Authors: Ginger Voight
Somehow or another, that had become my favorite color blue in the whole wide world.
Those skin tight jeans he wore could not hide the effects of what I was doing to him. It was my turn to smirk as I eased down to my knees in front of him. He was speechless as I reached for the fastener of his pants… with my teeth. He gasped out loud as I pulled the zipper down the same way, my hot breath dancing over his growing erection through his cotton briefs. I slid my hands up both of his legs until they surrounded his groin. I leaned forward, trailing my tongue up the distinctive curve of his shaft. He mumbled something about God as he shrugged away my pajama top. He cupped my face, which I took as a green light. I gingerly peeled his underwear down, releasing him at last. That monstrous erection sprang forward, right into my cool hand. He tipped his head back with a gasp as my fingers wrapped around it, working it slow, getting it nice and hard and ready.
His eyes met mine just as I encircled the angry purple tip with my mouth. My breath warmed his skin before my mouth slid down around it, taking it slow. I savored that first inch, worshipping it slowly, until his hands reached for me, clutching me tighter, needing more.
I obeyed, sliding him further down into my throat until he disappeared almost entirely. From the surprised look on his face, I knew this wasn’t common. (Thank you, Antoine, for
I indulged him a moment or two with some of my best moves before I withdrew, which I did as soon as his thighs began to tremble, unable to keep standing because of what I was doing to him. I stood to my feet.
“Wish I could finish you off, but since I’m vanilla and all,” I shrugged, taking my bra from around his shoulders. “I probably wouldn’t know how, now would I? Maybe
should call Caz,” I added. “You know the number.”
He was as equally stunned by my rejection as he had been my initial dance. He didn’t even move an inch as I grabbed all my stuff from my nightstand and headed up to the guest bedroom, where I should have gone in the first fucking place.
I kept to myself all the way through till St. Patrick’s Day, which was easy enough to do considering how insanely busy we were preparing for our debut at the new location. Julie ended up doing all the press for it, which was no surprise considering most of that press involved Eli.
He did the M&G before the show, giving fifteen lucky (i.e. paying) fans an exclusive tour of the club before it opened. He was kind, generous and accommodating with every single one, regardless of size. I ended up giving him begrudging a thumbs up when it was over.
Though we didn’t speak much at home, we played our parts to a tee at the club. He wore a green shirt that demanded “KISS ME, I’M IRISH (FOR TODAY)”, along with a snug pair of faded, ripped jeans. I wore a Tempestuous party dress in emerald green, with a low cut neckline and short skirt that showed off my legs.
There was a henna tattoo artist giving free Celtic tattoos to all our patrons, an idea inspired by our luau in Hawaii. Though green beer threatened to dominate our drink orders that night, we also had a cocktail befitting the occasion, an almost neon green concoction our bartender called Sham Rocks.
When the doors opened, Eli stood next to me, greeting people as they walked in. It surprised most, who expected him to play celebrity backstage until it was time to perform. He simply shook his head and cuddled me from behind. “It’s my girl’s big night. I want to be right at her side.”
I didn’t read too much into it. He needed a body shield and I was there. No one was going to jump him while he was cuddling with his Significant Other.
I was convenient, as always.
There was no time for any kind of pity party that night. The place was jam-packed, with a line going around the block of people waiting to get in. By the time Eli took the stage, we opened the doors so that everyone outside could hear, while using our billboard to show some video to those who couldn’t make it inside to watch.
It wasn’t the same, but they weren’t left out either. FFF didn’t leave anyone out; that was our code.
The only people we removed, or didn’t let in, were the ones we suspected would threaten the patrons in some way, either with fist fights in the bar or abusive language to the staff. We had a Zero Tolerance policy on that sort of thing.
As a result, the crowd who filled our dance floor was filled with people who genuinely wanted to be there and genuinely wanted to have a good time. It was the most fun I had ever had at any bar on St. Patrick’s Day.
Finally, about ten-thirty, Eli approached me with a smile. “Care to dance?”
I saw hints of the real Eli peek out from those impossibly blue eyes. “I suppose I have time for a dance,” I shrugged.
He led me to the floor. Lola slowed it down for us “lovebirds,” and he wrapped me in his arms. “This was amazing, Carly,” he complimented near my ear. “You should be very proud.”
I looked around at the happy, diverse crowd filling our club. Our club, the one that I had been instrumental in creating, nurturing and growing into something so much bigger than we ever dreamed. Our club, where every girl present felt valued and accepted as is, a message so often neglected from our modern culture, where women were treated like endless works of progress. We were constantly reminded that we had to constantly adjust ourselves to fit in, not just weighing a certain amount, but wearing makeup, or the right fashion, or appearing youthful, accommodating everyone else’s idea of femininity.
I had changed the conversation on all of that, because what else would a million dollar windfall be good for?
“I am very proud,” I responded, and I totally meant it. He held me tighter.
“I’m sorry I’ve been such a dick to you.”
It could have been the loud music, maybe even the crowd, or maybe it was the three Sham Rocks I drank. But I could have sworn he apologized to me. Unprovoked. Out of the blue. With no agenda. I leaned back to peer into his face, just to make sure. “What?”
He offered almost an embarrassed shrug. “I know I’m a dick, okay? I know I’m an asshole. I was mad, I guess, that you’d pick some fuck-for-hire over me. My ego has always been my worst quality.”
I continued to peer at him warily. What was his angle now? “I hope you’re not waiting for me to argue with you about that.”
“No,” he said in a voice so low I could barely hear it. “I don’t want to argue with you.” He studied my face for a moment before he said, “I was an asshole to you and you didn’t deserve it. So this is me apologizing. Consider it a St. Patrick’s Day miracle.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Well, legend has it he
drive the snakes out of Ireland.”
He joined me in the laughter as he spun me around. “There you go,” he said. He pulled me back into his embrace. “So what do you say? Start over? Truce?” After a beat, he added, “Friends?”
I sighed. I hated it when he was human. It made it so much harder to hate him. “Okay,” I said at last. He rewarded me with a kiss, which I allowed because that was the job.
The reason I wanted it?
That was a lot more complicated to explain.
Things leveled off for us after St. Patrick’s Day. We both honored our new friendly truce, which we brokered as best we could with the weird dynamic of our pretend relationship. I stayed in the guest room, mostly because I was too afraid what might happen should I end up in bed again with this man. My feelings had been complicated for a while, ever since Caz kissed me and I couldn’t stop thinking about Eli.
When we were in public, we were completely convincing; so convincing, in fact, that we fell off of PING’s radar completely. After three months we were old news. It was clear that Eli really was in a relationship with a girl just like those he sang about. The relationship we shared was longer than half of the ones he’d already been in, and it appeared to be going strong. His performance on Fierce, where he sang “
She’s a Winner
” directly to me from the stage, as I sat in at the judges’ table, sandwiched between Giovanni Carnevale and Allison Ewing, turned into a viral sensation, almost more so than the actual video itself, where I made my debut the new face of Tempestuous. The “
She’s a Winner
” campaign officially launched, and my image was everywhere. Billboards around town, banners in every Tempestuous store, magazine covers and spreads, and commercials for television.
Eli performed regularly at FFF, a least twice a month. This helped our clientele grow. FFF was quickly becoming one of
spots to be, for people of all sizes. Our community exploded, especially when new fans realized that we had so many things to do outside of the club. We had sports teams and raised money for charitable causes. We hosted benefits and drag shows. This was never a place one went to just to “hook up” with someone for the night. We were about fostering friendships and self-growth.
It spoke to people every bit as much as I hoped it would.
Eli surprised me by jumping into that community with both feet. He was the coach of the softball team, and contacted all his celebrity friends any time we wanted to raise money for anything. When we held a silent auction, he offered a coffee date with himself to raise money for cancer research.
I couldn’t have been prouder if we were a real couple.
Needless to say these commitments kept us busy all the way to Memorial Day, when our next joint project thrust us together in unexpected ways.
Gabby Huntington was coming to visit us for the first part of the summer, all the way to the Fourth of July, when we’d travel back to Colorado with her for a week with Eli’s mother and stepdad.
To say I was a little nervous about this was a massive understatement—kind of like saying you might get a little damp if you walked off the Santa Monica Pier. We had faked our relationship well for the press, and, to some extent, even my friends. But his family? Someone who was going to stay right in our house with us?
This was a pretty big challenge, made bigger by the fact I would now have to go back to Eli’s room.
Our friendly truce had been so successful that I was even more confused by my feelings than ever. He was more than a friend. He was my partner. In every way that didn’t involve sex, we were already a couple. And we faked that minor detail with such frequency that it seemed insignificant in the overall scheme of things.
But I had been burned before. I had lost myself before, trying to win the approval of the unattainable guy. I had hurt myself and called it love, which was why I preferred more casual relationships. Up till now, that had been enough.
This time, though. This was different.
The revelation took me by surprise, springing right from all those quiet moments when he’d do something particularly humanish and I felt myself soften towards him, like he was a three dimensional person instead of the world’s biggest jerk.
If I ever wanted to escape this sticky, stick web intact, I had to remain vigilant. I couldn’t just sleep with him and pretend it would be okay. Eli wasn’t a happily ever after kind of guy. No matter how much he might have wanted me now, probably more to satisfy his curiosity now than anything else, especially after that aborted blowjob, I would never ever be his “preference,” unless I changed into a whole other person by January 12
The clock was ticking.
And I knew neither of us would be able to forget about it as we lay together night after night, close enough to touch, with every reason in the world not to. I wasn’t what he truly wanted, not really, and one night with Eli wasn’t worth $500,000. That topped Caz’s hourly rate by a gazillion percent. (I should know. I checked.)
So I waited until the day of Gabby’s arrival to move back into his bedroom, putting off the inevitable as long as humanly possible.
A driver was bringing her around early that afternoon, mostly to divert attention from her at the airport should Eli Blake show up to pick her up. I wanted to make it more personal, pick her up myself, but I was sort of in the same boat. I wasn’t front page news anymore, but it wasn’t uncommon to see my name in a headline. The club was doing well. Per outward appearances, our relationship was steady and strong. And most importantly, I was the face of Tempestuous going into one of the most critical seasons of the year: swimsuit season.
They had already done an entire photo session at the house, with me in different types of swimwear. Eli was there mostly as a prop, which didn’t seem to bother him too much. He seemed perfectly content to shine the spotlight my way.
When the proofs came back, I could tell how much the sexual frustration drove the photo shoot. There was intense chemistry between us that leapt off of the page. It was sexy as hell, no matter what size clothing I wore. Tempestuous loved it and even offered me a bonus.
I decided to take a break along with Eli, to focus solely on Gabby. It was actually kind of cute to see him prepare for his little sister’s visit. He insisted that we go shopping, to get her a new friend for her stuffed animal collection. We ended up in a kid’s store just hours before she was due to arrive. While I browsed, he came up behind me with an enormous and stuffed giraffe, with big black eyes and protruding lips, which of course he gave a high, obnoxious voice to as he got into character behind the toy. “Hey, pretty lady. Care to take a fellow home and show him a good time?”
I laughed. “That thing is ridiculous.”
He laughed as well. “Yeah, but Gabby will love it. Giraffes are her fave. When she was learning her alphabet, she decided that she had to love everything that started with the letter G, because that was the first letter of her name. Her favorite color was suddenly green. Her favorite juice was instantly grape. She had her choice of a goat, a goose and a giraffe. After one trip to the zoo, where she got to feed one of these guys and he practically ate right out of her hand, she was sold. And it stuck, too. Her favorite color is now purple. Her favorite juice is pineapple. But she still loves her giraffes.”