Destructively Oblivious

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Chapter 28: Opportunity

op·por·tu·ni·ty

/ˌäpərˈt(y)o͞onədē/

noun

1. When life gives you lemons; sometimes used for lemonade.

______________________________________

*Chloe’s Point of View*

“You burnt the fucking eggs again!” Asher’s voice rang in my ear for the nineteenth time. I swatted him away from me, raising the pan in the air to shake the sizzling eggs around. Complaint number twenty brought me to the edge and I dropped said pan back onto the stovetop, turning to him.

“Fine! If you’re so amazing at making eggs, do it yourself.” I threw my hands into the air. It was only eleven in the morning and I already had the overwhelming sensation to whack Asher over the head with that pan of eggs. I had gone from being pressed below him in a haunted house to wanting to knock him out in his kitchen in less than fifteen hours.

He replaced me at the stove, leaning forward to turn it off as he grumbled, “They’re eggs. We’re not building a rocketship. It shouldn’t be this difficult for you.”

Looking him dead in the eye, I lifted my hand to flip him off, muttering something about grabbing my phone upstairs. I bolted towards and up them, entering my room, and flopped onto the bed to reach for my phone on the nightstand.

As I grabbed it, I received a text message and placed my thumb on the home button, thinking it might have been Amy. She was gone on an overnight business trip, taking Prim to a friend’s house to spend the night, which left Asher and me alone until morning. My phone unlocked right into messages and I smiled when I realized it was a text from Hayden.

Hayden: Good morning.

I responded, hearing the doorbell ring below. Finn, who was laying silently on his bed near my dresser, flipped out at the sound. I hushed the small dog and watched as he ran out of my bedroom door.

Hayden: Just wondering if you’re free today?

Before I could tell him yes, I heard Asher in the kitchen below me. “Get the door!”

I startled, beyond irritated as I screamed back, “You get the door! You’re right next to it!”

He didn’t answer, leaving it unclear as to whether or not he got the damn door or not. Still not answering Hayden’s question, I leaped off my bed and shuffled out of my room. When I reached the top of the stairs, I halted in my tracks. Asher had gotten the door, but that wasn’t what had caused me to pause.

A girl with strawberry blonde hair tied into a cute ponytail flooded my vision. I couldn’t see her entire face, but I did know her eyes shone brightly in Asher’s direction, her smile cheery.

Every muscle in my body tensed as I watched Asher and her exchange greetings, his smile as big as hers. I sent Hayden a text about checking to see if I was, in fact, free before rushing down the stairs so quickly my socks slid when they hit the bottom. I marched up to Asher’s side and his eyes fell on me.

“Hey, Dol, this is Ellie.” He motioned over to her. “She’s staying with her aunt next door for a few months.”

I looked at the girl, grinning tightly as I greeted her. Finn hopped off the doorstep and circled the pretty girl’s legs, proving that everyone seemed to like her presence except me. Her hands were filled with a plate of cookies and she returned the hello, her eyes lingering on me for a few seconds. She seemed kind enough and I forced myself to feel guilty over my internal behavior and get a grip.

That seemed even harder when Asher beamed back over at her, gesturing at the cookies in her hands. “She made us cookies. I was thinking we could invite her in for brunch.”

No.

No.

N-

“Yeah, that sounds great!” I exclaimed louder than intended, stepping out of the way and jutting my head toward the kitchen. I tugged Asher out of the doorframe, leaving Ellie enough room to walk in before leading her out of the entry room. Asher strained down to pick up Finn, who had been pawing annoyingly at our guest’s feet, before opening the entrance to the garage and setting him out.

Ellie sat down at the bar as she watched Asher and I walk around the kitchen, pulling out supplies for the brunch we now had to make (all we had were burnt eggs so far). With a glance towards Asher, her eyes landed on me. “Are you two brother and sister?”

Recoiling, I gave Asher a newfangled look. “Oh, God no. We’re not.”

I grabbed the pan that was filled with overcooked eggs and dumped them into the sink, setting it back onto the stovetop to allow Asher — the so-called king of egg cooking — to make more. With his back turned to her, he asked if she’d like some water. When he had gotten a yes response, he nudged me in the shoulder to indicate I get it for her.

I sent a glower in his direction and then filled a glass with water from the fridge. When I looked back at Ellie, her face had fallen, the tone of her voice as sullen as her expression. “So... you guys are dating?”

She sent another glance at Asher and I threw on a fake smile, gritting my molars together as I muttered, “No.”

I slammed her glass on the counter much rougher than I’d meant to and water didn’t hesitate to splatter out of the cup and onto the counter in front of where she was sitting. I quickly grabbed a towel as I turned to her with apologetic eyes and muttered, “Shit, I’m so sorry.”

She didn’t appear angry or even annoyed, only making sure I knew it was okay as I began wiping down the granite counter. The conversation was casual from then on, and I worked hard to lower my aggravation towards nothing imparticular.

With each topic Asher proposed, I flung him a glare and psychologically cursed him for being so intrigued, but his curiosity helped us both get to know Ellie, who was staying with her aunt until the end of the summer. She apparently loved baking, hence the cookies she brought over which were, of course, astounding.

As the brunch came to an end and we were finishing up the lasts of our breakfast, Asher excused himself, hearing Finn’s small paws scratching at the garage door. When he did, he left us in moderately awkward silence.

Ellie cleared her throat, scrapping her fork against her plate to rid some of the stillness. She smiled as she looked at me and asked, “Chloe, are you single... by any chance?”

The question caught me off guard and my brows drew together. With confusion evident in my tone, I shrugged. “Yeah, you?”

Eager, her eyes lit up, and she leaned in. “Yeah.”

*Asher’s Point of View*

I stood in the doorway of the entry room, unbeknownst to both girls. I watched as Ellie subtly hit on Dol and Dol was un-subtly being inattentive to it. From the second her eyes landed on Dol, it was apparent to any witnessing eye that Ellie was interested. I couldn’t blame her, who wouldn’t be into Dol?

On a similar note, there wasn’t a girl in the neighborhood who didn’t give me a second glance, so when she didn’t, I realized she had to be either blind or gay. I had a knack for this stuff.

As Ellie tried her hardest to get her point across for the third time, I chuckled as I watched Dol unknowingly dodge it once again. Finally, our new neighbor’s eyes rolled back into her head and she held out her fingers to graze the back of Dols’ hand. “Let me get straight to the point: do you want to go out... sometime?”

Dol froze, her eyes widening at the sudden confrontation. “Oh... I-I’m sorry. I’m not… I’m just- um…”

Nice one, Dolphin. Very smooth.

Ellie’s expression soon matched hers. “Oh my God, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I picked up on the wrong signals.”

I thought so too considering Dol seemed like she wanted to rip her head off since the instant she stepped into the house. Ellie stood instantly, the chair screeching against the wood floor when she did.

“I think I should get going.” Her eyes crash-landed on me belatedly and she gave me a small smile, unquestionably embarrassed.

Dolphin stood too, her chair making an equally loud screech, and threw her hands out in front of her. “No wait, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to come off as rude. Or to send you mixed signals.”

Leaving my hiding spot behind the entrance room doorway, I let a hand rest atop the counter, thoroughly enjoying the massacre playing out. When it seemed both girls had run out of apologies, I threw on a smile, my voice threading the air. “This has been a lovely brunch.”

Ellie nodded, thanking us, before hastily making her way out of the house. Dol didn’t show any signs of moving, and I walked over to the table and began to pick up dishes. I laughed purposely loud. “That was some quality entertainment.”

“Shut the hell up!” Dolphin’s head shot up, glaring some wicked daggers into me. “I didn’t realize she liked me.”

I toured the plates in my hand to the sink, dumping them in, paying no mind to the clattering sound of plates smashing cups. “I guess you just don’t pick up on those things like I do.”

Shifting to face me, she shook her head in disbelief. “You knew the whole time?”

“How could I not? She was pretty obvious about it.”

She bounced her palm against her forehead, feigning shock as she walked around the counter and closer to me, mumbling, “Gee, thanks. I could’ve used the heads up, asshole.”

Leaning back against the counter, she watched me, her mouth tilted in an irritated line. Her eyes looked more amused than the rest of her face as she surveyed my body. Stepping up to her, I pitched forward, setting my hands on the counter of both sides of her.

An entertained smile beckoned my lips and I gave into it as I uttered, “Where’s the fun in that?”

I watched her annoyed, troubled state, bending in perceptibly closer. She released a short laugh, less for the purpose of humor, and more to rid the physical tension I had created.

I thought about that for a moment. Could I have really created something that had always been there?

“What was your plan? To let me suffer?” She exhaled breathily.

She wasn’t blushing, which astounded me considering she transformed into a tomato whenever she had the chance, but she was visibly uncertain being as close to me as she was.

“Pretty much,” I confessed. She struck upwards to hit my chest casually, but I seized her wrist before it made contact, holding it up above her head. Almost instantaneously, her other hand flew up to complete the task her first hand couldn’t, but I grasped that hand too, yanking it towards the other one.

She sent a brief glance up towards her hands and narrowed her eyes at me. I only smiled, knowing I was pushing every single one of her buttons and enjoying every bit of it.

As I continued holding her hands over her head, fueling the irritation she felt for me, a single statement mulled into my brain, and I couldn’t shake it — I liked her. That portion of Dol and my relationship seemed crystal clear to me. I liked her a lot.

I liked her the way one liked to read, or hike, or sing. Each page turned, or mile covered, or note hit was a new appreciation. Each day with Dol was something new. I needed her like someone needed water to drink or air to breathe, and I was sure that my heart would stop beating if I ever had to be without her. And I wished — hoped — she felt the same about me.

Suddenly, the reasons why I was hiding my feelings from her had disappeared and the only thing I wanted her to hear was how much I needed her. The only thing I wanted her to see was my emotions scattered from one end of the house to the other. The only thing I wanted her to feel was the same way.

And as I stared into her artistic eyes for a few more moments, I realized that, for the first time, explaining my feelings to someone other than Finn seemed a lot less scary than it usually did. And that single thought fed my frenzied, unexpected comment.

“Dol I... need to tell you something,” I announced the sentence almost breathlessly as if it wore me out. And it did. She nodded, worry overtaking her expression as she had to have noticed my playful level fall from a hundred to zero in a matter of seconds. I swallowed, staring into the eyes of the confused girl awaiting my response.

“Okay, well- um- I...” I paused again. My throat was tight, hitched, neglecting to remember I had a vital confession to announce.

My back stiffened tightly, the fear of my declaration back in an instant. My heart ceased, the organ in question incapable of supporting me in my time of need. Dol’s eyes bled curiosity as she watched me struggle. I inhaled through my nose. I was going to say it, even if it killed me. And it sure looked that way.

As confident as I could be, I started again. “I... I really, well...”

Distress exited Chloe’s mouth in the form of a question, a shadow of confusion behind her gaze. “Asher, what is it?”

I closed my eyes, inhaling through my nose, trying to rid the nausea in my wavering stomach. I could do this. I could tell her. I had danced on the edge of action with her so many times. I’d come close to telling her how I felt on so many occasions. I could be honest with her, for both our sake.

Peeling my eyes open, I pinned them to hers, took one last breath, and finally decided to tell her what I knew she needed to know. “Dolphin, t-there’s something you have to know. I really- uh- really like y-”

Halfway through my damn near mortifying sputtering, the sharp, active noise of her phone on the counter captured the air, cutting loose my chance to admit my feelings. She snatched her hand from mine (that were still hovering over our heads because I was too busy panicking to release them) and grabbed it, pressing it against her cheek. “Hello?”

I heard the muffled greeting from the person on the other end of the call, releasing her other hand from my grip when I realized who it was. Hayden, of course, had been the one to interrupt the moment. My moment.

Dol smiled at the sound of his voice and an icy feeling flooded my veins — anger, irritation, and jealousy bundling together to create my mood. She didn’t even seem to remember she had utterly bypassed what I was saying, and I looked directly at the floor.

*Chloe’s Point of View*

“Hayden, hi!”

The invitation I’d received from Hayden had slipped my mind through the eccentric morning I’d endured. From the new pretty neighbor girl, to being asked out, to the sensation Asher was giving me as he leaned against me on the counter. The same sensation that unnerved me. The same sensation that I needed to get away from. The same sensation that was causing me to both praise and curse Hayden for calling.

“Hey, you never got back to me about today,” he informed me.

I removed my gaze from the ground and carried it up to Asher’s face. Catching a split second of his gloomy expression, confusion drew me as a dangerous smirk spread over his face. I squinted at him, then looked away to answer Hayden.

“Oh, right, I’m sorry-” My sentence terminated abruptly when I was plucked from the floor and tossed over Asher’s shoulder like a sack of potatoes. I squealed in response, trying to shimmy free of his hold.

“Are you okay?” Hayden said through the phone. I pondered his question for a few seconds. Was I?

Asher strolled around the counter, carrying me effortlessly as if what he was doing was completely normal. He marched towards the couch, ignoring my confused whispers and slightly-less-than-gentle pats, and tossed me onto my back with a giant thump.

Taking my confusion level from huge to colossal, he kneeled onto the leather, settling his hands on each side of my head as he hovered over my timid body. What the fuck was happening?

“Hello? You still there?” Hayden asked, perplexed by my silence.

Tending my head to the side to avoid Asher’s gaze, I spoke into the phone speaker. “Yeah, sorry. I’m slightly in the middle of something..? I-”

Bringing his lips to the edge of my jaw, and me to the brink of insanity, Asher cautiously kissed my jawline and a spark jolted the bottom of my spine almost painfully. I had to hold my breath in order to not make a sound. Whatever Hayden was saying was a blur, along with whatever thoughts I’d been having. The only thing on my mind was the impression Asher’s soft lips were leaving on my skin. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but my body appeared unable to protest.

“I’m-I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” I muttered into the phone as Asher’s fingertips slid against the outer edge of my thigh. I was sure I would have felt guilty for missing Hayden’s side of the conversation if I could feel anything except Asher.

I proceeded to once again miss the following sentences of what Hayden had to say when Asher ran his tongue along my jaw up to my ear. The painful spark from earlier had ignited into a tingle that was far more pleasurable, and it was no longer anywhere near my spine.

Without thinking, I pulled my knees farther apart, forcing my legs on either side of his hips, allowing him the room to get closer. When his chest was against mine, he nibbled at my ear lobe, worrying the skin between his teeth and eliciting a gasp from me. The hand that wasn’t holding the phone flush to my face found its way into Asher’s hair, working through the stands and drawing him closer.

Why was I encouraging this?

He had picked me up and flung me onto the couch, thinking it was exclusively okay to attack me with his affectionate, astonishing lips, completely unprovoked.

Jackass.

Deciding to leave my poor ear alone, his warm mouth traveled farther downwards, retiring on my neck. The moment his lips fell onto my collarbone, he held onto my thigh, stationing my legs around him, and pressed himself against me, hard. The intensity of the move and how unprepared I’d been for it both worked together to force a soft moan to exit my willing lips.

“What was that?” Hayden questioned the noise.

I remembered again that I was on the phone, almost forgetting a third time when Asher’s hand slipped slightly up my shirt and moved onto the bare skin just above my waistline. I froze, remembering the monumental fact that I had decided against putting on any sort of bra this morning, and I couldn’t remember why.

Wait, it was because I hadn’t realized anyone would have their hand up my shirt today, that’s right.

I couldn’t decipher whether my sigh morphed from alleviation or disappointment when his hand stopped just above my hip bone.

I swallowed, closing my eyes in an attempt to ignore his actions, and brought my attention back to the phone call. “Sorry. I don’t think I can make it out today. I’m covered in Ash- A bunch of work!” I corrected.

I could feel Asher chuckle against my throat, my mistake bringing him exuberance. The one, tiny part of my brain that could still think somewhat rationally was fading quickly.

“Maybe next week?” I added. I practically sighed in relief when I was finally able to end that call.

Asher sat up, grabbing my hips and leading both his legs between mine, simultaneously dragging me farther down the couch and closer to him. I brought my gaze to meet his, taking in the sight of his coffee-colored eyes glazed over with a look of lust, his expression hot with want. He dipped his forehead to mine, pausing there as I waited for something more. Anything more.

Before I could say or do anything else, he detached his head from mine, tearing himself into a sitting position and moving farther from me. I gave him a confused glare, but he didn’t look at me long enough to receive it.

Not understanding why he’d stopped, I was surprised that I was so bothered by the fact he had and frowned. “What are you doing?”

He stood, decisively looking me in the eyes as he took a deep breath and asked, “What?”

He said the word as if I was crazy, like I had imagined the last five minutes of my day.

“Why did you stop?” I questioned. He shrugged, and my confusion doubled as he spoke.

“I’m ruining the moment,” he told me, flat-out. Already having picked up on that, I swallowed hard, annoyed with his nonchalance.

“Okay...” I dipped a perplexed eyebrow. “Why?”

“So you know what it feels like.” He sniffed, looking away from me. Ending our conversation with that, he left the room.

______________________________________

Hours flew by and I spent them on the couch, considering each of my endless feelings. I felt angry and annoyed towards Asher’s behavior but, above all else, I couldn’t ignore the real reason behind my sour mood. I was frustrated, sexually frustrated. I wanted him, and not having him was painfully disappointing.

The audacity he had to take me whenever he pleased was getting antagonizing, but I couldn’t seem to stop him when I was put in the situation and that irritated me more. I knew right from wrong, so why couldn’t I remember that when he was touching me?

Asher never came downstairs after our conversation on the couch, but the hours alone had allowed my thoughts to sort and my nerves to relax, and I knew I had to find out what had made him so upset.

Knowing he may be hungry, and understanding it would be a losing battle if I argued with him when he hadn’t eaten, I made him toast, like the chef I was, before heading upstairs. Tending my ear against his silent bedroom door, I debated postponing the conversation until morning.

I didn’t give myself lots of time to ponder the idea because my hand was on the knob opening the door. Reprimanding myself for the hundredth time for not knocking, I glanced around the room, and my eyes landed on Asher laying on his bed. On his back, he stared aimlessly at his ceiling, unresponsive to my arrival.

I closed the door behind me and made my way towards the bed, setting his midnight snack onto his nightstand. Standing over him, I whispered, “Asher?”

He startled as if he really hadn’t noticed me there, then frowned. “What?”

His tone made my stomach drop and I mirrored his unhappy expression. “What’s your problem?”

“What’s my problem?” he snapped, towing himself onto his elbow to look up at me.

“That’s what I asked, isn’t it?” I said, tense.

Picking up on my cold tone, he shifted into a sitting position, shooting me a hostile stare. Still, he stayed silent. Though my body seemed urgent on making an attempt out of the room, my brain willed me to stay put.

“Why are you angry with me?” I scowled.

I shifted anxiously on my feet, refusing to break our firm eye contact as he continued to ignore my question. Because he seemed incapable of answering me, I compelled myself to continue speaking.

“You can’t... you can’t just- I am not...” I struggled before I was able to latch onto the words I needed to say. “You ambushed me downstairs and I deserve an explanation.”

Confusion morphed his hard features and a question cushioned his lips as he let himself laugh. “Ambushed you?”

My eyes widened at his ability to see the hilarity in our situation. I crossed my eyes over my chest, muttering, “Why did you do it?”

His smile fell. “What do you want me to say, Dol? The real answer doesn’t make any sense, so there isn’t any point in explaining.”

“At least try,” I bargained.

His breath controlled, he shut his eyes, shaking his head slowly. I was sure by then that I would never learn his reasoning, but his eyes locked with mine again as he said, “You answered his call, Chloe.”

He spoke impatiently, and used my real name, like telling me was an inconvenience. My brows bunched with complete perplexment, unsure what the phone call had to do with anything. “What?”

His voice grew louder, his shoulders more rigid as he told me, “I needed to tell you something and you answered his call!”

I frowned. “If you need to tell me something so badly, then say it.”

He shook his head at me as his voice grew weary. “Not now. The moment is gone.”

I bent down slightly, gripping his chin with my fingers and forcing his rolling eyes to meet mine. “There are a million moments in each day. Here’s another, now tell me,” I grumbled

He delivered to me a second eye roll and pulled my fingers from his face, holding my hand in his instead. His breath was as controlled as mine was nervous. Opening his mouth to finally announce what was upsetting him, he closed it a minute later.

He clenched his eyes shut soon after that, allowing them to open only to grab onto the nape of my neck and pull me forward, forcing my lips to crash against his.

I didn’t take long to respond to the kiss, seeing I was the equivalent of a hungry lion and Asher was the antelope I’d been chasing all day. I surrendered to him, my knees hitting his bed as soon as he’d devoured my mouth. He gripped my thigh, leading me onto his lap and I obliged by straddling him.

I held his head in my hands as I immersed myself in the gratifying feeling of his body against mine. His warm hands drifted softly against my bare skin and I swallowed his groan of pleasure when I let my teeth sink gently into his lip.

Holding me tight against him, he turned us over, placing me on my back, my legs wrapped loosely around his midsection. My skin flushed with heat as the kiss grew more greedy and, despite being ironed against him, I wanted to be closer.

Half a heartbeat later, his mouth was hovering above me. His lips, the ones I wanted on mine, were abruptly forming a sentence I’d waited months to hear. “I have feelings for you,” he whispered.

I paused, staring up into his eyes as I felt my pulse go into overdrive. “What?”

“I. Like. You. Idiot,” he translated.

He really knew the way into a girl’s heart.

“You like me..?” It came out as less of a question and more of a statement. He sighed, then nodded.

“I... like you. I like everything about you, and I have for weeks. Every single thing you do makes my feelings for you grow, even when you piss me off. I’ve spent each second of my life since I met you dying to kiss you, to tell you how I feel.” His words were slow at first but grew faster the longer he spoke. As he came to an end, he swallowed nervously like he’d only just now realized he was still talking, then shook his head tirelessly. “I’m crazy about you, and I’m fucking sick of it.”

I held my breath throughout the entire proclamation, afraid if I made even the tiniest sound or movement it would cause him to stop talking. Beats of silence passed us by before I broke out into a joyous smile. It was surely impossible to keep the happiness to myself.

“Say it again,” I begged, breathless.

His eyes ticked over my beaming expression, nervously. “I’m... I’m crazy about you.”

“Again.”

The corners of his lips tilted up into a small smile at my demand, and his eyes rolled back slightly as he repeated, “I’m fucking crazy about you, Dol.”

I could have heard the words on a loop for the rest of my life and lived in complete peace. I couldn’t let another second go by without wrapping my arms around his neck and yanking his mouth to mine. My grip around his shoulders tightened, the grasp he had on my hip doing something similar. Our mouths continued to move together with near-frenzied excitement.

He pulled back slightly, our lips grazing each other and I leaned in again, pecking him, muttering, “I’m fucking crazy about you too. Idiot.”

That seemed to be all he needed to press me back against the bed, pushing his lips to mine. His fingers roamed down my sides, sliding across my ribs and landing on my thigh. My hands raked down his back, tugging at the obnoxious material that covered it.

Feeling the unsubtle tug at the bottom of his shirt, Asher pulled away from me gradually, not hesitating in giving me an incredulous look. “What are you doing?”

I wrinkled my nose, embarrassed he’d had to ask... and that I’d have to answer. Looking away heatedly, I mumbled, “I was trying to take your shirt off.”

Shaking his head, he moved farther away, and I frowned as I watched him sitting back onto his heels and away from me. He shot me an awkward glance. “Uh, no. I meant why are you doing that?”

I sat up abruptly, squinting at him as if he had grown two heads. Crazily enough, he was giving me a similar expression. I let my shoulders drop.

“God, don’t make me say it,” I pleaded. The dubious look never left his face, and the look of distress never left mine. Huffing an irritated breath, I hissed at him. “I wanted to... Well, I-I would really appreciate...” I winced at the fact I’d begun my request like a teacher asking for a personal day off. I started again. “I wanna... the... I-” I bit down onto my lip, hard. “I want... you...”

Asher, who noticed my far-past-painful attempt to explain to him what I wanted, sent me a small smile, trying his hardest not to further my mortification. “Dol, stop rambling. I understand.”

Biting my lip a tad harder, I shut my eyes. “You couldn’t have told me that ten seconds ago?”

Asher laughed soon after that and I did too, surely as red as the anxious blood riveting in my body. His smile transformed into an uncomfortable emotion and he shook his head, staring into the buddle of blankets below him.

“I cannot believe I’m going to say this but, I can’t.” He cringed, indicating between us. “I can’t... have sex with you.”

I glanced downwards at the boxers he was sporting, noting the obvious expansion of them, then back towards his eyes, muttering, “You look like you can.”

He chuckled once at my observation. “I don’t mean that I can’t... I mean, I clearly can. It’s more so that I don’t think I’d be doing the right thing if I did.”

I collapsed back onto the bed and covered my face with my hands, my mood plummeting. As I uncovered my eyes, I stared back at Asher, sitting ineptly next to me.

I cringed, mumbling, “I always knew you didn’t want me like that.”

He took a moment to respond, but when he did, it wasn’t with words. He was abruptly laying on me again, one hand holding him up next to my head and the other gripping onto my face to angle my eyes to his.

“That’s not it,” he promised, his voice firm. When I didn’t respond, his eyes softened. “You’re perfect. You’re smart and beautiful, and outstanding, okay? And that is exactly why I can’t.”

“You’re not making a lot of sense, Ash.”

“My doubt has nothing to do with wanting you. You of all people should know that.” He smiled coyly, gesturing down at his excited self, and I giggled as he continued, “I’ve wanted you from the moment I saw you, but it’s not about that. This... you... are more than sex, and the last thing I want to do is fuck everything up because I couldn’t control myself. You’re too important.”

I ran my hands down his sides, encasing them around his lower back to tug him closer. “You’re important to me too. Which is exactly why I want this. You don’t need to give me any more of your monologue because I’m telling you yes.”

Drawing him back toward me, I kissed the side of his jaw, inhaling through my nose as I once again endeavored the sentence of my nightmares. Except, this time, it felt more natural to say. “Asher, I want you right now. I trust you. Please, stop with the speech and help me take my clothes off.”

Whatever debate was happening in his head had left right after that, taking all reservations with it. Asher sat up, tearing the shirt over his head and drawing himself back to me. The slow, anticipation-like kiss from before was gone, replaced with longing and need. He worked his way between my legs, grounding his hips into mine.

I let out some sort of pant as his impatient hands slid up the white shirt and yanked it over my head, leaving me in my underwear. Shockingly enough, I still never put on a bra, though Asher didn’t appear disappointed by that aspect. My panties, the polyester material incredibly boring and not at all hot, caught both my eyes and his, and I mentally berated myself for not putting on more attractive underwear this morning.

While my lips fell into a frown at my lack of being able to tell the future, Asher’s separated and he grazed his fingers over my hip bone, dragging them from the exposed skin of my waist to the fabric of the only thing I had left on me.

Leaning down, he tugged my bottom lip into his mouth, pressing his bare chest against my own before his lips fell off mine and made their way farther south. My breath was a frantic pant when his mouth closed around my nipple, swirling his tongue around the peak, and I arched my back against him, clasping onto the back of his head to keep him stationed in the position. I felt his fingers raise from my hip and move upward as he weighed my other breast in his hand, squeezing carefully.

Disconnecting from me, he dragged his warm tongue from one breast to the other, repeating the skilled perfection. All the while, my feet were struggling tirelessly against his sheets as if I was out of air.

He drew me into his mouth again, his lips finding mine in a kiss that was so gentle and so gratifying that I almost felt the desire to cry. I took advantage of the kiss by caressing his tongue with my own, my spine aching pleasantly when he let out a satisfied pant.

His lips found my throat again, then my shoulder and then fell lower, near my rib cage. He was insatiable against my skin, letting his mouth linger, bite, and suck on any part of my body that he wished.

As I laid there beneath him, I watched his painstaking movement with intense intricately, memorizing every nanosecond of each moment that passed us by, never wanting to forget this experience. In eighty years, I still wanted to be able to remember the exact pressure of his lips covering every exposed section of me.

His tongue dragged from my bellybutton up to the curve under my breast, licking at the mist of sweat that was beginning to form.

I was nearly shaking with anticipation when his hand slipped from my stomach, grazing the outside of my underwear. The gentle touch was enough to make me jolt, another sound tumbling from my mouth as he slid his fingers against the outer fabric.

His hand finally made its way inside my underwear and I, a yarn ball of ache, bowed my back when his fingers circled the slick skin. At the apex of my thighs, a place nobody had ever correctly explored, he touched me like he knew exactly how to get me where he wanted me. My breath faltered when I cried out against his mouth, and I swiveled my hips to move him at a faster rate.

I couldn’t help but relish in the pressure of his finger slipping slowly inside me and I changed the rhythm of my hips accordingly. My entire body tingled from the impression and, before I knew it, he was pulling it out and pressing back into me.

I let out a gasp when he added a second finger and tension began building in my stomach as they slid inside me with ease. His fingers curled slightly, adding heat to what was already an incredible feeling. I chalked my nails lightly down his back as pinpricks of pleasure flickered across my skin.

A soft moan escaped me and I opened my eyes, watching Asher observe me with an Are you okay? look in his eyes. Not knowing how to solace his worry any, I nodded at his unspoken question, biting my lip and allowing another gentle sound to leave my mouth.

Much to my dismay, the feelings came to an abrupt stop a second later. I peaked up at him nervously but sighed with relief when he sat back, grasping onto the edges of the fabric around my hips and tugging it off me.

He maintained his position for a moment, sitting back on his heels between my legs, and let his eyes rake down me. His gaze ate every curve of my body as he explored the inches of skin uncovered, his feather-light hand following close behind. I watched his throat as he swallowed hard.

His fingers grazed down my cheek, between the valley of my breasts, over my ribs, and the curve of my waist, stopping only when it had reached the outside of my thigh. His hand was a little shaky as it slid across my flesh and I couldn’t decide whether it was from being nervous, or being cold, seeing he was almost as exposed as I was.

“You are... wow,” he breathed. He sank his teeth into his bottom lip and I instantly wished it was my lip he was biting. With the English language melting from my vocabulary, I seized his chin and sought out his mouth as a thank you instead.

His body was hot against mine and I wrapped my arms and legs around his midsection with urgency. We both let out gentle sighs of satisfaction into the others mouth. I released his lips and the tip of my nose skittered gently across his cheek and down his throat, burying itself in the base of his neck and deeply inhaling his scent.

I took my time then doing to him what he had done to me. My hands were vibrating as they stroked over his shoulders and down the muscles on his arms, squeezing and softly clawing at his biceps. My palms slid kindly down his chest and over his abs as I returned every kiss and tender bite that he’d left on my body back onto his.

I could feel his deep exhales and soft groans that he’d let out in my ear after each of my compassionate touches. His reactions to me only fueled my exploration, and I took my sweet time touching and tasting every part of him that I could reach.

Burning off whatever confidence I felt, I pushed his hips away from me to take in the sight of him straining against his boxers. The realization that it was me who had made him feel that way made my legs quiver. I reached my hand around him to grip onto the elastic brim of the boxers and pull them down. Asher happily obliged, helping me slide down the only barrier between us like they were painful to wear. His hands roamed my body, his lips following suit, and I’d barely heard the wisp of the article of clothing hitting the floor.

He got even more comfortable between my legs, cinching my right leg up and around his torso. His fingers swept gently across my inner thigh, and every deep foreign part of me ached to have him inside me. Alongside that strange need, I couldn’t seem to take my eyes away from his manhood, parked only inches away from where I needed him. I furrowed my eyebrows as I stared below his waist. How was it going to fit?

To avoid my initial thought upon seeing him naked for the first time, I reached forward and took him in my hand. Gripping lightly, I moved my hand up and down him, my gaze flickering between his soft skin in my palm and his eyes falling closed. Asher groaned lightly as he pushed his hips forward slowly and I repeated the action, admiring him as he pulsated under my touch.

Panting slightly, he sent me a reluctant sigh. “Dolphin, are you sure about this? I really don’t want to make you fe-”

Ignoring his cautious words, I wrapped my other leg around his waist, gripping onto his side. Drawing him towards me, I frowned when he anxiously stopped me from continuing, setting a hand onto my hip to steady himself above me.

“Whoa there, Dol. Eagar, are we?” He laughed at my impatience. “Give me a second.”

I nodded excitably, watching him reach up above our heads to the small shelf he had over his bed. Reaching into the box that sat atop it, he pulled out a small package. A condom. Yes, that seemed essential now that I was thinking about it.

Still using a hand to hold himself over me, he brought the blue square to his mouth, presumably going to open the plastic with his teeth. Pleating a brow, I plucked it from his hands, tearing open the package with my fingers.

I scolded him. “You’re not supposed to open them with your teeth, Asher. Haven’t you ever taken a health class?”

Tilting his head back, he let his eyes roll. “I have actually. Wanna compare notes?”

Jackass.

Delivering a smirk, I handed him the safely unwrapped piece of plastic and he got himself all situated. I felt him right where I needed him, the pressure building as he lowered his lips to me. His tongue was languid against mine and, though it wasn’t our first kiss, it was more intimate than any of the others. The kissing at parties, and in pools, and in haunted houses paled in comparison to the moment laid out in front of me.

“Just...” He paused, gentle as he rested against me. “Tell me to stop and I will, okay?”

I nodded, gripping him tightly. His movements slow and soft, with his lips on mine, he pushed himself forward steadily. I inhaled through my nose, wincing at the pinching pain as he moved into me. Possibly noticing how tense I was, Asher shifted, one hand relaxing on the nape of my neck and the other finding the side of my thigh. Grazing my cheek with his thumb, he fought his lips against mine softly and I gasped when I felt him as deep inside me as he could be.

Detaching our mouths, he paused, pulling back to look at me, his eyes expanding when he noticed mine begin to water. I had tried to blink away the moisture in my eyes before he’d seen it, but I couldn’t hide the tear as it sped down my cheek. Upon noticing, Asher leaned down, pressing his lips against the damp skin.

He asked, “Do you want me to stop?” and I shook my head, muting my own pain.

Asher nodded but didn’t look any more sure as he pulled backward. I cringed, gripping onto his back. My nails made small indents in his skin as he pushed into me a second time, the pinching shifting into discomfort. His lips abandoned mine, scouring their way down my chin and around my jaw. He was being immensely careful, each of his actions smooth and calculated, which only made me appreciate him more.

After more sore movements between the two of us, the burning sensation the act was causing became much more enjoyable. One second I was uncomfortable and the next, a pleasant sting radiated from where Asher and I were connected.

I lifted my hips a fraction of an inch to meet his, letting out a whimper over the unexpected pleasure. Hearing the noise and immediately thinking he’d done something wrong, he stopped abruptly, staring down at me, and I let out a sound packed with displeasure as he did.

“Are you okay?” he breathed, clearly smothered in pleasure himself. I nodded breathlessly.

“Don’t stop,” I managed, grasping onto each side of his waist. “Please, don’t stop.”

Unhappy with how far away he was, I yanked him back into me, hard and fast, rewarded by the sound of him groaning, “Fuck, Chloe.”

He pressed his cheek against mine as he let out a hum and I shook from the intensity of each and every sensation. I turned my head, pressing my lips to his and moaned against his mouth, the rhythm of his tongue matching up with the motion of us moving together. I scoured my hand across his back, over his shoulder, clutching onto his bicep.

Noticing my resting palm on his arm, Asher lifted his fingers from my thigh, seizing my hand and drawing it towards the bed. He clasped our fingers together, laying our attached hands beside my head as his tongue found mine again.

He mumbled something utterly incomprehensible as he brought his head down into the crook of my neck, taking advantage of the space his lips had to wonder. His mouth explored every inch of my neck and face. My hand, the one that wasn’t holding his, quivered over the skin on his back. His movements were determined and fixed, and my legs trembled each time he sank deep inside of me. We’d both acquired a thin layer of sweat from the exertion.

His actions, while still maintaining the level of gentle I needed, were getting faster and slightly rougher. When we first began, it was more about pleasure and less purpose, but I could feel every sensation in my body starting to rise, the buildup inside drawing me closer.

Neither of us cared about prolonging the moment, only wanting to satisfy what was rapidly building. It had become increasingly harder to abstain from the sounds I was insistent on making, but Asher seemed to be in the same situation as me, his groans similar to mine.

He rocked into me again and I let out one more intensified cry, riding out the very new and warm feeling radiating my entire body. Asher let out an equally satisfied sound, cinching onto my thigh so hard that I could basically feel the bruise forming. He pressed inside me one last time, making me gasp, and he shuddered, letting himself relax after a few moments.

He didn’t move from the position after that, his face still in the crook of my neck and his hand in mine. I used my opposite hand and wrapped it around his head, enjoying the moment of stillness filled with the sound of nothing but heavy breathing.

We stayed that way until everything steadied and, after a while, Asher pushed himself up to look down at my face. Brushing a damp bundle of hair from my cheek, he kissed me again, moving his lips and tongue so slowly along with mine that for a moment, I forgot where I was. After taking the time to caress my mouth with his, he kissed my cheek, then my forehead.

“Was that okay?” he asked, breathlessly.

I nodded, still unable to find the words to explain it was perfect; exactly how I’d always wanted my first time to be. Knowing I owed him more than only a nod, I lifted myself up a bit, pressing my lips to his in a mind-numbing kiss: a thank you for giving me a moment to remember. He moved to my side, situating himself, and drew me against him. I laid with my cheek pressed onto his chest, and he kissed my forehead once more as I felt exhaustion take over.

Extremely satisfied and slightly giddy, I grinned against him and let sleep beckon me, hoping nothing would ever ruin this high.

________________________________

Sunlight filtered through the window and I shuffled slightly, taking in my surroundings. When I realized I was not only on my stomach but also naked and in Asher’s bed, I grinned. I flipped onto my back, holding the sheet to my chest as I sat upwards and stretched my arms. I took in Asher’s sleeping body next to mine and pursed my lips to keep from breaking out into a smile.

I relived the night before, relishing in all that it was as Asher shifted beside me, and his eyes fluttered open. He yawned, his soft gaze moving around the room. When he seemed awake enough to register the day, his eyes met mine and he gave me an alluring half-smile, which I returned, and yawned again. He slowly pulled himself to his elbow, pressing his lips against the back of my shoulder.

“Good morning,” he whispered, his mouth still against my skin as he kissed me again.

I turned quickly, leaning down and capturing his lips with mine, barely allowing my smile to falter enough to do so. His hand ironed against my cheek as he kissed me smoothly, sensually, perfectly. It made me want to actually relive last night all over again. And when I felt his tongue against mine, that was exactly what I had in mind.

Before I could relay my plan to Asher, the door to his bedroom flew open and he shot up into a sitting position at the same time that I turned towards the jamb, clutching the sheet tight to my body.

Amy was standing there, eyes wide and mouth slightly gaped in shock, her gaze bouncing between the both of us.

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