tagFirst TimeThe Accident

The Accident

bywaking_dream©

This story was originally submitted for the April Fools contest, hence the theme. I hope you enjoy it!

***

Sarah waited three long hours for Kyle to knock at her door, during which time she ate half of the dinner she had prepared for them and drank two-thirds of a bottle of merlot, but he never showed.

Didn't answer his phone.

He'd promised to come over right after a quick pint at a goodbye send-off for one of his coworkers.

Sarah wasn't clingy, and she wasn't prone to dramatics, but finally she decided to search him out at the Owl and Thistle, worried that he'd gotten drunk with the boys and wouldn't be able to make it to her flat just down the block, let alone his.

She changed out of the dress she'd bought for the occasion and into a sweater, jeans, and running shoes. She put on her black wool jacket, tucked her hair up in the green stocking cap she'd finished knitting the previous week, and ran down her stairs and out the front entry.

A light drizzle had started outside, little more than a wet mist in the air, but it made her squint into the dark as she jogged up the road to the pub.

Tempting though it was, Sarah didn't plan to storm in and be that girlfriend who made life hell for her man because he had friends. It was hard enough being a 'Yank' in London, and all of the preconceptions that went with that, even if she was only half Yank.

They'd been dating for a month and she wanted to make it work with him, hence the dinner and everything afterwards. She'd planned the evening down to the very last minute, wanting it to be special for both of them.

So much for special, she thought, trudging through the wet night.

She stepped just inside the Owl and Thistle which bustled with a late dinner crowd. Kyle's group was easy to spot in the back corner by the dartboards. Unlike everyone else, they were loud and drunk.

It was only 8:00. On a Wednesday.

It took a minute for Sarah to find Kyle because he had a girl sitting in his lap, some tart who looked like she was about 15 but dressed like she'd been a hooker for a decade.

Much to her own surprise, Sarah's first thought wasn't, You fucking bastard. It was, Is that what he really likes?

She knew she should leave, walk right out and not look back, but she couldn't make her feet move. She felt sick and, yes, the first tinges of anger. How. Dare. He.

Just when she managed to turn herself back toward the door, Kyle called out, "Hey Sarah! Come back!'

She ignored him.

He caught her just outside the pub and scowled at the weather, as if she'd forced him out into it against his will. "Where are you going?"

"Home. Alone. Goodbye, Kyle. Don't call me again."

Sarah turned away, but he spun her back around with a tight grip on her arm. "Let go," she snapped, jerking away.

"What? Did you see Lissa in there?" He smiled dismissively, turning the charm on full force. "She's just playing around. It's April Fools, you know."

"It is?" Guess that explains what a fool I've been.

Kyle saw an opening and went to work attempting to dig himself out of his hole. "We were kidding around. Lissa was having a bit of fun with all of the guys, not just me. I didn't do anything wrong."

"No? Then go back and play some more. Have fun. Happy April Fools to me."

His face hardened slightly. "Don't be a bitch, Sarah. I already told you it was all in fun. I only want you, love." He raised a hand to touch her cheek, but then pulled back. "Christ, it's cold and wet out here. Come inside and have a drink, will you?"

Sarah tilted her head as if considering. "I don't think so. Have a nice life, asshole."

She turned and Kyle didn't stop her. Dumb shit was probably more concerned about getting his hair wet than making her understand. Not that there was anything to understand. Sarah didn't suffer fools, which was the main reason she was still a virgin in her early twenties. Nice to have seen this side of him before she gave him something she couldn't take back. It was the nick of time, really.

But how long could the list of unworthy boyfriends possibly be?

Sarah gritted her teeth against the unanswerable question and jogged a ways down the sidewalk before darting between parked cars to cross to the other side of the street.

Just as her shoe landed in the open street, she heard a car horn and was spinning off the front left fender. She was thrown back onto the street and her head knocked into the tire of a car parallel parked on the curb.

Fucking hell! Could it get any worse? April Fools, my ass!

The driver strode toward her, a man in his early thirties with dark hair and an average face, though it was hard to tell by the street light. He knelt on the wet road at her feet. "Christ, I'm so sorry! Are you alright? Of course you're not alright. I'll call for help." He pulled a phone from his pocket, but Sarah held up a hand to stop him.

"No, really, I think I'm fine. You weren't going very fast."

"Visibility is bloody rotten. Damned rain."

In spite of just having been hit by the man's car, she smiled. "It is rotten, isn't it? The accident was my fault, I wasn't looking. And I really am okay." She pushed herself up, and stood, taking inventory from head to toe. Her head seemed to be fine and she didn't have any broken bones. "I think I twisted my ankle a bit, but it's not too bad." Would be fine with an ice pack, anyway.

The man stood next to her, much taller, probably 6'2" and slender. Jeans peeked out under his expensive looking overcoat, and he was much more handsome than she'd thought initially. Or, maybe it wasn't that he was so handsome, but that his concern was genuine.

Behind his car, other impatient drivers honked their horns, angry at his inadvertent blockade.

He glanced back at the line of headlights. "The natives are restless," he said. "If you won't let me talk you into a trip to hospital, can I offer you a ride home at least?"

"Uh..." Even with Sarah's aching ankle, years of stranger danger still caught up with her. "I'll be ok. I don't know you."

He reached out a hand. "I'm Owen and I promise I'm not a danger to you. Well, not anymore." He winced slightly. "If I don't clear the road, the lady in the Toyota is likely to put us both in hospital."

"I'm Sarah," she said, taking his hand, aware that her face was actually heating in spite of the cold spring evening. "I guess I don't need to ask which car is yours."

**

Owen followed her directions and looped around through the neighborhood to get to her flat. His heart was still racing because, fuck, he'd run down some poor woman in the street. A Yank no less. Actually, he'd just nicked her, but shit. He wasn't even supposed to have been in Crouch End, was just dropping off some paperwork to a client and had gotten turned around in the system of one-way streets.

The silence contributed to his guilt, so Owen asked, "Do you live by yourself?" Then realized it was precisely the kind of question a predator would ask. "No, I'm sure you don't. Girl like you probably lives with friends," he said, and realized he was probably just making it worse. His heart just wouldn't slow down enough for him to think clearly. It was disconcerting. Unusual.

"I'm kind of an introvert," she said, as if that answered the question.

Owen wasn't sure how to respond to that, so he said, "Lousy weather for the start of April. Do you usually run about in the rain at night?"

"Not usually," she said. Her gaze stayed out the side window, and he got the impression she was bothered by something not having to do with being hit by his car. Christ, he never though he'd be guilty of running someone down in the street. "Is there anything the matter? I mean, other than your ankle and the fact I just ran you down?"

Her eyes were bleak when they met his. "I found out my boyfriend isn't, in fact, good boyfriend material."

Good God, relationship drama. Owen forced a reassuring smile. "I have a bit of experience being a boyfriend, and I can honestly say we're not all cads. Not entirely, anyway."

Her eyes narrowed on him. "Only partially? What percentage would you give it? 20% cad, 80% nice guy? Or more like 60/40?" There was an unmistakable challenge to her voice, but Owen knew he wasn't the one she wanted to pick a fight with.

"Let's just say we're all flawed, some more than others."

She looked away. "I'm sure you're perfect."

"I don't believe there's any such thing as perfect."

Sarah made a non-committal sound of agreement, then pointed out the front windscreen with a slender finger. "There it is."

It was one in a long line of row houses, all with steps and on a hill.

She said, "You can let me out here."

Not likely. Owen wasn't going to leave her to hobble up steps by herself. He reversed into a parking space he'd just passed, his little Audi sliding in with practiced ease.

He lent her a hand to help her out, and when she limped up the pavement, Owen saw his chance to prove not all men were . "Don't be alarmed Sarah, but I'm about to pick you up." He didn't give her a chance to protest, but bent and swept a hand under her knees and another across her back.

She yelped in surprise, but actually smiled. With her face so close, and now that his panic was dying down, Owen saw her, really saw her, for the first time. Under her horrid stocking cap, she had lovely clear skin with a smattering of freckles across her nose and pale blue eyes that reflected the streetlamp overhead. Her lips were full and she smelled of some warm scent, like vanilla, but not as sweet. Though she wore a large pea coat, she was light in his arms, but then he had nearly a foot of height on her. Owen felt his wayward cock stirring and an even stronger urge to quell it, because:

Not the time or place.

He had just hit her with his car.

She was hurt, if only her ankle.

He didn't prey on vulnerable women.

Say something.

"Don't tell me this is the first time a man has carried you into your flat," he commented with feigned shock. "No wonder your opinion is so low."

She shook a bit as she fought a laugh. "I hope none of my neighbors see. How would I ever explain?"

How indeed. He set her down long enough to open the entry door, then picked her up again. "Where to, Miss Sarah?"

"Upstairs, on the right."

He took the steps two at a time, unease and arousal battling for dominance between his mind and his groin. It was ridiculous that her scent and proximity would unsettle him so, and really only served to prove her earlier assessment of men.

Owen didn't want to fit into her stereotype, even if she didn't know him, even if she never would.

Her flat was a bit stark, mostly inexpensive Ikea fare if he had to guess, but it wasn't cold thanks to the paintings that crowded the walls. Owen set her down on her couch and surveyed the room before looking back to Sarah.

She had her lips pinched together, trying to fight a smile. Trying to maintain her earlier anger, but obviously it hadn't run that deep.

"And now I shall procure ice for you, my lady," he said with a wink and a bow.

"No, really. I'm fine." She stood to prove her point, but unsteadily, so it wasn't much of a victory.

Owen arched a skeptical eyebrow. "Kitchen?"

"No. Seriously, you should go. I'm fine. Thank you for the ride back. And for, you know, not killing me with your car."

She pulled off the wretched stocking cap revealing glossy dark hair, almost black. The pea coat went next and Owen knew he couldn't leave just yet. She had a lovely figure, just the right curves under her jeans and jumper.

He shrugged out of his overcoat and hung it on the top corner of the sitting room door, then set off to find her kitchen which was easy since there were only five doors in her entire apartment: front door, sitting room, loo, kitchen, and bedroom. It was compact, and obviously she lived alone. Her boyfriend hadn't weaseled his belongings into her flat yet.

Had he made his way into her bed?

Probably. Girls didn't have the same inhibitions they used to.

Will she let me into her bed?

Not the time, he reminded himself.

In the kitchen, Owen put ice cubes and water into a plastic zipper bag, then put on the kettle. Hot tea never went amiss, especially in awkward situations like this, though he was fairly certain there was no scientific evidence to prove tea could heal a sprained ankle. If only.

Her kitchen was tidy and the small dining table was set with a rose and candles that had been snuffed out after burning halfway down. Obviously Sarah had planned something special and her boy hadn't shown. Was this meant to be an anniversary?

He found two mugs in a cupboard and had teabags ready to go when the kettle boiled.

By the time he returned to the sitting room, Sarah had kicked off her shoes and put her foot up on the coffee table.

"Ah, tea. I thought you'd gotten lost."

Funny, considering how small her flat was. "I'm nothing if not thorough," he said, handing her a mug. He sat on the table next to her foot. "May I have a look?"

Sarah shrugged. "Nothing to see, but knock yourself out."

He grinned at her nonchalance and pulled her sock off, pushed the leg of her jeans up above her calf. She had lovely slender leg and a pretty foot, even though he had never been into feet. Owen took it into his lap and placed the icepack across her bruised ankle. There wasn't much swelling, thank goodness.

"What do you do for a living, Owen?"

"If I tell you, it won't endear me to you."

"What are you, a lawyer?"

He touched his index finger to his nose.

She shrugged. "Explains the nice car. Wait, are you going to sue me for running into your car?"

Owen smiled. "I'm not that kind of solicitor. Intellectual property, mostly. Are you going to sue me for hitting you with my car?"

Sarah considered him. "Are you worried about it? Is that why you're being so nice?"

"Not worried, no. Refusing to go to the hospital isn't really the act of a victim with litigious tendencies. What do you do, Sarah?"

"I'm an artist. Sort of." She swept her hand to indicate the paintings.

She was really quite good. Abstract impressionist, he thought.

"I doesn't pay much at the moment, so I work in a gallery in Soho."

"I like them," he said honestly. "You have an interesting technique."

She blushed and blew on her tea. "You don't have to say that. Really. You don't owe me anything. You can go."

Sarah looked nervous, perhaps because he was being too familiar with her leg, or perhaps because she was affected by him the same way he was affected by her.

"What if I don't want to leave yet?" he asked.

Sarah's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Why wouldn't you want to leave? I'm fine. You've already done more than enough," she said, hefting her mug up as proof.

"Why are you angry at your boyfriend?" he asked. His abrupt change in topic threw her, and she took a moment to gather her thoughts, and probably to decide whether to reveal anything to him at all.

Finally she said, "I had something special planned for tonight, and he completely blew me off. He was down at the pub with some tart like I didn't exist."

Her pride put up a pretty good fight against her tears, but her baby blues glassed over just the same.

"What did you have planned?"

She blushed heavily then, her pale skin going a lovely shade of pink all the way down to the collar of her jumper. Probably beyond.

"It's private. It's stupid. You'll think I'm pathetic."

Owen frowned at her assessment because he rarely thought of any woman as pathetic. Sometimes they were silly and dramatic, sometimes he felt sorry for them, but he wasn't the sort to condescend when he didn't know details, and he wasn't prone to even when the details might warrant it.

"A missed anniversary?" he guessed.

Sarah gave a bitter bark of laughter. "Nothing so inconsequential." She met his eyes and said, "I was planning to sleep with him for the first time." She fought her embarrassment with a defiantly raised chin. "What is it they say about the best laid plans?"

Owen's mind deviated to where his cock was already urging him to go. "His loss," he said lightly, gliding his fingertips up the exposed skin of her calf.

Sarah frowned. "If you think I want a pity fuck from you, you're wrong."

"I don't do pity fucks," he said.

"Well, I don't need you to feel sorry for me."

"I don't feel sorry for you, Sarah. I feel attracted to you, though I know it's entirely inappropriate. Couldn't be worse timing, really."

"You're attracted to me?" She looked surprised. "Is this another April Fool's joke? Because I've had enough for one day. I'm not laughing."

"Neither am I." Owen closed his hands around her leg in a warm grip. "You don't seem to know it, but you're quite beautiful Sarah."

**

Sarah didn't know what to say. Her breath left her and she felt it was impossible that a man who looked like Owen and acted like Owen could possibly want anything to do with her, let alone what he seemed to be suggesting. "You want to sleep with me? Right now?"

He looked down and rubbed a thumb up the length of her shin bone. Her skin tingled everywhere he touched. Thank God she'd shaved her legs.

"No, I don't want to sleep. And it's unconventional, I know. Maybe fate threw us together," he offered with a shrug.

Maybe. Sarah experienced a moment of clarity, the realization that this man could end her wait, end her virginity. He was kind, polite, and goodness, his body. He was precisely who she had been waiting for, even if the circumstances were not.

Feeling bold, Sarah asked, "What do you want to do?"

Owen's eyebrows rose and a slow smile spread his sensual lips. "Anything you'll let me. What do you want me to do, Sarah?"

"Take my virginity," she said.

His hands stopped and his smile faded. "Surely you're joking. Is this your idea of April Fools?"

"No! I'm 22 and I'm tired of having it hanging over me. I've been waiting to find the perfect guy to make it special, but maybe I've been going about it all wrong. Maybe I need to just," she waved her free hand in the air, "get it over with."

Owen set her foot aside on the coffee table and stood. "I'm not willing to go to bed with a girl who just wants to get it over with. That's no better than a pity fuck."

"Which you don't do."

"No."

"But I'm attracted to you, Owen. You're... hot," she said, for lack of a better word. It didn't remotely sum him up. "I've had butterflies in my stomach since you carried me into my flat."

He gazed down at her, but didn't say anything. Also didn't move toward the door.

She continued, "I may not be experienced, but I know what I want. I'm not a kid. I'm no pushover," she said, emboldened by his stillness. "I want you, Owen."

He ran a hand through his dark hair and sighed heavily. Pondered her for a long moment before saying, "I'm probably going to hell for this." But then he bent down and scooped her off the couch to carry her to her bedroom. He laid her on her bed and switched on the bedside lamp.

Now that she was here, in her bed with a man standing over her, Sarah was gripped by nerves. All of her anticipation, all of her waiting was about to come to an end, and with a man she didn't even know.

But there was something liberating about the situation. Sarah wasn't naïve, she wasn't some prim princess who'd spent her life as a shut in. Not knowing Owen was the best possible thing because she wouldn't have to feel guilty about anything that happened. She wouldn't even have to see him again. What could be better?

Owen pulled off his sweater leaving him in a navy short sleeve shirt and jeans. His muscles weren't huge, but they were well-defined, and he clearly took care of himself. He kicked off his boots and climbed up onto the bed next to her, propping himself up on his right elbow. With his left hand, he stroked stray hairs out of her face and considered her with his dark eyes. She felt exposed, even though she was fully dressed. Was he judging her? Considering backing out?

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