Asking for it, p.14
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       Asking for It, p.14

         Part #1 of Asking for It series by Lilah Pace
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  My breaths come sharp and shallow. Jonah knows exactly how to touch a woman—where to bear down, how fast to go. All the blood in my body rushes between my legs as my cunt gets hotter for him.

  “Only a whore would let me do this,” Jonah whispers as I start to pant. By now the sensation is almost overwhelming. “You want it now, don’t you? I knew I could make you want it. ”

  Warmth ripples through me in waves. My body tightens. I’m on the brink.

  Jonah’s breath is hot against the side of my face. “Don’t worry. You’re going to get it. ”

  That’s when he goes faster, presses harder, and I come. My orgasm crashes through me, long and hard and good. I try not to make a sound, but a soft cry escapes my lips.

  He growls, “I fucking told you to stay quiet. ”

  His hands go to the sides of my panties as he tears the fabric. I feel the remnants fall away as Jonah roughly pulls my thigh to one side, parting my legs.

  “Hold your dress,” he commands, pushing the fabric into my hands. “Let me see you. Show your naked ass off like the whore you are. ” So I stand there, silk clenched between my fingers, exposed before him like something he can decide whether to buy. I hear the sound of his belt being unbuckled, the purr of his zipper, the rustle of a condom packet opening. “I’m not done with you yet. And if I hear so much as a whimper, you’re going to take it twice as hard. ”

  Silently, I wonder whether I’d better keep quiet—or whether I want to find out just how hard Jonah can give it to me tonight.

  Jonah must have one hand wrapped around the base of his cock, because he trails the head along the cleft of my ass, rubbing back and forth. Then I feel his fingers sliding in from behind me, knuckle-deep in my cunt. He pushes them in and out, obviously relishing the slick sound of it, before pulling his hand out again.

  “So wet,” he whispers. His hand curves around the front of my throat, fingers still warm and sticky. “I knew you wanted it. ”

  And he thrusts inside, in one savage motion.

  My entire body tenses. Jonah’s width and length stretches me, tests me, makes me burn. His grip around my throat tightens, not enough to cut off my air, but enough to suggest the threat. Jonah holds me in place as he starts to move in long, hard strokes. My body still reels in the aftershock of my orgasm, and the renewed pressure of Jonah’s cock inside me brings me back to the brink in mere seconds. As responsive as I am, I’ve never come twice this close together. But Jonah’s going to bring me there.

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  From where he holds me against the wall, the side of my face pressed to the plaster, I can see our shadows painted blurrily on the floor by the few lights far overhead. Our shapes are elongated, stretched thin. As Jonah pumps into me, faster and faster, I watch the undulation of his shadow. I watch him dominate me. Use me.

  Just beyond the curtain, people laugh and talk, completely unaware that only a few feet away, I’m spread out against a wall, being fucked mercilessly.

  His breathing has become ragged. He tightens his hand around my throat—unconsciously this time, I think. Jonah’s getting close. If I want to come with him, I need more, and I know how to get it.

  My tongue traces my open lips before I whimper, “No. ”

  This time the choke hold around my neck is real. As I gasp for air, Jonah says, “I warned you. ”

  He spins me around, making me gasp, then forces me face-first onto the table. My feet remain on the floor; he has me bent at a ninety-degree angle, which means that when he yanks up my skirt again, I’m completely exposed to him. Then Jonah starts to pound into me, so hard it feels as if he wants to break me. He might. The table creaks and rocks beneath me; I grip the edges to hang on as his free hand once again finds my throat. I can breathe—barely—but his grip keeps me dizzy and light-headed. It sharpens the edge of my fear. Jonah fucks me, and he fucks me and then I’m coming again, pulsing hard around his cock as he remains totally still. My entire body shudders with the force of it. It’s like I can’t see, or move; if I were still pressed into the wall instead of on this table, I think I’d fall. Only after a moment do I get enough of my mind back to realize that Jonah’s breathing slower. His cock twitches once inside me, and I realize he came at the exact moment I did.

  Jonah’s fingers release my neck as he leans back. Gently he strokes a soft cloth between my legs—a handkerchief, I guess—cleaning me before he pulls my skirt down. I sit up, my arms shaking. This time, when Jonah pulls me to him, his hands are gentle, his touch soft. I brace myself against his chest, letting my head loll back as I breathe slow and deep. By now a faint sheen of sweat covers my skin; he brushes loose tendrils of hair away from my forehead.

  “All right?” he whispers. I’ll never get over how much his voice changes when we shift from fantasy to reality.

  “Yeah. ”

  “Did you like your surprise?”

  “Very much. ” I look up at him then, so that our eyes meet. Jonah’s breathing as hard as I am, but his openmouthed grin is one of triumph. Why not? I would call this whole arrangement the definition of a win-win scenario.

  We find a trash can for his condom and the remnants of my underwear. Then it’s smooth, tuck, zip, check. When he’s pulled together, he brushes the green silk of my gown with his fingertips. “Hope I didn’t wreck your dress. ”

  This man can go from pretending to choke and rape me one minute to worrying about crumpling my gown the next. “It’s all right,” I say, though honestly it is a bit wrinkled. Nobody’s going to care, and at least it won’t be wet. “You must’ve realized I would come to this, because of Geordie. ”

  “No, I didn’t realize your ex-boyfriend played such a big role in your life. ” There’s an edge to those words, but Jonah moves on. “I saw you across the room. You looked so beautiful—that dress clinging to your breasts and your ass and even this little swell—”

  His fingers slide between my legs, pressing the small mound there, rubbing one knuckle against my clit. I close my eyes and wish he could take me again right now, this moment.

  But he won’t. He always ends as soon as we’re done. What if sometime I invited him to claim me for longer? To take me captive for an entire night?

  Jonah must see how aroused I still am, but he draws his hand away. “I saw you and I knew it had to be tonight. Did my best to stay out of sight until I had my chance. ”

  This was improvised? Damn, he’s good. “What were you planning instead?”

  He shakes his head, like I’m a naughty girl. “You’ll find out when the time comes. ”

  “You get to the pick the next scenario,” I whisper. “Is that what you’re going to give me? Another surprise?”

  “I don’t know yet. ” Jonah leans closer and frames my face in his hands. Our lips brush against each other as he says, “All I know is—next time I’m going to come in your mouth. ”

  God, yes. Right now I want him in my mouth so badly that it’s all I can do not to sink to my knees. Instead I nod, wordlessly accepting this and everything else he’d ever want to do to me.

  Page 54

  “Perfection,” he murmurs, and then he kisses me. It’s a swift kiss, yet openmouthed, and our tongues touch for one instant.

  But then Jonah steps back, turns, and walks offstage. I stand there alone.

  Once I feel like I can walk straight, I pull myself back together. I find a bit of the campus newspaper to toss in the trash can, so the janitor or whoever won’t be traumatized by the sight of Jonah’s condom and my torn underwear. No small wet spots mar the green silk of my dress. Did Jonah bruise my throat? I doubt it—and even if he did, the marks won’t show yet. So all I have to do is take a few deep breaths and walk back into the party.

  Carmen and Geordie are talking nearby; Geordie spots me immediately and waves. I start heading in their direction, but I can’t help looking around the room for Jonah. Probably, after this, he won’t hang around long.

/>   Sure enough, as I glance toward the exit, I see Jonah pushing the door open, about to walk out onto the street. But he holds the door a few moments longer, for someone else—

  I recognize the woman in the white dress I spoke to briefly in the bathroom. She beams up at Jonah, whose arm slips around her shoulders as they walk out side by side.

  She wasn’t just someone he was being polite to.

  That woman was Jonah’s date.

  Seventeen

  Jonah smiled at her.

  That’s the part that gets me. Jonah Marks comes across as cold, even forbidding, to most of the people he meets. I’ve seen another side of him—hotter than flame—but even when he’s got his hands on my body, even when he’s inside me, his smile is hard. Fierce.

  To the woman in the white dress he gave a smile so warm that I know she’s not a mere acquaintance. She’s someone he cares about, deeply.

  And yet he’s fucking me.

  I never asked if he was seeing anyone else. It seemed to go without saying. Now, however, phrases he said that first night we spoke at Carmen’s ring louder in my memory—about other girls he tried this with, and how it never worked. They didn’t want to play rough. I think you do.

  At that moment, I should’ve asked whether there was someone else in his life. Maybe the mysterious woman in white had already rejected his fantasy. Is he cheating on her with me because she can’t, or won’t, give him what he really wants?

  That’s no excuse, even if it’s true. But I can’t stop wondering.

  I realize I’m jumping to some conclusions here. There’s no guarantee the woman I saw was Jonah’s girlfriend, or that the two of them share any kind of committed relationship. I could’ve misinterpreted that smile. Possibly she’s just a beautiful woman he asked out for a night.

  Even that is too much for me.

  •   •   •

  In the morning I send Jonah a text: We need to talk, ASAP.

  Unlike me, Jonah understands the rules of remaining strangers. He doesn’t ask why, just gives me a time and place. So, just after lunch, I walk through one of the quads toward a bench where Jonah sits, waiting for me.

  Even from a distance, I know him. We’re surrounded by students, who slouch around in their ubiquitous sweatshirts and pajama bottoms. Jonah wears gray pants and a black shirt, nothing fancy, but still clothes that tell anyone that he’s not an overgrown boy. He’s a man.

  I’m wearing jeans, a T-shirt, and a scarf wound around my neck—which looks casual but is there to hide the faint bruises of Jonah’s hand on my throat. Yet he looks at me like I’m the sexiest woman on earth.

  Even now he intoxicates me. I think he always will.

  He rises from the bench as I walk to him, an old-fashioned, almost chivalrous gesture that touches me in a way I can’t define. As we sit down together, he says, “Is everything all right?”

  “No. ” I take a deep breath. “Jonah, I can’t keep doing this. Meeting you. Playing out our—scenes. It has to stop. ”

  At first he says nothing. His expression remains cool. Is he that controlled? Will he just get up and walk away like none of it ever happened?

  But it couldn’t have ended any other way.

  Finally Jonah speaks. “You weren’t unhappy with—what I did at the benefit. ”

  “No. ” God, no. When I think about the way he slid his fingers inside my panties, I want to take back everything I’ve said, grab him by the collar, and drag him into the nearest building for a quickie in the stairwell. It would be as scorching hot as every other time Jonah’s put his hands on my skin.

  And it would only be delaying the inevitable.

  I take a deep breath. “This isn’t about anything you did wrong. Okay? You’ve kept every promise. You made me feel safe at moments I don’t think any other man could have, ever. And you—” My voice breaks. Dammit. I pull myself together. “You saw something in me I’ve always hated and made me feel less ashamed of it for a while. So thanks for that. And the sex. Definitely thanks for the sex. ”

  Page 55

  My crooked smile doesn’t fool him for a moment. Jonah leans forward; he brings his hand closer to me, as if he’ll touch my shoulder, but rests it on the back of the bench instead. “Vivienne, what’s wrong?”

  This is normally where I bunt. Where I take the gentlest, easiest out for everyone involved, so we can walk away with no hurt feelings, no unresolved conflicts.

  I’ve always thought of it as consideration, or poise. Doreen says it’s dishonesty, and asks me what would happen if for once in my life I just told the ugly truth and let people deal with it.

  Jonah already knows one of my uglier truths. What the hell.

  “I thought I could have sex outside a relationship, with no strings attached,” I say. “I did in undergrad, like anyone else. Probably I could do it again with someone else. But you and me—it’s not a normal situation. Not only because of, you know, the fantasy—” I glance around, but few students walk anywhere near us, and every single one is either wearing earbuds or absorbed in their cell phone. “It’s more complicated than that. ”

  “Our arrangement is simple,” he says flatly. “We were very specific about what this would be and how we would handle it. ”

  “This isn’t about logistics. ” I look upward at a pale gray sky, the kind you see when the clouds have claimed the entire sky. Truth. Tell the real truth. “Jonah, every time I’m with you, it’s more than sex. Every time, I turn myself over to you, completely. I have to give you total control, and total trust. ”

  “I haven’t abused that trust, have I?”

  Shaking my head, I say, “No. But don’t you see? I don’t just fuck you, Jonah. I bare my soul to you. Then we go back to being almost strangers to each other. The disconnect is getting to me, and I don’t think I can handle it anymore. ”

  Despite all our rules and resolutions, I have begun to have feelings for Jonah. To feel jealous of other women he might touch. To want to have not just his body but his heart. That means I want too much. Which in turn means I have to get out, now.

  Jonah’s gray eyes become distant. The steel wall he keeps between himself and the rest of the world now separates us too. “If that’s how you feel. ”

  It’s not. I’m still drawn to this man in a way I’ve never felt for anyone else. While I thought that connection was purely sexual, I reveled in his power over me.

  But now I want more from Jonah, and I have no idea what more would be. All I know is it’s not what either of us said when this began.

  Goddammit, I’m going to cry. Not out here in the quad. Not in front of Jonah. I don’t have the strength for that kind of honesty; I’m all out. So I stand up. “This truly doesn’t have anything to do with you, okay? You were—my ultimate fantasy. Thanks for making that come true. ”

  Then I walk away. I never look back; I never stop hoping he’ll call my name, or run to my side, catch my arm, and keep me from leaving.

  He doesn’t.

  •   •   •

  “You feeling okay?” Arturo says that evening, as we hang out in front of one of our favorite food trucks.

  “Sure. ” I scrape my shoes back and forth in the gravel beneath this red picnic bench. All around us, groups of people are eating the best fish tacos in town from small plastic baskets, using their cups to hold down brown paper napkins that would otherwise flutter away in the breeze. Shay’s gone to the truck across the lot to get us some churros for dessert. Nearby, a grackle hops toward our table and cocks his head in the hope we’ll drop a bit of food he can steal. Overhead, strands of kitschy multicolored lights with big, fat, 1970s-style bulbs stretch between the trailers and the tall tree near the road.

  Arturo gives me a look. “That was the least enthusiastic ‘sure’ I’ve heard in a while. ”

  “I’m fine. Really. Just—having a down day. ”

  No doubt Arturo knows better than tha
t, but he also knows when to let something go. “We all have those sometimes. You know what fixes down days? Tacos. So get to work, girl. ”

  “I think I’d rather fix today with churros,” I reply, because I see Shay walking back toward us. But then I realize she doesn’t have the churros. She has one hand to her forehead and is walking slowly.

  Getting to his feet, Arturo puts a hand out to support her. “Feeling light-headed again?”

  “Yeah. ” Her smile is weak and watery. “You know, I don’t want to stick around for dessert. Can we just go home?”

  Page 56

  “Sure, honey,” Arturo says. I mean to tell them it’s fine with me too, but that’s when I happen to glance downward.

  When I see the red droplets of blood on Shay’s white tennis shoes.

  “Shay—” I get up and support her other arm. “Don’t freak out, but—”

  “Oh, my God. ” Now she’s seen it too, and as we stare downward, another drop falls onto the gravel. And another.

  “We’re going to the hospital,” Arturo says. “Don’t move, okay? I’m driving the car right here. You’ve got her, Vivienne?”

  “Yeah, of course, go!” As Arturo runs for the car, I squeeze Shay’s hand. “You should probably sit down. ”

  “I’m okay,” she says faintly, as if nothing in particular is happening. I realize she’s on the verge of shock. So I put my arms around her to hold her steady and upright until Arturo gets to us—he’s already in the car, best to let her stand so we can get her into the vehicle and on the way as fast as possible. Shay’s head rests against my shoulder; the skin of her forehead is cool and clammy.

  I’m scared, or so I think, until I look down and see the bloodstain spreading across her white skirt, darker and wider every moment. That’s when I discover just how scared I can be.

  •   •   •

  “Please, can Dr. Campbell come?” Shay pleads as the orderlies wheel her stretcher down the hospital corridor. Arturo and I jog beside them; he’s determined to stay with her until the moment they physically pry him away, and I want to be with him when that happens. “Is she coming?”

  “An obstetrician will be here any second,” says a nurse in yellow scrubs.

 
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