"See you Monday Isabel.... and don't forget about Mr. Reins!" Sarah my new and over eager assistant calls out to me.
I get the feeling she is working up to try and steal my job from me as soon as my back is turned.
"Yeah, yeah. It's not my first fucking day Sarah" I mutter towards the exit feeling thankful that Friday is at last over, then oddly feeling guilty at my rudeness I turn and paste a fake smile on my face "Of course not, have a good weekend" I call back, I prefer bitch over rude.
Finally, in my car creating as much distance as I can between National Bank and myself, I start to shake off the long the week that was, don't get me wrong I love my job but some days one starts to wonder if any of this is worth it.
Needy clients and an ungrateful boss.
Whats not to love, right?
I feel dissatisfied, restless and unmotivated and I feel as though history is repeating again.
It has been six months since Sam. One year since Ben.
Not that I miss either of them or anything but, I miss.....something. I seem to be stuck in a rut. I want Something I have never had, the butterflies in my belly maybe, the excitement to see that one person, the one that can make all the bad days good. I feel loney I guess.
I turn up the stereo in my old beast of a car, and let the music unwind my knotted muscles and ease my mind with the bass pulsing through my body.
I've been told I'm as predictable as the coming dawn when it comes to my love life, I never let anyone get close to me.
I'm always guarded and if a man tries to breach my walls I let them go, and I will admit that Coop is right, it's exactly what I do, but I refuse to admit that my best friend is ever right when I am not.
I glance at my watch, thanks to staying back at work I doubt I will see Cooper before he leaves for work tonight.
Damn I could have used his lame jokes and infectious laughter to lighten my mood. That boy can always make me laugh and it's been so long since we hung out, even though we live together.
Cooper's bar has him working night shifts and I spend all day at the bank. If we are lucky we get to eat breakfast together.
Being a gown-up sucks balls.
I pull up in the drive way and switch off the engine. Cooper's car is here, but he doesnt always take it, he sometimes rides his bike.
I mentally start to make a list of my options of what I should do with my Friday night as I make my way inside the small brick house that was my childhood home, Cooper moved in with us after his mum died when he was thirteen.
My mum moved out when she migrated to a retirement village someplace warmer a few years ago giving the deed to us.
Cooper has the basement apartment, I have the second floor to myself and we both share the main floor which is now quiet and dark.
Fuck, I have missed Coop tonight.
"Maybe I'll go to the bar, hang out with him there?" I say out loud to the empty room "Or maybe I'll just have a shower, grab a frozen dinner and have a hot date with Netflix" I sigh liking the sound of the second option.
I head straight upstairs to my room. I put on some music, then turn it up... yes, I love The Weeknd, then release my hair from the confines of the tight bun I always wear to work. Shaking my head the dark brown strands settle around my waist and I undress making my way to my bathroom dropping clothes as I go.
Inside the bathroom I stare at my reflection in the mirror as I wait for the hot water to kick in, I look child-like I'm so petite, I've never felt like a woman.
I glance at my slight curves and small chest, small feet and large eyes. I look sad and wonder where the fire from my eyes has gone.
I'm relieved when my reflection fogs over with the steam.
Under the hot spray of water I mechanically wash my hair, lather my body with my favourite body wash, hmmm lemongrass and ginger, and let my mind wonder.
Like a sucker for punishment I focus on my love life, or lack of once more.
I picture the faces of the men I've been set up with lately and can't picture my self with any of them, my girlfriends have been working overtime to set me up and they will definitely be disappointed that I have decided not to party with them tonight.
"Yeah, whatever" I say out loud, I'll take Beth shopping tomorrow and a new outfit will be all it will take to make it up to her.
The others will never let me forget that one time I absolutely let them down any chance they get and guilt me into doing them a favour when they need it.
It's our tradition.
So far I have gotten out of 3 dates and palmed off having to bring refreshments to our book club twice. On the flip side I've had to help move house for two of my girlfriends and last year I baked 200 Christmas cookies for Beth's little sisters high school fundraiser.
Not sure this system is working to my advantage but I'm too polite for my own good at times.
I shut off the water and step out of the shower on a large cloud of steam. Roughly dry off my hair and wrap myself in my large fluffy towel.
Opening the bathroom door to my room I am thinking of what favours I might have to endure this time and I giggle to myself.
I yelp in surprise, so startled I nearly drop my towel.
"Fuck Coop, give a girl a heart attack why don't you? You nearly got a beat down! I was ready to go Ninja on your ass!" I tell him, I can take him down and he knows it.
He laughs at me and looks me over as I stand dripping in front of him.
"I called out, asked if I could wait for you in here? You said yeah, whatever" he mocks in his worst imitation of my voice.
His amusement of me is evident and his smile is bright, the shadow of a beard making is lips look more red than they are, his long sandy thick hair hanging in his bright green eyes.
I brush it back out of the way for him even though I know he hates it when I do that.
His smooth skin is cool against my warm fingers and I shiver.
"First. I don't sound like that, and second I was talking to my self, I didn't even hear you." I say holding up my fingers
"Sure, sure" he smirks at me shaking his hair back into his face.
I realise how much I needed to see his face tonight, my mood improves instantly.
"So, what's up?" I ask as I take in his relaxed posture.
He's reclined on my bed, arms behind his head like he belongs there, he's dressed for work. Dark jeans, black t-shirt with his name over the breast, boots and a black belt with a large silver buckle, it's catches the light and I realise I'm staring at it.
Quickly I snap my eyes back to his face.
"I thought you had actually left for work already" am I blushing?
"Soon, just wanted to check in on you. Haven't seen your face in a while"
There's a something in his voice I haven't heard before, almost emotional and I don't know why but my stomach tightens.
I have never been uncomfortable with Cooper but for some reason I hesitate to face him, instead pretend I need to find something in my dresser on the other side of the room. My hands are shaking.
"What, I'm not allowed to miss you?" He says into the silence. It's still there.
"What's not to miss? Just look at all this awesome!" I say with a wave of my hand, I try for sassy but my words just come out breathless, WTF!?
I can feel his eyes piercing my back and I look over my shoulder at him, he's leaning forward and yes, staring me down. The look on his face is one I have never seen on him in the twenty two years we have been BFF's. I can't put my finger on it, what he's thinking, but it's intense and I can't look away.
Our eyes are locked. I can't breathe.
"Drop the towel!"
The edge in his voice makes my heart race and I spin to face him. Is he serious? What is this? What does he mean?
We have never crossed that line.
I laugh at him.
"Drop the towel" he repeats.
He is serious.
Bright green eyes are blazing into my surely shocked blue gaze. I'm biting my lip. Hands shaking, my fingers start to twitch.
Am I doing this? Are we going there? So many questions.
Cooper stands and I immediately take a step back, I have never backed down to a challenge from this man. I trust this man, he will never do anything to hurt me. Has always protected me.
I step forward again.
I study his face, his features soft, eyes beseeching me, lips slightly parted and his breath is coming fast and shallow.
Everything else in the room disappears and it's only the two of us left in the universe, the air between us thickens and the questions rolling around my head start to quiet. Feelings start to take their place, I have goosebumps from my toes to the top of my head, my heart is going to explode if it's beats any faster and there is a pulling deep in my belly I have never felt before.
But it's Cooper, looking at him now I can't help but feel a powerful mix of loyalty, lust, fear, excitement, passion and even regret. I'm already regretting what is about to happen because it will change us, I already regret because I know I'm going to do what he's asking and before I can stop myself I drop my towel.
I'm standing in my bedroom completely naked before my life long best friend scared stiff, I can't move, I can't look away.
Cooper is staring into my eyes but I can't tell what he's thinking, he asked for this but he's not looking at me.
He was joking.
I start to panic, my eyes searching for my discarded towel.
Coopers hand moves to his face and he is slowly rubbing the stubble on his jaw, his eyes have moved lower and I hold my breath.
I watch him as he slowly looks me over, my nipples harden under his stare and my stomach quivers. I press my knees together as his eyes lower past my belly button and I pray that I have remembered to landscape at least once this week because for the life of me I can't hold my thoughts together long enough to think about it, I can only think of him.
Slowly his gaze retreats in its path and takes just as long on the way back up.
It feels like I've been standing here like this for hours.
He is so quiet, I wish he would say something. His eyes reach mine and he steps forward again, slowly to give me time to react, I don't.
He is almost close enough to touch, oh god I want to touch.
Slowly Cooper raises his hand to my face and I automatically lean into his touch, I release my breath with I sigh, I forgot I was holding it.
"Beautiful" he whispers and I shiver.
Standing this close it emphasises our height difference and I only stand as high as his chest. His hand reaches to the back of my head, holding it still he leans in, towering over me he consumes my entire field of vision, he's all I see.
As his lips reach mine my eyes close and his scent hits me, I love the smell of him, the familiar notes of sandalwood and spice, of Cooper. His lips are soft and slow, I never imagined they could be this soft.
My head is swimming. Coopers other arm winds around my lower back and holds me to him, his hand on my bare skin feels like heaven. I have never been kissed like this before, never felt this... Cherished?
Yes, oh god it feels so good.
He pulls away slowly and I moan at the loss, I open my eyes and the smiling face looking back at me is a familiar stranger.
Our breathing is loud in the silence.
I need more, I reach up and cup his face, the stubble is rough and I like it. I pull him to me and when our lips meet again he is the one to moan, I swallow it, he is no longer soft and slow.
He is rough and I love it.
My hand slips into the collar of this shirt and the other finds the hem, I reach under to the hard muscles of his stomach, his urgency increases and pulls me closer, my senses are overwhelmed by him and my legs wrap around his waist of their own accord, oh fuck, where is this going?
I need more, I need..... He needs to know.
He presses into me and I jolt, I'm needy and I grind against him. Holding me up with one hand he frees himself with the other, I break our kiss, I open my mouth to speak but nothing comes out.
"Don't be scared babe, it's just me" Coop whispers in my ear and the feel of his breath on my neck sends shivers down me.
"I'm not scared" my voice is soft but at least it still works "Cooper.." I start.
"Fuck! Do you have anything? It's been so long since I needed any, I don't keep any on me" He interrupts me and the question takes me by surprise.
The words make it real.
"No. Coop..." I can't say it, can't tell him
He looks at me and he looks pained. I'm still panting and writhing in his arms, my legs wrapped tight around him.
He backs me up til I hit the wall. It's cold against my bare skin but it feels good, it's adds to the sensation rushing through me.
"I can't leave you like his" he purrs into my ear and lowers one of my legs to the floor, his lips move down my neck, down my chest, oh god down my stomach, he's on his knees and his intentions hit me like a wrecking ball, I panic.
"Cooper, you know I'm on the pill right?" Not that I'm worried about that.
He stills. Looks up at me.
"Iz... " He draws out my name raw and tortured. He stands and presses into me, oh fuck that feels good.
"Babe, I have always been careful and I've been tested since the last time"
I know the question he is asking with this statement. My head falls back against the wall in surrender.
"Tell me you've never not used protection Iz?" The need in his voice almost breaks me I wrap my legs around him once more and he catches me, his hands grabbing my ass.
"Cooper, I've never not used protection because......ahhhh!" my words are cut off by my cry of shock.
Cooper thrusts into me, hard. One second passes, two then....
"I've never had sex" I finish at the same time he says "you've never had sex!?!"
I'm gasping, it burns and Cooper looks like he's freaking out!
"Oh fuck, oh fuck!" He repeats.
His forehead is resting on mine and I thought he looked tortured before? His eyes are piercing me all the way to my soul. The situation is far from funny but I giggle at the expression on his face.
The way we are connected my laughter has a new effect on me.
"Oh fuck!" Cooper says again but this time he looks primal, his tone possessive and his mouth claims mine, he starts to move.
It's a tight fit and it hurts but through the pain is pleasure, more than I knew I could feel, I move with him and there is wonder on his face and I wonder what I look like to him?
My breah comes faster, there is a noise far off in the distance and I can't make it out, I can't think, I can only feel and I feel like I want this to last forever.
The noise gets louder and it dawns on me that it's the sound of my voice crying out, I've never heard it like this before and it's sounds so needy.
I arch into Cooper and he hits me just right, I do it again, fuck!
My muscles are tightening and I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate.
"Coop.." I moan
"It's ok babe, I've got you just let go" his voice hmm, gives me shivers.
"Coop!" Louder now
"That's it Iz, just like that" he kisses my face, my forehead, my nose, the corner of my open mouth.
Coopers grip on me is tight and I'm pressed against the wall. My eyes close tight and my body convulses around him, I shout out, and I think I'm going to cry and laugh at the same time.
Stars are winking behind my closed eyelids and I'm shaking all over, Cooper is moving faster and I can't take anymore, he's panting into my neck and I hold him tight. I rest my head on his shoulder and my body is tightening again, I bite down on Coop's shoulder as shudders rock through me once more, my teeth biting into his bare skin.
Thirty years of tension is released from my body and I feel drunk on him.
"Fuck Iz!" Cooper moans as he pulses in me, the heat of him spreading through me and it feels soo good.
We don't move, our breathing is rapid and shallow, I open my eyes.
Cooper is watching me, I can't believe what we just did, but it looks like Cooper is worried.
I wonder vaguely if the wall behind me is still intact? Surely not, not the way he was thrusting into me.
I don't think it's the same thing Cooper is worried about though, he looks like he wants to back away from me so I drop to my feet.
He holds onto my face and kisses me once more.
"Izzy?" Panic in his voice "Oh fuck Izzy I'm so sorry, I didn't think, I never thought, how?" Panic rising he's finding it hard to form a sentence.
I smooth the hair from his face and brush my thumb over his brows to smooth out his frown. My heart thumps at the the thought of his regret so soon.
I changed my mind, I will never regret this, this was the best thing I have ever done and I want to do it again and again.
I want more.
I don't know what to say to him so I just kiss his chest.
He takes a step back to fix his pants. Taking me by the hands he leads me to my bed and I sit on the edge.
Cooper lays down behind me and pulls me against him. His chest to my back.
"That was... Coop, that was, oh god! What was that?" My voice is small and shaking.
"Babe, that was unexpected. I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me, you are so beautiful I couldn't help myself, I had to have you, and you smell so good. Have I told you that?" He says with his face in my neck.
"You're, sorry?" I ask hesitantly, I'm glad he can't see my face right now.
"That shouldn't have been your first time, not like that" I can hear the shame in his voice.
I don't have any experience dealing with these situations, but I have plenty of experience dealing with Cooper. I turn to him, smile, reassuring him I'm okay. I brush the hair out of his face.
"I wanted this too Coop, I needed you too, I was on fire for you. I don't know why now and I don't know what this means. I do know you don't need to feel bad about this. You were... are amazing"
"You amaze me" he whispers, then continues "But I really do feel bad, I have to leave. I wish to god I didn't but I really have to work tonight. I was late an hour ago, I needed to see you though"
Thought of being alone right now leaves me feeling empty and my heart sinks. Cooper takes my hand and kisses it.
I think he can tell that I don't want him to leave.
I stare at his face so confused. I don't know what to say and neither does he.
He looks me over and raises his eyebrows and it's brought to my attention that I'm still naked.
My cheeks flush and I grab the throw from the end of the bed and wrap it around my self, standing I look to the bathroom door planning my escape.
The sound of Cooper's laughter undoes me and I race through the door. The sound of his voice follows me.
"Now you're shy?" He chuckles
I find my bathrobe and hastily throw it on, my reflection in the mirror making me jump.
As I tie the belt I watch myself. I push the hair from my face, all flushed with red, swollen lips.
My eyes are bright and glassy. My hair is a mess, almost dry now.
I wash my face and brush my hair. I need to go back out there but I want to hide.
I don't know how to say goodbye. What happens when I see him again, do I kiss him, or do we act like nothing happened?
"Babe, you okay in there?" He sounds genuinely worried and I reach for the door.
"Fine" I say when I open it, he is standing right in the doorway.
I bump into him and he holds me steady, we watch the other with uncertain eyes.
"I don't want to leave you, come and see me at the bar. Drinks on me?" He asks.
"I'll call the girls" I agree with a nod of my head.
Seeing him a room full of people and a large wooden bar between us might give me the perspective I need.
"Soon?" He kisses my forehead and I nod again.
He frowns at me but doesn't say anything. With a long last look he leaves.
My heart is racing as I head down the staircase. I can't believe she finally sees me.
Like really sees me.
I wasn't sure when she come out of the bathroom, but the way she looked at me, the blush on her checks, and never before had she sounded that breathless when she spoke to me.
I had to take my shot.
Isabel's scent is in my head making me dizzy. I can still feel her on my lips.
I'm not sure how long I've waited for this day and how many different ways I had imagined it would happen, but I never imagined it would be like this.
This was way better than any fantasy I let myself indulge in. The shock that she was a virgin is still to leave me and I can't lie, it makes me feel like the king of the world that she chose me to be her first.
Fuck, did I give her a choice? Did I push her into it?
I can't help but think I did. It all happened so fast, I didn't give her time to refuse me. She should have told me, I would've made it special.
Fuck I should've at least taken her to dinner first and there would be no way in fucking hell I would plan to leave her five fucking minutes after we were done.
I'm such I fucking douche bag!
As I race through the streets pushing my Mustang through it gears I bang my hand against the wheel.
How did I just walk out on her?
I see her face in my mind lost to the pleasure and the way she called my name when she.. Fuck!
I should go back, I want to go back, hold her in my arms and never let go.
I sound like a pussy right now, I don't care.
I would take pussy over douche bag everyday of the week for my girl.
Walking into work I see Jace is getting hammered behind the bar, man it's busy tonight.
Great something else to feel guilty about.
"Dude, finally!" Jace calls out to me.
"Sorry man, something really important popped up. I'll make it up to you I promise" Jace is the best barman I have and my best friend.
"Something or someone?" He asks wiggling his eyebrows at me. "Dude, have you even seen your hair? No way that's not sex hair!" he continues with the biggest grin on his face.
"C'mon man, I would never kiss and tell you know that right?" I can't look him in the eye right now.
"Ha! Your fucking blushing right now" he laughs.
"Jace you have customers waiting, get back to work" I try for stern but come off just sounding like the pussy I am.
He laughs again.
I need a few moments to get my head right so I go straight to my office. Sitting at my desk I recall the dream I had last night.
Isabel rising over me, her dark hair falling around her face, making her blues eyes shine bright, she's smiling at me and biting her lip
"Fuck I love you Chuck!" She breathes and kisses me so hard.
She only calls me Chuck when she is emotional, trying to emphasise her point and I love it, even when she says it in anger because I at least know that's she is feeling something.
She rarely lets herself feel anything.
It's not the first time I have dreamt of us like that and after tonight I know it won't be the last.
I really only just needed to see her face when I woke up that's all, I know how to keep my feelings in check, but she gave me the invitation to look at all her awesomeness and it started a fire I didn't want to put out.
I certainly wasn't prepared to go all the way and never before had I even considered the possibility of unsafe sex but it was Izzy, I trust her with my life.
Okay head in the game, get back to work!
Izzy will be here soon, I hope?
Man I should just change the name on my shirt to pussy.