Rachel and Stephen Ch. 01bylaurelcoronet©
*Fair warning: no sex in this chapter! There's some attempted solo at the end, but no happy ending.*
I was reclined on my miniscule patio, sipping a wine cooler when I heard a clink, alerting me to someone else's presence. I wondered lazily who it was, but it was about ten o'clock in the evening, and that perfect summer night temperature that seems to just melt away your inhibitions and worries, so I couldn't muster up too much alarm. I tried to worry – what if it was a rapist? But my relaxed brain retorted that as long as it was a hot rapist, I was cool with it. Snickering at my line of thought, I grimaced as I finally slowly sat up. I flopped right back down in the chair when I saw who it was sliding open the glass patio door, wine glass and a bottle in one hand and a 6-pack in the other.
Stephen and I had been best friends since our sophomore year at college. We'd started off study buddies, but after a fumbling, drunken kiss one night at a party that made zero sparks, we'd laughed together enough that we were suddenly friends. (Embarrassingly enough, the kiss had been initiated by me, a fact that he still won't let me forget.) 5 years later we were still close, and there were times like now when he was really my only friend. He was attractive – but if the lack of chemistry wasn't enough, we were also polar opposites. Romance was impossible for us, but friendship worked out great.
"Stephennnn," I groaned, "The key was for emergencies..." I tried to sound stern, but I was sure he could hear the smile in my voice. "Raaach," he imitated in a nasally tone, "It waaas an emergencyyy." I rolled my eyes doubtfully in his direction, feeling too lazy to sit up and direct the glare that he deserved his way. "Oh, yeah?" I said.
"Yes!" he said plaintively. "Danielle is still out of town, so I was bored, and then I realized I was out of beer as well..." "You have beer," he added unnecessarily after a short pause.
My sigh turned into a snort, humor winning out over my exasperation, as it always seemed to do with him. I glanced out over the night-time horizon again, contemplating the nature of our friendship. He was really the only person I could laugh at instead of being irritated with over things like this. We were so different in so many ways that I was always surprised by how well we got along.
I was a studious business major, now working my way up in a small but decent firm, while he was a philosophy major who bounced job-to-job; last year a zoo guide, right now working on a construction crew. Stephen did whatever suited his ever-changing fancy – and financed his lifestyle with a pretty large trust left him by his parents. Lifestyle. Now there was another difference between the two of us. I had been feeling adventurous because I had skipped the cleaning that I knew the kitchen needed and had been lounging with a wine-cooler instead. Stephen, however, was a classic playboy. Out clubbing three nights a week, never exclusive, and going right out to meet a new girl as soon as his current diversion headed out of town. In fact, it was odd that he had been alone simply because Danielle was gone. On the other hand, I was a bit of a loner, single for the last 8 months and perfectly (okay, mostly) okay with it. I kept him down to earth – and he made sure I remembered how to laugh. It worked.
The clink of glass drew my attention again, and I wrinkled my nose as he handed me a wine glass filled with champagne before flopping into the lounger next to me with his beer. "On sale!" he said defensively, catching my look. I sighed as I took a drink, and wondered why Stephen was here. Danielle's absence wouldn't normally keep him in, and I wondered if something was on his mind.
We sat in companionable silence, and as the champagne added to my earlier wine cooler began to sink in, I studied Stephen. Feeling less inhibited than usual, I marveled at how attractive he really was. He was tall – 6'2" to my 5'8", and nicely toned from his recent construction work. I spent a moment admiring the play of muscles in his arm before ruefully catching the direction of my attention, realizing that I didn't want the endless ribbing that would follow if he were to catch me checking him out. I moved on to his features. To me, they were filled with his sarcastic sense of humor and hidden sensitivity, but I tried to see past to what another girl might see. He had nice, even features, and I happened to know that when he smiled, it took him from nice looking to fantasy-inspiring – not that I'd ever had fantasies about him, other than a few vague dreams that left me awkwardly trying to forget them the next day. I shifted uncomfortably, not liking my train of thought. Although Stephen was handsome (beyond handsome, said the wine in my bloodstream,) he also sported a cocky grin nearly nonstop that screamed "I get what I want." I smiled, realizing how glad I was to be happy with his friendship, instead of being enraptured by his looks and reaching for the inevitable pain of trying to win his heart.
As he stretched, my attention was drawn to his musculature again and then inward to an unpleasant truth – the temperate night and the alcohol washing through my system had me feeling languorous, confidently sexy, and horny to the point of arousal. I suddenly felt like doing something crazy – maybe going out and bringing home a one night stand to sate the sudden pangs of need in the pit of my stomach.
I breathed a deep, heart-felt sigh, knowing that I lacked the courage to ever do something like that, and then glanced over in surprise as a sigh echoed out from Stephen nearly in unison.
We met each other's eyes, smiling ruefully.
"You first," I said.
"Ahh..." he paused.
"Go on, I know something's up! Why aren't you out with your latest mistress??" I rolled my eyes dramatically, giggling.
He tossed a beer can tab at me playfully, and then sobered down. "Well, Danielle's out of town... But I know what you mean," he sighed. "You know, Rach, I really don't know. I've been feeling restless lately – with any girl, not just Danielle. And it seems like they're all the same. Honestly, I'm thinking of taking a break from the whole game."
The whole time he was talking, I was thinking about what his relationships probably consisted of – and my mind was stuck between my legs. Knowing I was crossing a line, but feeling restless, daring, and above all, curious, I teased "But what about your insatiable sexual appetite?" My body thrilled a little at my daring, and I immediately felt embarrassed. Oh god, here I was sitting next to my best friend talking about his sex life, and I was horny enough that I could feel a sticky dampness starting between my thighs.
But as the words passed my lips, his eyebrows shot up, and I could see a little gleam in his eyes as he sat up and looked straight at me. I stretched and grinned, feeling sexy and daring, unlike my usual level-headed self. I even held the stretch a moment longer than necessary – almost hoping that I looked sexy too. I watched smugly as the apprehensive look on his face faded and the sparkle in his eyes bloomed in to a full on grin, as he went through the same reasoning that I had already processed. He was a little tipsy, I was a little tipsy, and this conversation would fulfill our need for something excited and sexy without really mattering tomorrow.
He leaned towards me, looking sly and grinning. "Well, Rachel," he murmured in a low confiding tone, "I know you love to play the innocent... But I think we both know how self-sufficient I can be."
I drew in a breath, a little alarmed at the turn the conversation had taken, but before I could say anything he cut me off. "Come on, Rach... I was built with all the equipment I really need." He waggled his right hand at me in a suggestive little wave, and then doubled over in loud laughter at the look on my suddenly flushed face.
"Stephen!!" I sputtered awkwardly, "Ew!" He laughed even harder, and still feeling uncomfortable, I fell back on self-righteousness (which unfortunately comes easily to me.) "What has it been, a week?? I'm sure you can last longer without... well... you know..." I finished lamely. I glanced down again, feeling a little panicky. I was in over my head, and it was getting more awkward by the second.
Stephen rolled his eyes at me, throwing his arm out in a lazy shrug, and I absentmindedly noticed that he had splashed some beer out onto the concrete patio. "And why would I deny myself, Rachel? Even for a week? It feels gooood." He grinned wickedly at my discomfiture. Suddenly, my desperate mind was picturing the hand on his beer wrapped around a cock, pumping up and down. I had never seen the act... and had never seen Stephen, other than soft in a pair of boxer briefs a few times – but I was picturing it all now. My breathing was shallow, wavering between panic and arousal. I shifted on the chair, suddenly feeling the slats of the lounger pressing into my thighs, the nervous sweat moistening the armpits of my tshirt, and the warm wind that seemed to be giving me goosebumps. I was also entirely too aware of the aching desperation deep in my abdomen. I had to say something, had to break the tension and somehow distract my brain. "If I can make 8 months then you can make a week!" I blurted abruptly, immediately flushing so red that my neck and face burned.
"Oh, come on," groaned Stephen, caught up in the playful flirtation and failing to notice my sudden vulnerability. "Rachel," he teased warningly, "I told you not to play the innocent with me..." His voice deepened, sounding almost intimidating, although the grin on his face still reassured me. But nothing could hold off the wave of panic sweeping through me. I did not want to talk about this, but I could see no way to end the mess I had created.
"You know I haven't seen anyone since David and I broke it off..." I said weakly, wincing when I realized that I was verging on whining. Nervous sweat prickled all over as I waited for him to think through the implications. Unfortunately, the alcohol in his system seemed to have dulled his mind enough to prevent the easy way out that I was hoping for.
He snorted, and then looking at me again, winked suggestively. "Rach, I think maybe the real question isn't whether you've seen anyone - but if you've seen anything. I think we both know that just because you haven't, ah, been assisted, doesn't mean there hasn't been some... relief..." He chuckled, clearly pleased with his turn of phrase, and I just sat silently, not knowing what I could say. Unfortunately, he interpreted my silence as a lack of understanding. "You know," he continued loudly, "maybe been seeing something, like a toy...?" I winced as he opened his mouth again, looking gleeful. "Or maybe, maybe you haven't been seeing anything but yourself..." he grinned delightedly, continuing, "Maybe, you don't need a toy... You know, I was unfortunately forced to realize how passionate you are when I spent that month living on your and David's couch, and I have to say, from what I heard and saw --" He turned, grinning, but trailed off abruptly when he saw me.
I was bolt upright on the lounge chair, hands clenched together in my lap, desperately willing the puddles in my eyes to stay put as I battled shame and embarrassment. To compound it all, my head was swirling with the effects of the wine, and a faint ache of arousal still refused to fade entirely from the depths of my abdomen and the back of my mind. As he looked at me, I forced myself to make momentary eye contact and shook my head, just two abrupt shakes.
"Oh, Rach..." there was regret in his voice, but I still couldn't force myself to look at Stephen's eyes. I focused intently on the chair between my criss-crossed legs. I knew this wasn't the sort of conversation that you had with a straight guy – not your best friend, and friend only, nothing more. I was overwhelmingly aware of his maleness at the moment – and my fuzzy feeling mind and hormone storm were not helping my composure.
"Why not?" he asked softly.
I shrugged, unable to put the feeling of wrongness I had into words. 'Why not, though?' I thought silently, and the wild reckless feeling of need came rushing back to me suddenly. Stephen looked at me intently, waiting for an answer, and my pulse sped up. I was punch drunk, headed towards real drunk, and the night spun around his brown eyes, sparkling to the point that they almost looked feverish. I held his intent gaze, and my mouth opened, but I didn't know what was going to come out of it.
"Rachel," he said intently, "It will feel good. Your body was made to do it. All my exes have done it, and thoroughly enjoyed it..." He sounded more urgent as I failed to respond. "There's no shame in sexual pleasure! Okay, hold on. Let's say you and I were attracted that way after all. Would you find it shameful to use our bodies together to get pleasure for you??"
I considered his words for a second, totally taken aback, but the reasonable part of my mind reached an easy conclusion. He was right. I wouldn't have any problem with that – no problem at all, in fact.
Suddenly realizing that I was thinking in detail about sex with Stephen, I groaned and sprang up out of my chair. None too steady on my feet, I carefully enunciated."Stephen. It is 2 am. I'm exhausted and drunk and so man-starved that I am feeling desperately horny – and you're not much better. Go get a cab. Go home."
I relaxed slightly as he slowly stood and headed toward the patio door, tensing again when he turned for a parting shot. "It's like they say – if you aren't even attracted to yourself, then why would anyone else be? No one is going to help you out of your "man-starved" state if you stay cold and controlled. Just relax, and be the sexy passionate girl that's really in there."
Too awkward to respond, I silently picked up his empty bottles and my glass and took them into the kitchen, ignoring his exit.
I slowly walked into the bedroom, sitting down heavily on the edge of my bed and smoothing my hands across my sage green quilt. I glanced at the digital clock on my bedside table. Ugh. 2 am and I had to be up for work at 7:30 tomorrow. Tonight had gotten out of hand in too many ways.
Shaking my head, I stood up and started to wiggle out of my clothes; first my sweatpants and t-shirt, then my no nonsense cotton bra and underwear. As I did, I muttered irritably at myself. "What were you thinking, Rachel? You know Stephen is experienced, you know you're the modest one. You should have known better than to play with fire!" But even as I said it I was feeling that restless ache, and a little wild around the edges. However much I wanted to be responsible, I knew I couldn't sleep yet. I felt a little smug as I ran through the night in my head. I was pretty sure that I had pulled off being flirty and surprised Stephen with my unusual daring, even if I had stumbled a little at the end. I wasn't sure how much flirting counted for when neither party was interested, but it still felt good.
I caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror hanging on my door, and moved closer, trying to picture what men saw when they looked at me. My dark blonde hair, creased by my ponytail holder, fell just past my shoulders to frame a face that was... okay. I felt as though I verged on plain – full but simple lips, no dramatic cheekbones, and wide bluish grey eyes that made me look almost childlike. I was proud of my body, though. Flat stomach, long tapering legs – although they were thicker around the thigh than I would have preferred. My gaze fell on my breasts. They were large for my slender frame – a 34D. They looked nice enough with the support of my bra, but I had always felt like they hung a little heavily. I cupped my hands around them, lifting them an inch or two and eyeing myself critically, then letting them slip down to settle again. I sucked in sharply as a nipple brushed my hand, sensation zinging straight to my groin, and I was suddenly uncomfortably aware of the moisture that was still faintly lingering between my thighs. I flushed again, remembering Stephen's words. Was it even possible for me to be attracted to myself? What I really needed, I thought desperately, was for a guy to be here. To suck my nipples firmly the way that I loved and then maybe to slip lower with his tongue... stroking until I spasmed into orgasm...
I realized my eyes were closed. Feeling hot and none too steady, I sank down to a sitting position on my tan carpet, still in front of the mirror. I saw my eyes widen in the mirror as I realized that, by sitting Indian style, I had exposed everything. Every flushed fold was reflected back at me, framed between my closely trimmed brown curls, and I bit my lip at the moisture I could see glistening around my entrance. Feeling incredibly naughty, I pulled my legs open, bringing my knees up as I spread myself. I was red with embarrassment, but totally captivated, and I watched unbelieving as I slid my hand from the carpet at my side across my thigh and towards my core. I could just try it, I thought desperately, shaking with need. I slowly reached down, and then catching my breath in nervousness, slid my index finger in, marveling at the slick warmth. I paused, pulling my finger out slightly before shoving it deeper into my wetness, but I felt uncomfortable more than anything else. I pulled it back out quickly, suddenly self-conscious. There was no thrill of pleasure like I'd been hoping for. I studied my folds again, feeling a desperate need to cum, and my glance fell on my clit at the apex of my labia, swollen enough to barely peek out. I hesitantly sat my finger on that pink button, and rubbed up and down hoping to duplicate the sensation that a man's mouth gave me in the same action. It was electric – too electric. It didn't feel good; it felt tingly and uncomfortable, like somebody was shocking me with one of those trick pens. Suddenly, discomfort and shame rushed over me. I stood up quickly, walked to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and then dove under the covers of my queen-sized bed, praying to forget it all by the morning.