“Mmmmm,” I groan shamelessly. “This steak is unbelievable. What did you do to it?”
He chuckles. “I just gave it a good rubdown with some garlic, salt and pepper.”
“Yeah, I saw that. I was actually pretty jealous.”
He laughs again. “And I have to say, you did an excellent job with the salad.”
“Oh yes, I’m a whiz at chopping vegetables.”
“Bella, the table looks really spectacular. I didn’t even know I owned candles.”
Now it’s my turn to chuckle. “Yes, well, I had to dust them off, so I kind of figured they’d been hanging around a while.”
“Seriously, it’s really nice to have a woman’s touch around here.”
And it’s nice to have a master’s touch around here, my lady parts add. “Edward, do you mind if I ask you something personal?”
He chokes a bit and says, “Considering you had my dick in your mouth not an hour ago, I think you’re entitled.”
Good point. “Well, I don’t want you to think I’m being nosy, but I mean, you know I’ve been with Jasper for a really long time, and I was just wondering…when’s the last time you actually had a woman’s touch around here?”
“Ahhh, the ‘exes’ talk. Thank you, Black Velvet.” He sits back in his chair, leaving his silverware in his plate. “I guess you’d have to define ‘a woman’s touch.'”
My eyes narrow.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t mean that to sound evasive. If you’re asking about my last serious girlfriend-slash-overnight guest, it was literally years ago. But since then, I have had subs who have served me a meal or done a load of laundry for me.”
“I thought you said you don’t have your subs do that kind of thing for you,” I recall from our first breakfast together. Sheesh, was that just yesterday?
“I said I didn’t bring you here to be my scullery maid. Believe me when I tell you there are plenty of girls who’ve gotten off BIG TIME on doing my chores.” He smirks before taking a long drag on his wine glass. “And as part of a scene, literally anything can be hot, if it’s set up properly.”
I have no doubt whatsoever in his ability to achieve just that. Domestic bliss redefined. The writer in me can’t help but conjure scenarios…sorting his darks from his whites on my knees, vacuuming in those ridiculous spikes…
“Damn, Isabella. You’re doing it again, aren’t you?” he grins broadly.
I am so busted. “Do all doms read minds, or is that a particular talent of yours?”
He chuckles. “I think probably most of the good ones do.”
“Ugh. It’s so unfair,” I complain, but I’m not a bit dismayed by his ability to inhabit my thoughts.
“Isabella, I want you to be very clear on this: you’re the first girl who’s ever had my key.”
“Hunh,” I say, fascinated by this new bit of information. “So I guess we’re both in uncharted waters, in a way.”
“You could definitely say that,” he answers.
“So,” she fishes, “what else do you like to do for fun, you know, when you’re not cyber-stalking or tying up women?”
“I guess the same stuff as most other guys. Working out, sports, reading, knitting…”
“Wait, you knit?”
“Nah. I was just making sure you were paying attention.”
“Testing my mindfulness, are you? How about poker night?”
I shake my head. “No. That doesn’t usually go too well.”
She laughs lightly, “Take too much of a bite out of your paycheck?”
“Not exactly,” I answer. “Isabella, I’m really good at poker. My friends don’t really appreciate my taking their money every single time.”
“Ah. So, what do you do for bonding time with the guys?”
“I’m in a fantasy football league, and we usually get together for Monday night football. I haven’t done much with them lately, though.” Because a certain princess has been occupying all my spare thoughts.
“Oh. Football,” she says derisively.
I have encountered this attitude before, and I find there’s usually something else behind the emotions associated with the game. Usually it has an awful lot to do with being ignored by a preoccupied father or engrossed boyfriend and less to do with the game itself. I have a surefire cure.
“Not a fan?”
“Do you think I could get you interested in tomorrow night’s game if we put a little wager on it?”
“What kind of wager?” she looks up, intrigued.
“How about loser has to cook dinner tomorrow night?”
Her face goes a little pale, and I have to chuckle. “I told you, Edward, I’m a terrible cook.”
“I don’t believe that any more than I believe you couldn’t love football if you understood it better. You’ve just never really been motivated to cook before. If my team loses, I’m really going to make an effort to do something nice for you, and I’d like to believe you’d do the same.”
“Of course I would.”
“So, you have to ask yourself, is the possibility of winning this bet worth the risk of losing it? I mean, worst case scenario, you’d be stuck watching football with me tomorrow night, followed by an evening of culinary servitude.”
“How do you make cooking sound sexy?” she snorts, bewildered.
“Oh, trust me, Isabella, if you lose, the cooking won’t even be a blip on your servitudinal radar screen!”
Her mouth drops open for a second, and she remembers herself. I can practically see the thought cloud forming over her head. “So, you mean, if I win, and you have to serve me, culinarily speaking, I can also have my wicked way with you?”
“No. That’s not part of the bet. I will honor my wager to its fullest extent, but if we play—and I really hope we will—it’ll be business as usual.”
She looks a little deflated, and I have to wonder at her fantasy. “Don’t tell me you’re already conjuring revenge scenarios?”
She drops her eyes and blushes, “Nothing concrete, but I am a writer, you know. Sometimes, things just pop into my head.”
“Fair enough. But you should know, Isabella, I’ve never been happy on the receiving end of the crop.”
Well, truss me up with turkey string and stuff me with sausage dressing!
“You’ve been a sub?”
“A fairly lousy one, yes. Only for learning purposes. It doesn’t really float my boat. If you’re looking for a switch, you’re probably sitting at the wrong table.”
“I’m pretty darn happy at this table, thank you very much.” Happy indeed. Edward never did put a shirt on for dinner, and the candlelight plays off his drool-worthy chest and arms as he reaches for the bottle of wine to refill both our glasses.
“Well, I’m really glad to hear that, sweetheart,” he says, flashing me his most dazzling smile. It’s so unfair how he can turn me to goo with a simple curl of his lips.
“Do you think it’s possible for the two of us to talk for five minutes without the conversation coming back around to sex?”
He sets the bottle back down thoughtfully and answers, “Isabella, everything is about sex. The most basic human interactions are all fraught with an undercurrent of raw animal need. If you didn’t see that before, look for it now.”
“Wow! That is either the most insightful or the most fucked up thing I’ve ever heard!” I respond.
He chuckles. “Quite possibly, it’s both. Okay, name a situation that you feel is devoid of sexuality.”
“How about driving?”
He guffaws. “That one is way too easy! Driving is the most primitive expression of aggression in our culture, especially in New York City! Every time one cabbie cuts off another, it’s like a peacock spreading his tail feathers and preening.”
“Okay,” I giggle, “but that’s not the way I drive.”
“You don’t think so? Have you ever asked someone to let you in his lane with a little smile and wave? Ever pump gas into your tank? Hello…big long hose?”
“Oh my God, Edward. That is so twisted!” I laugh.
“Fine, give me another.”
“Sports?! That’s even easier! All that butt slapping, jock adjusting, animalistic athleticism, sweat and locker rooms? Come on, Isabella, at least give me a challenge here!”
“Oh yeah? What about the genteel sport of tennis? Where’s the sex in that?”
“Okay, aside from the obvious shirt-changing at every set break, overhead smashes, and one-upsmanship at net? Have you ever really watched the job of those ball kids?”
“You mean scrambling along the net and retrieving the balls for the players?”
“Well, yes, but there’s way more to it. Ever notice how they stand at attention behind the baseline, waiting, even hoping for the chance to hand the player his sweaty towel or be available to catch it after he mops himself up? Legs spread apart, hands clasped behind their backs, short skirts on the girls…remind you of anything?”
Not since Black Velvet explained to me about the true balance of power in a D/s relationship have I felt the world tilt on its axis like this. “Holy shit, Edward! Does the word ‘taboo’ mean anything to you?”
He chuckles. “Yes, it means a line drawn by society to repress a natural desire that would likely be really fucking dangerous if unleashed.”
I take my wine glass and sip slowly, thinking about his words. I can’t remember ever meeting anyone so brutally unapologetic about his ideas and desires. It’s both refreshing and dangerous, and I feel myself burning to learn more about him. But he’s decided it’s my turn for show and tell.
“How about you? What do you do for fun when you’re not planning balls or writing porn?”
“Oh, I guess all the girly stuff- shopping, lunching, theatre, ballet.”
“How about opera?”
“I’m embarrassed to say, no, I am woefully ignorant there. But much like your explanation about why I don’t like football, it’s probably because I just never had the right person to help me appreciate it.”
I did, but I never took her up on it. “I might know someone who can help with that.” Suddenly, the idea of attending the opera with Isabella and my parents drifts into my consciousness and makes me insanely happy.
“Oh, you’re an aficionado?” she misunderstands.
“Not hardly,” I answer quickly, with a slight cough, wondering whether it would totally freak her out that I’ve just fantasized about a double date with my folks. She’s waiting, and aw hell, why not reveal myself? She’s certainly been courageous.
“My mother is, and the only thing that would give her greater pleasure than my asking her to enlighten me would be my asking her to enlighten me and the gorgeous, intelligent, fascinating woman I’ve been dating.”
She answers easily, “Sounds like we need to work on getting four opera tickets for their visit then. Why don’t you ask your mom to look at the schedule at the Met and choose something for us? They can plan their visit around that. In the meantime, we’ll have a chance to study up and at least have some background.”
Her open-mindedness and willingness to explore this new venue with me suddenly leaves me giddy. Finally, an area we can both explore and learn as novices together.
“Ready for dessert?”
Her hand automatically sinks to her stomach. “I was still full from lunch!”
“I always have room for something sweet,” I tell her with a wink.
“Did you seriously just use that cheesy line on me?” she teases.
I shrug. “Maybe. Did it work?”
“Edward, you had me at ‘culinary servitude,’ for Christ sakes.”
She blushes once more, and I stand up and start gathering the dishes. “Let’s get this out of the way so I can give you your real Christmas present,” I suggest.
She stands and gathers a few things. “Edward, I didn’t get you anything. I didn’t know things were going to work out like this, and I—”
“Hey, easy there. Why would you? How could you? And besides, it would hardly have been appropriate for you to get a present for another man.”
“But we were friends; if nothing else, and I should’ve—” she starts.
My hands are full, but my lips are available to quiet her with a kiss. “Hey, if you really want to, you can get me a New Year’s present, okay?”
“Deal,” she brightens. I’ve given her a week to think about it, and I know she’ll be happier if she feels she’s reciprocated for all of her Secret Santa presents, and maybe the key I gave her, and maybe the fact that I’ve made her kinkiest dreams come to life. Reciprocate that, baby.
We’re putting the last touches on the kitchen when she asks, “So, does this bet include cleanup as well?”
“Yes, but I think helping could be left to the winner’s discretion.”
“All right, you’re on. Who’s playing tomorrow anyway?”
I grin. It’s my home team versus the local boys. “Eagles play the Giants in Philadelphia.”
“That’s easy,” she shrugs. “The Giants will kill them.”
“Oh really?” I stand back, crossing my arms. “So you’re going to take the Giants minus three and a half?”
“Minus three and a half?” she frowns adorably.
“It’s the spread, Bella. You know how much you love the spread!”
She whips the dish towel at me playfully, and I catch the end and draw her into my body. “So do we have a bet then?” I ask, nose to nose.
“Game on. Should we go watch with your buddies?” she asks.
“Why? Did you want to meet them?” I almost feel the need to pinch myself.
“Whatever you think, Edward. If you’re ready to trot me out in public, I’m more than happy to meet your friends.”
“Damn, Bella, now I’m picturing you in a halter and reins.” Horse play has never done much for me, but I have to admit to a definitive twitching down below.
“Oh…sorry?” she says shyly.
“Don’t be sorry, sweetheart. Every time you open your mouth, you give me a whole new set of ideas to work with.”
“I think I know my first New Year’s resolution….Keep. Mouth. Shut.”
“Oh no you don’t. Don’t even think about depriving me of that kink factory you’ve got working overtime up there,” he says, tapping my temple with his forefinger.
“I think you’re getting lazy,” she teases. “Stealing all my ideas so you don’t have to come up with any of your own.”
“Is that right?” I challenge right back. “I’ve got some choice ideas of my own right now!” I draw her face to mine and close my mouth over her rosy wine-stained lips. My tongue pushes against hers, tasting the savory seasonings of our dinner, tempered with the smooth cabernet and Isabella’s need.
I toss the dish towel onto the counter and bend to circle her knees with my arms. Before she knows what’s hit her, I’ve got her folded over my shoulder and we’re speeding toward my bed.
Sprawled out over Edward’s bare back is a mighty fine way to travel, albeit slightly dizzying after such a big meal and half a bottle of wine. Still, I relish the chance to rest my cheek against his smooth skin and give myself over to his caveman instincts.
I feel my heels touch the bed, and in a singular act of self-preservation, I beg, “Please be gentle, Edward. I just ate.”
I feel the chuckle shake his whole body, and he says, “Okay, just this once,” before righting me slowly and carefully arranging me on top of his duvet. Despite his care, my head is still swimming when he crawls up my body and starts unbuttoning my shirt. I didn’t bother with a bra for dinner, and this seems to come as a happy surprise to Edward as he peels back the sides and licks his way up my belly.
“Mmm, what a fuckalicious dessert!” he growls, causing me to giggle.
I hook my hands under his arms and draw him toward me, loving that moment when his stomach touches down on mine, warm satin brushing lightly against smooth silk. He’s careful not to put any weight on my stomach, which I very much appreciate. He makes his way up and over my breasts, kissing and nipping up my neck and chin, finally finding my mouth again. I bury my fingers in his hair and he purrs as I scratch at his scalp. I absolutely love how honest Edward is with his body’s responses, and it makes me want to find those special buttons of his and press every single one.
Speaking of pressing, he’s circling his hips against mine, and I’m feeling more than worked up. One of Edward’s hands is playing inside the top of my pants, sliding all around the inside of my waistband, making me giggle.
“What are you doing?” I ask.
“I’m checking to see if you skipped the panties, too.”
His brows pop up in that way I’ve already come to recognize as Trouble with a capital ‘T.”
“Hmm, so you don’t like traveling panty-free, eh?”
“Oh. My. Gawwwd!”
He pushes off the bed and sits on his knees between my legs, now using both hands to unfasten my pants. He makes quick work of ridding me of everything anyway, being especially ginger as he reaches under me.
“How’s everything feeling down here?” he asks with genuine concern.
“Peachy,” I snark, which causes a throaty chuckle.
“You better not show that attitude with your master, young lady. That will get you into big trouble.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, thank you,” I answer.
Stepping back off the bed, he takes off his boots and shimmies out of his pants. As he pulls off his boxers, I’m reminded of my delicious appetizer. Pig in a blanket, hold the blanket. Edward reaches into his nightstand for a condom and tosses it onto the bed.
“You know,” he says, “I’m still feeling a little bit hungry.”
Next thing I know, he’s slithering up between my legs and kissing his way up the inside of my thighs.
Have at it, I think to myself. I suppose if he’s enjoying himself, it doesn’t matter to me one way or another. And just as his tongue takes its first lap up my opening, I have a passing wonder, Will I fake it?
I weigh the pros and cons as Edward sets to work. Will his ego be able to handle not making me come? But isn’t faking it a form of lying? Ugh, now what am I—
Holy Cullen Lingus! This tongue knows what it’s doing down there! My internal dialogue ceases and all thoughts are focused on the nerve endings where he’s lavishing his attentions. He’s opened me with his fingers and is using only the warm whisper of his breath to do most of the teasing. If he weren’t holding me firmly to the bed, I swear I would be pressing myself shamelessly against his face, begging for more. Within minutes, he’s got me on delicious edge, teetering on the precipice of my release. I hear some high pitched noises and it surprises and scares me to realize they’re all coming from me.
Just when I cannot hold out one more second, I feel the flat of his tongue against my clit with just enough force to trigger the most amazing, floaty, ethereal delirium I’ve ever felt. With nothing more than his exhale, he keeps me going and going, as if someone took the most incredible explosive orgasm on the planet and stretched it out to last and last and last at a lower intensity. As my lovely ride nears the end, Edward buries his face inside me and leaves what feels like a grateful kiss behind. Really, I should be kissing his feet, or his ass, or anywhere else he’d like my lips. I’m insanely happy and perfectly relaxed, and all of a sudden, I’m hit by a wave of giggles.
He lifts his face curiously, and seeing him only from the nose up between my legs is suddenly even more hilarious to me, and I have no hope of stopping. He pops up and says, “Oh…kay?” I pull him up and tuck him under my arm, resting his cheek against my breast while I continue to shake and giggle uncontrollably.
“Should I take this as a compliment?” he says into my chest, the vibrations sending me into further fits of laughter.
“I would think so,” I inform him. “That was amazing, Edward. I’ve never been able to do that before!”
He lifts his head to look at my face. “Seriously?”
“Yeah. I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about. I mean, do you remember reading that in any of my stories?”
“Come to think of it, no.”
“I just never really saw the point….until now.” I run my hand up and down his back, scratching lightly with my nails.
“Hunh,” he says. “Something tells me you’ve never come on top either?”
“The few times I tried…ugh, never mind. No.” Leave it at that. He’s not asking for your whole unsordid history.
“No time like the present. Up you go, sweetheart.”
“Right now? Don’t I get a break?”
“Nope. Girls don’t need a break. Up!”
“Oh boy, here come the chocolate chips.”
“You’ve been warned,” he says sternly, and I scurry up to my knees while he rolls into my place and hands me the condom. “Here,” he says, “get me ready.”
I give him a few quick strokes with my hand. What had slightly softened during my giggle fit responds instantaneously, and I can’t help but feel complimented. I rip open the package and carefully cover him while he supervises with darkening eyes. He holds himself upright and instructs me, “Hop on, baby. Time for your ride.”
“God, Edward, you are so romantic!”
“What? We had candles at dinner, remember?”
Despite his behavior, or who knows?…maybe because of it, I’m more than ready to straddle him and climb on top. He grasps my hips and helps me adjust, then begins moving me in a slow rhythm. It feels lovely, but nothing to write home about….until he shifts below me, and the angle changes just enough that I can actually feel him inside me, reaching that legendary spot. And next thing I know, I’m moaning like a ten-dollar whore and dancing the conga. He’s still holding most of my weight in his hands, keeping me properly skewered to provoke just the right effect.
And then, he starts with the dirty talk. “How does it feel to have me so deep inside you? Tell me how much you like it!”
“I like it! I like it!”
“You just can’t get enough of that cock, can you, baby? Fuck, you are so beautiful riding me like that!”
“Ungh, ungh, ungh, ungh!” He’s right, I need it harder. It’s just out of reach.
“You want me to pound you, don’t you?” he asks, punctuating the word ‘pound’ with an especially rough thrust.
He slams into me harder and slower, and it hurts but it feels so good, and I can’t even begin to separate the two feelings, and all I know is I need. “More, please, more!”
All at once, I feel that shift. The fuse has been lit, and the rope is burning away, shortening with each thrust. Hissing tantalizingly closer and closer to the bomb. Closer….closer...
“Come now, baby! All over me! Do it now!”
My head is spinning and my hair is flying and I’m drawing him into me and he’s pounding against that spot inside until I feel him tense up and pause. He lets out a long, low moan that knocks me dead just before he thrusts and I let go, too, and we come together in a wild tangle of twisting and pulling and panting.
And when it’s all over, I collapse forward onto his sweaty chest and he wraps his strong arms around me and holds me in place. And a girl really appreciates a little help staying grounded after her fourth orgasm of the day.