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1. Everything's Fine

Two minutes and thirty-five seconds.

I watched the clock this time. Counted it out in my head. I promised myself I wouldn’t, that I wasn’t the type to care about such trivial things. But is unsatisfying sex really trivial when you’re considering spending your life with the person delivering?

He loves me.

Patrick made it a point to tell me consistently. He was the first to say it. When I was enjoying the beginning stages of our relationship, he told me he was falling for me already. I was flattered, I felt honored to be loved by someone of his caliber. He was kind, handsome in a subtle way, more of a short and stocky guy. His mom always said he was a meat and potatoes kind of boy, whatever that meant. But it was his kind, brown eyes that drew me in.

He was also overtly successful for our age, having worked within his father’s company. He had a drive to succeed and make something of himself and I always admired that. The fact that he saw me, the five foot nothing, dirty blonde haired, come from nothing, book nerd that I was, meant the world.

I had my issues growing up. I was never in the popular cliques, I found my strength in reading and writing. School was easy for me, socializing wasn’t. I was your typical stay home on the weekend, curled up with food and a book or new Netflix series kinda gal, so when Patrick came along, I fell right into that romance novel. The one that seemed too good to be true.

Where Patrick seemingly lacked in sex, he made up for in effort. He cared deeply for me, made it a point to succeed in life for us and our future, despite his failed attempts in intimacy. But sex was just fluff when considering the overall aspect of a relationship, right? Besides, what did I really know about sex at all? I was no expert.

“Oh, my god...” He groans, before lightly chuckling, as I smile kindly up to his missionary positioned face.

He breathes heavily on top of me until his heart rate decreased. “Nic. That felt so good,” he says before kissing the tip of my nose sweetly.

Nic. My lil nickname he uses, besides angel, that always gives me little butterflies in the pit of my stomach when I hear it pass his lips. Butterflies that make me feel special to him. I love that he calls me that and not just Nicole like my sister always does.

She always uses my whole name to get under my skin, knowing how much I hate it. Nicole has a whole new meaning after my dad started dating again. Apparently mistresses ruin names along with marriages. So, Patrick made it a point to call me Nic instead. And luckily it’s caught on.

He kisses my forehead, making me feel special, before pulling out of me and heading towards our bathroom, disposing of the used condom into the trash as he jumps into the shower.

I shouldn’t feel weird about this, he showers every time after we have sex. But, I mean, doesn’t everyone? I try not to overthink it, yet something about it always made me feel a bit dirty. However, it’s not like I have much to compare things to. Patrick is my first, my only.

Rolling to my side under the sheets, I hear the water start and wonder about orgasms. I’ve read about them, heard about them from my oversharing sister, but never have I actually experienced one, that I know of. But, as it stands, the need to orgasm is just another obstacle in my relationship I’m forced to brush aside. I suppose it’s better than the problems my sister faces.

Johanna deals with finding her boyfriend’s dick in other women, or dating men who are already married who don’t make the time for her she feels she deserves. The problems she deals with always seem worse and entirely more dramatic than mine. I shouldn’t complain. At least Patrick loves me and truly cares about a future with me, we can work out all the rest in time.

“Hey I need to run to the grocery store to pick up some steaks for dinner tonight.” I hear him call from the bathroom.

“Don’t we have enough meat?”

There’s literally a freezer full in the basement from him and his dad’s hunting excursions.

“I just need to grab a couple more fresh ones if I’m going to be starting up the grill soon. No time to thaw. I’ve got a little surprise up my sleeve.”

A little surprise? Could it be what I’ve been waiting for? I bite my lip and check myself reluctantly in the long mirror next to the closet. I definitely don’t look engagement ready. My hair’s in need of a trim and this casual, pajama set isn’t a good look.

“I’ll be back in a bit, babe. Promise it’ll be quick.” He comes over to where I’m standing, kissing the top of my head before heading out of the door in his jeans and sport coat.

Sunday dinners were our thing. After about a year of dating in different cities, and bouncing between my room and his in the dorms, we’d decided to make the move and shack up together.

Patrick had luckily found this cute little house for sale in his hometown, not far from his college in Michigan and close to his father’s company. I made the seven hour move once I finished school, leaving the past in the dust, as we started our journey towards truly being together, despite my dad’s reluctance.

My dad wasn’t entirely excited about the idea, nor was I excited about moving back home with him and his new mistress-turned-name-ruiner. Seriously, hearing your dad call your name during sex does horrible things to your mental health.

Patrick’s parents certainly weren’t for us living together with their deep Catholic values and all, but the timing just worked for us. We saved money by having him buy our first home as opposed to renting. and it was one of the happiest moments for me. Were we playing “pretend” as his mother often called it? Maybe, but it was my first serious relationship and I felt like it was a crucial step towards us really being together.

Either way, Sunday evenings were for us. After Patrick and his family attended their church service and extended family brunch at his grandmother’s, we’d always prepare dinner together, just the two of us, grilling or making a special meal and share it together at the table, sans phones, sans television, sans anything that would distract us from our conversation. It was supposed to be our time to connect and I looked forward to it every week, including today, after the lackluster lovemaking session earlier.

I comb my hair and throw it into a messy bun. I decide to take a quick nap while I’ve got some time before dinner. Laying back and daydreaming of all the ways we could amp up our seemingly bland sex life, I drift off into a peaceful sleep.

“Do it! Do it harder!” I hear a woman’s voice in my head as I come to, out of my hazy slumber. “Yes!”

The moans continue getting louder as the sounds of a bed banging against the wall begin to shake the pictures of Patrick and I smiling in frames. What the hell?

I sit upright, listening for a moment to make sure I wasn’t just hearing my own voice, not awakened from a much needed dream.

“Fuck! C’mon! Make me cum!” I hear a strange man’s voice, with a deep, hoarse, rasp to it. Oh my God. What is happening?

Grabbing my phone on the nightstand, I get up, wrap a robe around myself and run out of our bedroom towards the guest room next door where the sexual noises are exuding.

I burst through the door, still hoping I’m only dreaming, and see a man perched behind a woman, slamming into her from behind as she holds onto the headboard.

My headboard.

From my childhood bed.

From back home, that we placed in the spare room for friends and family to come visit.

If I wasn’t so mortified by the sight in front of me, maybe I would have responded differently, but I’m not going to lie, my initial reaction is to stand and stare with my mouth agape.

As much as I want to scream in horror, I can’t help but to be slightly in awe of the ridiculous exhibition in front of me. In what world do random couple’s just start having sex in people’s homes!?

Here is this muscular, tattooed man with jet black hair, wet with sweat hanging into his eyes, settling himself behind a petite brunette. On my childhood bed. Holy. Hell.

“Oh shit!” I hear him say, noticing me before pulling out of the woman and throwing a blanket on her while wrapping himself in the bed sheet beneath them.

After picking my jaw up off the ground, I fumble for my phone, dialing a number, and shakily put it up to my ear.

“Hello, Dune County Police Department, how can I help you?”

“Uhh...yes, there’s a burglary, or intruder, or something...” I start relaying the situation, watching the man’s panicked eyes as he begins walking towards me, shaking his hands in front of him while shaking his head no, “...and they are having sex on my bed.”

“I’m sorry, did you say sex?” the woman responds.

“I don’t, I don’t know...yes.”

The man walks close to me, his large frame growing on me, making me feel smaller with each step he takes. Too stunned to say or do anything, I drop the phone, putting my hands up in the air and back into the wall behind me, terrified of his superior demeanor, even while only dressed in a white sheet clutched by a large fist.

The woman’s voice is heard on the phone. “Excuse me, miss, are you there? Shall I send someone out to this location?”

He bends down and picks it up. “I’m sorry for the confusion ma’am everything is fine. Just a minor miscommunication.” His smooth, deep voice pours into the receiver, somehow sounding like melted chocolate to my ears.

I bet he can get Mrs. Dispatch to do whatever he wants with that voice.

“I’ll need to confirm that with the woman I was just talking to,” she says into his ear, loud enough for me to hear.

He looks directly at me, his piercing eyes that I hadn’t noticed until now that are an emerald green with specs of teal, brown, and aqua mixed together in mysterious perfection. I suck in a breath at the sudden closeness of this mirage of a punk man before me. The faint smell of sex lingering in the room.

“Tell her everything’s fine.” He mouths to me with his plump lips still wet from who knows what, a lip ring pierced through the middle of his bottom lip, drawing my eyes to it, his eyes still staring directly into mine with a dangerous look of urgency. “Everything’s fine!” he repeats.

“Uh...” I stutter, then blink, shaking my head and clearing my mind of the flurry of sexual confusion I’m processing with the unsettling aura he’s covering me in. “Send someone here immediately, I need help, there’s someone in my house who isn’t supposed to be!”

“Fuck!” he says under his breath, running a hand through his semi wet hair, brushing those tendrils back off his forehead out of his eyes. The pose gives me a full image of his toned abdomen and tatted up chest that I can’t help but to notice.

The tiny, stick of a woman, begins putting her clothes back on in a hurry. “I’m fucking outta here.”

She slides the window open and slides herself out of our tiny bungalow home, falling into the bush beneath the window, then scurrying down the street.

He grabs the phone from my hand as I’m watching the girl make a run for it, and hangs up, then tosses it on the floor.

“God dammit!” he screams out to the ceiling, making me jump. “Why the fuck did you do that?!”

“Get out of my house!” I yell back at him.

The audacity of this guy.

He turns to face me, his eyes narrowing, jaw flexing, as he stalks his way back towards me. I back into the wall again, uncertain of what he might do to me as he traps me by one of his arms, still holding the sheet below his waist where the material is now dipping below his hips.

I’m scared, my mouth dropping open as I try to breathe, wishing Patrick would hurry back already. Or maybe he’s been back for awhile? I have no idea how long I was sleeping. What if this guy killed him in the other room and began screwing this chick while waiting to decide what to do with his body? Jesus, I’m losing it.

“This is my house.” He growls, lifting his lip while he talks. “And you’re gonna pay for that shit.”

I suck in a breath, trying to calm my racing heart rate that is now causing my hands to shake at his threats.

I hear the front door open and close as I swallow, wondering if the police are here to check on my well-being which is currently in question.

“Nic? What’s going on? Why are there police outside the house?”

Immediately relieved to hear the familiar voice, I slide under the strange man’s toned arm and turn out of the spare room, crashing into my boyfriend in the hallway.

“Patrick! Oh God. There’s a strange man in the house and he was having sex with someone in the spare room!” I cry out into his chest.

“Oh shit. Nic, I’m so sorry.” he says sighing as if finally realizing the situation.

He parts from me with a light reassuring nod, walking into the bedroom to talk to the man in a muffled tone. The light conversation was not the yelling I was anticipating, the fists being thrown to protect his woman from this odd intruder who screws random girls on my childhood bed. I hear a light, embarrassed chuckle come from Patrick’s mouth.

Jesus, what is happening?

Coming around the corner together, Patrick now wearing a light smile while shaking his head, he looks at me then back to the strange, rebel man, who’s still holding the sheet to the bottom of his pelvis, the arrows of his muscles pointing sharply down beneath the sheet.

His colorful eyes now hold a look of cocky amusement with a hint of anger as he takes me in from head to toe, eyeing my body and making me clutch my robe a little tighter to my chest.

“Nic, meet Hawke.”

My eyes shift from Patrick, back to the glaring thug, then back again.

“He’s our new roommate.”

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