Skin of the Night

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Chapter 11: Could You Sleep Here Tonight?

“Tell me. What happened?” I asked of Olivia while I dressed into my favourite, pastel blue pyjama set. The silk of it made it feel as though I was truthfully naked, which was why I favoured it so.

On speakerphone, I heard her sigh. “I don’t know. It was quite weird. He was perfectly sweet, but it just dawned on me that I don’t need to sleep with a stranger in order to reinstate my status as a single woman. What I need is an actual connection with someone. A one-night-stand isn’t going to provide that, and it’s not going to help me get over Colin, either. Frankly, I think sleeping with him would’ve made me feel like shit. I’d feel used again, which is the last thing I need right now. Only a new, genuine connection is going to help me move past Colin.”

I blinked to myself, impressed with her reasoning. “Points for introspection, Livy. I’m glad you’ve got such a healthy mind.”

“Are you being sarcastic?”

I smirked. I had a habit of being sarcastic, but I wasn’t now. “No. I’m being sincere. I’m impressed with you.”

“Thank you! Honestly, I’m a bit impressed myself, if I can say that.”

“You can.” I chuckled.

“How was your man, then? Will, was it?”

I sighed. “He was... good,” I murmured for a reply and walked over to switch off speakerphone. Raising the device to my ear, I then studied my nails. They were in need of a clipping. Vaguely, I wondered if I had traces of William’s skin underneath them. I did recall clawing down his muscular back on several occasions.

The reminder made me blush. “But I don’t want to talk about it,” I continued.

She was quiet for a brief moment, clearly puzzled. “You don’t want to talk about it? Since when do you shy away from sharing details of your sex-life with me? I gather he must have been exceptional, or you’re hiding something dreadful. Did he have a tiny dick?”

I couldn’t help the sheepish smile on my face. A tiny dick couldn’t be further from the truth.

“His cock is the best I’ve ever sat on, Livy. I’m sore as hell today.”

Loud laughter spilled into my ear. “Honestly, I’m not surprised, taking his natural confidence into account. So what is it, then? Was he exceptional?”

She knew me too well. My heart ached in my chest again, and I cursed its existence. Why was it behaving like this? It was ridiculous. I barely knew the man. So why wouldn’t it rest?

Growing attached to people was something I’d always struggled with. I had very few, but very good, friends. I had plenty of people I considered acquaintances, though. While they regarded me as a friend, I couldn’t return the favour. To me, ‘friend’ was a profoundly precious title, as well as status, which I reserved for very few people. However, once I opened up, I revealed nearly everything about myself.

“Too exceptional, Livy. He was out of this world. Best sex I’ve ever had, without a doubt, which is why I can’t be thinking of him.”

Sharply, she inhaled. “Coming from you, that speaks volumes. Did you give him your real name?”

“No. I gave him nothing but four rounds.”

“Four! Wow! And you still didn’t slip him your name? You’re ruthless, Cara.”

I sighed again. “Yeah, well, for better or for worse. But listen, I have to start unpacking. I feel terrible for wasting half of Jason’s day already.”

“He was studying when I called him earlier, so I’m sure he’s made good use of his time. But all right, I’ll leave you to it. I’ll see you at uni on Monday, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Bye, then.”

“Cheers.”


Five hours into unpacking, Jason’s staring was seriously getting on my nerves. I had ignored it at first, but I was reaching the end of my tolerance, so with a groan, I decided to bite the bullet.

“What?” I asked and turned away from the IKEA wardrobe that I was assembling within my large bedroom. Comfortable deep house tunes played in the background, deriving from his fancy surround system. Jason’s taste in music was outstanding. Eclectic and vast, it had led me to subscribe to his Spotify profile in a matter of days after meeting him.

“You’re very quiet. Are you having a hangover?” he enquired, seemingly bemused.

With pursed lips, I faced the white wardrobe again. “No. I only had three cocktails last night.”

“I see. So the man from last night is on your mind, then?” he probed me cautiously.

I stilled. While I didn’t like to admit it, he was correct in his assumption. “I’m just... landing. He was quite overwhelming.”

“You sound smitten, Cara. I’m a little shocked, to be honest with you. I’ve never seen you like this. You practice no-strings-attached better than anyone else I know. It makes me want to meet this man, so that I might understand what the fuss is all about. Perhaps he could teach me a thing or two, about the art of wooing women.”

Scoffing, I turned to face him again. “Jason, you don’t need help with that. If you just looked up from your coursework every once in a while, you’d be shocked to see how many women you’ve got drooling after your fine arse.”

He beamed at me. “Pity my books are the closest I’ve come to experiencing a committed relationship.”

“Pity indeed.” I chuckled and rolled my eyes at him. “When was the last time you got laid?”

He cleared his throat. “Honestly, I don’t remember. Last Christmas holiday, perhaps?”

“Your right hand must be growing sore by now.”

“If only you knew,” he muttered.

After another moment of silence, he gently asked, “I suppose you’re not eager to meet Robby again, then?”

I shuddered at the very thought of my regular bed partner. Tall and lean in his build, Robert Cliff was easy on the eyes, with light brown cut short. It was always neatly groomed with a side parting, and I loved to make a mess of it whenever he made claim of my body, much to his annoyance. His eyes were a warm shade of deep green, and his facial features proportionate to the squared shape of his head.

Straight eyebrows formed patient lines above his emerald orbs, and he never allowed himself to grow much stubble. I disapproved of the latter. I’d always appreciated a hint of facial hair in my men, but who was I to make demands?

Then again, his looks hadn’t seduced me. His mind had. He was strikingly clever, and I knew I owed him several of my A’s. Not only had he proved himself the ideal shag-mate, but he had also proved himself to be the ideal study partner.

Ambitious and strategic, Robby was one of the most intelligent men I’d met, and his introverted nature complemented my character. His presence was profoundly comforting. Intently, he’d listen to whatever I had to say, while he contemplated it in silence. Thereafter, he would offer unique insights and impressive reflections.

During my first year at UCL, we had met at a social event that the university’s student union had initiated, so to provide the students with an opportunity to make friends and start networking. He’d been seated with a group of lads that he’d already acquainted, though he looked anything but interested in whatever they were discussing.

Across the room of the student pub we’d been located in, our eyes had met. Instead of looking away, I’d paid him a small smile, which he immediately returned. Excusing himself from the others, he’d approached me, somewhat shy in his demeanour. I was easily the more socially confident person between us, and he seemed to have appreciated that, because when I’d started talking, he had expressed no desire of ever wanting me to shut up.

Drunk out of our minds, we’d wound up in my bed, and from there, our perfect arrangement had been set into motion. What I fancied the most about sleeping with Robby was the fact that his schedule was aligned with my own, so finding time for a sensual round was never much of a challenge.

We’d done it in the lavatories on campus several times; generally whenever we required a quick break from studying. Another bonus was the fact that Robby wielded skills that were above average. He was keenly attuned to my needs, and always prioritised them, just as I made a point to prioritise his.

Alas, William’s expertise forced him into the shadows. William had what I considered to be an X-factor. Aside from his outstanding talents between the sheets, there was something remarkably compelling about him. However, I couldn’t place my finger on precisely what. He was just so assertive and self-assured, seemingly unshakable. I admired his apparent resolve about things. He knew what he wanted, and he didn’t waste a second trying to acquire it.

He was horribly stimulating, was what he was, like a breath of fresh air.

“No,” I finally answered. “I need to recover from my last endeavour before I do that. He would put Robby to shame, and I’m not keen on the idea of that. I prefer appreciating what I have, rather than dream of greener pastures elsewhere.”

“You’re preaching to the choir, love,” he confirmed behind me.


I had just crawled into my recently assembled bed when I heard a text pour into my phone. I was looking forward to sleeping on an actual bed, rather than on a mattress on the floor. Then again, I’d spent most nights in Jason’s bed since I’d moved in. We were in the habit of keeping each other company, even during sleep, because we loved to cuddle. Best part of it was that Jason was a terrific cuddle. He’d hold me all night, while instating a sense of safety within me.

Fetching my phone from my new and white nightstand, I found a text from Robby. I contemplated whether to open it, since I always left my texts on read because I didn’t want to leave people hanging. If I chose not to reply, they’d know it. I was one for transparency.

Alas, I dreaded the content of this message. If he were hoping for some action tonight, I would have to disappoint. My vagina was in no state to be toyed with, and neither was my mind. Nevertheless, I decided to open it.

‘You awake?’

Groaning, I decided that I might as well call him to get this over with.

“Hi, love,” he softly greeted me. The sound of his voice put a smile on my mouth. Soothing and calm, it sent me into a state of much-required serenity.

“There’s your answer,” I replied to his text. “What’s up?”

“Well, I was wondering if you’re busy tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry, but yes. I’ve got dinner plans with Jason’s parents.”

“Oh. Is this about the internship, or is it because you’re the new tenant?” he perceptively inquired.

“Both.”

“Well, best of luck, Cara, though I doubt you’ll need it. Suppose I’ll just have to see you Monday, then. Keep me posted, yeah?”

“Yes. And, as always, you’ll find me in the library. Regular spot, if it’s not been taken,” I confirmed.

For the first time in my life, I dreaded meeting him again, and it wasn’t because I felt like I was keeping him in the dark. I had faced him the day after sleeping with someone else several times before, and it had never posed a problem. Not once had my conscience felt strained. Besides, for all I knew, he could have scored last night as well.

I dreaded facing Robby again because William had left a lasting impression. I worried I wouldn’t have recovered from the power of his attention by Monday. If I hadn’t, a quick fix with Robby wasn’t something I’d have the mind for. I was sure. So, I didn’t want to ruin my impression of Robby’s impeccable talents in bed. However, if we slept together so soon, it would inevitably result in that.

His soft voice brought me back from my train of thoughts. “Sound, mate. Good night, then. Sweet dreams.”

“Yeah. You too,” I mumbled and hung up on him.

After returning my phone to my nightstand, I settled for slumber, but despite having caught so little rest last night, and unpacking all of this afternoon and evening, I didn’t feel the least bit tired. In the darkness of my new bedroom, memories of last night feasted on my mind. One by one, they paraded into my thoughts, regardless of how hard I tried to suppress them.

My pulse spiked as I imagined him above me and within me, mouth forming dirty declarations while he stared intensely into my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. Wide-eyed, I stared blankly ahead of myself and felt my face blush scarlet. Hot and bothered, I writhed beneath my duvet, rigid.

“Jason!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, greatly perturbed.

A few seconds later, his familiar footsteps sauntered down the hall toward my bedroom. As he opened the door, he presented to me the view of his bare chest, and I swallowed upon the sight. He would make a lucky woman very happy some day, and hopefully before his beauty withered at the hands of age.

“You called?” While rubbing his weary face with his large right hand, he leaned against the doorjamb.

“Could you sleep here tonight? I can’t sleep. I need cuddles.”

Softly, he smiled, before he nodded his handsome head at me and approached. “You won’t have to ask me twice,” he reassured me as he climbed into my king-sized bed.

“I love you,” I cooed.

“And I love you,” he requited and hooked his strong arm around me to scoop me into his familiar embrace.

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