Asking for it, p.5
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       Asking for It, p.5

         Part #1 of Asking for It series by Lilah Pace
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  Is it even possible for something this screwed up to go well? I doubt it. Maybe I’ll regret this. The dangers are very real, and I haven’t lost sight of any of them. This fantasy that dominates me—it’s sick, and it’s twisted, but it’s not going away. Fighting it hasn’t done any good. So I’m giving in. Surrendering.

  I take a deep drink of my wine¸ close my eyes, and take a deep breath, willing myself to be calm. It works until I open my eyes again and see Jonah.

  He walks straight toward me as if he’d known where I would be sitting before he even came through the door. Like me, Jonah dressed to fit in at this upscale place—charcoal gray slacks cut perfectly to accentuate the taper of his waist, and a black linen shirt that drapes across his powerful body. My hand goes to the neckline of my plum-colored wrap dress. It’s not that revealing, but I feel exposed before his knowing gaze.

  “I wasn’t sure you’d show,” Jonah says.

  Hello to you too. If he can cut to the chase, so can I. “Nearly bolted for the door a couple of times. But here I am. ”

  That wins me his fierce version of a smile.

  Jonah sits down beside me—but a couple of feet away, as though I were a business colleague instead of the woman he wants to fuck. Then again, this isn’t foreplay. Nothing’s going to happen tonight. If we’re going to go ahead, we need boundaries. Definitions. I might be crazy enough to do this, but I’m not crazy enough to do it without any rules.

  Page 17

  “How was your day?” I say.

  He gives me a look. Like he said at Carmen’s, the less we know about each other’s lives, the better. This is not a first date.

  “Sorry. ” I take another sip of wine, then put down the glass. If I drink a little more every time I feel on edge tonight, I’ll get plastered. “No details. No chitchat. We shouldn’t go there. ”

  “It’s okay. This is difficult. ” He pauses a moment before adding, “Are you scared?”

  Deep breath. Honest answer. “Yes and no. I believe you aren’t going to do anything without my permission. But what we’re doing feels a little like jumping off a cliff. I’ve had this fantasy since—since always, but I never thought I’d act it out with a stranger—”

  At that moment, a waiter appears by our sofa. Why do bar waiters only show up when you least want them around? Offhandedly Jonah says, “Bring me whatever she’s having. ”

  I don’t think he’s even looked at my glass. What if I had some ridiculous tropical drink, the kind of thing served in a pineapple with pink straws and paper umbrellas? The thought of someone as serious as Jonah sipping one of those makes me smile. Finally I’m able to relax a little—but not much.

  As soon as the waiter hurries off, Jonah turns to me. “What would it take to make you feel safe?”

  I like that he asked this. But how do I answer?

  Cut to the chase, I remind myself. Jonah’s blunt honesty is the only way to go. “I’d need you to wear condoms. Unless you want to show me your medical records. ”

  Jonah nods. “I can get those for you. Can you show me test results too?”

  It hadn’t even occurred to me that Jonah also might be concerned about that. “Um. Yeah, sure. ”

  “No rush,” he says. “I don’t mind wearing a condom at first. Makes it last longer. ”

  My cheeks flush as I envision Jonah inside me, pounding me, going on and on and on without mercy—

  Jonah must know what I’m thinking, because he tilts his head as if he’s relishing the effect he has on me. He murmurs, “What else?”

  Another sip of wine steadies me enough to answer. “I wouldn’t want you to tie me up. Not the first time, anyway. ”

  He smiles. “I like that you’re thinking about the future. I’ll have plenty of chances to give you what you want. ”

  It hadn’t even occurred to me before today that Jonah might have been considering a onetime fling. Now that I think about it, that makes more sense than assuming we’d keep playing out this scenario. But I’ve wanted this too long, too much, to assume one night will be enough to get it out of my system. If Jonah’s the right partner for this fantasy, then we have a chance I don’t intend to waste.

  Already I sense that one taste of Jonah Marks won’t be enough.

  “Yes. ” I meet his eyes evenly. “Assuming we decide we like it. ”

  “I think we will. ” My God, his smile right now—it’s hungry, and animal, and I know he’s imagining having me. This instant. The knowledge shakes me in the best possible way.

  The waiter shows up with Jonah’s wine. We both fall silent just as long as it takes for Jonah to accept the glass and toss the waiter a twenty. “No change. ”

  This wine was only $10 a glass. The waiter brightens. Me, I’m glad I bought my own drink. I don’t want to owe anything to Jonah Marks. Yet.

  As soon as we’re alone again, Jonah says, “We should talk about what you don’t want the first time versus what you don’t want, ever. If we set the ground rules up front, it’s going to be better for both of us. ”

  That makes sense. I’ve been thinking this through ever since he made his audacious offer, and by now I think I know what to say. That doesn’t make it easy to get the words out. “Well. Let’s see. I already said that I don’t want you to tie me up the first time, and I guess we worked out the safe-sex thing . . . ”

  Jonah nods, a touch impatient. Although I never noticed him moving, he seems to have edged closer to me on the sofa. Our knees are nearly touching, now, and his gaze is locked on mine. My uncertainty is a turn-on for him, I realize. How could it be any other way?

  Knowing he feeds off my fear makes me even more nervous. It takes me a few seconds to continue. “Okay. Some things I don’t want you to do, ever—one, no weapons. If you have a knife or a gun or something, it’s not going to be hot for me. It’s going to scare me to death. ”

  Jonah looks startled. He must never have considered that. “No weapons. Absolutely. ”

  Page 18

  I count the next point off on my fingers. “Two, I realize I might get—banged around during all this, but please try not to actually injure me or cause me serious pain. I’m not a masochist; I don’t get off on that kind of thing. ”

  “I’m not a sadist, so that works. ”

  Maybe he’s not a sadist in the physical sense. Emotionally? He has to be. How can you dream about raping women and not enjoy hurting people, in soul if not in body? I guess if you don’t understand what that does to a woman—how badly rape screws with your head, the scars it leaves—you could imagine that your pleasure wouldn’t cause someone else lasting pain.

  For a moment I’m angry. I want to tell Jonah everything he doesn’t understand. Make him know how terrible it is.

  But I need him to be fucked up, don’t I? The only possible partner for these games is someone as bent as I am.

  “All right,” I say. “Third, you don’t film this. You don’t make an audio recording, and you don’t take photographs. ”

  He looks disappointed. That’s something he wanted, then. “I’d never put anything like that online, or show it to anybody. ”

  “I believe you, but stuff like that can fall into the wrong hands. Remember the scandal with all those movie stars last year? Some ‘revenge porn’ sites actually hack people’s computers and cell phones. They steal the images if they can. ”

  This is when I learn what Jonah Marks looks like when he’s angry. His expression darkens, as do his gray eyes. His body tenses, like he wants to throw a punch but isn’t going to let the guy know when it’s coming. “Any man who would do that to a woman is scum. ”

  I nod. It’s so strange, the division within him—how he can simultaneously hate men who take advantage of women and yet fantasize about being one of them. “So no recordings, no pictures?”

  He gives in gracefully. “None. ”

  “Okay. Finally—this is my last not-ever thing, I think—” I glanc
e around the bar to be sure nobody has wandered closer while I was distracted. Nobody has, but I lower my voice anyway. “Please don’t come on me. ”

  Jonah blinks, as if he’s surprised. I guess he would be. We’re talking about getting as kinky as anyone can, yet I don’t want him to do something that ordinary.

  I don’t. I really, really don’t.

  At last he says, “Okay. I won’t. ”

  If he’s not coming on me, he’ll come in me. I imagine him in my mouth. Suddenly I want to taste him so badly I nearly moan.

  I try to cover how flustered I am. “So. What about you? Do you have any limits I should know about?”

  The answer I expect is No. He’s going to be the one in control; what limits could he possibly need? Instead Jonah answers me immediately. “The main thing is that if we’re ever discovered—if someone thinks what’s happening is real and steps in or calls the police—you have to set them straight. I don’t care if you’re ashamed of this fantasy. You tell them the truth, no matter what. ”

  “Of course. I would do that anyway. ” I hadn’t even realized what a risk Jonah was taking. He studies my face carefully, and I know he’s trying to figure out whether I’m being honest about backing him up. More gently I add, “We have to trust each other or this doesn’t work. ”

  “Right. ” Jonah goes back to his points like he hadn’t paused. “I told you I wasn’t a sadist. Well, I’m not a masochist either. Sometimes I realize you might want to fight back—and I might like that. If you struggled. ” The way he smiles at me makes me go hot all over. I shift on the sofa, and I can feel how slick I am between my thighs. “A few scratches, a slap, that’s fine. A black eye or broken arm I have to explain to people, that’s not fine. ”

  “Got it. ” Like I could take out Jonah Marks. If we ever fought for real, he’d have me down within seconds.

  He takes a deep breath. “Last thing, never call me Daddy. ”

  I stare at him. It’s all I can do not to laugh.

  Obviously he sees my amusement. His scowl deepens. “Some women say that, in bed. ”

  “I know. ” I swallow the last of my smile.

  “If I ask you to talk, I’ll tell you what to call me. And you’ll say it. ”

  The urge to laugh vanishes. In its place are other, more primal urges. I want this man to give me orders. I want him to tell me what to do.

  If Jonah accepted my weird limit, I can accept his. “‘Daddy’—that’s not one of my things. So we’re good. ”

  Page 19

  “And for the first time only—” Jonah considers for a moment. “I want to tell you what to say. ”

  “Do you mean, like, a script?”

  “No. I mean, I’ll tell you to shut up, and you’ll do it. You’ll only speak when I let you, and only say what I tell you to say. We can get more—improvisational, as we go on. But this time, I want that much control. Will you give it to me?”

  Again I feel that quiver in my belly, fear and wanting intertwined. “Yes, I will. ” I’ve given him so much power over me already. A few words won’t make any difference.

  Jonah nods, satisfied. We have our ground rules.

  The waiter circles by again hopefully, but our wineglasses are still half full. I’ve held true to my plan not to drink too much tonight. Not only will I be driving home, but I also think it’s important to keep my head.

  Then again, I’m here making plans for a guy I hardly know to pretend to rape me. It could be argued I lost my head a while ago.

  “We’ll want a safe word,” Jonah says.

  I’ve heard of a safe word, of course, but I always thought it was strictly an S&M thing. It makes sense for us, though. We’re already talking about scenarios in which I might be physically fighting him off. Jonah needs to know what it would sound like if I said no for real. “Silver. ”

  “Silver?”

  “That’s the safe word. Silver. ” I chose it off the top of my head, but now I like it. “What do we do if I want you to stop, but I can’t talk?”

  Either because he has me gagged, or because his cock is in my mouth . . .

  “Then snap your fingers. You should always be able to do that. ” Jonah smiles slowly. He knows he has me where he wants me. “Even in handcuffs. ”

  I can’t speak. My breaths are short and fast between parted lips. Part of me is terrified by the thought of this man putting me in handcuffs. The other part of me wishes he’d do it this second. Cuff me, drag me out of here and do God knows what for hours—

  “Don’t worry. Like you said, I won’t use handcuffs the first time,” he murmurs. “Or ropes, or any other kind of restraints. I realize that’s something I’ll have to earn. ”

  My voice is husky as I say, “I’d like it if we got there. Someday. ”

  “Me too. As soon as you’re ready, but not before. ” Jonah extends his arm along the back of the couch. He doesn’t put his arm around me. Instead he brushes the curve of my shoulder with his fingertips. The touch sets me on fire. “Anything else you don’t want when we get together the first time? Be specific. Because there are a lot of things I want to do to you. If I should avoid any of them, tell me now, so I don’t get my hopes up. ”

  Once again I glance around; this is something else I don’t want overheard. “This time—um—no anal sex. ”

  I blush from even having said that out loud.

  Jonah’s fingers stroke the curve of my shoulder again. “That’s a shame. ”

  “Just not the first time or two. Okay? If this turns out to be too scary for me, too much, then I don’t want that to be a part of it. ”

  He nods, comprehending. “You haven’t done that before, have you?”

  “No,” I whisper.

  “But you’d give it to me eventually? That gives me something to work for. Something else to earn. ”

  In all honesty, I find the idea of anal sex intimidating. It’s not something I’ve ever wanted to do for my own sake. None of the guys I’ve dated had much interest in trying it, which was fine with me.

  Still, in my fantasies, it’s often there. A rapist wouldn’t care what I wanted or didn’t want. He’d make me take it.

  Just like Jonah eventually will.

  “Anything else?” Jonah says. When I shake my head no, he straightens, once again businesslike. “Friday night, then. Unless you have plans—you don’t? Good. Here’s what I want you to do. Go to a hotel; I’ll let you know which one. I will have paid for a room in your name. Check in. Get comfortable. Then, around eight P. M. , go down to the hotel bar. Have a couple of drinks. A couple too many. ” His eyes burn with intensity. He’s thought out every word of this. “I’ll be there. I’ll try to pick you up. But you’re not interested. When you walk out of the bar, I’ll follow you. At the door of your hotel room, you try to ditch me. I won’t let you. ”

  It’s as though Jonah has looked down into the core of me and seen exactly what I want. “What then?”

  Page 20

  “That’s up to me. ”

  Oh, God. If I could come just from hearing a man talk, that would have done it. Hearing Jonah make plans for my body has me more turned on than most guys’ foreplay ever has. “Up to you,” I repeat.

  “One last thing. ” Jonah leans even nearer, so close I think he’s about to kiss me. Instead he murmurs, “How do I make you come?”

  My cheeks burn hot, as if we’d been overheard by everyone in the bar. “That should, um, take care of itself. ” When he frowns, I have to explain. “Most women don’t get off just on penetration, but I can almost always get there. ”

  Of course, I get there by fantasizing about being raped by a man, even while my partner is still inside me. When Jonah and I are together, that fantasy will turn real.

  “Perfect. ” He smiles. “By the way, that night? Don’t wear clothes you’re interested in ever wearing again. ”

  Before I can even fully envision Jonah tearing my
clothes off, he stands up. I’m caught off guard. “Wait. You’re just—leaving?”

  “Unless we have anything else to discuss. ” He tugs down the tail of his shirt—to cover his hard-on, I realize. Seeing how badly he wants me makes me want him back even more. Jonah, however, acts like he doesn’t give a damn. “If you have any more questions, ask now. ”

  I know this is the furthest thing from a first date. I know we agreed that the less we found out about each other as individuals, the better the role-playing would be. But I didn’t realize he was cold enough to walk off like this.

  Then again, cold is what I need. Cold and unyielding.

  Yet one question is difficult to set aside. “Aren’t you going to tell me why you want this?”

  Jonah pauses, only for a moment. “Are you going to tell me why you want it?”

  No, I’m not.

  So I lift my chin. “Friday night at eight?”

  “Friday night. ”

  He turns and walks away without once looking back.

  Seven

  “Earth to Vivienne. ”

  I realize I’m still sitting at Arturo and Shay’s table, my half-finished dinner in front of me. Both of them are staring at me—half worried, half amused.

  “Sorry,” I say. “My graduate work is taking over my brain these days. Why not? It already took over my life. ”

  The words come too quickly, too easily. That might be the only thing my mother ever taught me to her satisfaction: how to lie.

  Arturo rises from his chair. “Sounds like someone needs a beer. ”

  “No, really, I’m fine. ”

  “I’m not,” Shay chimes in. “Get me a ginger ale while you’re up, would you?”

  He sticks his tongue out at her, which makes her giggle, then goes to fetch her a can of Canada Dry.

  It is not yet Friday night, I remind myself. It is Thursday. The hotel and Jonah and everything else that happens tomorrow is for tomorrow. Today you’re with your friends. Act like it.

 
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