The tray of coffees is going to get cold if I stay out here much longer. This is different than giving Alvarez a key to my house. Very different. The guy behind the counter is giving me a funny look, I guess I’ve been standing out here for a while. There’s a display behind the counter with specialty keys, in different colours, and with different shapes. I ask him to get me down a pink one, ignoring the strange look he gives me as he reaches behind him without moving off his stool to fetch the blank key. A bright pink, like her daisies.
I almost drop my keys when I put down the coffees and take my house key off the ring. It’s just a key, I keep telling myself. It’s just a key. You gave Alvarez a key. The clerk is hunched over the grinder, oblivious. To him it is just another key. To me it’s a lot more. It’s waking up to Jeanette on a regular basis, maybe coming home and she’s already there, waiting for me.
Will she panic, think I’m moving too fast? Will she think I just want her for sex, and want her closer to make it easier on me? If she turns down my house key, would she turn down my ring too? The clerk had to say the price twice before I heard him. All I could think about for the rest of the day was that key, and how I was going to ask her.
“Hey, Vetter.” Alvarez is watching me again, as he knocks on the desk separating us. “You went out for lunch and forgot to come back.” He’s grinning at me as he says it, holding on to his coffee. Probably cold by now, but he doesn’t mind, just hisses through his teeth at the bitterness, and finishes it off.
I really haven’t come back, I guess. Some part of me is still outside that locksmiths running over in my head if I should or not. In my pocket, my hand flips the key end over end. I haven’t stopped playing with it since I got it. The key makes that hollow metallic click on the desk when I put it down in front of me, leaning back in my chair, saying nothing.
“I didn’t think pink would be your colour, Vetter. You trying to tell me something? Should I be worried?” Alvarez reaches out to take the key, flipping it up and catching it before giving it back. He’s smiling at me, not grinning, not leering, he’s a romantic afterall. “Are you going to ask her to move in with you?”
I can feel my face going red, the flush starting at my ears, and my throat closing up like a fish out of water. My elbows knock on the desk right before my face is in my hands, the heels of them pressing into my eyes as I try to breathe properly. “Just a key. I haven’t even thought about how I’m going to ask her to take that, never mind asking her to move in.”
“Oh, you’ve thought about it, Vetter.” He reaches out, poking me with a small pile of paperwork, making me look up. “I’m guessing you’ve been thinking about it a lot if asking her has you this tense. You think she’ll accept it?”
I try to stifle the groan. I’ve been worried about that too. I pinch the bridge of my nose, my eyes jammed shut tight, as another wave of dizziness washes over me. Fidgeting with the key before I put it back in my pocket, where the warm weight of it burns a hole there, it’s outline against my thigh.
“Just give her the key, Vetter, don’t worry about it so much, you’ll make yourself nuts. You’re going on vacation with her in a few days, you really think she’s going to freak out over a key?”
“Pretty silly, I guess.” My voice sounds funny even to my own ears. She must trust me, or she would never leave with me. When I look at her, when I make love to her, I know she loves me back. It’s not just something she says.
Alvarez stops fidgeting with his pen, both feet down on the floor again as he leans forward, his voice quiet and serious again. “You’re worried if she doesn’t take your key, that she might not say yes if you ask her?”
“Ask her?” My voice is a little higher than normal, making me wish I had just stayed quiet. It’s Alvarez. He would know anyway. I can’t seem to keep a thing from that man, no matter how hard I might want to. Maybe I’m just an open book about this, and everybody is rolling their eyes at me being a sap.
He just looks at me and laughs, not in a mean way. “Yeah, Vetter, ask her. Don’t bullshit me, every time you look at her it’s all over your face. Start with the key. Don’t say anything.” He’s laughing out loud now, out of his chair with his hand on my shoulder. His voice is gentler when he continues. “Just give her the key. I don’t think she’s going to freak out, Vetter. Fate, remember? Better to find out now.”
I take a deep breath, lifting my elbows off the desk and sitting back again. “Thanks Alvarez.” My voice drops to a low mutter, “I am so out of my depth right now.” I hate admitting it, saying it out loud, and if it was anyone but Alvarez, I wouldn’t say it at all.
He kicks me under the desk to get my attention again, the full grin back on his face as he leans forward to ask me. “You picked out a ring yet?” Leaning back in his own chair laughing hard. I guess I must look like a deer in the headlights.
“You’re killing me here, Alvarez.”
“Just getting it out in the open.” His laughter dies down, little by little, until it’s just the occasional snort under his breath. “If you can’t even say it out loud, you’re never going to be able to ask her. How did you ask Stacy?”
He’s got me laughing with that one. I had nearly forgotten that night, years ago, when I worked up the nerve to ask Stacy to marry me. “I got very very drunk, Alvarez. I don’t even remember what I said. If Stacy didn’t tell the story while we were having dinner with some friends, I would have no idea what the hell I said to her.”
“That’s probably not your best option then, I’m guessing.”
I can’t believe I’m actually sitting here laughing about this. I guess Alvarez is right, big surprise. If I can’t talk about it there’s no way I’ll be able to ask her. “No. I don’t want to be drunk when I ask her.” I want so much to be different with Jeanette. I loved my life with Stacy, I just want it to be different, to be there fully for it.
“You picking out the ring yourself?” He’s serious again, tapping the pen on the desk in front of him.
Stacy picked out her own ring. I loved that it was something she wanted so much, that she loved to wear so much, but it felt, I don’t know, wrong somehow. Or maybe just less, because I didn’t choose it for her myself. “Yeah, I want to pick it out myself, Alvarez.”
“Do you know what size her finger is?”
I hadn’t even thought of that, or of how I could possibly ask her. My mouth gaped open, hoping a sensible answer would come out. Nothing. I just shook my head at him, feeling completely helpless again.
His hand reaches across the desk and covers mine for a second, before he lets go, pulling it back like it never happened. “I had the same problem with Adrianna, my dad told me what he did to get mom’s ring size.”
It was so simple I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself, maybe I’ve just been thinking too much, worrying too much. Just hearing him say it so logically and rationally settled me a little, the knot in my gut easing, until I sat, calmly, listening to him. Now all there’s left is the asking. “Do you think I’m rushing Alvarez?” My voice is quiet, little more than a whisper, like I’m trying to tell myself most of all.
He takes a deep breath, his answer as quiet as my question. “I knew, from the day I met Adrianna that she was the one. I knew. I asked her to marry me three weeks after we met. Her brother was going to kick the crap out of me, thinking I got her pregnant or something.” Alvarez started to laugh a little. “But I knew, Vetter.”
He doesn’t say anything else about it, just divides up the stack of paperwork he had on his desk from when he covered me, and goes back to work. I knew almost right away with Stacy too, when we were kids. Before I even knew what it was to make love to a woman, I knew I would marry Stacy.
She had fallen off her bike and bloodied up her elbow and her knee when a bunch of us had been riding in the canals. We weren’t supposed to, but we were kids, so of course we did it. I walked her bike home, with her hanging on to my arm, limping all the way back. It was the first time I had ever touched a girl and got butterflies, the sight of her bloodied and hurt nearly making me cry.
Her mother yelled and shouted at me, saying I was a terrible person for letting her get hurt, and it took everything in me to stand there, all of twelve years old, and not burst into tears over it. I’d never had anyone scream at me like that before. I was confused, and scared, and I didn’t know what the hell I was feeling.
I had never been in love before, all I knew is that I looked at Stacy and my heart hurt. Her dad intervened after Stacy told him I walked her all the way home. He said I had honour, for walking her home, knowing she would get in trouble for admitting to being where we shouldn’t have been, for standing up and taking my lumps over it. I don’t remember the rest. I remember watching Stacy as she stood behind her dad, a wet cloth on her arm, and knowing that I loved her, and that I would marry her one day. Stupid, when you’re twelve, maybe. It doesn’t change that I knew. I know now, with Jeanette.
I was lost in thought, playing with that key, for the rest of the day. The ride home was quiet, as I thought about what Alvarez had told me. The road clear in front of me with that one simple question looming. He just grinned at me when I thanked him, before he dropped me off.
I drag the phone out to the back porch and call Hicks again. It’s Sunday, and Jeanette won’t be off work for about another half an hour. “Hello Hicks.”
“TWO phone calls. Did you hit your head or something, Sean?” He’s laughing on his end of the phone. Rachel is laughing in the background, from the sounds of it, running around the house shouting. The sharp sound of Candice’s voice has Hicks drop to a quieter, almost conspiratorial tone. “What’s up, man. Last time there was a woman involved?”
“Hasn’t changed, Hicks.” I’m grinning again, leaning back against the porch railing. “I wanted to let you know I was going to be in LA probably Friday afternoon.”
“A vacation already? You never take vacation…..wait, you’re bringing your girlfriend aren’t you?” The sound of Rachel running in the background dims a little. I’m guessing Hicks has walked to a quieter part of the house. There’s a muffled conversation with Candice, a hand over the phone.
“I’ll ask him, don’t worry….” His hand comes off the phone at the last, Candice’s voice even sharper in the background. I can’t make out what she’s saying, I guess Hicks must be outside.
“That didn’t sound too good, Hicks.”
“Hell, I guess not.” He’s laughing, but making a point to be quiet about it as he continues. Letting out a sigh, I can almost see Candice within sight of the phone, her arms crossed, waiting for Hicks to ask what he’s been told to ask. “Are you getting in over your head, Sean? Nobody here wants you getting hurt…”
If I know Candice, the question probably didn’t come out so polite the first time. “I’m sure, Hicks. I’ve never been more sure.” It felt good to actually say that out loud, knowing that in my heart it was true. Hicks is a guy, he’d know what I meant. If you’re sure, you’re sure. Candice would be a harder sell, and I didn’t envy Hicks when I got off the phone.
More muffled conversation from his end of the line, the receiver covered again. “We could make up the guest bedroom, you could stay with us.”
I don’t need to be in the room with Hicks to see the look on his face. I try to laugh quietly, knowing that Hicks can’t laugh on his end of the phone, he wouldn’t dare. You learn that pretty quickly when you’re married, not to laugh at the wives, at least not where they can hear you. “We’re booked at a hotel already, so you can let that breath out, before you pass out.”
He laughs quietly on the other side of the phone and I listen to the sound of a door closing, as he tries to find a quiet place in the house to keep talking to me. “It wouldn’t do to have Candice and Rachel listening in anyway.”
The guest room in their house is right between the two other bedrooms. I close my eyes, pinching the bridge of my nose, thinking of Jeanette beneath me, screaming as she came. No, it wouldn’t do at all. The both of us are quiet for a second before bursting out laughing. “That would be awkward.” I finally manage to get out, when our laughing slows a little. “I’ll give you a call on Friday when the plane lands. Can you come pick us up? I didn’t bother arranging a car to meet us.” Driving in LA isn’t something I really wanted to do, I was going to call a taxi, but having Hicks pick us up would work just as well.
“See you then, Sean.”
I like the idea of going to see Hicks again, and I adore Rachel. Candice has me worried though. She was really close to Stacy, and I don’t know how she’ll take to Jeanette. Sure, she wanted to see me set up, but she was the one picking them out. Hicks and I used to laugh about that a little. I don’t know if warning Jeanette about it will make things better or worse. I’m still debating with myself when I pull up outside of the bookstore.
She’s already outside, standing with Dan as he locks up. My hand brushes over the pink key when I drop my keys into my pocket, making me feel nervous again. It’s a key, just a key. Maybe if I keep telling myself that I’ll be able to get through this.
Jeanette. Her name is a sigh in my heart as I narrow the distance between us, leaning down to kiss her. Butterflies. I had been thinking of Stacy earlier, the first girl that ever made me feel that way. Every time I’m with Jeanette I get butterflies.
“Hello beautiful.” My hand slips down her hip, across the faint line of her panties. I hadn’t forgotten what she was wearing, it just got pushed into the background as I contemplated how to ask her to accept my house key, amongst other things. Her face flushes pink as I kiss her again, her lips are soft, her neck arching in my hand as she gives herself completely. “Did you want to grab anything here first?”
“Yes, I’ll need something else to wear.”
I’m a step behind her as she walks up the stairs to her apartment. She lets out a giggle as my hand traces over the outline of her rear, but doesn’t move away, settling into my hand as she unlocks the door.
“Did you want to pack tonight? Or leave it until tomorrow?” I look over her pictures again, calling out to her in the bathroom. Taking down a picture of a very pregnant Jeanette, remembering how it felt to have that baby kick my hand in the doctor’s office today. I didn’t hear her when she came back out to stand beside me, a faraway look in her eyes. Remembering. I put the picture down before I upset her.
“I can pack tomorrow. I’ve never been to LA though, so you’ll have to tell me what to wear.” She’s laughing as she finds clothes to bring with her tonight. If we did this every day then eventually she’d be living in my house and I’d never have to ask her. I sit on the edge of her bed, laughing a little at that.
“I’ve never been to Seattle, so you’ll have to help me too, I guess.” My eyes trace the outline of her back as she reaches up, getting a skirt from her closet. If I don’t do this now I never will. “Did you want to bring anything else with you, ‘Nette?” I can feel myself flushing, the key burning like a hot coal in my pocket. “I mean, something…”
She drapes her skirt over the back of a chair and comes to sit on the edge of the bed with me, concern etched on her face. I know I’m fumbling this badly. Her hand rests on my thigh as she looks up at me. Alvarez said to just give her the key. Don’t say anything, just give her the key.
I held my breath as I pulled the key out of my pocket and held it out to her. The silence felt like an eternity, as I waited for her to yell at me, laugh at me, or just say nothing and maybe walk away. Swallowing hard, I looked at a spot on the floor that seemed to fascinate me all of a sudden. If she was going to turn me down I didn’t want to know, I didn’t want to see it.
“You want me to have your house key, Sean?” Her voice is so quiet. If I wasn’t listening to every tiny sound she made I wouldn’t have heard the quaver in it, the beginning of tears. It’s the thought of hurting her that makes me finally look up, as she takes the key from my palm, turning it end over end in her hand the way I had done all day. She drops her head a little but the flutter of lashes gives her away, blinking back tears.
I don’t trust my voice not to break as I lift her chin with my knuckles, to watch her, so she can watch me, and know that I mean it. “I want you to have my house key. I like you being there with me, ‘Nette. I…” I give up, knowing I could never hope to tell her what it means to me to have her there. “Will you keep it?”
My heart lurched and I felt sick when she got up. I moved too fast and scared the hell out of her. I should have waited. Falling backwards to lie back on the bed, running my hand over my face and trying to get the room to stop spinning. Her cool hand rests on mine again, as she kneels on the floor beside the bed. Holding out her keychain and the pink key. She’s not turning me down, she just wants my help. Stacy used to swear a blue streak when she had to deal with the keys, she’d always break her nails. “Will you take my key, ‘Nette?” I just needed to hear it.
She moved to sit up on the bed beside me, her legs curled beneath her. Her voice is as shaky as mine. “Yes, I will.” Her hand rested on my chest as I fiddled with her keyring, before handing them back to her, the bright pink key standing out against the rest of her keys. She held on to them like she didn’t want to put them down, and if I had any doubts about what it might mean to her, they vanished.
I took her keyring from her hands and dropped it on the bedside table as I pulled her down to my chest. Her hair tickles as it falls from behind her ear, where’s she’s tucked it. She tries tucking it back again but gives up, shaking it loose to fall over me as she laughs softly at me. I had worried about her laughing at me before. Right now it’s the most beautiful sound I could hear.
I hold her against me and flip us over, grinning into her neck as she squealed, throwing her arms around my neck. My weight settles between her thighs, making us both moan softly, the sound muffled in a deep kiss. She said yes. Our tongues slip over one another, the kiss growing more passionate until we’re both panting. The whole day comes crashing in on me at once, making me want her so badly it’s like pain. “We should go, ‘Nette.” The words whispered into the warm skin of her neck.
“Not yet, Sean.” Her voice is low and seductive, the sound of it felt through the skin of her neck, making me bury my face against her shoulder to stifle my groan. “Make love to me, here. I’ve been thinking about you all day, don’t make me wait.”
She’s blushing, but her eyes hold mine, boldness and heat growing in them as the seconds play out. My first thought was that I couldn’t, that I would get her pregnant, but she had been to the doctor earlier today. “It’s okay?”
She doesn’t say anything, just a soft hum of agreement, and a nod. The corners of her mouth turned up in a sexy grin. Pressing my hips into hers I lean down to kiss her again, harder this time. Her hips shift under mine, fidgeting, as the first flush of heat crosses her throat.
I sit on the edge of the bed to take my boots off, resting my hand on her belly when she starts to pull at her top. “Let me, ‘Nette.” I leave my clothes in a pile on the floor beside the bed, settling again for a moment between her thighs. It feels like the first time again, and I guess, in a way, it is. Her fingertips slip over the lines of my arms, my shoulders, moving past to wrap her arms around my neck. “Make love to me, Sean, I need you.” Her lips brushed against mine, the words whispered against my lips.
“I love you, Jeanette.” Kissing her ear, whispering the words against the skin of her neck. She arches her neck exposing her throat to me, the delicate line of it an invitation to follow it down to the base of her throat, further. Her hands rest against my stubble, her fingertips tracing the outer curve of my ear in a way that makes my balls tighten.
I crouch over her for a moment, watching the heat build in her eyes, before pulling her top over her head. The red silk underneath makes me groan out loud, the dark of it looking darker in the dim room. Kneeling between her thighs, my hands cup her breasts first, my thumbs brushing over her hardened nipples through the warm silk. Following the deep vee in the front down to the clasp between her breasts, the tiny click sounding loud in the room. Pushing the straps down her arms, freeing her, I lean down to pull in one dark nipple, sucking hard, before switching to the other. Tossing her bra off the bed to lie in a pile with my clothes.
She arches up her hips, reaching behind her to undo the zipper at the back of her skirt. Grinning up at me, she pulls her hands back, putting them over her head. Out of my way. I had asked her to let me undress her after all. Her belly flutters and she lets out a soft giggle when I kiss it, slipping the waist of her skirt a little lower, until the deep red silk shows underneath.
I torture myself, slowly easing her skirt over her hips an inch at a time, kissing the hollows of her hips down to her thighs until her skirt is in a puddle on the floor with everything else. My fingertips slip under the bottom her of her panties, following the line down the inside of her thigh, underneath. She’s so wet already. “I told you I was thinking about you all day.” Her voice is deep and sexy, a soft laugh as her hips fidget against my hands.
Her panties follow her skirt off the edge of the bed, to leave her bare and beautiful before me. Her hand reaches down to slide along my jaw, her knuckle edging my chin up to look at her through the vee of her breasts. I drop my head again, flicking my tongue over her swollen clitoris anyway, watching her body tense and arch at the touch. She wants me now, right now.
It’s like the very first time, easing between her thighs. Everything freezes in that moment of time, my head resting against her entrance, our noses nearly touching. Both panting hard already. Waiting for that first moment.
Her lips part and her mouth makes a perfect oh of surprise, a gasp of breath and her eyelashes flutter closed, when I ease into her. I have to fight with myself to go slow, everything in me wanting to slam hard into her. I would never recognize my own whimper if I heard it. Like the first but better, so much better, the heat of her, the wet of her, against me is incredible, the first time I’ve felt her, all of her.
She’s still breathing in tiny gasps, her back arching in a way that’s got to be uncomfortable. The deep flutter began the moment I had entered her fully, she’s coming fast and hard already. A day of thinking of this, of me, all day, had her primed, and all it took was one deep stroke to touch it off. Biting my lip to keep from falling over the edge with her I withdraw, driving back hard into her. Her first scream breaks and her hips buck up hard into me, the gush of wet flooding over me making me gasp. The first time I’ve fully felt her come beneath me. “Oh god Sean, you feel so good.”
It’s not just me, she feels what I feel, everything deeper, more intense. Her orgasm crests and wanes, but not fully. She’s fighting to contain a wild scream at the back of every panted breath. Her legs wrapped around my waist, her hips bucking up at every stroke. “Let go, ‘Nette.” It’s nearly a shout, as I press up, lifting my weight off her chest and onto my arms, so I can drive harder into her.
I need her to let go, there’s just no way I can last, she feels incredible, slick and hot, her wetness soaking everything. I’m shouting her name as we race towards release, neither one of us able to slow down at this point. Her hands brace against the headboard as she pushes back into me, her own screams drowning me out.
My balls tighten when she screams my name, the conscious thought of coming, the first time we’ve really come together in the deepest way, flickers through my head. Her body bucks under mine, her scream that wild animal sound that drives me crazy, as her orgasm washes over her again. I can’t hold back any more, coming so hard it nearly hurts, my hips bucking into her uncontrolled. That hot flush along my length, her come and mine combined.
I moved to lift my weight off her but she wouldn’t let me, her hands slipping around my neck, pulling me tight to her. Her breath is a ragged flutter in my ear, her tears wet against my skin. I pull back enough to kiss them, tracing my thumbs across the silvery trails at the corners of her eyes. Murmuring soft words and endearments as her breath hitches and evens out.
“That was incredible, Sean.” Her voice is shaking, and I know mine is too. Incredible doesn’t even come close. All I can manage is a nod, a grunt, before holding her tight. Her tears dry, leaving her lashes thick and spiky again. I rest on my elbows, cupping her face in my hands and just watch her for what feels like forever. Glad that I don’t have to withdraw for once but can stay here with her, within her, and let everything else disappear.
We don’t move until we start to get cold, and even then we stay touching each other, making our way back to her tiny bathroom to get cleaned up. I stand behind her, watching her in the mirror as she dries off. “Do you just want to have a quiet night with me, ‘Nette?” I can think of nothing I’d rather do than curl up on the couch with her and do as little as possible.
Her reflection grins back at me, the pale flush across her throat and chest still evident. She leans back, knowing I won’t let her fall, to look up at me. “I’d love that, I don’t think I have the energy left for anything else.” I don’t think I do either, my legs are still shaky, and I know Jeanette’s are.
I get dressed quicker than Jeanette and raid her DVD collection, picking out a night’s worth of scary movies. She really does have me hooked. Leaving her skirt where it is, she grabs a pair of pajamas, and clothes to wear for tomorrow. I touch her elbow when she’s almost ready. “Is there anything you want to bring with you, ‘Nette?” To stay. I want her to stay. I didn’t say it out loud, not with my voice anyway. My eyes held hers as I said it, and she watched me for a moment before taking the picture of Emily off her nightstand, and a book she had there, putting them into the bag with her clothes.
When I got back home, I had her call out for something to eat, letting her sift through the pile of take out menus I had scattered on top of the fridge. She kissed me softly, not saying a word, after noticing that I had put her picture of Emily, and her novel, on the nightstand on her side of the bed.
We watched scary movies until she fell asleep, her head resting against my shoulder, smiling softly. Carefully I carried her to bed, making sure that I left her left hand outside the covers. I watched her for a moment, her beautiful face in the pale moonlit room, as she slept, to make sure she was sleeping soundly. Jeanette likes to sleep, so it doesn’t take long.
I had to rummage through a few drawers in the kitchen before I found a length of string, and a pen to mark it with. A small dot on one end, Alvarez said, when he told me how he managed to get Adrianna’s ring size without having to ask her. I kneel on the floor beside the bed, watching her carefully all the while to make sure she doesn’t wake up, as I slip the piece of string around her finger. Marking where it met the marked end, silently thanking Alvarez. I slipped back out of the room, putting the little piece of marked string in my wallet. Alvarez said the jewellers could get her ring size that way. Just looking at it gave me butterflies again. Pretty soon all that would be left is to ask her.
copyright © 2006 xxxevilgrinxxx