Won't Make It Easy Ch. 02byVintageVixxxen©
After Nathan had left, neither of them having come to any sort of resolution on where they stood, Amara played back the message her answering machine took from earlier.
'Hi, this is Cardelia Nichols. I bought a skirt there on Wednesday---anyway, it doesn't seem to fit right. Just looking to exchange sizes....'
Amara called back the number the customer gave. After it clicked straight to voicemail, she left a message offering assistance.
Looking around her office, she smiled to herself. If walls could talk! Her workspace seemed to be marked now with the aftermath of her time with Nathan. She swore she could still smell his crisp, spicy cologne in the air. She spent a few diligent hours fixing the paperwork and register, packed up, and went home.
Settling into an overstuffed chair, Amara saw no better way to unwind than with some ice cream and her favorite fashion magazines. Because she owned a clothing boutique, it was nice to use her career as an excuse to browse through all the season's hottest trends. She had just curled up in her coziest Betty Boop print robe and slippers when her phone rang on the small table next to her.
"Guess who's newly single and coming back to Vegas?" It was the familiar voice of her best friend, Stacey. They bypassed phone greeting etiquette if the news was particularly juicy.
Amara knew, but didn't want to hear his name. She nervously twirled a front section of her hair around her pointer finger. "Let me guess---"
"That's right girl, Eric!" Stacey was naturally exuberant, being both sassy and Latina, so when she was really excited, words practically spilled out of her with accented giddiness.
"How do you know this?" Amara spoke flatly.
"Well, I was just cleaning up my friends group online, and just happened to notice on his page that he updated his relationship status and posted about leaving Santa Fe and coming back to Vegas. He didn't say how long he'd be here, though."
"No, but I'm sure you'll find out. You're like a bloodhound!" They both laughed. "AND I know you didn't 'just happen' to notice anything. You were just being nosy 'Private Detective' Stacey, as usual."
"Oh, shut up. You wouldn't be listening to me now if you didn't want to hear about him. I know you never got over him, girl."
There it was. The horrible truth. The man who had usurped any faith Amara ever had in happy endings. The reason why she was overly cynical when it came to the 'L' word. The man who had knocked her off her feet, only to send her plummeting back down to earth.
There had been no give and take with Eric. It was his way or nothing at all. She had never known a man could have such control over her until she collided with Eric; and it was a collision of epic proportions. They had passionate physical lust for each other, however, he always acted unaffected. She realized all too late that he was just using her for sex, but the hope of a relationship between them brought out her steadfast determination.
She tried to play the game his way. Whenever Eric called, she came running. Morning, noon, or night, he was as addictive as any drug could be. When he wasn't around her, she had withdrawal like a motherfucker. She naively thought her sex was a weapon, powerful enough to get him to want to be with her in the way she felt a man and a woman should be there for each other. Much to her disappointment, he was a constant disappearing act.
One night, after a torrid sex session, She rolled over and noticed what she hadn't the night before - the treacherous glint of metal encircling his ring finger.
"I got married, Amara." He said it in a matter-of-fact tone.
Eric verbalizing the obvious zapped Amara into a terrifying nightmare scene straight from the 'The Twilight Zone'. Even though it was several years ago, the pain of that moment stung her memory to this day.
"I just know that he'll be coming back around your way to see you again. He never could stay away from you."
Stacey's words brought Amara back to the present. "I know. That was the problem. He couldn't stay away from me, and at the time, I didn't know better to stay away from him."
Stacey cared about Amara too much to say 'I told you so'. While Amara was going through her shit with Eric, Stacey remained a true friend, never passing judgment, only encouraging Amara to find happiness. She didn't want Amara to miss out on an opportunity to gain closure.
"Amara, you know if he's posting that he's single, it's because he secretly wants you to find out. You could just--you know--bring him to his knees and then leave him high and dry."
"I don't want revenge, Stace, not anymore. Besides, I met someone-"
"You met someone and didn't tell me?! You let me rave on and on about 'the ghost of penis past' and there is a new man on your radar?! Wretched wench!"
"Stace, it's too soon to get all worked up. We have no labels, no commitment. We only just met. But, I really think I could, I don't know, maybe have a sane interaction with a man that isn't entirely based on sex."
"Amen, sister. I hear that. Well, be careful, and I do want to meet mister man sometime soon."
"Hey baby," a female voice called out to Nathan.
"How the fuck did you get in here?!" Nathan was ready to attack when he saw HER draped on his couch. He slammed the door shut behind him, setting down an armload of groceries on the coffee table.
"I never forgot where you kept the spare key, baby." She said it with a smug grin.
"There must be someone else in this room, cause I'm sure as hell not your baby. I'm not your anything." He ran his hands through his hair, trying to calm his fury.
"No matter what you think, I never stopped loving you."
"Yeah, well, I stopped feeling anything for you a long time ago." Her blue eyes that used to hypnotize him no longer had their effect. The pixie style he used to think was adorable, angelic even, on her blonde hair now just looked overly trendy and obnoxious. Her slender gamine figure seemed to further emphasize that she never actually fully matured or grew out of her selfish nature. Now he despised the words that came from what used to be a sweet, kissable mouth.
"I was just so confused, and you wouldn't even try to understand---"
He cut her off. " 'So confused' that you slipped and fell on another guy's dick? Wow. Now that's the fucking definition of confusion." He was disgusted and saw no better way to deal with Carrie than bitter animosity.
She wouldn't dignify that with a response so she tried a new tactic. "Nate, I know I hurt you---"
"Wonderful that you can admit your fault in this. What do you want? A damn cookie for honesty?! Of course you hurt me, but more than that, you disappointed me. I took you to be more than the usual Vegas club slut, but hey, we all make mistakes. You made yours by coming here. Now get out," he finished icily.
"You'll regret this, Nate."
"I'll regret what?!" He asked incredulously.
"That I came here to try to work things out with you, and you're so fucking stubborn you wouldn't listen to reason."
"Hold the fuck up! In what twisted parallel universe do you---" He interrupted his own rant, seeing no point in arguing with her. The damage was done. "You know what? I don't even want to fucking know, I just want you out. Leave the damn key."
"How do you know that it's the only copy?" She had the nerve to tease.
"How do you know that I won't just change the locks, or better yet, get your ass for trespassing?"
"You wouldn't." She leaned back into the cushions as if to put distance between them. She knew he would never lift a hand to harm her, but she was starting to see that she underestimated how angry he was.
From the look in his eyes, she knew he wasn't playing. She slapped the key on the kitchen counter and left without further argument. But it wasn't over in her mind.
About a week had passed since Amara and Nathan had talked. She happily found distraction in her work.
"I think that the '6' sits better on your hips." Amara scrutinized her customer's reflection in the three-way dressing mirror.
"It does. I only went home with the '4' cause I thought the tighter, the better. But then I thought about it, and I didn't want my boyfriend to have any trouble taking it off, you know?"
Well that's too much info, but Amara got her point. "Mm-hmm, girl, I understand."
Never turning off her retail skills, Amara asked "Is there anything else you want to take with you this time, maybe a corset or silk camisole? Either would make a fierce combo with the skirt." She always pressed for building the sale.
"No thanks, I already burnt a hole in my credit card when I was here last."
"Ok. I'll pull up your account for the exchange. We have you under 'Cardelia Nichols'?
"Actually, you guys probably have me under my nickname, 'Carrie'."
It had been long enough. Nathan felt he had allowed plenty of time to pass for he and Amara to go to their separate corners and think about what they were doing. He got out of his truck and stepped onto the sidewalk in front of Amara's shop, but not before having all the wind knocked out of him.
He gawked at the sight of Carrie leaving, a shopping bag in her hand. What were the fucking odds?! As soon as he came in, he had to find out.
"How do you know the girl that just left?"
"No 'hi, how you doin'?" Amara saw the impatience in his expression. "What, am I under interrogation or something? The short blonde with the eyebrow piercing? She's a regular customer. Why? How do YOU know her?" She asked suspiciously.
He didn't want to lie. It would no doubt come back to get him. Karma was a bitch.
"She's my ex."
"She's your fucking ex?! No, you will not run your drama all up and through my business. This is my fucking job, Nate! You've got some fucking nerve. Did you send her in here?!"
"Hell no! Why would I want her anywhere near you?! I had no idea Carrie shopped at your store." Nate refused to let Carrie ruin his chances with Amara. "Let me make it up to you and do what I originally came here for --- to take you out to dinner. You name the place."
Judging by his reaction, Amara could believe him, but it still stung to know that Nate's ex came to her shop and that she just waited on her. She chalked it up to fucked up coincidence.
"There is this hole-in-the wall Mexican cantina. Amazing guacamole." She spoke in a slightly perky tone that she surprised herself with. She guessed what it came down to was that she genuinely wanted to go out on a date with him. They didn't seem to get a fair chance to get to know each other.
Following a scrumptious meal where Amara imbibed enough sangria to shame the gods, she found herself in Nathan's truck on the way to his place. It would never have sat well with Nathan's conscience to let her drive herself home, no matter how much she said she could handle herself.
He opened the passenger's side door for her, undid her seatbelt, and slipped his arm around her waist to support her getting out of the truck. They had just about made it to his porch when a figure on his front steps almost sent him reeling. You gotta be fucking kidding me!
"Hey, baby." Carrie said in her familiar tone.
"Carrie, if you don't leave now-"
"Believe me, by the time I'm done with you, you'll be begging me to stay." She talked in her usual low purr until she noticed that Nathan wasn't alone. Her voice squeaked up a few notches. "Who the hell is she?! Wait, I know her - you work at that clothing store. What the fuck are you doing with my man, bitch!"
Now Amara might have been drunk, but she wasn't THAT drunk. She spoke through clenched teeth. "WHO the fuck are you calling bitch?! Amara took a swing at Carrie, but Nathan held her back just in time to stop the punch from connecting.
The last thing he wanted was for her to get tangled up in any bullshit over Carrie. He just knew Carrie would be all too eager to press assault charges against Amara to get at him.
"I told you not to come back," Nathan interjected sternly.
"You can't tell me what to do. Besides, there is a difference between trespassing and innocently waiting for my boyfriend to get home." On the words 'my boyfriend', Carrie looked pointedly at Amara as if to mentally stab at her.
Amara remained silent, now choosing not to engage in any trashy talk show type of fighting with Carrie. She figured she'd let Nathan handle this mess on his own.
"I'm not going to rehash this, Carrie." He walked past her to open his front door and get inside with Amara.
"I would have let your black bitch join us in bed, if you wanted!" Carrie shouted after him.
Nathan slammed and locked the door shut, not even acknowledging Carrie's crude suggestion. Once inside, he guided Amara past his living area upstairs to his bedroom. Amara was just about to voice her opposition, but couldn't find the words floating among the sea of sangria in her head.
Nathan placed her on his bed with gentle tenderness. He carefully slid her stilettos off her feet, not resisting the urge to massage them a bit for a few seconds. He then got up to got to his bathroom medicine cabinet for some over-the-counter pain relievers and a paper cup of water.
Amara could already predict the hangover she'd have in the morning. "You don't have to do all this," her voice slurred as she took the pills and water from his hands.
"I know, you can take care of yourself, but I got you this time." he was situating a pillow under her head.
"I bet old what's-her-name-" She began, but realized she didn't know exactly what she was trying to say.
"Shh--get some sleep. 'Old what's-her-name' is out of the picture and just doesn't want to accept it. She's got her own version of 'The Stalker's Handbook."
Amara tried unsuccessfully not to laugh. "Ohhhhhhhh," she moaned, splaying her hand across her forehead. "That last pitcher is coming back to haunt me."
He chuckled and smoothed her hair away from her face. "I'll see your fine ass in the morning." He got up from the side of the bed.
"Wait!" Amara lowered her tone then, since the sound of her own voice was shrill to her ears. "Where are you going to sleep?" She shifted to her side to see if there was any way possible she could get comfortable and stop the room from spinning.
"On the couch." He pulled a spare blanket and extra pillow from his walk-in closet.
"You know I do believe you when you say it's over with her, so..."
"So why am I not trying to sleep with you?" He guessed accurately.
"Well, yeah, I mean-"
"Contrary to what you may think, I respect you, Amara. I'm not going to pressure you to do anything you may regret, especially in your condition." He lolled his head back and forth, groaning to make fun of a drunken stupor.
She would have petitioned him for sainthood if he wasn't such a smart ass.
He wasn't done yet. "Cause when I have my way with you, Amara, I want you to be completely sober." He left his room, shutting the door softly behind him.
Damn, he had a way about him that compelled her to want to explore him further.
Tossing and turning at close to 4 in the morning, Amara squinted at the bright red LED display of Nathan's alarm clock. She felt like the clingy fabric of her favorite little black halter dress was suffocating her skin, so she yanked it off along with her black thong, and slipped on Nate's robe. It was conveniently slung over the corner of his headboard. Mmm...it smelled like him.
She tip-toed down the wooden stairs, praying she wouldn't wake him. She lucked out. He appeared peacefully sound asleep. For the first time, Amara got a chance to take him in without his knowing. He was actually quite attractive, handsome even, in an unconventional sort of way. She pulled the blanket over his body protectively.
Amara was just about to turn away when he caught her hand. She had to stifle what would have been spine-chilling scream.
"What are you doing up?" He asked sheepishly as he stretched his legs out.
"I couldn't sleep."
He surveyed her body in his robe. On his glance back up, their eyes locked.
"Come to bed with me, Nate."
Nathan was trying to orient himself to the present moment, thinking he was still dreaming. "Wait, what is it with you? One day you're telling me you've gone too far with me, the next you're inviting me to sleep with you?!" He was awake now.
She understood his frustration. She should have made herself clear. "No no no no, I meant to actually sleep." She pantomimed, pressing her hands together against the side of her cheek.
"Oh." His disappointment was apparent.
He followed her back up to his room. His California king was a hell of a lot more comfortable than the sofa. He folded the covers down and slid into bed. Amara dropped the robe and scooted close to Nathan.
He wrapped his arm around her BARE?! torso. Unbelievable. Mixed signals were a bitch. He was over trying to be so chivalrous. "I suggest you put some clothes on, my boxers and a t-shirt, or something. I can't be in a bed this close to you without wanting to do more than just sleep. I'm only human."
He tested her limits. Now or never. Well, maybe not never, but could she do this? Should she do this? She hadn't meant to stall, but the words escaped automatically. "What happens after this?" She gestured to the space between their bodies.
He paused. "You tell me. You ask me to come up to 'sleep', you said that, " he reminded, "then you flip the script and here we are. I'm not out to hit it and quit it with you, Amara. I would have just as easily stayed on the couch."
She looked up at the ceiling.
"You know THIS," he glanced back and forth pointedly between them, "has not happened yet. We can just fall asleep if you want it that way, but you have to make up your mind and tell me what's it going to be."
It was a very odd thing. Having Nathan tell her that he would be fine with them not having sex was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. Amara knew it could possibly be good old reverse psychology at work, but she couldn't help herself. She pushed him from his side to his back, and crawled to straddle him.
Nathan gripped her arms firmly. "Are you sure?" His eyes burned through hers.
She nodded with a sexy half-smile.
"Should I get you to sign a waiver or permission slip, or something?"
"That won't be necessary." She giggled and leaned over him. "Nathan," she whispered by his ear, "I want you."
Those words were the key to his undoing. He breathed in her exotic perfume; some sort of concoction that reminded him of a garden at nighttime. Sexy and romantic, like her. He was damn near delusional. Her scent sent him over the edge. Nathan rolled his pelvis upward involuntarily.
He boosted her up, peeled down his boxer briefs, and settled her back down onto his cock. The skin to skin contact could ignite fires. They both savored the moment in a silent communion with each other.
Nathan cocked his head sideways.
"What is it?" She panted out while riding him.
"I just wonder if you know how beautiful you are." He knew it may have sounded sappy, but he couldn't help expressing his admiration. Her skin had the glowing radiant luster of amber. Her immensely full, pear-shaped breasts were crested with cocoa nipples. Her delicate doll hands were braced on his chest. He could feel her toned thighs clasped around his waist so tightly. At 5'7", she was the perfect complement to his 6 foot frame.
He looked up into her face. Funny how her beautiful brown eyes could convey hard-earned wisdom and sophistication one minute, then mischief and flirtatious sensuality the next.
"Come on, you don't have to say that." Amara looked down. "You're already inside of me."
"Am I?" His hazel eyes seared through her.