Dating The Author

Dating The Author


 

Dating the author

 

~o~

 

I’ve been trying to get back into the saddle for so long that I almost forgot how dreadful the whole process was. Especially if you lost someone, like I did. Okay, he isn’t dead – technically. He is dead to me though, and that’s pretty much the same when it comes to matters of the heart. It isn’t even the case of a recent break-up, because it happened four years ago. Everyone has been telling me to move on, that I should find it easy after all this time.

But guess what? Grief shows its ugly face when you least expect it. Yep, even after such a long time. How much time is long enough to grieve something you lost, anyway? Especially when you never got the closure you needed. When you simply had to move on. Just like that. Trust me, there is nothing simple about the process, nor is it straight-forward. Not like in my stories.

I always say that I’m not grieving for him, because that wasn’t a loss, not really. What I miss the most is me. The old me. The happy me. The me that’s gone and is never coming back. Don’t get me wrong, I tried, I really did. I even went on countless dates, with numerous strangers. But they all ended in one of two ways. The same routine questions were asked, and when the conversation got to the point where I had to confess what I did for a living, there were two different outcomes.

In the best-case scenario, the guy told me it was ‘so cool’, then went quiet the next moment, having nothing to add. Fair enough, not everyone can handle this kind of thing, and I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. I get that. But what I don’t get is the other group. The pervy, ready-to-fuck-you type. I mean, seriously? Who do they think I am? Oh, am I supposed to start sex-chat with strangers, just because of what I do? Well, jeez, thanks for the heads-up.

“Felicity Richards. Is there anyone here by that name?”

A strong, presumably male voice calls out from behind the human-sea, and I crane my neck in vain to see who it belongs to. For a moment, I debate whether I should own up to my identity or run away. Of course, it isn’t my real name, just in case someone recognises me. I’m not that famous, but still, you never know. The same voice calls out once more, and a few women in front of me glance back over their shoulders, checking out their competition.

As if they had anything to fear. They are all gorgeous, and I assume they all have their minds set. They are all sure of what they want, no trace of a doubt. I thought I knew once, too. But now, when I finally have the chance to find out if I still have it in me, I want to chicken out. I want to go home, curl up on my couch with a glass of red and a good book, I really do. And my grief isn’t helping make a decision, either. You see, it does hit me in the most inconvenient moments. Like now, when I’m on a speed-dating thingy. The red-headed woman right in front of me looks straight into my eyes accusingly, which is almost enough to send me packing.

Her hazel eyes bore into my soul, as if challenging me to face my inner demons. The demons I kept feeding for so long I barely remember how they adopted me in the first place. Still, battling with them seems safer than looking into those cruel eyes. My demons might be killing me slowly, but they provide a safe haven from the other demons I’m too scared to deal with. Because, if I let them get under my skin, I would have to feel. Everything. And I’m not ready for that yet. Not sure I ever will be.

Running away seems to be my only option, and yet I do the opposite. As if my body betrayed me, it keeps moving forward monotonously. My inner demons don’t stop me either, choosing to watch quietly as I step out of the queue and slowly walk over to the registry counter. They might just be a figment of my imagination, but I’m so going to make them pay for this. Later. Now all I can concentrate on is the notion to survive this.

One step at a time. That’s it, you can do this. It’s no big deal… Of course, I’m not used to heels, or the marble-laced terrain under my five-inch-clad feet. Being clumsy by nature, I stumble, matter-of-factly. There is no doubt about the direction I’m heading, and I’m doing it fast. Soon enough, I will be faced with another, even more terrifying choice: do I admit defeat in front of all the prying eyes, while more than only my demons laugh into my face, or get up, straighten the fake smile plastered on my lips, and look them in the eye instead, with an expression filled with determination.

But judgement day never comes, as strong arms stop me from falling. Right before my jaw could connect with the marble floor, the man standing on the other end of the desk reaches out, steadying me. He smells like the ocean on a bright sunny day, and I have to push one of my demons aside, because he (she?) wants a sniff. The very same hell-spawn also suggests that this stranger must taste and feel at least as good as he smells.

But the spell is broken before I could battle my inner demons. Mr Ocean mutters something intelligible, and I growl in frustration as he lets me go as quickly as he can, as if I had a contagious illness. The notion almost sends me tumbling back. This time it’s actually my five-inch heels that stop the disaster from happening. About bloody time they did me some good, without being adamant that I break a leg. Anger bubbles up inside my belly, but I don’t really know why I’m so upset all of a sudden.

Wobbling a bit while trying to regain my long-lost dignity, I decide to look my newly-found demon in the eyes. If I wasn’t so terrified, I would probably see the irony in all this. After all, isn’t this how all my stories start? But this is reality. I won’t let this unfortunate incident steer me from my goal. I might not know exactly what (or who) I’m looking for here, but I sure as hell know one thing: my stories are but creations of my twisted mind. There is nothing real about them. With a dismissive sigh, I hand over my fake ID, and the man who (almost) saved my grace takes a tentative look. This is the moment my demons decide to let me in on the hushed whispers that surround our little scene. Oh well, at least I became famous for a different reason tonight.

The guy looks at the picture on the card, then back at me, and I puff my chest in pretend pride. Yep, this is me, in the flesh. For a split second I can spot a trace of a frown on his handsome features, a brief moment of recognition, making my stomach dip. No no, no, not tonight. He squints at me, silver eyes laced with amber under thick black lashes trying to take me in. He glances at my rainbow-coloured hair, then his gaze travels down to my full red lips. The moment his eyes linger grows almost painfully unbearably long, but he must notice the inappropriate nature of his stare, because his eyes reconnect with mine. Silvery-gold boring into a pair of ocean-blue.

I want to look away. I want to ignore my demons’ whispers; I want to admire the breath-taking view instead. The organisers really did a number on the Greek-style pillars connecting the marble floor with the carved ceiling. As if the marble roses running up the pillars weren’t enough, they scattered real petals everywhere, making the grand hall smell like Heaven. Yes, I want to admire all this enchanting beauty, I want it to transport me to a long-forgotten time of peace, love, lust and happiness. But I can’t. Not while those silvery-gold eyes look at me so intensely. I let out a sigh, and his gaze finally lets me go. He hands me back my fake ID (the one that just passed its first mission impossible, I must add), and motions for the hallway to his right.

“Next.”

The barking order is so out of place, so unlike his intense yet tender gaze, that I involuntarily shudder. He raises an eyebrow questioningly, but I know better than to admit anything. I will just add this to the pile of humiliations that I have to face tonight, simple as that. With a head held high, demons in check, and the hushed whispers shut out of my mind, I head in the pointed direction. I can only hope I’m not heading towards something even worse.

 

~o~

 

"Are you saying what I think you are saying?”

The Adonis winks at me, crystal blue eyes twinkling in the candlelight. Oh boy, all I can do is blink and bite down on my lower lip in an attempt to contain the laughter that’s threatening to burst out from my core. Here I was, thinking this will be really bad, but it’s actually quite fun, considering. And yep, he repeats what he just said, making it even harder to concentrate.

“Yep. That’s my biggest turn on. Of course, I wouldn’t mind you dressing up as a Disney Princess from time to time, but I would rather keep that option to myself at the beginning.”

This is just peachy. And then people wonder why I don’t date. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with a little role-play, but in my mind, he would parade as Don Juan or Zorro, not fricking Esmeralda. I sigh, feeling bad for my thoughts already. There is nothing wrong with this, and there is nothing wrong with him. He is just not my prince (nor princess) charming, I’m afraid.

The way he presents his passion is a tad bit funny though, I must admit. Oh well, let’s hope he finds a matching pair tonight, but until then, let me play a different kind of rodeo here. Let’s see how long I can keep up the pretence without as much as a chuckle. I deserve a bit of entertainment, right? That’s why I’m here, after all. My demons try to protest, but I am the one holding the reigns – for now.

“Fascinating. Tell me more. Do you have any costumes that would be ready if you know…?”

I clear my throat, looking around quickly, as if checking whether anyone is listening in on our bizarre sex chat. Apparently not. Too bad, they would be in for a treat for sure.

“If we wanted to have sex?”

He chimes in helpfully, and I gulp before nodding. This is getting even more interesting. I’m so glad I made it, despite every piece of me screaming in protest. What would I have missed? This night will keep me going for months, even if not in a sexual way. My hands are itching to grab a pen and write this all down, but for now, my memory will have to do. He continues in his slightly high-pitched voice. What a shame, he is such a fine specimen…

“Well, I do as a matter of fact.”

He winks at me yet again, and I silently count to five, stifling a smirk.

“Oh, that sounds awesome! Which one is your favourite?”

He blushes (he actually blushes), then bites his lip in what I assume is embarrassment. Really? Is this what makes him embarrassed? Telling me which Disney princess he likes to become, before having sex with another Disney princess-wannabe? Oh wait, I’m not even sure that’s how it works. Hmm, I might ask him later…

“Okay, I’m going to tell you, but first promise that you won’t laugh.”

Oh, would I ever… I raise my eyebrows, faking innocence.

“Of course, how could I?”

He lets out a ragged breath, smooths down his silky turquoise shirt (which makes me wonder what he’s wearing underneath), and clears his throat. Oh boy, this is gonna be good.

“It’s Rapunzel.”

He blushes some more, and I blink away tears of laughter. Coughing gently, it’s my turn to clear my throat, blaming it on a cold I never had.

“Rapunzel? Why her?”

He closes his eyes for a second, and I silently pray that he doesn’t change his mind. I need to know how this story ends. Well, it won’t end with a happy ending, we have already established that much, but still. Curiosity for me is an occupational hazard, so to speak.

“Why her? How can you ask something silly like that? Haven’t you seen that gorgeous crown of hair with all the flowers?”

He lets out a sigh, then continues in a dreamy tone.

“Oh, I have her outfit, and the wig, too. And guess what else?”

I’m afraid to guess, but more afraid to ask. I do the latter anyway.

“What?”

He leans closer, about to let me in on a trade secret. His voice is a hushed whisper now.

“I got a pair of fishnet stockings, too.”

He is looking at me with expectant eyes, but I furrow my brows. Am I missing something here? As he doesn’t elaborate, I take the bait.

“But that isn’t part of the story…”

He nods vehemently, and I’m becoming a bit scared. What kind of monster have I unleashed?

“Exactly. I’m creative that way, just so you know. I thought it would complement the outfit, so I added it myself. I have lots of surprises up my sleeve.”

Or down his stockings, my inner demons add helpfully.

Yeah, I don’t have any doubts about either. And I’m pretty sure he is going to make someone very happy. But I decide that this is as good a time as any to tell him the truth. With as much sincerity and innocence as I can muster (which isn’t much, considering that I write about sex), I batter my eyelashes at him, fiddling my thumbs.

“Oh, I see. Well, I think it’s time I share a secret with you, too.”

His eyes light up instantly, and he leans even closer, almost knocking over the romantically inclined candle. Too bad his idea of knocking me off my feet isn’t working, either.

“Yes, yes, yes, tell me. Is it something juicy?”

I nod, then lower my tone, so only he can hear what I have to say. Part of me feels bad for the guy, because he takes my sudden change of behaviour as encouragement. I can only hope he isn’t wearing those fishnets now… I lean closer, almost closing the space between us. I’m so close to him right now, I could easily kiss him, if I wanted to. Yeah, well, this proves as well that looks aren’t everything.

“Okay, here it is. I simply hate Disney movies. They put our expectations so high, wouldn’t you agree?”

I only wait a fraction of a second for my words to register, before I rumble on:

“Not just about the way princes and princesses should look and behave, but about the amount of help we are supposed to get from animals while cleaning. And what’s with Cinderella and her shoes? Like nobody in the bloody kingdom has the same size feet? Oh, and don’t even get me started on Snow White sleeping with those seven gnomes…”

The sudden movement of his hand startles me, stopping my train of thought. He grabs hold of my hand and it hurts a little. If I didn’t know better, I would say that my demons (and my twisted mind) enjoy that a little. As if they approved. As if I needed to be punished for a sin I never committed.

Up until now, I might have believed that fairy-tales were the best thing since sliced bread was invented. All those perfect princes and princesses… Little did I know, that this almost perfect prince wanted to be one of the perfect princesses himself. Yep, high expectations alright. His expression changes instantly, and I’m saved by the sound of the bell. Talking about excellent timing.

“Okay gentlemen, please proceed to the next table and make those minutes count.”

The organizer’s voice is monotone, as if he’s done this a thousand times. And I can’t blame him. Now, having experienced it first hand, I would even say I don’t blame him for what happened earlier. It wasn’t his fault that I repaid his intent to help me with rudeness. The fact that nobody looked at my lips like that in a long time wasn’t his fault, either.

Too bad he hasn’t heard what my almost-prince-charming had to say. The mentioned princ(ess) lets go of my hand and gets up abruptly, storming off towards the next table. I glance over to the blond who’s adjusting her fake boobs in her barely-there crop top, and she smirks at me triumphantly, most probably thinking I’m an idiot for passing up such a dishy guy. I almost feel sorry for her and make a mental note to check up on the fairy-tale pair later.

“And the next round starts in 3…. 2… 1…. Go!”

Part of me is angry at our host for making such an ordinary thing out of this though. Just like he did back there at the registry table. This is nothing to him, just a job he has to do to get by. But most of us are here to find Prince Charming (the real one, without the fishnets), and for some of us, the task seems to be nearly impossible.

Yep, I belong to that group, for obvious reasons. I’ve been out of the game for quite some time now, and I want to get back in. It’s strange, considering I write erotica, but hey, I’m here tonight, doing the whole three-minute hook-ups, just to find someone I can write about. And no, not the way I’m going to write about Mr Fishnets. I need a real man, with real needs and desires. I need real stories, ones I want to shout out to the whole world, but also ones I would probably hide from everyone who knew me. Like all my protagonists, I want adventure. But preferably without the heartache that inevitably follows.

Go back to writing or read one of your books.

My demons, so sweet to rush to the rescue, as always. I ignore them, because I’m still in charge. Nope, I’m not going to let their cynicism get the best of me.

My next possible partner in crime takes a seat opposite me and shoots me a million-carat smile of his twenty-something teeth. The front row is like a domino, dotted with black and missing a piece here and there. His short chicken-yellow hair is as charming as his smile, not to mention the tomato stain on his green Christmas Jumper. It looks almost as if he was trying to feed Rudolf the reindeer, as the tomato spot is somewhere between the animal’s antlers and nose. Oh, if it wasn’t for his aim… I wonder how long he’s been wearing that jumper, considering it’s Valentine’s Day…

This is going to be a long three minutes.

I couldn’t agree more with my demons. He wiggles a bushy (also chicken-stained) eyebrow, and I can tell that both of us our equally fascinated with each other’s lavish colours. Oh well, had worse icebreakers (and not just today). I am tempted to roll my eyes at Mr Clucky, but I resist this time. I don’t normally judge a book by its cover, so I’m prepared to give him a chance – until the moment he licks his slightly less poultry-hued moustache, checking me out from head to toe. He even whistles, or at least I guess that’s what the clucking sound is supposed to be. To my dismay, his voice is like a squeak, making me wonder whether his parents’ dealings were all legit or not.

“My, my, look what we have here.”

I just hope he won’t be using the royal ‘we’ throughout our entire conversation. Before I could answer, he continues:

“What are you supposed to be, a unicorn?”

Rude much. He leans closer, scrunching his nose. Is he trying to smell me? Now his pouting lips remind me of a duck’s behind. On second thought, if he was to take a selfie right now, it would be the perfect picture, no doubt. Still, the assessing look he gives me automatically urges me to lean back, hoping to become one with the back of my chair. He carries on, as if oblivious to my growing discomfort and disgust.

“Well, not that we mind, not at all. It’s just that we always went for normal gals, you know…”

Yep, still using the royal plural. He blabbers a bit more, but I’m not paying attention. Clearly, he isn’t here for an answer, nor is he here for me. The look in his eyes is enough to convince me that he isn’t trying to be rude either. He is simply trying to figure out whether I’m good enough for him or not. Oh well, I have already made his choice easy. Even if he doesn’t know it yet. A strong and familiar male voice zaps me back to reality, and to the half man, half chicken (and two-quarters royalty) occupying the chair opposite.

“Excuse me, but I think you would have more chances with the lady over there.”

Both Mr Clucky and I look up at the same time, and my eyes go wide at the organizer’s attempt at rescuing me. He ignores me though, his silver eyes burning a hole into Mr Clucky. A highly inappropriate joke comes to mind about the chicken-guy being roasted, or royally fucked (I’m sure he would appreciate the irony in that), but all he can do is blink at my uninvited (but much appreciated) knight in shining armour. He nods in the direction of the mentioned lady, and Mr Chicken-Moustache leaves his seat in no time flat, mumbling something under his breath along the lines of ‘this is why we don’t like freaking unicorns’, then scurries off.

Silver-eyes looks after him incredulously, as if unable to decide what the guy’s game is. I debate whether I should rush to his aid and tell him that Mr Clucky only wanted to tell me about his insecurities, when he plops down onto the chair that still carries memories of the chicken-man. I chuckle at the thought, and silver-eyes’ attention is on me, and I mean full-on this time. It’s his turn to assess me from head to toe, his gaze lingering in certain private parts. I raise an eyebrow, doing the same, my eyes roaming freely over his muscular body. Two can play this who’s-gonna-blush-first game.

He is the one to look away first, obviously. I fold my arms in front of my chest, thus pumping my boobs up a tad bit higher. He flinches (he actually flinches) at the sight, and my heart goes out to him. Is he scared of me? He clears his throat, the vibration sending a shiver down my spine.

“So, unicorn, huh?”

The corner of his lower lip lifts in a half-smile, and I can’t tell whether he is mocking me or is simply amused by the whole situation. And yet all I can do is wonder whether he sits down one-to-one with all his clients, chasing away seemingly mismatched competitors. I finally roll my eyes, something I wanted to do for so long, accompanied by a shrug. He can take it whatever way he wants. He humiliated me twice already, so why give him the benefit of a doubt?

As if on cue, a deep laughter erupts from him, and I try to suppress the tingles that radiate through my body at the sound. No, Aurora, he is the bad guy here.

 But aren’t bad guys good for us?

Yeah, I thought my demons would choose this time to chime in. It’s my turn to clear my throat.

“Don’t you have to announce the next round or something?”

My words come out in a high-pitched tone, one I don’t like. But of course, I should be used to my body not being my best accomplice by now. I even start to doubt that my demons have my best interest at heart. Oh, right, demons don’t have a heart. Silver-eyes raises a black eyebrow, then nods, slowly getting up from his chair and turning around, without as much as a second glance my way. A pang of disappointment and anger bubbles underneath my skin as his voice reverberates throughout the room.

I have no idea why, but this little encounter brought up memories of a time lost. And with them, my normally oh-so-welcome grief. But now, all I want to do is… Heck, I haven’t the foggiest what I want to do right now. I need a distraction from my life, from my demons, from the other demons. I look at the next contestant, desperately hoping that he would provide me with just that, but my hopes are crashed in an instant when he moves onto the next table without even looking at me.

A sigh escapes my lips, and I spend the next round on my own. I hold back a sob, almost wishing I didn’t send silver-eyes away. Not that he could offer me anything, and not that I would accept even if he did. If I thought earlier that three minutes were too long, I clearly had no idea what I was talking about. I watch in agony as Mr Fishnets is talking to a cute brunette two tables over. I guess his charms didn’t work on Miss Fake Boobs. Oh well, what a shame.

I silently scold myself for the stereotypes, but I can’t help it. We all judge others based on our own beliefs, and these are mine. Heck, I got called a freaking unicorn, and I didn’t even have a chance to utter two words to the guy. I just wish someone wanted to know the real me, the one behind the mask.

We didn’t know you still believed in fairy tales.

My demons chirp helpfully. No, I guess they are right.

 

~o~

 

"Time to give your next partner a chance.”

Silver-eyes’ voice sounds in the distance, and the bald guy who was sitting opposite me during the last round nods politely, then moves on to the next bachelorette without an ounce of hesitation. Not that I would want him to stay a minute longer. Hopefully the size 0 blond is going to enjoy his one-sided conversation about his high-end job and four mustangs. Me, I never understood why men needed to use anything else, other than their charms to get into a woman’s knickers. A mustang isn’t going to keep me warm at night now, will it?

The blond with the fake tan and impossibly-huge-and-firm-to-be-real boobs is drinking in his every word though, leaning closer to him by the second. I wonder whether he got to the juicy part yet, the one where he mentions how he lost his hair because of all the stress at work. Oh, but yeah, he has five mustangs, so that’s alright…

I let out a sigh, silently scolding myself for being judgmental yet again. But, to my defence, speed dating is about first impressions and what you allow the other to believe during those three minutes that you share. Unfortunately for my bank account, three minutes was more than I could bare with Mr Mustang. I’m so wrapped up in examining the odd couple, that when my next date clears his throat, I almost jump out of my skin.

“They look so cute, right? Almost like love at first sight.”

My new date just got my attention, along with a light-hearted chuckle. God, I haven’t laughed in such a long time… And, because I also haven’t dated in ages, I check my new potential prince charming out, from head to toe, making sure I don’t leave certain parts out. Although he isn’t necessarily my type, he isn’t bad either. And his smile is infectious. I look deep into his melted-chocolate eyes, trying to decipher his intensions. I like to think I’m good at reading people. Unfortunately, I don’t really like what I see, but I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt.

“Yes, he is such a charmer. I’m a bit sad for the missed opportunity, but hey, there are plenty more fish in the sea.”

I wink at him, and he smirks. I wait for his answer, a witty response, but it never comes, just as I expected. Am I asking for too much if I want a guy who can ignite my skin on fire, but someone who can also set my heart and mind ablaze? Being aroused by words is as important (if not more important) to me than a physical touch. I’m an author, after all. With a sigh I return his smile, but I already know that we will say our goodbyes when the time comes. He clears his throat and comes up with the most original question ever.

“So, what do you do?”

I have to repress the urge to roll my eyes, and I have no idea how I manage, but I do. Of course, he can’t possibly know that the answer to that question always seals my fate in one of two ways. Why? Because I write erotica. And sure enough, some men get really excited about this fact (I mean really excited), but the problem with that is that they automatically assume I will talk dirty to them. Like I’m some kind of a prostitute. Please, give me a break. And then there’s the other group, who will oh and ah and say wow, that’s so cool, followed by that awkward silence. Yep, I render them speechless, although not in a good way. I’ve thought about lying, many times, but that wouldn’t be me. And besides, I’m proud of what I do for a living. Hell, it’s more than that. It’s my life, and I want someone who can accept me, along with my writing.

“So?”

He prompts again, and I look at my watch. Twenty seconds left. Okay, Let’s see how fast he will run.

“I write erotica novels. What about you?”

His brown eyes go wide, and his mouth drops open. And yep, I start counting. When I get to fifteen, the organiser prompts everyone to swap places, and it still takes my date a few more seconds to close his mouth, start blinking again and get up from the chair. From the corner of my eye I can see him glancing back, the shock palpable on his retreating features. Oh, well. I watch as he almost bumps into Mr Mustang, trying to take his seat. He informs my almost-prince-charming that the seat is already taken, and he won’t leave the side of the love of his life, because he finally found her.

I shake my head, wondering whether the only good thing about tonight is going to be a sexy story, when a familiar scent envelope my senses. It’s a mixture of pine, mint and some spice I can’t identify. I look at the guy sitting opposite me, and oh boy, does my heart try to escape from my chest. It sure as hell feels like it. The most beautiful bluish-green eyes are checking me out, igniting my skin on fire wherever they wander.

This fine specimen is taller than me, maybe a few inches, it’s hard to tell while he is sitting down. His masculine energy comes through the ether though alright. And yep, that exotic scent is his, too. His noble features are complete with a smirk. His head is clean-shaved, no hair in sight, except for his eyebrows. I never knew this could be my type, but according to my body and my inner demons, he is everything I want and more. Let’s hope it’s not just the looks.

His eyes roam my body, but instead of feeling uncomfortable, their movement makes me feel sexy as hell. And wanted. When his gaze reunites with mine, he clears his throat, the deep sound resonating with every fibre of my being.

“I think I can confidently say that I never had a girlfriend with rainbow hair before.”

Oh, about that. I made the mistake of letting my best friend talk me into a dare, which was to colour my hair all the shades of a rainbow. Well, at least it accentuates my turquoise eyes, ones that also change colour, and I’m that kind of person who would never admit that they made a mistake. I did it, and now I’m rocking this hair colour, whether I like it or not. I blow out a long breath, both surprised and excited at his comment, letting it slowly sink in. It is a bit cheesy, but at least something I can work with.

“Well, I never had a boyfriend with no hair, either.”

He chuckles, and I smile triumphantly. Round one won. I shouldn’t make this easy though, especially because I want to find out the truth about him. I don’t know why he intrigues me this much. Maybe because he is different. His laughter fills my heart with warmth, just like a log fire on a winter night.

“Tonight could be full of firsts then. For both of us. Hmm, are you a virgin, by any chance?”

I know that the insinuation behind his words should make me angry, but instead a genuine chuckle leaves my lips. He is good. And funny. And hot and… Oh Aurora, stop it… I shake my head, deciding this is the time when I have to throw him in at the deep end. I pray silently that he is different, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to find out if he’s not.

“I bet you will stop asking silly questions as soon as I tell you what I do for a living.”

I bite my lower lip, glancing up at him. For a second, his bluish-green eyes zoom in on my extra-curricular activity, which makes me realize it must have been way too long for him, too. If he plays his cards right, we might be able to rectify that problem later.

“Let me guess. You are a sex toy tester, who is theoretically still a virgin, because she’s never had sex. With a non-plastic guy, I mean.”

He winks at me, and I smile. He doesn’t even know how close he is to the truth. Or how far, depending on the way you look at it. You know what they say. Some people do it, others talk (or in this case, write) about it…

“Not quite.”

He nods, as if my answer was as natural as telling him I’m a stewardess. He leans back in his chair, and I faintly hear our host in the background, asking the gentlemen to part ways from their weeping almost-girlfriends once more. My heartbeat quickens, and I become painfully aware that I don’t want this guy to leave me. Not yet anyway.

“So, which part did I get wrong then?”

I contemplate my answer for a second, but as I see a balding ginger approach, I clarify my profession, hopefully loud enough for both to hear it. Who I’m going to scare away, is a good question.

“You got the toys right, although I only try them out in theory, then on paper. Got the second part completely wrong.”

This time I wink at him, and his brows furrow for a fraction of a second. At first, I think I said something wrong, but I soon realize that his frustration is aimed at the approaching ginger, who doesn’t seem to get it. My bald (and apparently bold) guy turns around swiftly, nodding to my never-going to-be-boyfriend.

“Look pal, this seat is taken, and I think the next one is, too. Good luck though.”

He doesn’t even wait for an answer, simply turning his full attention back to me.

“Sorry about that. Where were we… Ah, right, let me try again. You are a sex toy designer then. I knew it! You have that dreamy look.”

His comment and cheeky smile make me laugh, again. I decide to help him out before he declares that I’m an exotic dancer or an escort (or something along those lines).

“Guess again, Einstein. Mind that, you just gave me an awesome story idea.”

His perfectly shaped eyebrow shoots up, and for a second, I wonder whether it’s natural or not. God, I hope he isn’t that kind of guy who swings the other way.

“So, you are a writer then. I must say I’m impressed, but also a tad bit disappointed.”

My smile fades. Okay, so here we go again. Same situation, different guy. Well, at least this one lasted one and half rounds. Funny, but I can’t see the irony in that.

“Because I’m not a pole dancer?”

Now it’s my turn to make him laugh. He leans closer, azure eyes twinkling in the candlelight.

“No, because you are only here to gather story ideas. I mean, I don’t blame you. Romeo over there for example…”

And he nods towards Mr Mustang, rolling his eyes, continuing in his seductive voice.

“Yeah, he could be great material. Not sure it would be a horror or a sex story though, mind you.”

The amusement on his face is palpable, and I’m slightly inclined to feel joyous myself. No dirty talk so far, which is good. Actually, it’s way better than anything I had since I started writing. I give him a once over, stating in my mind how hot he really is. And he has a great sense of humour, too. I decide to play coy. I can be like my characters sometimes, right?

“I’m not sure I would want to write about him though. I could pick a more fascinating subject for sure.”

I can tell I managed to say the exact right thing, because he nods, lowering his voice to a whisper.

“Do you write from experience? I bet you do.”

He winks at me, and I tense up. Okay, so here it is. The same old game, with different pawns. I shake my head, my voice suddenly so cold it freezes my heart.

“Nah, I prefer to use my imagination.”

He ignores the impending storm, carrying on effortlessly. It makes me further question his morals, and our compatibility. But then again, I might have asked for this myself. Am I prude to think that not everyone should jump at the first opportunity, should it present itself?

“Oh, fair enough. I bet you have quite a few ideas up your sleeve. There’s nothing better than when someone’s imagination runs wild…”

He winks again and my heart sinks. I’m about to say something, when my unwanted saviour appears from nowhere again. Has silver-eyes been spying on me? He grabs my date by his collar, forcing him to stand.

“Anton, I think you are done here. Do us all a favour and go home before the same thing happens as last time.”

I raise an eyebrow, but Anton only chuckles, lifting his hands up in defiance. Silver-eyes lets him go, and Anton bows down in front of me. Like literally bows, with one hand held behind his back, knees bent and all. He smirks at me from his bent position, showcasing a perfect smile. He addresses silver-eyes, but he is still looking at me.

“Calm down, brother, I was just having some fun.”

For a moment I wonder whether they are actually brothers, but then Silver-eyes takes a menacing step towards Anton, who quickly grabs my hand, placing a hasty kiss onto my palm, tingling all my senses.

Do we really have to let him go?

My demons ask as helpfully as ever.

“Anton, I’m not going to ask you again…”

Silver-eyes’ tone darkens almost unnoticeably, but Anton doesn’t let him finish the threat. He straightens his back, pulls his coat tight and turns around with a wink, leaving the room head held high. I wonder what Silver-eyes was referring to. Does this happen often then? The whole situation is so confusing, and their exchange leaves me perplexed. Anton’s alleged brother plops down in the vacated seat once more, and I raise an eyebrow questioningly. I’m shocked when his anger is turned towards me next.

“You are asking for it tonight, you know that, right?”

He spats the last word through clenched teeth, and although I don’t scare easy, there is something in his tone that silences my inner demons, making them rush back to the depths of my mind. Yeah, right, they are never here when I truly need them. I try not to let confusion and fear seep into my tone, but I don’t think it works.

“Excuse me?”

My voice is shaky, and I let out a ragged breath. The hall seems to be ten degrees hotter right now, and not in a pleasant way. A bead of sweat is tickling the nape of my neck, and the tiny hairs stand. Silver-eyes looks away, then closes his eyes and swallows hard and loud. I wonder what his demons are telling him right now. Probably nothing helpful, because he shakes his head, turning back towards me. When his silvery eyes open again, the anger is gone, giving way to something way worse: resentment. Why does he hate me so much? He doesn’t even know me. My sense of self-preservation kicks in at the look he gives me. I need to get out of here.

“I know.”

His words are barely a whisper, and I’m not even sure I heard him right. I want to get up and leave, but my limbs feel like they are made of lead. His eyes darken a shade, reminding me of cold, hard steel, and he repeats what he said, a bit louder, clearer this time, leaving me in no doubt.

“I know who you are.”

I can feel as all blood drains from my face, or rather my whole body. I can no longer feel the heat, only those stone-cold eyes on me, trying to break me. In fact, I can no longer feel anything. Not even pain. Just emptiness. Strange that his unwelcome words made my returning grief so welcome, the emptiness like a warm, fuzzy blanket on a cold winter night. Even my demons crave the gentle caress of the void inside. It’s where they came from, after all.

His words somehow liberate me. I no longer have to pretend, I no longer have to play this silly game. I can go home, and everything can go back to normal. Well, whatever is normal for me and my demons, that is. My life would probably appear to be weird at best for a stranger, but it’s all I know. I chose my personal hell, and I can’t wait to get back there. It’s safe. It’s all I know.

I get up with a tad bit more force than I intend, kicking back my chair. It falls onto the marble floor with a loud thud, and I can feel several pairs of eyes on me. Silver-eyes stands as well, the notion flickering the candle, his cold eyes never leaving mine. Okay, so this is the third time he humiliates me in front of the same crowd. No problem. I turn away from him, locating the nearest exit. Then, not even glancing back at him, I spat back in a similar manner as he did:

“You know nothing about me, and you never will.”

I hear a few gasps, but instead of them making me feel ashamed, they make me proud. With a head held high and heart pounding erratically in my chest, I head towards the exit. In my mind’s eye, I can see those steel eyes turn back to a warmer, gold-speckled silver, but I don’t want to find out if they actually do, not really. Soon, he will be nothing more than a bad memory, just like my ex. Funny how easily I can pretend that someone is dead, even though they are probably healthier than me.

Well done, girlfriend.

For the first time ever, I smile back at my inner demons.

 

~o~

 

I listen absent-mindedly as my heels click on the marble floor, trying not to break my neck on the slippery surface. It would be a shame, especially considering that I didn’t even get what I came here for.

What did you come here for, exactly?

I shake my head, refusing to give way to my demons. They should know when to stay quiet, and this is one of those times. I turn a corner, and I’m back where I started from. Except this time the reception desk is empty, and the hall is only half-lit by the chandeliers. A bitter smile tugs at my lips, thinking that they get enough from the entry fees to be a bit more generous with the lights, when a familiar scent hits me full-speed. Pine, mint and that spice the name of which has been on the tip of my tongue for the past ten minutes or so, always eluding my conscious mind.

Anton is here.

My demons chirp excitedly, and I must admit, despite everything, my stomach makes way for some crazy-ass butterflies at the thought. I slow my steps, inhale deeply, trying to figure out the source of the arousing scent. As if on cue, Anton peeks out from behind a carved Greek pillar, his body still covered by shadows. He grins at me, showcasing his perfect smile and sexy dimples, then winks, before looking around in mock fear.

“Did Rafael follow you?”

His hushed voice is comical, really, and I supress a chuckle. I can only assume that Rafael is the annoying organiser who kicked both of us out. Well, not the same way, but it still counts. I shake my head, meaning no. Although his question does make me glance back over my shoulders, but when I don’t see or hear anybody, my attention goes back to the man in the shadows. He beckons me closer with his index finger, and my stomach does a double flip at the indication. Am I game?

Of course you are. Isn’t this what you have been waiting for the past four years?

Hmm, my demons do have a point. Maybe I ought to listen to them more often in the future. Anton raises an eyebrow questioningly, and I allow myself to muse a bit about the colour. Would his hair be black if he let it grow? I think I would like that.

We bet he shaves in other places, too.

Geez, my demons have never been so excited, and I blush when I realize that neither have I. I take a tentative step towards Anton, then another one. He smiles at me, cocking his head to the side. I keep walking until I reach him, my heart threatening to jump out of my chest in both fear and excitement. It has been so long since I did anything like this. Well, I don’t even think I ever did anything quite like this.

“Hello gorgeous. I’ve been waiting for you.”

His voice is smooth as silk, and his words sound like he uses them way too often. They roll off his tongue so effortlessly it makes my heart sink. Deep down I know I’m right about him, that all this is going to be is a quick quenching of my thirst, but this is unknown territory for me. I’ve never had sex with anyone just for the sake of it, especially not with a guy like Anton.

Does it matter?

I chew on the answer for a moment, then decide that my inner demons are right once more. It doesn’t matter, because I want this. No, I need this to happen. I have to get my ex out of my system, and we all know what they say. It can only happen when there is a new candidate in the game. I know that this round (pun intended) will be awfully short, but it might just do the trick. One look into Anton’s gorgeous eyes tells me that he knows. He knows this is going to be on my terms, and he is okay with it. I guess I am, too. This knowledge and understanding gives me a sass I only ever used in stories, and I find myself asking in a sensual, yet surprised tone:

“You have?”

He nods and a shudder runs through me as he takes my hands in his, slowly lifting them up to his full lips. He gently forces my fists open, placing a kiss on the inside. His warm breath tingles the base of my fingers, and I close my eyes, half fearing, half anticipating his next move. He takes a step back, still holding my hand, and I automatically go after him, until both of us are covered by shadows. I visibly relax, and although when I open my eyes again, I can only see his silhouette, I’m pretty sure he is smiling. I smile back, and my demons nod in appreciation.

I don’t see him lean in, it’s rather a case of sensing him getting closer and into my private sphere. The kiss I so long for never happens though. Instead, he trails a wet patch down the side of my throat, and I must admit, the notion leaves me a tad bit vulnerable. Stories about prostitutes come to mind, but I dismiss them instantly, fearing they would take my courage away. Anton doesn’t seem to be able to read my mind, or he simply wants this as badly as I do. When he slides a hand to the small of my back, pushing my skirt up with the other, I inhale sharply. His lips leave my throat, and I can tell he is looking at me questioningly. I try to wiggle closer to him, but he tenses up. Oh, great, I somehow managed to ruin this as well.

You are doing great, just give yourself time.

I blink at the helpfulness (no, really) of my inner demons. A sob is trying to escape, but I force myself to hold my shit together. At least till I get what I need. Taking my silence as hesitation, Anton lets out a sigh, trying to cover the frustration from his voice (and failing miserably).

“Look, we don’t have to do this. I can take you out to dinner first, or…”

He trails off, his lips tentatively returning to their sensuous exploration of my throat and neck, making me moan. The noise that escapes me barely sounds human to my ears, and I guess my demons have something to do with that. Not that they really exist, but still. Right. I contemplate his offer, but even I know that he was just trying to be polite. A real gentleman. And, as much as I appreciate the effort, I know just as well that he wouldn’t actually do it. And that’s okay. It might be Valentine’s Day, but I haven’t been on a real date in ages, so why start now, when all I want is a good fuck. There, I said it, albeit to myself and to my demons only. But, as much as I would have judged myself for the same statement a few months back, now it’s all I need.

The moment of realization sets me free. I moan even louder when Anton reaches a sensitive spot just above my collarbone, and I reach down to grab the hand he is holding against the hem of my skirt. Maybe he was scared to move it up a few inches seeing my indecision, but I make the choice easy for him by guiding his hand underneath the silky fabric. A sigh escapes both of us at the exact same moment. I almost forgot how much I missed this. The contact, his skin against mine feels so exquisite, so arousing, that an idea starts to form in the back of my mind. Although I’ve always used protection, never being the irrational type, I now feel so wanton, so powerful even, so turned on, that I want to feel him. All of him, inside me.

Oh yes, we want to feel him, too.

I can buy a morning after pill later. I grab onto his shoulder, pulling him closer, leaning into his touch. At first it feels like he is using at least five hands to caress my inner thighs, but I know that’s a ridiculous idea. He isn’t superman, nor is he an alien. But he is definitely a man, and a passionate one at that. The tension is building up in my core, and he hasn’t even touched me where I need him the most.

“God, you are gorgeous.”

His whispered compliment sends a jolt of electricity right to my clit, and I can’t wait any longer. I grab his hand again, moving it to my core. He groans, biting down on my shoulder. Hard. I know it’s probably to muffle the sound. I also know that it will probably leave a mark for a few days. But somehow the whole thing makes me even wetter. God, how much I wondered if any of what I write about is true.

Well, at least he noted what I want. His hand cups my pussy, and it takes all my willpower not to come right here and now. But, as desperate as I am, I want to enjoy this. He starts to rub my clit with the base of his palm, and my eyes roll back. The feeling is too intense, even through my cotton panties. I moan again, and he stops, slowly, deliberately removing his hand from my pussy.

“No, please don’t stop.”

I should be ashamed that I’m begging him. I don’t even know the guy, I should ask him to stop while it isn’t too late. But as much as I know that he won’t buy me a diamond ring, I also know that I’m not going to ask him to leave me. His hushed voice is full of promise and desire when he replies, placing his hand back where it belongs.

“I won’t, but only if you promise to be quiet.”

I nod, because the contact rendered me speechless once again. His lips return to the base of my throat, and his tongue darts out, gently licking and tickling a vein. I hold my breath, and silently pray for him to take this up a notch. And he does. With a swift movement, his hand slides inside my panties, removing the oh-so-disturbing barrier between my throbbing clit and his expert fingers. He cups my pussy once more, and I shudder, unable to hold on anymore. As wave after wave of pleasure ripples through my entire body, it’s my turn to bite into Anton’s shoulder. And I’m not exactly the gentle one, either. He grunts and buries his face in the crook of my neck.

I’m so desperate to ride the last wave out, make it last as long as I can, but he has a different idea. I’m still on my natural high when he spins me around, so that I’m facing one of the carved Greek pillars. I can feel his hard body pressing onto mine, and I instinctively lean closer to the pillar, trying to find a hold. I hear the sound of his zipper, and adrenaline courses through my system, followed by a full-body blush, I’m sure.

Good job you are still in the shadows then. Now show us some real action.

I know it’s a pointless activity, but I roll my eyes at my demons’ sarcastic comment anyway. It makes me feel better. Anton’s firm grip on either side of my waist perks me up, and then he reaches down with his left hand, pushing my cotton panties aside and holding them in place.

We can’t believe it’s finally happening.

I guess I can say my inner demons finally speak in my name, too. But I don’t have too much time to concentrate on their musings. A moment passes, and the tension is killing me. But then it’s all over, yet it’s just beginning. A single thrust is all it takes and we are connected in a way I was never connected to anyone before. At first it feels weird, awkward even, the way I feel the skin on his cock pull back with his movement, but a few more thrusts and I’m good. I’m more than good, actually.

It’s Valentine’s Day, and I’m fucking a complete stranger, pinned up against a Greek-style pillar, covered by nothing more than darkness. Normally, alarm bells would be ringing by now, but today is anything but normal. I’m proud of this achievement, because it means that I’m actually living, and not just through my characters.

My inner demons purr (yep, actually purr) as the rhythmic movements of Anton’s hips become faster and harder, driving me closer to the edge every time he pushes his dick inside my pussy. When he pulls back, my inner muscles involuntarily clench around his shaft, refusing to let him go.

“God, woman, I’m not going to last like this.”

He grunts, and I stifle a nervous laugh. Neither will I, now that I think about it…

“Sorry, it’s just been a while.”

He ignores my comment and slams his cock all the way back in, making me cry out in pleasure. This in turn makes him stop, and it takes me a moment to realize why. My inner demons aren’t helping this time, still purring contentedly.

“Sorry!?”

I half mumble, half ask, and he starts moving again, slower this time. Okay, so this isn’t the time when I should test my vocal cords. Gotcha. So, when I finally get home (not that I want that, not at all), I will grab a pillow and scream into it, just like they do in the movies. Yeah, that will do, I guess. Another hard thrust and I bite down on my lower lip, not having time to find anything else. I tentatively look around, having the funny thought that I should probably find something to bit down on, just in case, you know, I still have to use my mouth for something, when my eyes fall on a familiar sight and I freeze.

Oh, crap.

Yep, no kidding. This isn’t the best time to start trusting my demons’ questionable judgment, but yeah, oh crap. I go totally rigid. Even Anton senses my unease and discomfort, and he grunts again, stopping abruptly.

“Felicity, what’s wrong?”

Huh?

That's your fake name, dummy.

Oh. I gulp, unable to reply. Part of me wants him to continue fucking me, a part of me wants to see what would happen if I let it. I lift my head up in the direction of the speed-dating room, hoping he would catch my drift. He does, and his sudden laughter startles me, and I swear I would jump if it wasn’t for his firm grip on my hips.

“Relax, beautiful, it’s all good.”

I can hear his smile in his voice, and then he begins his thrusts again, hard and fast. I gasp, unable to take my eyes off Silver-eyes. He is standing in the doorway, arms crossed in front of his chest, an unreadable expression on his gorgeous face. A myriad of emotions rush through me as Anton continues fucking me from behind. I want to hide behind the pillar, I want the comforting knowledge that the shadows hide us. But apparently, Silver-eyes can see through them.

Anton’s breathing becomes more erratic by the minute, and I’m tempted to close my eyes as the waves of pleasure are taking over once again, but those eyes don’t let me. Anton suddenly slaps my right ass-cheek, and I cry out in both pain and surprise. I glance back at him questioningly, but he just grins at me, a bead of sweat glistening on his forehead. He increases his pace, which in turn forces me to grab onto one of the vine-carvings on the pillar. I curse as I realize that I forgot about Rafael for a nanosecond. He must have used my momentary lack of attention, because he is in front of me now, his grin matching Anton’s.

What the hell is going on?

My demons’ confused tone matches my own when I ask the exact same thing. Rafael glances at Anton, then nods, turning his gaze back at me. His silver eyes are so full of hunger it takes me by surprise. Could it be? Could he want me, too? Anton slows his movements, then pulls out of me completely with a loud pop. My mouth goes dry. I feel embarrassed, and yet I can’t explain it, but I can’t wait to see what these two have planned.

“I’m sorry I was a jerk earlier. I tried to prevent this.”

He nods towards my hips, the ones that are barely covered by my skirt. Yep, the ones that still have Anton’s hands stuck to them on both sides. Now it’s Anton’s turn, and I can almost see him roll his eyes at his friend.

“Oh, come on, Raf. You are acting like we’ve never done this before.”

Rafael’s face turns a sexy pink colour, and my heart starts plummeting against my chest. What? What are they talking about? Rafael casts his eyes down, shuffling his feet. Is he nervous? God, what have I gotten myself into? He clears his throat and continues.

“Anyway, I just wanted you to know, that I changed my mind.”

I look up at him, but I really have to crane my neck, given my predicament. Oh, I wish we weren’t having this conversation right now with Anton’s hard cock hovering over the entrance of my dripping pussy. My mouth betrays me, but it might be the curiosity of my demons, I can’t tell:

“Changed your mind about what?”

Rafael looks back at me intently, his melted-steel eyes burning holes into my retina.

“I no longer care that you are only here for inspiration. You are the sexiest woman at this shit event, and I’ve wanted to fuck you since the moment you stumbled into my arms.”

I raise an eyebrow, biting my tongue. No, I won’t correct him, although there are many weak points in his explanation. I didn’t stumble into his arms, for one. Nor did I come here for inspiration. He is right about one thing though: he was a jerk earlier. But I guess none of it matters, as he looks at me questioningly and realization dawns. I glance back at Anton and he nods, his mouth a flat line. Okay, so what do I do now?

Well, isn’t it obvious? Why should you choose, when you can have both? Isn’t this what you wanted? A little adventure?

Before I could argue with my inner demons, or before I could let my better judgment come to play, I nod, first at Anton, then at Rafael, smiling timidly. They visibly relax, smiling back at me. I let out a sigh, straightening my back. Anton lets me this time.

“Phew, okay, that’s some news alright. But I’ve never done anything like this before, so…”

I shrug my shoulders before looking up at Rafael expectantly, but it’s Anton who takes charge by grabbing my hips again, pushing me back to the starting position. His voice is silky smooth once more, and I ignore the painful feeling that comes with knowing that they do this often.

“You don’t need to do anything. Just try to relax and enjoy us.”

With that, he crouches down, moving my panties aside once more. He cups my clit again, but this time with his mouth, and I bite down on my lower lip to stifle a cry. I catch Rafael’s silver eyes as he glances at my bitten bottom lip.

“Do you want to bite down on something harder?”

I blush at his suggestive tone, but my autopilot kicks in and I nod enthusiastically. His grin widens and with a swift motion he frees his impressive cock. My eyes bulge a little, and my jaw drops to the floor. Of course, this comes handy for Rafael, as he can easily slide his dick into my gaping mouth.

Way to go, girl!

My demons cheer in unison, giving suggestive slurping noises in my mind, and I finally let my eyes droop, relishing in the strange yet beautiful feeling of pleasing one man, while another one pleases me. A wayward thought crosses my mind. Why haven’t I done this before?

Yes, why haven’t you?

I ignore the helping hand my demons are trying to give (pun intended) and concentrate on this unique sensation instead. Anton’s tongue traces my inner folds expertly, and I have no doubt about who is in charge of my climax. I’m going to cum as and when he pleases, and I’m okay with that. Telling from the ragged breath Rafael lets out, I have no doubt about who is in charge of his release either.

A triumphant smile spreads across my lips, and I take Rafael’s cock deeper down my throat. He tilts his head back in response, rocking his hips to match my motion. Of course, I can’t suck on him while staying completely still, which earns me a smack on my right ass cheek from Anton. He even releases his lip-lock from my clit, and I groan around Rafael’s cock.

“Now try to be a good girl and don’t wiggle much.”

Easy for him to say.

A chuckle escapes me. Yep, my demons are hilarious sometimes. They don’t mind Anton’s command though, nor do they object when he slaps my left cheek next. In fact, they tempt me to start bucking my hips, just in case he fulfils his promise and does it again. I do get a few playful smacks, but he realizes too early what my game is. Placing a steadying hand on both sides of my hips, he slams into me again, without mercy. My cry of joy is muffled by Rafael’s cock, and when I bite down on it gently, he fists my rainbow-coloured hair, taking charge of the movements of my mouth.

Spread out like this, at the mercy of two men I only just met, one fucking my mouth, the other pounding my pussy, I feel a strange sensation roll over me with full force. It’s almost like an out of body experience, where I see myself being fucked by these two guys, experiencing it first hand at the same time. It’s weird, and somehow… I don’t know, ecstatic. Right this moment, when I take in the musky scent of arousal (and not just mine, but theirs, too), mixed with our natural scents, all my senses are filled to the brim, ready to explode.

And I do explode when Anton reaches down and pinches my clit between his thumb and forefinger. It only takes my guys a second to follow suit, one spirting his juices down my throat, while the other’s cock pulsates inside my clenching hole. And there, I have it. All I wanted and more. Who knew I would end up not only with one, but with two dates on Valentine’s Day?

They can hardly be called dates now, can they?

I ignore my demons, because they are panting, too. I know they enjoyed this as much as I did, even if they are only a figment of my imagination. Well, especially because of that.

Do you think they would accept us?

And there it is, my own insecurities reflected in their question. Would these guys ever want more? Especially knowing how crazy I am?

Rafael knows…

I frown, shutting my eyes to chase the unwelcome thought away. Unluckily for me, I lock my demons in, too. I’m still coming down from my orgasm, and the guys slowly pull out of me. I hear the sound of zippers, and awkward coughing. Well, what the hell did I expect? That they will buy me dinner next? I grimace at the pun that brings back the memory of Anton’s polite, but not-so-real offer from earlier. I can feel eyes on me, and I realize, a tad bit embarrassed, that I’m still hunched over, and probably still half-naked.

Right, I guess this is the time to get sorted and save grace. I listen for a moment, but as my demons are silent, I finally straighten my back up and rearrange my slightly crumpled dress. Only when I know that I will be okay, do I allow myself to open my eyes. Still, the sight is so unexpected that I freeze yet again. Two pairs of eyes are staring at me expectantly. One silvery-gold and one ocean-blue.

I know I should say something to set them free, to set me free, but I’m mesmerized by their looks. The want in their gorgeous eyes puzzles me. Do they want another round? Is that normally part of a one-night stand? I open my mouth to speak, but I have no idea what to say, so I close it again, silently cursing myself. The wheels in my mind are turning rapidly, but it feels like all they toss around is sand and mush. My demons have gone into hiding, too. Yeah, so typical of them.

Anton clears his throat, then he exchanges a strange look with Rafael. My heart sinks, realizing that it should have been me who breaks this off. Now I will have to live with the rejection of not only one, but two guys. And it’s fricking Valentine’s Day, too. I close my eyes again, trying to shut down my heart too, but leave my mind open, so I take in whatever they say. Rationally, of course.

Right, we can do that.

My heart melts at the sudden and unexpected support from my little demons, and I nod to myself. Whatever happens next, I will be okay. Yeah, except whatever words leave Anton’s lips, I’m unable to hear them. At first I think it’s because of my heightened emotional state, but no. A distant giggle forces my eyes open, and although they are misted over a bit and my hearing isn’t all that reliable right now, I could swear the sound isn’t coming from my guys.

They turn around in unison, and my gaze follows theirs as people start coming out of the speed-dating room. The first person I spot is Mr Fishnets, holding hands with a busty brunette. He leans in close to her ear, whispering something, and she tilts her head back, letting out a seductive laugh. Okay, so she was the giggling one.

To make matters worse, the couple is followed by Mr Mustang and Miss Fake Boobs. Oh wow, those guys have really hit it off. The sound of lips smacking sends a shiver down my spine, but not in a good way this time. I glance towards Rafael, and even his black brows shoot up in surprise. I hear him mutter something about the success of the night, and my heart is suddenly ripped out of my chest.

The hall full of people slowly fades away, and I’m all alone in the middle of it all, the loneliest I’ve ever been. Except this time my inner turmoil has nothing to do with the grief that’s been haunting me for years, no. Well, I guess I have something else to mourn now. A single tear slides down my left cheek, and I don’t even bother wiping it off. I turn around as gracefully as my heels let me and start to run.

 

~o~

 

All I know is that I want to get away from here. I want to get away from what I’d done, not ready to face the consequences. My demons are eerily quiet, which is never a good sign. Fine, I knew this was going to hurt, but at least I escaped my ultimate ruin.

Making my way through the crowd is pure torture. There are couples everywhere, heading towards the door leisurely, like they have all the time in the world. I don’t know why it bugs me, nor do I know why their smug and ooey-gooey faces threaten to bring out more tears. Funny how they are called tears, right? I sure as hell feel like my heart is torn in two. Or three.

You and us both, sister.

I want to argue that they don’t even have hearts, when two pairs of strong arms grab me, pulling me off my feet and out of the crowd. Shock ripples through me and I want to object, but all that leaves my trembling lips is a tiny and not-too-audible whimper. I look at the way Rafael is holding my legs up, and I can only assume Anton has my arms. A childhood game comes to mind, but I don’t dare mention it, because, judging by the pissed off expression on Rafael’s handsome features, he wouldn’t appreciate the novelty. Nor would Anton, I’m sure. I bet his face reflects the same thoughts. But why are they upset?

It must be that second round that you ran away from. This is kind of exciting, really. Cave-men-like, even.

I roll my eyes at my little demons, but they don’t reply, of course. All I achieve with it is a squeeze from Rafael, and it isn’t gentle. It doesn’t take them long to carry me into the speed-dating room, and they dump me on a chair. It’s only when I look at my surroundings do I realize that it’s the exact same chair as the one I occupied only a little while ago.

Rafael sits down in front of me, arms crossed over his muscular chest, while Anton locks the door and makes his way back to us, carrying a chair. He settles next to Rafael, and both of them look at me expectantly, eyebrows raised. Boy, the storm in their eyes scares the shit out of me. I fish for something to say, and as nothing helpful comes to mind, I start fiddling with the candle. Of course, it’s still lit, so I almost knock it over and burn the place down. Luckily for everyone, Rafael snatches it away from me just in time.

“Stop stalling, Felicity. Talk to us.”

I cringe at the sweetness in Anton’s words. There are no traces of accusation, just concern. What do I do? I guess I shouldn’t tell them how much I wish this wasn’t just a Valentine’s Day affair. But how do I not do that, still giving them what they want? What do they want exactly? Rafael surprises us both by turning towards Anton and letting out an exhausted sigh.

“Her name is Aurora, not Felicity. She chose that cover, because she writes erotic novels and didn’t want us to know.”

Anton rolls his eyes at Rafael.

“Of course I know.”

Rafael’s questioning gaze makes him shrug.

“Okay, I didn’t know she was using a fake name, but still.”

Then he turns to me, brows furrowed.

“Wait, is that why you ran away? Because of what we said earlier? That you are only here for inspiration?”

Suddenly both pairs of eyes are on me, and I don’t like the attention, not even a little bit. I bite my lower lip, unable to meet their gaze. Rafael tilts his head to the side, resting his hands on the table between us. He is so close, almost touching me, but not quite. I wonder how many more times will I get so close to something real, just for it to be taken away from me by the person I really am.

“No. I think she ran away, because she isn’t.”

Rafael’s voice is angrier than Anton’s, but it is laced with something else. Curiosity? His words make me glance up, and I’m so desperate to ask him what he means, but I can’t. Anton throws his hands up in the air in frustration.

“God, what is this all about then?”

He looks from me to Rafael, then back at me again and I gulp. But, as I still don’t know what to say, I stay silent. Maybe if I let them speak instead of me, I can later replay it in my mind a different way. They both study me for a moment, then Rafael surprises me again by taking my hand in his. My heart skips a beat, and I look up at him incredulously. As if on cue, Anton takes my other hand, before I could snatch it away. Now it’s my turn to raise an eyebrow. Rafael lets out a sigh before speaking, his tone even and calm.

“Aurora, you aren’t here to get inspiration, are you?”

My inner demons squirm, and I think it shows, because he starts caressing my palm in a calming notion. Funny enough, Anton does the same with my other hand. How can they move so simultaneously? But I lose my train of thought as a sigh escapes me, followed by a sob. I want to pull my hands away, covering my unfaithful mouth, but they don’t let me. Instead, they exchange that weird look again. Before I could think better of it, I turn my head slowly from side to side. Anton beams at me.

“That’s a good girl. So, just to be clear… If we let go of you, you won’t try running away from us again, will you?”

I gulp, then shake my head again, a bit more assuredly this time. God, when did I lose my voice? I hope it isn’t permanent. As if on cue, they both let go of my hands, and I instinctively fold them in my lap, waiting for whatever they want with me. I will even try to enjoy the second round, regardless of what happens after.

“It looks like we found our own unicorn then. Right, brother?”

Rafael’s words snap me out of my stupor, and I stare at them wide-eyed.

“What now?”

Glad you still have use of your vocal cords, sister.

Anton nods enthusiastically, then leans closer, placing a wet kiss on my right cheek.

“Yep, indeed. What do you say we take good care of her from now on?”

Rafael nods, and they both stand. Again, before I can stop myself, I blurt out:

“Right, I guess I owe you round two. But then I’m gone.”

They both freeze, and I know instantly that I said something wrong. It’s only for a moment though, because then Anton clears his throat and steps closer, brushing a strand of my rainbow hair out of my face.

“You think we only want you for sex?”

His bluish-green eyes gaze into mine so intently it hurts. I shrug my shoulders, hoping that it comes off as the sign of an I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude. I wait and wait, the unsaid words heavy on my heart, but nothing happens. I’m about to say something, but as soon as I part my lips, Anton leans down, claiming said lips with his own. I forget to close my eyes, and trust me, they go wide. But then his gentle caress takes over my senses, and I let it happen. I let it all go. Just like that. The kiss is sweet, innocent even, so unlike the way he fucked me just minutes ago. When he lets me go and steps back, he is replaced by Rafael, and yep, he does the same. Although his kiss is different. He truly makes his claim, biting down on my lower lip, sucking it in, drenching my panties once again.

It feels like we kiss for ever, but it still ends too soon, and the sudden loss of contact leaves me breathless and empty. I look up, and Rafael brings my hand up to his lips, placing a soft kiss onto the base of my fingers, just like Anton did earlier. Gosh, they are either brothers, as they say, or very good friends. Anton clears his throat, but it’s Rafael who speaks.

“Look, I know we were harsh with you, but only because that was what you wanted.”

“It was?”

I look at him incredulously, and Anton takes over.

“Yeah. The way you dismissed everyone’s advances as soon as they said or did the wrong thing, we both knew you weren’t ready for commitment.”

I mull over his words, then nod, encouraging him to continue. Rafael takes over. I guess I will have to get used to this weird conversation.

“You needed to change your perspective on your own.”

Oh, we get it now! You couldn’t have done that without Rafael calling you out.

This time it’s my inner demons that render me speechless. It is rare that they are right, but I have to admit that this is one of those moments.

“So, you called my bluff, practically sending me into the arms of your brother.”

Rafael looks sheepish now, but Anton nods.

“We aren’t technically brothers, just best friends, but yeah. You needed this.”

Okay, so that explains the brother thingy. I sigh again, but this time it’s to let go of all the pent-up tension within me. It feels delicious. The whole thing does leave a huge unfilled gap though.

“So, what next?”

“Well, we could have that dinner. All of us.”

Anton’s voice is hopeful, and I can’t help but smile. Yeah, they might be right. If they told me that they were open to something serious (and quite unusual) as well, I would have backed away, using my cover as a fake reality. The problem is, I truly believed that it was real. And now? Well, I have no idea how to do this. Suddenly a lightbulb goes off and my eyes go wide.

“A date? A real, Valentine’s Day date? A threesome date?”

My demons fist-pump the air, and I’m blabbering, but I don’t care. My guys smirk at me, then nod at the same time.

“Fishnets and Mr Mustang will be so jealous.”

I’m pacing up and down now, talking nonsense. But it’s all good. At least they both see my crazy side in action. I might even introduce them to my…

“I bet they will be. Not everyone gets to have a crazy unicorn as a girlfriend, after all.”

Rafael winks at me, and holds out a hand, but I freeze.

“Girlfriend? How the hell does that work? Do I get to say I have two boyfriends then?”

They laugh at my discomfort, obviously enjoying the situation. Yeah, right, they are the experts. Anton puts his arm around my shoulder, gently nudging me towards the door.

“I’m sure we can figure the labels out later. For now, let’s just get things going.”

He winks at me, and I’m not sure he is talking about the dinner anymore.

Does it matter what they call you as long as we have them both?

I shake my head, and then stop in my tracks once more, almost tripping the guys over.

“Wait a minute…”

They both shudder, and I look at Rafael questioningly.

“How the hell did you know who I was?”

His eyes widen, and Anton chuckles. I raise an eyebrow. Rafael coughs as if he is choking on some food. When he finally manages to speak, his voice is hushed and his face is flushed.

Huh, should use that in one of our stories.

“Well, err… I’m a huge fan. Well, kind of…”

Oh wow, didn’t see that coming. So, I’m his almost-celebrity crush? Who would have thought…

“Okay then, now that this is out of the way… Although don’t even think for a minute that I won’t bring this up later…”

I wink at Rafael, and he blushes even more.

Aww, he is cute. Can we keep him? Pretty please?

I nod, partly to my demons, and partly to myself. Then an idea forms in my mind, and I grin, first at Rafael then at Anton, biting my lower lip, deep in thought. The notion doesn’t get unnoticed and the two guys gulp at the same time. I roll my eyes, bringing them back to our previous conversation.

“What if you both call me your unicorn for now?”

They exchange that weird look again, then their eyes are on me and they nod, taking one hand each. Anton is on my right, while Rafael positions himself so he can grab my left hand. Now it’s my turn to blush under their hungry gaze, and right this moment, I truly feel like a freaking unicorn, and not because of my rainbow coloured hair. And you know what? This time it doesn’t make me feel like an outsider. No, I’m looking at my uniqueness in a whole new way. The intensity in their eyes makes me feel like I’m one of a kind.

You are. But don’t forget, you are our unicorn, too.

Yeah, I guess I am. And with that, we walk out hand in hand. Anton, Rafael, my demons, and their very happy and satisfied unicorn…

 

~o~

 
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