Kismet or Happenstance? Ch. 04byAugust_Bouvier©
Wednesday, August 16th, 2006. 6:40 pm
"I've met someone."
Ana moved the frames on her desk one more time. Perfect. The sudden hush wouldn't last long; she knew them all too well.
Right on cue, Sasha used her own words against her. "You've been there, what...twenty minutes? Our girl works fast, doesn't she?!"
"Funny," Ana tried for a flat retort but their laughter was too infectious.
Michelle giggled. "What's he like? How'd you meet? Details!"
Ana resisted getting swept up in Michelle's hopefulness—there was no reason to, even if she wished otherwise.
"We met at Borders while I was waiting to meet Simon."
"How are things going with him?" Michelle asked carefully.
"They're getting better...it's still a little weird, but definitely better. It was his idea for us to meet for dinner."
"That's a good sign, Ana!" Michelle encouraged. "Maybe he just needs time to come around."
"Time will tell."
"Tell us about your mystery man," Sasha butted in impatiently. In switching the topic, Ana knew Sasha was also trying to be diplomatic where Simon was concerned.
"What's his name?"
Ana's smiled instantly. "His name's Sean. Sean Brennan. You'd both like him. He's such fun to be around, makes me laugh all the time."
"Jeez, it's like pulling teeth," Sasha complained. Michelle giggled in agreement.
"Okay, Miss Walters. What do you want to know?"
"What does he look like?"
"How old is he?" Michelle chimed in.
"What does he do?" Sasha volleyed quickly.
Michelle raised the stakes. "Is he relationship material?"
But Sasha wouldn't be outdone. "Have you two...?"
"He's thirty-two and when it comes to his looks, let's just say, Sean wasn't hiding behind a door when God handed out tall, blue-eyed and handsome."
Her girls laughed and begged for more as she told them about their meeting in Borders. Suddenly, they were teenagers talking about a crush on an upperclassman.
"Go on!" Michelle gushed.
"He has a very masculine presence about him, always very put together—but not a pretty-boy; it's more of an old-Hollywood vibe. Oh..." Ana remembered a trait she admired and envied all at once. "He's got great hair."
"How unfair," Michelle mock complained before Sasha started the next round.
"What's he like personality-wise? Sounds like he's flirty from what you said."
"He is, but it's not in a hound dog way, you can tell he genuinely likes women."
"Men like that are divine!"
"And an endangered species," Sasha grumped, her stored regrets buried under sarcasm.
"Yours is out there," Michelle promised. Her bright words confirmed that she still didn't know . "If you say so, Shelly." The one thing that could cast a temporary shadow over Michelle's perpetual sunshine, was having her name abbreviated to "Shelly".
"Ana, you were saying." The schoolmarm edge effectively admonished Sasha.
"We're different in a lot of ways."
Sasha responded first to the hesitant observation. "Oh-kay?"
"Well, he has no qualms at all about walking up to a complete stranger and start talking to them."
"You're friendly," Michelle insisted flatly.
"Yeah, it just takes you a minute. Besides, wasn't it you who approached him? Which differences are you really worried about?"
"Well, he usually has ten things going on at once and it's like he only has two speeds: go, go, go...and sleep," Ana paused, "it reminds me a little of Chris."
"Oh," her girls chorused.
"If you can strike a balance between the two of you, you could compliment each other really well," Michelle countered. "You wouldn't fit as good with a low-key guy; you'd be bored, Ana. And maybe a hyperactive woman would get on Sean's nerves."
"Is he a party boy like Chris?" Sasha prodded.
"Then maybe you're letting past experience define your expectations and to help you stay guarded. You're still getting to know each other. Keep an open mind and see what happens." Michelle had a point—hopeful yet valid. She doesn't give up, does she? "Tell us more about Sean."
The mere sound of his name blanketed Ana in warmth.
"He's surprisingly intuitive for a guy and so smart; not in a snobbish, know-it-all way, more like "did you know the quirky history or detail behind this or that"?"
"Generous but not professorial," Sasha summarized.
"Right," Ana agreed, "and he enjoys trying new things."
"What else?" Michelle sounded like she was about to burst.
"He plays the guitar and he's a lawyer over at Vanguard Music."
Michelle did indeed burst.
Ana grinned, remembering a private performance while she snuggled in a cloud of white sheets; Sean's soulful voice had been a surprise. But Ana saved the pièce de résistance for Sasha.
"He's taking me out for a ride on a Harley this weekend," she drawled.
"I could so hate you right now!" Sasha wailed.
"And now for the big question." The edge in Sasha's voice made her flush as the still image flipped back to the minutes before when there'd been no guitar. "Does he have a brother?"
They all roared with laughter.
"So?" Michelle's question was loaded with innuendo.
"Yes, we have..." Ana stopped as memories surfaced of how it had been with Sean in this very bed. She waited a heartbeat shy of being cruel. "And it's very good."
The silence erupted in cheers and more laughter. Ana knew what was coming and decided to cut Michelle off.
"It's not serious." She often repeated those words like a prayer whenever temptation came around, taunting her with words like "future", and "relationship".
"Oh." Michelle's disappointed note was so eloquent, it floated down Ana's ear and settled in her marrow.
"Sean's a good guy...a great guy," Ana amended. She felt protective of him despite their short time together and agreed-upon casualness.
"Then what's wrong?" Ana didn't expect this from Sasha.
"It happened really fast and even though everything's been good, I can't see it going anywhere."
"Why?" Sasha pressed.
"Would you like it to go somewhere?" Michelle just had to go there.
I don't know. Yes?
"There's so much we don't know about each other," Ana hedged. "I get confused when I think about it. This isn't me...jumping into something like this, but it feels... Just because we're not meant to ride off into the sunset together doesn't mean it's not worth enjoying. I don't...I still haven't figured it all out," Ana fumbled. "I'm being careful though." But I've been slipping up.
"Oh, hun," Michelle's voice was like a warm hug. "We just want you to be happy. You deserve it."
"Yeah," Sasha supplied, "and if this Sean guy makes you happy, then go for it, enjoy it. Be happy."
"You know, I don't think you ever sounded like this about a guy, this early on. Not even with Chris."
There Michelle went on again, weaving fairytales out of absolutely nothing. Thank goodness, Sasha saw things just as they were.
"You know, you're right," Sasha agreed.
"Guys, it's not like that." A chalkiness lingered on her tongue after she said the words. Disappointment. This is foolish.
"We understand, hun," Michelle reassured. "Just don't be so quick to write him off or close the door on something that could turn out to be wonderful. Life doesn't always go the way you planned and sometimes you just have to roll with it."
"Yeah," Sasha said too heavily.
The conversation continued as though the two-thousand miles and three time zones separating them didn't exist.
* * * Ana paced her small apartment and ended up where she started. The memories in here and all that talking about Sean made her miss him more; ridiculous, since they usually saw each other on the weekends. Or at least that's how it was supposed to go. Last week had been an aberration. Still, uncomfortable truths hovered on the edge of her awareness. Sean could never be dismissed as "some guy". And some of these feelings weren't the "just casual" type.
Her fingers outlined the corners of the note card as she sat on the bed. Her recollections of last Monday night sweetened since she found it attached to the elegantly wrapped box. The white satin ribbon around it became another treasured memento she kept stored in the night table. The gift inside the box—like the words on the note—was simple, provocative and carefully chosen to stir her, to remind her of their first time.
A little, red bikini made of sheer tulle and lace—a far more exquisite replacement for the one he'd ripped off of her.
Her skin flushed just as it had the evening she found the package waiting at her doorstep. Knowing the gift was from Sean remedied the long workday. Within an hour of calling to thank him, he was in her apartment, not the least bit surprised and oh-so appreciative when he discovered Ana wearing the present he'd given her.
The ringing dragged her back to now.
She lit up when she saw the familiar series of numbers on the caller ID. Two more rings and a calming breath later, she pressed "talk".
"I miss you, sexy witch." His voice was low, hypnotic.
I miss you too. So much.
"Me too," she remarked as if it were an offhand realization. "How's the conference going?"
"Long. Especially when all I'm looking forward to is taking you for your first ride."
"I feel like a kid getting ready for Christmas, you have no idea."
They exchanged details about their days apart.
"I wish you were here." He sounded as restless as she felt.
Then why didn't you invite me?
Even if Sean had asked, it wouldn't have looked good to request time off with the deadline for the fall DesignHause catalogue so close. Plus, spending every day with him for three days would've violated rule number one and a whole bunch of others she hadn't even come up with yet. So why wasn't logic making sense?
"You're just saying that 'cause you're hanging out with a bunch of boring, stuffy lawyers."
She heard a faint snort.
"Maybe. Last time I checked, you weren't boring or stuffy."
A sudden pause stretched into several seconds as she remembered the last time he "checked": a rough, quick coupling against her front door after returning from dinner. They didn't even bother to undress.
"You're thinking about it, aren't you?" It wasn't a question, not really.
"Thinking about what?" Ana asked too innocently.
"Hmm. You against the door, me covering your mouth when you—"
"Oh yeah, I vaguely recall something about you not wanting me to forget you while you were away."
Sean's half-laugh was low rumble in her ear. "Did it work? Because it sure did a number on me."
"Actually, I was thinking about you before you called."
"And?" He sounded all too pleased and very curious. Good.
Ana hesitated. "I was reading the note you sent me... with the underwear."
"I remembered how you came over that night."
Ana knew the moment his lips curled into a smile.
"The first time we had sex at your place," he mused as if thinking out loud. "I still have reminders on my back."
She remembered the feel of his warm skin beneath her grip. She'd been brazen and couldn't get enough.
"And you've kept me coming back for more," he went on. And tempted her with what it would be like to wake up together, if he asked to stay, if she let him.
Sean continued with more provocative words. They pushed Ana back to last Monday night when she'd buzzed him into her building for the first time...
* * *
Seeing Sean so soon after Saturday had been an impulsive violation of The Plan; a list of guidelines to follow—with sanctions against spending the night, impromptu dates and consecutive nights of sex—designed make everything uncomplicated. A one time indulgence was no biggie, she reasoned as she waited for him, she'd go back to The Plan tomorrow. In fact, she wouldn't let him spend the night...even if he asked.
Ana apologized for her apartment's not-yet-lived-in appearance. For weeks, she'd used her recent relocation as a reason to not see Sean as often as he wanted. It assuaged her unexpected guilt that it was true...partly.
Sean hauled her against him and kissed her again and again. "I'm not here to inspect your furniture arrangement," he said along her neck.
Ana feigned ignorance. "No? Why are you here then?"
His hands roamed her back down to the swell of her backside before pulling her up into him so she could feel the reason for his visit pressing below her navel. Sean yanked his tie and marched down the foyer after her. Anticipation grew with every step he advanced. Desire grew with every step she retreated.
"Is your bed set up?"
Sean seized the belt of her kimono robe and pulled her to him. It came undone with one tug. His eager hands parted the teal printed satin. He bent his head, then stopped inches shy of kissing her.
"Tease," Ana pouted. He tilted his head away as she closed the gap.
"It's not teasing when you enjoy it," he disputed arrogantly. A light pass of his lips over hers halted her denial. "Or when I do this."
Oh, did Sean ever deliver on his promise. The kiss was hot and hard then slow and sweet, every way Ana liked it. His hand already made its way past the lace waistband before her brain could reboot.
"Let's see how much you hate being teased," he taunted against her mouth while he washed his fingertips with her. Ana pressed closer and sighed, so glad to be proven wrong.
Sean's blue eyes roamed her face; the living room swayed for a moment. Knowing her arousal put the pleased look on his face was heady stuff.
"Good?" There wasn't even a pretense of doubt in his voice.
Sean claimed her mouth again with fierce skill. His fingers and tongue explored her until she had to be closer to him. Ana pushed off his navy jacket and attacked his pale, blue dress shirt. A trail of clothes marked their journey to her bed, ending with Ana laying perpendicular on it, arms open in welcome.
She gulped as Sean took the back of her knees in his hands and pulled her down to the edge of the mattress. He slowly removed his gift to her, the last article of clothing between them. Sean eased the scrap of fabric down her legs with such care, as though undressing her were a sacred ritual and not a means to sex. His hands smoothed her thighs as if she were infinitely precious. He made her feel...vulnerable. Sean must have misread her squirming because he parted her legs.
His fingers nudged her thighs further apart. "Open wider for me."
Ana shifted quickly, relieved the moment had returned to a simple exchange of sexual pleasure.
But to her astonishment, he sank to the floor before her, draping her right leg over his shoulder. She protested even as her insides pulsed with arousal at the sight of him there, knowing what he was about to do, knowing how incredible it would feel when he did it. She motioned to sit up but Sean shook his head, dropping kisses along her thigh.
"Come here," she implored with a husky whisper. "I-I want—." The words stopped when she felt his breath caress her overheated skin.
Sean's hands and mouth remained focused on exploring her legs. Ana tried to stay still as his fingers exposed her to him. "You're not ready yet."
She was about to disagree when he rained soft, intimate kisses up and down her sensitive, wet crease. Sean varied the pressure, rhythm and direction of his lips and tongue, making Ana writhe and whimper. One finger slid into her and then another, testing, training the taut muscles that would soon hug his cock.
Ana struggled onto her elbows as his questing fingers kept moving deeper, pressing. She bucked involuntarily when his touch curled upwards. His eyes were warm and hungry when they met hers.
"There you are," Sean purred.
"W-what?" Ana found it hard to speak thoughts while his fingers strode back and forth, causing her to react again. This felt different.
"Lie back down, baby," he demanded softly as his palm pressed gently against her stomach. Ana frowned. Her mind, still striving for detachment and control, raced to catalogue the sensations.
"I-I," she started to question even as her hips pressed harder against the hand working her. She jumped when his breath fanned her clit.
"Ssh. It's okay." The warm hand on her abdomen pushed hard enough so she drifted back onto the sheet while the other created new kinds of magic. "Let me make you feel good."
And he did.
His mouth captured the swollen bud, nipping, pulling and painting it with his tongue while his fingers introduced her to the heart of her deepest pleasure. Ana crooned in surprise as sensation shattered her again and again, bathing her in liquid heat.
"Now you're ready," Sean declared against her thigh.
Ana lay panting and sated while he made his way up her body, kissing and stroking her as if he couldn't get enough. He tucked a pillow under her back and placed her in the middle of the bed for his taking.
Kneeling between her golden legs with his hands hooked under her knees, Sean looked like a pagan warrior, ready to claim his victory. He licked his lips. Amazed, Ana found herself responding to the sight of him tasting her.
His shaft covered in glistening latex, pried her slippery folds; the engorged tip insistent at her entrance. Ana pressed her head into the mattress as Sean surged inside her. He groaned as he pulled away, the tormented look in those dark blue eyes told Ana he was close. She canted her hips to meet his next thrust, intent on pushing him to the climax he deserved. But the action sent his rigid length gliding over delicate nerves.
Ana's mouth fell open in shock when the sweet friction made her flesh coil around him. Surely she couldn't again, so soon, like that? She moaned into his mouth as his tongue swept over hers and tasted her arousal there. The kiss was a scandalous forecast of what would come when he moved again.
But Sean pinned her hands to the mattress then dipped his head. His hot mouth closed over her left nipple and teased it to aching hardness. Ana arched her back, offering herself. The movement drove him to that perfect place again. Ana whimpered in delight then frustration when Sean remained still inside her.
She needed to be fucked. Hard, fast...she didn't care...it just had to be now. Sean caught her hips and quieted her.
"Sean, I need—"
"I know. Me too."
His palms took his weight and settled next to her shoulders. She held onto the backs of his arms, bracing herself as he withdrew. The hair on his legs sent shivers across her thighs.
He shook his head; his blue eyes and knowing smile went straight to her soul. "This won't be a fast ride, sweetheart."
Sean adjusted the angle of his strokes, repeatedly aiming for that secret spot. Ana sucked in her breath and bit her lower lip. The steady, relentless back and forth of his cock felt so good right there; it was almost too good.
"Sean!" It was half plea, half shout.
"Don't—" he demanded as he pushed into her, "—fight it," he bit out as his retreating stroke set her blood on fire again, making her cry out this time. His cock returned again, pestering her sanity with slow, precise spirals. He threw back his head.
"Yes," he bellowed as her silken heat pulled his cock deeper into her.
Their noises merged while his sinuous, intimate dance continued.
Wind. Wind. Wind.
The glorious sensations he set off inside her, ripped warbled sounds of surprise from Ana's mouth.
Ana clawed at his shoulders, his sides. "Don't stop. Don't stop. Please, don't...oh!"
Their eyes collided.
Thought and perception dissolved. Only Sean remained. His hips swiveled against hers, the rhythm of his fucking increased. Ana surrendered and her eyes drifted shut.