Authors: Carlie Sexton
Friday morning came quickly. Kate knew that she would see Mark at school. Why did thinking about him give her such a tingling sensation? This was crazy to have such an attraction for two men. She got into the shower and carefully shaved her legs. She and Charlie had chosen her black pencil skirt with a halter top for her to wear on her date with Neil. The skirt was on the shorter side and the halter top was bright pink. The halter top showed just enough cleavage. It was Charlie’s top. It fit very snuggly, highlighting her curvaceous body. Charlie guaranteed that it would have Neil eating out of the palm of her hand. When she had tried on the outfit last night, she felt very sexy in it. She added a short black sweater to the ensemble in case she got cold. Her black strappy heels completed the look. But, for now, she needed to dress in her work clothes and get herself to school.
Kate walked into class expecting to see Mark, but he wasn’t there yet. The classroom was abuzz with students talking about their plans for the weekend. One of the graduate students was throwing what was promised to be a legendary party.
Mark ended up being a no-show. He didn’t attend their second class together either. She wondered if something was wrong, but had no way to contact him. She might have to wait until Monday to find out if he didn’t call her before then.
Mark woke up feeling groggy. He turned over and saw the form of a woman next to him in bed. His first thought was of Kate, but he knew that it wasn’t her lying next to him. Last night came crashing back. He had met up with Missy, or Michelle, or Melanie, who the hell could remember? He saw her at the gym and they got to talking. They had Rhetorical Theory together. She gave him the signal that she wanted him. She kept touching his arm and she laughed at everything he said, even if it wasn’t that funny. So he went home with her, had a few drinks, and took her to bed. She wasn’t a bad lay. He did enjoy himself, but she wasn’t the one he wanted. She was easy. Now it occurred to him that Kate might find out. He was going to have to keep the two of them apart even though he and Kate weren’t in a committed relationship. He didn’t want to risk proving to her that he was a ladies man. Why did he always make his life so complicated?
He saw the time on the clock and realized that he had missed both of his classes this morning. He was pissed at himself. He was going to have to come up with a good excuse before he talked to Kate. Maybe something that would get her sympathy—like the stomach flu.
Just then, what’s-her-name began to stir. She turned over and greeted Mark with a big smile. He figured that since they were both in bed, he might as well have sex with her again before he left. He had already missed his classes.
“Do you want to take a shower?” she asked.
“Definitely!” he said.
Walking out of class, Kate overheard a conversation between two of her classmates.
“Oh my god, Tish, you are never going to guess who Melanie hooked up with last night!” Jennifer said.
“Is it that gorgeous guy Mark who everyone drools over?” Tish asked.
“Yeah, can you believe it? I saw them leaving the gym together and Melanie texted me on her way home that he was following her. She was planning on doing it with him.”
“Lucky her,” Tish responded.
Kate had her answer. He was a player just like she had felt in her gut
She was disappointed, but glad to know the truth. She hurried away from the two girls so that they wouldn’t notice that she was eavesdropping. Their conversation had just solved her dilemma.
Kate got to work on time. She left her outfit for her date and her tote bag in security and then she punched in. She hoped that the day would go by fast. She was excited about her evening with Neil.
When she walked into the children’s department, the other women were waiting to quiz her about her coffee date with Neil. Natalie had informed them about it yesterday. Their questions came at her like rapid fire.
“So how was coffee?”
“Do you like him?”
“Did he kiss you?”
“Did anything else happen?”
“Have you talked to him since?”
“Did he ask you out on a date?”
It was like 20 questions. They were all talking over each other. It was good that things were slow and no customers were around. It usually didn’t pick up until the afternoon.
“Let me see. Coffee was great. Yes, I do like him. He tried to kiss me, but I turned my head. Nothing else happened,” she said shaking her head. “We had a lunch date yesterday, and we have a dinner date for tonight,”
Kate smiled and laughed at their inquisitiveness. She was so fortunate to have people in her life who cared so much about her.
“Where is he taking you?”
“Is that what you are wearing?”
“Please tell me you brought clothes to change into. We should do some shopping at lunch.”
Kate had to chuckle again. How she loved her co-workers. They were so great. “We are going to PF Chang’s. No, I’m not wearing this outfit. I brought something to change into. But shopping at lunch still sounds good anyway. I might need a few more outfits,” she said, bubbling with enthusiasm.
The rest of the day went by quickly. Fridays were usually busy and, before she knew it, it was 6:45. She punched out, collected her clothes and headed to the employee bathroom to change and add some make-up. She looked at herself in the mirror, thinking that tonight could be the night she had sex with Neil. The thought sent a jolt of warmth throughout her body. It was 7 o’clock when she stood back and took a good look at herself. She was showing a little more cleavage than she was used to, but this is what she brought. She was glad to have her sweater to “cover up” if needed.
She made her way to PF Chang’s. As she walked in the door, she saw Neil waiting for her. His eyes lit up like the Fourth of July as she approached. She could tell by the expression on his striking face that he liked her outfit. He got up quickly and greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. She breathed in his intoxicating scent. He was wearing Obsession, her favorite cologne. She loved the scent and wanted to drink more of him in.
He took her hand. “I’m so glad to see you. You look stunning. You’re going to turn every head in this place,” he said through a devilish grin. Holding his hand made her heart pound. She could feel the warmth spreading throughout her body. She was having a hard time fathoming the powerful effect he had on her. But she decided to open herself up to whatever the evening presented. She was going to try not to shy away from this experience with an extraordinary man.
“Thank you. You’re looking rather handsome yourself.” Neil was wearing jeans that showed off his firm backside and a fitted black button-down shirt. His muscular frame filled out his shirt very well. She was looking forward to having his muscular body pressed against her at some point in the evening.
Neil had called ahead so his name was next on the list. As they followed the hostess to their table, Kate took in the beautiful ambiance of the restaurant. The tiles on the floor shimmered with a golden hue. Elegant lanterns hung from the ceiling, giving off a luminous glow. The artwork reflected the restaurant’s Asian theme. The restaurant was a very busy and loud with patrons enjoying themselves.
The hostess sat them in a circular booth. Neil scooted as close as he could to her. Then he took her hand again and gently kissed each knuckle like they were a rare delicacy. She felt chills go down her spine. She felt heat rise down below.
Wow, he’s so sexy. How was she going to keep her composure tonight?
“Your waiter will be with you in a moment,” the hostess said as she scurried away.
“So, do you eat here very often?” she asked.
What a stupid question? she chided herself. Dating lessons are a must.
Neil smiled as if he knew she was nervous. “I’ve eaten here a few times with friends, but I’m not a regular. I thought it would be a good spot since you work in the mall.”
“That was very considerate of you.”
“Well, I’m a very considerate guy.”
Just then the waiter showed up. “How are you two doing tonight? Can I get you some wine or perhaps a mai tai?”
Neil looked at Kate. “What kind of wine do you like?” he asked.
“I tend to like the sweeter wines. I love Riesling.”
“We’ll have a bottle of Riesling and an order of spring rolls to start.”
“Excellent choice, sir,” the waiter said, turning away to get their order started.
Kate opened her menu, hoping to have a distraction from Neil’s intense gaze. “So what’s your favorite thing to eat here?”
“Everything that I have tried has been great. I don’t think you can go wrong with any item. We could get the dinner for two. These are the choices,” he said, pointing to the middle of the menu.
“I love sweet and sour shrimp.”
“Perfect. I’ll get the orange chicken.” He was glad to get that out of the way. Now he could hold her hand again and get to know her better.
Kate, remembering her dating tips from Charlie’s boyfriend Mitch, put her hand on Neil’s arm and began slightly stroking her fingers back and forth. “So were you close with your family when you were growing up?” she asked, looking intently into his eyes.
Kate could tell by Neil’s expression that he loved the feeling of her fingers gliding up and down his arm. “My parents adopted me when I was three weeks old. My mom was not able to get pregnant and she desperately wanted children. I think that my dad indulged her by letting her adopt my sister and I. Somehow I always had the feeling that he didn’t care either way if he had a family or not.” He stopped for a moment, but her gaze urged him to continue. “I knew from being a very small child that I was adopted. Although they were very loving and did their best, I always felt like something was missing. My sister seems to be better adjusted than I am. I have been contemplating finding my birth mother for a long time, but I don’t want to hurt my parents’ feelings. I think it would crush my mom to know that I wanted to find the woman who gave me up.”
“So you felt growing up that your dad really wasn’t into being a family man?”
“Yeah, he was selfish with his time. He didn’t have any patience with us. My mother gave us much more attention than he did. She went to all of my soccer practices and games, took us to the movies, and planned all of our extra-curricular activities. Sometimes I felt like my dad just tolerated me. He was better with my sister, but she worked a lot harder to please him than I did.”
“That must have been so hard for you,” she said, her hand now planted firmly atop his.
“It was, but now that I am grown, we have a much better relationship. I work with him at his firm. We see each other every day and go golfing together about once a month. Now we have a mutual respect for one another.”
The waiter showed up with the wine. He opened the bottle and poured each of them a glass. “Your spring rolls will be right up. Have you decided what you would like for dinner?”
“Yes, we’re going to have the dinner for two with sweet and sour shrimp and orange chicken.”
“Would you like egg drop soup or salad?”
“We’ll each have egg drop soup,” Neil said, looking at Kate for confirmation that he’d made the right choice. She nodded.
“It also comes with dessert. Do you want to order that now or later?”
“Later,” Neil said, dismissing the waiter. He handed her a glass of wine and picked up his. “Here’s to second chances,” he said with his signature devilish grin.
“To second chances,” she echoed, clinking her glass to his. They each took a sip of wine. “Mm,” she softly moaned. “The wine is delicious.”
Kate could feel the heat between them. She decided a moment apart might be a good thing so that she could collect herself. “I’m going to go to the ladies room,” she said softly, leaning into him, breathing in his scent.
“Okay,” he said, sighing heavily.
The love-starved part of her wanted him to follow her in there and lock the door behind them. She knew he was watching her walk away. Her head was working overtime to convince her body to take things slowly. A battle was raging inside of her just from sitting next to him.
The bathroom was empty to Kate’s relief. She looked at herself in the mirror. Being so close to Neil had set all of her nerve endings on fire. She had never been so attracted to a man. Of course she had been attracted to David, but he was more of a guy. She also found Mark very attractive, but he was a guy too. Neil was a full-fledged hunk of a man with a panty-dropping smile. She loved how he had opened up about his childhood. She wanted to know everything about him. His vulnerability gave her the hope that she, too, could open up and be vulnerable.
She returned to the table to find that the spring rolls had been delivered. She sat down next to Neil in the same spot she occupied before going to the ladies room. Neil dunked a spring roll into the sauce and proceeded to feed her. She took a bite. Then he dunked again and took a bite himself. It was pure pleasure to have him feed her. She let out a small sound indicating that the food was good. Suddenly, it seemed that Neil couldn’t take it anymore.
“If I don’t kiss you now, I feel like I’m never going to,” he said, taking her head in his hands and pulling her face to his. Before she knew it, he was kissing her passionately. His mouth devoured hers like he was tasting food for the first time. His tongue invaded her mouth and captured her tongue, stroking it rapidly. She surrendered to him and met his passion with her own. Then his kisses slowed. She could barely breathe, her was heart racing, and she felt her muscles clench deep below. He slowly pulled away, breathing heavily. He put his forehead to hers.
The waiter showed up with their food, interrupting their passionate moment. They parted from each other as he put the dishes down on the table.
“Can I get you anything else?” he asked.
“No, I think we’re good,” Neil said.
Kate was a little relieved that their food had arrived. She didn’t want things to go too fast.
“I’m sorry for being such a brute. I just can’t help it. You have bewitched me. You intrigued me from the moment you hung up on me on Wednesday,” he said, taking her hand in his. “I’m not accustomed to women saying ‘no’ to me. I didn’t like it, but at the same time it was a huge turn-on.”
Suddenly, she wasn’t very hungry for food. She was hungry for him. His honesty was so sensual to her. “So, what are you accustomed to other women doing?” she asked with a coquettish beam on her face. She couldn’t wait to hear the answer to this.
“Well, honestly, I expect them to succumb to my charming ways and do what I want,” he said, making no apologies.
“It sounds like women have spoiled you, Neil Statton. I must inform you now that I am not like other women.”
“I have gathered that,” he said, taking a bite of his chicken. She took a bite of her food too. She liked this playful interaction. She wanted to get to know all of the different sides to this intriguing man.
“So, tell me about your last boyfriend,” he said. Kate choked a little on her food. Her last boyfriend had been her only boyfriend. David. Did she really want to talk about David just yet?
“It’s been a long time since I have had a boyfriend,” she said, feeling shy about divulging too much too soon.
“Really? How long?”
“Almost three years.”
“You mean to tell me it has been nearly three years since you have had a boyfriend? I find that hard to believe. How have you managed that?” he asked. He was shocked.
She sunk down a little in her seat. The words of her friends came crashing over her to be open, enjoy life, take a chance.
“I was nursing a broken heart. My boyfriend and I met our sophomore year of high school. We dated until our sophomore year of college. Then things ended suddenly.”
Keep it short, sweet and to the point. He doesn’t need to know all of the sorted details just yet.
“Wait a minute. Are you saying that you have only had one boyfriend?” he asked. He looked astonished.
“Yes, I have only had one boyfriend,” she said, sighing as she took another bite of her food. There, it was out in the open. At least part of it. She wasn’t ready to disclose how things had ended. Hopefully, he wouldn’t ask.
“So, does that mean that you’ve only been with one guy?” he asked, lowering his head slightly and raising his eyebrows.
She knew what he meant by the tone in his voice. He meant sexually. “Yes, I have only been with one guy,” she said, letting the words waft up to the ceiling.
How had the conversation become about her sex life? He sure was inquisitive.
A look of elation crossed Neil’s face momentarily. “You must have made an art out of avoiding men.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I guarantee you that just about every man in this restaurant wants to have sex with you, but most of them are probably too intimated to do anything about it.”
“And you’re not intimidated?” she said, feeling strangely confident. Perhaps it was the wine making her brave.
“No, like I have said, I am used to getting my way,” he said.
Just then the waiter showed up to ask what they wanted for dessert. Neil looked over at Kate. “I got some dessert for us back at my place, a red velvet cheesecake,” he said, his eyes overflowing with desire. “That is, if you would like to come over.”
Answering all of his questions had made her a little skittish. She looked at the waiter. “I’ll have the Great Wall of Chocolate,” she said.