he takes his time, working himself in, then sliding out to coat himself in my slickness, so that when he pushes back in, it’s a little easier.
“God, you’re tight,” he tells me.
“God, you’re big,” I shoot back.
He pauses just long enough to chuckle, his eyes crinkling up at the sides. I raise my hands to trace the lines, and he turns his head to kiss the inside of my wrist. His beard tickles, but not as much as it did on my neck.
I shift my hips forward, taking him a little deeper. He groans, his lips parting over my skin. Very gently, he bites my wrist. That part of my body has never, ever been erogenous, but the sight and feel of his teeth latched onto me sends a thrill of lust straight to my core.
I shift my hips again in response, craving the feeling of being full to bursting with him. He releases me with a gasp and leans forward to meet me, pushing another glorious inch in. We work like this for a few minutes, until he’s buried to the hilt inside me and both of us are breathing heavy.
“You feel. So good,” he says, eyes closed, forehead braced against mine.
“So do you,” I tell him, scraping my nails up his back.
His eyes flash open and he pulls almost all the way out of me before driving back in. He hits part of my cervix when he’s fully seated. I’ve never had this happen, only read about it. All the articles said it would either hurt, or be the best thing I’ve ever felt. I’m so turned on already that I don’t feel an ounce of pain, only bliss, so I wrap my legs around his waist and give us both better leverage. He keeps one arm braced by the side of my head. The other grips my thigh as he drives into me again.
“Oh my God, Ben,” I moan.
His hand moves further down, shoving beneath me so he can grab my ass and pull me closer. He lifts me clear off the bed, that’s how strong he is. I relish in the feeling of it, meeting his next thrust with my hips. He lowers his face, brushing his lips over mine before moving sideways to drag my ear into his mouth.
“Ella,” he rumbles into it, then begins to set a slow, torturous pace.
I’ve had sex. A decent amount of sex, I’d say. But Ben is by far the largest man I’ve been with, and the feel of him sliding so deep is different than anything else I’ve ever experienced before. He brushes along my cervix with every stroke, and soon a pressure begins to build within me in response to it. Instead of pleasure being centered around my clit, like it usually is, it feels like this stimulation is coming from much deeper, somewhere past even where he can reach.
He picks up the pace slightly, his lips dropping to my neck, his fingers gripping my ass. My breathing becomes deeper. The muscles of my thighs start to shake. Beads of sweat form along the back of my neck. Holy hell, what is he doing to me?
“Ben,” I warn, because I’m honestly a little concerned about what’s about to happen.
My muscles clench around him deliciously. He shudders and slows.
“What are you doing? Please don’t stop,” I beg.
“I’m really close, Ella,” he says, pushing into me, teeth scraping over the skin of my neck.
I shiver beneath him and try to pull him closer. “So am I.”
“Where do you want me to come?”
“Inside me. I want to feel you.”
He pulls halfway out and slams into me. I arch my back, my moan close to a whimper. The pressure is unbearable now.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“Yes. Do that again.”
He does what I tell him to. I have to clench my jaw shut to keep from screaming this time.
“Look at me, Ella,” he says.
I open my eyes and stare up at him as he drives into me again. His brows are drawn down in concentration, even as his lips lift in a lopsided grin. It makes me wish I’d never closed my eyes.
“Again,” I say, gripping his shoulders.
We find our pace together, faster than before. Within me, the pressure reaches a crescendo. The damn bursts a heartbeat later, and my orgasm hits so hard that I nearly black out. My entire body seizes up around Ben, my thighs gripping his sides, my inner muscles clenching so hard he can barely move. It’s like every single cell of my being comes at the same time. I now understand why the French call this the little death. I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt so alive, or so close to dying.
“Fuck. Ella,” Ben says.
Within me, I feel his dick stiffen and swell.
I snap my eyes open just in time to watch his face as he comes inside me. The sight sends an aftershock of pleasure rolling through my core, and I moan aloud with him and grind my hips into his.
Afterward, we lay in his sweat-slicked sheets, him still inside me, both of us breathing so hard we sound like we’re gasping.
“Well,” Ben says, matter-of-factly.
“Do not make me laugh right now,” I warn him. “It will get so messy.”
He grins in response and I have to look away from him.
“Shower?” he asks.
I nod. “Necessary at this point.”
He has to help me from the bed, because my legs are jello.
“If I have another orgasm right now, I’ll probably have a fricking heart attack,” I tell him.
We get into the shower together. He makes me come again. I somehow manage to live through it.
Copyright © 2018 by Navessa Allen
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.