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I Wanted You First (A What the F*ck Novella)

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Work is insufferable. I’m always on the verge of quitting. Mix that with two men who I’m pretty sure both have the hots for me and wouldn’t mind sharing, a bestie who has her nose in all the wrong places, an ex who won’t leave well enough alone, and a few choice coworkers out to get me. As if that’s not enough, my company’s success seems to have sinister roots in some seriously shady business and is indirectly tied to my boss’ favorite salt candle that she protects like Gollum protected his ‘precious’. Unfortunately, I think it’s following me. Yes, the damn candle.

Horror / Romance
4.8 9 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

*Welcome to one of the “What the Fuck” Novellas.

This story will not make sense. It isn’t supposed to make sense. It’s going to take you on a really wild ride and leave you with a ‘what the fuck’. It's going to be wonky, weird, and going to involve a lot of cliches and pet names. There is also no happy ending. It isn’t sad either. It just... isn’t an ending. If you still want to subject yourself to it, by all means... at your own risk

( •̀ᴗ•́ )و ̑̑*

Neon lights flashed in rapid, asynchronous rhythm as pleasurable shouts and screams filtered through the dimly lit club. Smells of sweat and sex filled the air, the general carefree ambiance mixing with the underlying lust and desire on everyone’s minds. Serenity vainly tried tugging me back towards the dance floor, the place I had just escaped from, feeling like I had just come up for air from a 20-ft dive but without the experience of a trained diver. Serenity was made for places like this – the constant sounds and smells swirling around us, calling out to the patrons like a siren. Me? It made me highly uncomfortable and I felt largely out of place.

Especially with the bright turquoise wrap dress she had squeezed me into, paired with the skimpiest black heels, she could find. It wasn’t that I looked bad. I just felt a whole lot more comfortable donning my oversized exotic frumpy sweaters and leggings, a coffee cup clutched in one hand, a book in the other, and a set of thick-rimmed glasses sliding down my nose as I curled up in my favorite pumpkin orange armchair – one that Serenity absolutely despised. It was comfortable. Safe.

Twisting out of her grip, I pushed her back in the direction she came, hoping she’d leave me to my own devices for the rest of the night. She didn’t seem to notice my discomfort or the fact that I was nearly drunk as she disappeared into the crowd. Serenity’s enthusiasm was usually contagious so I suffered through a smile before turning back to the bar and signaling the bartender for another shot of tequila. Was this four or five? Maybe six? The bartender smirked at me, sliding a small of pretzels my way as well. We weren’t strangers to this club and he knew I tended to overdrink. Sweet of him to notice. Unnecessary though. This would be my last shot.

That’s what you told yourself an hour ago.

I grimaced to myself, eyes wandering as they fell onto Serenity, watching as she shimmied her way between two men. Pretty sure they were together, like together together, but that didn’t stop her from inserting herself into the situation. Two seconds later, hands and lips were everywhere, hips grinding on each other and I just had to settle for a ‘whatever works, I guess’ attitude.

Serenity had claimed that her day had been ‘motherfucking awful’ and needed to destress. I should have known that meant skimpy dresses, cheap alcohol, and partying at the hottest strip bar in town – Strip Tease. Not original in the slightest. Even in the dimly lit light, I could make out the stage and cages littered around the outer walls, nearly naked men shaking their asses.

Not my scene. This would never be my scene.

I was here for my girl, although her idea of a bad day consisted of not enough coffee or breaking a newly manicured nail. If she only knew that her days paled to mine in comparison. I swear we didn’t work at the same place sometimes, what with the amount of shit she got away with and how much shit I dealt with. The small pharmaceutical office I had given my life up for – I’m being dramatic, but it took every ounce of my time – was a piece of shit. Employee morale was low, tensions were high, and I was always dealt the worst hand.

My newest project procuring some drug that was foreign to me was derailing hard. I didn’t even understand what the drug did. I couldn’t pronounce it if I tried. I kinda felt like I was one of those people working for an oil company, destroying wildlife, but at the same time moseying through life in BMWs, fancy parties, and handbags worth a peasant’s salary. I scoffed at the image. I wasn’t high on life and I was barely making rent, supporting myself in the two-bedroom apartment I shared with Serenity, but it was levels higher than where I had been a year ago.

Beggars couldn’t be choosers and all that shit, right?

Still, I didn’t want to be here any longer – Serenity’s pity party, if it could even be called that, had ended the moment she had starting fussing over my makeup. I didn’t even know what part of her day had stressed her out or if I was stressing her out. It was also Tuesday and while she didn’t have much to do tomorrow, I had a presentation on Friday that I was woefully unprepared for. She didn’t need rescuing – not the kind that I could provide anyway – the new gaggle of guys surrounding her as she danced the night away explaining just as much. She easily had her pick of the litter. And she would pick one. Or two. Or however many.

And that’s when my $200 canceling headphones would become the best damn purchase I had ever made in my entire life. There was, however, always a silver lining to the shit swirling around in my life. My phone buzzed impatiently in the clutch I had stuffed it into. When I removed it and stared at the pop-up, I couldn’t hide the genuine smile spreading across my lips. That lining.

Kaden – You’re not drinking yourself into a stupor, are you?

I giggled to myself, cutting it short by stuffing a few pretzels into my mouth. No one needed to know how hot and bothered I was over this man. He was one of three out of this world gorgeous men that worked at our office – Serenity called them the hottie brigade – and the only one that I had a hard time reading. There had been a lot of flirtatious push and pull between the sex-on-legs god walking around the halls, but nothing ever materialized. Kade wasn’t just the average hottie though, sporting his messy chocolate strands paired with the shapely shaved sides, something over six feet height, and a smile that made my panties wet. He was abnormally sweet and considerate of the women in the office. He never ogled. He never made inappropriate jokes and for some goddamn reason, he always seemed to soothe whatever worry popped up in my head. Like now.

Kade made me feel seen and it was both an enlightening and an entirely new feeling. My last boyfriend had been a dick. I was his sex toy when he got home. I was torn between wanting to take things farther with Kade and wanting to put as much distance between us as I could physically endure. I had learned my lessons about dating at work. I wouldn’t fall for it again.

Having to see my ex on the daily was torture enough.

Besides, Kade had been front and center for my latest almost-breakdown and I just didn’t know how to handle vulnerability in front of a man that I sorta half-liked. Edith, our cunt of a boss and the President’s wife – so, completely untouchable – had been all over my ass about the new project again. I had no updates for her. Scratch that, I had plenty of updates for her but nothing that I cared to share. Nothing that wouldn’t get my ass fired. It wasn’t even my project. The responsibilities had just fallen to me and I hadn’t shoved them off onto another poor soul. Maybe I was just a masochist?

Moments later after retreating to my office, Kade had burst in like a guardian angel, sporting some kind of german chocolate and a latte with origins that he wouldn’t reveal. I tried to refuse the gesture, but he said that it made him feel needed. Pretty sure that that was just a line, and he was full of shit. But it did warm my heart when he then proceeded to spout shit that was happening around the office.

Me – No. Out with Serenity.

I didn’t elaborate. I wasn’t sure how he would take to the fact that I spent my free time with my girl at Strip Tease. Then again, he might have liked that better than the version of me that was actually true. Or neither of them. To be honest, all the flirting might have just been harmless fun and I was letting it get to my head. I was no more special than any of the other women in the office. The only difference was that I didn’t dress like I wanted to be bent over someone’s desk and fucked within an inch of my life. I was safe.

Kaden – Good for you. Make sure she doesn’t get too crazy.

I cracked a cheesy grin, shaking my head and responding immediately.

Me - Couldn’t stop her if I tried.

Three little bubbles popped up and began waving as Kade typed his response.

Kaden – You sure you’re ok, though?

I didn’t answer. Would it even make a difference? Kade kept trying to offer a shoulder for me to cry on or lean on. But I didn’t want him for comfort. Well… I did. Just not in that way. I was about to shove my phone back into my clutch before his next reply slipped through.

Kaden – Got some stuff to do, but I’ll be around if you need someone to talk to, alright?

His care warmed my dead heart a little, but not enough to make me return to the dance floor and forget about my piling worries. I signaled the bartender again and another tequila shot was slid my way. I knew I’d pay for it in the morning, but I wanted to forget for a moment that I was a total fuck up of a woman. Mom had always told me that I wouldn’t make it on merit alone – that I needed connections and shit to make it in life. I didn’t agree with her assessment, but then again if I had a few people in the right seats, I would have been in medical school rather than slumming it in a sleazy pharma office and selling products that probably made the world a worse place.

I knocked back the shot, my head starting to swim with the alcohol coursing through my system. I shook off the advance of some drunken guy to my right, which he then moved onto a girl not even two paces from my seat. Fucker. My watch read 12:43 am, signaling yet again that I had no business being out here wasting my life away. I caught sight of Serenity still dancing in those stilettos, amazed and a little jealous how she hadn’t come up for air yet, her lips locked onto some dude’s neck as she swayed, sandwiched between three hunks.

Hands were still everywhere, lips attached to flushed skin, and clothes in complete disarray. I felt heat pool between my legs as I clamped my thighs together. I hadn’t been touched like that in a fucking long time and I was horny as shit. But there was no way in hell that I’d let a stranger touch me like that. A deep breath flew from my lips as I took one last look around the club, surveying the debauchery and chaos skyrocket. Time to go, I guess.

I slid off the chair after paying my tab, but not before my eyes snagged on one of the newest dancers gliding across the marble stage. I recognized those swaying hips, that delicious frame, and the fake customer service smile that was plastered onto his face. I choked, my breath catching in my throat. Kade?

The bartender tapped my shoulder over the bar, but I didn’t turn, “You like the eye candy, huh? He’s been working for us like… 8 years? He’s amazing. Just watch.”

Watching? I couldn’t take my damn eyes off of him. He was completely naked except for a fluorescent speedo that did nothing to hide his gifted package. Glistening, rippling muscles met my eyes as he gyrated his hips in a silent dance, awarding his audience with the most sensual journey I had seen. I couldn’t get past the smile, though. It was the fake one that he used with the high rollers at work, the one he paraded around when he was fed up with everyone’s shit. It was gorgeous, but it wasn’t genuine. Still, his deep brown eyes flashed with excitement as he moved flawlessly across the stage. He was a completely different person on that platform – free, unrestrained, happy.

A few more minutes couldn’t hurt, right? I had so many questions. I stilled, trying to figure out how to bring it up tomorrow. Or at all. We were just flirting around and he was nice at work. But we weren’t at work. And this had nothing to do with work. Could I even talk about it? Was it going to be weird?

I choked again, heat rising to my cheeks when I realized that bringing it up tomorrow would be my worst nightmare. Kade’s eyes had locked on my form and the change in expression on his face was evident. At least to me. The way his eyes lit up and smile widened reminded me of the way he looked at me at work when he thought I wasn’t looking. Fuck. My heart fluttered as dirty thoughts bombarded my mind. I wanted those massive hands roaming my bare skin. I wanted to feel him pressed up against me. I wanted to run my tongue along his muscles, every last one of them. I wanted to see the magic in his speedo for all it was worth.

I swallowed an embarrassing moan, watching Kade dance for me. It was just the two of us in my eyes… until my phone ringing shattered the spell.

With a scowl, I whipped it out. Whoever was calling this late had better have a damn good reason, “What?” I whisper-yelled into the phone as I stomped out of the club into the cool air. Heated and turned on, I tried to forget the tease back in the club as a gruff voice came through the earpiece.

“We’re here.”

I frowned and glanced at the number. Oh. It was the shippers. The ones who had the damn product for my presentation. But where was here? I didn’t have to ask as the gruff voice came through again.

“At the office. You said you needed the supplies, asap.”

I had said that. Two weeks ago. And the company’s manager said they were doing everything they could to make sure that we received it before launch. I remember something about a tracking number and expedited shipping. But neither of those things had happened. I was also pretty sure FedEx didn’t deliver in the middle of the night.

There was also the little problem that I hadn’t given out my number recently.

“Edith, just get here so we can offload this shit okay?”

I froze at the name. My fucking boss had pushed her work into my lap again. She had struck some deal with someone to get the product and then thrown me under the bus to handle it. A brisk night breeze rushed past me and I shivered. I hadn’t dressed for the October weather, but it was hardly the time to worry about the lack of one of my favorite sweaters.

Shit was about to hit the fan. Again.

“Excuse me? You’re at the office right now?”

A few muffled curses came through and then, “Look, just offload the damn truck. We’ll pick it up tomorrow.”

I could tell that Edith wasn’t their favorite person, but I’d be damned if I was stuck with those boxes looking like a hooker in the middle of the night. “Please don’t leave. I’m on my way.” I hoped they could hear the desperation in my voice – and the fact that I was not Edith – as I ordered an uber. 2 minutes out.

A small worry popped into my head that I had left Serenity alone in the club, but knew that she’d make it home safe. Strip Tease was familiar territory and the bouncers were superb at their job. I ripped off my heels, my aching feet screaming in relief as I hopped into the uber backseat, still very much on the phone.

“We’ve been driving for over 20 hours, Edith.”

I gritted my teeth and squeezed my clutch tightly in the other hand to relieve my frustration. “I’m Rose.”

“Rose, Edith. It doesn’t matter. The back’s open. We’ll come get it in the morning.”

Realization flooded through me. There was going to be no sleep tonight, was there? Tears threatened to unleash themselves but I blinked hurriedly to keep my composure together. I was just shy of my 31st birthday, in the back of an uber, wrapped in a dress that spoke of filthy things. I was not going to fall apart. Not yet.

I hung up, knowing that no amount of pleading and whining would make them stay any longer. This was not a new occurrence, Edith starting something that I then had to finish. It didn’t help that I always finished it too. I think I made it easier for people to walk all over me at the office because I gave in too easily.

But when my uber pulled alongside the back entrance and my eyes landed on the 15ft box truck that had been all but discarded in the parking lot, I sincerely wished I had more of a backbone.

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