Authors: M. S. Parker
“Shit!” Brock called out as he slammed into me hard once, then twice and I knew he was coming. He pressed against my clit and I gave my nipple a twist, sending me over the edge.
I didn't make a sound as I shuddered, letting my climax wash over me, sobering me to an extent. Brock pulled out and I heard the familiar sound of a condom coming off. I didn't want to know where he was going to dispose of it. I pushed myself off the door and then bent to pull up my panties. I grimaced at how wet they were as they slid back into place, but at least some of the tension inside me was gone. That had been exactly what I needed.
I kept telling myself that until I almost believed it.
Brock wanted to go on a date. An honest-to-goodness date. I had to admit, I'd been surprised when he dropped me off at the hotel and said he wanted to see me the next day. I thought for sure he'd invite himself up to get laid again, but he only asked if he could take me out, then gave me a practically chaste kiss and said he'd be by at noon.
I showered and fell asleep almost the moment my head hit the pillow. A queasy stomach and blinding headache had been my wake-up call this morning, but some water, ibuprofen and toast had taken the edge off. By the time Brock knocked on the door, I was dressed and ready to go. My flight was scheduled to leave tomorrow morning, so spending the day with Brock seemed like the perfect way to pass the rest of my time in the city.
“What's the plan?” I asked as I stepped out into the hallway.
“First, a picnic lunch.” He held up a basket.
I gave him a dubious look and he laughed, his eyes sparkling.
“Don't worry, I figured you might need something gentle after last night.”
Suddenly, I wasn't so sure his words were referring to my hangover. I was a bit sore from last night's encounter, but I didn't regret it.
He stopped in the middle of the hallway and faced me, his expression serious. “I really wish our first time together hadn't been like that. I mean, it was amazing, but I wish it would've been special.”
He was getting way too serious. I liked him, but I didn't want him getting all mushy on me. “You mean doing it in a janitor's closet during your sister's wedding reception wasn't special?” I quipped.
A grin broke across his face and I could see a bit of relief in his smile. I wondered if he thought I was going to make things out to be more than they were. He didn't need to worry about that. I chastised myself, remembering how I had said the same about Reed, that I wouldn’t have expectations of him either. But that was different because I had known him for so long, I really did think he’d be different. With Brock, I wasn't going to think of the future and since we didn't really have a past, I could stay comfortably in the present.
“Where are we going for our picnic?” I asked.
“To one of my favorite places,” he said. The look he gave me was almost shy.
We walked without talking, letting the sounds of the city be the only noise between us. I'd always considered myself a city girl, but there were cities and then there were cities; I hadn't realized how different Philadelphia was than other places until I'd moved away.
When Brock turned, I realized where we were going and smiled. Aside from the library, one of my favorite places to go as a kid had been here. Love Park with its sculpture and fountain was one of the city's favorite romantic spots. Not that I'd come here on dates much. Luc had brought me once, but most of the time I'd come by myself with one of my books and read.
“When Britni and I were kids, our nanny used to bring us here so she could meet her boyfriend,” Brock said. “My parents wouldn't let him in the house, so she'd arrange to meet him here. Britni hated it. She didn't like being outside and she used to complain all the time.”
That didn't exactly surprise me, but I didn't say it. I didn't want to talk bad about his sister. I had no idea what their relationship was like and, despite what I'd heard, I didn't know what kind of person she was. For all I knew, Rebecca had been the one to tell Britni I was a hooker and I could see someone being upset at their brother bringing a call girl to their wedding.
It was amazing how much perspective one could get after twenty-four hours and a good fuck.
I turned my attention back to Brock.
“On the really hot days, I used to take my shoes off and go wading in the water to cool off.”
“Me too,” I put in.
He gave me his boyish smile again. “Those are some of my favorite memories from being a kid.”
I reached over and threaded my fingers through his. “Mine too.”
We picked a spot under a couple trees and Brock spread a table cloth on the grass. I sat down and watched as he opened the basket.
“I moved out last year,” he said. “And I'm still getting used to the whole shopping and making my own food thing, so you can't laugh at anything I brought.”
I agreed, amused, but not for the reason he probably would've thought. I'd never considered how some things I took for granted as being common sense were only that way because I'd had to do them myself. It never occurred to me that a kid raised with servants doing the shopping and the food preparation wouldn't know how to do either on their own.
He actually managed a decent selection, including some mild cheese, crackers and fruit. He'd also brought plain bottled water instead of trying for something fancy. I appreciated his thoughtfulness. I'd never cared for carbonated water and I didn't think alcohol of any kind was a good idea at the moment. I told him how well he'd done and he beamed at me, as happy as a little boy being praised for being good. Warmth spread through me; I liked that a simple, honest compliment could make him so happy.
We kept the conversation light as we ate and I found myself feeling better than I'd felt since Reed and I had slept together. I was surprised to realize, as we joked about skinny-dipping in the fountain, how much I was enjoying my time with Brock. It wasn't about Reed anymore and paying him back for how he'd treated me, and it wasn't about letting Brock apologize for the bachelor party. This was about two people enjoying each other's company.
“When I asked you here and then said I wanted to take you out, this probably wasn't what you'd had in mind, was it?” he asked as he began to pack up the leftovers.
“No, it wasn't,” I answered honestly.
Brock frowned and he looked down. I put my hand on his wrist, immediately understanding how he'd taken my statement.
“It was better.”
He looked up, eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You're really saying you aren't disappointed that I took you here with a picnic lunch instead of to some fancy restaurant?”
“Are you kidding?” I leaned closer to him, enjoying the spicy smell of his aftershave. It was different than Reed's, sharper, and I liked it. “That's the sweetest thing anyone's ever done for me.”
His face lit up. “Really?”
“Really,” I confirmed. “And, besides, why would I want to go to some fancy restaurant where it's obvious I don't belong.” I immediately regretted the words as soon as they came out. That wasn't the kind of thing anyone should say at the beginning of any relationship, even one that wasn't going to go very far.
I saw something pass over his face and wondered if he'd ask what I meant, try to pretend he understood or, worse, tell me I was being silly. Instead, he stood and stretched out his hand. I took it and he helped me to my feet. When I was standing, however, he didn't let go, sliding our hands around until our fingers were laced together. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that, but I didn't pull away. I did like the way his hand felt against mine, the strength in those fingers.
“Come on,” he said. “I want to show you something.”
We walked in silence and I let myself enjoy being back in the city. It was funny, considering the size of Philly, how much quieter it was than Vegas. Back there, it was always loud with slot machines, entertainers and street performers all night long. People yelling out, trying to draw crowds into the shows. Streetwalkers calling out for dates. There was always noise, no matter the hour or day. In Vegas, there was no difference between Thanksgiving and every other Thursday. Sure, some of the places might close for the day, but never enough to lower the roar to any significant degree.
While Philadelphia had the unavoidable sounds that came with so many people living in one area, it somehow managed to still be quieter than other large cities. Even though there were bad memories here, I had to admit I'd always loved this city. I swallowed a sigh. I wondered if I'd ever get that way with Las Vegas or if I'd always feel like a transplant who didn't belong.
“Here we are,” Brock announced.
I looked up. The apartment building was huge, and one of the most expensive ones in the city. I didn't need Brock to confirm he'd brought me to his place and I sincerely hoped this didn't mean he was about to tell me what I had to do to earn the promised ten thousand dollars. Sure, I'd had sex with him once, but the minute he put a price on it, things would change.
“Would you like to see my apartment?”
If he'd tried to be seductive about it, I probably would've turned him down, but he sounded almost shy when he asked, as if he wasn't sure I'd want to go. I was starting to see that his confident swagger was, at least in part, show. I liked strong men, but there was something to be said for a bit of vulnerability as well.
“I'd like that.”
He slid his arm around my waist and we headed for the front doors. The doorman gave us a nod and a smile. As we passed, I wondered how many other girls Brock had brought here the same way. I'd wondered the same thing before, how many girls Brock had given this special treatment to, but now it was different. When I'd thought this before, I'd been here as his date for a wedding and that was it. Everything had changed when we'd fucked. It hadn't put us in a relationship, but it had changed the dynamic.
When we got on the elevator, I completely expected him to try something, even if it was just copping a feel, but he remained a complete gentleman. The arm around my waist didn't stray north or south and he didn't try to kiss me. We rode up in silence, me watching the numbers tick past and him casually slouching next to me.
“Penthouse?” I asked as we neared the top.
“Not quite,” he said. The elevator came to a stop three floors from the top. “It's about half the size, but still more than enough room for me.”
I followed him out of the elevator and to the door on the right of the hall. The one on the left I assumed belonged to the person who had the other half of the floor. When he opened the door, he stepped back and let me walk in first.
Brock's apartment was bigger than the entire strip club where I worked. It was open and airy, with the kitchen, dining room and living room separated only by the furniture. A pair of French doors led to a balcony and a hallway to my right led, I assumed, to at least two rooms and a bathroom, maybe more.
“You want something to drink?” Brock asked. I raised my eyebrows and he clarified. “I have soda, juice, and more water.”
“Juice would be good.” I followed after him into the kitchen and took the bottle of mixed fruit juice he offered. I took a sip and waited for him to offer to show me his bedroom. Instead, he surprised me.
“There's a soccer game on I wanted to watch. Do you mind?”
“I kinda have a bet going about it.” He grinned at me as he took a fruit juice. “But if you don't want to, that's fine.”
“No, soccer's okay.”
We settled on his couch, both in the center and close enough that our bodies were touching, but he didn't try anything. In fact, we sat through the first ten minutes of the game without talking. I had to admit that these silences were surprising me. I'd gotten the impression that Brock was the kind of guy who always had to be talking, usually about himself, but he'd proven me wrong on more than one occasion today.
I looked around the apartment, seeing what I hadn't seen on first glance. There were a lot of electronics, which wasn't surprising. Video games, computers, sound systems, all of that, but there weren't any of the usual things I'd expected from a place an interior designer had decorated. It was a typical guy's bachelor pad, without any of the snooty art a lot of rich kids would've bought just to be pretentious.
“Hey, um, so I talked to Peter this morning.” Brock broke the silence. “He told me what he said to you. I put him straight. Told him you weren't an escort and if he acted that way around you again I'd knock him out.”
It took me a moment to remember who and what Brock was talking about, but when it came back, I stared at him. Had he seriously offered to punch someone because of something that had been said to me?
Impulsively, I leaned over and kissed him. It was barely a peck, mouth brushing against mouth, but it sent a little jolt through me, reminding me of what it had felt like when we'd kissed the night before.
His eyes darkened to the color of faded denim as he set our drinks aside. As he leaned toward me, I knew he wasn’t interested in the soccer game anymore. When he took my face between his hands, all I could think about was the heat from his palms against my skin.
His lips were gentle this time and they moved with mine, slow and easy. It wasn't until I slid my hand up his arm and across to his chest that I realized he was letting me set the pace. I slid my tongue into his mouth, twisting around his and drawing it back into my mouth. I sucked on it and he made a sound in the back of his throat. Apparently that was a signal he'd been waiting for because he pressed me back on the couch, bringing our legs up to twine together as we stretched out on the leather softness.
In the background, I could hear the soccer announcers, but they were fading, lost behind the sounds of Brock moaning into my mouth. I slid my hands under the back of his shirt, enjoying the feel of his muscles bunching as his own hands explored.
I'd worn jeans purposefully so I'd at least have to be a bit more conscious about them coming off, but that didn't stop Brock's hands from cupping my ass and squeezing. I arched against him and he groaned as I pressed against the erection I could feel growing there. One of his hands found its way under my shirt and brushed against the side of my breast. I hooked my leg around his waist, reminding myself that whatever happened it was because I wanted it, not because of any money he'd promised.