The next morning, I wake up in a daze. As I lay there, staring up at the ceiling I replay the whole evening. I let Kate...God I can’t even think the whole sentence let alone say it out loud to myself. I honestly don’t know what came over me and the fact that Ethan was sitting right there in front of me is even worse. What if he recognized me and is just waiting for me to fess up? Or maybe he didn’t recognize me and just thought I was just Kate’s play toy for the night. Either way I still feel utterly embarrassed for my actions.
Turning onto my side, I look down on the floor and spot the mask. That damn mask. That sinful piece of fabric that drove me to step outside of myself and dabble in the world of....well, sin. I yank the covers over my face and groan before sitting up, my messy hair falling over my face. I sweep it back and grab my phone off the nightstand. The first thing I notice is a text from Ethan about 15 minutes about asking me if I want some French toast.
I start to type no, then I remind myself that I’m starving. After typing yes, I get up and shuffle to the bathroom. When I’m done and my hair is in a more presentable bun, I pull on some leggings and shirt before heading up to Ethan’s place. When I get there, I knock on the door and a few seconds later he answers.
“Good morning, Thea.” He smiles, his hair slightly messy.
“Morning, Ethan. Thanks for offering breakfast. I wasn’t in the mood for cereal” I laugh as I walk past him.
In my head, I’m trying to keep my cool and not seem as if I have a secret that could possibly ruin the small friendship I have with Ethan. The last thing I want is for all of this to turn my life into shambles.
I take a seat at his breakfast bar and there is already a plate of food waiting. I give Ethan a grateful look.
“You’re too kind” I touch over my heart and Ethan chuckles.
“I try. Now eat up before it gets cold.”
He takes a seat next to me and we eat in silence for the most part other than me repeatedly telling him how good the food is. When I’m done eating, I put the plate in his dishwasher before doing the same with Ethan’s empty plate. Full and happy, I walk over to his couch and take a seat.
“So, how was the dinner?” I ask, testing Ethan. He almost slipped up yesterday.
Flopping down next to me, Ethan frowns “Oh, it was boring. Just business talk for the most part.”
Lies!!!! You were in a club seeing ALL my glory. You saved me from a sick weirdo who wanted to whip me. You were NOT having a dinner with old men. Dirty, dirty, liar. But so am I.
“That’s good. I hope you accomplished whatever it was for. My night was pretty boring. Netflix and cookies then bed” I shrug and Ethan looks at me.
“You should really get out some time. We should go out for drinks one night”
Oh, we’ve already had drinks together. We’ve had more fun than you think.
I immediately shake the thought and nod “Yeah, I could use a drink sometime.”
Ethan smiles before grabbing the remote to his TV and turning it on. We watch some light movies before the breakfast catches up with me and I fall asleep. I don’t know how long I’m out, but when I wake up, I’m lying on Ethan’s chest with his arm around me. I lay perfectly still and try to keep my breathing the same. I can tell he is still awake because his thumb is rubbing my side. Under me, I feel his chest rising and falling, gently as he focuses on whatever he is watching. I don’t understand how we got in this position, but it’s making me feel a little weird. A little too close and personal to him as if he hasn’t already seen what’s between my legs, but he doesn’t know that.
Shifting a bit, I inhale deeply as if I’m just waking up and instead of letting me go, Ethan pulls me closer. “Have a nice nap?”
“Uh, yeah. How long was I asleep?”
Ethan shrugs. “About 2 hours.”
I sit up, letting his arm fall “Why didn’t you wake me? I could have gone back to my place.”
“It’s no problem. It’s Saturday. Nothing special going on. I don’t have any plans so I let you sleep. It was comforting in a way” Ethan eyes me for a moment before turning back towards the TV.
“As you may have noticed from being around me these past few weeks, I don’t really date or have any women interests so having you sleeping in my arms was comforting. Haven’t had that in a long time”
I never really thought about Ethan’s dating life since I’ve been so wrapped up in his social life. He’s right though. I’ve never heard him talk about anyone special. He hasn’t spoken about dates. The only woman I’ve seen him really talk to is Kate. As attractive as Ethan is, I wonder why he chooses to be such a loner when he can have any woman he wants.
“I know what you’re thinking.” He mumbles.
“And what am I thinking, Ms. Cleo?” I smirk and Ethan cuts his eyes at me.
“You’re wondering why someone like me doesn’t have a girlfriend. I just haven’t met someone who gets me. I’ve tried dating, but they only saw my status as a business owner and not as a man. And speaking of business” He gets up and jogs to a room down a hall and comes back with a large envelope. Flopping back on the couch, he opens it and pulls out a magazine. His magazine.
“This comes out in a week. Turn to page 41”
Butterflies erupt in my belly. For some reason, I already know what he wants me to see. When I turn to the page, my intuition is proven correct when I see the pictures I took. My eyes scan over the girl I barely recognize and it’s shocking to see myself like that. So free and open to someone really seeing me and capturing the moment. I run my fingers over the page, feeling my eyes water. It’s really official. People are going to see the pictures and wonder who I am.
“Thea, are you okay?”
I nod, biting down on my bottom lip. I flip the page and there is another. I look so happy. Happier than I’d been in a long time. Catching me off guard, Ethan touches my cheek causing me to look up at him. We don’t say anything for a moment, but Ethan takes the magazine from me and puts it on his coffee table before pulling me closer. He pulls my legs over his lap with one hand and slips his hand behind my neck with the other.
“How do we keep ending up like this?” I ask wondering just how long this front is going to last.
We try to pretend to be friends and I try to stay professional, but this keeps happening. This pull that makes me want to give him all of me. It only reminds me of how easy I settled for whatever Greg was giving me. I don’t that anymore. I don’t want to just sleep with someone and act like it’s not real. I don’t want to go back to that.
Pulling back, I look at Ethan waiting for him to answer. He sighs softly, but his hand stays at the back of my neck, his thumb rubbing circles in my skin.
“I don’t know, Thea. I just can’t stop wanting to kiss you. To taste your lips and tongue. I know it’s not very ethical due to me being your boss, but I want you to know that I’m not trying to take advantage of you. If you want this then okay, but if you don’t then I’m fine with it. We can remain friends. You’re one of the few people I can be myself with”
I almost frown at his last statement. It’s a lie. If he were truly being himself. He’d tell me about the club. He’d want me to know that side of him, but instead, he wants to keep it hidden. It’s so conflicting to know, but have to keep it a secret. I don’t want that between us.
“I can’t give you an answer right now. I should go” I stand up and Ethan’s expression falls as he stands too. I quickly get to the door before I change my mind and jump into his arms. Opening the door, I turn to Ethan and give him a small smile.
“I’ll see you later”
Ethan nods and from the look on his face, I can tell he doesn’t want to let me go. I honestly don’t want to go, but I need to. I have to think all this through, properly.
I don’t see or talk to Ethan the rest of the weekend and on Monday on our way to work, the car is uncomfortably silent. The tension between us is thick and weird. I wish I could just say what I’m feeling, but I don’t know how I feel. With the club and Ethan, it’s complicated. He clearly doesn’t know it was me there. He would have dropped some sort of hint or implied something, but nothing. Halfway to the office, I pull out my journal and pen. I have to get some of the tension off my mind. Clear some space for logical thinking. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Ethan eye me, but I ignore it, clicking my pen.
“How can I trust you? How do I know you won’t hurt me?” My body shivers beneath his, our bare skin pressed together. His manhood throbbing against my core, waiting to enter my depths. His eyes burn into mine and he cups my face.
“I would never want to hurt you. You’ve given me so much of yourself. I want nothing more than to give my all, body and mind. Let me show you how much I love you. Let me spend all night showing you how to feel again. I want you to come for me. I want every orgasm to belong to me and no one else. I want every sexual thought to revolve around me. Let me be the center of your pleasure and happiness.
I stop writing when I realize that I’m not breathing from focusing so hard. I take a deep breath and close the journal, cursing under my breath. If Ethan read what I just wrote, he’d think I was too attached. Too hopeful that we could be together. He said it himself that he hasn’t had a woman of interest in a long time. It’s obvious that I can’t be that woman. I no one special to him.
Frustrated both sexual and mentally, I rub my forehead and when I turn to look at Ethan, he is staring at me. Studying me.
“I’m fine. Just some writer’s block.” I force a smile and turn away to look out the window.