“So where is Gran today?” Amanda pushed her sunglasses up on top of her head. It was fixing to be a hot day, the hottest of the year so far. There were sundresses and rompers everywhere I looked.
“Gran has a boyfriend,” I informed her.
“Nuh uh! Who? When?”
“Her eye doctor,” I chuckled. “They’ve been sweet on each other for as long as she’s been his patient. I’m not sure how they started seeing each other since Gran’s been tight lipped about it, but she seems happy. Dr. Brigant is speaking at a conference at Johns Hopkins this weekend and he asked Gran if she was interested in being his plus one, so she’s on her way down to Maryland.”
“Wow. Good for her.”
“Right? I’m happy for her. I feel better about spending time with Eric knowing she’s not sitting alone in that apartment night after night. She’s tried to make it homey, but I know it’s not really home to her.”
“Is she only here for you?” Amanda sipped her mimosa. We each ordered one and a salad. She got the shrimp taco salad and I got the sweet and spicy chicken salad. It came with grilled chicken, goat cheese crumbles, raspberries and fresh peaches on a bed of arugula.
“I think so. Well now maybe for Dr. Brigant, too. She followed me up here because I think she was afraid I’d get sucked into the ether. I know she’d prefer to be back on the plantation but I also know it feels haunted to her for the first time,” I explained.
“That sucks. Hopefully the good doctor will turn her frown upside down.”
“That would be nice,” I sighed. “Oh, so speaking of turning frowns upside down, Eric sent me a massive bouquet of flowers on Thursday.”
“Carnations or good ones?”
Personally I liked carnations, but no.
“Roses, blue and white irises, blue thistles, green hydrangeas and then pretty greens all mixed together. It’s a stunning arrangement.”
“Sounds like the date went well.”
“It did. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant on Lexington. Then he took me on the long carriage ride around the park,” I told her.
“It’s a little predictable but not bad for a first date. Meeting for a drink before getting your fuck on doesn’t count,” she said. “Did you sleep with him?”
“Yup,” I smiled. I didn’t regret it either.
“Ooooh that face tells me something happened…”
Our waitress brought out our salads.
“Thank you,” both of us said.
“Multiple orgasms happened,” I told Amanda as I drizzled the poppy seed vinaigrette that came with the salad onto the chicken and lettuce.
“I’ve met one guy who could give me those and the son of a bitch was a married pathological liar. He had a terrible personality but a great dick. If I just could have duct taped his mouth shut we could have made it work longer,” she said wistfully.
“What about the wife?” I snorted.
Amanda shrugged. “She’s his problem, not mine.”
“Well anyway, I let Eric tie me up. I’ll spare you the play by play but I have zero regrets about letting him do it. I enjoyed every damn second of it,” I confessed.
My best friend was clearly impressed and a little skeptical about the admission I’d just made.
“So it was good?”
“I mean, I’m not saying it’s for everyone or his methods are employed by anyone who tries to take the role he did, but I feel sorry for everyone who doesn’t get to experience something like it,” I told her.
“Spank bank material?”
“Oh my god, it’s like tucked into the special vault,” I chuckled and so did she. “I will never forget that night. It wasn’t anything to be afraid of. No violence and nothing happened I didn’t want. It was… it was a great trust building exercise on top of all the orgasms. I feel this connection to him, you know? The whole time he was checking in with me to make sure I was okay. Every new thing he did, he made sure I was on board with it and that I was comfortable. I thought it would be more about him, you know, but it wasn’t at all. It was all about me.”
“So the complete opposite of that stupid shades of gray crap.”
“I don’t know, I haven’t read it or seen it,” I admitted.
“Trust me, you’re not missing anything, especially since it sounds like Eric went to Yale for Doms instead of the Trump University that Christian Gray attended.”
That almost had some of my mimosa coming out my nose. I was going to have to tell Eric about that one later.
“Oh my god, you’re too much,” I said when I was done choking and sputtering.
“So when do I get to meet this gangster of love?”
“Gangster of love?”
“He loves your peaches,” she shrugged and I cackled again. She had no idea.
She really was too much.
“So why not the space cowboy?”
“Gangster of love sounds more debonair.”
Right, of course. Why didn’t I think of that?
“I’ll talk to him and see if he’s willing to meet for brunch tomorrow, how’s that?”
“I like it,” she answered.
“Good.” I speared my salad to finally get a bite of it.
Amanda took a bite of her own salad, letting out a quiet groan.
“I didn’t realize how hungry I am,” she chuckled with her mouth full.
“Hey, what about Sam? Any movement there?”
“I went home with him the night you left me for Eric,” she said, wiggling her eyebrows. “It wasn’t ropes and multiple orgasms good, but I think we’re going to do it again.”
“Hey, if you got your jollies that’s what matters.”
“He’s sweet,” she smiled.
“That’s great, Amanda. I’m happy for you. I’m glad it’s good. It sucks when you catch all the feelings and then there’s no chemistry or his junk looks and smells like a damn cheese plate.”
“That’s gross,” she laughed. “I assume Eric’s junk doesn’t smell like cheese.”
“Nope,” I smiled. “I mean it’s not a rose garden but…”
“The face you’re making indicates it might be,” she laughed.
“Let’s talk about something other than balls,” I suggested. “Oh! I think I’m going to the Hamptons for Memorial Day. Eric has a house out there.”
“Shut up,” she grinned. “That sounds like a dream holiday.”
“It’ll just be a few days, but I think getting out of the city will be good for me. I miss the quiet, you know?”
“Not really,” she chuckled. She was born and raised in New York. “Is Gran going?”
“No, I don’t think so. Maybe next time we go out there. Eric’s talking about having his assistant schedule him so he has more free time. I don’t want to assume that it’s time he plans on spending with me, but I kind of have to think maybe it is.” I took another drink of my mimosa and added a little more dressing to my salad.
“It would make sense if he didn’t take time off before he met you,” she pointed out.
“He said he’s been focusing on work the last few years. I think it’s safe to say this isn’t as casual as he thought it would be.” I speared a piece of chicken.
“Are you okay with that? I know you said you wanted casual too.”
“Yeah, I did, but I guess… I wasn’t expecting to feel the things I am. Maybe it’s just the great sex and in two months when the bubble bursts I’ll feel different, but I feel like after everything I’ve been through in the last four years I owe it to myself to be happy. So even if it’s only temporary, I’m going to grab onto it with both hands.”
“Good for you,” she smiled.
It was a conclusion I came to right then and there. After spending so many years of being miserable and angry, it was time I take a break and look after myself. I’d earned a shot at happiness.
“So after we’re done here I have to meet that witch guy. He needs a picture of Hadley and some of her hair.” I was pretty sure Amanda was going to think I was nuts for pursuing it.
“I’m concerned that you still have her hair…”
“It was in her brush, fool,” I chuckled.
“Oh,” she laughed. “I was super concerned for a second.”
“I don’t walk around with clumps of my sister’s hair, Amanda. Well, not usually. Today I am. I still don’t know if it’s going to work, but it can’t hurt, right? The worst thing that can happen is nothing. I don’t have any expectation of him locating her so if he doesn’t I won’t be disappointed.”
“I’m rooting for you. I can’t imagine what you’ve been going through,” she said.
“Some days it feels like having her in my life was a completely different life. Like I walk around the city in a daze and I just need a minute. It’s weird. I don’t know how to explain it.”
“In a lot of ways it was a completely different life. A lot has changed for you in the last few years.”
“Everything has changed. I changed. Gran’s different. I don’t know how you go through something like this and not change. Do you think it would be crazy if I went back to school to pursue a degree in political science?”
“I don’t think that would be crazy at all. If that’s what you want to do, do it.”
“I’ve been thinking about it. At the same time, I’m worried that maybe I’d be letting what happened to Hadley consume me. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to help others who are in a similar situation, but is it really healthy to make that my life? Should I be able to put that down and have a family of my own and all the things I wanted before I lost her? Everything feels like it’s divided into before and after. When I try to take a step back from searching to go after the things I wanted before, I feel like I’m being a bad sister, like I’m being selfish,” I explained.
“Sookie, it’s not selfish to want to live your life for yourself. Do you think your sister would be mad at you for wanting to be happy?”
“No,” I admitted. I took a deep breath. Crying wasn’t an option. “I actually think she’d be a little mad at me for turning my life upside down over her.”
“It’s a tough call, Sook. Yeah, of course you want answers. I don’t think anyone can say they wouldn’t feel the same if they were in your shoes. At the same time, you’re not obligated to make it your whole life. You could spend the next fifty years searching and what if it gets you nowhere? Do you want to look back on your life and regret not pursuing all the other things you wanted?”
I knew Hadley wouldn’t want me carrying around any guilt. She would say the best way I could honor her is by living my life to the best of my ability. I knew if the roles were reversed I wouldn’t want her to dwell on the loss. It was just hard to let go. I wasn’t ready for that yet.
“Have you told Eric about all this yet?”
“A little. When he came to the apartment he saw the pictures of Hadley and me. I didn’t really have a choice after that,” I answered.
Eric didn’t ask too many questions about what happened or what Hadley was like. I was okay with that. He didn’t need to know everything upfront. At least it was out there. He knew the basics. Someday we’d have a more in depth conversation about it.
“As long as he’s understanding about it, that’s all that matters,” she said.
He seemed to be so far. I don’t know why he wouldn’t be. If he wasn’t, I’d deal with it when the time came.
I arrived at Eric’s apartment with groceries to make dinner for us. It was nice to be able to cook dinner for someone. Usually guys I dated wanted to go out and be seen somewhere. I was happy to stay in.
“I hope you like pork chops and roasted vegetables,” I said to Eric.
“Sounds good to me,” he smiled as I walked past him into the apartment. He closed the door and followed me into the kitchen.
“Are you hungry or do you need to work up an appetite saying hello?” I set the shopping bags on the counter.
“Eating and greeting you are right on par with each other,” he chuckled. He turned me around to face him and dipped his head to kiss me.
My new favorite appetizer. I had to pull away before I got too into it and didn’t unpack the food.
“Amanda says hello and she wants to meet you,” I informed him as I started pulling things out of the bags.
“Are we at the meeting friends stage?” He stood behind me with his hands on my hips.
“I don’t know. I’m comfortable keeping you to myself a while longer.”
“It’s not that I don’t want to meet her…” He kissed the side of my neck. “I kinda like being a mystery to her.” I felt his lips curve up in a smile against my skin.
“I’m okay with that. She can wait. Do you have friends?” He never talked about them if he did.
“I do,” he confirmed. “There’s a small group of guys I still hang out with when I go home. My wingman is a guy named Rasul. I think you’d like him.”
“What about here?” I chuckled.
“Rasul is here,” he clarified. “”He’s my closest friend here, or in Indiana or Michigan. It’s hard to find someone in the business I’m in that I really trust as a friend.”
“Well anytime you feel like you’re ready for me to meet him I’ll put the twins on lockdown and make dinner for everyone,” I offered.
“He may be more attracted to food than the twins, not that he’s not going to love the girls,” he chuckled. “He eats more than me.”
“So I should make two dozen biscuits if he’s coming for dinner?”
“That’s a safe bet,” he agreed.
“I’m guessing you finished yours off before Tuesday,” I said as I put things in the fridge. He had such a bachelor’s grocery supply in his refrigerator.
I was going to have to text Amanda to tell her Sunday brunch was a no go for this week.
“They were snacks anytime I walked past,” he said unapologetically.
I laughed at that. One of those biscuits was pretty much a meal for me. It was a good thing I got two chops for him. It was mid-afternoon, so we had time before dinner.
“I was thinking we could have dinner on the patio tonight. It’s nice outside. I bet it’s cooler up here than it was on the street.”
“It is. There was a nice breeze when I was out there earlier,” he told me. He was still in his suit from work. The jacket and tie had come off, but he had that pants on that moulded his ass perfectly.
“Working on Saturday,” I shook my head. “You’re going to give yourself a heart attack if you don’t relax once in a while.”
“I had a meeting this morning and then a conference call when I got home,” he said with a sheepish smile. “I’m done for the day, though. All my focus is on you.” He rubbed his hands over my ass.
“What would you like to do with me?”
“I want you to have your way,” he answered. “What do you want?” That wasn’t the response I expected.
“It’s a nice day. I feel like we should spend it outside. We could get my car out of the garage and take a drive out of the city,” I suggested.
“My car is downstairs,” he pointed out. “I would like to change into something more comfortable.”
“Of course. If you really want to get crazy we could spend the night in a hotel somewhere outside the city and scare the suburbanites with loud sex,” I giggled.
“You’re adorable, woman,” he chuckled. “I also like your style. Want to help me change?”
“Maybe…” I let him pull me out of the kitchen. “We might get a late start if I help you.”
“And?” When we got to the hallway he stopped and guided my hands to his belt.
“I’m just saying.” I unfastened the leather and pulled it through the loops. It landed on the floor while I unbuttoned his pants.
“I don’t have my next meeting until Monday afternoon. We can take our time.” His hands rubbed up my thigh, slowly lifting my dress.
“Too bad it’s not quite beach season yet. I don’t look too bad in a bikini.” I started to unbutton his shirt.
“Who needs a beach for a bikini?” He hooked my panties and pushed them down my thighs.
“I suppose the beach isn’t mandatory, but I might look silly walking down 5th Avenue in one.” I wasn’t surprised when I ended up facing the wall with him behind me. “I thought I was helping you get undressed?”
“You took care of the hard part,” he said in a low, growly sex voice. I heard his pants hit the floor before he lifted the back of my dress. I felt the tip of his cock rub through my rear cheeks, leading to my entrance.
“Feels like my work isn’t done yet with the hard part,” I smirked.
“Sassy.” He gave me a light smack on my ass. He reached around to rub my clit as his tip slid into me. His other hand came up to wrap around my throat just under my jaw.
“I think you like it,” I whispered. Damn it felt good as he moved in and out of me nice and slow.
“Oh yeah?” His voice was low and deep. He turned my head and I felt his teeth scrape against my jaw. Eric’s hips swiveled on the next in stroke, getting a really good spot inside of me. “You still haven’t met the paddle.”
“I’m a good girl,” I replied. “Good girls don’t need to meet the paddle.”
“You’re not always a good girl,” he stated. He pulled back and grabbed my hips. Eric pulled my hips away from the wall. The slow, deep thrusts steadily got harder until his hips were slapping against my ass.
“I’m the best ungirlfriend you ever had,” I panted. I put my hands up on the wall to arch my back, letting him in deeper.
“Doing a pretty good job of it,” he grunted. He sped up a little, driving in as deep as he could from this position. Eric’s fingers dug into my hips hard. I was sure there were going to be bruises later but it didn’t matter. It felt so damn good.
“Fuck, that’s so good, Eric,” I moaned. I reached down to play with my clit, making my walls grip him. They clenched harder when he slapped my ass. “Yes!” I cried out, unprepared for how good it felt that time.
Eric grunted again but kept up the same pace. It was probably the fastest round we ever had, but a minute later he was pulling out and cumming on my ass. I was still trembling from my own orgasm.
“Now I took care of the hard part,” I smiled.
“Sassy,” he repeated. “Come on.” He tugged my dress over my head and took my hand to finish the trek to his room. We went straight to the bathroom and Eric started the shower before he straightened up. He was still in his work shirt, but he’d lost the pants in the hallway.
“I’m not getting my hair wet,” I told him. “Just rinsing off your mess. No funny business.”
“Yes, dear.” He pulled his shirt off. When Eric stepped into the shower he pulled the head off of the wall so it didn’t get my hair.
I winked at him before I stepped in. He was nice enough to rinse me off. Even though they didn’t need it, he rinsed my tits too. He was kinda cute about it so I couldn’t be mad. I got out of the shower first so he could finish washing up. I made it a point to be dressed again before he was done. We were going to need to stop by my place before we took off, but I was excited to leave town for the night. A little adventure could be fun.