He wasn’t going to lie, illicit sex was pretty amazing. Then again making love to her had always been, for the lack of a better term, pretty damn exquisite.
Even when they were young and obviously inexperienced, they were compatible in the sack. Her inherent competitiveness worked to his advantage. She would always try to one-up him. She’d be shy and squirmish at first, a prude in every sense of the word. And only he knew how to strip her of her inhibitions. A Sookie sans her inherent prudence? Damn, there was no word.
She could be a fucking hellion if she wanted to, a temptress who knew the exact buttons to push. An intoxicating drug he couldn’t seem to quit.
Seattle, in all its drizzling glory, had been the backdrop of their affair. An affair that was eight years in the making.
And stealth was the watchword.
There were those times when they would accidentally bump into each other in the grocery half an hour after her husband left for work. He’d push his conspicuously empty cart as he sailed past her. She’d keep her head low, memorizing the nutrition label of a can of tuna she’d never buy.
No one would notice how his lips curved slightly at the sight of her just as none could tell she was holding her breath as he passed.
They’d fall in step as they go through the banality of picking up cans and cartons off the shelves while casually walking side by side – hands grazing lightly, very discreetly – as they tried to amble through the afternoon crowd.
From the perspective of a regular shopper, they were nothing but a couple of strangers who happened to reach for a box of Weetabix at the same time. But for them it was their cue. Before anyone could figure out what was going on, they’d be long gone with their half-filled carts forgotten on aisle three. No one would notice that she was getting into the silver Audi instead of the yellow Honda she had driven in not an hour ago.
She would cook lunch and he’d pretend to help her just so he could sneak a peck or two. She would chide him for being a nuisance, while hiding the furious blush taking over her cheeks. Sometimes they’d actually consume the meal but more often he ended up consuming her. Food could wait, he couldn’t.
Alcide would call him once in a while and he’d time it so Sookie could also listen in as their old friend gave them the 411 about the elusive Cat. Desmond Cataliades was one sneaky son of a bitch. In the past two weeks since he came back from his trip with his wife, he had not made contact with any of his ‘usuals’ in Los Angeles. As it turned out California wasn’t the Cat’s first choice to satiate his carnal cravings. While Cataliades might be devious Alcide was resourceful. He learned Cataliades had a go-to guy in Philly, who was always waiting for him with fresh meat.
After much debate they finally came up with the perfect snare for the big fat cat.
Scheming was also a powerful aphrodisiac. They’d make love for hours in every room of the house. She’d be a dominant force in the beginning and a pliant, boneless mess in the end.
He wasn’t going to lie, sex with her was mind-blowing. He wouldn’t admit it willingly, but as incredible as the sex was, it wasn’t the thing he craved for the most. It was – he should be persecuted for saying it out loud – the spooning after all the action that he found himself looking forward to.
If that made him sound like a fucking sap, then so be it.
It was only when she was lying beside him, stripped bare, that he could swallow his pride and tune out everything. Drown the voices that were perpetually mocking him.
In the obscurity of his house, they could live out their fantasy. Like they were the only two people on earth – no one else mattered. They would watch whatever was on cable. She’d watch ESPN with him and he’d watch Game of Thrones with her. The nudity helped a lot. And while the incestuous relationship between the Lannisters hit too close to home, he couldn’t bring himself to mind.
One time she found a deck of cards in one of his drawers and challenged him to a game of poker. Strip, of course. Was there any other kind? He cracked open a sixty-four-year-old whiskey – one he was saving for a momentous occasion such as this. Plus he had big – nasty – plans for the night.
Alas, he was down to his boxers before he could toss down his first glass. It seemed that the Crane sisters of New Hampshire were a quite the hustlers in poker. Guess who was their protégé?
Her victory – and showboating – was short lived though as he chased her around the house. She might have won every single hand but in the end he took the moral victory along with every piece of garment she was wearing. Win-win.
She’d tell him stories about her life in the east coast and he’d try to match it with his misadventures in the west.
Like every other couple there were still altercations. They would squabble over little things and fight over the big ones, thus triggering a storm surge.
“Send him a fucking cab. You’re not his chauffeur!” he argued one night when Bill, drunk out of his fucking mind, asked her to pick him up at the pub.
“Don’t make this complicated, Eric, please. I have to play my part, remember?”
“When do you draw the line? Do you also clean up after him? Strip him naked and wash him when he throws up?”
“I’ll let him stew in his own filth.”
He straightened up, teeth gritting.
“And if he asks you to fuck him, will you do it too?”
“Goddamit, Eric! You know it’s not like that! I’ve only slept with him once since we got married.” In Vermont for the proverbial first night, she had told him before.
“That’s still one time too many.”
Her face hardened. “How dare you? You’ve slept with countless women while I was in New York and I’ve never thrown that in your face.”
His lips thinned into an unreadable line. “I never married any of them.”
That settled that dispute. She conceded and eventually sent Bill a cab. Small victories. Baby steps.
But like every hurricane, eventually it would pass. He now knew that the main goal was learning how to ride the wave and accepting that loving someone like her was like a blood sport. Not suitable for the weak.
The fights weren’t as common as before though. Most times were actually idyllic.
He loved it when she was cooking, humming absentmindedly as she chopped vegetables. He loved their quiet times. They’d re-read her letters to their unborn child and talk about each of her dreams for hours.
Sometimes were quieter. He’d scan his tablet and she’d read a book, or do expert-level Sudoku. He’d stop whatever he was doing just to watch in amusement as she knitted her brows, bit her nails and cursed the newspaper like an old enemy every time she got stumped.
He especially loved it when she was laughing. It was a throaty kind of laugh that sprang from her belly and not just a shallow, girlish giggle. And the way her eyes crinkled at the corners from sheer giddiness. Ah, shit. This much love should be illegal in all fifty states.
While loving her required absolutely no effort, making her stay was a different story.
He had grown to hate Ben Flynn and the sound of the muffled buzzing of her phone telling them that their time was up. Time to crawl out of the rabbit hole.
“Can’t. Bill’s already getting suspicious. He doesn’t buy the good girl act Ben is giving him.”
He gave up asking after the fifth time. Sometimes he would only force himself to keep his eyes shut and pretend to be sleeping just so he wouldn’t have to see her dress up, smooth her hair, gather her things and call for taxi to take her back to the grocery where she had parked her car to go back to the house across the street and play the part of a good housewife.
Outside the confines of his –their – house, they were strangers. She can’t be seen in public with him, her bastardous husband had made that quite clear.
But their borough of Seattle was small enough. They were bound to cross paths one way or another.
He ran his hand through his hair as he stepped inside the bustling Thai restaurant in Belltown. She was at the corner table with an Asian woman, talking animatedly with her hands shuffling in the air. With glowing recommendation from her former employer in Manhattan, she managed to land a job as assistant project manager for Rings and Bells, one of Seattle’s prominent event organizing firms, specializing in weddings.
Their meetings crashed to a halt the day she started working. She was due from nine-to-five, while his day began from six in the evening to two in the morning. The clash on their schedule made it impossible for them to continue their afternoon routine.
Armed with his most dashing smirk, he asked the waitress who greeted him to be seated at the table directly across from hers.
He knew the exact moment she saw him. Her hand stilled and her lips parted. Her eyes locked with his as he sauntered to the seat parallel to hers. There was a three-second pause before she shook her head lightly and turned her attention back to her company. It made him ecstatic that even after all these years he could still render her speechless.
A good five minutes passed before he felt his phone vibrate in his pocket.
‘Are you stalking me Northman?’
He bit the insides of his cheeks to keep a straight face as he typed a quick reply.
‘Please. I’m here for business.’
He was in fact meeting a potential buyer today. Sure, he was the one who chose that particular restaurant. Sure, he came in an hour early to get the lay of the land – in the hopes of getting the lay he wanted to land. Sure, he wasn’t surprised to see her here after she told him last night when they spoke on the phone. But all of those factors were purely coincidental. They weren’t substantial enough to convict him for stalking. Plausible deniability.
A smile toyed with the corner of her lips before she covered her face with the menu. Ah, cue the shameless blushing, he deduced with a lazy smile.
She cleared her throat audibly, put down the menu and tried to wave off the conversational tangent. A petite brunette waitress with a thick foreign accent was at his table to take his order. The only Asian cuisine he was familiar with consisted of raw fish and a heavy dollop of wasabi. Apparently they weren’t serving sashimi in a Thai place. He then asked for suggestions and she insisted he tried Tom Yum or Pad Thai. He gave her the green light for Tom Yum, not really caring what the hell it was. He was rather preoccupied eye-fucking the blonde at the next table.
Out in the open they were discreet, constricted. As much as their current predicament killed him, it also brought a twisted kind of thrill.
He could look, but not touch. So he looked. Melting her with the intensity of his stare. Telling her how much he missed her with only his piercing blue eyes.
She, apparently, was no spring chicken in the art of seduction either. Every so often her gaze would flit back to him while her hand flipped her hair so she could trace the skin at the back of her ear down to the curve of her neck. That single gesture was making his pants tighter. He faded everything into black as he carried out a conversation with her from a distance. Their eyes, of course, did most of the talking. It was an acquired skill.
His food arrived. Tom Yum Goong, he soon found out, was nothing short of a bitch. It was ruthlessly spicy that he swore his whole face burned red with only a spoonful. In his eagerness to ward off the wait staff earlier he failed to notice the four-chilli-pepper-warning at the bottom of the dish. His only consolation was the look of unmistakable concern etched on her face when she caught him reaching for his third glass of water.
His phone trembled.
‘Don’t wash it with water. You need something sweet to override the spice.’
He cocked his brow in her direction. Eight years ago she couldn’t even reheat a can of soup and now she was now a foodie?
‘Dessert? Are you offering Stackhouse?’
The pointed glare she skewered him with made him raise his hand to the waitress to order sticky rice with mango.
He was wiping his mouth with a cloth napkin when he saw her companion extend her hand to her for a firm shake, stand up and walk out of the restaurant. By the time his gaze went back to her, his cell was already shuddering on the tabletop with yet another missive.
‘Ladies room in two.’
His pulse quickened. He didn’t have the wherewithal to wait for two fucking minutes as he peeled himself off his chair and, with all the restraint he could summon, casually made his way to the back of the dining area to find the lavette.
Her short legs were no match with his long strides. He managed to catch up with her easily and swept her from behind as she was entering the two-cubicle powder room. It didn’t even occur to him that there might be other occupants. Luckily there was none. She barely had time to lock the door behind them before he pulled her inside the last stall.
“You sneaky, sneaky jerk,” she hissed, grasping the edges of his jacket to pull him closer.
He watched her through hooded eyes as his hands snaked around her waist down to her hips, cupping her buttocks with his overly excited palms.
“I haven’t seen in you three days. I had to improvise.”
He heard her suck in a breath as he hitched up her skirt to her waist.
“If anyone recognizes us…”
“Then the jig is up and you’ll have no other choice but to leave him.”
He stopped talking and relegated his lips to a much more enjoyable task of leaving a trail of wet, open-mouthed kisses along her neck.
“I’ve clearly underestimated your deviousness,” she sighed. He would have smirked in triumph if it weren’t for the distinct whoosh he heard. He looked down only to realize she had unzipped his fly without him noticing. Now that was clearly underhanded.
It took an effort to keep his eyes open as his hips jerked involuntarily when she thumbed the waistband of his boxers.
He never thought it was possible to have a hard-on that fast. But his dick was trying to prove a point.
She owned him and she fucking knew it.
Her other palm went inside his shirt as it began to glide over his chest, tracing the ripples of his stomach. He hissed when she pinched one of his nipples while her other hand began stroking his achingly hard manhood. Her cold tiny fingers around his warm cock made him shudder as she started pumping him slowly.
“Fuck, Sookie,” he growled lowly in her ear which only elicited a low throaty chuckle from her.
He wanted her to stop with the damned teasing. But deep down inside he knew he’d lose his mind if she did. It was nothing but excruciating bliss. A contradiction over a contradiction.
Ah, fuck it.
With a hard shove he backed her up against the cold tiles. She tucked her lip under her teeth to stifle her moans as he started burning a path of wet, sloppy kisses across her neck to the hollow of her throat. He fumbled for the buttons of her silk gray blouse as he nibbled at the shell of her ear while his long tapered fingers wrapped around her neck.
“Keep teasing me like this and I just might break you.”
Her lips curved into a wily grin. “Don’t let me stop you.”
He crushed his mouth on hers. The kiss was uncouth, ravenous and downright greedy. She was breathing heavily by the time his lips left hers. He palmed her ass again, sliding down to her thighs before he crouched down to rid her of her undergarment. She was wearing sheer thigh high black stockings and lacy boy shorts. Goddammit, she wasn’t making it any easier for him. His nostrils flared with want, he wanted to kiss her down there but they were under time constraints. He slid her panties down as she lifted one leg to free her ankle. Licking his middle finger wet, he dipped it back to her folds. One languid stroke and he could tell she didn’t require anymore lubrication.
Her eyes turned dark and positively dazed as she moaned his name.
Without anymore preamble, he entered her swiftly but slowly, testing if their current position would hold. It did. He pulled back gently only to slam back in making her cry out with every thrust. She held onto him for support. He could feel her clenching around him, her nails digging against his leather jacket. She was coming and he wasn’t that far behind. He pushed inside her with much more vigor. Three, four, five more times and they were both shaking from the impact of their climax.
“I love you, Eric.”
He wasn’t going to lie, the sex was amazing but he’d readily vow celibacy just to have her all to himself.