Playing the Bosses

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The People-pleaser

People-pleaser (noun): someone or something that pleases or wants to please people.

Justin Matsuda walked into his apartment with Ashley, kicked off his shoes, and fell into his couch. After taking off her heels and jacket, Ashley went into the kitchen to get cups of water for them both and joined Justin.

“Why didn’t you tell me ahead of time you’d be wanting me to meet you at Club Ace?” Ashley griped. “I would’ve at least planned my outfit better or something.”

Justin’s almond-shaped eyes that sat above his high cheekbones analyzed Ashley, reading the disappointment on her face. “You looked fine as always,” he replied flatly before running his fingers through his jet black hair and averting his gaze. “I don’t know why you’re making a deal out of it.”

“Because, Justin... I like to be presentable and dress appropriate for occasions. If you know that about me, why can’t you be more considerate of it?”

“Okay, okay... Fine,” he deadpanned before taking a sip of his water and turning on the TV. “I’ll be more considerate of it.”

Ashley knew she’d mentioned it to him several times before and it was as if her communication would go in one ear and out the other. It felt like anything she did or said wasn’t much of a priority for him and when she spoke, he only paid attention to reply, not to understand.

Justin didn’t speak on it further as he browsed the various streaming apps on his TV looking for something to put on that could distract them.

“Caleb is so vulgar all the time,” Ashley said in an effort to break the awkward silence and change the subject. “And that girl he was with... I felt so bad for her. He was practically having sex with her in the club between the intense making out and heavy groping.”

“She’s into it,” Justin shrugged. “Caleb said she’s an exhibitionist and they’ve had sex in some wild places.”

“That’s weird. I understand having kinks or whatever, but that stuff should be kept between the two people who are having sex.”

“You say that like you don’t like it rough.”

“Yeah, but rough sex is like mainstream these days, honey. Choking and spanking are pretty much vanilla.”

“Only when it’s done to women,” Justin mumbled under his breath.

“What was that?”

“Nothing. Could we talk about something other than Caleb’s sex life?”

“Oh, yeah...” Ashley tapped her finger to her chin. “We’re going to see your parents in D.C. next weekend, right?”

Justin dragged his hands down his face. “Ugh, I forgot about that! We’ll have to deal with them asking all the same fucking questions they ask every time as if the answer is going to change.”

“You mean like when we’ll get married?”

“What?” he questioned with a confused glare.

“Every time we see your parents, they ask about when we’re getting married. We’ve been dating for a year-and-a-half now, Justin and it seems like they’re making it a more urgent issue...” Ashley took a deep breath as she mustered up the courage to ask. “Are we getting married? Like, ever?”

“Ashley,” Justin sighed. “I love you, it’s just that I want to focus on work and marriage is a big commitment.”

Ashley crossed her arms and sunk down into the chair. “Did you notice that when you say that, it doesn’t even sound like you believe it?”

“Oh god, here we go...” Justin groaned.

“I’m just saying that if you don’t mean it, why do you say it?”

“I do mean it. Why are you always doubting how I feel about you?”

“It’s just that... Sometimes it feels like you’re only with me because your parents want you to be with someone and I know how much of a people-pleaser you are.”

Justin rubbed his forehead muttered something under his breath before taking Ashley’s hand. He wasn’t in the mood to talk to her and he knew there was one thing he could do to stop any further conversation.

“Babe, I love you. I’m just not ready for marriage right now...” He pulled her in to kiss her lips and then her jaw and then her neck, making his way down her body until he was nestled between her legs with her dress hiked up.

“Let me show you just how much,” he breathed before his face was buried between her legs.

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